Tina Tripathi

 Biomolecular Science (major)

Applied Statistics (minor)

                                                                                    

Favorite class you took at Michigan:

Honestly, there are a couple but if I had to choose the most ~sciencey~ one, it would be MCDB 422: Brain Development. Both Dr. Collins and Dr. Clowney are so passionate about the topic and the papers we read throughout the course were excellent. It was fascinating learning about the brain in as much detail as we went into and I genuinely enjoyed going to the lectures and working with my group members-turned-friends once a week. Despite COVID-19 coming into play this semester, the class was enjoyable and I can only imagine how amazing it is during a normal school year.

 

Runner-ups to this course (and less bio/chem based) are: STATS 401, HONORS 241 (Westworld), and ENGLISH 325.

 

When/How did you study for the MCAT: I actually ended up taking the MCAT twice, but I’ll detail what I did during my successful attempt. Starting January of my junior year, I started doing content review. I went through the Kaplan books and whenever I was confused or wanted more detail, I would look at other resources (Youtube, Khan Academy, etc). A this time I also started going through an Anki deck of cards that I found through reddit (MileDown’s deck). Starting in April I started taking full-length exams and doing question banks. I bought the resources from the AAMC and used the free tests from BluePrint and Kaplan (which came with my books). 

 

When did you take the MCAT:

First attempt: September 13, 2019;

Second: July 18, 2020

 

What was your pre-med experience: Overall, I had a pretty good pre-med experience. I definitely struggled through a couple of classes but perseverance and friendships helped me make it through. Additionally, tapping into the resources that the university provides was definitely a game changer. I wouldn’t be where I am without office hours, SLC groups, or studying with friends which is definitely a different experience than what I had in high school. 

 

Recommendations/advice for current students: Do what you like to do and take opportunities that don’t necessarily scream “premed” to you. I think coming into college and honestly until my junior year, being premed was such a huge part of my identity that I didn’t give myself the option to explore what was offered by the university or really what I actually enjoyed doing. Choose activities that you are genuinely interested/ passionate about. It’ll make life more fun and your story all the more interesting when applying to medical school!

 

Schedule:

 

Judy Huynh

 Biology, Health, and Society (Major)

Food and Environment (Minor)

                                                                                    

Favorite class you took at Michigan:

ANTHRCUL 344: Medical Anthropology

I really liked medical anthropology because it was a break from the rigorous science courses, but I was still learning about medicine. It is a mix of a sociology and medical ethics course, and I thought it was very eye-opening. There are a lot of things we take for granted or were conditioned to believe and this class makes you realize things are not what they always seem. The course taught me to be more empathic and I learned how illness works in different cultures. We also got to watch many films, and the class was not difficult. Overall, this is a really cool class and everyone should take it at one point.

When/How did you study for the MCAT: 

I didn’t start studying until summer before my senior year. I decided to self-study so I used Kaplan books and UWORLD/AAMC methods to practice. I made a schedule at the beginning of my studies. It is okay if you don’t stick to your schedule; you’ll learn as you study what works best for you. If you decide to make flashcards/ Anki cards, I recommend making them as you go through the Kaplan books. It is better to get through content faster and give yourself more time to do practice questions. 

 

When did you take the MCAT: January 2021

 

What was your pre-med experience:

My pre-med experience was tough but rewarding. There are so many pre-meds at Michigan which can be a good and bad thing. Good because there are tons of resources and opportunities. It is easy to find people who have multiple classes with you and to study with. The downside is the large classes and competitiveness. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to form any relationships with my professors but they know classes are big so they are understanding. It is also easier when you start taking upper-level classes since classes are smaller. I also felt a lot of pressure to do everything every pre-med did, but eventually, I learned that it is more important to do what you enjoy. You’ll have to write about your experiences and even talk about them during interviews so make sure you’re doing things you’re passionate about. 

 

Recommendations/advice for current students:

Make time for friends and have fun. You don’t want to look back on college and feel like you spent the entire time staring at a textbook. Make the time to explore Ann Arbor, meet new people, try new restaurants, and have late-night study sessions with friends. When you look back on college, these are the memories you’ll remember. 

Schedule:

 

 

Isabel Murray 

Major: Gender and Health  

                                                                                    

Favorite class you took at Michigan:

I have loved all my coursework in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department! My favorite class I’ve taken is WGS 374 – Gender, Race, and Incarceration. Learning about the experiences and healthcare needs of incarcerated folks is incredibly important for understanding larger systematic barriers to healthcare and social determinants of health in the US. I also enjoyed taking WGS 400 – Women’s Reproductive Health. It is a two-hour lecture once a week. Each week, there are three separate guest lecturers who each speak for ~45 minutes about topics in women’s health. Most of the guest lecturers are physicians at Michigan Medicine, so it is also a great way to learn about pursuing a career in medicine and meet mentors. Both of the professors are amazing and really accessible for pre-med advice. It’s also an upper level writing course! 

