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What should I do to better my chances of getting into medical school?

I am a freshman in college so I have time to take all suggestions! I am majoring in BS Biology on a Pre Med track. Thank you!

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Bhupendra’s Answer

As a freshman aspiring to attend medical school, you're already ahead of the curve! To further enhance your journey as a pre-med student in your BS Biology program, here are some actionable steps you can take:

1. Solidify your understanding of the sciences: Make it a priority to master the concepts of chemistry, physics, and biology.

2. Experience the medical field firsthand: Shadow doctors to gain a deeper understanding of various specialties.

3. Give back to your community: Engage in healthcare-related community service or research initiatives.

4. Hone your communication skills: Enroll in writing and public speaking classes.

5. Be an active participant: Join pre-med societies, research teams, or mentoring programs.

6. Step up to leadership: Assume leadership roles in your extracurricular activities.

7. Gain clinical experience: Look for opportunities such as EMT or medical assistant training.

8. Start your MCAT preparation early: Begin reviewing relevant materials and taking practice tests as soon as possible.

9. Build your professional network: Cultivate relationships with your professors, advisors, and healthcare professionals.

10. Keep everything in order: Stay on top of deadlines, requirements, and applications.

By implementing these steps, you'll not only be ready for medical school but also stand out as a compelling candidate. Wishing you all the best on your journey!
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Madison’s Answer

Volunteer work, part time jobs, medical clubs. In general I think a good rule of thumb is trying to be well rounded but mostly picking a FEW extra curricular and excelling or being fully involved in those rather than spreading yourself thin trying to do MANY things. Having a few activities you were more dedicated to, more leadership/involvement/passion in shows more developmental and well rounded skills on an application and will hopefully also improve work-life balance!
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Megan’s Answer

Hi Ella,

My advice is to get as much hands-on experience as you can!
- Volunteer
-Job Shadow
-Part-time job
- Alternative breaks or study abroad trips focused on healthcare
-Clubs and organizations related to healthcare
-Network with professionals in your career of interest

I hope this helps!
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Margarita’s Answer

Majority of programs looks for good grades and volunteer work.
However, you need to show something to stand out. For example, one of candidates I reviewed had her own donut shop since she was a teen.
Make yourself interesting enough for reviewers to want to know you, your goals and future plans.
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Karin’s Answer

Hi Ella,

As I am sure you are aware, getting into medical school is very competitive.

You should figure out which medical schools you would want to target and start working with their admission people. The basic requirements for undergrad are similar but not always identical.

For admission you want to have a high GPA ( both on the science pre-requisites and on your electives). When you have your bachelors completed, you'll take the MCAT. You want the highest possible score there as well.

With your med school application you'll have to submit 3-5 recommendation letters from your professors and from supervisors where you did an internship or volunteered. To get an excellent recommendation letter, establish some good connections. Make sure that your letter writers know you and have something positive to say about you: participate, ask questions, be engaged and interested, share your future aspirations and ask for advice.

You also need medical experiences before you can apply to med school. So, you'll need to find opportunities for internships or volunteer at hospitals or doctors offices. Your pre-med coordinator can help you with that.

Other factors that will be considered: Universities want well-rounded students, so some extracurriculars are expected (but don't overdo it). Playing sports or music, some activity of giving back to the community, e.g. working with a homeless population or in environmental protection, some activity where you can demonstrate leadership. You have the choice.

There is a personal statement to write, and there will be an interview. You need to prepare for those well in advance so you can tell a compelling story and make the case for yourself why you would be a good addition.

I'll leave you the link to Harvard med school here for more information on their requirements:

https://hms.harvard.edu/

You'll need to look up the other schools.

Good luck!

KP
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Terry’s Answer

I like the other responses here, on what to focus on for pre-med for medical school. The courses to take in college include:
Biology, Chemistry (general and organic), Biochemistry, and Physics, and also Math/statistics, Psychology, and Sociology. These would be helpful for the MCAT test.
MCAT score should be 511 or above.

And being a well rounded individual with extra curricular activities, involvement in the community, volunteering, tutoring, mentoring are also considered.
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Supreet’s Answer

One way to distinguish yourself as a candidate in your applications is by engaging in research and potentially getting your work published. You have the opportunity to partake in various research projects on campus. This can be achieved by reaching out to professors via email and inquiring about the availability of research assistant roles in their laboratories.

In addition, consider volunteering or shadowing in relevant fields. However, it's important to note that medical schools are increasingly seeking students who bring cultural diversity. This means that participating in extracurricular activities or engaging in pursuits that may not be directly linked to healthcare can be beneficial.

Such activities provide a glimpse into who you are beyond your academic achievements and school life, offering a more holistic view to medical school admissions.
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Raquel’s Answer

You've received a lot of good advice already, and it's great that you're already looking into what you need to do. I will add that most people apply to medical school their junior year of college to matriculate the fall after graduation. Applying to medical school is a year long process and you want to have your application in as close to the June opening date as possible. It takes a month to get MCAT scores back and you need a score to submit your application. And while the MCAT is a very important part of your application, don't start studying for it too early. You need to take your biology, chemistry, physics, and biochemistry classes to get a solid foundation before attempting studying for the MCAT. As others have said being well rounded is very important. You also want to make yourself interesting, thousands of people apply to medical school every year with the same stats, try and think about what will make you different. One good way to do this is to find long-term ways to invest your time. As a freshman you have a lot of opportunity here, you could start volunteering with an organization, join a club, or find a research lab that you can then be a part of your entire undergraduate career. It takes a lot of time and effort to get into medical school, but make sure to enjoy the process and your time as an undergrad as well. Best of luck!
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Ella,

To boost your chances of securing a spot in medical school as a freshman majoring in BS Biology on a Pre Med track, here are some actionable strategies:

Keep Your GPA High: Strive for a GPA of 3.5 or above as medical schools often look for strong academic performance, particularly in science subjects. This is the average GPA of students who successfully enter medical school.

Ace the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT): The MCAT is a vital step in your medical school application. Start your preparation early and think about taking an MCAT prep course. Aim to score in the top 10% or above.

Get Hands-On Clinical Experience: Medical schools appreciate candidates with practical experience in clinical environments. You might want to consider volunteering or finding a job in a hospital, clinic, or doctor's office. This will not only enrich your experience but also show your dedication to the medical field.

Spend Time with a Doctor: Shadow a doctor to gain insights into their daily duties. This will help you understand if a medical career suits you.

Engage in Research Work: Having research experience can make your application more appealing. You could join a research lab at your university or participate in a summer research program.

Develop a Robust Resume: Engage in extracurricular activities, take on leadership roles, and contribute to community service. This will show that you are a well-rounded individual who is committed to making a positive impact in your community.

Craft a Compelling Personal Statement: Your personal statement is your opportunity to express why you aspire to be a doctor and what sets you apart. Be authentic, heartfelt, and introspective in your narrative.

Prepare for Your Interviews: If you are invited for an interview, be ready to talk about your experiences, objectives, and motivation for choosing medicine. Practice answering common interview questions and be prepared to address any potential weaknesses in your application, such as lower grades or test scores.

Consider DO Schools: Besides MD programs, think about applying to DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) programs. These programs are often less competitive than MD programs and may be more attainable for students with lower grades or test scores.

Start Planning Early: Start your medical school planning as early as possible. Regularly consult with your pre-med advisor and begin strategizing your application early. This will give you ample time to gain experience, build your resume, and prepare for the MCAT and application process.

May God bless you on your journey!
James Constantine.
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