Frequently Asked Questions

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What paths have other pre-med students taken?

Paths have been varied:  Some have majored in traditional “pre-med” fields like biology or chemistry. Others may have traveled along less traditional paths like physical education or nursing.

Some students take direct routes - graduate in May, and start dental school in July or September. Others take indirect routes - from Brockport to medical school via graduate school or after working.

What is the best academic preparation for a pre-med student?

The brief answer is: take the courses that will prepare you for the national admissions exams you need to take for the type of school you are interested in.

Overall there are common minimum requirements for success on these national exams:

  • 2 years of biology - BIO201, 202, 301, 302
  • 2 years of chemistry - CHM 205, 206, 305,306
  • 1 year of calculus - MTH 201, 202
  • 1 year of physics - PHS 201, 202
  • 1 year of English composition - ENL 112, ENL 305

Now mix in courses that will sharpen specialized skills you may need to demonstrate:

  • For example, the dental admissions test (DAT) has a perceptual skills section so a course or two in the plastic arts like sculpture or jewelry making might be useful.
  • Strive for your best performance in each of these courses.  The admissions committees expect that your G.P.A. for these courses will be in the 3.5 range.

What is the best major for a pre-med student?

Many students choose a biology or a chemistry major.  The two years of biology and two years of chemistry you need to take as preparation for the admissions tests move you a long way toward completing one of these majors. But our best advice is to choose as your major a subject that interests you deeply and in which you will excel.

Students with dance majors and physical education majors, who have planned for and done well in these premedical science courses, have also gone to medical school.

What is a good time-table?

Usually you will take the national admission exam in the spring of the year you will be applying for admission (so spring of your junior year if you will be applying in August/September of your senior year).  So it is imperative that you start your required courses the first semester of your freshman year.  Plan to see your pre-medical advisor as soon as possible to work out a program of study and prepare your application.

  • First year

    • Meet with your pre-med advisor to plan your four-year program
    • Complete first year courses
  • Second year

    • Meet with your pre-med advisor to plan your clinical experiences and research participation
    • Complete second year courses
  • Third year

    • Implement plan for clinical and research experiences
    • Prepare/review for national admission exam, pre-med committee evaluation
    • Complete applications to programs by August in consultation with your pre-med advisor
    • Complete third year courses
    • Possible summer research experience
  • Fourth year

    • Submit applications by September
    • Complete coursework
    • Continue clinical and research experiences
    • Complete secondary applications
    • Prepare for interviews at professional schools

What else should I do/know?

Besides success in your academics, clinical and research experiences, and good scores on the national admission exam, other activities that will make you a stronger candidate may include:

  • Leadership roles - on campus or in the community
  • Interpersonal skills - work settings, campus organizations, sports teams, teaching assistant
  • Fluency in a second language
  • Evidence of sincere human concern
    • volunteer experiences in many settings
  • Evidence of manual dexterity
    • hobbies, courses
  • Become informed on issues relevant to your intended profession such as:
    • health services for uninsured
    • prescription benefits
    • end of life treatment
    • personal responsibility for healthy lifestyle
    • social drug/prescription drug abuse
    • stem cell research
    • genetic therapy
    • cloning 

Last Updated 10/27/20

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