Department of Biology
Pre-Medicine Program of Study at
- FRESHMAN YEAR
- SOPHOMORE YEAR
- JUNIOR / SENIOR YEAR
FRESHMEN - First, look at the options in health care that our graduates have pursued after they get their degree from us.
Here is what it takes while you are here at SJC:
1. COURSES - Work VERY HARD at Introductory biology and Introductory Chemistry. Doing VERY WELL in these two courses does MANY things for your chances for getting into medical school. IF YOU STUDY HARD YOU GET:
3. OTHER THINGS TO DO AS FRESHMEN
A. LAB PARTICIPATION - Medical schools want to know if you can work in a team, work carefully, and are on time and dependable. So do your work in Lab and make sure that you understand how to follow procedures or how to use the data you get.
B. ACTIVITIES -
Nintendo expertise will not impress them
4. CHARACTER - More and more medical schools are asking for a letter of reference from Student Affairs. They look to see if an applicant has had trouble with drugs, or major trouble with alcohol or the law. These would greatly hurt your chances
5. MEDICAL OPTIONS - Many of you, when you think of medicine, think of Doctors called MDs. Are you aware of how many areas there are in the medical field where you can be taking care of patients without being an MD doctor? There are Osteopaths who do most of the same things as MD doctors. Podiatrists do surgery, rehabilitation, medical care, etc. but specialize on knee, ankle and foot. This is a fine career because MANY people (e.g. infants with deformities, athletes with injuries) have problems in these areas. Chiropractors are the first choice for many people with neck and back problems. Physician Assistants do 80% of what Doctors do by assisting Doctors. Dentists make a major contribution to overall health and enjoyment of life. Physical Therapists can return the injured to full activity and Occupational Therapists can help those with permanent disabilities to still enjoy a wide range of activities. Dental and Physical Therapy Schools are as tough to enter as MD and DO schools.
You can get into Osteopathic schools with slightly lower GPA and MCAT than are needed for Medical MD Schools. Podiatric and Chiropractic schools are significantly easier to enter than the Osteopathic and MD Medical Schools. A Physician Assistant needs much less schooling and has more regular work hours than a Doctor but still makes a very good living.
WHAT IS THE MCAT? This is the test that all students seeking admissions into medical schools must take. It is a test that takes an entire day. Most take it in second semester of Junior year. It tests you on the information that you learned in Introductory Biology, Introductory Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Physics. It also has a writing section to test your ability to read and to express yourself in written word. It and your GPA are the two GREATEST factors for your entrance into medical schools. For information on the MCAT, click here.
WHAT IS THE DAT? This is the test
that all students seeking admissions into dental schools must take. It is a
test that takes an entire day. Most take it in second semester of Junior year.
It is much like the MCAT. It and your GPA are the two GREATEST factors
for your entrance into dental schools. For information on the DAT, click here.
1. Look in the Medical School
Admission Requirements book in the library. It tells you what you need to
get into any
2. COURSES - Work VERY HARD at Organic Chemistry and CVA. It helps keep up your GPA and Organic Chemistry is one of the areas tested heavily in the MCAT test. If you plan to take Physics next year, be sure that you WORK HARD AT CALCULUS, it will help a lot in Physics. Physics is tested very heavily in the MCAT test.
3. GRADES - As I said to the freshmen, SJC Bio majors need to be getting about a 3.8 or 3.9 GPA if they want to get into M.D. Medical School and 3.7 or higher to get into D.O. Medical School, Dental School or Physical Theray School. If you were a little below this last year, work hard this year to get your grades up. If your GPA is lower than 3.3 you need to start looking at the other options like Podiatrist, Chiropractor or Physician Assistant. See the "Options" and "Remedies" section further down in this letter.
4. LAB PARTICIPATION - Medical schools want to know if you can work in a team, work carefully, and are on time and dependable. So BE ON TIME, WORK CAREFULLY, DO ALL YOUR WORK. Make sure that you understand how to follow procedures or how to use the data you get.
5. ACTIVITIES - As I said to the freshmen, Medical Schools like to see that you were able to get good grades while doing something else. They look to see if you have done things that show you are a leader, care about people and really are interested in being a doctor. Examples of activities that impress them were already mentioned above in the freshman section.
DO NOT WAIT, GET INVOLVED IN SOMETHING NOW. As sophomores, you know enough to be able to tutor freshmen or be lab assistants. Working with Dr. Brodman's research projects will teach you important experimental skills. Professor Haskell works in exciting areas with important ties to Medical activity.
6. CHARACTER - More and more medical schools are asking for a letter of reference from Student Affairs. They look to see if an applicant has had trouble with drugs, or major trouble with alcohol or the law. These would greatly hurt your chances.
