3 answers

What can I do to prepare for pre-med as a high school freshman?

Asked La Verne, California

I am currently a freshman and I want to do my best to prepare for the expense as well as make myself stand out as a candidate when I apply to highly selective universities. #pre-med #college-admissions

3 answers

Archana’s Answer

Updated Bengaluru, Karnataka, India


There is adequate preparation required in any stream of study or work you choose.

Here is what a highschool student should do if they intend to join medicine at later stage -

High school students who think they want to attend medical school will do well to prepare themselves academically by taking the most rigorous courses offered at their high schools (a mixture of Honors, AP and/or IB courses), get the highest grades they can and score well on the SAT and/or ACT, proof to admissions officers that they have the wherewithal to thrive in their schools. Colleges also look for students who demonstrate a true love of learning.

Where high schoolers choose to attend college is also an important issue. Incorrectly, many people think that the more prestigious an undergraduate college is, the better the chances are for a student to get into med school. Not true. Acceptance into medical programs often has more to do with how students maximize the resources and opportunities provided at whatever college they happen to attend. As it happens, small, liberal arts colleges often offer the best preparation for medical school because students have greater access to accessible professors who actually teach and mentor them. Undergraduate research opportunities also tend to be more available at small colleges. Have a look at the National Science Foundation list of the “Top Schools from which S&E (Science and Engineering) Doctorate Recipients Received Bachelor’s Degrees.” Lots of small, liberal arts colleges are on that list, many of which you may not have even heard of.

Another piece of misinformation is that students must be Pre-Med majors, or at least science majors, to get into medical school. Wrong again. According to NACAC experts, a very good student has a better chance of getting into the most selective medical schools by majoring in something other than Biology (or another science). Med schools now look for students who have broad, liberal educations that will help them relate to the world beyond their science interests. As a result, future medical students can major in anything they want, including art history, Russian, or horticulture, so long as they take the required pre-medical school classes (see list below) and score well on the Medical School Admissions Test (MCAT).

The usual required courses for acceptance into medical school are:

1 year, freshman Chemistry with associated lab 1 year, Organic Chemistry with associated lab 1 year of Biology with associated lab 1 year of Physics with associated lab 1 year of English 1 year of Calculus or other advanced Math, including Statistics

You might find more details at - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marjorie-hansen-shaevitz/so-you-want-to-go-to-medi_b_5347725.html

Hope this information helps in getting fair idea of what would be the next set of steps.

Wish you the best! Do well.

Regards, Archana Jain

Thanks so much Archana!!! This advice is amazing I'll be sure to take this into account!!!! :)

Ana’s Answer

Updated Houston, Texas

Take as many science classes as you can, especially biology. try to volunteer at your local clinic or hospital. Volunteering can be as simple as reading books to sick patients. Just try to get into that type of environment.

Ana recommends the following next steps:

  • take science classes
  • volunteer at your local clinic or hospital

James’s Answer

Updated Round Rock, Texas

hi nada,

i went to college and med school a long time ago but i think most of these comments still apply.

first, i agree wholeheartedly with Archana Jain's comments. i went to a large university, Univ of Texas @ Austin, because that's where i had always wanted to go. however, a good portion of my medical school classmates graduated from much smaller colleges, and they were every bit as prepared as i was. second, you definitely don't have to major in a science field. but i'm going to put a bit of a twist on that. if you have any misgivings about your ability to easily master science concepts then you might be better off majoring in biology or chemistry.

as for high school, you definitely want to tackle every advanced science course you can. that might mean taking biology, chemistry, algebra, etc, in summer school. yes, good grades are imperative. however, i would place even more weight on cultivating great relationships with your science teachers. their glowing recommendations will speak volumes about your potential.

you also inquired about expenses. that's appropriate because you really need to understand how much debt you're going to incur. research it. speak with your school counselor about every scholarship opportunity possible. write essays, fill out applications. grow a thick skin because if you're like me you'll be turned down often.

one thing that i think is vastly underrated is learning how to learn. when i was a sophomore in college my grades were middling and i knew something had to change if i were to reach my goal. i read a book called something like How to Make Straight A's and it changed my life. it taught me how to take notes, how to study, who to study with, how to take tests, etc. seek out a similar type of book at your local library and put those techniques into practice.

lastly, you should really consider taking Spanish classes. you'd rather be worrying about other things than trying to communicate with a large proportion of your patients.

good luck!

Thank you for the absolutely amazing advice James! This has helped clarify soo much!!!