The sooner you know for sure that a medical profession is the right one for you, the better your chances for succeeding in this tough and demanding field. To prepare a student for the rigorous college classwork, there are many classes to take in high school for a medical field career.
High school preparation will make the transition to the more demanding coursework of college much easier. Only about 40 percent of applicants actually make it into medical school. That number is far less for those who hope to get into their first choice pre-med college.
By starting early and having a good idea of what you need to accomplish before striking out on a pre-med path, a student’s chances of gaining entry to the favored medical school rise significantly. Arm yourself with all the needed information and prepare a strong game plan while still in high school.
High school students who wish to enter a pre-med program should take classes in science, math and the humanities.
High School Preparation
The best courses a high school student can take to prepare for getting into a pre-med program include:
- Science, including biology and chemistry
Taking Advanced Placement courses in the above subjects can further prepare you for a pre-med school. AP classes to take for pre-med include more science-based classes and research and laboratory opportunities. Often, the AP classes you take that are pre-med will also offer college credits.
The more college credits you can accumulate in high school, the better your chances of bypassing rudimentary classes that can take up your study time and sap your energy and enthusiasm in your first year of college.
When to Begin Pre-Med Classes
Start taking pre-med classes as early as you can in your high school career. The more work you put in early, the more you can stand out among the many students applying to top medical colleges.
Every medical school has its own requirements for pre-med. The sooner you know the medical school you hope to attend as well as any backup schools to which you expect to apply, you can tailor your pre-med courses to those schools' requirements.
Factors for Pre-Med Program Admission
Taking classes in a wide variety of subjects with a concentration on sciences and math will greatly help a student in preparing for medical school. Taking a summer program for high school medical hopefuls can be an enriching experience that also looks very good to admissions officials.
As always, make sure to do your absolute best on the MCAT. This test score, wrapped around your diverse community interests and school work, can ensure you are accepted to one of the best medical schools in the country.
Admissions officials are looking for more than test scores. They want to see:
- Leadership capabilities
- Affiliations with community service organizations and medical programs
- Intellectual curiosity
- Stellar research skills
How to Strengthen a Pre-Med Application
Medical schools look at all of your interests, not just your grades or the pre-med classes in which you excelled. Do all you can outside of the classroom to make your college application shine among the many other admission hopefuls.
Community service in areas that interest you can go a long way in pumping up your college application. If you have the opportunity, ask if you can shadow a family physician, clinical technician or other medical professional in the field in which you hope to work. This will provide real-world experience as well as show your ambitious nature to admissions officials.
Aside from any hands-on experience you can get, extend your community service or part-time work to include helping others. The medical profession is one of caring for those in difficult times. Learning how to work as a team to assist the community or individuals early on will go a long way in helping you in your medical career.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.