Name: Peyton Goethe

Major(s) and minor(s): Double major in Neuroscience and Psychology

Favorite class you took at Michigan: Split into science and non-science, below.

Non-science: AAS 245: Islam in Africa, with Dr. Rudolph Ware — something I didn’t know much about but has contributed greatly to the person I am today

Science: PSYCH 345: Human Neuropsychology—arguably what inspired my interest in combining Neuro and Psych fields of study, awe-inspiring to see the intricate mechanisms that help dictate our behaviors and daily lives

When/How did you study for the MCAT: Take summer off from classes to study. Try to truly immerse yourself in the content by doing daily practice questions/ passages.

When do/did you take the MCAT: January 2021

What was your pre-med experience: My pre-medical experience was far too competitive. The people surrounding me in most of my classes made me feel that since I didn’t come out of the womb wanting to be a doctor, I wasn’t a “real pre-med.” My own struggles with an inferiority complex definitely contributed to that, but nevertheless, it wasn’t an environment in which collaboration or compassion was encouraged. That led to some irresponsible academic choices (i.e. 19 credits, including taking Biochemistry, Genetics, and Animal Physiology and RETAKING Orgo I at the same time)—to this day, I cannot articulate what motivated me to make such a ridiculous schedule that looks like a joke. I think it might have been a combination of my response to the competitive nature of my surroundings as well as my unrealistic expectations of myself in order to be a physician. I always wonder if I was trying to self-sabotage myself from truly pursuing medicine on some level due to my feelings of inferiority. 

Recommendations/advice for current students: Find a niche of people who inspire you to grow, but not because they make you feel bad about any aspect of yourself—also, find close friends who can, for example, veto unfeasible schedule choices to prevent you from spreading yourself too thin when you’re not in the right headspace. Make time to decompress in whatever way works for you. Get involved in things that motivate you to pursue the career you’ve chosen. 

Classes: Again, before you look at my class schedule, please see most of this as a guide of what NOT to do. I retook four classes because of how irresponsibly I scheduled my classes. I did two spring and summer semesters and one summer half-semester. I had to do a whole M.S. degree just to have something besides my abysmal cumulative and science GPA—nothing wrong with getting an additional degree, but debt is debt. If I didn’t have to improve my academic performance, I would’ve much preferred getting an M.P.H.

However, there is also something to be said in regards to forgiveness. I look at this schedule and genuinely laugh, still shocked that I made it out of some of these semesters. I do my best to avoid festering on the subject of my previous academic shortcomings and focus on where I am now—in a job I love that challenges and teaches me on a daily basis and has significantly affected the healthcare professional that I will become.

  1st year 2nd year 3rd year 4th year

Fall

CHEM 130

CHEM 125

SPANISH 231

ENGLISH 125

UC 107

ANTHRBIO 368

BIOLOGY 172

PHIL 359

PSYCH 345

PSYCH 326

BIOLCHEM 415

BIOLOGY 226

BIOLOGY 225

BIOLOGY 305

CHEM 210

PSYCH 356

AAS 246

BIOLOGY 222

MCDB 421

MICROBIOL 405

PSYCH 402

Winter

STATS 250

SPANISH 232

PSYCH 290

PSYCH 211

UC 108

BIOLOGY 171

BIOLOGY 173

CHEM 210

CHEM 211

PSYCH 240

CHEM 230

PHYSICS 135

PHYSIC 136

ALA 472

PSYCH 250

PSYCH 413

AAS 245

ENGLISH 317

PHYSICS 235

PHYSICS 236

 

Name: Daphne Samuel

Major(s) and minor(s): BCN

Favorite class you took at Michigan: AnthrBio 363: Genes, Disease and Culture

When/How did you study for the MCAT: Studied from May 2017 through Jan 2018, Took the in-person Kaplan course fall 2017

When did you take the MCAT: Jan 2018

What was your pre-med experience: I think my pre-med was kind of brutal. I definitely had to put in a lot of effort in things that I couldn’t see the end of. The pre-med community I had around me was competitive and I found myself looking around, comparing myself to other uber-smart students rather than looking ahead at my goal of being a physician. I looked to other non-medically related organizations such as my student ministry and my a cappella group for community instead and found so much solace in the fact that being pre-med did not have to be my life. 

Recommendations/advice for current students: Find a community that supports you regardless of whether you become a doctor or not. You need balance, and they will be the first ones to put things in perspective when it seems like nothing is going your way. 

Classes:

  1st year 2nd year 3rd year 4th year

Fall

CHEM 210

CHEM 211

GTBOOKS 191

PSYCH 250

UC 150 (FY Sem)

BIOLOGY 225

PHYSICS 135

PHYSICS 136

PSYCH 230

PSYCH 326 (Research)

STATS 250

ANTHRBIO 363

BIOLOGY 226

PSYCH 308

PSYCH 326 (Research)

PSYCH 347

BIOLOGY 305

PSYCH 423 (Research)

PUBHLTH 200

Winter

BIOLOGY 173

CHEM 215

CHEM 216

HONORS 232

PSYCH 240

**

MCDB 310

PHYSICS 235

PHYSICS 236

PSYCH 326 (Research)

PSYCH 337

WOMENSTD 220

ANATOMY 403

ANTHRCUL 344

PSYCH 330 (Sem)

PSYCH 401 (Sem)

NONE (I graduated)

**Summer between 1st and 2nd year: Took the equivalent of CHEM 230 (pchem) at Oakland University

Building a List of Schools

 

Coming up with a list of schools is a time-consuming but essential process to gearing up to apply in the upcoming cycle. Being strategic about the schools you apply to can give you a great advantage during the process, and even improve your chances of getting in

 

  • The best way to begin making a list of schools is to start a google sheet of every school you are interested in, charting GPA, MCAT, applications they receive per year, OOS-friendly, etc. Then, start narrowing down until you get to the number you want!

 

MSAR MSAR MSAR ! ! !

  • Buy the MSAR! This will be your best investment all cycle, and it costs $28 for 1 year or $36 for 2 years
  • The best time to buy it is after you receive your MCAT scores and are ready to begin the application cycle
    • Without your MCAT score, the MSAR will not be as useful and it may also expire earlier in the interview cycle.
  • It is also helpful to have MSAR as long as possible in the school year to help you look up school information before interview days and making final decisions between acceptances (if you are thinking about only getting a one year subscription)

 

Distributing Your School List: 

  • If you are an average applicant, make sure you are not applying to mostly schools that are considered “safety” or “reach.” You want to distribute your list using MSAR where a majority of the schools you are applying to are “target” and then have a couple “safety” and “reach” schools.
  • “Safety” →  above 75%
  • Target” within 25-75% for GPA and MCAT
  • “Reach” below 25%

 

Secondaries

  • Most applicants apply to 20+ schools
  • Although sending in the primary application just requires ~$40 and a click of a button, completing each school’s secondaries can be a super expensive and tough process (~$70-$200 per secondary and several essays). 
  • Before you send your primary off to a school, ask yourself whether you will have the time and energy to complete the secondary. You may even want to do some brief research on what the secondary prompts have been in previous years (no guarantee they will repeat). Some schools have over a half a dozen essays, or a really long or odd prompt so you will not want to apply unless you are very invested in the school’s mission and program.

 

Tuition:

  • In-state schools are usually much cheaper (especially public medical schools
  • Some out of state (OOS) school’s will consider you an in-state resident (you’ll get to pay in-state tuition) after you’ve attended their institution for a year or two.
    • Check out school tuition policies to see if this could apply to you! 

