Interested in going to medical school but have no idea where to begin? Many, but not all, future doctors have a family member or friend that has already gone through the process. Don’t be concerned if you don’t know what to do next, because you’re not alone. Here are a few hints that might help get you on the right path.
Step 1: Seek out a pre-professional advisor.
UMBC’s Pre-Medical advisor is Ms. Roelke. Students may sign up for an appointment with her in UC 116. She will help anyone struggling to get onto the right path to apply to medical school.
Step 2: Be aware of the course requirements.
You do NOT need to be a science major to apply to medical school! You do, however, need to fulfill the core requirements in order to be considered a strong applicant by medical schools across the country.
Step 3: Join the Pre-Medical Society!
We are one of the largest student organizations on campus. To get involved, simply attend one of our meetings and add yourself to the listserv to receive weekly updates from our secretary. We have guest speakers come to our meetings frequently, and we provide information on how to strengthen your application to medical school.
Step 4: Mix it up – Don’t forget about the extracurriculars!
Besides the obvious – a strong GPA and a good MCAT score – medical schools like to see that you are involved in other things. Here are a few examples:
Volunteer work: Since coming to college, I have volunteered at UMMC, gone on an Alternative Spring Break trip, and made frequent trips to the Villa Maria Continnum with the Pre-Medical Society. You do not have to do science-related volunteer work if you can’t stand the idea of cleaning up and organizing the hospital stock room. You can assist students at a local elementary school, work with citizens with special needs, or get creative. Visit the Shriver Center for more information. They really do help!
Research: Experience in a research lab looks great on a resume. Maybe you don’t think that you could ever enjoy plating bacteria and playing with micro-pipettes – I didn’t. However, I’ve been working with Dr. Farabaugh for a year and a half now, and I’ve learned to love what I do. Currently, I am interning in the Cancer Research Building at Johns Hopkins University. Visit the websites for the UMBC department of biological sciences or the department of chemistry, and read about the research some of the faculty does. Maybe you’ll find something you’re interested in. It doesn’t hurt to look, and some of these researchers may give you internship credit (or even pay you)!
Shadowing: Follow a doctor or two around for a few weeks. Some of them may even let you see their surgeries! It shows admissions officers that you have seen what it is like to be a doctor and are still interested.
Student organizations: Join another student organization. UMBC offers a variety of student organizations, whether it be a cultural club or a Greek organization. Go out to Involvement Fest this fall, and see what interests you.
Get creative: Medical schools will love anything that sets you apart from others. For example, not all of us pre-medders are science majors. Liz Arias, our Service Coordinator, is an INDS major, and she loves it! I am minoring in French and English Writing just for fun. Better yet, do something crazy! Adam Gerber, our VP of Student Involvement, is biking across America this summer.
Keep in mind that the more effort you put into whatever you are doing, the more you will get out of it.
Step 5: The MCAT. Ugh.
Take a MCAT prep course. I am currently taking a class with the Princeton Review, but Aleeza Abbasi (our vice president) and Melanie Wiley (our president) have taken prep courses with Kaplan. There’s also Examkrakers. Pick whatever you feel has most to offer YOU.
Step 6: Apply to medical school.
For more information on the application process, please visit the official pre-professional adivising website.
Other Helpful Resources: