The key to having a successful undergraduate career and applying to medical school is starting early! Check out this list of how to get started.
1. Take your required courses Note that every school has different requirements, so check out each school's website for more strict guidelines. It is good to get these out of the way early on in your undergraduate career:
2. Take some extra challenging courses These may not be required to apply, but are engaging and look good on an application:
Biochemistry Evolution Genetics Neuroscience Psychology 3. Choosing a major When choosing a major, pick something that you are interested in. If biology or chemistry is your passion that's great! However, if you don't love the subjects, you will not do well in them. Pick a major that you want to study for 4 years. Medical schools like diversity and do not solely want science majors. In the unfortunate event you are not accepted to medical school or change your mind over the 4 years, you want to have a back up plan. Make sure you choose a major that leads to alternative careers.
4. Meet with Dr. Baum in the HPAO Dr. Baum is the pre-health advisor at Vanderbilt. He is a great person to get to know, as he will write you a letter of recommendation for your application. His office is known as the Health Professions Advisory Office (HPAO) and is located in the Student Life Center.
5. Volunteer Volunteering is a great way to show you are committed to service and helping others. Not to mention, it can be fun! Volunteering in a hospital is an easy way to get medical experience. Medical schools will be interested to see that you actually know what a hospital is like! If you get the chance to volunteer in a hospital, take it. But, all of your service work does not need to be medically related. It looks better if the project is something you are passionate about, and not something you are doing to put on an application.
AED has various opportunities we do together. Click here to sign up for AED service projects and learn more about other projects around Vanderbilt and Nashville. AED also has an annual service trip to Central America, where we spend our spring break getting hands on medical experience. Check out our service trip page to learn how you can get involved.
6. Shadow a physician It is almost certain during your medical school interview, that you will be asked if you have spent time in a hospital and know what a physician does. It is important that you can answer with experiences you particularly enjoyed in the hospital and that you can articulate how much you want to be there. AED has set-up a shadowing program that matches undergraduates with physicians at Vanderbilt Medical Center, St. Thomas Hospital and Baptist Hospital. Click here to learn how you can take advantage of the Vanderbilt Shadowing Program.
7. Talk to current medical students While it's not required during your interview that you list the names of medical students you know and have talked with, they can be a wonderful resource to you as you apply. Current medical students have been in your shoes! They can tell you what they did to apply, how their interviews were and what the life of a medical student is like. It is also a good idea to talk to the students from each school you apply to and ask them how they like it or why they chose that school. It will make your decision a much easier one!
AED has a mentoring program to match undergrads and med students. Check out our mentoring page to learn more about our fun activities and how to get involved!
8. Research Research is not required by medical schools, but is recommended. If research is required for your science major, then you're already set! Otherwise, you can go to different universities websites to find research or programs you are interested in. The summer is a nice time to find a position, so that it does not interfere with your school load. Click here to find some research opportunities.
9. Find your passion Take the time during your undergrad to enjoy the activities you love. Getting into medical school is important, but you need to have fun during college as well. Luckily, the two are not mutually exclusive. Choose your activities because you are excited to pursue them and not to fill your resume. It will be evident to an admissions person if you are enthusiastic about your extra curriculars because they mean something to you. Do not be afraid to join greek life, play intramurals or join the theater. Again, medical schools value well-rounded and unique applicants, so let yourself stand out!
10. Take the MCAT A good score on the MCAT is a must. The MCAT is used to test your success in medical school courses. Most students take this in the spring of their junior year, however if you finish your pre-requisites early, it is ok to get this out of the way. As a member of AED, you can receive discounts on The Princeton Review and Kaplan prep courses .
11. Apply! The American Medical College Application Service, more commonly known as the AMCAS, is the general application you fill out to be sent to the medical schools of your choice. This application becomes available online in early May of your junior year and can be submitted starting in early June.
The application includes: Transcript Detailed list of courses and grades Personal Statement - http://www.revisionmed.com Work and Activities (15 maximum) MCAT scores
After you submit this primary application, schools may or may not send a secondary application asking for additional information or essays. If the school likes your secondary application, you may then be invited for an interview.