AUG 31, 2020 • 11 min read
Are you a parent of a student considering studying medicine? Welcome back to our blog series on how parents can help their children prepare for medical school. If you missed the first part of the series, you can read it here. This part is all about the journey of applying to medical school!
Parents undoubtedly play a major role in supporting their children at the beginning of the admissions process, especially when it comes to school-leaving students applying for undergraduate medical school. While your child is guided by school teachers, careers advisors, coaches, other professionals and mentors, it is often you who they will turn to for overall support and reassurance in this arduous journey out of high school (or first year health sciences in New Zealand), and into the life that lies beyond all those entrance exams and interviews. To help negotiate the demands of high school or first year along with the demands of the med school admissions process, check out the following considerations for parents of stressed and often time-poor prospective medical students.
In the years leading up to med school entrance there is a plethora of subjects to select, assessments to complete, exams to study for, leadership and extracurricular activities to juggle and much more. As a result, many students and parents think that including medical school applications on their ‘to do’ list only adds to an already exhausted schedule.
We believe that while this balancing act sounds next to impossible, it can be done, and with great results. Parents can help by keeping track of their child’s calendar, planning terms or semesters ahead, and in particular fostering an awareness of what needs to be completed by their child at least two weeks before deadlines. This helps to alleviate the burden of overloaded days and weeks which may end up worsening anxiety.
By extension, we offer parents the opportunity to work with our team to make sure that their child’s entrance exam and interview preparation or mentoring sessions are not scheduled during the same weeks as a major exam. Even small actions like this, and extending this line of preparation to include thinking ahead about 1:1 UCAT tutoring sessions and when they might best be utilised by students, helps to alleviate the stress that accompanies the last minute scramble in the weeks leading up to the UCAT.
Meeting with Careers Advisors and Teachers
Careers advisors are dedicated to helping their students reach higher education and career goals, but due to the variety in higher education options, not all are aware of the intricacies of the medical school application process, especially if the end goal is overseas study. As a parent, meeting with them, explaining your child’s goals, ambitions and study plan as early as possible puts your child en route to success. This also results in a more inclusive, supportive discussion between all parties. Unsure of where to start? The MedView Academic Advising team can help to work through this with you and your child.
Parents can also help their child by guiding their choice in teachers who they will eventually provide additional support. Ideally, these teachers have known your child for some time and understand not only their academic ability, but their contribution to class activities, strengths, weaknesses and leadership ability.
Leadership and Extracurriculars
Every student has their own passions – activities that both build them as a person and reduce the anxiety associated with a busy academic calendar, and it is the participation in these passions, and a student’s efforts to use them to grow, share and give back to their community that sets your child apart from other applicants in the medical interview. Perhaps your child started a club or charity? Perhaps they are a talented pianist? The opportunities are limitless, and with a parent’s support to reach their potential, students can thrive both in and out of the classroom and as leaders, creators, athletes, musicians and budding entrepreneurs.
Be Open Minded
As a parent, it is great to get involved with your child’s medical school decision, and helping them plot a path to their future hopes and dreams is very exciting. However, it is important to bring an open mind to your child’s choice of medical school. It is particularly unhelpful to limit the choice of which schools to apply for based on perceived prestige or location. In fact, for many students universities interstate may present a more viable option.
Want to learn more?
If you have found this blog helpful, and would prefer to speak with a medical student or doctor one on one, you’ve come to the right place. MedView is the leading medical school preparation organisation in Australasia, with a proven record of success. Unlike our competitors, our team of academic advisors, doctors, medical students and expert tutors understand that there is more to med school preparation than basic UCAT and GAMSAT courses. As such, we offer private 1-1 mentoring, application assistance, personalised support, exam preparation workshops, and interview training for prospective medical students. The process from here on out is simple. Click the button below for a free academic assessment with one of our aforementioned experts. An academic assessment is a chance for our team to get to know you and your child, where we can discuss their motivation for studying medicine, their current strengths and weaknesses relative to the entry criteria, and then finally how we can give them everything they need to make sure they are as best prepared for the road ahead as possible.