Wayne State University

Pre-med checklist

These year-by-year checklists provide important information to help you stay on track during your undergraduate studies. Planning ahead will put you in the best possible position to be admitted to medical school and succeed in a medical degree program.

Freshman year

  • Academic preparation
    • Meet with an academic advisor to review pre-med requirements.
    • Begin introductory science courses:
      • General Biology with lab
      • General chemistry with lab
    • Be aware of course add/drop deadlines in case you need to change your schedule.
    • Begin to explore academic majors (while you must take science courses to qualify for medical school, you do not need to major in science).
    • Identify sources of academic support (e.g., tutors, supplemental instruction, study skills training, study groups, counselors and professors). Wayne State University's Academic Success Center is a valuable resource right on campus.
    • Attend study skills seminars and test-taking workshops to maximize performance in your courses.
    • Monitor your academic progress, including your grade-point average.
  • Personal and professional preparation
    • Develop a balance between your academic and personal goals.
    • Understand and emulate the characteristics of a good physician (e.g., intellectual curiosity, respect for diversity, high moral character, compassion, integrity, honesty, humility and hard work).
    • Develop professional attributes, including teamwork, responsibility, reliability and time management.
    • Develop and pursue interests outside of your formal education.
    • Consider joining a pre-med student organization.
    • Begin to research the medical field.
    • Begin to investigate opportunities for patient care experience and/or general exposure to the health care field at places such as hospitals, clinics, hospice facilities and nursing homes.
    • Consider taking part in community service activities.
    • Utilize your summer wisely — volunteer or work in a medical setting for patient care or observational experience.
  • Medical school preparation
    • Meet with your advisor to review medical school application and admission procedures.
    • Explore Medical College Admission Test preparation, medical schools and the application process through the Association of American Medical Colleges.
    • Attend medical school admission seminars, workshops and conferences offered by your college and/or other institutions.

Sophomore year

  • Academic preparation
    • Continue to meet with your advisor.
    • Begin taking intermediate science courses:
      • Organic chemistry with lab
      • Intermediate biology and/or physics with lab
    • Continue to attend study skills seminars and test-taking workshops.
    • Continue to monitor your academic progress and grade-point average.
    • Continue to investigate majors. Consider one that is challenging and enjoyable.
  • Personal and professional preparation
    • Maintain a balance between your academic and personal goals.
    • Continue to emulate the characteristics of a good physician.
    • Continue your development of professional attributes.
    • Continue to research the medical field.
    • Learn about managed care, medical ethics, medical research and other health care issues. If possible, enroll in a sociology or philosophy course that addresses health care concerns. Read materials that cover these topics.
    • Consider volunteer work or employment in a health care or patient care facility during the regular academic year. We recommend a minimum of four hours a week per semester.
    • Interview physicians and consider shadowing a doctor in a hospital or clinic.
    • Get involved in extracurricular activities you enjoy.
    • Get involved with your pre-medical association and/or other student organizations that relate to medicine and/or science. Consider leadership roles within these organizations.
    • Continue to get involved in community service activities.
    • Continue to utilize your summers wisely. Consider additional medical experience, summer enrichment or research programs.
  • Medical school preparation
    • Continue meeting with your pre-med advisor.
    • Start thinking about the type of medical school you want to attend. Begin to investigate medical schools and request information.
    • Continue to attend admission seminars, workshops and conferences offered by your college and/or other institutions.
    • Visit medical schools, tour campuses, and meet with students and administrators.
    • Begin informally preparing for the Medical College Admission Test by utlilizing various study guides and with pre-medical course materials.
    • Set up a letter of recommendation file with your pre-medical advisory committee, placement or advising office.
    • Begin to identify instructors and professionals who:
      • Know you well
      • Can write positive and meaningful letters of recommendation
      • Can give you their highest recommendation
    • Begin to request letters of recommendation from faculty and other professionals. 

Junior year

  • Academic preparation
    • Meet with your advisor to declare a major.
    • Begin taking advanced level science courses:
      • Upper level biology
      • Physics with lab
      • Genetics
      • Physiology
      • Anatomy or comparative anatomy
      • Biochemistry
      • Cell or molecular biology
    • Complete courses required for your degree and continue to complete basic premedical courses.
    • Continue to monitor your academic progress and grade-point average.
    • To reinforce scientific knowledge, consider serving as a tutor or supplemental instruction leader.
  • Personal and professional preparation
    • Continue to balance academic and personal goals.
    • Continue to emulate the characteristics of a good physician.
    • Continue to develop professional attributes.
    • Develop a financial plan to minimize debt.
    • Continue to research the medical field.
    • Continue to learn about health care issues.
    • Continue volunteer work or employment in a medical-related facility or organization.
    • Continue to talk with doctors and/or shadow physicians.
    • Get involved in extracurricular activities that you enjoy and add to your personal development.
    • Assume active involvement and/or leadership within your pre-medical organization.
    • Continue to be involved in community service activities.
    • Consider getting involved in a research project during the academic year.
    • Continue to utilize your summers wisely. Consider additional medical experience, summer enrichment or research programs. 
  • Medical school preparation
    • Continue to meet with your advisor to review admission and application procedures.
    • Request information from medical schools you are interested in. Visit websites and, if possible, visit schools.
    • Continue to attend admission seminars, workshops or conferences offered by your college and/or other institutions.
    • Continue to visit medical schools, tour campuses, and meet with students and administrators.
    • Check for Medical College Admission Test preparation courses and/or workshops. These courses allow you to become familiar with the exam and help you develop skills necessary for taking the MCAT.
    • Take MCAT practice exams.
    • Develop an MCAT preparation plan. 
    • Register to take the MCAT in April or August.
    • To assist in completing your application, request all of your college transcripts.
    • Carefully prepare, organize and write your personal statement. Ask someone to proofread it for you. 
    • Complete the online American Medical College Application Service application.
    • Apply to medical schools consistent with your medical career goals and other needs. 
    • Continue to request letters from faculty and other professionals.
    • Monitor and update your letters of recommendation file. 

Senior year

  • Academic preparation
    • Enroll in advanced level science courses, including:
      • Genetics
      • Physiology
      • Comparative anatomy or embryology
      • Biochemistry
      • Cell or molecular biology
    • To reinforce scientific knowledge, consider serving as a tutor or supplemental instruction leader.
  • Personal and professional preparation
    • Continue to balance academic and personal goals.
    • Continue to emulate the characteristics of a good physician.
    • Continue to develop professional attributes.
    • Continue to research the medical field.
    • Continue to learn about health care issues.
    • Continue volunteer work or employment in a medical-related facility or organization.
    • Continue active involvement and/or leadership in campus organizations.
    • Consider getting involved in a research project during the academic year.
  • Medical school preparation
    • Be aware of deadlines for the  American Medical College Application Service and for each school you've applied to. 
    • If you receive a secondary application, complete it promptly and remember to proofread it.
    • If you are granted an interview, set up a practice interview with your pre-medical advisor or association.
    • If admitted, immediately remit your deposit to hold a place in the class.
    • If admitted, contact the financial aid office and complete a financial aid application in a timely manner.
    • If rejected, set up appointment with an advisor or admission officer. Address weaknesses and consider whether to reapply.