BYU Pre-Professional Advisement Center helps students apply for professional schools

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BYU’s Pre-Professional Advisement Center is helping undergraduate students prepare to apply to postgraduate professional schools during the months of May and June. Professional schools include law, medical, dental and others that train students for professional careers. (Megan Zaugg)

BYU’s Pre-Professional Advisement Center is helping undergraduate students prepare to apply to postgraduate professional schools during the months of May and June. Professional schools include law, medical, dental and others that train students for professional careers.

Most professional schools require applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, interviews and pre-professional exams such as the MCAT or LSAT to be considered for admittance. The Pre-Professional Advisement Center features a team of advisors that provide guidance to students for each portion.

While many BYU advisement centers provide guidance in regards to undergraduate matters, the Pre-Professional Advisement Center focuses on preparing students to graduate and move on to the professional school of their choice.

Physician mentor Paul Kay said one of his favorite parts is working with the students during the application process. “Young people today are amazing; it’s just fun,” Kay said.

Kay said he reached a point in his career in pathology and his kids left the house and felt impressed to work with students. He helped form a group of physicians called the BYU Medical Society to provide medical students with more opportunities to conduct research. Kay’s participation in the society led him to start advising with the Pre-Professional Advisement Center.

“It’s been an invigorating time for me,” Kay said. “There’s some great kids and there’s also a spiritual aspect to BYU that I love.”

Kay works full-time as a physician in Illinois and advises students applying for M.D. and Ph.D. programs in his free time. “A lot of our work right now is reviewing applications, making sure the wording and editing is right,” Kay said.

The advisement center also provides seasonal trainings that are available to anyone who needs help; these include interview trainings and application question-and-answer sessions that pertain to the time of the application cycle.

Pre-Professional Advisement Center director KrisTina Carlston said the advisement center is an excellent resource for students at any stage in the application process.

“Please take advantage of all the resources we have,” Carlston said. “We offer drop-in Zoom rooms, application reviews and more.”

Because of all that’s required for the applications, Carlston said students can become overwhelmed. She also said it’s important for students applying to pre-professional schools to take a step back and not put so much pressure on themselves when it comes to timing.

“There are a lot of students pushing themselves to follow a certain timeline,” Carlston said. “If you’re feeling burnt out, take a step back and figure out what needs to happen so you can go into this process feeling confident.”

BYU student Ellis Beasley is preparing to apply to Physician Assistant’s school and said that the requirements for applications can be intimidating.

“It’s not standardized across all the schools,” Beasley said. “It feels like a never-ending, impossible to reach standard when you’re balancing so many things.”

However, Beasley said the pre-professional advisor for PA schools is a “godsend” when it comes to the application process.

“She’s super on top of everything and has so much good information and advice,” Beasley said. “Without a good advisor, I feel like I’d be completely lost and even more intimidated.”

More information about the Pre-Professional Advisement Center’s resources can be found on their website.

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