Choosing a Major/Minor The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) Medical College Admissions Seminars Medical School Applications Beyond the Numbers The Nontraditional Student Minority Medical Education Program Writing a Personal Statement Letters of Evaluation How to Interview Effectively Monetary Decisions for Medical Doctors (financial aid before and during medical school) UIC College of Medicine Pre-Requisites Regional Medical Schools' Web Sites StudentDoc.com web site (various useful resources for pre-med students, including a medical school finder ("Are Your MCAT Scores and GPA Competitive?")) (validity of information not verified) Concise Information Sheet for Medical School Preparation.
The Non-Traditional Applicant (Adapted from a presentation by Erin Graham, Director of Admissions, SIU School of Medicine, at the Medical School Admission Seminar, November 1, 2003).
It will be necessary to explain the previous year(s) of poor grades and to show that he/she is not the same person now as before. If the applicant had poor grades when he/she was in college before, then he/she needs to prove that he/she can do better now. Non-traditional applicants are often hard for admissions committees to evaluate. Most admissions committees look at the most recent coursework, usually science courses. A non-traditional applicant may have to do twice as much work as a traditional applicant to prove that they are a competitive applicant. If the student is truly more capable and more focused now than they were before, he/she will be able to earn high grades (only A's and B's) in the current upper level science coursework. If the applicant had good grades, but took the coursework a long time ago, it may help to take higher level courses before applying.
Published information for the 1997-8 entering class indicates that the acceptance rate (not the same as the matriculation rate) for all majors, with three exceptions, is between 38 and 43%. Courses in computer science applications, writing, and statistics are also valuable. We would recommend a minimum of four semesters of biology for that purpose. In addition to the sciences, you need to have a well-rounded education in the humanities and social sciences; don't neglect these fields. Most students interpret that as requiring a major in the sciences, but you should actually choose a major that interests you and in which you have some talent. We have found that two semesters of biology is not sufficient for good performance on the MCAT. Regardless of your major, you will need to take a substantial amount of biology, physics, chemistry and math, with good grades. Although most students do major in the biological or physical sciences, there is no one major that will guarantee acceptance into medical school. The three exceptions are majors in medical technology, nursing, or pharmacy, which are at a distinct disadvantage in the application process (22-28% acceptance). A major in science accompanied by a minor in some non-science field provides evidence of a broad background and interest. Minimum requirements for most medical schools are one year of biology, two years of chemistry, and one year of physics. Choosing a Major/Minor Your undergraduate academic program should include courses that give you a solid foundation in the sciences. Some medical schools require calculus; others don't. Back to top. Your biology courses should give you a sound basis in general biology, zoology, genetics, cell biology, molecular biology, physiology, and biochemistry.
Students should plan to apply to medical schools the summer after the junior year--don't wait until fall of the senior year. Dean for Administration and Finance, Pritzker School of Medicine, Univ. The AAMC site has extensive information for students about planning for medical school, taking the MCAT, preparing the AMCAS application, and attending medical school. This is one of the most valuable resources available to pre-medical students. of Chicago, at the Medical School Admission Seminar, November 1, 2003). The AMCAS application materials should be usually on-line by mid-April from a link on the AAMC site and more directly at the link for student information about the AMCAS application. Beyond the Numbers (Adapted from a presentation by Sylvia Robertson, Asst. Plan to spend a substantial amount of time on your application and especially on your personal statement.
A free summer enrichment program for underrepresented minority students is available through AAMC at http://www.smdep.org/ Letters of Evaluation.
Your depth of coursework and knowledge in science should be comparable to that of a new graduate. You certainly need to take the minimum required courses, but you also need to go beyond that to be a competitive applicant. Your grades in upper level courses are the most important. When you are applying, provide evidence of your determination to be a competitive applicant, of your maturity, and of useful experience that has contributed to your committment to medicine. Various other considerations:.
Questions applicants should ask themselves include:
As part of this symposium, the participants proposed attributes desirable in physicians. The Arnold P. Gold Foundation (a public foundation dedicated to humanism in medicine) held a national symposium in 1998 co-hosted with the University of Chicago to discuss the barriers to sustaining humanism in medical education imposed by the medical school admissions process. Medical school applicants should demonstrate these nine attributes in both their applications and in their interviews.
Department of Biological Sciences.
Please refer to the current SIUE undergraduate catalog or the Biology Department Web Page for detailed specialization requirements.