When/How did you study for the MCAT:

I haven’t taken it yet! I am taking 2 gap years, so I am taking the MCAT this upcoming summer. I am planning to self-study using the Kaplan books, Blueprint question banks, and the AAMC material. 

When did you take the MCAT:

August 2021

What was your pre-med experience:

I have loved every second I’ve spent at Michigan, but the pre-med experience can certainly be stressful. I am really happy I pursued a degree in Gender and Health, because it meant I had diverse coursework each semester. This opened up so many doors for new experiences and connections. My major ended up being really helpful in helping me understand why I want to pursue a career in medicine. 

Schedule:

 

 

Figuring out how to study for the MCAT, create a balanced schedule, and prepare effectively can be a daunting task, so we’ve gathered up some helpful tips and resources to help you get started!

 

Creating a Study Schedule

In general, it is recommended that you spend 3-4 months studying for the MCAT, especially if you are looking to score in the higher percentiles. When making arrangements for your studying, it is important to set a balanced, feasible, and sustainable schedule that accommodates your other time commitments, such as work, volunteering, classes, etc. While everyone’s day-to-day activities look different, here is a helpful schedule that gives you a better idea of what a good study schedule looks like! It is also important to note that in your last few weeks of studying, you should aim to complete a number of full-length practice exams. The most accurate ones come straight from the AAMC, but there are many prep companies that also have full-length practice exams to purchase.

General tip: if you are getting within a few points (+/- 2 points) of your target score in your final full-length practice exams, you should be good on test day!

 

Practice Exams and Paid Resources

There are many prep companies and websites that offer practice full-length exams as well as other paid resources, such as online courses, question banks, and tutoring. Here is a comprehensive list of some websites to look at! Most prep companies (Blueprint, Altius, PR) also have free diagnostic practice exams! However, take this with a grain of salt since each company’s scoring is different.

  • AAMC
    • Practice exams are the most representative of the MCAT.
    • The full bundle (4 exams + question packs) is highly recommended!
    • They also offer a free un-scored sample exam.
  • Blueprint / NextStep
    • Each practice exam has 5 attempts, so you can use one account and split the cost with friends!
  • Altius
    • Their practice exams are fairly representative of the actual exam. They also offer online courses.
  • Kaplan
    • Offer online self-study programs of different bundles/prices
    •  Live online two-month course (as recommended by an advisor)
      • Resources 
        • They provide online practice tests, a complete 7-book MCAT Subject Review Set, a question bank that can be divided into different sections of the MCAT/topics within the sections, optional channel sessions focusing on specific concepts (ex: thermodynamics), and a study plan to go with the flow of the course. See this link and scroll to see all the features. 
      • Before class: content review (mostly done by yourself)
        • Every session, you are to complete a diagnostic quiz that gives suggestions on what topics you should focus on and videos to help you review before class. 
      • During class: MCAT strategies 
        • Instructors go through high yield questions. They teach you how to read the passage, what to look for, the types of questions asked, and the types of answers choices that are usually right/wrong. However, they do not emphasize content review during class.
  • Princeton
    • They offer many types of courses, including winter boot camps, self-paced schedules, and tutoring.
  • UWorld (question bank)
    • Different bundles: free 7-day trial, 90 days, 180 days, 360 days
    • Questions (both passage and individual content) for Orgo, Gen Chem, Physics, CARS, Biochem, and Bio.

 

Review Books and Other (Free) Resources

In preparing for the MCAT, content review is still very important and can be done in a variety of ways. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

  • Kaplan 7-Book Subject Review (most popular)
    • Edition doesn’t matter very much as though the content is similar across all.
    • You can usually find a discount or buy a used version for a reduced price!
  • Princeton Review and many others

General tip: the practice questions in some of these review books tend to be more detailed than you’ll see on the actual MCAT. It is more useful to use these books for content review as opposed to full-length exams.

  • Psych/Soc Content Review Document (300 and 90-page versions)
  • Anki – MilesDown MCAT Decks (Ortho528/premed95/miledown)
    • Reddit MCAT section (use with a grain of salt)
  • Khan Academy videos
  • Dr. Ryan Grey’s MCAT podcast
  • MPrep Daily Questions, Kaplan, BluePrint – question of the day sent to your email
  • Jack Westin – daily CARS passages sent to your email
    • The website also has passages and content review questions for the other sections too.

 

It’s no doubt that studying for the MCAT can be overwhelmed and stressful, but even the smallest of organization and structure can make your studying more bearable and effective. No matter where you are in your MCAT journey, just know that this time will pass and your hard work will pay off!

Feel free to read any of our other blog posts on the MCAT for more helpful tips.

