Blogside Manner: Mythbusters, PLME Edition

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Hello! I’m Lulu, a member of the PLME class of 2018/2022, and I am the writer for Blogside Manner. In this column, I will talk about the ins and outs of PLME life at Brown and, of course, the dreaded application process. Whether or not you decide to ultimately apply for PLME, I hope to help provide you with a better sense of what Brown is all about!

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve met a variety of people, both undergraduates and aspiring freshmen, who seem to be somewhat mistaken about many things PLME. I know I’ve already posted about what the program is, but today I’d like to talk about some of the more common misnomers I’ve encountered to help all of you have a better sense of whether this program is right for you.

  1. PLME is binding.

This may be one of the most common things I’ve heard from my peers that are premed but didn’t apply to the PLME program: “I thought PLME was binding, so I didn’t apply.” I am here to say that this conception is a complete myth and that PLME is not binding at all!

You can apply to other medical schools all you want as a PLME. The catch is that you’ll have to take the MCAT, fill out all of the applications, and do interviews with the rest of the premeds. The more important catch is that you also lose your spot in the Alpert Medical School. However, no one will stop you from trying to apply out, so if you come here as a PLME but end up disliking Brown or Providence, you are not bound to stay here.

In addition to just applying out, you can also drop out of the medical track completely. One of the stories that Dean Ip likes to tell is how a former PLME discovered that he really liked economics and went on to become a businessman, and how everyone in the PLME advising cheered for him when he ultimately told them he would not continue to medical school. PLME is really not binding to any extent, and no one will judge you if you decide to change paths.

  1. PLME has no requirements.

I touched on this in my first post, but I’ve been asked about this by a number of people, so I’ll talk about this in more detail. Yes, we unfortunately have requirements; the med school is not going to let us in completely unprepared. We just have different requirements than the premedical track at Brown. The most famous example is that we only have to take one semester of organic chemistry versus the two that premeds are required to take. Besides that, we also need two semesters of physics, three semesters of biology with a minimum of a B in each class, and at least one semester in calculus.

To be honest, we have more or less the same number of requirements as a normal premed (we actually need more biology, though AP credit can mitigate that difference). We just don’t have the year of English that many of the highly ranked medical schools (Harvard, WashU, etc.) want to see, and we don’t have to take a social science or humanities course (this is a new requirement for MCAT 2015).

  1. All PLMEs have amazing standardized test scores and amazing extracurricular activities.

This misnomer is only partially a myth; there are plenty of PLMEs that do have amazing CVs. However, what I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t avoid applying just because you don’t think you are “good enough.” There are PLMEs with not so great SAT scores and others with perfect ones. There are PLMEs that did everything under the sun, and there are PLMEs that did only the few things that they enjoyed. The common denominator is that all PLMEs have a lot of passion for medicine, so if you share this passion, apply!

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Email me at can_cao@brown.edu or comment below! I’ll make sure to respond as soon as I can!

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