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  • Samantha Lee

Community College to Medical School

Trekking along the path towards medical school is a route lined with hurdles that ultimately put pre-med students’ diligence, persistence, and flexibility to the test. Such hurdles are especially prominent for those in community college aspiring for medical school. The only way community college students can reach medical school is by transferring to a regular four-year university after two years. However, this process involves steps: enrolling in the most appropriate and challenging classes in both community college and university coupled with maintaining exceptional grades, engaging in medical extracurriculars, and earning valuable letters of recommendations - on top of a high score on The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).

One significant step for transferring community college students to reach medical school is to fulfill medical school requirements in the four-year university rather than during community college and to be consistent in earning exemplary grades. Medical school demands undergraduate scholars to take a year each of biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. Meeting these major medical school requirements in community college rather than university is detrimental to a student’s medical school application, since admissions officers will assume easier level courses were the intention. Signs of refusal in a transferring community college student to challenge themselves can play a major part in a firm rejection from medical school. Likewise, these transitioning community college students must first demonstrate to medical school admissions officers that they are dedicated to the medical craft and are capable of performing highly in the medical area by maintaining outstanding grades in both community college and university. Grades that slip, particularly in scientific courses after community college, can and will heavily impair a student’s application. Overall, community college students must prove their academic capabilities in medicine as well as a strong drive to achieve their goal. By fulfilling medical school requirements in their transferred university and preserving remarkable grades, community college students are one step closer to success.

Additionally, another important step for community college students pursuing medical school is to be involved in beneficial extracurriculars, collect relevant letters of recommendations, and to efficiently study for the MCAT. Medical schools seek well-rounded, committed students who are actively engaged with the medical craft and those who are devoted to succeeding. Extracurriculars are a promising way to demonstrate this to admissions officers, and should therefore involve scientific work. Examples include volunteering at hospitals, researching for science/medical professors, or shadowing experienced physicians. Likewise, admissions officers scavenge for students whose academic personality and interpersonal skills shine through their application. Letters of recommendations from a wide variety of people, ranging from biology professors to volunteering supervisors to hospital shadowing supervisors, efficiently assist with this. However, these letters of recommendations should be thorough and written from experienced figures who genuinely know and engage with the student, as these recommendations should provide admissions officers with an alternative perspective to a student that stray away from grades. Furthermore, community college students should also earn a high MCAT score that extends to a score of around 505 or above. This test assesses a broad region of knowledge in medical students: math, biology, physics, chemistry, and verbal reasoning, and ultimately places a medical scholar’s academic capability into a number by combining all 4 years of medical school content into one test. Scoring in the 90th percentile for the MCAT requires a score of 515 or higher. Essentially, transferring community college students must aim for goals involving extracurriculars, letters of recommendations, and the MCAT that are also reflected in the pursuits of traditional medical school students striving for medical school.

Obstacles are bound to appear for community college students in the medical path. These scholars must tackle the obstacle of strategic planning for their first 2 years of community college before smoothly transitioning into a 4 year university. After this transition, community college students stand before obstacles parallel to traditional university students involving carefully constructing their medical school applications. All in all, persistence and drive are key to medical community college students. But, these students must learn along their medical journey to “just go with the flow.”

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