If you are beginning college or currently in college and you know that you want to go on to medical school, you are already ahead of the game. You can use your college experience to ensure that you fulfill all of the prerequisites for medical school and pad your resume with relevant activities to make you a competitive applicant.
If you are unsure if you want to go to medical school, exposure is key! Try to find an opportunity to shadow a doctor or talk to medical students to see if medicine would be a good fit for you.
College is usually 4 years of fun, growth and amazing discovery that goes by in the blink of an eye. Therefore, I will simply highlight important points of the college experience that will be relevant to you as a future medical school applicant.
Although many medical students major in the sciences in college, it is not required. Pick a major that you are passionate about and would like to spend 4 years learning. It is very possible to go to medical school without having been a science major. However, because science majors usually satisfy all of the prerequisites to take the MCAT and apply to medical school, you may have to complete some of these classes during a gap year, post-baccalaureate or master’s program.
Grades are grades. Be sure that you are performing well in your classes, especially your science classes. The reality of the medical school application process is that there is a major emphasis on your undergraduate grade point average. A GPA falls very easy but is hard to bring back up so be sure to stay on top of your academics throughout the duration of college.
3. Extracurricular Activities
As far as involvement in college goes, be sure to exercise time management and balance. It is better to be involved in a few meaningful things than to sign up for every club at school and show up once. Commitment to organizations that you are passionate about, even if they are unrelated to health, medicine or science is something that medical schools will want to see on your application.
4. Gap Years
In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of individuals taking gap years before beginning medical school. After graduating college, there are many things an individual can do including: get a master’s degree, complete a post-bac program if prerequisites are needed, travel or work. Whatever you decide to do in the gap years, I suggest making sure that it is productive and that you can explain its significance to you as an applicant when you apply.