How do I prepare for medical school?

5 Things You Need to Know to Prepare for Medical School

If you love science and have a passion for helping people, then medical school could be a great option for you after you finish your undergraduate degree. Here are five things you need to know to prepare for medical school, including tips from former UC Davis medical students.

1. Do a Gut Check

Before you enter down the path of medical school, make sure a career in medicine is something YOU truly want. If your heart is in it, it will make the journey easier. Here’s what some former medical students had to say:

"Be sure you know why you want to be a doctor. It's an application essay question and most interviewers will ask you.” – Dandan Liu

"Try to shadow a physician and get to know what a typical day is like to make sure it's the career you want.” – Sandy Lee

"Make sure you are clear about why you want to go into medicine. Try to experience medicine and don't be afraid to change your mind." – Darren Salmi

2. Volunteer or Get an Internship

One of the best ways to boost your resume and application packet, or help you decide if medicine is the right career for you, is to volunteer at a hospital or clinic or seek out an internship. The Internship and Career Center can help connect you with UC Davis’ highly regarded student-run clinics.

3. Dive Into Research and Study

It is important to have good study habits and research experience for both getting into and getting through medical school.

Academic Assistance and Tutoring Centers offers free workshops and advising appointments to all UC Davis students to help with developing good study habits, time management, success strategies and academic skills. They also have specialized assistance for specific subjects such as biology, chemistry and physics.

Regarding research, the UC Davis Mentorships for Undergraduate Research in Agriculture, Letters, and Science (MURALS) and the Undergraduate Research Center can help connect you to a faculty mentor and meet with you one-on-one to find research projects that speak to your current and future goals and that you can work on as an undergraduate.

4. Stay in Balance

The competitive admissions for medical school means studying diligently is of the utmost importance; however, former medical student Belma Sadikovic says undergraduates should take time to have fun too. "Give yourself some fun time before entering med school. Travel, visit friends and family." Start working on finding balance in your student life now with a visit to the UC Davis Student Health and Wellness Center because these skills will become all the more important when you get into medical school and start your residency.

5. Connect With Others

Sign up for Advising Services' pre-health events listserv and receive email notifications about med school representative visits, career-preparation events and workshops.

Join pre-med student groups, such as the Pre-Med American Medical Student Association at UC Davis, which is focused on giving pre-medical students opportunities to learn more about the medical field.

Contact the Cal Aggie Alumni Association to see if they can connect you with a UC Davis alumnus who is in the medical field. They can be a good resource and possible reference for you—plus you’ll have the common bond of Aggie Pride!