Check out our advice on how to succeed inside and outside the classroom to make your medical school dreams a reality!
Inside the Classroom
High school medical academies
Some high schools offer a medical academy. This is an elective program that allows students to earn their high school diploma and receive specialized coursework and training in the medical field. If your high school offers this, take advantage of it! Teachers in programs like these often come from medical backgrounds themselves. Your program may require experiential learning in which you volunteer or work part-time. This is a great way to gain exposure to a medical career and valuable hands-on experience.
What do I major in?
For admission into medical school, you are required to have earned a bachelor’s degree. Your major choice is up to you as long as you’ve taken the required prerequisites. Traditionally, students choose majors like Biology, Health Sciences, Biochemistry, and so on. These majors have certain prerequisite courses built into the curriculum and provide a strong foundation in the sciences. However, choosing something more unique like history, bioethics, or economics, your application to medical school will likely stand out amongst your peers.
Go to tutoring!
You want to be sure to earn high grades in your pre-med classes to be a competitive applicant for medical school. Pre-med classes are no joke, so knowing when you need to ask for help is important. Make it a priority to find the tutoring center, learn about their offerings, and schedule it into your normal routine.
Outside the Classroom
Gain hands-on experience
No matter where you are in your educational journey when you start to consider a career in medicine, gaining hands-on experience is a great first step! It will allow you to get “a day in the life” view of what your future could look like. Consider seeking the mentorship and guidance of your supervising doctors. Ask your mentors, “If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?”
Be sure to check out student organizations at your high school/college that pertain to the health field. This is a great opportunity to surround yourself with other students who have similar goals. Chances are, these students will also be in classes with you. There will also be students who may be ahead of you to provide valuable tips. Many student organizations also participate in medically related community service activities in the local community or even abroad. Medical schools want to see students who are entering the field of medicine from a genuine place of caring, and there’s no better way to demonstrate that than serving others.
Take advantage of specialized advising/testing resources for medical school bound students
Many colleges will have specialized advisors specifically for pre-med students. It’s recommended that you meet with them ASAP because they can make sure you are taking the proper prerequisite courses, connect you with shadowing opportunities, and be sure you’re taking full advantage of all available on-campus resources. You will also take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), so be sure to ask your advisor about any resources they may provide to help you prep for this test.
Explore other medical professions
There are many different members that serve on the patient care team. You may find through some of your hands-on experiences that there’s a certain medical profession that you’d like to pursue. Be open to this exploration to find your passion and the role that suits you best.
Your journey to becoming a doctor may seem like it consumes your entire life. Take time to practice self-care, spend time with loved ones, and enjoy the here and now. Always remember that you can only be your best self for your patients when you’re taking them time to care for yourself. Although the journey may be long, remember it will be so worth it.