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What is some advice to students following the pre-med track?

I want to major in Biology and follow a pre-med track. #college #biology #pre-med #pediatrics

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Richard’s Answer

Take as many AP or IB courses in high school. You have a lot of years of education in front of you and getting college credit in high school can save you time and money.

In the US, to apply to medical school, you need a bachelor's degree. Any 4-year university should suffice.

Pick a college that suits your personality and a major that interests you. 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.

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

During college study for and complete the MCAT. Take a summer to study. Consider paying for a prep course.

Try to make time to volunteer, research and shadow physicians or other providers.

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Rachel’s Answer

Do the things that allow you to maintain a healthy perspective on life. If you like to run, try to jog regularly to stay healthy. Volunteering can often help to get students out of their study bubble and show them that others have much greater problems than the score on their next test. Many people are heavily involved in church groups and community outreach. Study hard, but try to keep life in perspective.

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Estelle’s Answer

Do not give up. You are going to need persistence and dedication to make the sacrifices required to become a physician. Try to shadow as many physicians as you can and volunteer at a free clinic or hospital.

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James’s Answer

hi kelly,

i graduated from medical school in 1993 and have been a family physician for 20 years.

here's my answer. in no particular order.

1) learn how to learn. go to your library and check out a book about how to study, how to make good grades. there really are proven ways of learning more efficiently.

2) make friends. you'll do better studying in a group or groups. also, you will want to meet pre-med students who are ahead of you so that you can hear about their experiences with applying, interviewing, and with medical school life.

3) put in some research time to learn about the medical field. some of that can be reading. but some must be one-on-one speaking with medical professionals. their personal insights are invaluable.

4) visit with your college's health professions counselor. regularly. that person can keep you up to date with medical school prerequisite classes, MCAT schedules, preparation courses, summer internships, etc.

5) get to know some of your professors. you will need their recommendations. later they'll also be one of your best connections to your alma mater.

6) scour your college course guide. seek out unique courses that may help you later in your career. some examples, "history of medicine", "history of science", "medical ethics", "medical terminology".

7) start studying for the MCAT early. i strongly recommend taking a minimum of one professional study course. take as many mock MCAT tests as you can.

8) don't forget to exercise. or dance. or play sports. something to train your body while you're training your mind. you'll find this is one of the best stress relievers as well.

9) major in whatever floats your boat. if that's biology then so be it. you'll be in good company in med school. however, i also had classmates with majors in liberal arts, history, engineering, education, law, and business.

10) establish a support group. college is a time when people go their separate ways. find your wolfpack.

11) have some fun. know when to study and when to let loose. make some memories. take some pictures. it only gets harder after college.

12) make time for the application process. it's a whole lot of essays that you'd rather not have to do. but they have value. you can find out a lot about yourself when writing them. take your time. say what you feel and what you're passionate about.

good luck!