In the US, to apply to medical school, you need a bachelor's degree. Any 4-year university should suffice.
Pick a major that interests you so you don't mind devoting a majority of your hours to studying. You will need to get good grades in college in order to apply for medical school. At the medical school I attended, the average GPA is reported to be 3.85, so even one or two B's can hurt your chances of acceptance.
Aside from this, any major is acceptable as long as you complete the prerequisite courses. I chose to major in biochemistry because there was overlap with the premed requirements and I wanted to complete my degree in 3 years.
Typical medical school prerequisites include:
Biology: Lecture – 4 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
General Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Organic Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Biochemistry: Lecture – 1 semester
General Physics: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Math: Statistics – 1 semester
English: Rhetoric (Composition) and Literature – 2 semesters
Try to find opportunities to pursue research.
Volunteer at your local hospital or low-income clinic. Ask physicians, PAs or other clinical providers if you can shadow them.
During college study for and complete the MCAT. Devote an entire summer to studying for the MCAT and consider paying for a prep course if you can afford it.
My son used MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review 2019-2020: Online + Book + 3 Practice Tests (Kaplan Test Prep) Kaplan Test Prep
It was about $140 and he achieved his goal score.
Apply to medical schools during your last year of college.
Hi Skylar! It's great you're getting started early!
First off, do some exploration on medical school and what it's really like, as well as why you want to be a doctor. So many freshmen start out as pre-med, but once they take a difficult class or have to take the MCAT, they realize that it's not for them. Skip this step and do the self-reflection NOW. If you want to help people, there are a million other ways you can do this other than be a doctor. If you are interested in healthcare, there are also a thousand other professions you can do that don't require medical school. Find out 1) what being a doctor is REALLY like by talking to a doctor or your career counselor and 2) make sure that it's the right fit for you.
Secondly, you want to be prepared by looking up the pre-med course requirements and registering for those classes at your college. Take a good look at what you'll be getting into and look over some textbooks that are for those classes. Find past syllabi for those courses to get an idea of what they'll be about. Remember that having a high GPA is critical if you want to get into medical school, so be prepared to go to office hours, get tutoring, join study groups, and do whatever it takes to maintain that high GPA.
Lastly, after you get to college, get involved in something. Whether it's a student organization, club, or job, go out and get experiences that help you grow as a person, learn about what you like/don't like, and have something to put on your resume.
I would encourage you to start early. Medical School applications open up in May but can be submitted early june. So you want to make sure you have everything in so you can submit them on the day they open. Not a moment later because yes it does matter. Its a rolling application process so it could mean the difference between getting an interview or not. You want to make sure all your letters are in, scores and transcripts. I would start as early as January of the year to get things in order so that by the time May rolls around you are just updating and making sure everything is uploaded properly.