Q. I want to go to medical school. What should I major in?
A. Medical schools, as well as other health professions graduate programs, typically do not require a specific major. The most critical factors that admissions committees consider are: 1) GPA, 2) entrance exam (MCAT) scores, and 3) distinctive extracurricular experiences. However, while medical schools do not favor specific majors, they do typically require that applicants have completed several pre-requisite courses in chemistry, biology, and math. Merrimack College students majoring in Biology or Biochemistry cover all or most of the medical school pre-requisite and recommended courses in their curricula, and therefore these majors tend to be popular with “pre-med” students. The Health Professions Advisor will advise any Merrimack College student, regardless of major.
Q. What is our “success rate” for students applying to medical school?
A. Nationwide, approximately 80% of applicants with at least 3.6/4.0 GPA and an MCAT score in the ~80th percentile gain admission to medical school. Merrimack students who meet these criteria by combining a high degree of academic excellence with clinical, research, and volunteer experience have been extremely successful, beating the nationwide odds. Recent graduates have matriculated at several medical schools including Dartmouth, UMass Medical School, Tufts University, Boston University, and New England College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Q. When should I take the MCAT exam?
A. Applications to medical school should be submitted in June of the year prior to when you wish to start. For example, if you want to start medical school in Fall of 2017, you must submit your application in spring of 2016 (yes, more than one year ahead of time!) To allow time for you to take the MCAT and receive your score so that you may make an informed decision on whether to apply, you should plan on taking the MCAT by April of the year you wish to apply.
Q. I am working as hard as I can to get good grades. What else should I be doing to increase my chances of admission to medical school?
A. Opportunities for distinguishing yourself abound at Merrimack College. Our college community offers a range of hands-on opportunities including cooperative education and internships, research with faculty, study abroad and service learning. Please see the health professions advisor for more information and ideas.
Q. I thought I wanted to go to medical school, but I changed my mind. Now what?
A. There are many other options! These include being a naturopathic or osteopathic doctor, a dentist, optometrist, nurse, physician’s assistant, genetic counselor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, psychologist, or pubic health specialist. Your academic advisor and the health professions advisor, as well as the O’Brien Center for Student Success, are there to help you figure out the path that is right for you.