Medicine is a popular career choice for Wabash students, and each year we send between 10 and 20 graduates off to medical school, with an acceptance rate of over 90 percent. A rigorous science background along with strong liberal arts coursework provides excellent groundwork for aspiring physicians.
In 2015, medical schools began to reassess their prerequisite coursework. The AAMC (American Association of Medical Colleges, aamc.org) continues to provide clarity to future applicants about these prerequisite course requirements as the information becomes available. Students should stay in contact with the Wabash pre-health advisor, Jill Rogers, as this process continues to unfold.
In order for Wabash students to be prepared to sit for the MCAT2015 (the revised MCAT, which launched in the spring of 2015) and enter medical school, they should take the following courses:
- At least one year of Biology (111, 112); Genetics (211)and Cell Biology (212) recommended *
- One year of general chemistry (111, 241) *
- One year of organic chemistry (221 and 321) *
- One semester of Biochemistry (361) *
- One semester of Psychology (101) *
- One semester of stats (Psych 201) - some schools
- One semester of Sociology (PSC 201/SOC 201)*
- Additional psychology coursework if possible (e.g. Social Psychology 222, Abnormal Psychology 223, Cognition 231, Sensation and Perception 232, Behavioral Neuroscience 233) *
- One year of physics (109/110, or 111 /112)*
* These courses will help prepare students for the MCAT, and therefore should be taken before a student sits for the MCAT2015 exam.
(Calculus is no longer required at most medical schools. However, demonstrating a solid background in mathematics is important for medical school admission, and taking Calculus and/or Statistics can support a student's application)
As you can see, pre-meds need to take quite a few courses in order to feel confident about the MCAT2015. With this in mind, consider several approaches:
- If you come to Wabash with very strong math and science preparation and test into at least Calculus 1 (MA111), you might consider doubling up on your sciences from the beginning (first semester). Speak with your freshman advisor about this, because starting out your first semester with two labs is challenging and not for everyone!
- If you decide to take only one science course your freshman year, you will likely be considering either Chem 111 or Bio 111. Choose first based on your interest. But if you don’t have an inclination one way or the other, enrolling in Chem 111 freshman year will allow you to sequence your science coursework in a way that makes the most sense.
- Consider a gap year in between Wabash and medical school. Most college students do not like to think about adding another year to their journey towards physicianhood. However, for many students, taking an extra year to prepare for medical school makes a lot of sense. Here’s why--In order to matriculate directly into medical school from Wabash, students need to take the MCAT at the end of their junior year. This gives students only three years to prepare for the science and social science content listed above. For some, this is challenging but workable; for others it is unrealistic. Medical schools will respect the decision to take the time necessary to be a competitive applicant, and it will give you another year to learn about your future calling. All of this demonstrates maturity and perseverance, two very important qualities for our future doctors. Work with your pre-health advisor and your academic advisor to navigate the path that is right for you, and to look over gap-year options between Wabash and medical school.
Each medical school determines their own prerequisites, so students will need to visit the websites of medical schools they are interested in to determine exactly what they will need to take as an undergraduate. This information can also be found in the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) reference site.
Visit here for more information on the MCAT exam.
There is a central application service for medical schools, called AMCAS (for allopathic medical schools) or AACOMAS (for osteopathic medical schools).
Typically a student needs a minimum of a 3.5 out of 4.0 GPA to be competitive for medical school. Medical school takes 4 years to complete, followed by a residency program which is a minimum of three years. To practice medicine, candidates must pass a series of board exams given throughout their educational career (USMLE).
For more information on pursuing a career as a physician, contact Jill Rogers.