 

Relevance: 

  • More important than metrics, extracurriculars, letters, and essays — the schools that you target can have the greatest impact on your success in a given application cycle. 
  • Most students spend months cultivating the perfect school list: doing internet research, talking to current students, and seeing advisors.
  • Make sure that you would be willing to attend every school on your list. In all reality, you may only get into your last choice – would you be ready to go there? 

 

Geographics: 

  • The first thing to consider is the geographical location of the school you will want to attend (Urban/Rural/Suburban, region of choice, etc.) 
  • Many MI medical schools, for example, are much more likely to interview and accept Michigan residents
    • If you are from the state of MI and want to stay here, the 6-7 schools in Michigan will be your best bet: focus your applications here.
  • Do your research if you’re applying to an out of state (OOS) school
    • Some OOS schools only accept applicants with strong ties to the school/region/state. 
    • Take a look at the map on MSAR to see what states the school typically takes students from. 
    • If a school shows a preference for in-state, think critically about if it’s worth spending time/money applying to that particular school. 

 

Yield: 

  • Look into how many applications that school receives each cycle. Some schools are notoriously “low-yield,” which means they receive much more applications (12,000+) or have much fewer spots (<50)  than the average school . 
    • Some examples: Drexel, George Washington, Georgetown, Temple, Boston University, Mayo, Jefferson, Tufts, etc …
  • This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just make sure your entire list aren’t only low-yields.

 

School Focus: 

  • Read school’s missions to find out what their focus is on: examples include:
    • Research (Cleveland, Stanford, Michigan…)
    • Comprehensive Patient-care (Central, OUWB…)
    • Public/global Health (George Washington, Emory…)
    • Community Service (Rush, MSU…)
  • Some schools are better for known for some specialties than other schools
    • IF you have an idea of what specialty you might want to go into, MSAR provides stats on what kinds of specialties their matriculants eventually go into → this is a great tool! 

 

Age of Applicant: 

  • Taking a gap year before medical school is more and more common these days. This puts anyone applying directly out of undergrad at a disadvantage when it comes to the application cycle. 
  • This is not to discourage those of you that feel ready for medical school after your junior year of college.
    • You can still maximize your chances by applying smart

 

January – March 

  • Attend workshops/advising hours to get all of your questions answered!
  • Begin gathering application materials! 
    • Request Letters of Recommendation (LORs)
      • Interfolio Dossier is a great resource that allows you to store all of your letters. This particular resource stores your letters for multiple years, allowing you to use the same letters for future cycles in addition to the upcoming one. 
    • Prepare Personal Statement (PS)
      • Try to have at least 3 people read your personal statement: peers as well as adult mentors; many recommendation writers will ask you for a rough draft of your PS to learn more about you.
      • Above all, your PS should be personal to your own journey to medicine! Brainstorming hard and writing extra pages will never hurt you, because you will need this material and introspection during your interview trail and beyond.
      • We do not recommend paying people to edit your PS because there are many resources available for free: including Sweetland and other pre-health students and mentors. You can also come in to our PMH peer advising hours if you want an extra person to look over it!
    • Think about what 15 activities you’d like to include in your application, and which 3 you’ll pick for your most-meaningful activities. You will have to calculate hours and gather contacts—e.g. volunteer supervisors, presidents/advisors of student organizations, bosses at employment—and find emails/phone numbers for each one. 
      • It might also be beneficial to ask one or multiple of your contacts for these most-meaningful activities for a LOR.
  • Prepare for the MCAT
    • Ideally you’d like to have your score by the time the application opens, so the latest that many people recommend scheduling your test date is in early April (it takes a month for the scores to come in).
    • With that being said, you can take it later and submit your primaries without your MCAT score – if you’re confident that you did well on the test. 
      • If you are unsure about which range of schools you will be applying to, choose one “throwaway” school where you will apply regardless, to submit AMCAS and begin the verification process on the first submission day. After receiving your score, you can add schools to send your primary to (adding schools shouldn’t delay verification). 
  • Finalize a list of schools to apply to 
    • Our Feb 2nd workshop is based on this step of the application process:
    • Get a subscription to MSAR (Medical School Admission Requirement) – the best resource for acceptance statistics. 
    • Check out-of-state schools to see if they have a preference for out-of-state/in-state applicants.
    • Ensure that all of the schools you’re applying to are ones that you are passionate about attending! 
    • Avoid too many reach schools! Be realistic, and choose schools that you have the best chance of getting into. The application process is stressful and expensive, so make the most out of your time, money, and energy!

April 

  • Request official transcripts as soon as you finish winter semester courses. This can be done through wolverine access or in-person at your academic advising center. It is usually not beneficial to wait to apply until spring/summer semester courses are graded because this will delay your application.
    • Make sure you get transcripts from ALL of the institutions that you attended! This includes community colleges you might have dual enrolled at in highschool.
  • Get chemistry exemption letters if you need them
    • Newnan states the following: “If you do not have A.P. credit, but you place directly into organic chemistry, you are entitled to a chemistry placement letter. Some schools may not accept this letter and instead will insist on courses taken on a college campus. It is also the case that some schools will not accept A.P. credit for chemistry.” 
  • Final edits on personal statement and find new editors.

May 

  • AMCAS will open on May 4
  • Can begin submitting AMCAS on May 28
  • Some DO schools have supplemental essays (secondaries) within AACOMAS while others will send a separate invitation after the submission of your primary application
  • Begin filling out your primary application

June

  • Submit primary application (by the end of June) 
    • Verification takes 3-5 weeks
    • Applicants who submit their materials first will be reviewed first, get secondaries sooner, interviews sooner, etc.
    • That being said, it is not required that you submit the first day possible; just make sure you are within the first two-ish weeks to make it into the first verification batch.
      • Submitting on June 1 vs. June 15 shouldn’t make too much of a difference, but the earlier the better!
      • Verified applications won’t likely get sent to medical schools until the last Friday of June. Therefore, there is no real difference between clicking submit on the first day or a little bit later, especially if the quality of your writing will improve.
      • DO Schools begin receiving and processing application from AACOMAS in mid-June
  • Take the time to pre-write secondaries, especially if you have other summer plans! Most can be found online, here, or on reddit/sdn: https://www.prospectivedoctor.com/medical-school-secondary-essay-prompts-database/

July 

  • Probably the busiest time of the application cycle! 
  • Start to receive secondaries → best if you can submit secondaries within two weeks of when you receive. Some schools have hard deadlines; but others don’t care if you wait longer. However, submitting earlier demonstrates your interest in the school (as long as your essays are still high-quality).
  • Once you submit secondaries, relax! You’ve done all you can at this point.

August – March 

  • Interview season commences! You can hear back anytime during these months, so don’t put yourself down if you don’t receive early interviews. Some schools, including Michigan, interview in-state applicants last so you may not hear back until winter semester. Post-interview decisions are usually made between one week to several months. If you placed on a waitlist or alternate list, you may not hear back until the very end of the cycle.
  • FAFSA opens in October! Fill it out early if possible because more funding is available at the beginning of the financial aid cycle. Start filling it out listing the schools which you’ve heard back from, because you can only have a maximum of 10 schools on FAFSA. You can also submit to one or two schools, and add more as applicable in later months.
  • Send updates to schools that you are still interested in later in the school if anything significant has changed on your application—new job, fall transcript, publications, etc. 
  • You can select “plan to enroll” for any school that you have been accepted to.

April

  • Apr 15: you must narrow down your “plan to enroll” to your top three schools.
  • Apr 30: you can begin to select “commit to enroll” for your top school, at which time all other schools that you have received an acceptance or waitlist offer are notified that you will not be attending (they will not know which school you have chosen instead, though).

