Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) Medicine
For many students with an interest in health care, becoming "a doctor" is a life-long goal. However, fewer have spent much time investigating this career path to determine
1) if it's really the best match for their values and abilities, and if it is,
2) which type of medical school (MD or DO) is right for them.
To get started on this investigation, we recommend you read the following guides:
- Deciding if Medicine is for You (the Association of American Medical Colleges)
What is Osteopathic Medicine? (the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine)
Once you've decided that medical school is the correct fit for you, you're ready to begin planning for success.
General recommendations for all pre-med students:
- Sign up for HPI 100 every semester to learn about new programing, visiting speakers, field trips, and other opportunities.
- Make an appointment to meet with Dr. Butcher (the pre-med advisor) to discuss your interests and set up a four year plan. Then review the plan with your academic advisor.
- Familiarize yourself with the prerequisites for medical school so you will know what to expect.
- Focus on academics! Medical school is highly competitive. The mean GPA for matriculating medical students in 2017-18 was a 3.71. This doesn't mean you can't also be active in music, athletics, or other aspects of student life, but you must manage your time.
- Start saving! The process of applying to medical school can easily cost thousands of dollars. While there are some fee assistance programs for both MD and DO schools, you will want to have sufficient funds available to apply. This Cost Calculator can help you develop an estimate.
- Think about whether you want to attend medical school immediately after graduating from Thiel or if you want to take a gap year (or two). This isn't unusual, the average age of a matriculating medical student in 2017-18 was 24.
1st year students:
- Enroll in HPI 101. This course will introduce you to all of the HPI areas and programs, and the supplemental advisors for each of them.
- Take CHEM 140 as soon as you are able to. The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT; the test you take to before applying to medical school) includes content through biochemistry. This means you'll need to complete 2.5-3 years of chemistry coursework before taking this test. If you can't get into Chemistry during your first year, don't panic. There are options, but you'll want to talk with Dr. Butcher ASAP.
- Take either BIOL 145 or NSCI 101 to get started on the biological prerequisites.
- Consider a course in psychology or sociology (also covered on the MCAT).
- Enroll in HPI 202. This course will focus on current issues in healthcare, and help you decide on an appropriate internship.
- Continue with chemistry, biology and/or neuroscience coursework.
- Work with Associate Dean Black to plan out an internship or shadowing experience for the spring and/or summer. More information on this can be found here.
- Consider applying for early acceptance to LECOM. An overview of this program can be found here, and Dr. Butcher can help guide you through this process.
- Enroll in HPI 303. This course helps you develop networking abilities and other "soft-skills" as you dine and talk with practicing health care professionals. Additionally, students enrolled in this course will receive interview coaching, and materials to help them...
- Study for the MCAT. This is not a test you can cram for. It will require dedicated preparation, typically over several months.
- Continue with your remaining prerequisite courses and shadowing.
- Decide which schools you will apply to. The Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) database can help you determine which schools might be a good match for you
- Complete the HPI Committee Letter Request form and return it to Dr. Butcher. Most medical schools will ask for a Committee letter. The HPI ONLY provides them to students that meet our minimum requirements, and completes the full form by no later than December. If you have any questions, talk with Dr. Butcher.
- If you are planning on going to medical school immediately after graduation, you will apply during the summer following your junior year.
- If you applied over the summer, you'll be anxiously waiting to hear back on your applications. You may be required to submit secondary applications materials, or invited to interviews. These requests will typically come via email. So, CHECK YOUR EMAIL DAILY. At this point, open seats in medical schools are filling up quickly. If you wait to respond to a request, someone else may take your seat.
- Continue with your classes. Even if you are accepted to medical school, you still need to graduate and maintain your GPA. An offer can be rescinded if you do poorly in your final semester at Thiel.
- If you haven't heard back from any schools by December, you'll want to meet with Dr. Butcher to work on your alternative plan. A gap year (see above) is always an option but there are others as well.
Getting a Master's in Public Health can provide relevant experience in the clinic and working on public health policy, or administration. You can learn more about this option by reviewing this presentation by Nick McNutt ('17)