At the end of the semester, senior advisors and members of PMH E-board took part in an internal Q & A. They answered questions asked by our junior advisors and gave some helpful tips from their personal experience. Below is a summary of the questions and their responses.

This is the first of a continuing series with the Pre-Med Hub.

 

Q: Do you have tips for writing your personal statement?

  • Start creating an outline of what you’d like to write about. Think about the story you want to share and make sure to focus on telling why you want to be a physician. This takes a lot of time and effort so make sure to start as early as possible. Talk to pre-med advisors who give you feedback on your drafts. Look at sample essays online for reference. They can be helpful in giving you examples of good and bad essays. 
  • Visit Medical School HQ run by Dr. Ryan Grey
    • Dr. Ryan Grey is a physician who critiques personal statements that students send in. He emphasizes that the question you should focus on answering is why you want to become a physician (i.e. don’t just list activities you’ve done). He also has podcasts and a youtube channel!
  • It’s better to take your time writing your personal statement rather than rushing it so that you can give it to your letter of recommendation writers (if they ask for it). It’s also acceptable to say that you don’t have a personal statement to share and ask to meet multiple times so that you can explain your experiences/who you are.

 

Q: When should I start writing my personal statement? I plan to take a gap year and apply my senior year.

  • It would be helpful to start early, for example, have an outline ready in February and get feedback in March. It’s not impossible to start in March or April, however, it will be more stressful having to balance writing your personal statement while also getting other parts of the application ready.

 

Q: I’m taking the MCAT this summer. Would you recommend taking any specific courses at UM beforehand?

  • Besides thetypical prereqs (gen chem, orgo, physics, biochem, pchem, psychology, sociology), upper-level biology labs are good courses to take before the MCAT because they help you better understand the passages of the bio section of the MCAT. These passages require you to analyze an experiment, extrapolate from the data given, and interpret the information that’s in the graphs or tables. Many upper-level bio labs can make your understanding of the passages easier and expose you to certain techniques that could aid your comprehension of these passages.
  • Reading scientific articles and analyzing/discussing the figures and results with lab members or peers could help you get familiar with the analytical skills required for the bio/biochem section of the MCAT.

 

Q: What do you wish you knew before taking the MCAT and what resources helped you while studying?

  • Take some time to familiarize yourself with the logistics of the MCAT. There are a few technical things that are good to know about before test day (ex. putting your phone in a plastic bag, scanning your fingerprint, what the process is for taking breaks, etc.). Knowing these small things ahead of time can help decrease your nerves on test day!
  • There’s a great resource called UWorld. It’s an MCAT question bank that many find helpful for studying. Khan Academy is also very helpful, especially for the psych/soc section videos.
  • Khan academy psych/soc resource: 85-page document of all the psychology/sociology info you need to know for the MCAT. This was very helpful!

 

Q: How do you use UWorld?

  • I did blocks of 25-50 questions and then identified which sections I did poorly on. It was important to understand why I got questions incorrect. Then, I made flashcards and did a heavy review on the topics I was weakest on. 
  • Make sure you know what and why you get something wrong. Creating flashcards of the questions you missed is helpful for reviewing content.
  • If you are short on time. focus on areas that you are weakest on. Create an excel sheet with all the info you get wrong and the reasons for why you got them wrong.

 

Q: How do you create your school list and how many schools did you apply for on average?

  • The best way to start is to generate a long list of schools whose missions you align with. Aim for about 20-25 schools on your list. Search what their values are (ex: are they research-oriented? Do they care most about community service, public health/policy, underserved communities, etc.). 
  • UseMSAR. It’s a subscription resource that lists admitted students’ data (such as average MCAT, GPAs, number of students they take in state and out of state) as well as tuition, mission statements, dual-degree programs, etc. for all U.S. medical schools.

 

Hi everyone! Our latest blog update is a video interview from the director of Admissions at Michigan Medicine, Carol Teener. She talks about several general parts of the med school application process for 2021, from GPA and Extracurriculars to the MCAT and Reapplicants. It isn’t specifically for U of M med school applicants and is a great resource for all !

Also, thank you to the Science Success Series hosted by the Science Learning Center, Newnan Advising, and Women in Science and Engineering for allowing us to publish this video! 

 

Our latest blog post breaks down the components of the pre-med journey and where you can find information about them on our website. Please click here to see a list of all our blogs!

CLINICAL EXPERIENCE

Many med schools require students to have direct experience in medicine, also known as clinical hours. Examples of jobs you could obtain to fulfill this requirement are EMT (emergency medical technician), CNA (certified nurse assistant), MA (medical assistant), Scribe, and Phlebotomy. Certifications for these jobs are often needed, so training can be started freshman year summer, and onwards. By sophomore or junior year, you could start working at the job.

