By: Reem Hamoda– 1st Year- Epidemiology
For many students coming into Rollins, the end goal is to get a degree and then launch a successful career in public health! But, for some students, including myself, our graduate education will not end with our MPH/MSPH. Being pre-med in graduate school is quite different from undergrad, but it is definitely manageable! I hope to offer one pre-med’s perspective as to how to accomplish it all, based on my own experiences:
If you’re starting your pre-med journey from day 1, you’ll want to ensure that you have the following courses completed by the time you apply to medical school: two semesters of introductory biology & lab, two semesters of inorganic chemistry & lab, two semesters of organic chemistry & lab, and two semesters of introductory physics & lab. Optional but strongly recommended courses include: biochemistry, introductory psychology, and introductory sociology. Emory offers all of these courses on main campus; however, many of these classes fall at times that overlap with RSPH’s schedule. Luckily, Emory University has a cross-registration partnership (ARCHE) with several neighboring colleges, including Georgia State University and Georgia Tech, with course times that may fit better with your schedule. Although classes taken at Emory’s main campus or through ARCHE won’t count towards your MPH elective requirements, you can still take these courses at the same tuition rate as your RSPH courses. For more on course scheduling, contact your departmental ADAPs and check out the following website: http://prehealth.emory.edu/explore-healthcare/allopathic-medicine.html.
There is an abundance of opportunities for students looking to gain clinical
experience, including clinical volunteering and paid clinical work. Here are only a few examples of the many opportunities out there:
- Emory Clinic: This clinical volunteering opportunity is located right across the street from RSPH, making it a convenient yet awesome location to gain some clinical experience in a primary care setting.
- Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta: CHOA is also located a few blocks away on Clifton Rd. This volunteering opportunity is great if you love working with children or are interested in pediatrics. Also, if you volunteer for a specified length of time, you could get access to shadowing opportunities!
- Clarkson Community Health Clinic: If you’re like me and want some experience volunteering with underserved patient populations, check out CCHC. This clinic, which provides primary care to the underinsured/uninsured of Clarkson, seeks a large inflow of refugee patients and is always in need of help. If you’re looking to get more experience in refugee health, I highly recommend you check them out!
For more opportunities, check out: http://prehealth.emory.edu/holistic-development/community-service.html
A dreaded, yet necessary, milestone in the journey to medical school is taking the MCAT. The Medical College Admissions Test is a entrance exam designed to test your ability to think like a successful MD student. You’ll be tested on material that you learn from your required courses (biology/biochemistry, chemistry, physics, psychology/sociology), as well as your ability to think critically. The test is offered year round, and you can register for it here. My advice, as someone who just recently took the test, is to save your MCAT studying for a light semester in your MPH program or over the summer- it can be pretty grueling to get through! For more on the MCAT, check this website out.
Applying to Medical School
Application season starts in the spring of the year before you matriculate- so if you’re applying for Fall 2019 admission, you should start preparing your applications Spring 2018! This is important to think about, as you decide when you’d like to attend medical school. For many pre-meds here at Rollins, application and interview season will be during the second year of our MPH program. Most information about applying to medical school can be found here, but here’s a couple of tips that I didn’t know about until coming to RSPH:
- Letters of Recommendation: Most medical programs recommend getting a composite letter from a pre-medical committee at your institution, if possible. Emory does not write composite letters for students who didn’t attend Emory College, so if your undergrad institution is willing to write you a composite letter, go through them and check their specific requirements for requesting a letter. If you have been out of undergrad for quite some time, or do not have a pre-health committee at your undergraduate institution, it is totally fine to send ~5 letters of recommendations from faculty and mentors who know you well. Check specific medical school guidelines to determine who should write your letters. Your RSPH professors, practicum supervisor, and thesis advisor are GREAT people for letters of rec!
- Interview Prep: What I absolutely love about Emory is that even as an MPH student, they offer a lot of great services to prepare for interview season. For example, the Office of Career Development offers a 24/7 virtual interview practice tool that allows you to prepare for interviews by recording yourself and answering pre-set interview questions. They offer a medical school interview package in the system, and what is nice about it is that you can get feedback almost instantaneously. Check it out here!
As an RSPH student, you have several resources available to help you on your journey to medicine. The Pre-Health Mentoring Office (PMHO) provides tons of resources and advising to any Emory student, regardless of your year in school. Additionally, the Office of Career Development offers pre-health advising for RSPH students, and you can access their advising even after you graduate.
That should cover all of the bases! The life of a pre-med can be overwhelming no matter what stage of life you’re in, but hopefully this provided some insight for you as to how to be pre-med at RSPH. If you would like to ask me or other RSPH students about being pre-med at Rollins, feel free to shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.