May 

  • At this time, you will tend to see the most movement on waitlists. 

July

  • You will need to make a final decision about which school to attend.

This timeline is specifically for the 2020-2021 application cycle for regular decision applicants. Please keep in mind that dates may change slightly depending on the application year.  Aim for early at every stage!

 

AMCAS Timeline (MD)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


AACOMAS Timeline (DO)

Pre-Med Hub has teamed up with representatives from four different Greek Life organizations for this blog post! Keep reading for more information.

Phi Chi

Writer: Pragathi Pathanjeli

Phi Chi is one of the oldest professional fraternities in the world. At the University of Michigan, Phi Chi is one of a few co-ed fraternities on campus, and the only one with a chapter for medical students at the University of Michigan Medical School. The diverse brotherhood works to ensure that all of its members are well-rounded applicants by providing access to academic resources, talks from medical school students and doctors, volunteering opportunities, and a large network of Phi Chi alumni for informative and career-related purposes 

 Not only have I been able to meet some incredible people as a part of Phi Chi, I have also been able to take-on leadership roles and be a part of rewarding experiences such as planning a 5K, getting trained in Basic Life Support, and getting involved in the community via many different volunteer opportunities. By-far, the most useful resource that Phi Chi has provided me with are med-school talks, where I’ve been able to learn more about the application process from medical students in Phi Chi, and The University of Michigan’s philosophy from members of the Office of Medical School Admissions. 

Our Rush process officially begins the week of MLK day with the following events (see image below). For more information, visit our website under the Rush Page and come to our info sessions!

phichiumich

MED

Writer: Sydney Edwards

MED is the newest pre-medical fraternity on campus. It is a pre-health, co-ed fraternity that consists of mostly pre-medical students with a few pre-dental or pre-pharmacy students. We work to host social events, volunteering events, and professional development events to help our members develop themselves personally and professionally. We have many E-Board and committee chair positions, and each brother gets to choose a committee in which to participate.

This fraternity is very new, so there have been abundant opportunities for leadership within the brotherhood. We recently appointed two mental health chairs for the fraternity, and I feel that this position is one of the most important within the brotherhood. Mu Epsilon Delta provides resources for its members, ranging from professional development days featuring talks from doctors and medical students to biweekly support groups for brothers to talk about their lives in a nonjudgmental setting. I have found people to study with who have helped me learn much better than going at it alone. We help facilitate study groups for members to get to know their peers and excel in their classes. The mental health and academic help are two highlights of this fraternity for me. Additionally, I love the distinct personality of this fraternity. Each pre-medical frat has its own personality, and I feel that my own personality and aspirations fit very well with other individuals as well as the group as a whole. I also find that the time commitment is manageable, and the requirements are very fair.

Rush schedule 

  • Information Session 01/23 7:30-8:30 in Room D at the Michigan League
  • Meet & Greet 01/24 7:30-9:30 in Psych Atrium at East Hall
  • Speed Dating 01/28 8-10 in Hussey Room at the Michigan League
  • Application due 01/31 by midnight
  • Interviews 02/03 and 02/04 by invite

MeD WEBSITE

 

DEM

Writer: Judy Huynh

DEM is the nation’s premier professional pre-health co-ed fraternity dedicated to serving the community and uniting students of diverse backgrounds with an interest in varying health fields through leadership, professional development, and brotherhood. Our fraternity consists of members interested in medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, and public health to name a few. The Alpha Iota Chapter of Delta Epsilon Mu at U of M started in 2016, so we are fairly new but established enough to have lots of professional, leadership, and volunteer opportunities. Our national philanthropy is Camp Dragonfly Forest which is  a summer camp for kids with autism and other special medical needs. 

I knew I wanted to join a pre-health professional fraternity because I think learning about different health professions is beneficial to understanding and appreciating the health field. I made a lot of great friends through my fraternity, and I love knowing I can rely on any of them to help me with questions about the MCAT to which classes I should take. Besides e-board, we have many opportunities for leadership such as education chair, fundraising chair, DMUM committee, and others. We regularly volunteer with Ronald McDonald House and World Medical Relief. We cater our professional development events to what the fraternity wants so we have had doctors come in to talk and med school application panels. From my experience, the best thing about DEM is that I honestly feel that I can talk to any of the members and not feel judged at all.

We only hold rush in the fall because rush season takes up a big chunk of time so we want to use the winter season to get to know our new members. If you’re interested, I highly recommend you reach out to me or keep an eye out for our fall rush!

Keith Manning

Product Management

Edna White

Support Staff

PhiDE

Writer: Catherine Marudo

Phi Delta Epsilon is  one of the oldest co-ed professional pre-med fraternity on campus. This has created a vast and diverse alumni network with past-members now as current med students and residents all over the country. PhiDE is great in that is able to act both as a professional and social fraternity. Members are given the skills and knowledge needed to be successful pre-med and med school applicants through diverse workshops like: MCAT, application, backpacking, interview, and many more! Equally as important as professional development is Phamily. We are all phamily in PhiDE. Sure the resources and connections we have are great, but what truly sets us apart are the bonds of friendship and mentorship we form with each other. What better people to have in your corner than the kind and amazing people who have and are still going through this pre-med journey with you. Our members also follow the mantra “facta non verba – deeds not words.” One of the key values of PhiDE is service. PhiDE’s partner charity is the Children’ Miracle Network and fundraising events happen throughout the year for CMN. 

PhiDE has given me friends that I will carry with me for a lifetime and has made my college experience so incredibly amazing. I would not have confidence in my ability to succeed and kick butt in medicine without the mentorship, love, and support of every single person I have gotten to meet in this fraternity. I am excited to see what the future holds for PhiDE and encourage all pre-meds looking for a phamily on campus to come check mine out…we’re pretty amazing.

PHIDE WEBSITE

 

Keith Manning

Product Management

Edna White

Support Staff

 

Looking forward to next application cycle, one consideration prospective applicants have to think about is what type of schools to apply to, a big distinction between medical schools is the degrees they offer: MD and DO!  Our Pre-Med Hub staff decided that making  an  series of easy-to-navigate charts would be a great resource for all of you who don’t yet know the difference between the two, or haven’t made a decision about which ones to apply to.Please feel free to reach out or drop into advising hours for more specific assistance based on individual circumstances.

A special thanks to guest blog contributors Cindy and Daphne!

DO AVG MCAT SCORE – 2018

Applicants: 502

Matriculants: 503

DO AVG GPA – 2018

Applicants: 3.46

Matriculants: 3.56

 

 UM  AVG MCAT SCORE – 2018

MD Matriculants:  513.3

DO Matriculants: 506.2

UM  AVG GPA – 2018

MD Matriculants:  3.71

DO Matriculants: 3.48

 

MD AVG MCAT SCORE – 2019

Applicants: 506

Matriculants: 512

MD AVG GPA – 2019

Applicants: 3.58

Matriculants: 3.73

What is MD?

 

MD stands for Medical Doctor

Philosophy: closer to the idea of a traditional science-based approach, most of the emphasis is placed on the diagnosis and treatment of a patient.

  Applicants describe themselves as more “technoscientifically” oriented — driven by intellectual and technical challenges of medicine. Applicants may be more likely to pursue dual degrees with a PhD or are looking for careers as physician scientists. Many MD schools focus more on discovery and innovation than the average DO school (they have well-established research programs that draw applicants interested in pursuing academic or scientific medicine). 

There are 33 DO schools total. We only have 1 option for DO school in MI (albeit a great one).

