|Finding a good mentor shouldn't cost an arm and a leg|
Lately, I have been receiving a ton of e-mails from individuals/companies wanting me to list them as a resource for pre-medical students. Most of these resources have a fee attached to them, so I typically decline and keep it moving. One message I received recently involved mentoring services for pre-medical students at a price between $20-40 per hour, and I felt compelled to write this post.
If you are currently a pre-medical student, there is absolutely no need to pay anyone to help mentor you in your journey to becoming a physician. Mentors can be found for free all around you. There are professors, current medical students, pre-medical forums on the internet, and a multitude of other free resources. While I don’t knock these services if you have the money to blow on them, if you’re anything like me, then these services can be a huge financial burden. I have made posts regarding ways to obtain help with the medical school process in the past, but here is a brief recap:
Help with Personal Statements
One of the greatest resources you can use for help with your personal statement, is the forum section of Student Doctor Network. This forum has current medical students, school administration members, and fellow students who are willing to look over, revise, and offer suggestions to improving your personal statement completely FREE OF CHARGE! In my opinion, there is no reason not to take advantage of the resource.
If you are someone who does not want complete strangers to read your personal statement, then there are other options as well. Even if your school does not have a writing center, you could still take your personal statement to any English professor and ask them for help with grammar and such. Also, if you have a physician who you shadow, don’t be afraid to ask them for help in looking over your PS. They can be one of the best resources because they know how the game works. I remember having an ER appointment a few years back, and randomly asking one of the residents if they would take a look at my PS. The person didn’t even hesitate to give me their e-mail address, and they provided great feedback after I sent them my PS.
Finding a Mentor
When it comes to medical school, finding a mentor is not as hard as people like to make it. Again, SDN has many forums where you can ask questions and get advice from current medical students, members of admissions committees, and attending physicians. If you’re applying to osteopathic schools, the AOA went out of its way to make a website dedicated to making physician mentors available to both pre-medical and medical students alike. I previously did a blog post on this, which can be found here. As far as I am aware, a program like this does not exist through the AAMC, but finding a physician mentor can be as simple as looking through a local physician directory and making a few phone calls.
You could also utilize professors as mentors, and contact the medical schools that you’re interested in and set-up an appointment to discuss the ways in which you can become a more competitive applicant. Once you have found a mentor, they can help guide you through the application process and be a source of encouragement. Many individuals will do this for free, so again, I see no point in paying for this.
Put in the Effort
Basically, this post was just my way of saying that I do not promote high-cost companies as a resource to pre-medical students. I was not in a position to afford these companies when I was going through the process, and I do not want my readers to feel that they need to shell out cash in order for their applications to stand out. Even if you do not personally know anyone who can help you with your application, or if you have been out of school a while, all it takes is a little effort to find the help you need. Don’t be afraid to reach out of your comfort zone and find the individuals who can help you achieve your goals. Applying to medical school alone is a very expensive process; Finding the help and support you need shouldn’t be.