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What are some programs or activities I can participate in during college that will prepare me for medical school?

I am a senior in high school that plans on following a career path in the medical field. I plan to pursue a bachelors in biology and then following with med school with a concentration in either radiology or focus in on becoming an ER doctor in the Cleveland, Ohio area. I have a passion for biological and health sciences and look forward to this future path. radiology er erdoctor physician healthscience medicalfield cleveland ohio college university schooling school medical-school career-paths doctor

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Alex’s Answer

Hi! A HUGE recommendation I have is to form connections with your professors early on. Not only will they be useful for letters of recommendations when applying for medical school, but some professors also offer research opportunities which can sometimes be difficult to find! Many prospective medical students have some degree of difficulty on trying to find research, so get on that quickly! Most colleges have medical clubs and I definitely would recommend joining one or two for socialization and experience. Many of these club offer volunteer experiences or have connections in helping you gain more experience as well. Look for internships or entry-level jobs in health offices, hospitals, etc. Also, pick out a few medical schools you think you could be interested in and start looking at their requirements to help you decide what area you need to focus most on. Research, shadowing/interning, and volunteering are huge things to focus on for medical school. Good luck!
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Meighan’s Answer

As a College Advisor working with military students, I advised several students interested in pursuing medical school. I would recommend:

1. Professional Societies: does your school have a Pre-Med Club or Health Care Students Fraternity? Consider joining one of these (or starting your own branch on campus if your school does not already have one) to network with other pre-med students.

2. Research/Undergraduate Teaching Assistant: Connect with a professor or TA from a class you enjoyed and ask if they have any research or teaching asssitant positions available. Many professors take undergraduates to staff their labs or assist the graduate Teaching Assistants with introductory lab courses in Biology or Chemistry. If your school offers Anatomy courses, you may also apply to work in preparing prosections Working in lab or on another research project will help you build practical skills that complement your coursework and help you refine your professional interests.

3. Peer Tutor: Volunteer as Peer Tutor for STEM courses. Many schools have drop in tutoring centers for core STEM classes staffed by other students under the supervision of a graduate student, TA, or other staff member. You keep your academic skills current (which will help for the MCAT) while helping others and building your resume.

4. Internships/Jobs: Consider an internship at your student health center as a front desk staffer, as an ER Scribe or escort in the local Emergency room, or as a peer education in the mental health or sexual wellness programs on your campus. Many colleges also grant you transcript credit for internships, which medical schools you are applying to will see.

5. Emergency Medical Technician Certification: Take an EMT class either on campus or through a local organization. Take the certification exam following your class, and consider working as an EMT. *CPR Certification is a good first step as it is a prerequisite for most EMT Programs.

Meighan recommends the following next steps:

Learn more about pre-med societies here:
Narrow down three professors you would like to work with and make an appointment with them to discuss their research efforts
Research Internships and jobs at your campus' Internship or Job Center
Learn more about the EMT Certification process:
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Cole’s Answer

A couple of courses that will definitely help you test on the MCAT and also give you a foundation in medical school are Anatomy, Immunology, Molecular Biology , and Microbiology. Another class that you will definitely see in medical school is Biochemistry and it will help you get ahead if you take it in college. Other than taking these courses, definitely see if your school has pre-medical fraternities or organizations which may help you get access to physician shadowing. Also see if your school has programs with local hospitals which could give you access for clinical volunteering/scribing. Your college advisor might be a good person to talk to about specifics of what your school has to offer! Good luck!
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Helene’s Answer

I think volunteering in a local hospital is important experience for a career in medicine. Medical/scientific research is also very important. Make time for other non medical activities too.