Physicians diagnose illness, and administer and prescribe treatment for people suffering from injury or disease using pharmaceutical drugs and surgery. They also counsel patients on diet, and preventative health care.
There are two types of physicians: The M.D. - Doctor of Medicine, and the D.O. - Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. M.D.'s are also known as allopathic physicians. While M.D.'s and D.O.'s may all use accepted methods of treatment, including drugs and surgery, D.O.'s place special emphasis on the body's musculoskeletal system, preventive medicine and holistic patient care.
Pre-medicine is not a major, but a set of courses required by medical schools for admission. Any major is appropriate as long as the student fulfills all premedical requirements. Students must prepare themselves with a basic background in chemistry, physics, mathematics and biology, as well as the social and behavioral sciences, and the humanities. Beyond this basic preparation, choose a major in what interests you. Students are advised to consult with the PPA counselor at each stage of medical school preparation; assistance is available through printed materials, individual advising sessions, workshops, mock interviews, and personal statement critiques.
Course prerequisites vary somewhat for each medical school. Each school's specific requirements can be found in the Medical School Admission Requirements book, available at www.aamc.org, or through the Osteopathic Medical College Information Book, available at the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine website. It is the applicant's responsibility to determine the specific requirements of each program to which they are applying. All required courses should be taken for a letter grade. The general requirements are:
The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) includes four sections: Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning and a Writing Sample. Test time is approximately 6 hours. The MCAT is a computer based text and is currently offered 25 times a year, January through September. You should take the examination at least a year before you plan to enter medical school. Never take the MCAT for practice. Please schedule an appointment with the PPA counselor to discuss the timing of this important examination as well as specific course preparation.
Clinical experience is required for admission to just about all medical schools. It does not matter if the student was paid or a volunteer; admission committees want to know that an applicant can work effectively in a health care environment. It is also important for a competitive applicant to have participated in extracurricular activities. Often students must support themselves financially and work becomes their primary extracurricular activity. However, it is important that students also become involved in community and campus service, organized sports, research, personal interests - all can be important in the admission process.
Most allopathic medical schools belong to the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) which allows you to apply through one initial application on the web at www.aamc.org. You can apply to all osteopathic medical schools through a separate application service (*ACCOMAS) on the web at the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine website. Applications are submitted approximately 12-15 months prior to entering medical school. Beyond the satisfactory completion of minimum requirements, selection for admission is based on many factors including undergraduate grade point average, MCAT scores, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, an interview, personal statement, and awareness of and experience in health related fields. Secondary/Supplemental Application: After receiving your initial application, a medical school will send you their own application often known as a secondary or in some cases supplementary application. Deciding who is invited to complete a secondary application varies among medical schools. Some medical schools offer automatic invitations while others screen applications based mainly on the combination of GPA and MCAT scores.
All medical schools require letters of recommendation, usually 3-5 at the time of the secondary application. It is advisable that 1-2 letters come from science faulty and one be from someone in health care with whom you have worked or volunteered. AMCAS offers a Letters of Recommendation Service.
You may also consider storing your letters with a document collection and delivery service such as Interfolio. With the use of Interfolio your letters can be kept on file for multiple years and delivered to the programs you are applying to at your convenience. Students can learn more about the service at www.Interfolio.com