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Articles / Applying to College / Where are the "Pre-Med Colleges"?

Oct. 1, 2010

Where are the "Pre-Med Colleges"?

Question: Can you help me find list of pre-medical schools? I am having a hard time finding them. All I am finding is medical schools and I have to go to a pre-med school before I go to medical school.

There is no such thing as a "pre-medical school." **(Well, do see a couple exceptions down below.) In fact, perhaps surprisingly, the majority of colleges and universities don't even have pre-medical majors. However, most colleges and universities do offer students the opportunity to take "pre-med" classes in preparation for application to medical school. These classes will allow you to meet the entry requirements at all medical schools. The list includes a combination of sciences, English, and social sciences. A typical pre-med program looks like this (although there can be some variations):


one to two years of Biology, including labs

one year of Physics, including labs

one year of English

two years of Chemistry, including one year of Organic Chemistry, and labs

one year of Calculus

Even when not required, it will strengthen your med-school application to also take classes in psychology, sociology, biochemistry, zoology, anatomy, physiology, immunology, genetics, and other related areas. Work or volunteer experiences in the medical field and, especially, science research projects (perhaps assisting a professor at your college) will be a big plus, too.

Other than art schools, music schools, business colleges, and those other institutions that focus on one or two specialized areas, you are likely to find the opportunity to pursue a pre-med curriculum wherever you enroll. But as you read about the various colleges that interest you, look for unique programs for pre-health students. On most college Web sites you can find a link to pre-med or pre-health information, such as this one from the Southern Methodist University Web site: http://smu.edu/premed/Default.asp Also look for links that will take you to special health-related programs. Example: Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut offers a "Health Fellows Program" that enables students considering a medical career to observe and participate in a variety of health-care related activities. See:http://www.trincoll.edu/Academics/SpecialPrograms/healthfellows/

Many pre-med students choose to major in one of the sciences because they enjoy science and also because this makes it easier to complete major requirements and pre-med requirements at the same time. BUT ... as a pre-med student, you can major in almost anything ...anthropology, English, studio art, Spanish ... and still take all the pre-med classes. In fact, sometimes med school admission committees like to see atypical majors on applications rather than the predictable bio and chem.

So, bottom line: If your goal is to go to medical school, you can choose most any college that interests you and still be on the right road to your dream.

** There are a some direct-entry medical colleges or programs within colleges & universities that allow students to go right from high school through medical school. These programs are extremely selective, even when affiliated with not-so-selective institutions and typically admit applicants who are in the top 5% of their high school class and have top SAT or ACT scores.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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