Pre-Medical Advising


Advisor: Dr. Wanda Schroeder

Career Description

Physicians assess, diagnose, and treat patients of all ages using a biological approach to healing and maintenance of good health. They perform examinations, analyze medical histories, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and develop treatment plans. Physicians work in a variety of settings including hospitals, industry, private practice, and government. Completion of medical school, followed by residency and in some cases, subspecialization training, is required.

Becoming a Physician

There is no single, "correct" path to medical school. Some people start planning for it before they start college, others don't pursue it until after they graduate. Students should complete a bachelor's degree in a field of their choice along with necessary prerequisite courses (see below); attaining a competitive undergraduate GPA (at least 3.6 overall and in science courses, no grades less than C) is essential for successful applications, as is a competitive score on the MCAT. After earning an undergraduate degree, four years of medical school (attaining a medical doctor, MD degree) followed by on the job training (residency) which lasts 3-8 years is common. Subspecialization is accomplished through fellowships which can last several more years. MDs and DOs (doctor of osteopathic medicine, a related career) must pass a state licensing exam and must also pass board exams for certification in specialty areas.


The general requirements for medical school include the following courses. Some medical schools may have different requirements for coursework, so make sure to check with the medical school of your choice. You do not have to major in biology or chemistry, but you must have the requisite biology/chemistry courses in order to fulfill the requirements for admission. Consult the pre-Medical Advisor, Dr. Wanda Schroeder, for assistance with coursework and timeline.

Course and Semester Hours

  • General Biology with labs 8 hours
  • Upper Level Biology (with labs)* 8 hours
  • Biochemistry 3 hours
  • English 6 hours
  • Humanities and social sciences 14 hours
  • Chemistry(General or Inorganic) with lab 8 hours
  • Chemistry (Organic) with lab 4-8 hours
  • Physics with lab 8 hours

*Science Courses Strongly Suggested: genetics, cell & molecular biology, physiology, anatomy, microbiology, histology

Other Recommended: statistics, psychology

Sample Coursework Plan*
YEAR ONE Fall Semester YEAR ONE Spring Semester
BIO 110 BIO 112
CHM 101 CHM 102
Gen Ed Electives/PSY 101 Gen Ed Electives
WISE 101 MAT 220
YEAR TWO Fall Semester YEAR TWO Spring Semester
CHM 221 CHM 222
BIO 203 Gen Ed Electives
Gen Ed Electives/ENG 111 Major Coursework/Foreign Language
Major Coursework/Foreign Language -
YEAR THREE Fall Semester YEAR THREE Spring Semester
PHY 115 PHY 116
BIO 311 or BIO 320 or BIO 340 BIO 318
PDE /Major Coursework/Gen Ed Electives Major Coursework/Gen Ed Electives/ PDE
YEAR FOUR Fall Semester YEAR FOUR Spring Semester
Major Coursework Major Coursework
Gen Ed Electives Gen Ed Electives

*This plan presumes a minimum SAT score of 600 MAT/CR, entering as a first year traditional student

Four Year Timeline

First Year  
  • Discuss with first year seminar advisor the courses to be taken during the first year. 
  • Attend a meeting with the pre-med advisor D to obtain needed materials and ask questions
  • Make draft of coursework and internship plans for next four years
  • Explore on and off campus service organizations and volunteer opportunities; join one or two, but make sure you can maintain an excellent GPA while also engaging in these extracurricular activities.
Second Year
  • FALL:  Inquire about an internship (Center for Career
  • Development) or research project with Division of Science and Mathematics faculty members
  • Begin thinking about the particular medical schools to which you would like to apply. You can get information on different programs and the requirements for admission from their web sites. It is also useful to e-mail the admissions office and ask for profiles of the most recent entering class.  In this way, you can keep up with their requirements for admissions (all schools are slightly different) and see for yourself what the average GPA and MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) scores are for applicants accepted for that individual school. By far the majority of students who are admitted are from the home state of the medical school.
  • SPRING: Assemble a list of potential summer undergraduate research programs (see “Other Resources, below)
  • Start thinking about the MCAT; start saving money to attend a professional MCAT prep course. The Kaplan prep course and Princeton Review course are excellent. Go to their web site for location, time, and price of the nearest course.

