How can I get into med school? What even is pre-med and how does it help me? These are just a few of the wide variety of questions many aspiring doctors have had to ask themselves. In this post, I’ll discuss a few things that high school students who are thinking of pursuing pre-med in the future should consider as they are applying to college.
To start with, let’s clear up a common misconception. Most students seem to think that they must major in something related to STEM in order to be accepted into med school, but this is simply not true. Students can major in anything (literally anything, even music!) and still be able to apply for med school as long as they have completed certain classes in college with a minimum GPA (dependent on the med school) and take the MCAT. Each med school has their own set of required classes, but here are the most common set of prerequisites:
1 math course (calculus and/or statistics)
2 physics courses with lab
2 biology courses with lab
2 general chemistry courses with lab
1-2 organic chemistry courses with lab
1 biochemistry course
1-2 humanities course(s)
Sometimes social or behavioral science courses
When taking these courses, make sure you check the AP credit policy for the med schools you intend on applying to. Some med schools may not accept AP credits while others may accept it but would prefer it if you took a college class instead.
Another misconception is that pre-med is a major you must apply for. Although there are a few colleges with special pre-med programs, more often than not, pre-med is not a major. All you need to do is email the pre-professional advising office at your university and indicate your interest in their pre-med track. Once this is done, students should be able to work with a pre-med advising office and create a plan to go to med school. This plan will help students complete the courses discussed above and may help students to find meaningful activities to prepare for a career in medicine (ex. internships, research positions, shadowing opportunities, etc.). At most colleges, pre-med tracks are more of a support system than a formal program.
One last thing to think about is majoring in STEM. Although not required, it may be beneficial as med school prerequisites and STEM majors have a lot of overlapping coursework. Taking courses required for a STEM major may also help you better prepare for the MCAT. This is definitely a plus because a good performance on the MCAT is a must have for getting into medical school.
If you have further questions about applying as a high school student with an interest in pursuing medicine, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!