Tips on Picking an undergraduate Program for Pre-med Students

Graduating high school is in and of itself exciting and nerve-wracking; it marks the end of a chapter and the start of a new one. Often times, choosing an undergraduate program can compound to this stress, as it, in many ways, dictates the route you’ll take with regards to your career plans. When I was applying to undergraduate programs, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine and as a physician, however, I was uncertain about which program best catered not only to that goal but to my personal interests. Looking back now, I think this uncertainty is what really helped me narrow down my focus and identify the program that was best for me.

Here are a couple of tips from that have come out of this personal experience:

1. It’s OK to not be certain

Being uncertain allowed me to have the freedom to explore all kinds of programs, even beyond the regular science programs (life sciences, health sciences, etc.). I’ve always had an interest in the social sciences in addition to life science, so I had even explored social science programs to do my undergrad in. I pretty much learned about any and every program that seemed remotely interesting to me to keep my options open, and ensure I wasn’t closing myself off from great programs.

2. Reach out to mentors

Talking to upper year students in my high school in programs that I was interested in really helped me get a better picture of life at these schools, and whether they were for me. Hearing real life experiences in these programs in schools such as the University of Toronto, McMaster University, and University of Western, gives you a perspective you wouldn’t necessarily get from reading a pamphlet on a particular school – it helps you consider practical factors like student life and the physical arrangement of the campus that could all contribute to your experience at the school.

3. Do what you love

I think this final tip is probably the most important. Choosing a program in a field you love, regardless of whether you want to pursue a career in medicine or not, is imperative. You will be spending three or four years completing studies in this program, so it’s absolutely necessary that you enjoy what you study. This would allow you to get a better idea of what career you would enjoy and thrive at the best. Additionally, medical schools are full of students with different backgrounds ranging from science to business to art. The common string that ties medical students together is not their undergraduate program but the transferable skills that they’ve learned from their various programs.

These general lessons helped me a lot when choosing a program and I hope they help you as well!

MDconsultants provides longitudinal programs for high school and undergraduate students that guide and assist them through their pre-medical years including application and interview prep for medical school. For more information regarding the Longitudinal packages and the Admissions Guarantee, click here!