The following assumes four years to the bachelor's degree, followed immediately by entrance into medical school. However, many students take five years due to scheduling problems and/or work obligation and there is no problem with not matriculating immediately after graduation. You should schedule your entrance into medical school according to your interests and needs. (However, be aware that the MCAT is good for only three years at most medical schools.)
COLLEGE YEAR 1:
- Begin undergraduate program (BA/BS) and plan when you will take your premedical requirements. Plan program of study with premedical advisor AND major advisor. Decide whether you will might need five years to complete your BA/BS degree. This will depend on your work, family obligations and possible class scheduling difficulties. The following assumes a four year plan.
- Take Chemistry 1A and, if possible, Chemistry 1B if you are a biology or chemistry major and want to finish in four years. Take these courses even if you have AP credit in them. Many med schools will not accept AP courses.
- Investigate "AspiringDocs web site ( www.aspiringdocs.org) and "Considering a Career in Medicine" web site ( www.aamc.org/students/considering)
- Join the Fresno State Premed Club by logging on to your " my.fresnostate.edu" account, clicking "Student Clubs and Organizations," in the left navigation column,
then clicking "Join An Org" in the blue strip at the top of the page. Then enter in
the Search field "Fresno State Premed" to find the link to the organization. You should
also join the Fresno State Premed Club's Facebook account to receive timely notifications
of club meetings, events, speakers of interest, etc.
Another pre-health club on campus, "AMAS," or "American Medical Students Association," is for those interested in providing healthcare in a variety of ways, such as nursing, pharmacy, etc., as well as those interested in becoming physicians. Some students belong to both organizations.
- Plan to do something constructive, such summer school, gaining medical experience, volunteering or attending a summer program offered by medical schools.
COLLEGE YEAR 2 :
- You want to have completed most of the courses required for the MCAT by the end of this year. Think about individuals you would like to ask for letters of recommendations and begin "grooming" them for that purpose. (Talk to them about yourself, your interests and your career aspirations; keep them abreast of your progress and activities.) Find volunteer or paid medically-related experiences. Look into research experiences if this interests you. Continue using the AspiringDocs website.
- Plan a constructive summer: research, summer health careers program, summer school, volunteering, medical experience.
- Start saving money for the application process. If you have credit card debt, pay it off before medical school. More and more medical schools are requiring a favorable credit report before offering loans, which is the primary way students pay for their medical school education. If you do not have a credit card, you may want to apply for one to build up a favorable credit history.
- Study for the MCAT. Order practice exams and the Official Guide to the MCAT. You might want to attend a summer MCAT preparatory course, such as Kaplan s course.
- Strengthen perceived weaknesses in your application.
- Start formulating your personal statement which is only one page long, and is the only place on your application where you can "sell" yourself. This must be very well-written.
- Buy a copy of the Medical School Admissions Requirements and a copy of the information book on Osteopathic Medical Schools available online from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine ( www.aacom.org/) Begin to consider to which schools you will apply. Look at AAMC's Applying to Medical School web site.
COLLEGE YEAR 3: (Two Years Before Entry into Medical School)
- Open a file with the chief premedical advisor (Dr. Frank) by filling out the " Premedical Student Registration" form. (This is assuming you want the medical advisor to have your letters of recommendation sent to the medical schools to which you are applying.) Complete the form to either waive or not waive your right to see you letters of recommendation. If you do not waive your right, med schools may not have much confidence in what the writer is saying about you.
- Think about who you will ask for letters of recommendation. You might want to alert recommenders that you will be asking for a letter.
- Decide when you will take the MCAT (we suggest not later than April) and register online. Determine if you are eligible for fee assistance ( www.aamc.org/fap).
- Continue review for MCAT exam. Take MCAT tests available at the AAMC website. Sign up for a review course, e.g. Kaplan or Princeton, if you think this would be beneficial.
