Jump Start Your Path to Medical School

Preparing yourself for the path to medical school doesn't have to be a daunting task. To reach your goals, you'll want to complete as many science and math courses as possible. This includes the following courses:

  • Biology (with lab courses)
  • Chemistry (with lab courses)
  • Organic Chemistry (with lab courses)
  • Algebra
  • Calculus
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

Humanities, Art and Foreign Languages

It is important to excel in English. If your high school offers Latin (or better yet, Greek), the study of these languages would be ideal since the names of many diseases and parts of the body are derived from these two languages. Most medical schools also require near-fluency in a second language, so it's best to get started with learning at least one foreign language and developing a working knowledge of perhaps a second one. Going into a pre-med program with a second language will also become a valuable skill in your role as a physician. You may find yourself dealing with patients whose native tongue is not English, or you may end up working in a foreign country.

Taking an art class, especially a drawing class, is also valuable if you're thinking of become a pediatrician or even surgeon. It's always beneficial to be able to draw a realistic elephant or giraffe on the arm of a youngster who has to endure the pain of a shot!

Once you've finished high school, college beckons. Again, there are many pre-med programs that will help you on your path to med school. Besides the academic component, some of these programs often require internships in the medical field as well as volunteer work. 

Gaining Additional Experience

Volunteering at a free clinic or hospital will help give you a better idea of what medical school will entail. If you are lucky enough to have a family friend who is a physician, see if it's possible to shadow him or her as they make rounds in either a hospital setting or even within their own practice. Other options include enrolling in an EMT or paramedic training program. This kind of training gives you valuable hands-on experience that will be useful if you later end up working in a hospital emergency room as a physician or even as a surgeon. 

Tags: healthcare, medical technology

Julie McCoy

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