To a certain extent, it is true that you have to be brainy to get into a medical school. The preparation for medical school begins a long time before you can apply for it. This is why you have to make a decision way in advance about wanting to study medicine and becoming a doctor. Perhaps it is not as difficult as it sounds, but you have to be prepared and fulfill certain prerequisites beforehand if you want to get into a medical school of your choice.
The additional requirements may differ among schools. You will have to do some specific courses and give a set of examinations before you can gain admission into a college of your choice. You don't have to be a science geek to study medicine. You in fact, should be someone who can embrace various subjects and emerge as an all-rounder if you wish to get into one of the best medical schools in the country.
Most often, medical schools require you to complete coursework in the following subjects for a minimum of one year:
- General Biology
- Physics (with lab work)
- Inorganic (General) Chemistry (with lab work)
- Organic Chemistry (with lab work)
These are what are known as pre-med requirements to perform any of the different types of medical jobs. While in college, you may take these courses one at a time so that you are not overwhelmed by the demands of the coursework. As mentioned earlier, some colleges require you to embrace other subjects in your coursework as well, so having a background solely in science may not always prove helpful. For instance, universities like John Hopkins require you to have taken coursework in the humanities and social sciences too. As such, it is advisable to have a mix of subjects while in college, so as to fulfill the requirements of different medical schools.
Though there may be a slight difference in the prerequisites for medical schools around the country, fulfilling certain basics is essential while in college. For one, you have to maintain good grades through college. It is very essential for you to have a good GPA to be able to get into any medical school, more so if you want to get into one of the best ones. A GPA that ranges between 3.5 - 4.0 is what most schools demand.
All schools will require your GPA in science as well as non-science courses, along with your overall GPA through college. If you fail to perform well in one of the required courses to get into medical school, it is advisable to take the course again to improve your grades. However, it always pays to maintain good grades throughout as it eases the admission process into a good medical college.
Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
Apart from the coursework and the required GPA, those interested in pursuing medicine as a career have to give the MCAT and attain a score that will qualify as a good score for admission into a medical school. The MCAT is a standardized multiple choice test that is administered by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC). Since it is a standardized test, it enables a fair comparison among different students who have taken the test, and determines the eligibility of a student into medical school.
However, the MCAT score is considered after taking a look at the coursework completed, and the GPA achieved through college. Preparing for the MCAT should begin at least 6 months beforehand if you want to fare well in it.
Most colleges also require you to provide reference letters along with your application for admission and other documents. These reference letters should be obtained ideally from professors and college personnel whom you have had a significant amount of interaction with during your course. These individuals should also be able to express themselves well so that they may write letters that will definitely get you into your dream college of medicine.
It is always recommended to have some kind of experience in health care apart from fulfilling these prerequisites. This experience may be in any of the different fields of medicine. As a student in college, or a pre-med student, being active in health care activities will only solidify your reason to pursue medicine as a career, and ensure that you will take your education and career path seriously.
Finally, you should find out the requirements of the medical school you want to apply to, so that you can fulfill anything they require in addition to the basic requirements, beforehand. Apply to as many schools as you want to, and don't be afraid to apply to your dream school. Remember, as long as you work hard and are capable, even the best medical schools in the world will not be able to reject your application for admission.