MORE INFO

VOLUNTEERING

Volunteer experiences can be started as soon as freshman year. Many volunteer opportunities are virtual because of the pandemic, making it easier to participate. As a pre-med, you can never have too many volunteer hours, but most aim to have ~100 hours before applying. According to AMCAS in 2018, the average applicant had 400+ volunteer hours.
 Aim for meaningful volunteer experiences with underserved populations. Quality outweighs quantity. Some places you could volunteer are the hospital, nursing homes, homeless shelters etc. Also, try to gain both clinical and nonclinical volunteer experiences.

MORE INFO

SHADOWING

Med schools typically look for applicants who have spent 50-100 hours shadowing physicians. These can be done at any point during undergrad, but it’s best to start early (freshman/sophomore year) so you can gauge your interest in the specific fields of medicine.
It also might be easier to dedicate a set time during one of your breaks (eg. winter, spring, summer) rather than fitting shadowing in during one of your busy college semesters. While shadowing is great, it is a more passive task, so medical schools recommend you spend more time doing active patient-interacting activities.

BLOG POST

MAJOR

Depending on your school/college, there are a variety of major options available! We encourage students to choose what they’re interested and passionate about, because medical schools ultimately don’t have a preference of what you major in.

If you are looking for a more Biology related major, you have time to decide your major and ultimately declare it, but we recommend you look at the LSA major options and create a tentative list of what you might be interested in!

If you are in LSA, but are considering a degree outside of LSA and transferring to a different school (eg. Kinesiology, Public Health, Engineering, etc), it’s important to review deadlines for these schools and adjust your course schedule accordingly to account for your major and pre-med courses.

Alternatively, if you are interested in double majors, it’s also helpful to create a list and a temporary schedule ahead of time (at the end of freshman year/early sophomore year) of your course schedule.

BLOG POST

SUMMER BREAK

We recognize that everyone has different situations/interests, so ultimately choose something that interests you to do during your summer break. Whether this means taking classes, performing research, working a full-time job, or anything else, everyone is unique and you should tailor this time to exploring more of your interests.

Some students decide to take classes during their break, and we recommend that you only take one pre-med class during a half semester (Spring or Summer). Spring and Summer courses are far more accelerated than a normal semester, so these classes require more time and class meetings than during a Fall or Winter semester.

Many students also decide to devote their summers to performing research if they didn’t have a chance to previously partake in research, or want to explore this interest further. There are many research programs both at UMich and nationwide, and a list can be found here.
Summer break can also be a great time to gain more clinical or volunteer experience. As mentioned previously, many clinical experiences can consist of being an EMT, Medical Assistant, Scribe, and more.

BLOG POST

RESEARCH

Many students are drawn to participate in a research project in some form during their undergraduate career, whether it be bench work, clinical research, laboratory tests, etc. It is an invaluable way  to learn more about a field of study that you’re interested in while directly participating in active data collection. While you do not need research experience for medical school, the average matriculant has 1000 + hours of research experience.

BLOG SERIES

PREMED CLASS REQUIREMENTS

Every Medical School has slightly different requirements, so it is highly recommended you look at the required coursework for the medical schools you want to apply to a year or longer in advance. Some med schools give credit for AP Classes, or classes you were able to test out of. In general, most schools require :

One year of biology with lab.

One year of general chemistry with lab.

One year of organic chemistry with lab.

One year of physics with lab.

At least one semester of biochemistry.

A math requirement (some schools require calculus, some require statistics, some require both)

One year of English.

 

 

Some Additional Reminders

  • Don’t force yourself to continue down a path that you’re no longer interested in. It is never too late to switch out. Medicine is a long-term commitment and it is best to be completely sure of your decision beforehand!
  • Class reputation doesn’t mean you will like it or not– you are the only person to judge that. Also, try not to compare yourself to other pre-meds. Every path is different!
  • Additionally, this is just a guide to help give you an overview of the pre-med track. As mentioned before, everyone’s path looks different! If every pre-med student followed this path, medical school admissions committees would be pretty bored. Find your passion, pursue it outside the classroom, make time for fun, and don’t be afraid to modify the table to include gap years/time off, etc.

 

In our latest blog , we bring you an update on how several common premed requirements: biochemistry physics, organic chemistry and physical chemistry have been changed due to COVID 19. We recommend using this alongside the Choosing the Right Class (Class comparison chart), to help you chose your classes.

PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY

CHEM 230

(3 credits)

  • There are still 5 exams (4 midterms and 1 cumulative final); none dropped
  • Exams are taken on Canvas at home, 90 minutes, open-note
  • Class is still a flipped classroom (lectures at home, zoom for team problem solving)
  • There are homework and mini-quizzes with every module
  • PREPP (past exam problems) worksheets are the main study material, like the orgo coursepacks – solutions are provided. Homework modules are not necessarily a good representation of the exam.
  • Zoom class occurs 3 days/week for team problems (recorded)
  • Attending class is still technically optional
  • If you opt-out, your grade will only be based on exams rather than exams, homework, and class attendance 
  • This is the only “live” instruction, so we would recommend attending
  • You still switch team members three times/semester for in class assignments. 
  • Discussions are optional and not recorded. Typically you will go over module worksheet and questions that other students have
  • The class has a modified grading scale (>90% = A; >85% = A-) and there is also an improvement curve on exams ((highest grade-lowest grade)/2)
  • CHANGED DUE TO COVID: no weekly office hours (neither Gottfried or GSIs hold office hours outside of class time or discussions)
    • Dr. Gottfried is available for questions ~20 minutes before and after class. 
  • Personal note: Although there are not many structural changes due to covid, adjusting to a flipped classroom style with limited time for questions before and after class has made online learning difficult. I would recommend attending review sessions, asking questions before/after class, and going to optional discussions.
  • Joining SLC Study Groups can also be helpful to get more study materials and talk about the class info with other students! SLC study groups are happening virtually in the Winter 2021 semester.

 

 CHEM 130

(4 credits)

  • All lectures posted as recordings and you can watch
  • discussions are optional
  • 4 exams all online– can use internet, notes, and other resources but all canvas resources are erased at noon of the exam day and appear the next day
  • Weekly homework assignments
  • Optional quizzes for practice
  • 2 grading criteria: one includes homework or the other just averaging exams. The one that leads to the higher grade will be used.

  BIOMEDE 221 (Gen Chem 2 for BME majors)

(4 credits)

  • Pre-lectures 
  • Normal courses hours are used for discussions where you can ask questions and do practice questions.
    • Must attend discussion once a week and participate (i.e. answer a question in the chat) to receive participation points
  • 3 remote exams that are open-note, open-book
    • No cumulative final exam
  • Homework assignments due once a week
  • 2-3 Labs (format varies, could be a presentation, completing a lab simulation, etc.)
  • Extra credit questions available (on exams or separate assignments)

 

GENETICS

BIOLOGY 305

(4 credits)

  • 4 midterms, all multiple choice
  • No final
  • Grading: Exams (80%)
  •   Untimed pre-lecture online quizzes 
  • 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

MCDB 310

(4 credits)

  • Lectures are posted weekly (about 3 hours worth of lectures/week)
  • 1-2 Lecture “quizzes” are due each week (that you get unlimited tries on) 
  • 3 midterms, 1 final (one midterm can be dropped, final cannot be dropped)
  • Questions on exams are more conceptual, not just simple recall questions
  • Exams have no free response, instead have multiple choice, fill in the blank, and “select all” type questions 
  • Open-note, open-book exams
  • Have to attend discussion sessions every week, where you have to complete a discussion short answer/response (should do even if using one of absences). It is used in place of typical free responses on exams.
  • Newly created projects related to each exam (total of four). Very application based and is related to current events. You can do projects by yourself or form a group of (maximum) four. The people in your group must have the same GSI. 
  • Exams are worth much less as there are projects, lecture quizzes, discussion quizzes, and cell map as well

ORGANIC CHEMISTRY

CHEMISTRY 210/215/211/216

(210: 4 credits    &     215: 3 credits)

CHEMISTRY 210

  • Lectures posted weekly for asynchronous learning, but the exams administered synchronously online
  • The faculty-led scheduled synchronous course meetings will be used for optional problem solving and responding to student questions, and will also be recorded and available for streaming.
  • GSI-led discussion sections will give students a chance to ask questions and collaborate on problem-solving. These sessions will be held synchronously over Zoom and recorded for later viewing.

CHEMISTRY 215: 

  • Lectures will be recorded and made available asynchronously for both sections
  • Weekly GSI led discussions will be held synchronously online and recorded
  • 4 major exams will be held at their regularly scheduled times on Canvas
  • Surveys will be held for accommodations/ to address time zone differences
  • Weekly quizzes via Canvas will be offered during regular class time on Fridayys

CHEMISTRY 211: 

 

There are weekly, recorded lectures (typically last 1-2 hours) and synchronous office hours with the professor or GSI

Every week, students turn in one assignment. The assignments take 3-4 hours to complete.

You can choose to be remote or in person/hybrid, in which you will attend the laboratory sessions every three weeks. Remote students will still require some synchronous activities to be held with the GSI.

