Pre-Medical Advising

Metropolitan State University of Denver BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT ADVISING HANDOUT
PRE-MEDICAL INFORMATION

Last Updated November 2021

FAQs regarding COVID-19:  https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/article/coronavirus-covid-19-and-amcas/

 


Medical programs lead to a MD degree. Training usually consists of four years of undergraduate work [120 semester hours] culminating in a Bachelor’s degree in some major, followed by four years of medical school work. You should meet all of the requirements for a BA/BS degree in any major of your interest, general studies and minor requirements, in addition to the following prerequisite course requirements.  You are encouraged to explore the humanities and other areas of interest in order to broaden your educational base; you will not have another chance. Since medicine is a mixture of science and contact with people, courses in social and behavioral sciences, arts and humanities are of great value. Of course, you must demonstrate competence in the required science courses as well. Clinical experience is considered a necessity in order to understand the field you are entering (6 months or more recommended). Your experience should include hands-on caring for people. Research (lab work or field work) experience is also essential (6 months or more is recommended).  Here is the link to get research experience at MSU Denver: https://www.msudenver.edu/undergraduate-research-creative-scholarship-program/

The following is a list of the minimum course requirements for admission to the University of Colorado Medical School. For the required courses for admission to other medical schools, consult Medical School Admission Requirements, published by the Association of American Medical Colleges, or go to http://www.aamc.org/students and click on the MSAR link.

General Chemistry (CHE 1800 & 1801, CHE 1810 & 1811) 2 semesters
Organic Chemistry (CHE 3100,3110,3120,3130) 2 semesters
General Biology (BIO 1080,1090, 1081,1091) 2 semesters
Mathematics (MTH 1110,1120 or above) 2 semesters
College Physics (PHY 2010,2020,2030,2040) 2 semesters
English Composition (ENG 1010, 1020) 2 semesters

Highly recommended courses, although not required, include Biochemistry (many med schools now require Biochemistry), Cell Biology, Genetics, Anatomy, Physiology, Statistics, Psychology, Sociology, Ethics, & Statistics. Consider taking more challenging courses, rather than always taking the easiest ones. AP, IB, CLEP courses are accepted as long as they are listed on your University’s transcript as specific credits and not just elective credit.  Students do not have to complete all requirements at the time of application but must do so by matriculation.  However, a grade to submit for the prerequisites is better than a pending grade for a prerequisite.


Selection factors at the University of Colorado Medical School: Places are offered to the applicants who appear to be the most highly qualified in terms of intellectual achievement, character, motivation, maturity, and emotional stability. Selection criteria include: 1)Academics (GPA and MCAT scores); 2) Experiences such as community service, leadership activities (e.g. club officer, teaching assistant), extracurricular activities/volunteering and community service, shadowing, and health-related activities (research and clinical) accomplishments; 3) Attributes such as life experience, teamwork activities, adaptability, social skills, capacity for improvement, and ethical responsibility.  You will also be required to submit a personal statement and 3-5 letters of recommendation from college instructors and others.  No one will be accepted without a personal interview. Current protocol at University of Colorado involves a group activity, a group interview and a traditional interview.

The acceptance rate is the same for men and women applicants. A wide variety of undergraduate majors are considered acceptable in the selection of applicants. Demonstration of good performance in the prerequisite sciences is needed. Slightly more than half of the 2021 University of Colorado entering class were female and Colorado residents.  Of the more than 8000 applications, 739 were interviewed.  Their average GPA was 3.75 and 513 average MCAT score.  327 offers were made for fall 2021 and 184 students accepted.

There isn’t a minimum MCAT score requirement, but you need to score in the 45th percentile or higher if you have prerequisite courses older than 7 years that you want CU Med school to accept. CU’s average MCAT percentile the past 2 years has been 60th Percentile for accepted applicants. No student will be admitted without an interview, which is conducted about September through March.  National 2020-2021 average GPA of enrollees into medical school was 3.73 and 3.75 at CU, and average MCAT score of enrollees was 511.5 nationally and 513 at CU.  52,777 students applied nationally to medical school and 21,622 were accepted in 2019.  The vast majority of enrolled students in 2021 had both research/lab experience and clinical experience when applying.

The University of Colorado Medical School does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, creed, national origin, age or handicap.


Financial Factors: The cost of attending medical school is very high and it is important to consider your financial situation before going to medical school. Your debts need to be minimal (e.g. paying off all credit cards) before you enter medical school. It is important that you visit this website to look at medical school costs and student debts. https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/preparing-med-school/paying-medical-school/


Application: The University of Colorado and most other schools use the AMCAS application. Students apply online at http://www.aamc.org. (https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/amcas/) Applicant must file the AMCAS primary application at the earliest date of the beginning of June and have it submitted by October 15 at the latest.  THE EARLIER THE BETTER.  The secondary application from  the University of Colorado is due November 30 at the latest, but again, the earlier the better. Acceptance dates are the 15th of October on, until the class is filled. University of Colorado important dates: http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/medicalschool/education/Admissions/apply/Pages/DatestoRemember.aspx

The secondary application is an on-line process, whereby the link is forwarded to the students whose applications have been verified by AMCAS. The University of Colorado secondary application contains one Colorado essay which is required, along with two optional choices of completing essays for consideration of becoming a member of the Rural Track or the Urban Track or the Fort Collins Branch Program.  Additionally, you must request 3-5 letters of recommendation that are transmitted electronically through AMCAS’ application process. Make sure the recommender knows you well.  https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/faq/amcas-faq/

Here are some tips from a Metro State pre-med student who was successful getting into med school: 1) Personal Statement, 2) Supplemental Essay. Consider keeping a journal through your undergraduate years. This will provide you with much information to draw upon when filling out your application.  Your application needs to be “dripping” with passion for this profession and avoid pointing out any of your weaknesses that the med-school would see as a risk to accepting you.  Other tips for a successful application include:

1-APPLY EARLY, do a thorough job on the application….it takes awhile to complete and cannot be rushed.

