Charles E. Schmidt College of Science Premed Workshop So, you Want to be a Doctor?

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Charles E. Schmidt College of Science Premed Workshop So, you Want to be a Doctor?

  • Beyond the Basics: A more advanced workshop for Juniors and Seniors

What you should know already:

  • The schools and their requirements
  • The importance of GPA/test scores
  • Pre-requisite courses/when to take them
  • Timeline

Now that I am a Junior, what should I be doing?

  • 1. Open a file with the Pre-professional Office
  • 2. Begin your personal essay
  • 3. Volunteer work
  • 4. MCAT preparation
  • 5. AMCAS/AACOMAS application
  • 6. Interview preparation
  • 7. Know the costs/fees involved
  • 8. Consider other recommended courses
  • 9. Talk to students that have done it
  • 10. Know what to expect in medical school

Factors (besides GPA and Admissions test) Considered by Professional Schools:

  • Course load each semester (minimum 24 credits/year)
  • State of residency (best chances in your state)
  • Your interview
  • Your personal statement, experience in the field, motivation, character and maturity
  • Letters of evaluation from Pre-professional Committee, community service, employers, professors, etc.
  • Research (DIS)
  • Age not really a factor (in most cases)
  • Family/children not a factor (but you need a plan!)

Pre-Health professions Office

  • Sci & Eng 308 561-297-3307
  • Open Daily From 9-5 p.m.
  • Pre-Health Professions Guidebook available online at:
  • Stop by the office to utilize our full library of resources:
    • Catalogs, videos, various applications, guide books, books on admission requirements, etc.

Pre-Health Professions Office

  • Requirements to open a file:
    • Open file the semester before you take the admissions test so you will not have out of date information/evaluations in your folder
    • You should have at least a 3.0 GPA
  • If you do not meet these requirements, you can still access the resources in the office

Pre-Health Professions Office

  • What goes in your file?
    • Waiver form (we highly encourage you to waive your rights to see inside your file)
    • 2 evaluations from professors,1- 2 from Health Care Professionals (we give you the evaluation sheets)
    • Letter of recommendation (from committee) MCAT Scores (after you take the MCAT, come back to the PHP office to see if you qualify for a committee meeting, if you don’t qualify-the PHP secretary can still send out your letters to any schools you wish)

Pre-Health Professions Office

  • What is the Pre-Health Professions committee?
    • Doctors and professors
    • Interview
    • Assist you in gaining admission into professional school
  • Attend Medical
  • School
  • Jr
  • Year
  • Sr
  • Year
  • Fall
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • June
  • MCAT
  • MCAT
  • Apply
  • Prep
  • Class
  • Interviews
  • Graduate
  • from FAU
  • (AMCAS)
  • Secondary Applications
  • Start reviewing
  • for MCAT
  • Note: The application process takes a year to complete

Pre-Health Professions Clubs at FAU

  • Involvement at FAU
  • Pre-Health Professions Clubs at FAU
  • Instructions to join a group in MYFAU:
  • Log into MYFAU
  • Click on the link “Groups” at the top near the email link
  • Click the tab (at the top) called GROUPS INDEX
  • Click ACADEMIC or SERVICE to find a list of all groups in that category
  • Click on the group you want to join
  • Club
  • American Medical Student Association
  • Facebook page: AMSA@FAU
  • Pre-Veterinary Medical Association
  • Facebook page: Pre-Veterinary Medical Students Association at FAU
  • Pre-Dental Society
  • Facebook page: Pre-Dental Society at FAU
  • Pre-Professional Club
  • Facebook page: Pre-Professional Club at FAU
  • Pre-Pharmacy Club
  • Facebook page: FAU Pre-Pharmacy Club supporters
  • Minority Association of Premedical Students (MAPS)
  • Facebook page: Minority Association of Premedical students (MAPS) at FAU
  • Stay up-to-date…
  • Follow us on FACEBOOK:
  • Keyword: FAU Pre-Health Professions Office

