About The Savvy Premed



The conventional wisdom can be boiled down to the following list:

  • Get good grades.
  • Volunteer.
  • Shadow.
  • Do research.
  • Join a student organization.
  • Get leadership.

It’s not that these activities on the checklist are bad; indeed, you must do many of them to get in. But we at the Savvy Premed think this conventional advice falls short because:

  1. This advice is too simple.  Tell a pre-med to volunteer, and she will dutifully answer the telephone at a hospital for hundreds of hours, not realizing that doing so is not helping her application to medical school at all.  It’s not enough to tell a pre-med to volunteer; they need to know why certain volunteer opportunities are better than others and how to get the most from them.
  2. This advice is impossible to do all at once.  One of the biggest challenges of being pre-med is knowing how to prioritize and managing stress.  Try to do too much of the checklist at once, and you will end up screwing up your chances of getting in.
  3. If you follow this checklist, you will end up looking just like everyone else applying to med school.  All of your hard work in trying to follow the usual path just gets you to average.  It helps your chances of getting in, but you risk - at the end of four long years - not getting in at all.

We created the Savvy Premed to try to find a better way to navigate the path to medical school.  This blog is written by Rob Humbracht and the advisors at Passport Admissions.  We’re not doctors, but we have worked with 150 (and counting) pre-meds through the ups and downs of applying to med school.  We’ve seen students who have achieved success despite low numbers, and we’ve seen many more get rejected despite stellar statistics.  

We’re writing this blog for two reasons, one selfish and one not: 1) we want to show that we know what we’re talking about (the selfish reason), and 2) we hope that the advice given by this blog in some small way helps the entire pre-med community become better doctors.  We hope that we can help address the mounting levels of stress and anxiety among pre-meds by giving honest but unconventional advice about becoming a doctor, advice that we’ve seen work for hundreds of students.

Some of what we say will follow convention, but much of it won’t.  Our blog isn’t right for every pre-med, but if you’re willing to be a little different from the rest of the flock, we hope you’ll find you’re at home here.  And when time comes to apply to med school, you will understand more about how the process works and what makes you stand out.


The Savvy Pre-med is proudly presented by Passport Admissions, San Diego based admissions consultants. Learn more about how the expert advisors at Passport can help you apply to medical school at PassportAdmissions.com


Ryan Kelly
My name is Ryan Kelly, and I've taught thousands of students to write better, first as an English professor and now as a medical school editor at Passport Admissions.
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