Preparing for Medical School
Are you interested in applying to a Medical School?
If you are considering a career in medicine, schedule an appointment with the MPI Pre-Health Advisor. By doing so you can develop a plan specific to you and clarify any doubts pertaining to medical school. Do your homework before you have your advising appointment, and gather as much reliable information as possible.
If you do not know where to start, browse through some of these resources:
Don't limit yourself to these resources there are other great sites where you can obtain valuable information.
How does the path to medical school look like?
The undergraduate studies usually consist of four years at a college or university to earn a BS or BA degree, with a strong emphasis on basic sciences, such as biology, chemistry, and physics (medical program pre-requisite courses). Students interested in medical school are not limited to a science major, students are free to pursue a science and non-science major, as long as they meet the course requirements. Once a student gets accepted into a program, it takes around four years of education at one the US medical schools to obtain their doctor of medicine degrees (MDs).
Through a national matching program, newly graduated MDs enter into a residency program that is three to seven years or more of professional training under the supervision of senior physician educators. The length of residency training varies depending on the specialty chosen.
To create a competitive application consider the following general six factors that medical schools review during the evaluation process:
- Academic record (Overall and Major GPA)
- MCAT scores
- Letters of evaluation
- The application
- The interview
- Life experiences
Pursuing a Career in Medicine:
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, if you are planning on pursuing a career in medicine, you should consider the following characteristics:
Service - A unique commitment to the service of others first.
Knowledge - A life long learner constantly acquiring new skills and new information.
Teamwork - An effective communicator and collaborative problem solver.
Contribution - An active impact on the lives of individuals, families, and communities.
Flexibility - As a physician, there are many career options ranging from primary care to research.
Security - A high demand for physicians.
To evaluate if the medical career path is the correct for you, start getting engaged in self-reflection and gain as much reliable information that can help you make a well-informed decision. It is important to understand and identify, before choosing a medical career, the challenges and rewards, financial commitment (educational expenses), time commitment (undergraduate years + 4 years of medical school + minimum 3 years of residency + additional years for specialization) and the active role as a physician in the practice of medicine.
There are 125 medical schools in the United States, 11 in Texas – have you taken into consideration where you would like to apply? A great resource to obtain more information as a pre-medical student is the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) posted by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Although fee-based the website contains valuable information on medical schools. We recommend you to take a look at the MSAR and the AAMC: Deciding Where to Apply page to start your journey.
There are around 49 specialties in the medical field with each having varied sub-specialties. The American Medical Association AMA provides more detail with the Choosing a Medical Specialty and Specialty Guide website.
✓ Establish successful study practices; remember you want to maintain your GPA as high as possible.
✓ Start looking for shadowing, volunteer opportunities, and student organizations that will provide you with enriching activities.
✓ Make sure you start establishing relationships with your science and non-science professors as soon as possible, let them know that you are an aspiring medical school applicant.
✓ Become familiar with the anatomy of an applicant, start your self-assessment and reflections. Check out the AAMC: Anatomy of an Applicant.
All pre-requisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better.
Keep in mind that pre-calculus MATH 1508 is requisite to take any science course at UTEP.
14 semester hours of Biology, to satisfy these hours here at UTEP you can take the following courses: General Biology w/ lab BIOL 1305/1107, Organismal Biology w/ lab BIOL 1306/1108, Molecular Cell Biology w/ lab BIOL 3314/3115, Genetics BIOL 3320, Mammalian Physiology BIOL 4388, General Microbiology MICR 2340/2141 or Vertebrate Physiology ZOOL 4380
19 semester hours of Chemistry, to satisfy these hours here at UTEP you can take the following courses: General Chemistry I w/ lab CHEM 1305/1105, General Chemistry II w/ lab CHEM 1306/1106, Organic Chemistry I w/ lab CHEM 2324/2221, Organic Chemistry II w/ lab CHEM 2325/2222, Biochemistry CHEM 3330
8 semester hours of Physics, to satisfy these hours here at UTEP you can take the following courses: General Physics I PHYS 1403 and General Physics II PHYS 1404
6 semester hours of English, to satisfy these hours here at UTEP you can take the following courses: Rhetoric and Composition 1 RWS 1301 and Rhetoric and Composition 2 RWS 1302
3 semester hours of Statistics, to satisfy these hours here at UTEP you can take the following courses: Elementary Statistical Methods STAT 2480
Students are recommended to take Introduction to Psychology PSYC 1301 and Introduction to Sociology SOCI 1301, although they are not pre-requisites, they are tested on the MCAT.
*** It is important to identify what medical schools you are interested to apply – if outside of Texas, the pre-requisite courses may vary.