Understanding the requirements of medical schools is crucial when planning your college courses. As a pre-medical student, you know that you have to work harder than all of your university peers, except, perhaps, engineering students. In addition to meeting the notoriously difficult medical school prerequisites, often referred to as “weeding classes,” you must pursue multi-year extracurricular activities, such as research, medical monitoring, clinical volunteering, and community service. Beyond that, you should develop close relationships with teachers and mentors to eventually get strong letters of recommendation for medical school.
In addition, you have to get good results in several exams, such as the dreaded MCAT and the new Casper, as well as write incredible application essays. Navigating the various requirements of medical schools can be a daunting task. Every school has its own set of expectations and criteria for admission. It is important to understand what is expected of you in order to be eligible for admission into a medical school.
This guide will provide an overview of the undergraduate requirements for medical school and how to best prepare for them. The first requirement for medical school is that you must have a four-year degree from an accredited college or university. It does not matter if your degree is a Bachelor of Arts (B. A.) or any other type of degree.
You must also complete your four-year degree before enrolling in medical school. This means that you can apply to medical school before completing your degree but you cannot go straight from undergraduate into medical school without having completed your degree first. Some students choose to pursue graduate degrees before enrolling in medical school such as a Master of Public Health (MPH) or a Special Master's program (SMP). However, no advanced degrees are required for admission into medical school.
The most confusing part of the medical school requirements are the prerequisites which vary from school to school. For example, two years of chemistry through organic chemistry is often listed as a requirement for most medical schools but this list does not provide enough detail as it is vague and incomplete. Most medical schools will require more than this including more specific courses. If you complete the courses listed above then you will meet the requirements of all medical schools.
It is also recommended that you take courses in art, humanities, languages, literature and social sciences although there are no specific guidelines to follow. You do not need to take courses in all of these areas but it is beneficial to take courses in some of them. As with your degree, you must complete your medical school prerequisites before enrolling in medical school. It is important to note that AP credits may not meet the requirements of certain medical schools even if they are accepted by your undergraduate institution.
Therefore it is important to research the websites of the schools that interest you most so that you do not miss any courses during the application cycle. When it comes to preparing for medical school it is important to pay close attention to your schedule. The premedical path is extremely challenging and it is important to balance your schedule between difficult subjects and easier humanities or arts courses so that you can focus more on the material that you are likely to struggle with. Some schools even go so far as to prevent students from taking too many difficult courses at once.
It is also important to plan ahead for when you will take the MCAT exam which should be taken between the second and third year after completing certain courses followed by months of study dedicated to the MCAT. Your pre-medical specialty does not matter when it comes to medical school admissions as long as you complete all the prerequisites for medical school. Most colleges and universities do not offer a separate pre-medical specialization therefore it is not expected or required. There is no such thing as the best pre-medicine specialty; all else being equal a major in English with an overall GPA of 3.8 and a GPA in science of 3.7 will be just as competitive for an applicant as a major in biochemistry with the same statistics.
Therefore it is important to prioritize specialization in an area of interest one in which you feel you could get good results.