WVU School of Medicine hosts Pre-Health Academy

Offers tips on applying to medical school

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – If you want to go to medical school, how do you know which undergraduate major will be most suitable? Should you participate in multiple extracurricular activities or be devoted to just a few? Is it best to major in the sciences, or can other, unconventional academic paths make a student stand out more? What score is acceptable when taking the Medical College Admission test (MCAT)?

These are just a few of the questions that faculty and staff from the West Virginia University School of Medicine were on hand to answer during Saturday’s Pre-Health Academy of Advisors Workshop. Pre-health advisors from WVU and undergraduate colleges in West Virginia and around the region were invited to participate in a day of activities innovatively designed to equip them with information and resources to help facilitate their students’ goals of being accepted in a health sciences graduate program, particularly medical school at WVU.  

“This is the third year that we’ve offered the Academy, and what we’ve seen is that sometimes the pre-health advice isn’t always accurate and can be quite confusing to students applying to medical school,” Hannah Hazard, M.D., assistant dean for admissions at the WVU School of Medicine, said. “Our goal is to concertedly disseminate information that is accurate and useful. We want to educate on changes that are happening with the MCAT, how the admissions process works, and what happens between the time a student hits ‘submit’ on his or her application and walks in the door for an interview.”

The full day of workshops included topics such as “Student Support: How We Help Struggling Students,” “What Not to do in an Interview,” and “Are Physicians Guaranteed a Job?”

A mock interview and admissions committee meeting was also conducted utilizing current medical students to demonstrate the interaction between the student and faculty during the interview process. Using an audience response system, participating pre-health advisors were able to vote on the mock applicants.

“This workshop was full of informative information as well as projections of what is coming soon with the admissions process, MCAT, etc.,” Melissa D. Olfert, Dr.P.H., assistant professor in the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design, said. “Giving up a Saturday to spend quality time learning about the process of applying to medical school, the training program, and the ins and outs both here at WVU and nationally was worth it. I appreciate the organization, transparency, and involvement of the students.”