Career Counselor, Author, and Editor
The short answer is as soon as possible! Medical schools often want to see evidence of a busy life and community contributions from as far back as the age of 16. It is a good idea to visit your campus career center, and academic or pre-med advisor early to investigate prerequisite courses that medical schools may require so that you can build them into your program. Seek help early if you are struggling academically, as your grades throughout your entire program will be viewed by medical schools and need to be very strong. Seek out opportunities to speak with your family doctor and others to find out more about the realities of the profession. Investigate other health care professions. This will help you be an informed candidate. Learn about the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), which is required to apply to medical school. Strategize about extracurricular and volunteer activities that will strengthen your application and allow you to demonstrate relevant qualities to medical school admission teams. Do what you love—you’ll tend to do better! This will keep doors open for competitive medical school entry processes.
Learn more about what to expect in med school in our Health and Medicine section.