Introduction to Pre-professional Studies and Lab

  • 4 credits
  • Pre-reqs: 8 cr. Gen. chem & 8 cr. Gen. Bio
  • Introduces students to the requirements, demands, and rewards of a medical career
  • Features lectures by medical personnel, visits to local medical facilities, observations of medical procedures
  • Lab - surgical observation, shadowing of physicians
  • Lab may be repeated for credit (P/F)
  • PCB 3083 & Lab

Premed Success

  • 2 credit
  • How to prepare for medical/professional school
  • What are professional schools looking for?
  • The MCAT
  • Interviews
  • Essays
  • Financing your medical education
  • Learn essential study and time management skills
  • Everything you need to know and much more…
  • IDS 3122

Basic Clinical Skills

  • Provides undergraduate students with basic clinical skills that will ensure more meaningful medical experiences (through shadowing or volunteering) prior to entering a health related graduate program (medical, dental, pharmacy, physician assistant, veterinary, and optometry).
  • Students will learn professionalism, patient care and communication skills and gain medical knowledge through training on blood born pathogens, vital signs, CPR, HIPAA, EKG’s and taking patient histories.

Medical Externship

  • You will be permitted to register for one credit (IDS 3940) each semester, six semesters maximum (3 credits of which may count towards a Biology major).  You must shadow a minimum of three hours per week to receive credit. 

Your Essay

    • Essay Guidelines:
    • AMCAS limit = 5300 characters (about 1 page)
    • Font no smaller than 11 point
    • Single Spaced
    • Do not merely reiterate what is on the application

What is a personal Statement?

  • It is a narrative of your past experiences and future goals.
  • What have you learned from your experiences?
  • How have they affected your decision to apply to medical school?
  • A personal statement provides the opportunity to:
    • Highlight strong points and abilities
    • Show why you are a good match for that medical school
    • Demonstrate how your specific interests evolved

What goes into the Essay?

  • Describe your goals, aspirations, experiences and reasons for wanting to pursue medicine
  • Tell something unique about yourself and your potential to become a good physician

Essay Structure and Style

  • 2 formats:
  • -Personal Statement
  • -Essay as a story
  • Write in your own voice (have someone read it and tell you if it sounds like you)

Why Write a Story?

  • A story reveals personal characteristics through metaphors, analogies and symbolism
  • You should convey the same info as in a personal statement, but describe it in a creative rather than expository style.
  • It provides the opportunity to:
    • Use creativity to convey your message
    • Capture the readers’ attention
    • Evoke emotion in the reader which allows him/her to make a more intimate connection with your experiences.

Suggested Topics

  • Why you chose medicine as a career
  • A turning point in your life
  • A challenging situation you encountered. How did you handle it? What did you learn from it?
  • A person or event that influenced you
  • Your future goals

Writing Tips

  • Capture the readers attention right from the start
  • Keep it simple
  • Use strong action verbs and descriptive words
  • Use specific experiences rather than just clichés to explain why you want to go to medical school
  • Use the essay to explain both the positive and negative aspects of your application, but do not focus too much on the negative, rather what you learned and how you grew!
  • Have someone review your essay for content and mechanics

Volunteer Work

  • Volunteer continuously for 1 year minimum (4-6 hrs/wk min.)
  • Need patient interaction/experience
    • Can be for credit or paid
    • Hospice, pediatrics, etc.
    • The medical schools want to know that YOU know what you are getting into (How do you know you want to be a Doctor?)
  • Check out FAU’s Volunteer Center in the University Center
    • Many volunteer opportunities available
    • They note volunteer hours on your transcript


  • Research/Lab project important
  • Earn credit via DIS (1-3cr/semester)
  • 6 months- 1 year

MCAT Preparation

  • READ, READ, READ!!! (For Verbal part)
    • Medical journals, scientific journals
    • Brush up on current issues in health care (helpful for interviews)
    • We recommend reading Scientific American and Smithsonian.
  • Very important to read quickly and thoroughly to score high on the MCAT
  • Take the FAU MCAT prep class!


  • 4 sections:
  • Physical Sciences scoring range of 1-15
    • Physics and general chemistry questions
  • Verbal Reasoning scoring range of 1-15
    • Read passages and answer multiple choice questions
  • Writing sample scoring range of J-T
  • Biological Sciences scoring range of 1-15
    • Biology, organic chemistry, DNA and genetics questions
  • Need special permission to take the MCAT more than 3X
  • Takes ~30 days to get your scores back
  • MCAT scores are valid for 3 years.