- Obtain latest AMCAS edition of Medical School Admissions Requirements. (We have a copy for you to look through at the Health Careers Information Center, Science 1 - 136, or in Dr. Frank s office, McL-159. Establish list of priorities from which medical schools will be considered. Think about which medical schools you would like to attend and which of those would consider you.
- Write first rough drafts of your personal statement.
- Continue review for MCAT. Consider a review course if you think it will be beneficial. Do practice tests. (Previous MCAT tests can be found on the AAMC web site.) Be sure you have registered for the MCAT.
- Take MCAT whenever you are ready. The best timing is to have the scores available when you submit your application in the coming month of June. If you take the MCAT in August or September, you may want to wait until the following June to apply since most medical schools fill their class on a rolling basis, so the later the complete application is available, the more difficult it will be to get a seat.
- Have one or more individuals critique your personal statement.
- Meet with those individuals you have chosen to write letters of recommendation. Discuss letter being requested and provide them with an autobiography (include whether or not you have had to work during school, and if so, how many hours you worked), courses taken, personal statement and curriculum vitae. Give anyone writing a letter for you a "Request for a Letter of Recommendation" form (see the Letters of Recommendation page). Have letters of recommendation sent to the chief premedical advisor.
- Check to be sure all your letters of recommendation are on file. Remind those individuals who have not yet sent their letters to the premedical advisor.
- Look at AMCAS and ACOMAS (for osteopathic medicine) applications that are online.
- Request transcripts from every college or university attended (needed for AMCAS and ACOMAS applications).
- Narrow list of schools being considered for application. Call admissions offices of the medical schools in which you are most interested and ask questions about their selection criteria. e.g. how important research is, how much medical experience or volunteer work is emphasized, or any other questions you might have. Medical schools differ on what they consider important and you want to find a medical school where you would be comfortable.
- Request application materials from non-AMCAS schools.
END OF YEAR 3 MIDDLE MAY; NOT LATER THAN JUNE 1:
- Fill out applications online. Submit complete applications no later than the date on which applications are first accepted. Usually early to middle May will serve as a target to send in all application materials (including MCAT and Letters of Recommendation).
- Check with AMCAS/ACOMAS to be sure that your application is complete.
- After receiving your application and transcripts, AMCAS/ACOMAS will process your application and forward it to the medical schools of your choice. Your application will be screened by those medical schools and, should they wish to consider you further, you will receive a secondary application. It is important to respond quickly to secondary applications, though care should be taken in using the opportunity to supplement and strengthen your application.
- Have letters of recommendation sent to medical schools as soon as you know that you will be completing the secondary applications for those schools.
- If possible, visit medical schools being considered for application and/or contact CSUF alumni attending those schools.
- Make final decisions on medical schools to which applications will be sent.
- Have passport-sized photos prepared for submittal with secondary applications.
- Investigate: AAMC Recommendations for Medical School Admission Officers and Medical School Applicants ( www.aamc.org/students/applying/policies)
COLLEGE YEAR 4 (ONE YEAR BEFORE ENTRY)
FALL SEMESTER (Assuming you are satisfied with your MCAT scores.)
- If you have not done so, submit your primary application and make sure that your AMCAS (and/or ACOMAS) application is complete. Submit secondaries and have letters of recommendation sent as soon as possible. Medical shools accept student on a "rolling" basis, so it becomes more difficult to be accepted the later your application is completed.
- Check with the medical schools to be sure your application is complete. This is done either online or by phone.
- Follow up by phone or letter if a medical school has not responded to your application.
- Interviews begin.
- Begin search for scholarships and financial aid. Fill out FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form.
- Check to be sure that you have a favorable credit report.
- Interviews continue.
- Finish degree requirements.
- Wait for notification of acceptance.
- Make final decision about medical school choice.
- Immediately notify medical schools you will not be attending.
ENTRANCE TO MEDICAL SCHOOL Congratulations!
If you did not gain acceptance into medical school, contact the medical schools to help understand how you can strengthen your application. You might want to consider post-baccalaureate programs. Check the information on our " Plan B" page.