Pre-med at UW Tacoma Does UW Tacoma have a pre-med major? What courses do I need to apply to medical school?

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1 Pre-med at UW Tacoma Does UW Tacoma have a pre-med major? Pre-med means you are preparing to apply to medical school at the same time you are earning an undergraduate degree in any major you choose. As a pre-med student, you will need to take several basic science courses in particular order to meet the requirements of medical school, as well as participating in some extra-curricular activities to improve your chances of being admitted. UW Tacoma has been building a basic sciences curriculum to meet your goal of preparing for medical school. With the recent addition of organic chemistry and biochemistry, we are able to offer all the courses most medical schools require (see below), including the UW School of Medicine. From the beginning of your studies, you should meet regularly with your academic adviser in order to stay on track. Successfully preparing for medical school certainly includes achieving high grades, but it does not end there. It takes a lot of initiative on your part to make your premed experience result in admission to medical school. What courses do I need to apply to medical school? Students generally apply to several medical schools. Each of these schools has a set of requirements that you are responsible to research. However, generally speaking, most medical schools require the following course work: 1 year general chemistry with labs 1 year organic chemistry with labs 1 year introductory biology with labs 1 year general physics with labs 1 year of English courses, composition and literature included Students may need additional math in order to enroll in some of these courses. The first quarter of calculus is recommended as a minimum, as is statistics. However, some physics sequences, like the one at UW Tacoma, require a year of calculus. Many UW Tacoma students are interested in attending the UW School of Medicine (UWSOM). Attending UW Tacoma does not in any way guarantee your admission to the UWSOM. Your application will be considered as any other application to this highly competitive school. They typically receive 3700 applications and accept 180 students. UWSOM has been rated for the last 18 years by US News and World Report as #1 in the country for Primary Care. It is also in the top 10 for research, orthopedic services and rehabilitation medicine. However, there are 12 allopathic medical schools in the US. Your application process should take into consideration schools that are less competitive as well as the more competitive ones. The UWSOM does have one additional requirement beyond the courses listed above: biochemistry. Biochemistry is a core class in the first year of all medical schools, so some exposure to it as an undergraduate is helpful. The new requirements that are in effect for the 2010 entering class of UWSOM add additional recommended courses: ethics, anatomy and physiology, and embryology. As with any UWSOM admission requirement, you should check with the UWSOM website.

2 What should I major in? Considering the amount of science required to get into medical school, about 7% of pre-med applicants are science majors. However, this is more a decision of convenience for many students, who want to minimize the number of credits they need to graduate, than a preference of medical schools. A major in an unrelated subject, like American Studies, Psychology, Social Welfare or Urban Studies can signify a more well rounded education, thus making the applicant more desirable. The best choice is to major in a field that you enjoy and could pursue a career in as your back-up plan to getting into medical school. If you are enjoying your courses, your grades should show your potential. UW Tacoma has an interdisciplinary curriculum that will give you a broad base of knowledge and will allow you to make the connections between disciplines that are essential to successful physicians. You can also include a Health and Society minor to get you conversant on current policy issues, a topic of many medical school interviews. What are the MCAT and the AMCAS? The Medical College Admissions Test and the American Medical Colleges Application Service. Applying to medical school includes taking the MCAT, preferably in the spring or summer of your junior or senior year, and filling out the AMCAS, the standardized application for medical schools, directly after the MCAT for admissions the following year. For example, if you want to start medical school in Autumn 2011, you would take the MCAT in the Spring 2010 and apply in the Summer Information on what the accepted applicants MCAT scores and GPAs were for the previous year for each medical school can be found in the MCAR or Medical College Admission Requirements book, available at the UW Tacoma Library. What would my UW Tacoma schedule look like? Every pre-med student will have a different four year schedule depending on many factors. The schedule below is only an example and should be modified for each individual by a pre-med adviser. If you are starting as a freshman, you need to take the math proficiency test. That will determine which courses you need. Listed here are two freshmen years, depending on the math: Freshman year for Core students who place into pre-calculus Freshman Core 10 Freshman Core Freshman Core TESC 141 Chem 1 TESC 11 Chem 2 TESC 11 Chem 3 TMATH 120 precalc TMATH 124 Calc 1 Join Attend meetings Freshman year for Core students who place into Calculus 1 Freshman Core 10 Freshman Core Freshman Core TESC 141 Chem 1 TESC 11 Chem 2 TESC 11 Chem 3 TMATH 124 Calc 1 TMATH 12 Calc 2 TMATH 12 Calc 3 Join Attend meetings

