FAQ9: Now that I have an idea about the requirements I need to complete and my choice of majors, what else do I need to accomplish during the first three years of college to become more attractive to medical and dental schools?
Medical and dental schools will assess your qualifications for admission based on two criteria: your academic ability to learn difficult material and your personality and ability to work with patients. During the first three years of college (or maybe three and a half or four years) you should strive to:
1. Make Good Grades & Develop
Time Management Skills Strong Self Discipline Good Study Habits Good grades prove your academic ability. Efficient time management enables you to organize your day and devote adequate time to learning; it is crucial to making good grades. You will need a day planner of some type to accomplish this. Self discipline is the ability to look at your day planner, prioritize your responsibilities, and accomplish what needs to be done to maximize your learning experience. Solid study habits increase your ability to learn and retain the information necessary to achieve good grades.
2. Have a Good Time
You will not perform your best academically if you are not happy and comfortable with your college experience. You need to pick a college or university with an atmosphere you really enjoy. You need to choose a major that pleases you and maximizes your ability to make good grades. And you need to occasionally assess your situation and ask yourself if you are happy. If you are happy, your chances of gaining admission to medical school are much better. If you determine that you are not satisfied, you should assess why and decide on a course of action to improve your situation.
3. Be a “people person”
The admissions committee will ascertain your ability to practice as a caring physician or dentist based on your personal attributes, personality, and your record of performance outside the classroom while you are in college. You must become involved with people as a member of clubs, scientific or honor societies, student government, sports groups, or other extra-curricular activities. Leadership in these groups is very important. And interaction with other people and groups on campus is essential. Medical and dental schools will want to know how you helped others during your college years and how you changed as you went through college.
4. Get experience in the profession of medicine or dentistry
As mentioned before, you must convince yourself that you possess the personality to practice as a caring physician or dentist and that you enjoy working with patients in pain, with diseases and with an outlook on life less positive than what you see around you during a typical college day. By proving your interest through interaction with such patients you will provide evidence to medical or dental schools that you are a good candidate for a career as a health care professional.
5. Tour a medical or dental school
Take the time to investigate at least one campus during your first three years of undergraduate school. Obviously, the medical or dental school you are most interested in is a good choice, as are your state-supported schools.