When you are choosing your pre-med program, it is best to consider the different ways it will help you reach your ultimate goal of a PhD. pre-med programs are designed to help you build the skills and experience required to succeed in a medical degree program. Choosing the right pre-med program can make every stage of your medical journey easier: from admissions to residency.
Medical degree programs have become increasingly more difficult to get into. According to an October 2017 edition of US News, applications for acceptance to medical programs are increasing but the acceptance rates are decreasing. The amount of applicants increase by 35% between 2006 and 2016. With so much competition, it is important to make sure that you set yourself apart by considering your pre-med program closely.
When choosing the pre-med program that is right for you, it is wise to consider how you are going to leverage your experience and education in medical school and beyond. The area where your pre-med program will be the most relevant is when you are applying to medical school. We have created this list of three factors that medical schools will consider when reviewing your application.
FACTOR #1: MCAT SCORE
This factor should come as no surprise to any serious pre-med student. Pre-med program that offer a competitive environment tend to turn out students with better MCAT scores. However, this could be attributed to the drive and dedication of the students that are accepted into top programs and not the programs themselves. Students frequently don’t even take their MCAT Prep Courses at the college they are currently attending. So, any program can help students prep for the difficult test, but you will want to make sure that the college offers good courses in the hard sciences. One of the most important things to remember is to begin preparing early. Students should begin prepping for their MCATs at least 1 semester before they would like to take the exam.
FACTOR #2: COURSEWORK
A student’s GPA is a very important factor to any reputable medical degree program. Students should be happy to know that admissions programs do not usually adjust GPAs based on the pre-med program that a student has previously attended. Which means, that an A from a less competitive program will have just as much weight as an A from a highly competitive program. So, pick the program that is right for you not the one that you think looks the most impressive.
College can be very overwhelming, and it can seem like a good idea to focus on courses, like biology, that have immediate and clear connections to medicine. However, taking courses that require a great deal of writing, researching and group work will serve you well. Medical degree programs focus heavily on communication and collaboration. Medical degree programs always require essays and interviews during the application process. The more comfortable you are communicating your ideas and your strengths the better the admissions process will go for you.
FACTOR #3: EXPERIENCE
It is important that pre-med students begin to get exposure to medical experiences. The most important areas during the pre-med phase are clinical, volunteer and research.
It is easy to find clinical opportunities because most colleges are close to clinics or hospitals. It is best if the college incorporates clinical work into its program. If you choose a college that does not offer opportunities or is not close to several hospitals, you will probably have to spend a great deal of time and money to get relevant experience.
By volunteering and performing community service, you demonstrate that you are interested in the welfare of other people and that you seek to make the communities that you live in better. No matter where you choose to go to school, there will be opportunities to do volunteer work related to medicine. When you are choosing your school, you will just need to do a bit of research to find what volunteer work is offered in that area or through that program and determine if it interests you.
Research is one of the most difficult things to get on your resume. Some schools offer lots of opportunities to participate in research. This type of experience is less likely to be important if you are not planning on focusing on research during your medical degree. Schools that offer several biology majors will often offer medical research opportunities.
There is no set rules on which pre-med program will provide you the best results and no one can predict the future. However, if you take these 3 factors into account, you will be able to determine which programs are most likely to work well for you. Make sure when you are evaluating any program that you consider based on how you will need to leverage your experiences within it to get into medical school, through medical school and into the medical profession.