December 14, 2015

How to Pick Your Workshops at Upcoming Pre-Health Conferences

Rob Humbracht

You’re excited!  You’ve got a ticket to the pre-health conference coming up, and you want to make the most out of your workshop schedule.  Unfortunately, there’s more workshops than you can possibly attend, so you’re forced to prioritize.  How should you figure out what to see and what to skip?

The presenter matters as much as the presentation.  Type the name of the presenter into Youtube to see if you can find a clip of the person presenting.  Is their previous presentation interesting?  Do they seem to be saying things you already know, or are they giving information that seems different and interesting?  By screening your presenters, you can:

  1. Eliminate the snoozers (the presenters who will bore you to death)
  2. Find diamonds in the rough (the presenters who will be great)
  3. Find presentations that have already been taped and presented in full online.  Many of these presentations have already been videotaped, so you at least have the option of watching it on Youtube instead of spending valuable time at the conference.

No matter how well you screen your workshops, there are bound to be duds.  If you find yourself at a bad workshop, use the time to get something else done.  Then, you can be on to the next one to learn something more meaningful.

Skip the keynote speakers. Most of the keynote speakers give speeches that are too general to give much practical advice to pre-meds.  This isn’t true of everyone, obviously, but if you’re trying to pick and choose how to spend your valuable time, you can probably skip out on the big names.

Give yourself breaks between sessions.  Don’t cram in every possible workshop.  Give yourself time to chat with the presenter after a presentation, to explore some of the tables at the fair, and to talk with other pre-meds at the fair.

Decide in advance which workshops you want to attend.  Many pre-health fairs make you do this anyway, but it’s important to analyze what kinds of areas you’d like to learn more about.  This will help make sure that you don’t see repetitive sessions at the conference and can make sure you arrive to each session on time (many sessions fill up quickly).

Go to one workshop that you never would have considered going to.  Medicine is a huge field, and conferences like this are a great way to explore a completely different side of medicine.  Even if you’re 100% dedicated to becoming a doctor, it can be great to explore what other pre-health fields (PA, nursing, etc) offer just so that you can be that much more clear about the role of doctors in the medical team.

Hopefully this advice will allow you to make the most of your upcoming conferences. Go get ‘em!

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