Did you know that in the 2020-2021 Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), over 50,000 applicants put in their submissions to the US medical schools? This number alone paints a picture of how competitive the US medical school field is and how tough it is to get into medical schools. The number of students applying to a medical school significantly outnumbers the total number of spots available.
That means the competition amongst aspiring doctors and physicians is more fierce now than it ever was. However, there are few steps that an aspiring medical student can follow to prepare before applying to any medical school in the country. These days, the medical field requires doctors as diverse as the patients they will come across. Therefore, medical schools are now focusing upon well-rounded individuals who will bring a fresh perspective to the field of medicine.
Considering how tough it is to get into medical school, it will help to prepare for the medical journey. Here are some things you need to do in your pre-med journey to increase your med school chances. Let’s have a look.
Consult With an Advisor
If your school or college has one, meet the pre-health advisor and get an appointment with them. Consult with the pre-health advisor and devise a plan to get to where you want to go. It would be best to ask detailed questions about the timeline to apply to a medical school.
Additionally, gain insight into which pre-med courses you need to undertake at school to prepare for the med school and the best order to undertake them to succeed. The advisor will also have knowledge regarding health-related work experience, lab experiences, and internships.
In case your school doesn’t have a pre-health advisor, worry not. You can head to the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP) ‘s website to find health professional advisors to guide them.
Head to as Many Health Professions Fairs as Possible
It is a time-consuming and expensive affair to visit all medical schools that you’re planning to apply to. However, health professions and career fairs are your best friends as they offer information about various medical schools, programs, and admission-related information in one place. You’ll get to know about various colleges, their requirements, and admission processes in one place.
Find Resources and Mentors
The next most crucial step towards medical school is to get experience to decide if the field is right for you. Reach out and make connections with mentors who can help you with the medical school application process. Your campus might have a career center where you can get access to guidebooks and web resources. Be regular to these centers to stay in touch with resourceful connections.
Seek Out Clinical Experiences
One of the best ways to prepare yourself for medical school and the profession is to get the first-hand experience of what the profession is like. Only when you are acquainted with the nuances of the profession and know what it takes will you make your mind about it.
The best way to do so is to start volunteering at the local hospital. Additionally, you can opt for shadowing a healthcare professional to understand what a typical day in the life of a healthcare professional is like. Another option is to look into the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP). This is a 6-week enrichment program for first and second-year college students interested in attending medical or dental school.
Start Preparing for the MCAT
Once you have made up your mind that medical is the right profession for you, that’s when you must start preparing for the MCAT exam. All medical schools in the United States and some in Canada accept MCAT scores for admission. Start preparing for the test and take it when you are ready.
Have a consultation with your advisor and create a plan for when you should take the test, how to work on your problem areas, and more. There are test prep materials available online, which should help you cover all the basics.
Additionally, there are study material resources where you can get science help online for various topics and their understanding. These web resources cover almost every subject, from medical to everything under the sky.
Get To Know AMCAS
Once you have appeared for the MCAT and are happy with your score, the next step is American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). This is a centralized medical school application service. This service lets you apply to many colleges with a single form.
However, it’s an extensive application and cannot be filled in one sitting. It requires personal statements, voluntary activities details, and the coursework you have undertaken. Therefore, it would be best to familiarize yourself with the process.
These are the steps to prepare yourself for medical school application best. While the pre-med process is exhaustive and the medical school even more so, the profession itself is one of the oldest and most respected professions with unparalleled job satisfaction. Therefore it’s all worth it in the end.