This is the first post in a series about combined undergraduate and medical programs.
If so, you are like thousands of high school students as they begin their college search each year. Medicine is one of the relatively few careers that high school students have had direct exposure to. For some students, a parent or a sibling practices medicine, but for almost all students applying to college, they have been to the doctor.
For a student who has met with academic success, has an interest in science and a desire to help others, medicine seems like a natural fit. As you talk about it with others, the path seems more and more appropriate. It’s an easy answer to one of the tough questions that adults ask during this process. “What are you going to major in,” they ask. Your reply is simple and met with satisfaction, “I’m going to be pre-med.”
At many colleges, pre-med is not a major. It is a series of courses that students must take in order to sit for the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) and apply for medical school. Many of these classes dovetail with university requirements for a biology-related major, but at this point, you need not major in science to be a successful applicant to medical school. (The American Association of Medical Colleges is planning to announce changes to the MCAT in November 2011, which will affect students beginning in 2015, which may change the required coursework.)
If you are considering a pre-med path through college, your opportunities to explore start in high school. Spend time shadowing a physician. Gain bench research experience. Enroll in demanding science courses in your high school. Participate in health-related volunteer work. Each of these activities will further enhance your profile in the future and help you to understand and articulate your own desire to become a physician.