CHEMISTRY 216:

Lecture will be held online

Most sections will be held in-person, however an online option is available

      • This online section will be synchronous

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 135There are no midterms in the course, but there is one final exam.
    • There are 12 weekly quizzes that account for 60% of your grade. Students are allowed to drop their lowest score.
    • Lectures are completely asynchronous and there are 2 per week (1-2 hours each)
    • There is weekly homework (1-2 hours)
    • Quiz review sessions with ULAs and GSI
    • Physics 235: 
    • New format of studio sessions. The studio sessions are just incorporating some previous part of the physics 235 material and blend them into application based setting
    • Studio preparation will be similar to lecture preparation with a reading quiz (done before class) and a short presentation from the professor at the start. Then the rest of the class is doing a quiz with other people in break out rooms which is due at the end of the studio. 
    • You will attempt each studio question twice. Both individually and as a group. You will not get jeopardized for individual answers but will be for group answers.
    • One live studio session per week (in replace of one of the lecture) , and three recorded lecturer in canvas quiz format (quiz questions as clicker questions) 
    • The exam will have studio-styled questions while they present some new scenarios to you and you have to apply what you learned to solve problems related to that.
    • 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.
    • Physics 136: 
    • Students use Loggerpro to make graphs and analyze the given data.
    • Given pre-lab manual/protocol to read before the lab and for the mini-quiz.
    • Mini-quiz every week before starting the experiment.
    • Labs last for 2 hours, with a lab report due at the end and an individual reflection due at midnight.
    • Lab groups change every week.
    • Personal note: Make sure you read the lab manual and watch the videos before class. It is very useful for the mini-quiz and for doing well on the lab reports.
    • Physics 236:
    • Data is given so you don’t actually perform any experiments – you use the data to plot graphs and answer questions 
    • 5 question quiz before each lab *lowest score will be dropped
    • You work with different group members via zoom breakout room for each lab
    •  You need to write an individual reflection for each lab, which is due by the end of the day for your lab (worth 7 points); the lab itself is worth 33 points, with a total of 40 points per lab
      • Lab report is due at the end of class (the lab is two hours long) 
      • Your group changes every week and is assigned randomly
  • Median grade: A- for all 4 courses

    physics 240

    ( 4 credits)

    • 6 quizzes, bi-weekly
      • Lowest score dropped
      • Open-book, open internet
      • Cannot go back on Canvas Quiz to change answer, so cannot change answer once you go back
    • Regular final exam
    • Pre-lecture assignments (about 2 per week) and usually ~20 minutes long
    • Homework assignments (two units per week typically)

     

 

 

 

Freshman year is an anxious time for most students. While adjusting to the newfound freedom and lifestyle, we are met with many social and academic challenges. On top of that, as a pre-medical student, you are thrown into a track where your success outside of the classroom is just as important as your success within. We have created this guide to help you navigate all aspects of the pre-medical track in hopes that you don’t make the mistakes we did. In this blog post, we will touch on classes, research, volunteering, and clinical exposure.

Classes 

Picking classes and creating a manageable schedule does not have to be difficult or stressful. The best way to make it easy is to go semester by semester. The first thing you want to consider is getting started on your introductory chemistry and biology courses. These intro science classes require time and effort. Their structure and grading may be new to you and require some adjusting to. Always seek help when you need it and do not let yourself fall behind. Join an SLC study group, go to office hours, or meet up (in-person or virtually) with classmates or GSIs for help. There are so many resources for you to use, so take advantage of them!

 

In general, a good rule of thumb is to limit your STEM classes to 2 maximum per semester, especially in your freshman year. This will give you the chance to adjust to college life, get familiar with the structure of exams, grading, office hours, etc. and modify and strengthen your study habits in science classes, which is key to doing well in the many science classes you will be taking as a pre-med. 

 

Here is a link to Newnan’s pdf checklist of pre-med courses to take. It may also be helpful to fill this out with a Newnan advisor or with one of us!

 

Besides science classes, there are many classes you can choose from to fill your schedule. They can be narrowed down into a few categories.

– Language Requirement (LSA only): Freshman year is a good time to take language classes because they are very manageable in terms of workload and are smaller, which makes it easy to meet new people.

– First-Year Writing Requirement (LSA only): The most common classes to take are ENGLISH 124 or 125, but there are many interesting first-year seminars that also fulfill the writing requirement.

LSA Distribution Requirements: The best way to do this is to look at the LSA course guide and filter out humanities, social science classes, or race and ethnicity classes. Some common examples are SOC 100 or 102, ANTHRCUL 101, PSYCH 111, and PHIL 183.

 

If you would like to see a template schedule and read some advice, click here.

If you would like to see past students’ schedules, click here.

 

Finally, take a look at majors you may be interested in. Make a list and look through their prerequisites. The best way to see if you like a major is to try out some of their classes. Remember, your major should be a subject you are genuinely interested in, NOT something you think looks good on applications. More and more, medical schools have emphasized how choosing a science major is not required. Most importantly, they will be able to tell if you are truly passionate about your major or if you chose it simply for application purposes.

 

If you have no clue what your interests are, do not worry. Here are some suggestions to start thinking about as you are considering potential majors:

– Look at a specific subject of interest on the LSA course guide and find a course that sounds interesting to you. Those classes may lead you to new passions/interests you never would have known otherwise.

