Whether you are in high school, college or are considering getting an MD degree after years on the work force, the general steps remain the same.
Research the medical school you are interested in attending to be certain of their particular admission requirement. Make an appointment to speak to an adviser for more specific advice on earning an MD degree from their facility.
A MD degree requires that you complete 4 years of college and earn a GPA of at least 3.5. The major makes little difference as long as you take fulfill the requirements for the specific subjects for the pre-med program of the college. In addition, in order to practice medicine, you will need to complete residency and pass the board exam for the state you reside in.
You will need to receive a high score on the MCAT, Medical College Admission Test which consists of four sections:
- Physical sciences section, Physics and Freshman/Introductory (Inorganic) Chemistry questions.
- Biological Sciences section, Biology and Organic Chemistry
- Reading comprehension section, passages and questions about them
- Writing Sample section which consists of two essay questions, half-hour each.
This test is of utmost importance, although your GPA is heavily weighted as well. There are actually two GPA’s that you need to keep in mind.
- Science GPA, including all your Math, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc.
- Non-science GPA, calculated with all the other classes that were not used in calculating your Science GPA
There are certain classes required by virtually all medical schools in the United States you will need to do well in the following classes;
- Freshman Chemistry along with the appropriate laboratory courses
- Organic Chemistry along with laboratory courses
- Biology along with laboratory courses
- Physics along with laboratory courses
In addition, some schools require coursework in the Behavioral Sciences, such as Psychology, Philosophy and others.
Doing extremely well in school will help in other less obvious ways besides your GPA.
Since medical school requires recommendations from the science faculty, so making a good impression will only help your desire to get an MD. Pre-med classes cover the material you need to know to do well on the MCAT. Being well prepared is better than cramming for this exam. Schools will also ask for a list of all the pre-med requirements along with the grades.
Science classes are going to be the lifeline for your medical career. Knowing the material isn’t quite enough. You need to understand the topics and theory. Do practice problems in your spare time. The MCAT is designed to test your problem solving ability so spending time solving problems is a good way to increase your practical knowledge of the subjects.
There isn’t an easy road to get to an MD degree and the years of schooling can be quite expensive. Private schools and colleges are extremely pricey. One other option is to apply for a HPSP through the military. The Health Professions Scholarship Program is offered by the Army, Navy and Air Force. Approval in to this program allows you to pursue your MD at no cost to you. The only stipulation is that for every year the military paid your college tuition, books, lab fees and stipend, you are to serve the country in active duty and then inactive duty for the same amount of time.
The application process is similar. You need a 3.5 GPA and a 19 on your MCAT, plus 3 letters of recommendation. In addition you have to submit a letter of acceptance for a civilian medical school. Although this acceptance letter is required the HPSP is transferable. This is a viable option for those who desire an MD but cannot afford the schooling.
Receiving your MD degree is quite an accomplishment. You need a lot of determination, hard work and patience but if this is your ultimate goal than don’t let any obstacle stop you.