You know you’re ready to start applying to medical school. Awesome. Now what?
Here’s the first step: relax. While getting a degree in any medical field is tough, don’t stress too much over it yet. Applying is a complex process, so take it one step at a time. Let’s take a look at some pre-med requirements.
Short Term Goals
Before worrying about which specialty you’ll want to practice, setting your heart on a med school, or even studying your life away for the MCAT, focus on the pre-medical requirements: math, science, and physics. You’ll need a strong foundation in all the basic math and science elements (and were not just talking about the periodic table).
Foundation for Medicine
Although a lot of pre-med students choose undergraduate majors like Biology and Chemistry, don’t panic if you were only in Art History. The important thing is that you complete the pre-requisite classes. In general, these classes include: General Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Microbiology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and/or Biochemistry, as well as Physics, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, and/or Statistics. Be sure to check the exact course load required by each school because these can vary.
At AUA, we require General Biology (I&II), General Biology Lab (I&II), General Chemistry (I&II), General Chemistry Lab (I&II), Organic Chemistry (I&II), Organic Chemistry Lab (I&II), Physics I, Physics Lab I, English I, and Mathematics (either Calculus or Statistics). Any advanced courses in biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, genetics, and microbiology will definitely develop a strong application.
If you’ve gotten your prereqs taken care of, the most important thing you can do is maintain your grades throughout your undergrad years. A high GPA is crucial to landing a place in the medical school of your choice, and a competitive GPA will be around a 3.7-3.8.
In 2012, 636,309 students applied to medical schools in the United States. That only led to 19,517 matriculations. The numbers are daunting, and the application process won’t be easy, but like we said: take it one step at a time.