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What steps should I be taking throughout my undergraduate education to best prepare for medical school?

As a senior in high school whose dream job is to be a neurologist, the steps in between where I am now and where I want to go seem a little daunting. It would be great to have a bit of insight about what goals I should be working towards over the next few years! #premed #medicine #healthcare #hospital-and-health-care #medical-school

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4 answers

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Rachel’s Answer

The best route for you into the medical field depends on what role you would like to play and how long you want to spend in school. In order to apply to medical school, you will have to complete college with a bachelor’s degree as well as all of the Pre-med requirements. GPA should probably be 3.5 or better. You will also have to score well on the MCAT. Once you complete 4 years of medical school, you may apply for a minimum of a 3-year residency. Following that, you will have the opportunity to apply for a fellowship that is often 3 more years. We are looking at 14 years of training after high school, but the reward of being a physician and caring for patients is unmatched.

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Richard’s Answer

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

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
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It was about $140 and he achieved his goal score.

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Estelle’s Answer

Sanaz, Richard and Rachel all gave great advice. After a great GPA and strong MCAT score, work on shadowing experiences. Medical mission trips can be a really good way to get experience and be a source for interesting conversation during interviews and on your application. My son went on a medical mission trip to Honduras before applying to medical school, and he used that experience to discuss third world healthcare, his experiences, and the importance of communicating with patients in his application personal statement. Make sure your personal statement on your application is interesting and reflects your personality.

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Sanaz’s Answer

Hi! I would say have a game plan but learn to be flexible with it. The road to getting into medical school is a challenging yet rewarding one and I have the utmost faith you can achieve it if you never give up, push through and set your mind to it!

First get into college of your choice and graduate with a great GPA and high MCAT score. These are the two biggest factors medical schools look at. Be sure to figure out what your major is, take all the pre-med recommended courses, and spend your time wisely gaining experience in the medical field with clubs, shadowing, or other various medically related organizations.

In terms of college doesn't matter whether its private, state, or community - so long as you get the grades and bring the score. Hope this helps!