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What is Pre-Med?

Becoming a healthcare member takes students on a lengthy journey that involves years of effort, commitment, and study. Although there are many routes to becoming a healthcare member, they all pass through medical school. Therefore, figuring out med school requirements is a must. And that’s where pre-med comes in.

Pre-medicine, often shortened to “pre-med,” refers to a series of undergraduate courses and extracurricular activities designed to prepare students for medical school.

Understanding Pre-Med

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As previously mentioned, pre-med is not a major but a set of core classes that students complete as part of their application to medical school. It allows students to major in any subject they love while pursuing a medical career. 

Pre-med students often choose science-related majors, such as biochemistry, chemistry, or biology, because they overlap with medical school requirements.

How long is pre-med?

The pre-med track typically lasts four years of undergraduate study leading to medical school. This period is crucial for meeting the prerequisites and preparing for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), a significant hurdle for pre-med students. 

The journey is challenging, requiring a solid foundation in science, a high GPA, and extensive preparation for the MCAT. However, it is also rewarding for those passionate about medicine, offering a pathway to a fulfilling career in healthcare.

Is pre-med hard?

Pre-med students have a rigorous academic schedule, focusing on courses like biology, chemistry, physics, and English, often with lab components. The track is competitive, with high academic standards and a demanding workload, especially in the final years leading up to the MCAT and med school applications. 

Despite the challenges, many students successfully navigate the pre-med track, gaining valuable experience and preparing for a medical career. 

Pre-Med Requirements and Majors

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Prerequisites for pre-med majors

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) outlines the prerequisite courses for pre-med majors, which include:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry (including organic chemistry)
  • Physics
  • English

Additional requirements may vary by medical school, including biochemistry, social sciences, and humanities electives. 

Popular pre-med majors and their benefits

Several majors are popular among pre-med students due to their alignment with medical school prerequisites, including but not limited to:

Biology

  • Why It’s a Good Choice: Biology majors cover essential topics like molecular biology, immunology, and microbiology. The subject provides a solid foundation for understanding how diseases are diagnosed and treated, and this major is directly relevant to medical practice and research.

Biochemistry

  • Why It’s a Good Choice: Biochemistry majors delve into biotechnology and genetics, offering insights into drugs’ chemical properties and interactions with the body. This knowledge is crucial for understanding pharmacology and genetic disorders.

Chemistry

  • Why It’s a Good Choice: Chemistry majors are well-prepared for the MCAT, covering topics that are heavily tested in the exam. This major is essential for understanding the chemical basis of drugs and diseases. 

Neuroscience

  • Why It’s a Good Choice: Neuroscience majors study the nervous system, providing a deep understanding of neurological disorders and treatments. This makes neuroscience particularly relevant for students interested in neurology or psychiatry.

Psychology

  • Why It’s a Good Choice: Psychology majors gain insights into human behavior and mental health, which are crucial for understanding patient care and mental health issues.

Why Should You Consider a Career in Healthcare?

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A career in healthcare offers numerous benefits and opportunities beyond the rapidly growing demand for healthcare workers. Here are the main reasons to consider a career in this field:

Rapidly growing industry

The healthcare industry constantly seeks skilled workers from all over the world. According to a report by the World Health Organization, there may be a shortage of 10 million healthcare workers by 2030. As the industry grows, healthcare providers demand staff in order to ensure the best possible care for their clients and patients.

Career growth and advancement

The healthcare sector offers many career paths, from direct patient care to management and administration. With continuous learning and professional development, healthcare professionals can advance their careers and specialize in areas of interest. The industry’s focus on constant improvement and quality assurance provides ample opportunities for growth and advancement.

Financial stability and job security

Despite the challenges, the healthcare industry remains a stable sector with job security. Healthcare organizations invest in technology and human resources to improve services and reduce costs, ensuring the industry’s sustainability. This investment is pivotal in ensuring the continued delivery of essential healthcare services, providing financial stability and job security for healthcare professionals.

