Dr. Leo's Tips for Medical School Matriculation
Notes from "Pre-Professional University (PPU): Preparing for your career in medicine and beyond"
Leo Moore, MD
- What type of career would you like? (Clinical practice, research, teaching)
- Determine what degree(s) are required based on your career interest. (MD, MD/MPH, MD/PhD, MD/MBA)
- Discuss goals with people who have accomplished them in the past to receive a real world perspective.
Click here for additional information on combined degree programs from the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), including MD/MBA for students who might be interested in the business of medicine, or MD/MPH for those interested in public or global health
- Make a personalized timeline
- Refer to your timeline often
Click here for a great timeline example from the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC)
- 4 years of college
- + 4 years of medical school (+ 4 years for combined MD/PhD program)
- + 3 – 6 years of residency
- + 2 – 3 years of fellowship (if applicable)
- = 11 – 22 years of training prior to practicing medicine
Over the 4 years of college, plan to establish at least 4 – 5 mentors:
- Pre-medical/professional advisor
- Research mentor
- Community medical professional
- Current medical student
If you need help identifying potential mentors, email Hughes_Kathleen1@ColumbusState.edu.
- Choose a major that interests you and will compliment your future career, only medical school prerequisites (listed below) are required for admission
- Being a Biology or Chemistry major is NOT required for entrance into medical school.
Med School Prerequisites
- 1 year – Physics with lab
- 1 year – Biology/Zoology with lab
- 1 year – General Chemistry with lab
- 1 year – Organic Chemistry with lab
- 1 year – English
- 1 year – Math
This is a basic list of prerequisites. Many medical schools also require biochemistry. These are required by ALL medical schools in the United States, but some medical schools will have additional requirements. For school-specific requirements, I recommend purchasing AAMC’s Medical Student Admissions Requirements Guidebook
- Create a balanced schedule
- Know yourself
- Tailor your schedule to have summers to spend completing summer enrichment or research programs at medical schools.
- The higher your GPA, the better. No one will ever say "Your GPA is too high for our medical school."
Fig. 1 Average GPA for applicants and accepted students in medical school in 2012.
- Medical school "entrance exam" consisting of 4 components:
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
- MCAT is administered multiple times throughout the year from January - early September, at over a hundred testing sites across the country. You can sit for the exam at any of the sites.
- Prep courses are available through Kaplan and Princeton Review. There are also multiple study books available online.
For additional information about the MCAT, see https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/
- The best way to determine if medicine is the career for you would be to shadow a local physician, veterinarian, physical therapist, etc.
- Plan to have at least one letter of recommendation for your medical school application from a current medical professional. This demonstrates your commitment to the field of medicine.
For assistance identifying a potential medical professional to shadow, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Find something you’re passionate about and volunteer your time.
- Spearhead your own initiative, such as a can drive, local book fair, or something based on your own interests.
- Think outside the box
For more information on potential volunteer opportunities in the Greater Columbus Community, visit the Office of Community Outreach.
- Demonstrate your leadership abilities.
- Medical professionals are leaders. Medical schools want to see your leadership potential.
- Hold office in a college organization (Student Government Association, local clubs, committees of national organizations such as American Medical Student Association)
- Become a Resident Assistant
- Join the Orientation Team
- FREE summer programs that will PAY YOU to be there.
- Wide range of programs with different focuses
- Offers an opportunity for networking with physicians who work at a medical school.
- Plan to complete at least one of these programs during college.
One example is the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP)
Search for “Summer enrichment programs for pre-med students” and “Summer research programs for pre-med students” to discover additional programs that may be beneficial for you.
- Get involved in research early.
- Work with faculty in your academic department to develop a project with the goal of publishing in a journal.
- Choose a project that you’re passionate about.
- Publishing in a journal is NOT required, but will make you more competitive for medical school.
- Plan to present your research at a national scientific meeting (AMSA, Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society). This will strengthen your application for medical school.
- Develop a business card.
- Begin crafting your resume’ and update it frequently.
- Reach out to local physicians, medical students, residents and discuss your interests with them. Ask questions!
- Go visit local medical schools and talk to admissions directors early to discuss your chances for admission.
- Be PROACTIVE!
The CSU Center for Career Development offers assistance with resume’ writing and can help you develop a great business card.
Association for American Medical Colleges
This is the official website for the governing body of US medical schools. Great place to access the latest average MCAT scores and GPA’s of accepted applicants. There is also additional information about the standard application process.
Summer Medical and Dental Education Program
Summer enrichment program for pre-medical and pre-dental students.
Student Doctor Network
Great website with forums and informative articles for pre-medical students, medical students, and residents. You can refer to this website throughout your training.
For more questions or additional information, contact:
Kathleen Hughes, PhD
Office: Jordan Hall 303