Friday, July 29, 2011


Recently, I came across this paragraph when reading an MCAT Update from my school's pre-health listserv:

"We have recently been seeing a large number of composite MCAT scores for...students/alumni in the mid-20s and below, which means they are probably taking the MCAT prematurely. Not only is this a problem for those applicants, but it also reflects negatively on [campus] applicants in general because medical schools often use mean institutional MCAT scores to determine how competitive an undergraduate school is. So study hard, use the practice exams to monitor your progress—and only take the MCAT when you are ready. You can do it!"

While I agree that people shouldn't take the MCAT prematurely, I found this e-mail incredibly condescending - using concern for the students to mask the message of "don't screw up this institution's reputation." I wish the listserv coordinator left it at "This reflects negatively on those applicants." I don't think stressed out pre-meds should be worrying about damaging their institution's reputation on top of the already nerve-wracking process of applying.

The same person in charge of this listserv also said to a friend, "I don't think you will get into pharmacy school, maybe you should look at something else." Regardless of his PCAT scores/GPA, I don't think students should be openly discouraged from pursuing a dream, even if the odds are not in their favor. Failures can become positive learning experiences, but no one can grow if the only trait that is being nurtured is low self-esteem because some aspect isn't "good enough."

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