Medical School Requirements
You Want to Go to Medical School but Didn’t Major in Biology, Biochemistry, or Chemistry…Now What?
Medical school is a demanding and competitive journey – and an incredibly rewarding one. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in medicine, don’t let the fact that you didn’t major in biology, biochemistry, or chemistry discourage you. While these majors are common among pre-med students, they’re not required.
Med school requirements
There are, of course, medical school course requirements to get accepted. Most medical schools require applicants to have taken a year of general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and English composition. Some schools also require biochemistry, genetics, and statistics.
These medical school course requirements will also help you prep for the other requirement for all med school applicants: the MCAT standardized test. It assesses your knowledge of natural, behavioral, and social science concepts, along with problem-solving skills.
In addition to medical school course requirements, non-academic med school requirements include:
- Letters of recommendation. Medical schools require applicants to submit letters of recommendation from professors, mentors, and others who can speak to their academic ability, work ethic, and personal qualities.
- Personal statement: This med school requirement is an opportunity for applicants to tell their story, explaining why they want to become a doctor. It’s important to write a thoughtful and authentic personal statement that reflects your unique experiences and motivations.
- Interview: After reviewing their applications, most medical schools invite applicants to an interview. This is a chance for applicants to learn more about the school and for the school to learn more about the applicant.
In addition to the above medical school requirements, some medical schools also ask applicants to complete a certain number of hours of shadowing or volunteering in a healthcare setting.
Tips for applying to medical school
If you did not take a traditional premed major, here are some tips for how to still be accepted to medical school:
- Make sure you complete all medical school course requirements. Postbaccalaureate Prehealth programs offer prerequisite courses, which are often tailored to preparation for the MCAT exam.
- Get good grades in your premed courses. Medical schools are highly competitive, so it’s important to get good grades in your premed courses. This will demonstrate your academic ability and your commitment to a career in medicine.
- Take additional science courses. Additional science courses can help strengthen your application and prepare you for the MCAT. Consider taking upper-level biology, chemistry, and physics courses, as well as courses in related fields like neuroscience, physiology, and pharmacology.
- Get involved in research. Research experience is a valuable asset for any medical school applicant, regardless of major. Look for research opportunities at your undergraduate institution, a nearby medical school, or a hospital.
- Volunteer in healthcare settings. Serving as a healthcare volunteer is another great way to demonstrate your commitment to medicine and gain valuable experience. Consider volunteering at a hospital, doctor’s office, or free medical clinic.
- Get strong letters of recommendation. Make sure you choose professors and mentors who can speak to your academic ability, work ethic, and personal qualities. Quality letters are an essential med school requirement.
Additional tips for how to go to medical school
- Start planning early. The earlier you start preparing for medical school, the better. This will give you enough time to complete all medical school course requirements, get good grades, and gain valuable experience.
- Get help from a premed advisor. A premed advisor can help you navigate the medical school application process and develop a competitive application.
- Perform well on the MCAT. It’s crucial to start preparing for the MCAT early – and to give yourself plenty of time to study. You will only want to take the exam after earning competitive scores on full-length practice exams.
- Apply to multiple medical schools. There are a variety of medical schools in the United States, each with unique admissions criteria. Cast a wide net and apply to various schools to increase your chances of acceptance.
Know that graduating with a major other than biology, biochemistry, or chemistry provided you with a different set of skills and preparation that can be valuable to medical schools. Follow the tips above to complete your preparation for a successful application to medical school and future as a physician.
Why NWHSU’s Post Baccalaureate Prehealth Program?
In our Post Baccalaureate Prehealth program, we can help you meet med school requirements and prepare a strong application for medical school.
If you meet our admissions requirements, our program allows you to take premed courses and prepare for the MCAT – two important medical school requirements.
You’ll also receive individualized attention and won’t get lost in the crowd. Learn in a small community from caring faculty while working with a dedicated advisor to help you prepare a successful med school application.