Are you planning on becoming a doctor? This is a very noble career path that many people choose to pursue.
Around 17,000 people become doctors in the United States every year. They have some of the highest salaries and enjoy considerable respect in their communities.
However, the process of becoming a doctor is not for the faint of heart. The average acceptance rate for medical school applications is only 5.5%. Of course, some applicants that get rejected from some medical schools get accepted to others. Still, only an estimated 17% of freshman premed majors end up getting accepted to medical school.
If you are committed to becoming a doctor, then you are going to need to take it very seriously. Competition for space at medical schools is very fierce, so you have to keep that in mind during your undergraduate years.
What You Need to Do to Thrive as a Premed Major
The median GPA of people admitted to medical school is 3.71. This means that you are going to have to be near the top of your class if you want a realistic chance of getting into a halfway decent medical school in the United States.
Here are some things that you will want to keep in mind when studying premed.
Find ways to pay for college without having to work at a job that requires regular commitments
You’re going to have a much tougher time doing well in school if you also have to have a job. The time that you spend at work is going to be time that you can’t spend studying. It is also time that you can’t spend reenergizing yourself by socializing.
You might want to try looking into scholarships for college. This will make it easier to pay for school without having a job. You will find that it is easier to make time for your studies. You will also have less debt, which will make going to medical school easier.
If you have to work, then you might want to look into an on-campus job. Many on-campus jobs don’t require a lot of work. You might be able to be a proctor for testing centers or be responsible for checking identification for people going to the gym. Many people that work these jobs report that they only have to spend about five or ten minutes working each hour. They can bring their homework with them and affectively get paid to study.
Study smart not hard
You probably have heard the term “work smart not hard” before. You need to take this into consideration when you are studying as a premed major.
The harsh reality is that studying too hard is going to burn you out. You want to make sure that every hour that you spent studying is going to pay off.
Get plenty of exercise
Research has shown that college students can study more effectively when they also get enough exercise. It is also an important part of prioritizing your wellness as a college student. You obviously won’t have time to be at the gym three hours every night when you have to deal with the rigors of studying as a premed major. However, you are going to want to get at least regular exercise when you can fit it in. At the very least, you should try to exercise for between 20 and 30 minutes a day for five days a week.
Don’t neglect your social life
Some premed majors believe that they won’t have any time to socialize when they are in school. They spend every waking hour studying.
This approach is not going to be very sustainable. The lack of a social life is going to be very depressing. You will end up dealing with burnout, which is going to eventually take its toll on your GPA.
You are going to want to try to maintain a decent social life. A thread from Reddit shows that many premed majors are still able to be active in fraternities or sororities and party occasionally.
Form study groups with knowledgeable students
Most people are going to have an easier time doing well in school if they work with other students. You want to form study groups with people that have at least as good of an understanding of the material as you. However, you don’t want to be forming study groups with people just because you like them. Some people are not very smart, and you are going to have to spend a tremendous amount of time tutoring them on basic concepts, which is going to take away from your own ability to learn.
Take reasonably easy electives
You don’t want to challenge yourself more than necessary when you are a premed major. Your program is going to be difficult enough as it is.
This means that you don’t want to be taking challenging electives that could drag down your GPA. You want to take the easiest classes that you can, so that you can boost your GPA as much as possible. You’re going to have enough tough classes as a premed major. There’s no reason to make it even harder.
Don’t take too many classes each semester
You obviously want to graduate in a reasonable timeframe. However, you don’t want to try to complete your courses too quickly. Your GPA is going to suffer if you try to take too many classes at once. This is going to be especially true if you are a premed major, since many of the math and science classes that you take are going to be hard enough as it is.
Take advantage of office hours
Most professors have office hours. You’re going to want to use them when necessary to get help with assignments. You also want to show your professor that you are serious about the program and want to do well in their class. They might take that into consideration at the end of the semester when they have to use their discretion to give you a grade.