Medical School Preparation Guide
A publication of Denison University's Office of Career Exploration & Development.
CAREER Exploration & Development at d e n i s o n u n i v e r s i t y 306 Burton D. Morgan Center Granville, Ohio 43023 740.587.6656 740-587-6357 (fax) denison.edu/career firstname.lastname@example.org medical School Preparation Guide Contents (CLICK ON A SECTION TITLE TO GO TO THAT PAGE) Using this Guide........................................................... 3 Denisonâ€™s Acceptance Data.................................... 3 Things You Need to Know.......................................4 Admissions Factors.................................................... 5 Academic Credentials.........................................6 MCAT.......................................................................... 7 Life Experience....................................................... 7 Application............................................................... 8 Letters........................................................................9 Interview....................................................................9 Four Year Plan..............................................................11 Online Resources........................................................13 Useful Links............................................................13 Additional Health Careers................................13 Other Helpful Sites............................................. 14 FAQs............................................................................... 16 Using this Guide This Preparation Guide is a resource to assist students interested in pursuing graduate school in the healthcare field, specifically medical school. The guide is a collaborative effort of Denison’s science faculty and Career Exploration and Development (CE&D). The purpose of the guide is to help Denison students succeed in their curricular advising, course selection, school selection and application process. Students who are applying to graduate programs in the health sciences benefit from curricular advising from both their faculty advisor and from CE&D. This new and unique partnership between faculty and CE&D has positively impacted Denison students’ acceptance rate into medical school. Denison’s Medical School Acceptance vs. National Average D E N I S O N U N I V E RS I TY CAREER EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT MEDICAL SCHOOL PREPARATION GUIDE | 3 Things You Need to Know No single formula guarantees acceptance to graduate school. A practicing pediatrician may need different personal and academic qualifications from a research pathologist, for example. But here are things we have noticed that many successful Denison applicants do: 1. They engage enthusiastically in their whole undergraduate education Students choose a major – science or non-science – that interests them, and pick challenging courses outside the major that also interest them. Because they are interested in learning, they do well in their courses. Their professors get to know them and can provide them with strong letters of recommendation. 2. They do well in the required premedical science courses Whether a student’s major is in science or non-science, they have the genuine interest and scientific understanding that shows in their work in the required premed courses. 3. They show accomplishment and leadership outside the classroom Students get involved with something worthwhile that they love doing – volunteering, mastering a musical instrument, conducting research, engaging in a leadership role within a student organization, etc. 4. They have contact with doctors and hospitals During the two or three years prior to applying for medical school, they shadow, intern, work, or volunteer with doctors and/or in hospitals. 5. They have an MCAT score of 30 or higher 6. They have a science GPA of 3.4 or higher Things You Need to Know -‐ Charts Na?onal Average -‐ MCAT 4 3.5 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 MCAT SCore Grade Point Average Na?onal Average -‐ GPA 2011 2012 2013 3.67 3.68 3.69 Na(onal Average 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Na(onal Average 2011 2012 2013 29.2 29.5 29.5 SCHOOL 4 | MEDICAL PREPARATION GUIDE Minimum Course Requirements -‐ Updates DENISON UN I VERS I T Y CAREER EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT Admissions Factors LETTERS LIFE EXPERIENCE INTERVIEW ACADEMIC CREDENTIALS (GPA) APPLICATION MCAT faculty-led support CE&D-led support Faculty will take the lead in helping students plan their academic coursework to align with medical school requirements. In addition, faculty will be the primary providers of letters of recommendation and evaluation. Career Exploration and Development (CE&D) will take the lead in helping students develop their life experiences, including internships and externships. CE&D will also provide mock interviews, assist with test preparation (MCAT) and review application materials; including resumes, personal statements, and collegiate transcripts. Please seek out CE&D as you navigate the application process as this process requires students to use AMCAS, the American Medical College Application Service. D E N I S O N U N I V E RS I TY CAREER EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT MEDICAL SCHOOL PREPARATION GUIDE | 5 Academic Credentials - General Pre-Requisites Faculty Admission requirements for the 125 allopathic and 18 osteopathic medical schools in the U.S. and the 16 schools in Canada can be found in the Career Exploration and Development Library in the Medical School Admissions Requirements resource produced