You are the kind of person who wants to help people. Likely you are good in science. You have compassion for your fellow human beings and want to help make the world a better place. Due to this, and probably many other reasons, you may be considering medical school. The path to becoming a doctor is long and can be difficult, but for those who feel that this is their calling, it can be a very rewarding career. If you believe that this is your path, here are some things to consider.
Preparing for Medical School While in High School
If you’re a high school student, it’s not too early to start preparing for medical school. Taking AP courses, especially AP courses in math and science, can help you in the long run. Science classes like AP Chemistry and Biology can help you get into a great pre-med program. In addition, taking these classes as AP courses will expose you to topics you’ll be studying later and give you an idea of the types of classes you’ll need to take. It’s also a good litmus test; if you find out that you do not like studying Biology or Chemistry will help you discover if you truly have the passion for these subjects that will be needed to get you through medical school. High school is also a great time to talk with doctors or surgeons and ask them about their profession; get first-hand info on what it is like to be a doctor.
Many Pre-Med Students Do Not Move on to Medical School
You’ve probably heard this statistic before. Many who begin a pre-med program do not become doctors. There are several reasons for this. Sometimes the pre-med courses are just too rigorous for a student. Other times, just like with many other college majors, students get part of the way through their pre-med program and decide to change their major. There is nothing wrong with this. Medical school is not for everyone, and it’s okay if it turns out that it is not for you. The best thing for you to do is to choose a pre-med program at a school that offers a variety of other good degree programs.
What to Study in College
A typical pre-med degree program will include a lot of science, but there will be other classes too. You’ll take Chemistry (inorganic, organic and biochemistry), Physics, Biology, English, physics, calculus, and possibly statistics.
Getting Accepted to a Medical School
The first step to being accepted to medical school is to understand the prerequisites required by various schools. Sometimes they are different. So, you should start researching medical schools as a freshman in college. This way you can be certain that you will have taken the required classes for the schools that interest you. Next is to prepare for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Typically, you take the MCAT during your senior year in college – or the year before you plan on starting medical school. Most medical schools have a minimum test score that you must get in order to be accepted. Knowing this score, practicing and studying for the test are key elements to getting into your preferred school.
Medical School and Residency
Typically, you will spend your first two years of medical school studying science. You’ll learn medical concepts. You’ll learn more biology and anatomy, as well as study diseases and various conditions. During the last two years, you’ll get some hands-on experience with patients.
Often during your third year in medical school, you will have what you need in order to choose your specialty. You will have worked several clinicals and actually seen and helped patients. During your final year in medical school, you’ll start applying for residency programs relating to your specialty.