Whoever wants to study medicine in the United States needs to understand well what pre-med is. That’s because there the process to graduate as a doctor is different here in Brazil, since the medical course is done as a master’s degree. Did you find it confusing? Then check out our full explanation on this topic!
What is pre-med?
“ Pre-med ” is the term that people (mainly college students) in the USA use to demonstrate that they are interested in studying medicine and that they are taking the necessary classes to get there. In fact, there is no course called ” pre-med “; this is just a term to let people know that you have plans to be a doctor. You can study Chemistry and be pre-med , for example.
Students say they are in the pre-med to inform others about their career goals and to ensure that they are taking the correct classes to enter the medical course. For example, if you just tell your faculty advisor that you are studying Biology, he will focus on ensuring that all requirements for that particular course are completed. However, if you inform that you are studying Biology and are also in pre-med , it will work for you to take all the necessary classes to enroll in medical school.
Likewise, if you are applying for a job and declare that you are in the pre-med , those responsible for the selection process will know that you plan to become a doctor, and are more likely to be offered positions related to the field of Medicine.
Best courses for pre-med
Now that you know what pre-med is, you may be asking yourself: “what course, then, can I take?”. Well, there are several of them! According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, just over half of all students enrolling in the medical school graduated in biology. The others graduated in several other areas, including Humanities, Mathematics, Social Sciences and Physics.
In that case, it is important that you choose a course that gives you the opportunity to fulfill all the requirements of medical schools. These requirements do not follow a standard, but some of them can be:
- One year of Biology (with laboratory)
- One year of General Chemistry (with laboratory)
- One year of Organic Chemistry (with laboratory)
- One year of Physics (with laboratory)
- At least one semester of Biochemistry
- One area of Mathematics (some faculties require calculation, some require statistics, others require both)
- A year of English
Keep in mind, however, that this is just the minimum you need to be accepted into a medical school. To increase your chances of entering, you can take classes other than these. In that case, you can attend science classes each semester, so that you can be fully prepared. Examples of other classes you can take include: genetics, public health, ethics, microbiology, human physiology, psychology, sociology, writing classes, among others.
In addition, you will need to send your MCAT grades, a specific exam for medical courses. The average MCAT score is 500 (out of a total of 528 points), and the grade of students accepted into colleges is around 509. Therefore, you must achieve at least that score.
You can also focus on extracurricular activities focused on the health field, such as volunteering in a hospital or other clinical setting. This shows that you are committed to becoming a doctor and that you have the necessary skills to become a good professional in the field. Recommendation letters also help in the selection process.
Here are some undergraduate courses that can help you with pre-med :
This is the main choice for those who qualify as “ pre-med ”. If the university has a variation of the course as ” Human Biology“, even better. That’s because you will be taking classes on a variety of subjects, but the focus will always be on the body and human health. You can take classes in genetics, human physiology and neurobiology, among other areas.
Many pre-meds are studying psychology, especially those planning to become psychiatrists. However, psychology is important regardless of the medical specialization you desire, since every medical professional can benefit from studying how humans think, make decisions and react to different situations.
Chemistry / Biochemistry
The biological sciences are more popular with pre-med students , but you will also need to have a good knowledge of chemistry to be able to attend medical school. Proof of this is that there is an entire section of Chemistry in the MCAT. So this is definitely a good course for those who are pre-med.
As much as the Philosophy course is not related to the Biological Sciences, it can still be quite useful in pre-med . That’s because in it you will learn about ethics and how to think critically, skills and knowledge that are important for people in the medical field.
There are a small number of colleges that offer real pre-med courses , but these programs tend not to be widely recognized. For example, no major university offers a course that is actually called “pre-med”. In addition, medical schools are not particularly impressed with these degrees, since, as we mentioned above, basically any course can be pre-med , as long as you take the necessary classes.