Information for Advising PreHealth Students
Medical schools require a four-year undergraduate degree that generally includes:
• One year of physics with laboratory
• One year of biology with laboratory
• One year of chemistry with laboratory
• One year of organic chemistry with laboratory
• One semester of biochemistry*
• One year of English/writing - Some schools accept WI courses from other departments (although NOT foreign language WI courses); others insist on English department courses. Check the requirements of the institutions where you plan to apply.
• One semester of psychology*
• One semester of social/behavioral science*
• The Mathematics requirement varies considerably, but AP credit for Calculus II is almost always sufficient, and AP credit for calculus I and a graded statistics course is often sufficient. Check individual schools requirements; some have no specific math requirement, opting to assess quantitative reasoning skills through grades in other science coursework such as chemistry and physics.
• Individual schools may have additional requirements. Check the specific requirements of the institutions where you plan to apply.
*Required for those taking the 2015 MCAT.
Course Planning for PreHealth Students:
Many different arrangements and sequences of basic pre-requisite coursework lead to medical school, dental school and other science-intensive graduate professional programs.
Click here for examples.
Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students
The 15 Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students have been endorsed by the AAMC Group on Student Affairs (GSA) Committee on Admissions (COA). The competencies fall into four categories: Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Thinking and Reasoning, and Science.
Timeline for PreMedical Students:
There is no right or best timeline for preparing for medical school. That said, some general guidelines:
• Students on the prehealth list-serve will be assigned a prehealth advisor in sophomore spring. If your student doesn't know who his/her prehealth advisor is, we are happy to look that up for both of you.
• Students who decide on health care later will get a prehealth advisor assigned as soon as we learn about their interest! We welcome the opportunity to work with alumni as they apply.
• Half of our students take at least one gap year. A gap year is never a disadvantage.
• Application to medical school happens in June. We have statistical evidence that applying later really puts you at a disadvantage.
• Students who do not opt for a gap year have a lot to do before June after the Junior year: take all required coursework for the MCAT; take the MCAT; secure three strong faculty recommendations, including two from science faculty; develop a portfolio of evidence of a strong interest in the welfare of others; engage in enough clinical experience to demonstrate a mature and thoughtful choice of vocation.
• In the year leading up to application to medical school (maybe senior year, maybe after graduation, maybe junior year), students will work closely with their prehealth advisors to craft application narratives. Our fall break program (Break into Medical School), individual meetings with the prehealth advisor including an official PIR (Prehealth application Institutional Review) meeting; and Junior Jumpstart programming are all part of executing an excellent application.
• A PIR meeting by the end of April is a REQUIREMENT for our institutional letter of introduction and endorsement. All medical schools expect this institutional letter; other health care graduate programs vary in expectations.
Four Year Advisors
: If you have questions about how to advise one of your students who is interested in prehealth, please feel free to reach out to anyone on the PreHealth Advising team
. Also, be sure to ask your student if they have registered through the PreHealth Listserv. Joining this list will ensure that they will not miss any important deadlines. If students are not on the list they should email email@example.com with their name and student ID to be added.
What Counts in the Science GPA?
The medical school common application (AMCAS) calculates a BCPM (biology, chemistry, physics, math) gpa and reports that in addition to overall gpa for all applicants. Students indicate when they fill out the application which courses should be included, based on the courses’ primary content, not home department. For example, psych stats if offered by a non-BCPM department, but it is a math class. There is very little psychology covered. Students would classify psych stats as math, and it will be included in the science gpa.
NSM classes are NOT necessarily BCPM. Experimental psych is a rigorous course on hypothesis-driven research, but the content is not primarily biology, chemistry, physics or math. Experimental psych should be classified as social and behavioral sciences on the AMCAS application, and will not be included in the science gpa.
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