10 Steps You Need to Take to Prepare for Pre-Med While in High School!
Table of Contents
Step #1: Get Good Grades (Especially in Math & Science)
Let’s start with the obvious. You need good grades. Especially in biology, chemistry, physics, and algebra. The average college GPA for a student who successfully matched into medical school in 2021 is 3.73!! Doing well in your high school classes will make it easier for you to do well in college. You’ll understand the material better and already be familiar with many of the concepts. However, keep in mind that doing well in college in a science class is usually a lot different then doing well in high school… even if you take AP level classes. That leads us to Step 2…
Step #2: Take AP or Honors Classes!
If you are capable of taking classes at the AP or honors level, try to do so. You’ll learn the material at a much higher level. However, keep in mind that many medical schools often DO NOT ACCEPT AP CREDIT TO MEET APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS! So while you may get credit at the undergraduate level, you almost certainly will have to repeat some of those classes.
If you are currently considering taking AP classes at the high school level, here’s a great article breaking down how they work, how to study for them, pros and cons, and how they are looked at by medical school.
Bottom Line: If you can take AP or Honors classes, do so. It’ll give you a better exposure to advanced coursework and give you a heads-up for what to expect as a pre-medical college student. Also don’t limit yourself to just AP science courses. AP Math, Literature, and History are also important to take since medical schools look at your overall GPA. Some research shows that taking AP Calculus in high school can even lead to a higher interest in engineering, mathematics, and science careers – all three of which can be intergrated with a medical careeer!
Step #3: Consider Taking Some Community College Science Classes
You may be thinking “Hold Up. Didn’t we just talk about taking AP Classes? Why are we talking about college classes too?” There’s some BIG advantages to taking community college classes as a high school student. Here’s just a few.
- The credits usually transfer to your 4-year undergraduate school.
- You get exposure to college-level teaching.
- You can join college clubs and societies.
- You can network with professionals teaching at the college.
- It saves you a TON of money because courses are usually much cheaper.
Step #4: Volunteer!
Establishing a long history of public service should start in high school. You’re only going to be in college for 4 years, less if you have a lot of AP or college credits. That doesn’t give you a lot of time to get in volunteering hours.
Check out this great website, VolunteerMatch, to find volunteering opportunities in your community
Step #5: Find Mentors by Networking with Pre-Meds, Medical Students, and Doctors
A good mentor can help guide you on your path to becoming a doctor. It’s kind of our main thing here at BreakThru.
Basically, getting into medical school is hard. Getting through medical school is hard. Going through residency is… hard. Becoming a doctor is HARD! You know what makes it all even harder? Going it alone.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to get into medical school without a mentor. Or even better, get a couple of mentors to help you. By establishing strong relationships, you can benefit from their years of experience and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Mentors can often give you a heads up about problems you’ll face, long before you ever realize those problems exist.
Step #6: Join Clubs
I can’t believe I still have to say this, but medical schools want well-rounded applicants. If your entire academic history comes down to just an MCAT score, a GPA, and a few co-authored research papers you are in trouble. Start building up that CV with clubs early on, while you are in high school!
Some ideas for clubs include:
- Sports (Football, soccer, etc.)
- Hobbies (Photograph, hiking, sewing, fishing, etc.)
- Public Serve (Kiwanis, Rotary, Salvation Army, etc.)
Basically, clubs help to show that you are well-rounded and that you are driven to expand your horizons and understanding of the world.
Step #7: Take a Pre-Med Prep Course
As we like to say at BreakThru, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” A quote we’ve happily stolen from Abraham Lincoln. To help you create your future, BreakThru has created an intense and fully online course that introduces you to the rigors and topics you need to master to get into medical school. Taking this class while in high school will definitely give you a leg up on the competition. If you finish all of the lessons and the final exam you also get a certificate of competition to show off on your resume!
Check out some of the topics we cover below!
- Introduction: Why Medical School
- Formula for the Successful Medical School Applicant
- DO vs MD vs NP… Decoding the Degrees
- Mentoring Tools:
- BreakThru Site Tools
- Mentoring and Medical School
- Pre-Medical Lectures:
- Picking a Major
- GPA vs sGPA
- 7-Year Medical Programs
- Pre-Medical College Classes
- Pre-Medical Clubs & Organizations
- Pre-Medical Classes:
- The Basics of Biology, Organic Chemistry, Physics, Biochemistry, and Chemistry
- Medical School:
- An Overview of Medical School
- Day in the Life of a Medical Student
- Applying to Medical School
- Dual Degrees in Medical School
- Social Media
- Clothing & Video Conferencing
- Open Houses
- Research, Work, Clubs, Volunteering, & E.C.’s:
- Letters of Recommendation
- Work, Research, Volunteering, & E.C.’s
- Evidence-Based Research in Clinical Decision Making
- Pre-Medical Leadership
- Extra Certifications:
- Narcan Certification
- Basic Life Support Training
- Your Next Steps
- Final Review
- Final Exam:
- BreakThru Pre-Medical Prep Certification!
Step #8: Cultivate a Professional Online Presence
What you post on the internet sticks around forever. Expect medical schools to look into your background, because medical school is a professional school. If you have anything at all on social media that would poorly reflect on your, then you need to clean that up. It’s important to act like the future professional that you are aspiring to be!
Step #9: Adopt Healthy Practices to Fuel Your Mind, Body, and Spirit
Being a pre-medical and medical student, not to mention a physician, is a very stressful and demanding process. It’s important that you’re as healthy as you can be mentally, physically, and spiritually. When you’re at college, you may be away from friends and family for the first time ever. In addition, the classes will be intense, and the competition will be fierce. Here’s some tips on how to adopt healthy practices now.
- Mind – A healthy mind is more then just a smart one…
- Practice mindfulness and learn how to deal with stress in a healthy manner.
- Consider finding a therapist that you trust, in order to have a resource for feelings of anxiety or depression.
- Body – A healthy body supports a healthy mind…
- Start exercising, and if you already exercise, don’t stop in order to study more!
- Begin healthy eating habits now. Being away from home may lead to some bad food choices, don’t make that mistake.
- Establish a good sleep schedule. With the freedom of college don’t take all afternoon classes because you want to goof off all night. Maintain healthy routines.
- Regularly see your doctor for annual health check ups.
- Spirit – Hold onto your passions!
- Practice gratitude on a daily basis. This feeds the spirit.
- Pursue your passions outside of medicine. Take that class in art, pottery, dance, philosophy, business, or whatever!
- Be kind to yourself. Everyone messes up sometimes, it’s part of growing.
Step #10: Plan, Plan, Plan!
Our last tip is a simple one – start planning your success now! Set a goal, create a path, and plan each step along the way. Every year, semester, class, and grade should be planned out. Embrace the hard work that your plan represents and celebrate as you pass key milestones along the way.
Creating a Plan is Simple:
- Create a word document titled “My Med School Plan.”
- Set goals for each year and divide each year into Summer, Fall, and Spring.
- Add the classes you’re taking each year of high school.
- Add any community college classes and when you want to take them.
- Add in any clubs, sports, hobbies, volunteer opportunities and when you want to take them.
- Start tracking your GPA each semester in high school.
- Expand and alter your plan as needed. Don’t hesitate to make adjustments that help you reach your ultimate goal!
The Path to Medical School Can Feel Long And Unclear
But never forget that we’re here to help. Do you have a question about something you just read in our BreakThru Learner Series?
Use the BreakThru Feed to Ask and Inspire others with your questions. Our Medical Student Mentors are always here to help you, for free, anytime.
Where Mentoring Happens