You might be surprised to know that you can be a “pre-med” student without actually being enrolled in a pre-med program. You can also major in just about anything as long as you take enough courses to build a strong background in the biological sciences.
Best degrees for med school
Technically, you can get into med school with any undergraduate degree, but you will need a number of prerequisite classes in order to qualify to even apply to med school. These classes are mentioned below if you don’t go the traditional pre-med route, but there are degrees that will specifically prepare you for med school. The most popular majors for undergraduates going to med school include:
● Physical sciences, like chemistry and physics
● Social sciences, like sociology and psychology
Believe it or not, not every med school applicant is a biology major, many students in med school come from a wide range of degrees
The reason for this is that the MCAT requires you to have a lot of different skills, including logical reasoning, reading comprehension, and medical knowledge. These skills can naturally come from many different places.
Find out what the requirements are for med school
The specific prerequisite requirements for med school will vary from school to school. Typically, the courses that you will have to have taken in your undergraduate degree will be:
● Biology with a lab
● Chemistry and Organic Chemistry with lab
● A number of credits and varying coursework in the humanities and behavioral sciences
● Physics with lab
● Calculus and/or Statistics
You can take actually these classes with any degree, for example you could major in English and minor in pre-med. You’ll just have to be sure that the classes you take are required for the med school you want to attend. If med school is the end game, then call around and look online at a few med schools you want to attend to see what their specific requirements are.
You will likely also need a number of other things in order to be accepted into med school, including:
● Bachelors of Science or a Bachelors of Arts
● A qualifying MCAT score
● Letters of Recommendation
● Personal Statement
● Computer literacy skills
● Communication skills
● Leadership skills
These are all things you want to start thinking about as a freshman so that you are able to build relationships with your mentors and meet the requirements needed. These skills can be proven in a number of ways, for example volunteering, student government, sports, and academic clubs. There are many different types of medical doctors, so they want to see you are knowledgeable a field of study that matters to becoming a doctor.
Do well on the MCAT
You probably already know about the MCAT, which is good, but you probably don’t know how important it really is. Med school’s weight the MCAT’s importance on student applicants to a varying degree, but nonetheless it will be one of the many factors for which you are admitted. No later than your sophomore year in college should you be thinking about the MCAT and actively reading and studying MCAT materials.
When you first start out, take it easy and read a little bit once or twice a week so that you are constantly thinking about it throughout your college career. Once it gets closer to your senior year when you need to take the actual exam, that’s when you need to hunker down and really start to study. Be sure to check out articles online that are specifically about studying for the MCAT.
Focus on your grades and expanding your knowledge base
Though the MCAT is of great importance, even more so is your GPA and rigor of the classes you took in your undergrad. Med school admissions will look at each and every class you took in your undergrad, so don’t just try to float by with a bunch of easy classes and expect to get in. This doesn’t mean that you have to have a 4.0 in order to be admitted, but it does mean that you need to have a high enough GPA to prove you are a good enough candidate for their school.
If med school really is your goal and you really, truly want to get in when you are done with your undergrad, don’t skip out on classes; don’t party too much; don’t forego studying for a big exam because you’re unmotivated; and don’t ever take your mind off the prize. Many of your friends in college who aren’t going to med school might be partying and going out on weekends. That’s OK, let them. You can party after you’ve gotten an A.
This doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun, though. It is good to take a breather now and then to let your brain refresh and lower your stress levels. Don’t do this all the time, but if nothing is due and you’re caught up on your homework and reading, relax for a bit and have some fun. Working all the time won’t do you any good.