Given that throughout college, pre-med students will be setting up meetings with faculty, staff, peers and others who are already very busy and don’t want their time wasted, here are a few tips on making the most of meetings.
Know What You Specifically Want to Accomplish by the End of the Meeting
This seems obvious, but many students don’t do this. The key word here is “specifically.” For instance, if you’re meeting with your professor to discuss research opportunities:
- Are you hoping to work with the professor?
- Are you hoping the professor will connect you to other research opportunities?
- Are you hoping the professor will provide you with a letter of recommendation?
Figuring this out is critical because it allows your time with the professor to be focused. Furthermore, it will allow you to present yourself as leading the discussion, as opposed to waiting for the professor to lead the meeting for you. Finally, knowing in advance what you want to accomplish impacts your next step: preparation.
Prepare by Doing Research, Finalizing Your Resume, and Coming up With an Agenda
If, for instance, you’re meeting with a professor hoping to do research with her or him, here is some advice for some advance planning:
- Read everything about the professor’s research ahead of time.
- Jot down insightful questions in advance.
- Prepare a pitch on why you want to work with the professor, including what added value you would provide and what relevant experience you have.
- Prepare a resume to hand out on actual paper (not just through email or LinkedIn).
Follow up and Send a Thank You Note
If you leave the meeting having accomplished your goal, then congratulations!
If you leave the meeting not having accomplished your goal, figure out why, fix the issues if possible, and see if there’s an appropriate time to follow up.
No matter what, however, be sure to send a short thank you email thanking the person for taking time out of her or his busy schedule to meet with you. Students often don’t do this, and the personal touch will help assure you are remembered. Furthermore, it will reinforce to the professor how important they are in helping you achieve your goals.
Do you need more help navigating and optimizing your pre-med journey? MedSchoolCoach has a team of physician advisors. Schedule a free consultation with a MedSchoolCoach enrollment advisor today!