3 Tips for Pre-Meds Applying to Medical School
Have you started your journey to medical school yet? Applying to medical school is one step to achieving your childhood dreams. And while it might seem like a smooth process to many, there are various requirements that you need to meet before you secure a place in your preferred school. All these require time, and you may as well know how scarce this resource becomes when you have other things to do. It is very easy for pre-meds to feel overstretched by the application process.
However, starting the process during undergrad years and keeping your eyes on the prize are sure ways to maintain high performance at school. Here are three tips for pre-meds applying to medical school.
Start the Process During Undergrad
Some of the medical school admission requirements, such as letters of recommendation, require adequate time to gather. Pre-meds must establish relationships with respectable individuals who can vouch for them by writing a persuasive letter of recommendation. Any pre-med must have enough time to write and redefine a personal statement to accompany the application letter.
While continuing with undergrad studies, it is important to understand the medical school requirements and location of the schools to which you will apply. This can guide your selection of subject majors whose performance will count in your GPA for medical school. Most colleges will require that successful applicants have completed at least one year of laboratory physics, general biology, inorganic chemistry with lab, psychology, sociology, or calculus, or a combination of these.
Besides academics, prospective medical students must also willingly participate in extracurricular activities. Medical schools only accept all-around students who have a passion for and commitment to serve the community and an inner drive to learn—such as volunteering to work in a hospital, a medical research laboratory, or securing an internship in a clinical setting. However, your extracurricular activities must also depict your authenticity and passion for personal goals.
Prepare for the MCAT and Take It Early
The medical college admission test (MCAT) is a standardized, multiple-choice, computer-based exam that prospective medical students are expected to take for admission to medical schools in the USA and Canada. It is a standard measure for comparing the qualifications and preparedness of applicants.
The MCAT compares students on a standard scale regardless of social or academic background. MCAT test results speak a mouthful about an applicant’s personality and are extensively scrutinized by medical schools. A higher MCAT score will impact your application positively.
The MCAT is a series of questions that aim to test an applicant’s knowledge of the major subjects they will likely encounter in medical school. Besides content knowledge, applicants must apply the knowledge appropriately, possess critical analysis skills, and apply reasoning to solutions.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for the MCAT:
- Understand that subjects are not tested independently.
- The test is more about critical analysis and reasoning to achieve optimum results.
- It is not about content mastery, but rather application.
Pre-meds who are well prepared for the MCAT should check the 2020 MCAT test dates to ensure they are not left out of this year’s schedule.
Do Your Research Before You Apply
All medical schools are not the same. They are guided by different values, principles, and missions. As such, you will need to research the potential schools to which you will be applying. Comprehensive research should cater to environment factors, costs, and other issues related to your academic life. Also, you must take into account the availability of your preferred specialty for the final year of your studies in the potential school.
Although the cost is a determining factor in the school you apply for, there are other important factors that you should consider. For example, you should find schools where you will experience an excellent learning environment—a place where you will feel wanted and welcome.
Additionally, it is important to know that different medical schools have varied admissions processes, some of which require you to attend several interviews and make various submissions before you are accepted.
Applying for admission to a medical school is a journey that can only be accomplished by passionate individuals. Though quite demanding, it can still be a straightforward adventure with the right mindset and adequate preparation. Pre-meds applying to medical schools should start the process during the undergrad years, prepare for the MCAT adequately, and only take the test when sufficiently ready. All medical schools are not the same, and personal research is an indispensable tool in choosing between prospective schools.