What is DO?

 

DO stands for Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

Philosophy: holistic approach to health and considers how all parts of the body influence each other; DO schools put a heavy emphasis on prevention and osteopathic manipulative treatment.

This means mind, body, spirit are all thought to be connected. Takes into account multiple aspects to a person’s wellbeing, not just physical healthcare as what usually first comes to mind upon hearing “health”.  Osteopathic physicians focus on prevention, tuning into how a patient’s lifestyle and environment can impact their wellbeing. The focus is not on just treating symptoms.

Applicants describe themselves as more “socioemotionally” oriented — driven by patient-care aspect of medicine. Applicants are more likely to be women, or from rural communities or inner cities (underserved populations or underrepresented in medicine). DOs focus a lot on producing primary care physicians or physicians who practice in rural/underserved areas, which plays into the way they look for potential students (those with a background here could understand the needs of future patients in those areas).

There are 147 MD schools total.  In our state alone, we have 6 MD programs which may place higher preference on in-state applicants and have lower tuition rates.

Previously, MD students could only match with programs that were accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and DO students could match with residencies that are accredited by either the ACGME which meant they must take the USMLE—or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).

In July of 2020, the accreditation councils  will merge to form, allowing MD and DO students to apply to any residencies. Everyone, including DO students, will use the ACGME’s National Residency Match Program, the NRMP.

 

Pros vs Cons of MD/DO

MD

More options for residency programs and medical schools. Many MD schools are also well established — all of the oldest schools in the country are MD — so these particular schools can have better reputations when it comes to conducting research and matching into a specialty.

Many of the “top” MD schools are in big cities, which tends to correspond to high costs of living.

DO

Less statistic driven; more holistic approach to admissions.

Extra training (additional 200 hours of training learning manipulation techniques of the musculoskeletal system called OMM) means having an extra tool in your tool-belt. Learning OMM means having a strong overall knowledge of anatomy and physiology and being able to think beyond medications when treating patients.

DO schools tend to be areas that are less metropolitan, which tends to mean lower living costs aside from tuition.

Although public DO schools have a comparable cost to public MD schools, there are  more private DO schools than public.

There are very few public DO schools, so MSUCOM is unique — this explains its significantly lower tuition for in-state applicants.

Often newer schools, so less research funding, opportunities to do research, and grants or scholarships available. However, for those DO schools affiliated with an undergrad institution, like MSUCOM in relation to MSU, opportunities may be higher to find research.

Many MD schools have newly evolving curriculums to focus more on preventative care, public health, and even OMM. This may reduce the edge that DO applicants have during match in the future (big effects have not been seen yet).

Often medical students have to take both the COMLEX and the USMLE exams in order to match into a residency program.

DO

Requirement:

5300 character personal statement (recently increased from 4500 characters)

 

Must shadow a DO:

Look for UM alumni currently attending DO school or recently having graduated from it in UCAN

System:  AACOMAS

$195 for first application, $35 for following

Schools are often more flexible with secondary fee waivers

Timeline:

 1. Opens May 1 for submission

2. Very fast verification (~2 weeks)

3.Cycles run faster (faster interview cycle and begin acceptance notification faster)

4. Cycles run longer (secondaries may be accepted up to March/April for some schools, but since it is rolling admission, it is better to submit earlier)

5. Formal update process in Jan and April through AACOMAS for academic updates

Deposit:

Depends on the school, but frequently non-refundable

$200 – $3000

MD

Requirement:

5300 Character Personal Statement

Can shadow MDs as well as any other health professionals (interesting ones might be DOs, NPs, PAs, etc. to see the intersections between each career)

System:  AMCAS

$170 for first application, $40 for following

Timeline:

1. Opens May 1 for completion

2. Opens June 1 for submission

3. Verification takes longer (6-8 weeks) before secondaries start rolling in

4. No formal update process through AMCAS, so you will have to research and reach out to individual schools about updating

Deposit:

Depends on the school, but frequently refundable

$100 – $150

Common Misconceptions about DO vs MD:

DO schools are a safety/backup to MD programs. Not true because a lot of considerations go into choosing the best school for you: location, cost, interests, goals, experiences, etc.

Getting a DO degree means you can’t specialize. Although DO program curriculums are often set up to focus on primary care, DOs can actually match into any residency, which means the same specialities and opportunities are available to them if desired.

Another misconception is that you NEED to use OMM in future practice. You don’t have to if you really don’t want to, or go into a specialty that wouldn’t benefit from its usage.

Some think DOs are like chiropractors, which aren’t licensed to do surgery/give drugs. This can affect the mindset of DOs not being “real” doctors. Although there is a focus on OMM in DO curriculums, DOs aren’t limited to using their hands. They’re licensed to give medications, perform surgery, etc just as an MD, but are trained to use OMM as an intervention before those routes are taken— which can be beneficial  to the patient’s healthcare as it can alleviate the need for invasive procedures down the line, stronger drug effects and dependencies, or higher medical bills.

MDs make more money than DOs. Not necessarily true, as salary is mostly determined by the specialty you choose to go into.

 

In our latest blog series, we bring you a comparison between similar classes that satisfy common premed requirements: biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, sociology, physics, and  physiology, and physical chemistry. Keep in mind that not all of these classes are required for medical school, and that certain medical schools may accept only specific classes for a certain topic. However, if you are in the tough spot of choosing between two courses for the same topic, we hope our comparison chart can help you pick the right class for you.

We also suggest checking out the Umich Grade Guide and the LSA Audit Checklist ( if you are in LSA) when choosing your classes! Good luck scheduling!

PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY

CHEM 230

(3 credits)

  • More heavily chemistry/premed based (more aligned with the MCAT)
  • advisory prerequisite of CHEM 215/216
  • Flipped class, watch videos at home and team-based problems in class, weekly quizzes and online homework (you only need to get a certain percentage right and the professor will make it a 100% at the end), PREP course pack similar to an orgo course pack that has a ton of practice exam problems 
  • 72.5% of your grade is based on exams and the rest of your grade is based off of participation and homework OR you can have your grade solely determined by exams scores
  • Median grade: B+

CHEM 260

(3 credits)

  • More heavily math based 
  • advisory prerequisite of  CHEM 210/211, MATH 115, and prior or concurrent enrollment in PHYSICS 135 or 140 or 160.)
  • Get to use notecards
  • Covers one unit of quantum
  • Most of the grade is composed of exams but there are weekly problem sets taken for a grade.
  • Median grade: B+

BME 221

(4 credits)

  • For BME students- More engineering focused and Calc based
  • 9 homework assignments (36%), 4 exams each 15% of grade (this semester was take-home exams)  80% of it is the take-home, 20% team exam… lots of extra credit (up to 7%) 1 presentation (4% of grade)
  • Median grade: B+

GENETICS

BIOLOGY 305

(4 credits)

  • 4 midterms, all multiple choice
  • No final
  • Grading: Exams (80%)
  • Weekly* online quizzes
  • No lecture attendance taken, all lectures recorded
  • Mandatory discussion sections
  • 2 different professors
  • Extra credit for answering piazza questions
  • The first half of the class is calculation heavy and the second half is focused on molecular genetics
  • Median Grade: B

 

PUBHLTH 311

(3 credits)

  • 2 midterms, short answer + long answer
  • 1 final
  • Grading: Exams (89%)
  • Weekly* homework
  • No lecture attendance taken, all lectures recorded
  • No discussion sections
  • 1 professor
  • Fewer calculations and math than in BIOLOGY 305, but more talk about diseases outcomes and family level genetics
  • Median Grade: A-

