Medicine Preparation Guide

While there are similarities between medical school programs, each school will outline their own unique admission requirements. It is critical to develop a school list and research each program to ensure that you are following each school’s admission requirements.

Medical schools do not require a science-based bachelor’s degree, nor do they have a preference on where you earn your undergraduate degree, as long as the university is accredited. Any major will allow you to pursue medical school since admission is based on many factors. More so, there is no advantage nor disadvantage to having a science-based major. However, students will need to meet pre-requisite courses for admissions, which have been outlined on page 2 of this guide.

Admission Considerations:

GPA & MCAT- The national average for accepted medical school applicants is a 3.7 overall and a 3.64 for science. MCAT: 510 or 83rd percentile.

Service- Demonstrate compassion for others by volunteering with underserved communities.

Personal Essay- Write a compelling narrative that outlines your true motivation and resiliency. What experiences have you had that make you determined to pursue this profession?

15 Core Competencies- Ensure all of your experiences and knowledge meet the AAMC's competencies for entering medical students: AAMC's Core Competencies.

Healthcare/Clinical Experience- Volunteer or shadow at a hospital or clinic. Aim for 150-300 hours of meaningful patient interactions. Examples of Clinical Experiences.

Leadership- Show that you take initiative and can lead a team by sitting on a board, being an Undergrad Instructional Apprentice, or creating your own project. Leadership can take many forms.

Letters of Recommendation- To get to know faculty and other professionals, try office hours, coffee with a professor, or become an Undergrad Instructional Apprentice. Look for mentors, not letter writers. Building relationships takes time so begin early! Aim to secure for 3-5 letters. These do not necessarily need to be in science-related fields

Academic Pre-Requisites:

PLEASE NOTE The following courses should be taken for letter grades (not P/NP). AP scores are typically not accepted for the courses listed below. Lastly, while most medical school programs will accept community college courses, some may require that pre-requirement coursework are met with upper division coursework found at the four-year university. 

*Avoid Ws, especially a trend of withdrawing from courses. If you do have Ws, Ds, or Fs, explain them within the application. Certain schools will factor in D or F grade even when the transcript marks them as repeated courses no longer affecting the GPA; certain medical schools will recalculate the GPA to include D and F grades. Again, it’s important to explain these grades.

Most Schools Require:

  • 1 year of English (meeting UC transfer admission requirements with SRJC’s English 1A and English 5, for example, should satisfy this)
  • 1 year of General Chemistry with labs
  • 1 year of General Biology with labs
  • 1 year of Organic Chemistry with labs
  • 1 year of Physics with labs (while trig-based physics, i.e., SRJC’s Physics 20-21 is typically enough, research medical schools to confirm that calculus-based physics is not required)

Some Schools Require:

  • Biochemistry
  • Statistics and one semester of Calculus. (Although some schools may require 2+ semesters of Calculus but this is not common)
  • Physiology with labs
  • Anatomy with labs

More Courses to Consider (research each individual medical school program):

  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology with lab
  • Public Speaking (the CSU admission requirement likely satisfies this)
  • Life Span/Human Development
  • Psychology and/or Sociology. For an idea of which social/behavioral science topics are covered on the MCAT to help determine which courses to take, explore the following Khan Academy MCAT prep guide: Khan Academy MCAT Study Guide Virtual workshops for pre-health students at community colleges

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