By: Sarah Caesar
Before I came to college, portrayals of doctors on television and stories from friends and family were the main factors that shaped my assumptions about the lifestyles of pre-med students. When I arrived at University of Georgia, I saw how misplaced my assumptions were and realized that pre-med life is much different from what’s being portrayed in the media. In this article, I hope to debunk some of the common misconceptions or myths about pre-med life and share some of my experiences as a pre-med student.
Myth #1: I want to major in pre-med.
A common misconception is that pre-med is a major. However, it is not. It is merely the course of study prior to entering medical school. During this period, pre-med students take the prerequisite courses necessary to apply to medical schools in the United States. Although some classes are suggested to meet these medical school requirements, there is no specific path every pre-med student takes.
Myth #2: I have to be a science major in order to go to medical school.
Another misconception I had about pre-med students was that they were all science majors. I mean, obviously, they have to be, right? However, this is not the case. Since the start of college, I have met many pre-med students at UGA who are majoring in journalism, music and something as far from science as finance. As a matter of fact, medical school admission data provided by University of Maryland shows that individuals who majored in math, statistics and other humanities have slightly higher acceptance rates than those who majored in biological sciences. So if you’re interested in majoring in a non-science field but still want to go to medical school, go for it! Just make sure you complete all the science courses required to apply to medical school.
Myth #3: My daily routine as a pre-med student will consist of just sleeping, eating and studying.
Even though the coursework is challenging, most students find the time for extracurricular activities, community service and spending time with friends and family. In fact, most medical schools look for well-rounded students who are capable of balancing both academics and extracurricular activities. Therefore, make sure you have fun and make the most of all the opportunities available in college.
Myth #4: I will have no social life as a pre-med student.
Since pre-med students are often thought of as extremely bookish, many people assume that they can’t have fun. This, though, is far from reality. Most pre-med students are very involved on campus and enjoy partaking in social events. In addition to joining clubs and sports, many pre-med students shadow or volunteer at community hospitals. This is a great way to gain insight into the hospital environment and learn how to communicate with people more effectively . In reality, most pre-med students spend considerable amount of time interacting with peers and working in groups, both of which are good qualities that help build confidence and improve one’s social skills.
Myth #5: Medical schools only care about my GPA and MCAT scores.
These two factors are extremely crucial when medical schools consider an applicant. However, they are not the only aspects that medical schools consider. Medical schools look favorably upon students who have shown a keen interest in the medical field through community service, shadowing, extra-curricular activities and scientific research. Furthermore, make sure you keep your science GPA up because medical schools pay close attention to this when assessing your application.