  • Do not sign up and take the MCAT unless you are prepared for it
  • Do not register for the MCAT to “practice”
  • Medical schools weigh an institutions average MCAT score – and if you take it without being fully prepared, you bring that average down.


  • American Medical College Application Service
  • It is a centralized application service for Allopathic medicine (MD)
  • Online application
  • Application process takes 4-6 weeks
  • Find out more information through:

Other Centralized Application Services

  • VMCAS (Veterinary Medical College Application Service)
  • AACOMAS (Centralized application service for Osteopathic Medicine (DO))
  • Pharmcas (Pharmacy College Application Service)
  • AADSAS (Dental Application Service)

What does AMCAS send out?

  • A complete verified set of data to the medical schools you designate
    • Applicant contact information
    • Biographic information
    • Colleges attended
    • MCAT scores
    • GPA

Secondary (Supplemental) Applications

  • After the schools receive your AMCAS application, if they are interested in learning more about you they will send you a secondary application.
  • This is when you are asked to provide recommendation letters
  • There is usually a cost involved

The application process is very costly!

  • MCAT costs over $200
  • Applications – primary and secondary – plan on spending about $1000
  • Prep Class = $999 at FAU, $2000 elsewhere!
  • Start Saving!

AAMC Financial Assistance

Interview Tips

  • Read up on current events in healthcare
  • Know everything there is about the schools you are applying to:
    • Review their schedules
    • Tuition
    • Special research interests
  • The more you know about the school - the more you can impress them with your questions!

Interesting Interview Questions (don’t get caught off guard!)

  • Do you think medicine is an art or a science?
  • What have you read lately?
  • Describe yourself for me.
  • What do you think is the single greatest problem facing medicine today?
  • If you had your education to do over again, what would you do differently?
  • What are the strengths of your training? Weaknesses?
  • Why do you want to be a doctor?

What to bring with you?

  • Pen and nice zippered notebook
  • At least 2 clean shirts/suits
  • Arrive early
  • Take down interviewer names to send thank you notes after
  • Limit jewelry/tattoos/piercings
  • Dress conservatively

Paying for medical School

  • The mean debt for the graduates is apprx. $200,000.
  • If you are accepted, the school will work with you.
  • Loans: (more info available online)
    • Stafford Loan
    • HEAL (health education assistance loan)
    • SLS (Supplemental loan for students)
    • Perkins Loan
    • Homan Loan
    • University Loans
    • Armed Forces Scholarship
    • Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)

Highly recommended courses:

  • Genetics (PCB 3063)
  • Microbiology (MCB 3020)
  • Molecular and Cell Biology (PCB 4023)
  • Biochemistry 1 and 2 (BCH 3033 & 3034)
  • Immunology (PCB 4233)
  • Medical Bacteriology (MCB 4203)
  • Human morphology and Function 1&2

What to expect in medical school…

  • First 2 years = Basic sciences (ex: Gross Anatomy, pathology, histology, Biochemistry, etc)
    • 1 semester in med school may be equivalent to taking 30 undergraduate credits in one semester!!!
  • Last 2 years = Clinical Rotations (A few weeks in each area of medicine)
    • Surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, psychiatry, internal medicine, etc.
  • At some schools you get clinical experience
  • right from the start!
  • Normally, you can not work while you are in medical school, No time!!!
  • Medical School is a full time job!!!

USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Exam)

  • 3 parts
  • USMLE Step 1: After 2nd year of medical school (basic sciences)
  • Step 2: During 4th Year of medical school
  • Step 3: During or after residency
  • Foreign Medical School Graduates must be certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) before beginning residency.
  • Board Certified = Passing an exam in your specialty


  • If you are accepted into a Health Professions graduate program, provide us your picture for the WALL OF FAME outside the PHP office.

Our Best Tips for getting into Medical School

  • Be Proactive!
  • Be Prepared!
  • Do your research!
  • Call 561-297-3307
  • Good Luck!

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