TAKE NOTE: New Student Orientation August 4-7, 2022

Preparing for Medical School

Storm McWhorter ’15 a student in the School of Medicine at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

The Huntingdon College Medicine Track provides the knowledge, confidence, laboratory training, and communication skills to be successful in medical school and in a variety of physician settings.

Challenging coursework and labs, experience with  research equipment, and opportunities for meaningful internships give you a competitive advantage. In addition, letters of recommendation written by Huntingdon faculty who know you well will strengthen your applications. Personal advising by faculty in Huntingdon’s Pre-Health Professions Committee and our Boot Camp MCAT preparation course are part of the Huntingdon Medicine Track.

Medical doctors have earned either the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree. They range from family physicians to specialists. In the United States, fewer than 45 percent of students who meet the requirements and who apply to medical school are admitted. During the past 14 years, more than 80 percent of Huntingdon students who have applied for medical school admission have been admitted.

5 Steps to Medical School or Osteopathic Medical School Admission

In order to gain acceptance into a medical school, you must:

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree in any major;
  • Achieve excellent grades overall and in the basic sciences;
  • Earn a competitive Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score;
  • Get involved as a health-related volunteer; and
  • Earn shadowing and research experience.
Kent Hagan ’11 earned his M.D. at the Unversity of Alabama-Birmingham and is a  resident in physical medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. His sub-specialty is Interventional Sports and Spine Medicine. His wife, Caitlin McMahon Hagan ’12, is in a graduate business program in Philadelphia.

Medical schools do not select students on the basis of major. While most of Huntingdon’s successful medical school applicants have majored in one of the sciences (i.e., Biology, Cell Biology, Biochemistry, or Chemistry), students from other majors have been admitted. You should choose the major that interests you most, keeping in mind that medical schools want to see that you have done well in a rigorous plan of study.

MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)

The MCAT is the standardized exam that most medical schools require. Often, medical schools base their interviewing decisions on their applicants’ MCAT results.

The MCAT measures problem-solving, critical thinking, and breadth of scientific knowledge. Scores are usually reported 30 days after the exam is taken. You should plan to prepare intensely four months before the exam, and take at least six full-length practice tests. Some schools will take your best MCAT score; others will evaluate all attempts at the MCAT. Therefore, you should never take the MCAT if you haven’t prepared.

A competitive MCAT score is 30 or better.

Medical School Admission Requirements

Dr. Jacques Lamour ’11 completed medical school at the Caribbean Medical University in Curacao and is completing a Master of Public Health degree in Puerto Rico.

Most medical schools have the same basic requirements:

  • Biology with labs, 2 semesters
  • Physics with labs, 2 semesters
  • English, 2 semesters
  • Mathematics (*Calculus), 2 semesters
  • General Chemistry with labs, 2 semesters
  • Organic Chemistry with labs, 2 semesters
  • *Biochemistry, 1 semester

*Required by some medical schools

Since the information you learn in these classes is tested in the MCAT, you should complete the requirements above by the end of your junior year. Early planning also prevents having to take these time-demanding science courses in the same year.

Your grade point average is another important factor in the medical school admission process. Strive to make As in all courses, but prerequisites and any other science courses should receive top priority. A competitive GPA for medical school is 3.50 or higher.

Community service

Brandy Milstead ’08, inducted into the Hawks Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013 for her tennis accomplishments while at Huntingdon, graduated from the University of Alabama School of Medicine (UAB) in 2013. She practices emergency room medicine.

Medical schools look for applicants who are concerned about the community. Therefore, community service is important. At Huntingdon, there are many opportunities for you to serve. Work with the homeless, tutor for under-served populations and adult literacy programs, or build with Habitat for Humanity, as just a few examples.

Shadowing experience

Medical schools also seek applicants who understand the academic demands ahead of them, as well as the demands of the medical profession. Someone who faints at the sight of blood is not a good candidate for medical school. Therefore, in order to be competitive for admission, candidates must have significant shadowing experience. The more diverse the experiences the better. You should work with the same physician for at least four months of weekly shadowing. Shadowing must be completed before submitting the medical school application.

We recommend that students study intently for the MCAT during their junior year second semester. Thus, shadowing should be conducted prior to that semester.

Medicine Track Internships

Huntingdon Medicine Track internship sites include:

  • The M.D. Connection
  • Baptist East Medical Center
  • Baptist South Medical Center
  • Jackson Hospital
  • Local physicians
  • ProImpact Sports Medicine

Medical School Placements

Among other medical school programs, Huntingdon graduates have been accepted into these programs:

  • Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • University of Alabama School of Medicine
  • Rural Medical Scholars programs at the University of Alabama at Huntsville and Auburn University
  • Universidad Iberoamericana (Dominican Republic)
  • Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • University of Oklahoma School of Medicine
  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Pike College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • University of South Alabama School of Medicine
  • Temple University School of Podiatry
  • University of Tennessee School of Medicine
  • Edward Via School of Osteopathic Medicine, Virginia
  • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Auburn University
Dr. Nathan Sumner ’02 is a captain and a neurologist with the United States Air Force.

Important Links

  • Association of American Medical Colleges—this site contains numerous resources for medical school applicants, including AMCAS procedures, MCAT information, specific medical school admission requirements and statistical information.
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham—a source for in-state information for an Alabama medical professional school, including specifics on medicine, dentistry, and ophthalmology.

For more information, contact Huntingdon Medicine Track Adviser Dr. Doba Jackson.

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