The 9 Pieces of the Pre-Med Puzzle
(a quick rundown as explained to me by my Pre-Health Advisor)
- GPA: Varies with the Medical school you are applying to. Includes overall GPA and BCPM (Science) GPA. Consult the AAMC Medical School Admissions Requirements for more information.
- Standardized Test Score: This includes the MCAT, or the DAT for pre-dents. Consult the AAMC MSAR for more information.
- Shadowing: At least one generalist and one specialist, for at least 40 hours each; shadowing 3 or more physicians is even better. You would ideally want one of these to be able to write a letter of recommendation about your patient contact skills.
- Leadership: Sustained involvement in organizations allows you to develop your ability to lead others. Does not need to be medically related to be meaningful.
- Personal Statement: Allows you to explain why you have chosen to pursue a medical career directly to the admissions committee. Avoid telling, but rather show through your experiences how you arrived at the decision to become a doctor. Start writing it early and have as many people read it as possible.
- Community Service: Being a physician means leading a life of service. Early and sustained involvement in volunteering will allow you to show commitment to service. Can include hospital volunteering and medical mission trips, but again does not need to be medically related.
- Research: A taste of research is recommended, such as a summer internship or semester as a research assistant, though not as important as shadowing.
- Interview Skills: Proper preparation for the admissions interview is essential. Many schools tend to use stock questions (“Why medicine?”), be prepared to answer these as well as other questions such as on ethics or healthcare, and questions about your application.
- Letters of Evaluation: At least 6 letters, 3 from science faculty, 2 from non-science faculty, and 1 “wild card” (from a research PI, physician shadowed, or employer).
Hope this helps!