Many of our students are have dreams of careers in the medical field, and it can be daunting trying to figure out what programs each school offers. I have a relative who just went through this process at Emory University. Emory does not have a pre-med major, but they do have a pre-med “track” and an amazing Pre-health Mentoring Office to help make sure you know everything you need to know about getting into medical school. Here are a few tips I learned that I think would be really helpful to all of you pre-med hopefuls, no matter the university you plan to attend.
Pre-med is hard! Know what you’re getting into.
Shadow physicians as often as you can, volunteer in a hospital or clinic, and imagine yourself in the doctor’s shoes. It is important to get as much exposure as you can as early as possible, to make sure this is really what you want to spend the rest of your life doing.
You don’t have to be a science major to be pre-med.
Major in whatever you want! I have had friends major in English, Business, even Art History- that have all been successful pre-med students and gotten into medical school!
Start planning early.
Meet with an academic or pre-med advisor to make sure you know what pre-requisites you need to take and when. Consider whether you may want to go straight to medical school after college or take a gap year. Here is a helpful planning tool: https://aamc-orange.global.ssl.fastly.net/production/media/filer_public/ba/55/ba55a911-e61f-4cfa-acf3-79bda83fcc11/timelineapplication.pdf
Make the most of your summers.
Consider taking summer courses, volunteering, shadowing, or doing research in a lab. You will thank yourself later when you can take a lighter course load one semester because you took pre-requisites over the summer or when you are working on your applications and you can draw upon all of the diverse and interesting experiences you had volunteering or doing research.
Pay attention in class!
Not just to get good grades, but because you will need to know all of this information for the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test). Doing your best to understand the concepts as you encounter them in class will help you later as you prepare to take the MCAT.
College was the best time of my life and I hope it will bring you the same joy and excitement that it did for me. Remember, school is important, but it is not your whole life. Spend time with your friends, get involved in whatever you’re passionate in, and learn something new from every moment – the good and the bad. Dream big, challenge yourself, and know that it’s ok to ask for help when you need it!