Congratulations on being admitted to a pre-med program! All the hard work you have put into your academics in the last couple of years has finally paid off, but if you’re planning on a career in the medical field, your work is only just beginning. Pre-med will be your first main challenge in pursuing your dream, and you need to prepare carefully if you want to make it through the selection process.
Start Studying for the MCAT
The MCAT, or the Medical College Admission Test, is used as the standard exam for those seeking admissions to AMA-accredited programs. It’s often considered one of the toughest preliminary admission exams out there. The exam covers four sections (biology, chemistry, psychology, critical analysis) and takes place over a lengthy 7.5 hours.
Due to the tough syllabus and questions, it’s never too early to start studying for the MCAT exam, especially during college. You will need a lot of prep materials which includes books, notes, and test papers. Make sure you’re choosing high-quality materials. For example, get the best MCAT prep books to maximize your chances on the actual exam. Your MCAT studies can give you an upper hand in your pre-med classes as well.
Reach Out to Your Advisor As Soon As Possible
The role of an academic advisor is an important one, especially if you’re gunning for a career in STEM fields. This is doubly important for pre-med since there are almost innumerable branches and specializations in the medical field. A good advisor can help ensure that you stay on track and fulfill all the basic pre-med requirements.
Reaching out to an advisor can also help you get a sense of what the program will be like in practice, get advice for classes to sign up for, and so on. A written recommendation from your academic advisor can make a favorable impression when you actually start applying to med school, so don’t ignore this aspect.
Know Your Long-Term Plan
You will have a hard time focusing on what you need to do if you don’t have a long-term plan. Being a doctor is a noble ambition, but it’s also a long road filled with many hurdles. By the time you finish both med school and college, you’ll likely be in your mid to late twenties. Investing in such a lengthy period of time requires deliberate planning.
Your long-term plans need to account for med-school admission and the financial investment behind your studies. You’ll also want to determine how to maintain a social life and participate in extracurricular activities. Once you get through med school, there are other things to consider, such as applying for a residency program, passing your medical license test, and finding a job.
Connect With Other Pre-Med Students
While preparing to begin your pre-med program, reach out and connect with other pre-med students in your program. Your school and program likely have events set up, either virtually or in-person, to help incoming students get to know one another. Take advantage of these opportunities.
Doing so will provide you with like-minded people to communicate and make friends with. By working on your preparations together, you can pool resources and help each other out in studying. This also gives you built-in accountability partners.
Remember to Relax and Enjoy the Summer
Last but not least, don’t forget to relax and enjoy the summer. While preparation is important, you also need to remember to enjoy the current moment. If you just graduated from high school, you owe it to yourself to relax and enjoy life a little before devoting yourself to your college and pre-med studies for the foreseeable future. Make memories that you can carry with you for the rest of your life!
If you’re short on cash, you can also start working part-time to save up some money. Training to be a doctor is expensive, from the MCAT prep materials to medical school itself. It can never hurt to have some extra savings.
Be Ready for the Long Run
Preparing for college can seem overwhelming under any circumstances, and getting ready for a pre-med program can seem even more so. However, with enough planning and preparation, you can pull it off!