3 Followed by the last three years: Sophomore year- with or without calculus 2 and 3 TESC 120 Biol 1 TESC 130 Biol 2 TESC 140 Biol 3 TESC 21 Org/chem 1 TESC 21 Org/chem. 2 TESC 271 Org/chem. 3 Ethics (TMATH 12 Calc 2 ) (TMATH 12 Calc 3 ) Volunteer Volunteer continued Volunteer continued Junior year TESC 121 Physics 1 TESC 122 Physics 2 TESC 123 Physics 3 TWRIT 272 TESC 40 Biochem 1 TESC 40 Biochem 2 GER/major course Literature Statistics /volunteering Study for MCAT TAKE MCAT!!! AMCAS in! Senior year GER/Major courses 1 GER/Major courses 1 GER/Major 1 Medical school Interviews More Interviews Graduate Essential extra-curricular activities are in Bold. See the end of this document for two alternative plans. (GER= general education courses include humanities and social sciences- check with an adviser about how many you need. Additional admission requirements like foreign language may also be needed. Check with your adviser!) Course availability and your schedule Advance planning is essential! Science and math courses are usually offered in year long sequences which build on each other. Most sequences will start in the Autumn Quarter and continue through Winter and Spring. There will only be one or two sections of the courses offered and the lecture or the lab might interfere with other courses or your work schedule. Your program adviser is a good source of options you have, but the options are limited. If you are seriously considering pre-med, it is a good idea to make school your top priority. There is no evening track for pre-med. The MCAT, taken in the Spring of your junior year, sets up the framework for your course selection. Although it is possible to take the MCAT later than Spring, it could impact your acceptance into desirable schools, like the UW. You should have the following before you take the MCAT : 1. All general chemistry with labs and all the organic chemistry with labs. Try to work the biochemistry in the Winter and Spring of the year you take the MCAT if possible. 2. Year of biology with labs. 3. The first two quarters, preferably three, of physics with labs.

4 4. Any math you need one quarter of calculus and statistics are recommended.. English composition and literature, to help with the writing portion of the MCAT.. Optional: Prep course for the MCAT in the Winter Quarter before the test. What you do not need before the MCAT but can complete in your senior year: 1. Additional science requirements of particular medical schools like biochemistry or genetics, although they are helpful for the MCAT! 2. Major/minor courses 3. General Education Requirements (GER) 4. Foreign language 2 years in high school of one foreign language will exempt you from this admission requirement. You will need 2 quarters in college to meet the UW Tacoma requirement. What are some MCAT options? Students can take the MCAT as early as January and as late as September. Scores are good for 2-3 years, depending on the medical school. You can repeat the MCAT up to three times a year. It is a computerized test. At the end of the test, a screen comes up asking you if you want to void the test or have it scored and reported to AMCAS. If you void it, no record of you taking it appears. However, you will not know your score either. You have an option to wait until your senior year, after biochemistry and other supporting science courses can be taken, to take the MCAT in January or later, and apply then to start medical school after a gap year between your undergraduate degree and medical school. Many students find that the gap year gives them more time to do medical school interviews and to get more experience, like Teach for America or other job or volunteer positions, which may improve their chance of acceptance. The gap year also gives you some down-time before the rigors of medical school start. If you want to take the MCAT in the summer, you will still be able to apply to medical schools after the results are available, but medical schools have rolling admissions and many will already have a pool of students they have picked to interview. The later it is, the higher your test scores and GPA need to be to get consideration. Transfer students to UW Tacoma? It is important to meet with an adviser as soon as possible to maximize the time you have left. What extra-curricular activities should I consider? Volunteering in a hospital, medical clinic or doctor s office is very important as to your motivation for applying and understanding what a physician does. Do not accept a position where you are folding towels. You need to be shadowing doctors, witnessing procedures, seeing how doctors work and what patients are like. There is no substitute for this and you will not get into medical school unless they see this in your experiences and hear about it in your personal statement. Keeping current and conversant with current medical news and policy issues. The New York Times has a science section on Tuesday that tracks the latest science news. Joining the UW pre-med club, Alpha Epsilon Delta, and attend their monthly meetings in Seattle. Participating in the mock-mcat and mock-interviews that offers every year. Going to medical school fairs at UW, PLU or UPS.

