Being accepted into medical school is going to change your life forever, and that is why you need to start preparing yourself today. The steps that you take in the next few years could have a major impact on your career for many decades to come. Here are some tips and tricks that undergraduates can use to prepare themselves for the challenges ahead.
Study What You Love
In the past, pre-med students had to choose from four or five specific majors if they wanted to make it into medical school. According to the AAMC, that has all changed in the last few years. Many of the leading medical schools are now accepting applicants who have studied social sciences, humanities, and statistics. Your major is generally not as important as your MCAT scores, GPA, references, and extracurricular activities.
Double-Check All Pre-Med Requirements
No matter what major you decide on, you will still need to complete a handful of specific classes. Every medical school is slightly different, but most of them have at least a few similar course requirements for subjects such as biology, organic chemistry, sociology, and psychology. You will also need some experience in a clinic or hospital, and those volunteer programs are extremely difficult to get into in certain towns and communities.
Complete Your Course Requirements Early on
Some students wait until the last minute to sign up for their required courses, but that could hurt you in the long run. Completing those classes in your first two years will give you ample time to familiarize yourself with some of the most important concepts well before you take the MCAT. You will also have the option of exploring different medical specialties during your last two or three years of pre-med. You can then pick and choose from different medical schools that excel in those specialties.
Create a Long-Term MCAT Study Schedule
The AAMC claims that students should spend at least 300 hours studying for the MCAT, but there is no perfect schedule that works for everyone. Some students benefit from enrolling in MCAT prep courses like Altius MCAT Prep or someone similar while others work best in study groups. At the very least, you should begin taking a look at the material by the second semester of your sophomore year. Waiting any longer than that will only result in unnecessary stress.
As a pre-med student, you are laying the foundation for your career in the healthcare industry. The steps that you take in the coming months and years will improve your chances of landing the job of your dreams.