by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Students interested in attending a specific school should visit the institutionâ€™s website to learn what courses are required for admission, then build their course schedule accordingly. Students are strongly advised to complete prerequisite courses by the end of junior year before taking the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). This means the General Chemistry and Biology courses should be taken during the freshman and sophomore years, and the Organic Chemistry and Physics courses should be completed during the sophomore and junior years. Career Exploration and Development has compiled a list of medical schools that Denison students have applied and matriculated to with MCAT, GPA, Recommendation Letter requirements and Prerequisites. (See table on page 4.) Below are the minimum course requirements that map with Denison courses: Minimum course requirements for most medical schools: 1 year Biology Biology 150, 201 Notes: BIOL 150 is pre-req and CHEM 131 is pre- or co-req for BIOL 201; Biology majors must complete BIOL 150 and BIOL 201 by end of 2nd year 2 years Chemistry Chemistry 131: Atoms and Molecules: Structure and Dynamics (General Chemistry designation for Medical School) Chemistry 132: Organic Structure and Reactivity (Organic Chemistry, one semester designation for Medical School) Chemistry 251: Intermediate Organic Chemistry (Organic Chemistry, one semester designation for Medical School) Chemistry 258: Intermediate Biochemistry ((General Chemistry and Biochemistry designations for Medical School) Notes: BIOL 150 is pre-req for CHEM 258; 4 Chemistry courses must be taken in sequence (131, 132, 251, 258) starting in the fall semester (ideally during the first year). Pre-med students should not wait to take CHEM 131 in the spring. 1 year English FYS 101 + one literature course 1 year Physics Physics 121, 122 Notes: MATH 121 or 123 is pre- or co- req for PHYS 121; 2 Physics courses must be taken in sequence (121,122) starting in the fall. SCHOOL 6 | MEDICAL PREPARATION GUIDE DENISON UN I VERS I T Y CAREER EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT 1 year Math Math 102, 121, 123, 124 Notes: Some medical schools require 1 year of calculus; Denison math placement test determines placement into MATH 121 or 123; Calc AB/AP score of 4 or 5 place into Math 124; MATH 123-124 required for chemistry, biochemistry, and physics majors. Both PSYC 100 and SA 100 is recommended, but not required, for students preparing for the 2015 MCAT. Students should contact individual medical programs to learn specific minimum and recommended course requirements for programs of interest. Students should work with faculty academic advisors to craft specific course scheduling plans. Students planning to take the MCAT at the end of the junior year typically take FYS 101, 2 semesters of Biology, 4 semesters of Chemistry, and 2 semesters of Math during the 1st and 2nd year. Physics is typically taken during the 2nd or 3rd year, unless the student is pursuing a Physics major. The MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) CE&D The Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT) is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess the examinee’s problem solving, critical thinking, writing skills, and knowledge of science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine. Scores are reported in Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, Writing Sample, and Biological Sciences. Almost all U.S. medical schools require applicants to submit MCAT exam scores. Many schools do not accept MCAT exam scores that are more than three years old. *Students taking the MCAT 2015 will need the Introduction to Psychology (PSYC-100) and People, Culture and Society (SA-100) courses. Testing Eligibility: A student may take the exam up to three times in one calendar year, but may register for only one test at a time. Check with CE&D to learn more about help with MCAT preparation. Life Experience CE&D Students should focus on the quality in addition to the quantity of their life experiences, with a particular focus on their relevance to the healthcare industry. Students are encouraged to participate in internships, externships, research, service and extra-curricular activities that reflect their interest in a medical career. Students should consider the following when selecting their life experiences: • • • • • • • Healthcare Related (the unwritten requirement) Experience in a lab or a clinical health setting Experience that helps in gaining a realistic picture of career options Experience with patient contact Internships/Externships Experience that occurs during school, and/or over breaks Experiences contributing to a successful healthcare career D E N I S O N U N I V E RS I TY CAREER EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT MEDICAL SCHOOL PREPARATION GUIDE | 7 • • • • • • • • • • Experience to help determine areas of interest Research Experience in a lab or clinical setting Experience with publications, presentations or posters Service Experience that demonstrates a commitment to helping others Experience to help increase awareness of the needs of people who are unlike you Extracurricular Balance while keeping a strong GPA Opportunities to demonstrate leadership skills For additional information about internships and externships, please talk to CE&D and visit the Students section of CE&D’s website (denison.edu/career). To learn more about research opportunities, please talk to your faculty advisor and visit the Gilpatrick Center’s website (denison.edu/campus/gilpatrick-house). Application CE&D Career Exploration and Development will assist