– Pick one or two classes on topics you have not taken but want to learn more about. Explore something new and you may just find your passion.

– Ask upperclassmen about their experiences with majors you are interested in (or read through this post).

 

Once you have found your major, scheduling your classes will come easy. However, it never hurts to get an extra set of eyes on your schedule; meet with a pre-health Newnan advisor, ask an advisor in your major’s department, or ask one of us! We are here to help.

 

General Medical School Course Requirements (non-exhaustive)

One Year of Inorganic Chemistry and Lab

One Year of Organic Chemistry and Lab

One Year of Biology and Lab

One Year of Physics and Lab

One additional semester of Biology

One semester of Biochemistry

One semester of Mathematics/Statistics

One semester of English/Writing

Research 

Taking part in research is a great way to learn more about the research process/methodology, improve your critical thinking, and learn more about evidence-based medicine. There are many ways to take part in research at Michigan, the biggest one being the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). UROP is a year-long research program that accepts first-year, second-year, and transfer students, with a deadline in the Spring of the previous academic year. The application process requires you to put down which subjects you’re interested in conducting research in, such as Health Sciences, Humanities, Social Sciences, Life Sciences, Engineering, Physical Sciences and more. Once accepted into the program, you are placed in a seminar group that usually meets biweekly throughout the academic year. These seminars not only introduce you to fellow students who go through the research process with you, but they also facilitate your professional development as a new researcher. There are a large variety of projects available, from behavioral/social science to clinical to more wet-lab based research that you can choose from. UROP has a process allowing you to apply to projects that you’re interested in, with the help of your seminar peer facilitator (an upperclassmen student who was previously involved in UROP) and every student accepted to UROP gets placed in a research lab. There is a symposium at the end of the academic year (April) in which you present your research! The Michigan Research and Discovery Scholars (MRADS) is similar to UROP, but is a residential community in which you reside with your fellow MRADS students in the same housing. The MRADS application process is around the same time as UROP, and both programs allow you to ultimately pursue the same research. However, students are only allowed to participate in one of these programs.

 

Aside from UROP/MRADS, students can also find research assistant postings through the Student Employment website. Additionally, many students find research opportunities by emailing faculty. I would recommend making a list of topics you’re interested in pursuing, and emailing faculty/professors that conduct research in these subjects. Another option is if you enjoy one of your academic classes, you could reach out to the professor and ask if they have any research opportunities. PMH also has previous blog posts regarding research, linked below, that are beneficial!

https://premedhubumich.com/applying-for-a-research-position/

https://premedhubumich.com/research-areas-topics/

 

Volunteering (Medical and Non-medical) 

Volunteering is a great way for a pre-medical undergraduate student to learn more about the career in medicine by interacting with patients or develop the essential characteristic of kindness and altruism in order to become a future doctor. Whether the volunteering experience is related to medicine, it is a wonderful opportunity to help out a community and also show medical schools that you care about the well being of others. There are multiple ways to get involved in volunteering at Michigan. Even though the recent COVID-19 situation forbids in-person volunteering at Michigan medicine. There are still various ways to volunteer with the hospital system at Michigan.Volunteering opportunities include packaging masks and sanitizers. It will be a good idea to email the volunteering department to learn more about the ways to get involved. Besides Michigan medicine, there are also other volunteering opportunities available. You can check them out at the career center website:https://careercenter.umich.edu/article/volunteering-employment-and-gap-year-resources  In addition, joining an organization concentrated on volunteering or rushing a pre-medical fraternity can also open doors to more volunteering resources. You can check out all clubs at Michigan by browsing through Maize Page:  https://maizepages.umich.edu/  It is important to remember that it is a special time right now, and don’t get discouraged if you are not able to find a volunteer position right away. There will be more opportunities available later on as the pandemic gets better and also remember that you have four years here to explore. 

Clinical Exposure 

Gaining clinical experience is beneficial for your medical school application. It demonstrates your commitment to entering a health profession. Various activities encompass clinical experience; what counts is pretty broad. Generally, they include clinical volunteering, clinical positions, and shadowing. I will break each of these categories down further. 

 

However, it may be difficult to gain clinical experience at the moment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Clinical Volunteering

Clinical volunteering is exactly what it sounds like: volunteer work done in a healthcare setting. This can include volunteering at a hospital or a hospice, or any forms of patient interaction (patient interaction can always be counted as a clinical experience, but clinical experience can’t always be counted as patient interaction re:more on this). As long as you are volunteering in a healthcare setting, it falls under clinical volunteering, thus it is clinical experience.

 

The UMich Career Center has a comprehensive list of clinical opportunities here. This list includes nearby clinics, hospitals, summer camps/programs (i.e. Camp Kesem), and more that you can work with!

