ExecutiveChronicles.com | Do you have aspirations of becoming a doctor? If you do, then there are several things you need to know about getting into medical school.
Classes to Take During Undergrad
The fundamental elements for pre-med education focus on an emphasis in laboratory sciences as well as advanced mathematical approaches. One year of college biology with laboratory, which provides a framework for the building blocks of medical science, is a crucial foundation to succeed in the field. General (or inorganic) chemistry with a laboratory for one year provides a strong basis for understanding how different medications work.
For mathematics, completing six to eight credits of Calculus or Statistics is ideal. Measuring as it relates to proper medicine dosage is a daily responsibility of physicians and other health professionals. Additionally, general Physics with a laboratory for one year will introduce key medical concepts.
Take the MCAT
The Medical College Admission Test is a computer-based standardized exam required for all med-school applicants. It tests physical and biological sciences, as well as verbal reasoning. The exam consists of four sections and takes about eight hours to complete.
Remember to ask your academic advisor what are the MCAT changes. In 2015, the AAMC added a new section to test applicants’ sociological, biological, and psychological influences on behavior and social interests. Another detail in knowing what the MCAT changes are includes the removal of the writing sample, so there is no longer an essay requirement.
Make Your Undergrad Career Count
You will need, at a minimum, a Baccalaureate Diploma with a 3.5 GPA, preferably. Optimally, you want to show medical schools you are a well-rounded student. Beyond math and science, there should be coursework in English, which ideally improves critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. Psychology and Sociology courses will be beneficial for the new MCAT sections. Foreign language courses can broaden career opportunities and show your desire to expand your horizons.
Apply to Medical School
Schools typically admit on a rolling basis, which essentially means spaces are offered until they are filled. In addition to your MCAT scores, you will need to submit official college transcripts and a personal statement. Make your personal statement shine. It can be an opportunity to share an experience that challenged or changed your perspective about medicine. Tell the recruiters about your motivation to have a career in medicine, or speak about a mentor or someone who inspired you.
There are two possible outcomes as a result of your application: rejection or a secondary application. The secondary application will usually ask for essays on a variety of topics. If the secondary application is accepted, the next step is the interview, which is another opportunity to stand out. Plan to submit your application early, allowing sufficient time between stages to receive a favorable decision and ensure you have all the required components.
Make Your Application Stand Out
Recruiters see a countless number of applications. One unique way to make your application exceptional is the inclusion of a research project. Find a faculty member whose research interests you, and present it — why it’s important to you, what you understand about the subject, why you’re researching this in particular.
Consider volunteer experience, health care experience, and physician shadowing. Show that you are willing and capable of work that is hard enough to accomplish an important goal. Communicate that you are committed to the medical profession in your extracurricular activities.
Becoming a doctor is a long and tedious process. Before you even apply to medical school, you will need to prepare for a career in medicine starting in undergrad.