students with their application. Below is general information about key application process components: Primary Medical School Applications Primary application will go to one of two centralized application services in the United States. AMCAS is the service used by all allopathic (M.D. conferring) medical schools and AACOMAS is the service used by all osteopathic (D.O. conferring) medical schools. When applying, students submit their application electronically via the AMCAS and/or AACOMAS websites. Secondary Applications Most schools require a secondary application in addition to the primary application. Once the primary application is received, schools that require a secondary application will contact the student directly requesting a secondary application. Secondaries generally require that a student respond to several additional essay questions that are generally more school-specific. Be mindful that some schools ask all applicants for a secondary application, and other schools ask only preferred applicants for secondary applications. There are additional processing fees associated with submission of secondary applications. These fees usually range from $35$100 per school. Personal Statements/Essays The personal statement is a student’s chance to shine and to set themselves apart from other applicants. It is essential that students demonstrate the personal qualities that will make them an excellent physician. They should tell a story; not revisit their resume. The student should make it informative and engaging. Make sure that the statement is clearly written and grammatically correct. Students should visit the Writing Center and share their personal statement for review with Career Exploration and Development staff. Sample personal statements can be found here. SCHOOL 8 | MEDICAL PREPARATION GUIDE DENISON UN I VERS I T Y CAREER EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT Letters - Recommendation/Evaluation Faculty Denison University request students use individual letters. Individual letters provide faculty a voice that is explicit and targeted over the composite letter. A letter of recommendation should attest to the student’s maturity, ability, character, and integrity. Letters from professors and advisors carry more weight than letters from friends or employers, unless the employer can directly address a student’s potential as a physician. When requesting a letter of recommendation, provide faculty with the following: copies of your transcript, resume, and personal statement. Denison uses individual letters with AMCAS and has partnered with Interfolio. Students need to provide faculty with the AMCAS ID and Letter ID to upload the letters OR the Interfolio information. Additional information on Interfolio can be found on the Career Exploration & Development homepage. Select the student tab and open the section on Graduate and Professional School. Interviews CE&D Most medical schools will complete an interview with the applicant to compliment the “paper credentials” in the application. Students should be prepared to demonstrate their communication skills, personality, goals and motivations for attending medical school. Interviewing skills are developed and perfected similar to any other skill – through PRACTICE. Career Exploration and Development will coach students on basic interviewing strategies and will conduct mock interviews to help students practice. The medical school interview is the final and most important aspect of the application process. For this reason, a few important facts should be remembered to maximize positive results. Not all applicants are granted an interview. The interview should not be approached with anxiety and fear. Realize that the interview is to your advantage. It gives you a chance to add some personality to the AMCAS application. • Be on time! There is nothing more negative than showing up late for an interview. • Dress professionally and look like a doctor. Never wear jeans. Look clean and neat. • Be friendly and courteous. The interviewer should be treated as a friend, not as an adversary. • Be yourself. Be honest. Don’t ever make the mistake of getting caught in a lie. • Speak clearly. Think before you speak. Try to ask questions yourself. D E N I S O N U N I V E RS I TY CAREER EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT • Never argue with the interviewer. You don’t have to agree with the interviewer’s opinions, but avoid arguments. It only creates negative tension. • If a complicated question arises which requires time to develop a response, let the interview know that you have to think about it for a minute. Don’t simply say the first thing that happens to pop in`to your head. • RELAX! Try to be at ease before the interview to avoid looking nervous. MEDICAL SCHOOL PREPARATION GUIDE | 9 Questions You Might Be Asked: 1) When did you decide on medicine? What motivated you initially to choose a career in health? 2) What qualities do you have that will make you a good physician? 3) What qualities make a good physician? 4) Outside of medicine, discuss your main interests. 5) What was your favorite subject? 6) What was the most distressing aspect of your premedical training? What was the most useful aspect of your premedical training? 7) How do you account for the fact that you did so well in school? OR How do you account for your poor performances? 13) If you were conducting an interview, what questions would you have as an applicant? 14) What problems do you see in the health care delivery system as it is presently organized? What recommendations would you make for changes/improvements? 