Third Year
  • FALL: Begin to thoroughly study for the MCAT on your own or enroll in an MCAT prep course. 
  • Narrow your choices down to around 6 Medical schools that you realistically have a good chance of getting into.  
  • Continue excellence with your undergraduate course work
  • Explore options for summer undergraduate research programs (SURP) and familiarize yourself with all due dates for applications.
  • Plan on completing a PDE with a physician or in a clinical setting 
  • Engage in an independent study in a research lab fall or spring semester.
  • SPRING: Pursue a leadership role in an on or off campus service organization 
  • Complete applications and request letters of recommendations from faculty and mentors for a number (3-6, as these programs are competitive) of undergraduate summer research programs.
  • Complete the MCAT preparatory course in March-April 
  • Take the MCAT in late spring or early summer.  The MCAT is now given about 22 times per year.  Prepare for the MCAT the first time as if it is your only chance. If your score is not competitive, improve the areas that were deficient in your first exam and take the MCAT again later in the summer.  
  • SUMMER: Work on AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) application. Almost all schools in the United States use this service for their applications. Check each medical school to which you are intending to apply to make sure they use AMCAS.  
  • Significant preference is given at state medical schools to residents, so it is a best bet to apply in your home state (if you have a public medical school there). 
Fourth Year
  • FALL: Complete your personal statement and all other information for the AMCAS well before the deadline.  
  • Ask your references if they are willing to write you a letter of recommendation.  One recommendation should ideally be from the pre-med advisor, one from a practicing physician, and one from a scientist with which you have performed research. Make sure to provide all requested materials and MCAT scores to your references.  
  • Complete supplemental applications when they arrive and return them before the deadline. 
  • Practice interview skills. Wesleyan's Center for Career Development can help with this (see Resources, below).
  • Continue with internships and/or research.  
  • SPRING: Wow the admissions committee with your interview and wait for your letter of acceptance.  
  • Respond to your letter of acceptance in a timely manner to ensure your spot 
  • Finish strong


Evaluation Criteria

Please note that as mentioned above, medical schools differ in their criteria and in the weight given to each of the following. Make sure that you are familiar with the criteria used by the school to which you are applying. The following is a general consensus of what most schools are using to evaluate applicants, listed in the order of importance:

  • Science GPA, overall GPA
  • Test scores (MCAT)
  • Professional experience (You must have experience shadowing a physician and/or volunteering in a clinical setting.)
  • References (one letter should be from the pre-medical advisor, one letter should be from a practicing physician, and one additional personal letter (if you have performed research, this letter should be from your research mentor).
  • Essay
  • Extracurricular activities (including leadership positions)

Additional Resources for Pre-Med Students

The resources below are helpful for students preparing for a career in medicine. Wesleyan's Center for Career Development can help students with deciding if this path fits them, as well as with strategic career planning, creating resumes/CVs, writing personal statements, and more.

Gaining Experience as a Pre-Med Student

Local/Statewide Opportunities

  • Visit the Center for Career Development to learn about potential local shadowing and internship opportunities.
  • Work as a pharmacy technician: Look for pharmacy technician positions at Kroger, CVS, and other drug stores. Check their employment pages and Purple Briefcase.
  • Volunteer at Navicent Health The screening process takes some time, so start early. 
  • Volunteer at a local health clinic such as the Macon Volunteer Clinic.
  • Work or volunteer at a hospice facility or nursing home. Many hospice centers around Macon (including Encompass Hospice, Heart of Georgia Hospice, and Pine Pointe Hospice) have expressed a need for volunteers and interns. Check Purple Briefcase, GivePulse, and the organization’s website for updated information. You may need to obtain a CNA license.
  • Work as a medical scribe. ScribeAmerica is often recruiting medical scribes. Find their contact information on Purple Briefcase or here.
  • Use GivePulse to find an updated list of local organizations needing volunteers.

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