Becoming a Doctor-Advice for high school students

0 Outline the progression of education and training
0 Cover the basics of preparation
0 Discuss characteristics of well-prepared, competitive
applicants to medicine
0 Discuss navigating college and premed
0 Debunk myths and issue precautions
0 Questions
The journey into medicine
0 Becoming more flexible
0 Encouraging of diversity in a broad sense
0 Experiences, skills, personal characteristics, courses of study, etc.
0 Has numbers that determine consideration, but not necessarily
0 Requires persistence, dedication, and support
0 Can be a ‘choose your own adventure’ if done right!
Premed Preparation
Science GPA
MCAT score
service &
evidence of
Civic and
Letters of
Writing skills
Academic skills
(study skills,
learning tools)
How it is advertised
What it really can look like
High school
Post bacc
Time off
for TFA
Career pursuit
Stopping out
for family
0 Undergraduate degree (4-6 years)**
0 Medical school (4 years)
0 Residency (3-7 years)
0 Fellowship (1-4 years)
0 ** BA/BS- MD programs offer options for completing
both degrees in 6-8 years, depending on the program.
Students are essentially conditionally accepted to
medical school out of high school
Time line
Boards M2 & M3
residency = full
practice (specialty
boards option)
Apply for
residency M4 year
Boards residency
year 1 = fully
licensed doctor
Fellowship +
additional boards
College choice
0 If a student is headed toward professional school, how does
that affect their initial undergraduate college choice?
Choosing the right college
0 Size
0 Selectivity
0 Public/private
0 Research intensive
0 Size of surrounding community
0 Enrichment opportunities
0 Curriculum
0 Campus community/support
0 Rigor
Bottom Line
0 Choose a school where you will THRIVE
0 Personally
0 Socially
0 Pre-professionally
0 Academically
A note about community college
0 Medical schools have different approaches to applicants
who have attended CC
0 If a CC is the best option for a student, it’s okay, BUT
0 Ensure the student has a transfer plan and time line
0 Ensure the student takes some prereqs at a four-year school
0 Understand that earning a BS degree is less likely if a
student attends a CC
Premed advisers
0 Do NOT choose a school based on the premed advising
‘record’ of success
0 Many advisers act more like gatekeepers than facilitators
0 Advising varies from a full time dedicated adviser with a
program budget to a professor assigned to keep track of
students however they see fit
0 Students can get access to ALL information advisers have
through the AAMC
0 Students do NOT need adviser endorsement to apply or to
submit letters of recommendation
Premed advisers
0 Caution: YOU must take charge of your preparation and may
not have a solid advisor upon which to rely. Seek
0 You may disagree with your adviser (this is allowed) and
you should seek alternative advice if necessary
0 Some advisers are discouraging and negative – if you
encounter a supremely unhelpful adviser, walk away from
the adviser, not medicine!
Premed requirements
0 Subject to change, but haven’t in the last 100 years
0 1 year of biology
0 1 year of general chemistry w/ labs
0 1 year of organic chemistry w/ labs
0 1 year of physics w/ labs
0 Usually calculus is a prereq for physics
0 Can include: statistics, biochemistry, diversity/social justice
courses, medical terminology, etc – vary slightly by school
0 Some schools ‘require’ and some ‘recommend’
Science Courses
0 No science courses above beginner/introductory level
freshman year. (maybe none at all)
0 Regardless of how prepared you are
0 Take the most difficult science courses latter half of
sophomore year and beyond.
0 Protect the GPA!!
0 “W”s are bad. Given the dilemma, a “W” is always better
than a D or an F.
GPA basics
0 The GPA will not get you in, but it will keep you out
0 Make sure you understand rules about
withdrawing/dropping classes
0 Learn how to calibrate and predict performance
0 Think about classes over 4 years including summers
0 Do not take more than two science or math at a time,
especially in the first two years
0 Again, protect your GPA – it’s a key that unlocks the door of
GPA rules
0 Every class you have ever taken for college credit is
calculated into the GPA for applicants to medical school
0 Includes concurrent enrollment
0 Includes any repeated courses (grades are averaged in, not
0 Includes coursework at colleges where no degree was earned
0 Pass fail, AP credits, or audited classes are not calculated into
the gpa
Science courses
0 Utilize the summer to ease the load of simultaneous difficult
classes (even at universities closer to home if it makes
0 Understand that counting toward premed and counting
toward degree don’t necessarily have to overlap
0 Understand that most schools’ premed “tracks” are
ANTIQUATED and far from ideal for any student, but first
generation college students, students with high financial
need, or underrepresented minority students should be
exceptionally careful.
Why wait for science classes?
0 You have two years of general education requirements
0 You will want the content fresh for MCAT. Taking classes too
early potentially means less effective learning/performance.
0 You need letters from professors in science areas, therefore
they want to perform well in those classes and have
professors remember them and endorse them.
Why wait for science classes?
0 Students who underperform in science classes in the first
two years of college change their career aspirations more
often and more drastically.
0 The pace of science courses in college is intense, therefore
you need to be well established as a student before you take
science courses
0 Academic calibration and self knowledge
0 Additional academic success skills
0 Resource savvy (supermall example)
Questions about premed
coursework – what counts?
0 What about AP credits?
0 What about online courses?
0 What about concurrent enrollment courses?
0 Are they flexible? What can be substituted?
0 Are there other requirements besides the general
science ones?
0 What happens if you don’t have every class?
0 Begin pursuits with passion
0 You should choose a major you LOVE, doesn’t have to
be science!
0 Select extra-curriculars based on interest, not medical
school relevance
0 Think about having a ‘hook’ in the application that
will help you stand out
0 Seek personal growth and community impact. Get
outside comfort zone.
0 Log your activities as you go
0 Activities/achievements from HS do not belong on
your med school application
Get involved, find community
0 Students who are engaged on campus have higher
graduation rates than those who are not.
0 Follow a plan to ease into activities:
0 Freshman year: attend, decide what to join
0 Sophomore year: join, participate in leadership, demonstrate
0 Junior year: seek leadership positions, innovate
0 Senior year: be in charge, give back, leave a legacy (leave
things better than before)
Get involved….but
0 Do not over commit yourself socially or with extra
curriculars at the expense of grades.
0 Remember that graduate school applications are always
individual. If you don’t take care of business, reviewers will
have fewer opportunities to see your strengths
0 Learn to balance, so you don’t burn out.
0 Learn to study – (PS reading is NOT studying)
0 If you feel overwhelmed, you should stop and ask for help.
Resources for you
0 Medical School Admission Requirements publication or
online subscription
0 Off shore MD programs (non-LCME accredited schools)
0 International medical schools (non-US, non-LCME)
0 Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) Schools
0 Proprietary advising services & consultants
0 MCAT changes in 2015
0 Pre-Health DREAMers. DACA students can apply! (ask me)
0 A few significant longitudinal pursuits vs. more experiences
with shorter durations
0 Grade shopping
0 Being a cookie cutter applicant
My Contact info
0 Sunny Nakae ([email protected])

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