SOCIOLOGY

SOC 100

(4 creds)

  •  For freshmen and sophomores 
  • 1.5 hours 2 times a week plus 1 hour discussion section per week
  • General sociology
  • Grade is heavily based on the work/projects your GSI assigns
  • Median Grade: A-

 

SOC 300

(3 creds)

  • For juniors and seniors
  • 1.5 hours 2 times a week
  • No discussion section
  • General sociology
  • Median Grade: A-

 

SOC 302

(4 creds)

  • Health-professions based
  • Specifically designed once sociology was added to the MCAT
  • 1.5 hours 2 times a week plus 1 hour discussion section per week
  • Exams are M/C and free response
  • Memo assignments (essays) 
  • No lecture recordings
  • Median Grade: A-

MICROBIOLOGY

MICRBIOL 207

(4 credits)

  • 3 hours of lectures each week 
  • 3 hours laboratory session each week
  • Recorded lectures 
  • Grading: 75% exams (3 or 4 exams, multiple choice and short answer), 25% Lab.
  • Median grade: B+

MICRBIOL 405

(3 credits)

  • 3 hours of lectures each week
  • No lab, but many students choose to elect MICRBIOL 350 (1 credit) in addition which is a 2 hour section once a week
  • Non-recorded lectures
  • Grading is entirely based on 4 exams
  • Median grade: B+

BIOCHEMISTRY

MCDB 310

(4 credits)

90 min, 2 times a week + 1, 90 min discussion per week

  • Usually in the afternoon/evening (around 4 PM)
  • Have to go to lecture because iclickers,  optional discussion 
  • Exams are multiple choice and short answer, final isn’t cumulative
  • Relatively more bio-based, BIO 171/172/225 -esque, not as much like orgo/pchem
  • Offered in the summer and more SLC study group supported
  •  Other project/hw grades to buffer if you’re not an exam person
  • recorded lectures
  • Median grade: B

 

BIOLCHEM 415

(4 credits)

1 hour, 3 times a week

  • Usually in the morning (around 9 AM)
  • Lecture isn’t required (no iclickers), new  required discussion 
  • Exams are 40 multiple choice questions only, 5 non cumulative exams (90% of grade)
  • Relatively more bio-based
  • Combined class with graduate students 
  • Recorded lectures
  • Weaknesses: Too early in the morning for some people
  • Median grade: B

 

CHEM 351

(4 credits)

  • 1 hour, 3 times a week
  • Usually in the morning (around 10 AM), has a discussion
  • Exams involve problem-solving questions (multiple choice, true/false, short-answer, matching and fill-ins, mechanisms, chemical drawings, etc.)
  • Relatively more chem-based
  •  Some majors require this one, precursor class to CHEM 451, more in-depth knowledge of biochem if you plan to continue in either the minor, major, or field of study (might help for the MCAT, talk to an advisor)
  •  Bigger time commitment than the other two, notoriously “hard”
  • Median grade: B

BIOCHEMISTRY LAB

CHEM 352

(2 credits)

  • 4 hours lab + 1 hour lecture
  • Scheduled for 4 hours, but can often end early. The remaining time can be used as office hours to ask instructors for help writing the reports.
  • Lectures are not required and recorded, but recommended for lab report help
  • Frequently there is quite a bit of work  to get done at home (lab reports and prereading) unlike some labs that only span the 4 hours and you never think about it until the next week
  • Median grade: A

 

CHEM 353

(3 credits)

  • Exact same lecture and lab as CHEM 352, but contains an extra discussion
  •  ULWR
  • 4 hours lab + 1 hour lecture + 1 hour discussion weekly
  • Learn to write a scientific paper
  • Median grade: A

 

BIOLCHEM 416

(3 credits)

  • 2 hours twice a week
  • Grade based on written laboratory reports, homework, preparation for the lab session, and a final paper focusing on an individual experiment or technique
  • No lecture, only lab
  • Median grade: A

PHYSICS

Physics 135/235

(both are 4 credits)

  • Most common physics sequence taken by pre-med students. Life sciences based, learn applications of physics to the human body (blood flow, lifting objects, etc.). Some content in 136/236 (labs) overlaps with 141/241 (labs). 
  • Algebra based. 
    • Physics 135: 3 midterms and a final, can drop any of the 3 midterms not the final. Grade breakdown is each exam is worth 20% (60% total), remaining 40% composed of weekly Mastering Physics problems, iClickers, and Daily Canvas quizzes.
    • Physics 235: 3 midterms and a final, can drop any exam including the final. All exams for both courses are 20 multiple choice questions. Grade breakdown is each exam is worth 20% (60% total), remaining 40% composed of iClickers and weekly Mastering Physics problems.
    • Both courses have non-cumulative midterms and a final that is ½ cumulative, ½ material learned after Exam #3. Both courses allow 1 index card of notes for Exam 1, 2 notecards for Exam 2, and so on.
    • 136/236: Only one credit. Grade is based on in-class lab reports and weekly quizzes on the manual. Overall, the courses are curved depending on GSI averages.
  • Median grade: A- for all 4 courses

 

physics 140/240

(both are 4 credits)

  • Mainly taken by engineers and individuals interested in pursuing a professional career in Physics. 
  • Calculus based. 
    • Physics 140: About half the class is graded on participation and hw, the other half is graded based on exam performance. Each midterm is worth 12% and the final is worth 16%. 
    • Physics 240: No midterms. Every two weeks there are in-class quizzes. Class participation is also recorded with clickers for accuracy. 
  • 141/241:Grade is based on in-class lab reports and weekly quizzes on the manual. Overall, the courses are curved depending on GSI averages. 
  • Syllabus and grading scheme can and does change based on professor and the term it is offered in. 
  • Median grade: B/B+/B/A- for the 4 courses

 

PHYSIOLOGY

BIO 225

(3 credits)

  • Human and Animal physiology
  • Grade is determined exclusively by 4 exams, all multiple choice, point-based, depending on the semester an A is 94% or 93%, 
  • 1 hour 3 times a week
  • 2 different professors
  • Recorded lectures 
  • iClicker points are used as extra credit at the end of the year, so attendance is not mandatory but highly encouraged
  • Median grade: B+

 

 

 

PHYSIOL 201

(4 credits)

  • Grade is determined by exams, homework assignments, extra credit assignments
  • Attendance in class not required, lectures are recorded
  • 1.5 hours 3 times a week  and optional discussion section
  • Only one professor
  • Class is held in the medical school, so may be further away from other courses on central campus
  • Median grade: B

 

 

BME 419

(4 credits)

  • Quantitative Physiology
  • 70% of the grade are based on exams, while the rest of the final grade is based on homework 
  • Each system is taught by a different professor each with different teaching styles (2-3 lectures per professor)
  • 8 system sections total
  • There is some matlab coding involved in the homework
  • Homework and exams are more math focused
  • Class sessions not recorded
  • Median grade: B+

 

Once you find a research lab or project that is interesting to you (we detail how to do this in our below research series blog posts for info on Finding Research and Types of Research), you can send them an email containing a cover letter, resume, and your schedule.