 

Study abroads (more here)  or Alternative Spring Breaks (volunteer trips) can also be a way to gain clinical experience if you are working among and interacting with health professionals or patients. 

 

Note: Many students volunteer through UMich Medicine here. They’re not admitting new volunteers currently due to COVID-19, but if you’re interested, I would keep the future information dates on your calendar because spots fill up very quickly. Additionally, you could look at volunteering at the VA hospital or St. Joe’s Hospital (which are less competitive because they require a bus to access).

 

Clinical Positions

You can also gain clinical experience through a job. For instance:

  • Medical Scribing: “Scribing is a paid opportunity to shadow doctors in the emergency department. There are a few companies that work in the Ann Arbor area, but be warned that the hours do tend to be long as you are working at a doctor’s pace. If you are looking for a scribing opportunity, check out companies like PhysAssist or ScribeAmerica, and watch for job openings through Handshake” (source). You can read more about scribing in this blogpost
  • Clinical Research Position: this involves research that involves a hospital or some clinical setting. You can find such positions using the student employment website (note: I would suggest looking under the recent posting section to simplify your search because other sections also contain jobs that were posted a while back and weren’t taken down). More on the clinical research can be found here (near the bottom of the page).
  • Other jobs: phlebotomist, nurse assistant, medical assistant, EMT, doula, medical interpreter/translator, or home health-taker (there are many more possibilities, but these are some). Some of these positions require certifications. These certifications can typically be completed over the summer at a community college. Upon completing required coursework, you will be able to take a test to achieve certification. More on this here. Some notes:
    • Many pre-med clubs (such as AMSA) offer opportunities to take a phlebotomy course.
    • Washtenaw Community College offers some coursework if you are staying in AA for a summer and need something to do.

 

Shadowing

Shadowing, while not necessarily required, can make you look more competitive for medical schools AND (more importantly) introduce you to healthcare setting dynamics and various fields in medicine. Many students struggle to find shadowing opportunities due to limited connections, but don’t be afraid to send an email to a professor you’d like to shadow. You can browse through doctors here. I personally cold-emailed and found a doctor to shadow! In my email: I introduced myself, briefly talked about my medical-related ambitions (doctors are busy, so it’s best to keep it to a paragraph or two), and attached my resume. 

 

Another opportunity I was made aware of was “Webshadower.” I heard about it through a newsletter sent out by a University Pre-Med-related Handshake newsletter. This is new, so I haven’t personally tried it. More on joining a career track through Handshake here.

Advice/Tips 

  • Don’t compare yourself to other pre-med students on campus on grades or number of activities that you guys are involved in. Everyone has their own perks and remember medical school admission is a holistic review. Just do whatever you are passionate about and try your best. 
  • Choose a major and extracurriculars that you’re truly passionate about — it can be tough to not give into the mindset of “medical schools would be impressed by this”. At the end of the day, you are unique and your passions will show through clearly in your application, which is what matters the most rather than perhaps trying to fit into the “typical pre-med” mold. It’s encouraged to choose your undergraduate career on these interests, even if they aren’t science based! (Lakshmi)
    • In addition, choosing a major that you are passionate about will be evident in your medical school interviews. If you’re able to follow your passions in undergrad (while still taking the necessary prerequisite courses) you will be a more standout candidate than someone who tried to fit the “typical pre-med” mold. 
  • Keep an open mind regarding how your undergraduate experience may progress. I know many people have come into college with a certain expectation of their major/future career, only to find a passion or interest in a different subject. Whether this means switching majors or choosing to pursue the pre-med track later in college or in life — this is normal! 
  • Do not be afraid to ask for help! Whether it is learning the material in your classes to looking over your resume for a research position, asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength and determination to improve. Keep in mind that it’s okay to experience challenges or fall down a few times, but what’s most important is getting back up. Being pre-med is not easy nor meant to be! Be kind to yourself, learn from your mistakes, and keep moving forward. 
  • Seek advice from advisors, upperclassmen, medical students, etc. BUT take their advice with a grain of salt. There is NO recipe for getting into medical school. Remember that everyone’s path is different and filled with unique ups and downs. Stay true to yourself. 
  • I know taking a bunch of tough courses all at once may seem like a great idea initially, but the stress is not worth it. Prolonged stress can lead to burnout, which is all too common among premeds today. Take some time to invest in hobbies beyond the scope of medicine, get sleep, practice healthy care habits, or binge a Netflix show every once in a while! However, if you are confident, or want to take a heavy course load, then don’t let this piece of advice scare you or steer you away! 
  • General note during this time of the pandemic: take it easy on yourself. If you’re stressed about losing a potential shadowing or clinical opportunity that you had lined up, know that everyone else is too. COVID is impacting so many people in so many different ways, and now is a great time to do some reflecting on why you want to be a doctor in lieu of getting some in person experiences.