15) Applicants should have thought about and be prepared to discuss current ethical and social issues within the profession, e.g. socialized medicine, euthanasia, etc. 16) Why do you want to become a physician? 17) How would you describe yourself? 18) Have you had any clinical or non-research health-related experiences? 19) Do you like research? Why or why not? 8) What would you change in the premedical requirements? 20) If physicians’ incomes were the same as teachers’ incomes would you still go to medical school? 9) Why do you want to attend this medical school? Is this your first choice? 21) Have you thought about a solution to any international political crisis? 10) If you don’t get into medical school, what will you do? 22) How do you plan to help people when you become a physician? 11) What are your weaknesses? Strengths? 23) How do you relax and have fun? 12) Do you think there have been significant gains for minorities in medicine? Can you suggest ways to improve existing mechanisms for recruiting minorities? 24) Why should you be accepted over any other applicant with similar qualifications? MEDICAL SCHOOL 10 | PREPARATION GUIDE 25) What involvement do you think the patients have in the healing process? Psychological? Spiritual? DENISON UN I VERS I T Y CAREER EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT Four-Year Plan First Year • Meet with faculty advisor to plan appropriate course schedule • Meet with CE&D to discuss maximizing your out-of-classroom experiences • Intentionally get to know faculty • Earn the best grades possible • Remember that important life experiences, including summer research, off campus study and internships require advance planning Sophomore Year • Meet with faculty advisor to plan the classes needed for the MCAT or other relevant tests • Look for opportunities to conduct research with faculty • Complete externships with medical professionals in your areas of interest • Plan for off-campus study, summer research and/or summer internship • Finalize major selection • Become familiar with the relevant informational resources • Continue shadowing, volunteering and gaining experience within the healthcare industry Junior Year • Begin MCAT preparation Fall • Browse/research medical schools/programs Late Winter/Early Spring • Register for MCAT and continue preparation • MCAT Essentials Booklet at www.aamc.org/mcat • Practice test at www.aamc.org and www.learningexpresslibrary.com • Fee Reduction Deadline/Financial Assistance Program for MCAT – download application : www.aamc.org/students/applying/fap Spring • Take MCAT • Schedule to retake if dissatisfied with scores • Request information and visit schools • Begin asking for letters of recommendation from faculty; they must submit them to AMCAS with your AAMC ID# and AMCAS Letter ID • April: AMCAS application system open for creation of account. • May: Access the application • Develop and review application materials with CE&D Summer • Retake MCAT, if necessary • Finalize list of schools/programs • Complete AMCAS application • Note specific application requirements/deadlines (EDP –Early Decision Program deadline, August 1st) • Regular program deadlines span from Sept.-Dec; don’t wait until the deadline to apply! • Submit transcripts, due 14 days after regular application. Do NOT be late! Senior Year Fall • Last MCAT testing for the year (September) • Receive/complete secondary application requests from schools interested in your candidacy • Draft essays and have them reviewed by faculty and/or a CE&D staff member • Prepare for interviews with CE&D • Investigate financial aid options • AMCAS final deadline for allopathic schools (Oct. - Dec.) Winter/Spring • AACOMAS final deadlines for Osteopathic schools (Dec.-Feb. –Osteopathic Schools do not use AMCAS application process) • Acceptances Arrive • Let faculty members and CE&D know where you have been accepted! D E N I S O N U N I V E RS I TY CAREER EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT MEDICAL SCHOOL PREPARATION GUIDE | 11 Early Decison Programs: August 1 Deadline Early Decision Programs (EDP) allow students to apply early and seek admission to just one school. If you are an outstanding applicant and are set on attending one certain school, this may be the choice for you. Guidelines for EDPs requires the application and transcripts be submitted to AMCAS by mid-June and must be submitted by August 1. Students cannot apply to other programs if they are applying to an EDP until they have received confirmation they were not admitted under the EDP, which occurs on or before October 1. If this is the case, students can then enter the general rolling admissions process at any school. MEDICAL SCHOOL 12 | PREPARATION GUIDE DENISON UN I VERS I T Y CAREER EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT Online Resources Useful Links • American Medical College Application Service • Medical College Admissions Test • Interfolio • Association of American Medical Colleges Additional Health Careers Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine • Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Allied Health Professions • Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions Audiology • Audiology Foundation of America • American Academy of Audiology Chiropractic • Association of Chiropractic Colleges • American Chiropractic Association Genetic Research or Counseling • Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology • National Society of Genetic Counselors Health Administration • Association of University Programs in Health Administration • American College of Health Executives Nursing • American Nursing Association • Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges D E N I S O N U N I V E RS I TY