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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.