How to Interview Effectively. CAS Advising is now providing a centralized evaluation letter service--ask your Advisor for the waiver forms before you talk to your evaluators. Make sure that you give your Advisor a copy of a waiver form for each evaluator for your file. Evaluators should send their letters and forms directly to your Advisor at SIUE. The medical schools prefer to receive a single packet containing all of the evaluation letters for each student. Your Advisor will gather your evaluations together and send a packet of them to each medical school to which you apply.
There are minisessions on choosing a medical school, applying, interviewing, writing personal statements, being a nontraditional student, financing, etc. These seminars would be valuable even to students who are not applying to Illinois medical schools. Students planning to apply to medical school should plan to attend a medical college admission seminar at least once, preferably before fall of junior year. They are free and generally last all day on a Saturday. Medical School Applications. For more information, talk to your Advisor. They are presented by the eight Illinois medical schools, who all have representatives there to talk to prospective students and to provide information about their schools. There is usually a panel discussion with current medical students who answer questions.
Knowledge of science and medicine and personal ability contribute to skillfulness. Applicants with a GPA of over 3.7 and MCAT scores of 11's are routinely rejected by medical schools--Why? The schools are looking for more than numbers--in addition, they are looking for signs of inner strength and many other qualities. A well-rounded liberal education in a person who is emotionally, physically, and mentally healthy is likely to support these skills. The concept of duty includes taking responsibility for your own actions, being service oriented, and feeling an obligation to other people and a responsibility to society. Knowledge of cultural issues, acceptance of diversity in patients and colleagues, and ability to communication effectively with people whose backgrounds are not similar to one's own are valuable attributes for a physician. A physician should be a person who places a high value on humanism, self control, altruism, knowledge, skill, and duty, and who is willing to dedicate his/her life to service to others.
There is no need to hurry to finish the courses necessary to prepare you for medical school. Taking the minimum number of science courses to meet the requirements is not enough. You need upper level biology courses (such as microbiology, cell biology, biochemistry, advanced physiology) not only to be successful in medical school, but to be a competitive applicant, no matter what your major is. A non-traditional student, even more than a traditional one, has to be better than the competition in terms of their credentials. It is a sign of maturity to plan a curriculum that will make you a competitive applicant, no matter how old you are.
Minority Medical Education Program.
The experience of having and keeping a full-time job is important. Having supported yourself and perhaps a family is a responsibility that many younger students may not have had to accept. Your life experience is valuable. Usually, non-traditional applicants are among the most dedicated medical students, because they have made more sacrifices to get to the point of applying to medical school. How can a non-traditional applicant compete with a traditional applicant? A non-traditional applicant may have a variety of experiences that the traditional applicant does not. If you have had a different major or a different career from most students, you will have a different perspective on patients and on the practice of medicine that you can communicate to other students.
You need to think realistically about the demands of medicine and medical school. Considerations:.
The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).
Are you a non-traditional applicant? Are you a non-science major, or older than most applicants? Or both? If so, you may have concerns that are different from other applicants.
REALITY: The age at which you enter medical school is a personal choice, and depends on how you deal with the problems of time, sacrifice and cost that medical school involves. SIU School of Medicine graduated a woman over 50 last year. MYTH: You are too old to go to medical school.
What do medical students wish they had known when they applied? Partly, that admission to medical school is not all about the numbers (grades and MCAT scores). Medical schools do not want to accept students who will be a failure in medical school because they have not taken a rigorous science curriculum and are not capable of success in medical school. The numbers and grades can suggest whether the applicant has an adequate background and ability, but they are not the only important factors in choosing among applicants.
It is acceptable to have more than one MCAT score sent to a medical school. On the other hand, students may have more time to prepare for the August test date, so taking it then may mean they don't need to repeat it later. The best time to take the MCAT is in April of the junior year. You can register on-line for the MCAT at a link on the AAMC web site. This ensures that the medical school will have the MCAT scores in hand at the time they begin to evaluate applications. It has descriptions of the various sections of the MCAT and sample questions of each type. The MCAT covers biological sciences, physical sciences, thinking, problem solving, and writing. Medical College Admissions Seminars--Don't miss them!. The MCAT Interpretive Manual has replaced the paper MCAT packet. The AAMC site has extensive information for students about planning for medical school, taking the MCAT, preparing the AMCAS application, and attending medical school. Students should plan to take the MCAT after completing chemistry and physics and at least two years of biology, but not necessarily calculus. The current MCAT testing calendar is at this link. This is one of the most valuable resources available to pre-medical students. Different schools have different rules about how many scores they look at. It also permits the student to decide to retake the MCAT in August if they want. MCAT tests are computer-based.
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