You may have heard the term “pre-med” before…but if you are not planning on going into the medical field, you likely don’t know what it entails. Pre-med is short for pre-medical….aka before going to medical school. When a student is planning on becoming a doctor their undergraduate years are also referred to as the “pre-med” years.
If your school was anything like mine, about 99.9% of 18 year olds come into university declaring that they are “pre-med”. Naturally because of the rigor and difficulty of the pre-med courses, MANY students get filtered out of this declaration.
So what exactly do the pre-med years entail?
Freshman year of college–> General Chemistry 1 &2 , English literature & usually a math course
Sophomore year–> (The dreaded) organic chemistry 1 & 2, Biology 1 &2, Statistics
Junior year–> Anatomy & Physiology, Anatomy Lab, Biochemistry
Senior year–> Physics 1 & 2
*Now-this might not seem like a lot of courses….because it’s not. These are just the courses that are required to enter medical school. But students also have to fill their schedules with classes that fulfill their major requirements.
In order to get into medical school, you have to do MUCH MORE than just pass these courses with high scores. In addition to getting good grades, students must add other extracurriculars to their resume to show that they are good community members and have a passion for leadership, service & medicine.
This was my list of extracurriculars:
-Exec board of Cardiology Club
-Volunteer at community hospital
-research assistant at cancer center
-research assistant in a pediatrics lab
-research assistant in an exercise physiology lab
-employee of the UW-Madison athletic department
-AP Bio & Chemistry tutor for high school students
-German club member
-Women in Science member
-Emergency Room Tech
*Some medical school applicants have MANY, MANY MORE extracurriculars to mention.
Another major factor of the pre-medical years is taking the MCAT. This is an 8 hour exam & your score on this exam is a big factor on your medical school application.
Students spend anywhere from 300-700 hours studying for this exam…because IT IS A BIG DEAL.
Nothing about my pre-medical years was easy…but it really was a lot of fun and I learned how to be an EXPERT at time management!
Hope this helped give you a better understanding of what “pre-med” actually means! 🙂