You are a member of your school’s health professions club, people have been telling you for years what a good doctor you would make, and you have an interest in leading a life of service.
You are a pre-med.
Now that you are getting closer to graduation and are starting to decide on what college would be good for you, it’s important to start planning ahead. The pre-med track is very tough, I won’t lie to you. In order to truly be a competitive applicant for medical school, you will need to remain very busy throughout your undergraduate career.
As a current Junior going through the pre-med track, I have compiled a short list here of the advice I can give to the high school student interested in medicine:
Maintain a good GPA
One of the most important pieces of advice I can give to an aspiring pre-med is to make sure that don’t neglect your GPA. Classes in college will be difficult, but the worst part of it is that you aren’t trying to pass the class- you are trying to ace it. A’s will be your best friends in college. You should aim to keep a GPA of at least 3.6 while in college, preferably a 3.8 if you want to be safe. It will be important to dedicate adequate amounts of studying time throughout the week for all of your classes to ensure that you keep up your grade.
Good grades are important, but they shouldn’t be your sole aim. Medical schools will not take an uninvolved student who has a 4.0. Plan early. As a first year student in college, join several clubs that peak your interest. Get involved in them and narrow down a list of 2 or 3 that you really enjoy working in. DO NOT join several organizations because they will look good on your application. Make sure you are passionate about the club. When you finally get that coveted interview spot at a top medical school, you want to have plenty of things to talk about. Talking about a service organization that you are half-interested in will not work and the interviewer will be able to see straight through the extent of your participation.
Do something with your summers
Start looking at interesting internships pertaining to your area of study. As a pre-med, we aren’t limited to choosing only science majors in the undergrad level. Medical schools will take any major, as long as they have taken the basic pre-med requirements. Because of this, you should discover as much about your field of study as you can during your next four year. Doing this shows intellectual curiosity, which is a very desirable trait in an applicant. Medical schools also like to see unique experiences, so that potential summer study abroad program spent in rural Spain will actually make you a more well-rounded candidate. Apply to programs that interest you.
Get to know your professors
It’s easy to melt into the crowd of your 300 person biology course. When it comes time to ask for a recommendation letter, however, you may find yourself struggling to ask a professor who couldn’t recognize your face. Make an effort to get to know your professor and to show them that you are interested in their course. Go to their office hours regularly and even invite them to coffee if you are feeling friendly. Most professors are actually very eager to interact with their students.
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