Your education will be the foundation for your student resume. Once you start taking college-level courses and begin building your college transcript, it is the start of your student resume.
There are a few important elements to keep in mind with your pre-health coursework:
You can major in anything you would like to study. There are no pre-determined majors that you have to choose from for a health professional program. (In other words, you do not need to major in biology to go to medical school...in fact, last year, the University of Minnesota Medical School admitted over 38 different majors!)
While you can major in anything, you still need to take the prerequisite courses required for the program(s) you are applying to. Prerequisites are those required courses that will prepare you for the health education program you are applying to.
Taking all of the prerequisite courses for health professional programs can take some time…in some cases it can take a few years. As a pre-health student, it will be in your best interest to think about those program requirements early, so that you allow yourself enough time to complete any necessary courses before application and/or admission to the program. Note that prerequisite courses are in place to prepare you for health professional program’s curriculum; they are not necessarily designed to provide you with the education required for exams such as the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
Grades are an important piece of your student resume and can be viewed as a reflection of your learning and effort. Health professional programs will often look at the overall, or cumulative grade point average (GPA), as well as the prerequisite GPA. The medical school application system (known as AMCAS) will also look a calculation of the “BCPM” courses: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math. From time to time, a student may receive a poor grade in a prerequisite course and will choose to retake a course. Some schools will accept the higher grade, while other schools will average the two grades.
Taking courses pass/fail:
Before you rush to take a prerequisite course pass/fail (and not for an actual ‘grade’), check with the health professional programs you are applying to. They may have a limit on how many courses you can take under a pass/fail system, if they allow any at all.