Impact on society

Working in healthcare allows professionals to directly impact people’s lives, improving their health and well-being. This sense of purpose and the ability to contribute to society’s health and well-being can be highly rewarding.

Going Beyond Academics 

two people standing over the words passion led us here

Med schools look at more than academic records when they decide who gets accepted to MD programs. Successful applicants often have other kinds of experience that demonstrates their commitment and dedication to the study of medicine. 

Med school admissions committees value a good MCAT score and a high GPA, and they will examine your transcript to make sure you fulfilled the necessary pre-med requirements, but it’s important to remember that the medical school admissions process evaluates candidates holistically.

Set Yourself Apart from Other Pre-Med Majors

Medical school admissions committees field many applications every semester, and they can easily see through a padded application. They want students who excel in more than their pre-med courses. 

Schools prefer students who stand out in their academic and extracurricular endeavors outside of the field of medicine. For pre-meds, finding volunteer work in an area of genuine interest is key to distinguishing yourself from other pre-med majors because your passion and dedication will shine through.

Health-Related Extracurriculars

Aside from pre-requisite course requirements, pre-meds should also have some sort of experience in a medical setting. Whether through volunteer work or a structured program, any experience you can gain in a medical setting will help your case with admissions committee members.

Letters of Recommendation

Medical school applicants usually need more than one letter of recommendation. Quite often, applicants are expected to have two letters from professors of their science courses and one from a non-science course.   

American University of Antigua (AUA) – College of Medicine

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For aspiring students in the United States and Canada, choosing a Caribbean medical school is an excellent path to becoming a doctor. 

The manageable tuition fees and cost of living in the Caribbean removes the economic barrier to studying medicine, and the abundance of direct flights from many North American cities make it easy to travel in between semesters and during holidays. 

With its excellent accreditation status, American University of Antigua medical graduates are eligible for residency, licensure and clinical rotations throughout India, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada as soon as they pass their necessary licensure exams.

Prerequisites

The AUA’s College of Medicine requires a minimum of 90 credit hours of college courses, including certain courses in biology, chemistry, physics, math and English, and strongly recommends that applicants earn a degree from an accredited undergraduate institution before applying.

To learn more about AUA’s prerequisites, click here.

Pre-Med Program

Through an articulation agreement with the American International College of Arts and Sciences – Antigua (AICASA), students who complete a pre-med program at AICASA are guaranteed acceptance into AUA College of Medicine. 

You can expect varied pre-med coursework, such as FM1/IM1 preliminary clinical training, and many types of clerkships. Browse our Pre-med program and other academic opportunities to gain an advantage in the medical field.

American International College of Arts and Sciences (AICASA) – Antigua 

AICASA believes that anyone with the talent, drive, and passion to be a qualified medical practitioner should be allowed the opportunity to realize their dream. 

The college provides a variety of undergraduate courses with an emphasis on pre-med and health science majors. All of which lead to an opportunity to earn an Associate of Science (AS) degree in Health Sciences and preferential admission status to an MD degree conferred by AUA College of Medicine. Students who are currently in the process of completing their high school studies can apply at AICASA to earn an AS in Health Sciences. 

Pre-med is a pathway that prepares students for medical school and opens doors to various healthcare professions. For success, it is crucial to choose a major that aligns with pre-med goals and seek guidance from pre-health advisors.

To learn more about this pre-med track to the AUA School of Medicine, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 

What is the process for getting into medical school?

The process involves completing prerequisite coursework, taking the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), and applying to medical schools. Each medical school has its own application process and requirements, so it’s crucial to prepare accordingly. 

Can people without a pre-med major still get into medical school?

Yes, medical schools consider applicants from various academic backgrounds as long as they have completed all prerequisite coursework.

What is the importance of the MCAT in getting into medical school?

The MCAT is a critical component of the medical school application process. It assesses your knowledge and skills in the sciences, which are essential for success in medical school and beyond.

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