At the UMKC School of Medicine, we recognize the important role that a parent plays in the college decision-making process. You are, in most cases, the single greatest influencer in one of the biggest decisions of your student’s life.
As your son or daughter is applying to medical school, we would like to provide you with some recommendations as to how you might assist in making this admissions process as smooth as possible:
Support your student during this process. The application and application process are extensive, and require many hours of preparation. Supporting your student through the application process can help reduce some of the stress associated with applying to medical school, and allowing your child to take the lead on this process can help them develop independence, a trait they will need as a first-year medical student.
Encourage your student to contact the Office of Admissions with questions about the application and application process. If he/she takes the initiative to contact the office, he/she will have a better understanding of how the process works by hearing the information.
Contact the Office of Admissions with questions you might have. Although, as mentioned above, we want your student to be the primary contact person in this process, we also want to make sure that you understand the process as well. Admission to medical school has changed throughout the years, and we encourage you to invest time in learning about the current process.
Encourage your student to investigate all of the options for pursuing medical education. A combined-degree program is a great opportunity, but is not the best choice for all students. Spend some time investigating all of the options with your student so that he/she selects the program and university that is the best fit.
Encourage your student to investigate a variety of career options. The student most committed to a career in medicine is the student who has investigated both this career and others. By investigating multiple professions, your student will choose the right career path with absolute certainty.
Listen and offer advice throughout the college search process. You are the most influential person in your child’s decision about where to attend college, and we encourage you to interact with your child throughout this process by asking questions, providing answers and helping him/her weigh the pros and cons of the options.
Support your child through the interview process. If selected for an interview, this will be a nervous experience and probably the first time your student has participated in a high-stakes interview. Support him/her, provide advice, reassure him/her of why he/she was selected for an interview and encourage him/her in the face of fear or doubt. The admissions committee would not have selected him/her to interview if there wasn’t something intriguing.
Complete the application for your student. Students are invited to interview, and applications completed by parents most often do not match what the student presents in an interview. Let your student express himself/herself in the application; the best applications come from students who represent themselves in an honest way. Remember, “we” are not applying to medical school, your student is.
Contact the Office of Admissions on behalf of your student. Let your student demonstrate some independence in this process, and further develop skills such as effective communication and responsibility. Let your student take the lead in their application process; don’t take the lead for them. You are welcome to contact the office with questions, but encourage your student to be the key contact in this process.
Assume that the admissions process is the same as when you applied to college or medical school. In most cases, the process is drastically different and your memories of the process and college may not apply to your student. You should attend college fairs and other informational meetings to better understand the current process and requirements.
Assume that there is only one right path to medicine. Many great physicians have completed medical education through a variety of paths. By limiting your student to only consider combined-degree programs, you may be causing unnecessary stress on what should be an exciting time in his/her life.
Limit your student to the career path that you select for him/her. Allow him/her to come to this decision after investigation and self-reflection. The admissions committee for medical school will not enjoy hearing that a student is interested in medicine because it is what his/her parents prefer.
Make decisions for your child regarding his/her college choice. Wherever he/she chooses to attend, it is where HE/SHE will be attending, not where you will be attending. The most successful students are those students who feel they have made the decision that best suits their wants and needs for a college experience.
Prepare your student too much for the interview. Over-prepared students struggle on the day of the actual interview, trying to remember all of the pre-prepared answers to questions and trying to think of the “right” way to respond to a situation. As mentioned above, the best applicants are those who represent themselves honestly and sincerely. Help boost confidence by providing reassurance, not over-preparing.
We understand that the application process to college is stressful and may cause stress in your house or in your relationship with your child. We also understand that these stresses may be intensified by the process of applying to medical school as a high school senior.
Our natural response as a parent is to want to help our child through this process to protect them from this stress, but by letting them take the lead in this process we are teaching them to be independent, reliable and confident students. We wouldn’t encourage you to let them pursue this process on their own, but we would encourage you to strike a balance in your approach to the medical school application process. As a parent, your greatest contribution to this process is to offer support and encouragement, help your student identify his/her academic and career goals, be a good listener and provide guidance.
If you have questions throughout the process, please do not hesitate to contact the School of Medicine Office of Admissions at 816-235-1870 or firstname.lastname@example.org.