This advising program works to shape a liberal arts curriculum specific to students' individual goals that will enhance their chances for admission to and success in graduate medical programs. Although advisers concentrate on preparing students for the traditional health profession (medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, chiropractic, and physician assistant), they also advise students interested in admission to alternate medicine programs. Students are encouraged to not simply take a "straight" pre-medicine series of courses, but to also identify and enhance, through internships, service, and work experience, the unique abilities and characteristics that particularly suit them for a career in health care.
Pre-Med and Pre-Allied Health Advising is not an academic major but a course of study that can be incorporated into any number of Warren Wilson degree-granting programs. Most medical schools require a minimum of one year of biology, two years of chemistry, and one year of physics. Many require additional science or math courses. Consequently, most pre-med or pre-allied students opt for a degree in either biology or chemistry, but students are encouraged to consider other majors. It is possible to major in a field outside of the sciences and many professional schools are impressed by candidates able to juggle the demands of these majors along with the laboratory science courses.
One of the most important questions applicants to any type of medical school have to answer is "Why do you want to be a doctor?" The work and service-learning components of the Warren Wilson Triad are well suited to discovering the answer to this question, and for this reason students are encouraged to devote as much planning to these aspects of their college experience as to their course loads. All types of medical schools are looking for candidates with demonstrated ability to solve problems, work under stress, deal with different personalities, work together in teams, and inspire confidence in others. The Work Programs can provide ample opportunity for students to cultivate these skills in themselves, and their crew supervisors are in a unique position to assess their strengths. A service-learning project can be a critical component of a student's preparation for a career in healthcare. Students may elect to volunteer with a number of different hospitals, nursing homes, and health education or advocacy groups. This could be a way to learn more about the opportunities available and about the sort of health career that the student would enjoy. Many qualified applicants are rejected because they are unable to articulate a realistic understanding of medicine. The service project should be designed and executed in such a way that the student gains a realistic understanding of what it means to practice medicine.
Applying to any type of medical program involves dealing with deadlines and a significant amount of paperwork. The advisor, in conjunction with the Career Resource Center, assists the student with assembling this material in a timely manner, critiquing a personal statement, arranging for letters of reference, identifying sources of financial aid, and scheduling and preparing for the MCAT or other exams.