CAREER EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT MEDICAL SCHOOL PREPARATION GUIDE | 13 Nutrition • The American Society for Nutritional Sciences Occupational Therapy • American Occupational Therapy Association • American Occupational Therapy Foundation Optometry • American Optometric Association • Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry Physician Assistant • American Academy of Physician Assistants Physical Therapy • American Physical Therapy Association Podiatry • American Podiatric Medical Association • American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine Speech Therapy • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association • National Student Speech Language Hearing Association Veterinary • Most veterinary schools require additional courses in biology. Students are encouraged to visit the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges for a complete list of schools and prerequisite courses. Other Helpful Sites ExploreHealthCareers.org FREE information on health careers, enrichment programs and educational funding for minority and low income students who are interested in healthcare careers. Student Doctor Network Pre-health professions web site. Great advice from other students preparing for medical, dental, and pharmacy school - including interview feedback, student blogs, and chat rooms. MEDICAL SCHOOL 14 | PREPARATION GUIDE DENISON UN I VERS I T Y CAREER EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT US Department of Labor Hot Jobs Employment website. See what the hottest jobs in the U.S. are. You wonâ€™t be surprised to see they are in healthcare! Hastings Center Report Health ethics web site. Discussions that lead to reflection on the ethical and social issues of medicine and medical science. Washington Highlights AAMC web site. Updates on legislation important to the medical field. American Medical News News source for physicians. An online newspaper for news pertinent to physicians. The Next Generation Pre-med and medical student web site. Presents interesting and relevant medical information to students and general interest groups. D E N I S O N U N I V E RS I TY CAREER EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT MEDICAL SCHOOL PREPARATION GUIDE | 15 Frequently Asked Questions 1. Is there a required major for medical school? Students are not required to be a biology, chemistry, physics or biochemistry major to go to medical school. However, students must have enough background in these areas to do well on the MCAT and to complete the prerequisites for medical school. Students should choose a major of interest, but remember that admissions committees will examine the difficulty of the academic program, evidence of academic achievement beyond regular course work, and evidence of intellectual growth. Many students attending medical school in recent years were either biology or chemistry majors, and many had a double major in another area. Following this path can really strengthen the application as it allows students to meet the prerequisites required by medical schools and sets them apart from other applicants. DO NOT DOUBLE MAJOR IN THE SCIENCES! Choose majors such as biology and art or chemistry and English. Students need to also consider alternative future plans in case they don’t get into medical school or if they decide not to apply. Choose major(s) with alternative careers in mind. There are many health-related careers outside of medicine. 2. Does my GPA matter? YES! Medical schools are looking for students who can handle the academic rigor of the program and undergraduate GPA is a strong reflection of your capabilities. However, there is no specific number that is the minimum to be considered competitive. GPA is a very important factor, but GPA alone is not the only academic factor considered. The GPA of accepted candidates depends on each specific person and how their application and background compares to the other applicants for that specific program. There are many factors that impact your competitiveness as a candidate and GPA is definitely one of those key factors. 3. Is the MCAT required for all medical schools? Almost all members of the Association of American Medical Colleges require the MCAT. The few who do not still highly encourage taking the MCAT and state that not taking the MCAT puts the candidate at a serious disadvantage. 4. Do medical schools ask for my undergraduate conduct report? “Were you ever the recipient of any action by any college or medical school for unacceptable academic performance or conduct violation even though such an action may not have interrupted your enrollment or required you to withdraw?” The AMCAS, used by most medical colleges, will ask this question in the application. Trustworthiness and good judgment are essential qualities for those seeking a career as a MEDICAL SCHOOL 16 | PREPARATION GUIDE DENISON UN I VERS I T Y CAREER EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT health professional. As you go through college, know that your behavior reflects your character, judgment and honesty. Any reported missteps will SERIOUSLY diminish your chances of admission. 5. Does my credit score matter? Students should expect to borrow money to pay for medical school. In order to be able to get loans, you will need to have a good credit rating. Medical schools have rescinded an acceptance when a studentâ€™s credit rating was poor. D E N I S O N U N I V E RS I TY CAREER EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT MEDICAL SCHOOL PREPARATION GUIDE | 17 306 Burton D. Morgan Center Granville, Ohio 43023 740.587.6656 740-587-6357 (fax) denison.edu/career email@example.com