Make sure to state what you are hoping to get out of the lab before committing. Setting the expectations for what you would like your role to be can ensure that you are doing work that you want to do. Be sure to investigate the literature and written work of the labs you hope to be joining before committing. Understanding the research they do can help you to gain a better idea of what your role may be in the lab as a whole. Many UMich labs also have a website that would be helpful for you to look at because it will contain all the different projects and research questions the lab is pursuing as well as possible contact information. The following flowchart will give you a better idea of the hierarchies in many labs:

 If you are interested in joining a lab and want to reach out to them, you can usually just email the PI of the laboratory, unless there is another contact person listed on the website. Below is a good template for writing these emails. Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get a response from everyone you email, and make sure you have a couple backup labs in mind if you don’t get the one you want. Go to our first research blog post to find an email template to apply for a lab position. During the first meeting with the lab manager or PI (which may be called an “interview” if you don’t know the professor already personally, or may just be a casual meeting depending on the lab), be sure to state your intentions and expectations . For example, do you want to complete your own independent project in the lab? Are you interested in writing a thesis? Talk to the PI about being able to participate in actual research (designing projects, statistical analysis, writing up results) rather than doing the basic tasks such as cleaning dishes and making solutions. Have a solid idea of what you would like to in the lab. Some labs involve several research aspects: molecular, behavioral, or clinical research, and you will be able to choose specifically which part you want to get more involved in.

Shadowing is one of the most important extracurriculars you can do early in your undergrad. Outside of being able to put shadowing experience in your application, you will be able to learn about medicine and talk about these experiences in your essays and interviews. Many pre-meds do not know what being a doctor is really about, so shadowing as early as you can will help you make career decisions. Shadowing is also a great opportunity to see all the different opportunities in health and medicine (ex. PT, OT, nursing, NP, PA, DO, public health, clinical research, clinical psych, hospital administration, etc). You can learn about all the different specialties and positions within medicine, and seeing all these different health professionals work together in the hospital system will also allow you to determine why medicine may be right for you.

The specific specialty and location that you choose to shadow can have a huge impact on your shadowing experience. For example, private practices and clinics have fewer administrative barriers to allow students to shadow. You may be able to observe more procedures without having to wait or fill out applications and paperwork. However, one downside is that these smaller spaces may not have existing programs available for students specifically to get more involved. They are built with only enough space for the physician and a few other staff, and you may feel out of place. Bigger clinics or hospitals, on the other hand, may already have medical students and residents present so there is already observation and teaching framework in place for pre-meds to take part in.

If you shadow in a hospital, you are able to choose from a wide range of specialties. Primary care specialties or specialties in internal medicine, pediatrics, neurology, radiology, endocrinology, etc will allow shadowing students to see most or all facets of the physician role, including taking patient histories, physical exams, and interpreting test results. On the other hand, specialties in surgery, ENT, urology, orthopaedics, OB-GYN, etc will often not allow students in the operating room (though this depends on the hospital) so the shadower might only be able to observe pre- or post-operative clinics in these types of specialties. While the physician is in surgery, shadowers may have to stay in a different room and are unable to ask questions and participate, which could get boring. It is quite a bit harder, as a pre-med, to get a complete idea of these types of specialties as they may not be allowed to observe all parts of the job.

Depending on the health care professional you plan on shadowing, a cover letter is a way to express an interest in participating in a shadow experience. Below is a sample cover letter:

Dear Dr. __________:
My name is Name, and I am currently a [year in school] at the University of Michigan. I am in the process of exploring careers in healthcare and I am very interested in the field of (e.g., dentistry, occupational therapy, pediatric oncology, etc.) __________. I am in the process of seeking out opportunities for shadowing and informational interviewing in order to better understand what it is like to be a __________. I found your e-mail through the __________ website (Or, alternatively, I was given your contact information by your colleague, __________). If you are willing and your hospital/clinic/office allows students to shadow, I would welcome an opportunity to observe you work. I would also value the opportunity to have a short conversation over coffee or tea (my treat!) to hear more about your experiences and to get your advice on how to prepare for a career in medicine.
I realize that you are busy and that your time is valuable. If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach me by e-mail or phone (###-###- ####).
Thank you for your help. Kind Regards,
Name

One of the most common questions we get from new students is regarding choosing a major. The University of Michigan has a huge selection, and while we couldn’t possibly cover each one, we reached out to peer advisors and guest bloggers to help review some of the most popular majors for pre-meds here. Some of the questions we tried to answer include: when and why students choose each major, favorite classes in the majors, and a few possible disadvantages to choosing each major. Similarly, we have also covered some of the minors that students may choose to elect.

 

For more information on all of our university’s majors, visit this link. Above all, we would like to emphasize that there is no “best” or “correct” major for every pre-med or pre-health student. You should study any subject that you are passionate about! Additionally, there is no rush to choose a major as soon as you start college—most of us waited until our sophomore or junior year until we declared majors or minors. As always, for help making an individualized decision or four-year course plan, drop into our peer advising hours.

 

  • Chemistry

    • Biomolecular Science (BMS)

      • Pooja: I declared fall of my sophomore year. I chose this major because it provided a lot of flexibility with courses and allowed us to add minors and majors without overloading on courses and credits. My favorite class in the major has actually been a foreign course. I was able to travel with the UM Chemistry department to China for one month and take courses in the Zhiyuan College of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU): “Biology for Chemists and Biophysical Measurements” taught by Professor James Penner-Hahn and “Bio-Organic and Chem-Biology” taught by Professors Brian Coppola and Jean-Paul Desaulniers. This was a great experience because I only had to pay for my room and flight, not tuition, and received 4 credits, equivalent to one full elective course, for my one month of coursework. Drop into my advising hours for more information on applying! Additionally, I was able to take an ARC (authentic research connection) version of CHEM 125/126 so I got to learn a lot about Arctic and Snow Chemistry in a small course setting with a ton of instruction instead of taking the regular lab with 1000+ students.
      • Brooke: I declared BMS fall of my sophomore year. I chose this major because I really enjoyed Orgo 1 and Orgo 2, which I took my Freshman year, and I realized I wanted to take more chemistry based classes. I am also majoring in BCN as well, and I did not want to just take psychology courses the rest of my college career. Additionally, I realized that the major covers most of the required pre-med courses  that you need to take, so I basically thought if i have to take these classes anyway, I should just major in BMS too. My favorite class in this major thus far has been CHEM 420, which is considered ORGO 3. The class was really laid back, and I really appreciated how the professor emphasized learning the material as opposed to the grades in the class. Also, a lot of the material was an add-on to what was learned in ORGO 2, which was probably my favorite required pre-med course. A drawback to this major is that a lot of people major in BMS. This results in the upper level classes, which are usually smaller in other majors, still being around 100 people. With the classes still being so big, it is hard to get to know the professor. For example, I am in an upper level MCDB course now, which is about 150 students. I went to office hours, and the office was crowded with students asking questions.  
      • Pragathi: I declared BMS during the winter semester of my sophomore year. I ended up choosing this major because while I originally wanted to major in CMB (now called MCDB), the electives for BMS sounded a little more appealing to me. Additionally, I happened to have already taken classes that fulfilled the BMS major so by the time I declared, I was almost two-thirds of the way done with the major. My favorite class in this major was CHEM 352, a biochemistry lab that was actually pretty interesting and easy. This class also had an upper-level writing option (that I didn’t end up taking since I already did my ULWR). One downside of majoring in BMS is that you aren’t able to use your chemistry credit (if you came in with IB/AP credit) to fulfill prerequisites. If you didn’t take Gen Chem, you’ll have to take the CHEM 245/246/247 sequence. This wasn’t my favorite class mostly because it was focused on the more technical or mechanical side of chemistry which wasn’t really of interest to me.
      • Liam: I declared for BMS at the end of the second semester of my sophomore year. I chose this major because while I originally wanted to major in Biochemistry, I had no intention of taking any additional math courses in college (besides statistics), so I settled for BMS. From my understanding its essentially the same major as biochemistry, but does not require CALC 2. My favorite class in this course was intro to biochem because, as I said before, my primary interest is in biochemistry. A lot of what I learned in the course helped my understanding of my current research and gave me a great foundation to build off of in upper level electives. I didn’t really experience any cons to this major because it was pretty much everything I was looking for (biochem minus calculus).
  • Biology

