Everyone is different in their approach to medical school. It’s not necessary to do everything, especially if you do it just to jump through hoops.
There are lots of options, so figure out what works best for you. However, we have compiled some general guidelines to help you get started on your journey as a pre-med student
Ideas to consider
Making the Most of Your Time as a Pre-Med Student
- Consider doing undergraduate research, especially if you can publish or present at a professional conference. This doesn’t need to be directly related to the medical field. Medical schools value undergraduate research and are looking for those who can think, understand the scientific method, write and present.
- Make a habit of reading and taking the time to really understand scientific journal articles. Nature, Science and the medical journals are great for this purpose. These hone your critical thinking skills, increase your vocabulary and help you prepare to join the medical community.
- If you’re not a biology major, consider taking extra upper-level biology courses, especially biochemistry I and II, genetics and an upper level physiology course. While they may not list these as prerequisites, medical schools value students with a good grounding.
- Travel internationally. Medical schools value the broader understanding that travel allows, especially travel to serve and learn. Consider picking up a International Studies Minor.
- If possible, become fluent in Spanish. Perhaps pick up a Spanish minor. Across much of the USA, Spanish is an unofficial second language. Medical schools value fluency in a second language.
- Get involved in projects that show you care about helping people. This could be anything from helping at a soup kitchen, getting involved in the international service projects, serving as an resident assistant, or getting involved in student government. Medical schools value people whose lives show that they care about others.
- Plan to spend your summers well. A senior in high school has only three summers before they apply to medical school at the end of the spring semester of their junior year in college. Look for interesting internships, shadow doctors, consider joining the Wheels Project, get jobs in medical offices, travel internationally, learn languages.
- Med schools look for people who have demonstrated a sustained interest in and understanding of medicine. Get to know physicians and spend time with them; shadow them at work if possible. Remember, you are joining a professional community.
- You’re transitioning from student to colleague. Professors at LeTourneau University are willing and able to mentor you. They’ll be writing your recommendation letters, so build relationships and behave in a way that enables your professors to speak well of you.
Preparing for the MCAT
- Students generally do better on the MCAT if they’ve taken a prep course provided by the testing company. It’s often good to do this during the summer after your sophomore year or the fall of your junior year.
- Medical schools teach medicine from a Bio/Psycho/Social model of disease. The new MCAT will include section on psychology and sociology. Consider adding these courses to your undergraduate plan.
Applying to Medical School
- Those who apply for medical school as soon as the admissions window opens in May at the end of their junior year have an increased chance of success.
- Get to know your target medical schools. Be very familiar with their websites. Call and talk with their admissions counselors.
- If you’re from Texas, explore the Joint Admission Medical Program. If you fit the criteria, apply successfully at the end of your freshman year in university, and keep up the required standards, JAMP guarantees a place in a Texas medical school, provides MCAT prep and provides summer enrichment.