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What are some college electives that I should take if I want to go to med school?


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Jill’s Answer

Hi Zemira,

I have a degree in Biological Engineering from Purdue University, but I focused on taking pre-med courses while in school to prepare me for the MCAT exam.

While looking at med schools, I noticed that some prefer students with traditional pre-med degrees, such as biology, chemistry, etc. Other schools preferred students with non-traditional degrees, such as engineering.

As far as electives go, I'd recommend lots of organic chemistry (this was an elective for me) as well as psychology, a foreign language, and anatomy. Back in my day, anatomy wasn't required for pre-med but it helped out a ton on the MCAT exam.

I decided that I wanted to go into the pharmaceutical industry instead of medical school in the end, but I still get to impact patient's lives every day. Good luck and study hard!


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Linda’s Answer

In addition to the recommendations you already received, Zemira, consider taking courses, if available, such as medical sociology, public health, epidemiology, and statistics. They will provide you with knowledge that you are unlikely to be exposed to in medical school, but can be invaluable in shaping your ideas about the practice of medicine.

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Tequila’s Answer

Hi there. Some of the basic college courses with a lab include: biology, chemistry (add organic), physics, microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology (1 & 2 with a lab). Then check with the medical school to see if there are other biology courses they suggest. Don't forget medical schools want to see a well rounded student, so don't blow off any course to include the basic knowledge courses like English, history, literature, physical activity, social sciences (sociology, psychology, philosophy), and a foreign language (or being bi-lingual is a plus). College electives should provide you opportunities to work with people outside of school or increase your volunteer hours. Look for opportunities to shadow or work with patients. I've worked with nursing assistants who were in medical school who were able to get great recommendations for medical school from other health care professionals. Voluntary with a veterinarian or dentist are good ways to get experience too. I once heard that it was harder to become a vet than a medical doctor.
Continued success in your endeavors.

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Zemira! So if you are planning on going to medical school, you will be considered a premed. Now if you choose a traditional major like Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, etc. then the classes you will take will most likely fill your requirements for medical school as well as give more in depth knowledge about coursework for med school and the MCAT exam. There is usually a sheet by your premed adviser's office or in the Biology department that lists what is absolutely required to take for medical school, known as prerequisites, and recommended courses as well. You can be any major and apply to medical school but it is important to take the prerequisites; I agree with the previous answers usually it is Biology, Gen. Chem, Organic Chem. Physics (can be university or college- uni is based on calculus while college is algebra- so it's really about how much you like math and are comfortable with it), English Composition I & II and Biochemistry (most med schools require this but some can omit for Organic Chem II however, I highly recommend to take it for the MCAT- those amino acids will be detailed). Recommended courses can be Anatomy and Physiology, sociology and psychology (intro courses are good), genetics, cell and molecular, microbiology, etc. These courses will help you prepare for the MCAT and also be more comfortable for medical school. There are also some courses like a language, and ethics/philosophy, which are also highly recommended for medical school and are looked upon favorably when applying. Remember if you are considering another major you can also minor in biology or chemistry; I was a psych major and obtained a minor in chem because I took a good amount of courses to fulfill the requirements.

**As a last note: start with the requirements and make a headway because the recommended courses, the sciences more specifically, build off the required courses. For example taking Bio will help build a solid foundation in understanding genetics and cell and molecular.

Best of luck!

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Bryce’s Answer

Hi Zemira,

If you are looking to go pre-med I would focus a lot of your electives in the science realm, specifically biology and chemistry. Classes like cell bio, organic chemistry, anatomy, and so on will best prepare you to take the MCAT post graduation. I know this may not sound like the most fun choice, but if you want to go to medical school and want to pass the MCAT first try I would definitely stay within science.

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Molly’s Answer

Bio courses, psychology and something Spanish this helps nurses become extremely marketable if they are bilingual. Also to save yourself sometime seek a school that has a nursing program. Often people attend schools and major in bio and then have to go to another school since the school they graduated didn’t have nursing as a major.

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