By Helena Bachmann
If you are a premedical student, you probably have a lot of questions about what lies ahead and how to navigate the sometimes tricky road that leads to medical school and beyond. Now the answers to many of these questions are, literally, at your fingertips.
Six times a year since October 2010, a publication called PreMedLife has been offering helpful information on a wide variety of topics relevant to prehealth students. The magazine is now partnering with Student Doctor Network to bring valuable and insightful resources to our members.
“The mission of SDN is to assist and encourage all students through the challenging and complicated health care education process and into practice,” says SDN Partnership Director Sarah M. Lawrence. “PreMedLife magazine is a great resource to help students along their journey.”
Tasheema Prince, PreMedLife’s Founder, CEO & Publisher, notes that the magazine’s editorial content is “well aligned with SDN’s educational mission…Through this partnership, our goal is to help guide prehealth students through what may at times be a challenging process.”
Filling the information gap
PreMedLife was borne out of Prince’s own experience as a prehealth student. Although she eventually focused on biomedical journalism, those early years made her realize how difficult it was to find comprehensive information geared specifically to students who set their sights on getting into medical schools.
“I did manage to find some resources, but in many different places – books, websites, clubs, organizations, fairs, seminars, and videos,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘what better way to bring together relevant and useful information to premedical students in a fresh, new way than with a magazine?’”
One of the publication’s main missions, Prince says, is always being editorially relevant to the lives of its readers. “We try to bring them information beyond what they can find by just searching the Internet. We spend weeks doing research so students don’t have to.”
Early on, Prince identified major challenges that premedical students face, specifically finding a way to stand out among the competition. The medical school admissions process is one of the most complex, competitive, and time-consuming in the country; according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, last year alone there were over 40,000 applicants to U.S. medical schools, so presenting oneself as a unique individual rather than just one of the crowd is very important.
“Students from different walks of life are applying to these schools and are looking for ways to tell their stories through the components of their application so that they can be viewed as a unique applicant and not just another premedical student,” she explains.
That is why every issue of PreMedLife features articles and real-life testimonials that provide guidance on how candidates can highlight their individual strengths.
For example, the January/February 2012 issue features an article titled “We’re Just Not That Into You – 6 Reasons Why Medical Schools Reject Applicants.” It was written by Dr. Jessica Freedman who was on faculty at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York where she served on the medical school admissions committee.
“By giving our readers a look into the minds of the very individuals who will ultimately determine their fate and future in medicine, our magazine strives to help premedical students become the best candidate possible,” Prince says.
A variety of hot button topics
“We work hard to produce content that our readers haven’t come across before,” Prince points out. “In addition, we are always hearing from our readers about what topics they would like to see covered in the magazine and we try to make sure that we are giving them what they are asking for.”
To ensure that PreMedLife is always relevant and connected to the needs and expectations of its core audience – about 28,000 readers in 250 colleges – the magazine relies on its Student Advisory Board.
“We tap into this group for opinions, ideas, and feedback about the content of the magazine,” Prince says. “Also, we are always receiving articles from individuals who are involved in some aspect of the medical school process. And, we encourage our readers to send us their story ideas as well.”
Through advice and tips, important news and announcements, medical school profiles and reviews, and career outlook stories, the magazine – including the digital edition available free online – covers practically all the concerns that premedical students have at one time or another as they get ready to apply to medical school.
Articles planned for future issues include “How to Connect with Your Medical School Interviewer;” “Learning to Love Organic Chemistry;” “Best Summer Jobs for Premeds;” “How to Prepare for the New MCAT;” “Best Value Medical Schools;” and “ Top Personal Statement Pitfall,” just to name a few.
Prince points out that in its choice of articles, one of the magazine’s goals is to keep its readers abreast of new and forthcoming developments that will impact their lives as premedical students.
As Prince explains it, “How would a well-qualified student know to apply to a new three-year accelerated MD program if he or she doesn’t even know it exists? Or how would a prospective student know not to write about a personal issue in their medical school essay if they never read about the study showing that committee members could care less?”
Such pertinent information is featured in each issue of PreMedLife magazine’s news section, which, Prince says, “doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to bringing readers the news that matters to them most. We even scour academic journals to find studies that could be relatable to our premedical readers.”
For more information and to read the magazine click here.