The University Academic Advising Center (pre-med office, colloquially) is an invaluable resource for Northwestern students. This office takes students through the nuances of what being pre-med means for them. Besides having advisors that meet one-on-one with students, they hold a number of informative events and workshops, invite medical school representatives to come and speak with students, and have knowledge (and a long list) of extracurricular opportunities of interest to pre-med students.
I loved spending time in the UAAC and going to the events they held. They were informative and clarified a lot about the process for me. I also loved getting to know all of the pre-med advisors who worked there. Each was willing to be as helpful as possible. (Special shout out to my own advisor Melissa, she was awesome! I couldn’t tell you how many times I found myself in her office hashing out plans about the future; she gave me a tremendous amount of insight and encouragement…and from time to time, calmed me down and reminded me that everything would be okay.)
The beautiful thing about being pre-med at Northwestern is it is possible to be pretty flexible. As long as a student has completed certain pre-requisite courses, that student can pursue any academic interest as an undergraduate. Additionally, a student can choose whether or not entering medical school immediately after graduation is the path of choice. Many people decide to take a gap year and, thus, have more options as to when to take the MCAT.
My pre-med journey went a bit like this: I came in intending to major in Biology and enter medical school right away. I left with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in Business Institutions. I decided I will pursue a master’s degree in biotechnology this coming year (at Northwestern!) before attending medical school. A lot of factors led me to this decision, but the exceptional counseling and opportunities at Northwestern played a role in strengthening it. I learned that it was okay to explore different options and create my own pre-med story.
Being pre-med is not an easy ride, but with the help of certain people, namely the advisors in the UAAC, it doesn’t have to be so daunting. There is no one perfect method to pursuing the pre-med track; it will differ from person to person. I certainly discovered that during my time as an undergrad. Thankfully, at Northwestern, the UAAC is there to support us and give us useful and necessary guidance on this very popular path.