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Pre-med majors aren’t the official title of the degree earned in school, but it’s a simple way of saying that the next step is to become a medical professional, usually an MD or DO. Pre-med students can major in just about any subject, not just in biological or physical sciences. Applying a pre-med track to majors such as Sociology, Statistics, English Literature, and Spanish come with a variety of benefits, some of which include excellent communication, research methodology, problem solving, and adept critical analysis, which can be valuable for testing into medical school.
Regardless of the chosen major, though, medical schools require a certain number and type of classes to be completed.
At the bare minimum, most med schools require:
One year of biology with lab
One year of general chemistry with lab
One year of organic chemistry with lab
One year of physics with lab
At least one semester of biochemistry
A math course (varies based on school)
One year of English
Every institution has a different series of requirements, though, so be prepared to satisfy all requirements. These requirements are in place for two reasons: to lay the foundation for graduate work, but also to score well on the MCAT, the Medical College Admission Test.
The goal for most pre-med students is to graduate with a baccalaureate and head straight to medical school, and carefully planning out your pre-requisites schedule and MCAT testing day are required to accomplish that. Pre-med students must complete their required pre-med course by Fall of their junior year to prepare for the MCAT the second semester of that same year. The very latest a student can take the MCAT to move directly into medical school after graduating is the end of their junior year, in early May. Application submission dates for med school start on June 3rd, secondary application from July to September, and interviews will begin in September and conclude in March of senior year. It’s a much longer, more involved process than many other majors, so being prepared and meticulous with scheduling is a must.
There are also options that include taking 1 to 2 years off after graduate school, depending on completion of the pre-requisites and MCAT testing day.
Medical schools look at three things when reviewing applications: GPA, MCAT, and experience. As for the GPA, they look at the entire culmination of schooling as well as the BCPM (biology, chemistry, physics, and math) GPA, so high grades are an absolute must. For the MCAT, the most common score accepted is 509 of 528, while the average score is 500. Keep that in mind and aim for 509 or higher to be at the most competitive level. Volunteering or working an internship, within the medical industry or not, is closely reviewed by medical institutions when tendering acceptance. Any experience that involves communication, leadership, and interpersonal skills is notable.