    • Biology 

      • Haniyeh: I declared biology the winter semester of my junior year. I always knew that I was interested in biological sciences, but since UM has so many majors in this field, I had to search deeper to find out which one would better suit my needs. After I transferred to UM from a community college, I compared different majors’ requirements and talked to the advisors in the department of chemistry and biology. I realized that biology is a great major for me since there were fewer restrictions on the number of credits you can take outside the department and this gave me more opportunities to take classes from a wide variety of topics that I was curious about. My favorite class was BIO 207: Microbiology. I really enjoyed the class because I learned about microbial and viral genetics, medical microbiology, and basic epidemiology. Also, the course had a lab component and I learned new techniques that are applicable in many biological labs. Since there is a wide variety of courses that you will take and the class sizes are usually large, the chance of taking classes with the same classmates are low. This can make it hard to develop a good connection with your professors and build a sense of community among your classmates. 
    • Biology, Health, and Society (BHS)

      • Judy; I declared BHS during the fall semester of my junior year. I chose this major because I knew I wanted a science major that covered most of my pre-med requirements while still having classes that I would find interesting to take. I really like BHS because it am interested in the public health/sociology side of the medical field which I feel that the Health and Society section covers well. My favorite classes so far for this major have been BIO 225 and WOMENSTD 220. BIO 225 is human and animal physiology which was interesting because there was a lot of applications to the basic biology that we’ve learned for so long. Women’s Studies 220 was also really interesting because I learned a lot about the social construction of women’s sexuality and health care. There aren’t really any cons I can think of unless you think you would dread the classes in the health and society category of this major (since a lot of you pre-meds are huge natural science people). These HU and SS classes tend to have more essays and be a tad bit more reading based. 
    • Neuroscience

      • Ruchira: I declared my major the winter semester of my sophomore year. I was initially interested in majoring in Neuroscience because it overlapped with the research lab that I’ve been involved in for the past two years. My favorite major relevant class so far has been PSYCH 230 because in the Neuroscience major, the classes BIO 222 and PSYCH 230 cover a lot of the same material. When I took PSYCH 230 after taking BIO 222, I found that I had a better understanding of the core topics of the major and was able to truly enjoy learning the new material that was covered covered. 
      • Owen: I declared my neuroscience major the fall semester of my sophomore year. As a freshman, I knew I wanted to major in MCDB. I took PSYCH 111 with Schreier the winter semester of my freshman year and really enjoyed the neuroscience unit. After I took some time to reflect on my interests, I ultimately decided to go with Neuroscience as my major. My favorite class so far in this major has been PSYCH 230, Intro to Behavioral Neuroscience. This class explored in depth the topics that sparked my interest during PSYCH 111. We got to dissect sheep brains too which was pretty cool! Neuroscience is a pretty common major, so there aren’t too many opportunities to enroll in smaller sized classes. Reaching out to professors individually is a must if you want to develop a relationship with them.
      • Anni: I declared neuroscience during the winter semester of my freshman year. Although I enjoyed biology, I always saw myself as a pretty poor science student. The program was really eye-opening for me because it exposed me to the interdisciplinary nature of neuroscience and showed me that there was a way to choose how much of one classical science subject you want to study and research (the spectrum of behavioral neuroscience to computational, plus everything in between). During this program I also became really interested in movement disorders, which, in conjunction with the interdisciplinary aspect, convinced me that neuroscience was what I wanted to study in college. My favorite class has been Neurology 455: Neuroscience of Parkinson’s Disease. This class isn’t through LSA and is taught by Dr. Levanthal, who is a neurologist at the VA hospital. This class is capped at 20 students and Dr. Levanthal makes an effort to learn everyone’s names and facilitate lively discussion among students. He starts the course with a “clinic visit” with one of his actual patients. During this time, he interviewed his patient as if they were in a hospital exam room and then occasionally provided commentary as to his methodology and observations. The core classes and prerequisites can take a while to get through, so for me at least, I found that neuroscience was a major where there’s a delayed gratification aspect—it was only going into my senior year when I felt that saying I was a neuroscience major actually held weight in terms of my knowledge of the subject. Participating in neuroscience-based outreach programs, research, and/or tutoring can help reinforce that sense of “belonging,” per se. 
      • Karan: While I haven’t yet declared my major (I will this semester), I chose neuroscience because I liked the blend between psychology and biology. I am very interested in understanding the processes behind our behavior. Additionally, the brain has many relevant analogies to circuits which is another field of study I am interested in. My favorite class has been PSYCH 230. This class really bridged the gap between brain and behavior and taught me a lot of important concepts. It was really interesting to see behavior on the level of the organism and how this could be simplified to brain processes. As others have mentioned, the major is fairly large, so it’s hard to find smaller classes where you can build a relationship with the professors. While not the most difficult major here, there are a few difficult core classes that must be completed and this can do some damage to your GPA if you don’t have proper study skills. 
      • Sydney: I declared my neuroscience major during the winter semester of my freshman year. I chose the neuroscience major because I really like the interdisciplinary nature of the program. The classes offered for the neuroscience major are relevant to psychology, biology, chemistry, physics, etc. I really enjoy psychology and have had the opportunity to take psych-related courses that fulfill my major requirements while also allowing my pre-medical and hard science interests to intersect and harmonize with the social science material. The major requirements also overlap almost perfectly with pre-med requirements. My favorite class in this major has been PSYCH 345: Introduction to Human Neuropsychology. This class explored brain injury and neural dysfunction, and I am very interested in neuropathology. Neuroscience is a common major, and classes are generally large. This major also has tough core classes which should be taken relatively early in your college career in order to do well in the elective courses. Although I struggled in the core classes, these classes do enable you to do well in upper level courses.
  • Physics

    • Biophysics

      • Lindsay: I declared Biophysics in the fall of my sophomore year. The biophysics department is very small, and the small class sizes were a major reason why I decided on biophysics. Other than that, I knew I wanted to study physics and needed to fulfill all my pre-medical courses, so I chose Biophysics since it made both possible. I really enjoyed BIOPHYS 420 (MCDB 420) because the class was all about reading scientific papers, synthesizing them, and discussing them. Because biophysics is such a small major, students are sometimes limited to the order in which they take classes. What I mean is that some required courses are only offered in the fall, and others in the winter. Several of these courses have prerequisites within our major, so you have to do a bit of planning ahead of time to make sure you can fit all your classes into to a schedule you like. The process of ordering my classes was infinitely easier because I regularly met with our biophysics advisor (Sara Grosky).
  • Psych

    • Biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience (BCN)

      • Brooke: I declared BCN the summer going into my sophomore year. Ever since taking a psychology class in high school, I have been super interested in the field. However, when I came to college, I realized I was more interested in the biological aspect of psychology, and that is why I chose BCN over a regular psych major. Also, with BCN, there was some cross over with classes I needed to take for BMS, so I could knock out two requirements with one class. My favorite class I have taken for BCN has been either PSYCH 270 or PSYCH 355. PSYCH 270 is intro to psychopathology, and PSYCH 355 is cognitive development. Each class teaches a lot of interesting information that I have, surprisingly, not forgotten. This major is also one that a lot of people choose to major in. Therefore, a lot of the core courses have a ton of people in them. However, as you get to the upper level courses, there are a lot of options, and the classes are much smaller.
      • Johnson: I declared my sophomore year. I chose this major as it combined both the natural sciences as well as the interesting social science classes (psych). I’m also interested in how the mind can affect our behavior. PSYCH 280 was probably the best class I’ve taken in this major because I love the professor and the class was super interesting. 
  • Music

