Premed Q&A: HPSP, Premed Major, Choosing an Undergrad, and More

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Session 165

HPSP, Premed Major, Choosing an Undergrad, and More Q&A

In this episode, I answer questions that have been emailed in by premed students like yourself. We’ll be covering topics such as choosing an undergrad college and a premed major, fixing an application with a poor GPA, and more!

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

Q:  Which college should you go to if you want to do athletic medicine?

A:  The college you go to has no bearing on your career (with a few exceptions). Go to a school where you’re going to be happy and you’re going to succeed. Check out the vibe at the school and figure it out that way. Don’t worry about your eventual career path when choosing an undergrad.

Just go to a school where you're going to be happy and you're going to succeed.Click To Tweet

[Related episode: Interview with a Private-Practice Sports Medicine Doctor.]

Q:  What is the admissions committee going to think if you’re a nontraditional student with a wife, daughter, full-time work, and a 3.9 GPA who can take no more than 12-13 credit hours per semester?

A:  Calm your worries. There is no problem with this, even if it takes you 5 years to finish your premed classes. Maintain your high GPA. Do well on the MCAT. Make sure you’re doing all the other things for your application. Get clinical experience and do shadowing. You will be just fine.

Q:  What is it like being a physician in the military? What is it like doing the HPSP Scholarship?

A:  The Premed Years Podcast has done a bunch of content about the military, talking with an HPSP recruiter for the air force, talking to the USUHS Medical School dean, talking about life as a flight surgeon, and talking to an ex-army dermatologist who went to USUHS.

Q: I’m a student in Puerto Rico interested in going to a U.S. medical school. I have a great GPA, but I’m worried about my English speaking skills. Should I get a Master’s degree while learning English? When should I take the MCAT?

A: Puerto Rico is part of the U.S., so you’re not considered a foreign graduate but a U.S. student. Speaking English is a huge part of communicating in the U.S. and will be important for medical school. Speaking Spanish is a great bonus.

Taking the MCAT is very hard. If your English is not great, you will likely struggle on the MCAT. But go ahead and take it. Start by taking a diagnostic MCAT test from Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep). See where you’re at, and see how much you have to improve from there.

Q:  Can you major in athletic training and still apply to medical school?

A:  You can major in anything you want. You need to take the premed requirements, the medical school requirements. The prereqs you need to take include English, chemistry, biology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, psychology, and sociology. But you can major in whatever you want as long as you fill in everything else needed for medical school.

Don’t major in something just because it’s a good “premed major.” You have to enjoy what you’re studying so you’re bringing your full attention and passion to what you’re learning every day. That will help you maintain a great GPA and talk about it happily during interviews.

You can major in anything you want and go to medical school.Click To Tweet

Q: I’m a nontraditional student. I had family issues in college that affected my GPA, and I got a 2.0. What do I need to do to get into medical school?

A: Listen to Session 35, an interview with Dr. Greg Polites about how to fix your GPA and submit a strong application after starting premed poorly. The OldPreMeds Podcast Session 3 also talks about the 32-hour rule, which more and more schools are utilizing in the admissions process. These schools only use your last 32 hours of credit to determine your GPA, while throwing out everything else before that. So look into those schools.

Links and Other Resources