5 Getting to know a few professors through independent study/research and office visits. This will make getting meaningful letters of recommendation possible. Cultivating an interest or skill like music, art, sports or student leadership. Back-up plan Obviously, medical schools do not accept all applicants. According to the AAMC website, in the years , 4% of the 114,712 applicants were not accepted. Pre-med students, no matter how stellar they are, should have a back-up plan some ideas about what else they could do in life if the medical school plan does not work out. This back-up plan should be a part of your academic planning. Many capable students change their mind about their career track of medicine in the course of getting their undergraduate degree. Others find the courses too challenging. Still others are not accepted after they apply. Sometimes a student just need to focus on the goal, quit a job and rearrange life a bit to have a good chance to succeed in the rigorous course of study. Applicants who is turned down the first time may join the Peace Corps, get a master s degree or work in a hospital and then reapply to find they are accepted the second time around. Other times, students need to reevaluate the future. Counselors, advisers, and the Career Services Center can all help you get some perspective. Your undergraduate years are the perfect time to discover your real interests. Take advantage of the opportunities for internships, travel and taking courses outside your comfort zone. Alternative medical careers This document has been discussing the typical allopathic medicine pathway to becoming an M.D., medical doctor. There are two other ways to become a physician recognized in this state as a primary care provider: D.O., doctor of osteopathy and N.D., naturopathic doctor. There are two schools in Washington that support these options: the new Pacific NW University of Health Sciences in Yakima, which is the first D.O. curriculum in Washington, and Bastyr University in Kirkland, which has a four year curriculum in natural healing sciences. Students are well advised to visit the websites of both of these schools and if they are interested, to visit the schools. Additionally, there are rewarding and remunerative career paths in medicine that do not require medical school. Acupuncturist, pharmacist, nutritionist, chiropractor, optometrist, psychologist, counselor, dentist, veterinarian, nurse, nurse practitioner, EMT, physician assistant, and physical therapist are obvious choices. However, there are also many hospital positions, like anesthetist or radiology technician, that do involve patient contact on surgical teams or in treatment or rehabilitation. Learn about these possibilities, compare them to medical school in terms of the criteria that are important to you. Helpful websites, books and s: Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) published by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC -- Medical School Directory--- a searchable directory of medical schools UW pre-health majors website: AMCAS--- MCAT -- Alpha Epsilon Delta UW Seattle pre-med club See next page for alternate academic plans.

6 Alternate Academic Plans (Your academic plan will be individualized by your program adviser to include your major and optional minor and any admissions deficiencies you may have.) Here is an example of a four year plan which includes transfer of the physics sequence from Tacoma Community College under dual enrollment. This allows a student to take algebra-based physics, thus skipping the last two courses in the calculus series. This plan should not be used by students who are thinking of the sciences as a back-up plan or a major! It also includes meeting the foreign language requirement in the senior year. Freshman Year Freshman Core 10 Freshman Core Freshman Core TESC 141 Chem 1 TESC 11 Chem 2 TESC 11 Chem 3 TMATH 120 Pre- Calculus TMATH 124 Calculus 1 Join Attend meetings Sophomore Year TESC 120 Biol 1 TESC 130 Biol 2 TESC 140 Biol 3 TESC 21 Org/chem. TESC 21 Org/Chem TESC 271 Org/Chem 3 Writing Literature GER/Major Volunteer Volunteer continued Volunteer continued Junior Year PHYS& 121/131 PHYS& 122/132 PHYS&123/133 GER/major GER/Major Major courses Ethics TESC 40 Biochem 1 TESC 40 Biochem 2 /volunteer Study for MCAT TAKE MCAT!!! AMCAS in! Senior Year Foreign language 1 Foreign language 2 Major GER/Major GER/Major 10 Statistics 10 Genetics Graduate! Medical school More Interviews Interviews Extra-curricular activities in Bold. Here is a plan including a gap year - taking the MCAT in your senior year and applying after graduation. NO foreign language is included.

7 Freshman year for students who place into pre-calculus by Winter or Spring Quarter Freshman Core 10 Freshman Core Freshman Core TESC 141 Chem 1 TESC 11 Chem 2 TESC 11 Chem 3 TMATH 120 pre-calc Join Attend meetings Freshman year for students who place into Calculus 1 Freshman Core 10 Freshman Core Freshman Core TESC 141 Chem 1 TESC 11 Chem 2 TESC 11 Chem 3 TMATH 124 Calculus 1 TMATH 12 Calculus 2 Join Attend meetings Sophomore year TESC 120 Biol 1 TESC 130 Biol 2 TESC 140 Biol 3 TESC 21 Org/Chem 1 TESC 21 Org/Chem 2 TESC 271 Org/Chem 3 Ethics course GER/Major TMATH 12 Calculus 3 Volunteer Volunteer continued Volunteer continued Junior year TESC 121 Physics 1 TESC 122 Physics 2 TESC 123 Physics 3 TWRIT 272 GER/Major courses Major course GER/major course Literature Statistics /volunteering /volunteering /volunteering Senior year TESC 40 Biochem 1 TESC 40 Biochem 2 GER/Major courses 1 GER/Major courses 10 GER/Major 10 Graduate! /volunteering Study for MCAT Take MCAT AMCAS in! Medical School interviews take place in the Autumn and Winter Quarters after graduation- in the gap year.

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