    • Music (LSA)

      • Owen: I declared my music major winter semester of my sophomore year. I initially planned to pursue a music minor through LSA, but ultimately decided to add it as a second major so it could hold a larger presence in my college career. I chose to add my music major because I always knew I wanted music to play a role in my life and during my time spent as an undergrad. I actually almost dual enrolled in LSA/SMTD, but decided against that given the heavy workload and time requirements. Majoring in music through LSA still encourages me to participate in groups and play my instrument (trombone), but leaves much more time for me to focus on other aspects of my college life. The best class I’ve taken was Musicology 307: Music and Community. The course was offered for the first time in the winter of 2019, and it required students to partner with local arts groups in Ann Arbor. I worked with the Michigan Taiwanese American Organization to help them organize events and promote their music and art. It was a really valuable experience, unlike anything I had ever experienced in college. The only things to watch out for with this major concerns thinking ahead to your future. The LSA Music advisor often tells his students to add this major as a second major to an already established primary major, which is neuroscience for me. Make sure you can handle the course load before deciding to add it as a double major.
  • MINORS

    • Gender and Health

      • Pooja: I really love my gender and health minor because it was super interdisciplinary: I was able to take courses in nursing, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and literature. I also feel like I was able to learn material that I could directly apply to my career in medicine—topics in reproductive anatomy/physiology, disparities in healthcare, and issues specific to LGBTQ populations. My favorite class was actually called WOMENSTD 400. The course was taught by two OB-GYNs at the hospital, but most of our lectures were actually given by guest lecturers. We got to hear from people in law, public policy, nursing, psychology, sex therapy, etc. We also wrote a 20 page paper on any gender and health topic for our final project and this fulfilled the ULWR LSA requirement, which honestly wasn’t as bad as it sounds and a pretty cool way to get that requirement out of the way.
    • Asian Studies

      • Johnson: I chose this minor at the end of my sophomore year, because it allows me to get away from the science courses with my major. For me, it serves as a balance each semester when choosing my classes. But more importantly, it is also super interesting if you are into learning about the different cultures throughout Asia.The people running the department are super friendly and accommodating so that’s a plus. My favorite class so far definitely has to be ASIAN 377. It mostly a Korean entertainment and KPop class where you learn the history but also the music and the artist in general. Highly recommend if you are a Kpop stan XD. The only disadvantage of the minor I can think of is that certain classes are only offered once a year, so it can be challenging when planning your classes out for each semester.
    • African Studies

      • Anni: I declared my African Studies minor in the winter semester of junior year. I’ve been interested in African affairs since high school when I did a research project on Post-Apartheid South Africa. I took three AAS classes before I declared (260, 290, 662), which helped me identify my main interest, health structures and institutions in sub-saharan Africa, and confirm that this was something I was passionate enough to minor in. I was actually a big humanities kid in high school, so I was able to rekindle my love of history, english, and political science through this minor, in addition to expanding my knowledge and understanding of public health. AAS 662- “Health and Socioeconomic Development” is a graduate level class taught through the school of public health. It’s cross-listed as an epidemiology course, and a majority of the students are MPH-global health epidemiology students (you need a professor override to enroll in the class). The workload for this class is pretty intense (~300 pages a week and two presentations: 1 hour and 3 hours) but it’s so worth it. This course covers public health in multiple countries and teaches you the basics of colonialism, development, and political economy. I had 8 people in my class and we all became very close. I love this minor. The professors are insightful, wickedly funny, and tell the best stories. The classes are always small (about 15-20 people) which makes for great discussions and class energy.
  • NON LSA MAJORS

     

    • Engineering

       

      • Biomedical Engineering (BME)

        • Nick: I always knew that BME was something I would be interested. Therefore, I spent the first couple of years confirming that I wanted to do it. It also really helped that I took ENGR 110, a course that helped to describe all of the engineering majors and what it means to be an engineer. I chose this major because not only did I really love robotics, but I also wanted to go into medicine. BME was the perfect combo and 4 years later, I still feel it is! One thing I would say is that my love for robotics eventually transformed more into an interest in engineering/research skills. I have a several classes that I really enjoyed in this major, specifically BME 458 and Physiol 404. Both courses are really awesome ways to combine engineering design with medically relevant topics. I can say that I am very happy in this major. It gives me a very good education in a broad span of topics. The con is that it is a lot of work. Any engineering major will lead to long hours of homework. To be pre-med and BME also means a lot of semesters spent taking about 16-18 credits in order to be able to fit all of the necessary courses before graduation. 
    • Kinesiology 

      • Movement Science

        • Michael: I decided to study movement science the fall of my sophomore year. I chose this major because the School of Kinesiology offers smaller class sizes that coincide well with the field of medicine that I hope to pursue. Since I hope to pursue a career in sports medicine, Movement Science offers me a vast range of courses that will only contribute to my growing passion for helping athletes prevent, treat, and diagnose sports injuries. My favorite class is Movesci 330, the Biomechanics of Human Movement. In the class, I get to analyze how the body moves, calculate to what extent the body moves, and describe the motion of the human body through qualitative and quantitative measures. The class is very hands-on and offers many opportunities to actively engage with the material, fellow classmates, and the professor. One con about this major is that typically, students in the School of Kinesiology are not often pre-med. There might not be much overlap with the students you see in your Movesci classes and your pre-med classes.
  • Guest posts

    • Spanish

      • Cindy: I decided on my double major sophomore year (Spanish and BMS). I enjoyed Spanish in high school because language learning challenges you to think differently — it’s not rote-memorization like a lot of the pre-med classes I would be taking in my other major — so I enrolled in a few Spanish classes in college. I mainly chose the Spanish major because the minor requires upper-level literature classes, which I knew I didn’t want to do. I enjoyed the more linguistics-focused classes I was in at the time and wanted to shift away from literature. My favorite class was SPANISH 333; I took it abroad in Salamanca, Spain with Nick Henriksen. It was my first sampling of the linguistics course. I also enjoyed it because it was immediately applicable since I was in a heavy spanish speaking setting. A con of pursuing a language study is that it does require constant practice to keep up the skills. Especially as someone who didn’t grow up learning or using this language and only having limited time with it in class, you really have to make the most of it to get out of it what you want (most people say conversational fluency is the goal). For that reason, a study abroad program is probably the best way to get at least a couple of language classes done because immersion is the best way to learn it, and UM is a lot more flexible with finances and scholarships for abroad trips than many students realize.
    • Public Health Sciences

      • Ravi: I applied to the school of public health winter semester of sophomore year, got accepted that spring break, then committed before the end of the semester. I took PUBHLTH 200 and realized that there’s a lot of correlation between public health and medicine. Since medicine needs more public health initiatives to create a more personalized treatment for patients, public health is a hugely relevant and important field of study. PUBHLTH 370, Biology and Pathophysiology were my favorite classes. In these classes, you get to learn about the biology behind viruses, chronic diseases, and these topics are very applicable to medicine. One downside to this major is that you only get two years to complete all your requirements and almost all your classes have to be in the department for your junior and senior years, which doesn’t create a lot of space for a minor in any other school. Within the degree, though, there’s a wide variety of classes. If you’re a B.S. student, you can still take classes that the B.A. students are taking.