A Solid Pre-Med Foundation
There is no doubt that the US medical school admission process is highly competitive, with over 830,000 applicants submitting for 21,000 freshman class slots, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC). While academic success surely increased the odds of acceptance for many of these admitted students, medical schools are searching for academically qualified candidates who also bring relevant, non-academic experiences to the table—experiences that demonstrate a natural curiosity, sense of empathy, understanding of leadership in the community, involvement with people in need, etc. Essentially, medical schools want highly committed applicants who have a nuanced understanding of what it means to be a physician.
Acceptance rate of applicants who scored above the 82nd percentile on the MCAT
The number of freshman slots available to the 830,000 medical school applicants
Taylor wants to help you become the applicant medical schools want. Taylor University is committed to providing students with a purposeful, broad-based, distinctively Christian Pre-Medical program that will build a strong academic foundation in conjunction with presenting opportunities for service and research.
How Can Taylor Help?
Taylor University has proven to be an excellent place to prepare for a career in medicine. During the most recent four years, Taylor students earned 35 acceptances to allopathic medical schools in 15 states; others have been admitted to osteopathic schools, graduate schools, veterinary schools, and physician’s assistant programs. In fact, 90% of students who successfully complete the Pre-Med Curriculum are accepted into professional schools to study medicine, dentistry, or veterinary medicine.
So How Does Pre-Med Work at Taylor?
Taylor offers students a Pre-Medical emphasis as part of three majors:
Students in these programs pair the curriculum from traditional majors with the classes from Taylor’s Pre-Medical Core. The Pre-Medical Core is composed of courses most often considered prerequisites by medical schools, plus additional courses that address the content emphasized on the MCAT—making students who complete the Core academically qualified for admission to most medical schools with the background to score well on the MCAT.
But, pursuing one of these three degrees is not the only option for Pre-Med at Taylor. Many medical schools are very interested in students who come from nontraditional academic background because these students bring breadth and diversity to medical professions. Taylor students can select a social science or non-science major and, just like with the traditional science degrees, become qualified for medical school admission and prepared for the MCAT by using the Pre-Medical Core curriculum as a guide. Students interested in early clinical application and patient exposure may consider enrolling in the new Human Physiology major while using the Pre-Medical Core.
Even if you take the right courses and achieve competitive grades and MCAT scores, you will still need a robust record of experiences that clearly shows how you’ve worked to broaden your understandings and mature personally. To help with this, Taylor’s Health Professions Coordinator works with our Pre-Med students to develop a four-year plan of personal involvement and development. This plan of meaningful service can include cross-cultural experiences (such as Taylor’s unique semester in Ecuador), research opportunities (offered in Biology, Chemistry, Kinesiology, or Psychology), medical service and employment, medical shadowing, non-medical service, and leadership.
The Pre-Medical Core
Students interested in pursuing Pre-Medicine are required to take the following Core coursework. Taylor’s Pre-Med Core includes (1) courses that are listed as academic prerequisites by the majority of medical schools and (2) coursework that supports strong preparation for the MCAT exam. Individual medical schools may have additional course requirements, so students should check their intended school’s course requirements and add other courses to this Core as needed.
||Two semesters of Biology with labs
||General Chemistry 1 and 2 with labs
Organic Chemistry 1 and 2 with labs
||Physics 1 and 2 with labs (can be calculus-based or non-calculus-based per departmental expectations)
||Psychology (1 semester)
Sociology (1 semester: a variety of sociologic courses can substitute by approval)
||Composition or other writing-intensive course equivalent (2 semesters)
||Statistics, Biostatistics or equivalent (1 semester)
Recommended Additional MCAT-Prep Courses
In addition to the Core courses, students wanting to be highly competitive for admission to medical school are recommended to consider taking the courses listed below in preparation for the MCAT and the interview process.
- Anatomy or Anatomy / Physiology
- Medical Ethics (prep for CARS section, the interview, and to develop an informed Christian perspective on medical ethics)
- Microbiology / Immunology
- Molecular / Cell Biology
- Physiology or Anatomy / Physiology
- MCAT and interview preparation course
*Because medical schools want students to have holistic academic foundations, students should view the Core as simply the starting point for a robust educational program. Taking rigorous courses outside of the Pre-Medical core will allow you develop a broad-based, multi-dimensional understanding of the world—which appeals to medical schools.
Expectations Beyond Curricular Requirements
Only a small percentage of academically qualified applicants to medical schools in the U.S. are admitted each year. The difference-makers generally are (1) the medical school interview and (2) the supporting experiences that applicants should have accomplished during their undergraduate years.
Medical schools see these collateral experiences broadening the student’s vision, clarifying the student’s motivation for a career in medicine, introducing the student to the needs and hopes of a more diverse population, helping build a sense of compassion and empathy, helping the student become more self-aware, developing problem-solving skills; and so much more. Medical schools want students who are well-rounded, skilled, and empathetic with strong communication skills and a dedication to service—as medicine is a service profession.
Taylor Pre-Med students are strongly recommended to gain experience in the following:
EMT, CNA, medical scribing, and other experiences with direct patient responsibility are the most helpful. The Health Science programs have valuable hands-on programs, such as InVitATION, that could provide valuable clinical experiences.
Cross-Cultural Experiences & Classes
- Cross-cultural volunteering
- Cuenca, Ecuador Pre-Med experience
- Cultural anthropology classes
- Extended missions trips or similar experiences (at least 2 weeks)
- Language study
- Overseas study in your major
Leadership roles can help develop teamwork skills, which are valued by medical schools, especially with documented accomplishments. Modern medicine depends upon effective cross-discipline teamwork. Being a member of an academic club or an athletic team can provide some experience with teamwork skills.
Missions trips alone do not fulfill the prerequisite for volunteer activity, but they can be valuable and formative cross-cultural activities that serve as a unique portion of the student’s volunteering activities.
Students are encouraged to participate in at least one year of clinical or laboratory research, ideally having his or her own project. The Biology and Chemistry departments offer laboratory research opportunities; Kinesiology offers opportunities in clinical research; and Psychology provides non-laboratory-based research opportunities.
Shadowing physicians is a critical step in ensuring that you are making an informed career decision. It is important to shadow multiple physicians and report each shadowing event as a separate experience. Students interested in Osteopathy must shadow at least one osteopathic physician.
It is almost impossible to gain admittance to most medical schools without significant volunteering experience. The most significant volunteer activities are those that are sustained, involve serving individuals personally, and make a difference in someone’s life. It is best to have at least some service off-campus. Taylor, as a Christian university, places a strong emphasis on learning to serve others and offers a broad range of service opportunities.
Advising And Support
While your departmental faculty will support you and advise your curriculum, Taylor’s Health Professions Coordinator will help you stay on track and prepare for medical school admission.
Dr. Stuart Walker is Taylor’s Health Professions Coordinator. He meets regularly with students to assess their progress, identify strengths and weaknesses in their program and activities, and begin the process of preparing for the MCAT and interview. He came to the University after serving as the Dean and chief academic officer of a medical school campus, where he was a long-time member of the school’s Admissions Committee. He conducted over a thousand medical school interviews, administered the interview and admissions process at a medical campus, and interviewed graduate school and MD/PhD applicants.
Interested in Pre-Med?
If you’re interested in learning more about the Pre-Med program or have any questions, contact:
Dr. Stuart Walker
Health Professions Advisor