2- Make sure prerequisites are completed; have clinical and research experience.

3-Check your application thoroughly for grammar and spelling.

4-Don’t “overshare” your life story in your essay.  Your personal statement needs to cover what has inspired you for this career and highlight your strengths.  Cover how these strengths will benefit you in school and your career.  Start working on your personal essay early, as it needs to be unique and memorable.  Have a statement to catch the reader’s attention at the beginning of your essay.  Proofread for the use of correct spelling, grammar and syntax.  It is not just a re-hashing of the information filled out in the application.

 


MCAT: You should plan on completing the required courses by the end of your Junior year so that you will be prepared to take the MCAT in the spring of your Junior year. The MCAT must be taken during or before September in the year of application. This test is described in “The New MCAT Student Manual,” published by the AAMC and is available in the Auraria Book Center; obtain this early in your pre-med career. Test results must be no older than 3 years old. You may take this exam more than once. CU always uses the best composite MCAT score.

Click on this link https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/about/ to find out where and when the MCAT exams will be offered, and to register for it.

MCAT (The total score ranges from 472-528). The average total MCAT score for the 51,680-53,030 nationwide accepted applicants in 2017-2021 was 511.5.

MCAT (each of the four sections are scored on a 118-132 scale):

a. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems. (General Biology, Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology, Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning)

b. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems. (Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, Basic Research Methods and Statistics, Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning)

3. Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior. (Psychology, Sociology, Culture, Basic Research Methods and Statistics, Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning)

4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (critically analyze information in reading passages, include content from ethics, philosophy, culture, population health, social sciences and humanities in your answers)

For more MCAT information, including official deadlines, and access to online MCAT registration, go to the AAMC:https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/about/ and https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/

Preparation Resources: https://www.kaptest.com/mcat

1.  Tuition Assistance:  https://www.kaptest.com/tuitionassistance

The CASPer Test: Starting in 2019, CU medical school requires the CASPer Test (Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) as part of their secondary application.  This is an online assessment that you do not have to study for.  It is part of the Altus Suite which is a three-part assessment of non-cognitive skills, interpersonal characteristics, and personal values.  It assesses ethical and moral characteristics as well as professionalism and decision-making skills.  The latest possible date for taking it this year is in November for CU, and results must be distributed to CU by December 31 at the latest.  Results are only good for one admission cycle.

You will register for Altus Suite for Medicine (UME) (CSP-10111 – U.S. Medicine).

Access www.TakeAltus.com to create an account and for more information on important dates and requirements, and the Altus Suite assessments.


Interviews:  CU Medical school requires interviews which are held approximately September through February.  There are 3 parts to the interview: a group activity, a group interview, and an individual traditional interview.  Prepare for your interview.

Preparing for your interview: Career services will provide mock interviews to help you develop your interview skills. Contact them for an appointment at 303-556-3664 or stop by in Tivoli 215. Practice for your interview! Make sure to reread your application before your actual interview and be ready to talk about life and medical experience.  Dress professionally for your interview. Your evaluation criteria at CU medical school consist of the following: 1)capacity to think critically; 2)capacity for self-directed learning; 3)capacity to self-reflect; 4)communication and interpersonal skills; 5)personal experience; and 6)knowledge of the profession.

In preparation for the interview, consider writing an in-depth self-reflective essay on one of these topics:

1. Challenges to your values and beliefs as you have encountered experiences outside of your comfort zone, including ability to detail experience and talk about exploration of values and beliefs.

2. Challenging life experiences that required creative thinking to develop solutions and be able to detail each situation and describe why the solution was considered creative.

3. A self-reflection piece that provides insight into your demonstrated conscientiousness.

4. An example of an experience in which communication proved difficult and an analysis of how the situation might have been handled differently.

5. A description of the means by which you learned about commitment to medicine, providing the reader insight into the knowledge and understanding gleaned from the experience.

6. Moral and ethical dilemmas that arose out of interpersonal relationships and how they were handled and what lessons were learned.

7. Leadership positions that taught a lesson.

8. An experience in which cultural diversity or lack thereof made a difference.

What do you do if you do not get accepted your first time to medical school? Try again! Contact the medical schools to see if they have suggestions to strengthen your application. Strengthen what you consider to be the weakest parts of your application.   Improve your interview skills. Consider, a Master’s or Post-Bac Program, applied experience in healthcare, shadowing experiences, science research, volunteer work, community outreach, internships and leadership activities.

Getting into Medical School:  Cracking the Code


For further information of the University of Colorado School of Medicine: Location:  Education Tower II North, Fifth Floor
Mailing Address: 
13001 E. 17th Pl., Mailstop C292
Aurora, CO 80045
Phone: 303-724-6407
Fax: 303-724-8028
Email: [email protected]Website:http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/medicalschool/education/Admissions/Pages/Admissions.aspx

CU Admissions Specialist:  Lamar Cherry, [email protected]

 


 

For further information you are advised to consult with a pre-medical advisor: Biology Pre-Med Advisor: Dr. Hays, SI 2042, (303) 615-0777; [email protected] For other medical school links, try: http://www.studentdoctor.net, www.aamc.org     http://www.ama-assn.org/     www.tomorrowsdoctors.org   Research during summers at Anschutz and Summer Cancer Fellowship at Anschutz    http://www.aspiringdocs.org

Colorado Area Health Education Center has numerous pre-healthcare resources for students.  http://www.ucdenver.edu/life/services/AHEC/CollegeStudents/Pages/CollegeStudents.aspx