Students at Berry College who hope to attend medical school will find excellent academic preparation, a supportive faculty and a variety of assistance to help prepare for their future careers. Students interested in pursuing a Physician’s Assistant (P.A.) or Doctor of Dentistry (D.D.S.) degree are supported with the same enthusiasm as those seeking an M.D. Berry has a Premedical Advisor who will work with you to develop an appropriate course of study and provide counseling throughout the process of applying to medical school.
Course Requirements for Medical Schools
There is no such thing as a Premedical major at Berry or other colleges. Students can major in any subject area provided they meet the core requirements of medical schools:
1 year of biology with laboratory
1 year of general (inorganic) chemistry with laboratory
1 year of organic chemistry with laboratory
1 year of physics with laboratory
1 year of English.
Calculus is required by some medical schools.
Additional science courses are highly recommended for students who intend to pursue a career in medicine and can be selected in consultation with the Premedical Advisor. At the same time, medical schools also like students who demonstrate an interest in the humanities; Berry’s diverse curriculum offers students many opportunities to explore these other areas as well.
Students should be aware that requirement of individual medical schools may differ. All students who plan to apply to medical school should obtain a copy of the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) to determine the specific requirements for schools of interest to be sure they meet course requirements. This book, which is published annually by the Association of American Medical Colleges, typically includes median MCAT scores and GPA of students who were recently accepted for admission to different medical schools. See the MSAR website - www.aamc.org/msar - for details
Your Berry Premedical Experience
Beginning with your freshman year, you will work with your academic advisor to choose courses that are required for your major, as well as those required for admission to medical school. You will be encouraged to focus on establishing a firm foundation early in your coursework. The first courses you take set your GPA at a certain value, and subsequent courses have a proportionally reduced effect on changing that number. This is also the reason we don’t encourage students to over-commit themselves during their freshman year in shadowing or volunteer work. We do encourage students to seek academic help through the free tutoring service that Berry provides, and to get involved with the Allied Health Club.
By this time students usually have developed a better sense of whether to stay in a premedical focus. The student should begin investigating opportunities for volunteer work and physician shadowing (see link to shadowing opportunities, below). These can be conducted during the summer months, but it is good to lay the groundwork beforehand. The student should also consider becoming a Teaching Assistant (TA) in a science course they have already taken to reinforce learning and become better acquainted with faculty. We also encourage students to consider assisting faculty in research projects. Become more actively involved in the Allied Health Sciences Club.
The junior year should be about getting engaged in some research and regularly taking upper-level courses. Become an officer in the Allied Health Club. By the end of the junior year the student should be prepared to take the MCAT exam and have begun the process of putting together their medical school application with AMCAS – the American Medical Colleges Application Service. It is very important for the student to stay in close contact with the Premedical Advisor to assure timely completion of the application, including letters of recommendation (see additional information below regarding letters of recommendation).
By the fall of the senior year, the student has normally applied to medical school(s) and is awaiting interview offers. Look for opportunities to take “mock interviews” before you actually visit medical schools. This is not a time to slack off on your course work, as your final GPA could still be a factor affecting the outcome of your application.
The Premed Folder and Letters of Recommendation
After the student has submitted the initial (primary) application to a medical school, he or she may receive a request for “secondary” information. This means the medical school is interested and wants you to submit additional materials, including letters of recommendation. Berry College has a Premedical Committee, chaired by the Premedical Advisor, which will provide letters of recommendation for well qualified applicants after a careful review of the student’s dossier and a personal interview.
The Premedical Committee requires that the student assemble a Premedical Folder with the following information for its review.
- Current unofficial transcript
- MCAT Scores
- Personal statement telling why you want to become a physician (no more than two pages)
- A current resumé, including shadowing and volunteer experience
- A copy of the student’s AMCAS file when it is complete
- The student’s AMCAS ID and letter ID numbers
Our Commitment to You
The personalized learning environment at Berry College offers all students the opportunity to explore the liberal arts and to participate in rigorous and challenging academic courses. We are committed to helping you achieve your potential and to prepare for the future – whether it is medical school, other postgraduate studies or any of a variety of careers.
Links to helpful sites for premedical and other preprofessional students
Information on how to arrange for shadowing opportunities
Whom may I contact for more information about premedical studies?
Dr. Joseph McDade, Premedical Advisor