7. OPTIONS: By now you have at least a year's worth of College grades. Take
a realistic look at how you are doing. If your GPA is above 3.8 you are on
track to get into
No matter what your grades, do not be afraid to examine Osteopathy, Podiatry, Chiropracty or Physician Assistant areas of Health care. These have many options for working with patients and practicing the healing arts. They can take fewer years of training, pay a NICE income, and give you more spare time to be with family or friends. Information on each can be found over the internet or in our information area in Science room 204.
Juniors / Seniors - Medical Options & Courses of Action
Check out the different careers in medicine. Examine possible schools on the internet. In Junior year you will apply to take the MCAT or DAT if you need it for your application process. Most of our students who do well on the MCAT recommend taking the elective Human Medical Physiology in the Junior year. Students typically take the MCAT in April in their Junior year. This gives them time to retake it if they do not do well the first time. For information on the MCAT, click here. For information on the DAT, click here.
Apply to medical schools at the very beginning of your senior year. Applications to American MD medical schools is through AAMC. Click here for application to AAMC. Application to DO medical schools is through AACOM. Application to Podiatric, Chiropractic, and PA schools is done individually. Application to
AS YOU LOOK
- 1. ARE YOUR SIGHTS SET FOR THE
RIGHT LEVEL? If your interest is in providing health care, you can do
that as an MD, DO, DPM, Chiropracter or PA. Your grades may be too low to get into one or
two of these options but just right for getting into another. Look below for typical grade levels
- 2. ARE YOU WILLING TO GO TO SCHOOL AFTER GRADUATION? There are post graduate programs that have VERY GOOD acceptance rates into medical schools. Look at the "Post Graduate" section below.
M.D. DOCTOR - MD Medical schools are the HARDEST TO GET INTO. The average Medical school will expect you to have MCAT scores of 27 or more (total) which means an average of 9 on each individual area plus a GPA of about 3.6 or more. We find that our majors who get GPAs of 3.8 or better and get MCAT totals of 25 or more have a 90% acceptance rate at their home state's MD medical schools.
D.O. DOCTOR ("Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine") - In general, D.O.s have fewer options in specialties than an MD, but if your interest is basic medicine (family doc, pediatrician, obstetrician, etc.) the D.O. is an excellent profession with all the same rights as an MD. The average Osteopathic Medical school will expect you to have MCAT total scores of 23 or more plus a GPA of about 3.5 or more (a higher GPA can compensate for a lower MCAT and vice versa). We have students who do not get into M.D. schools but do get into D.O. schools.
PODIATRIST (DPM) - Don't think poorly of this career. The Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) can choose from among various specialties in medical and surgical care of the foot, ankle and lower leg. A Podiatrist works shorter, more regular hours than a typical D.O or M.D. A Podiatrist's starting salary is around $80,000. The American Podiatric Medical Association says podiatrists in private practice can earn up to $260,000 annually.
- The Chiropractor is concerned with all the health needs of his
patients but concentrates mainly on the spine and nervous system, especially
chronic back pain. A chiropractor works shorter, more regular hours than a D.O
or M.D. The average Chiropractor salary is (rural) $100,000, (city) $200,000 or
more. Dr Jim Pucka, 866-4499 in
For admission to a school for Chiropractic or Podiatric Medicine, you should have a GPA above 3.20. You may or may not need to take the MCAT. You can get into Chiropracty or Podiatry with MCAT scores averaging 7.
PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT - PA schools are increasing in number as the need for PAs increases. PA school takes about two more years after graduation from College, so you can be earning a living much more quickly than if you become a doctor. Not many of our majors go into PA, but a GPA above 3.2 should allow entry into Physician Assistant schools.
WHAT IF YOUR GRADES and or MCAT are not good enough to get into
FIRST, you can retake the MCAT. This only makes sense if you have reason to
believe you will get higher scores.
SECOND, you can choose another area of medical practice. The main options are listed above.
THIRD, you can seek to enter a Master's program that will let you get higher grades, have "special" acess to a medical school and have a career if you still can not get in. This option is discussed below.
1. A ONE YEAR PROGRAMS – Many universities with Medical Schools
have 1-2 year programs geared toward students with a BS who did not get
2. GOING FOR A MASTER'S DEGREE -
This option is affected by where you want to attend medical school. It is usually best to go to a graduate school that is attached to a medical school. Seek a degree that will show your interest in medicine (anatomy, microbiology, physiology, etc.). Some schools have master's programs geared toward students seeking entry into medical school. At I.U.P.U.I. in
Master of Medical Science: This program takes about 12 students a year but is geared mainly toward minority students.
Master of Science in Physiology: This is a good program to apply for if you are put on IU Medical Schools "Alternate list." It is hard to get into, the average MCAT score is 3 points lower than the medical school's (you will probably need at least an MCAT total of 22 or more). 75% of the students in this program get into medical school in one of the next two years. You will take many of the same courses with medical students. NOTE, If the medical school accepts you before you begin or while you are in the program, you just go to the medical school. Any courses you passed should transfer to the medical school.