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Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine: An International Journal
SJR: 0.123

ISSN Imprimir: 2151-805X
ISSN On-line: 2151-8068

Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine: An International Journal

DOI: 10.1615/EthicsBiologyEngMed.2020033455
pages 9-18

Ethical Mentoring of Slightly Above-Average College Students Wishing to Apply to Professional School−"That is the Question!"

Gregory W. Buck
Department of Life Sciences, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Tidal Hall 309D, 6300 Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78412-5800


This article describes the ethical concerns in advising pre-professional students whose grades and standardized professional entrance examination scores are slightly above average (roughly ~ 3.0 to 3.5/4.0 scale) but may not be adequate to allow the students a realistic chance of receiving an interview. Several authentic student case studies are described to ethically balance student desires without casting aspersions on student aspirations. Unfortunately, students spend time and resources in pursuit of a career that may not be realistically attained. The advisor, whether a faculty member or staff person, must advise while assuming the role of "dream destroyer" or the more idealistic "magical genie" in providing a truthful assessment of the student's strengths and weaknesses, personality, perseverance, motivation, and skill set. The goal is to tactfully balance these two opposing views into a narrative that allows students to recognize their capabilities and find a path that will allow them to pursue their hopes and their family's perceived dreams without the annihilation of their hopes. Therefore the research question becomes, "How does the advisor introduce alternate career pathways in science that may not be as equally fulfilling or sophisticated as the student wishes?"


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