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Apply to Med School When The Time is Right
Develop a "Plan B"
"Best Advice” to prepare for med school and/or to build your resume and enhance your life experiences
Choose a major that interests you!!
Become a well-rounded, broadly educated, interesting person!
Develop a 4-yr dream resume
as a goal setting exercise, then work to make it happen with extracurricular activities, volunteer/work experiences, honors, target GPA etc.
Develop good study and time management skills, particularly during your freshman year!
Focus on learning your coursework and on maintaining a high GPA!
Take 15-18 credits per semester, but be sure not to overload during your freshman year. Successful applicants to MD programs have an average GPA of 3.65-3.70 and to Doctor of Osteopathic programs have an average GPA of 3.50.
Take your pre-med courses early and evaluate whether medicine is right for you—test your interest and your aptitude!!!
Develop your personal, interpersonal, and leadership skills.
Practice and demonstrate personal attributes and strengths (leadership, involvement, service, volunteerism etc.) that carry through your 4 years, that will show up in your application and reference letters, and that set you apart from other applicants. Do a mixture of things that interest you.
Get involved and build a strong resume
through extracurricular activities. Get involved in fun, interesting activities/clubs as well as professional activities/clubs that relate to your major and intended career.
Consider a mixture of volunteer activities, maybe target one each semester.
Consider joining the Honors Program to enhance your education and to be around a high-achieving, motivated, and interesting peer group. Consider an Honors living community.
Consider study abroad and/or national student exchange.
Consider getting involved in undergraduate research.
Consider developing your leadership skills.
Apply for awards or other recognitions, such as the ASUI Outstanding Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Awards.
Get volunteer medical experience in health/clinical settings.
Find out if medicine is right for you!! Volunteer, work, observe, and spend hours over the summer and during the school year. Spend time with health care workers, physicians, and patients!! Show that you are serious about medicine and be able to justify through experience that you know that you want to be a doctor. Maintain a formal work/volunteer log as most med school applicants will have several hundred hours of volunteer time. Consider different volunteer experiences that engage you. See local volunteerism examples and contacts in the UI pre-med manual:
Develop strong relationships with faculty mentors and other professional references.
Get to know your professors from day one, and set a goal of finding at least one professor each semester who knows you well enough to write a reference letter for summer jobs, scholarships, honor nominations, and ultimately for med school. Then, you will easily be able to choose your top 3 or 4 profs. Ask for advice, and share your goals.
Find meaningful summer work, internships, and/or research experiences.
Examples include biomedical research (INBRE at http://inbre.uidaho.edu/) and NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) (
Prepare early for the MCAT
(Medical College Aptitude Test, similar to SAT/ACT) by buying a study guide and/or check out the guides on reserve under Pre-Med in the library. As you cover the material in your courses, look over the pertinent questions to assess your knowledge and understanding.
Have fun and don’t take life and school too seriously.
Just set your goals, gradually get going, and you will be surprised at how quickly your resume grows.
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