Ready for BaTTLE! (I need your help..)

Hello! I’m going to be a freshman at the University of Missouri in Columbia (i.e. Mizzou). I just want some insight on what to do to prepare for the MCAT. I’m SO hyped to SLAY all of my classes and I just want to know what I should be doing or even if I should be preparing for the MCAT at this stage in my college career.

Also, I would love any advice on general stuff like volunteering and research with respect to how much of these I should be doing per year, per month, ever summer, etc.

I would also like advice on how to shadow doctors if you don’t know any doctors. It seems that only people with connections get those positions and it is kind of frustrating. :confused:

Additionally, I am thinking about taking a job at my university hospital as a Patient Care Technician. It’s what my mom does and she has SOOO much interaction with patients and doctors alike and I was wondering if it would be smart to sort of expose myself this early in the game. I would also like to know if that would cushion my medical school application at all or if it’s just another random line on my resume that medical schools skim through and don’t pay any attention to.

I have an undying motivation to absolutely KILL it in college in terms of getting good grades, but I might be naive for saying that but what the hay? Thanks so much

Slap me with your knowledge.

  1. it’s kind of pointless to start MCAT prep until you’ve completed all the pre-req classes, esp biochem. Prepping too soon leads to frustration and burn out.

  2. You’re #1 job as a freshman is to not screw up. Academics come first. Without a strong GPA, your med school prospects will evaporate quickly.

  3. After you’ve established that you can do well academically, then and only then should you start adding ECs.
    3a) A PCT position would be a great opportunity if you can manage it and still keep your grades high.

P.S. Nothing will “cushion” your med school application. Unless you have all the necessary parts, it just ain’t gonna happen. Even if you do have all the necessary parts, 60% of all applicants get rejected every year. Too many pre-med hopefuls, not enough med school seats. Make sure you have a viable Plan B career option in case you don’t get accepted.

Necessary parts – GPA, sGPA and MCAT–these are where adcomms make the first round of cuts. After that “everything else” gets considered–you gotta walk the walk & show that you understand what a career as a physician is like and that you have the necessary personal traits to make a good doctor. Everything else includes: ECs, LORs, personal statements, secondary essays, personal interview.

Expected pre med ECs–physician shadowing, clinical volunteering or paid clinical work experience that put you in direct patient contact, community service, leadership positions, bench or clinical research.

  1. The easiest way to find shadowing opportunities is to volunteer or work at clinical sites, get to know some physicians, then ask them if you can shadow. It’s MUCH harder to say “no” to someone you already know even casually. (Plus the physician can be pretty sure you’re not a crazy person and will be respectful of patient privacy.)

  2. Don’t forget community service! Adcomms expect med school applicants to demonstrate their altruism and concern for their fellow human through service to the less fortunate/disadvantaged. If it’s at all possible, get off campus and outside your comfort zone to work with populations that you may find uncomfortable/unfamiliar–homeless, hungry, poor, physically & mentally disabled, elderly, non-English speakers, drug abusers, LGBT and other disadvantaged or marginalized groups

When time comes to actually take MCAT and depending what approach may work for you, you’ll have to either get prep materials and study on your own (perhaps small group), or take formal review course (eg Kaplan, PR). After completing premed reqs, I think 3 months or so of focused prep time should be enough. S took formal review course starting in Jan for a MCAT he took sometime late Mar. Until you get to that time, embrace above advice.

Do you think it would be wise to simply keep all of my EC activity for the summer and focus on my academics during the school year? Or would medical schools sort of take that the wrong way considering the fact that I may or may not be able to handle it during the school year?

You can try that, but relegating all your ECs to summer sounds like it could backfire and end up labelling you as merely a “box checker”. (Box checker is a bad thing. It means you’re just going through the motions and engaging in activities just because you think they look good to med schools and not because they’re actually something you’re interested in.)

Adcomms are looking for people who are active and involved on their campus & in their communities year round, not just during the summers when it’s convenient.

BTW, not everything you do during college needs to directly related to medicine or med school. Hobbies, sports, art or music, frats/sororities and other any activities you’re genuinely are interested in are good additions to your CV. Be a well rounded individual.

to clarify post above: 'embrace above advice" was reference to post #1

Gotcha. That seems logical, I’ll keep that in mind. I’d like to thank you for your input! It was especially helpful. I have an endless amount of questions about preparing for med school applications ranging from classes to take as a freshman to choosing the most fitting major. A friend of mine was just admitted to Mizzou’s medical school and I couldn’t be happier for them, It’s gotten me giddy with excitement!

When preparing classes for med school, you should consult your schools premed advisors. They are the best resources for your school specific classes. You also should find out if your school has a premed committee that will issue committee letters for premed hopefuls. If they do, you should find out their criterias of issuing a “good” recommendations, it is very important in the med school applications, in addition to your good grades and medical ECs.