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Dear premedical students:

Welcome to Swarthmore!

I realize that college life in 2020-21is likely not what you anticipated and worked so hard for. But I know that we can all work together to make the best of the situation. The staff here is eager to welcome and support you, your professors have been working hard and creatively to adapt their courses to hybrid or remote formats, and your fellow Swatties are awesome, whether here on campus or at a distance.

Please be sure to carefully read the Guide to Premedical Studies and the FAQs on Swarthmore's premedical website. There are also Dental and Veterinary Medicine guides, for those interested in those fields. If you are considering going into the health professions, please be sure that we have your name and email, as we frequently send out information on programs, internships, resources, and requirements.

Some things I urge you to think about:

  • The lab science courses are very challenging here. While students are typically eager to jump in and make progress completing all those premed requirements, I urge you to consult with your advisor as to whether, given your own strengths and weaknesses and high school preparation, it would be best for you to start off with one lab science course or two, particularly in a hybrid format. Some students do well with two; others are better served doing one. So be sure to discuss this with your advisor.
  • You may be concerned about whether medical schools will accept premedical requirements taken in an on-line format, particularly if they include labs, While we don't have a full accounting of every medical school on this, given that nearly every college will be operating at least partially remotely, I don't believe it will be a problem. I suspect every 2020-21 transcript across the US will not be "business as usual." So if you are planning to take premedical requirements this fall, you should go ahead and do so.
  • You will see in our publications that we urge premedical students to be active in service activities, particularly in a medical setting. For obvious reasons, health care institutions have suspended all volunteer and shadowing activities for now, limiting access only to essential personnel, I am confident these opportunities will resume after the pandemic is abated and it is safe to do so. For now, you can involve yourself in some of the on-line service activities offered through the Lang Center,like Dare to Soar tutoring in Chester.
  • Finally, as students who are pursuing a health profession,l expect you to be leaders in promoting good health within the Swarthmore community. That means adhering strictly to the requirements you agreed to in the Garnet Pledge. This community has many people, including your fellow students, professors, essential workers, and others, who are vulnerable to having a terrible outcome if they contract COVIDl9. Please be mindful of them, and comply with the masking, social distancing, testing, stay-on-campus and all the other requirements. Embrace the opportunity to serve as a role model on this.

Jennifer Lenway, the Health Sciences / Pre-law Administrative Assistant, and I stand ready to help and support you in any way we can. We look forward to getting to know you. Sadly, this fall and maybe longer, we won't be in our offices on the first floor of Parrish, with the doors open for you to just drop in on your way to the mailroom. But we are very available over email, and happy to set up Zoom appointments. So please don't hesitate to be in touch.

Best Wishes,
Gigi Simone, PhD
Health Sciences Advisor