If your dream is to become a doctor, you’ll have to eventually get into medical school. Before that, however, you’ll need to get an undergraduate degree that will give you the things you need in order to be able to apply and get accepted into medical school. There are many things to consider when choosing an undergrad degree.
Choosing pre-med schools or pre-med programs.
You can choose to take a specific pre-med program or you could choose a different degree program that is not specifically “pre-med” but will help you get the prerequisites you’ll need before applying to medical school. You’ll be expected to have taken high level classes in English, science and math.
Choosing your school can be very important. Medical school is challenging, and getting into medical school can be competitive. Many who start on the path toward being a doctor don’t make it to the end of that path. You want to choose a school that provides the academic rigor, level of education and classes that medical schools want to see on their application.
One of the absolute best questions you can ask the academic advisor of a prospective school is: What percentages of graduates go on to medical school? This is really the most important thing to know. If it is a high percentage that means that a majority of students are getting what they need in order to be accepted into a medical school program. Lower percentages might indicate that something is missing, and that the pre-med program might not be as good as others. After all, what good is a pre-med program if a high percentage of students don’t move on to continue their education?
It’s likely not a surprise to you that medical schools require you to have taken several high level science classes. Classes like organic and inorganic chemistry, biology, physics, anatomy and physiology will need to be taken at advanced levels before you are considered for medical school. If you are in high school, start now! Take AP science classes. Get yourself ahead of the game and prepared for college. Medical school is very difficult. The more experience you have in the sciences by the time you get there, the better of you’ll be.
Environment and culture:
After you have narrowed your schools down to ones that offer great pre-med programs where a large percentage of attendees move on to medical school, it’s time to figure out which program is best for you. A lot of this has to do with the school itself. Do you like the school? Can you picture yourself there for four years? Do you feel comfortable and like the professors? Is it located in an area that you like? These questions are best answered during a college visit.
Make sure you understand the total cost to attend your top few schools. Total cost of attendance is more that tuition cost, it includes the living expenses as well as grants and scholarships that can help reduce your costs.