Metropolitan State University of Denver BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT ADVISING HANDOUT
Last Updated January 2024
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 in order to demonstrate competency in life science, social science, physics and mathematics 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)
|Organic Chemistry (CHE 3100,3110,3120,3130)
|Biochemistry* (CHE 4310)
|General Biology (BIO 1080,1090, 1081,1091)
|Mathematics (MTH 1110,1120 or above)
|College Physics (PHY 2010,2020,2030,2040)
|English Composition (ENG 1010, 1020)
|Social Science (PSY 1001 or above & SOC 1010 or above)
*Most medical schools now require biochemistry. The biochemistry lab is typically recommended but not required. Additionally, the MCAT is heavy in biochemistry.
Highly recommended courses, and even required by some medical schools, include Cell Biology (BIO 3050), Genetics (BIO 3600 or 3610) , Anatomy (BIO 2310,2320,3330), Physiology (BIO 2310,2320,3320), Microbiology (BIO 2400), Statistics (MTH 1210) , Calculus (MTH 1400, 1410), and Ethics (PHI 1030 or 1060). 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, cultural competence, 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 University of Colorado interviews include 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 2022 University of Colorado entering class were female and Colorado residents. Of the more than 10,000 applications, 723 were interviewed. Their average GPA was 3.7 and 512 average MCAT score. 303 offers were made for fall 2022 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 2021-2022 average GPA of enrollees into medical school was 3.74 and 3.7 at CU, and average MCAT score of enrollees was 511.9 nationally and 512 at CU. 62,443 students applied nationally to medical school and 22,666 were accepted in 2022. The vast majority of enrolled students in 2022 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.
Clinical Experience: There are several ways to gain clinical experience, but you need to know about the career you are entering and make sure it is an ideal fit for you. Hands-on experience involving direct patient care is much better than shadowing or watching. Being a CNA, EMT, MA, doula, hospice volunteer, scribe, or hospital volunteer are all great ways to get experience. Keep track of your experience in a journal to help you fill out your application or to inspire you when writing your personal statement.
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 very beginning of June and have it submitted by October at the latest. THE EARLIER THE BETTER. The secondary application from the University of Colorado is due in December 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 and what makes you unique. 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.
Here is a link to a blank sample application to help you prepare. https://students-residents.aamc.org/media/11736/download
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 22,666 nationwide accepted applicants in 2022 was 511.9.
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
The CASPer & Duet 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 Acuity Insights 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 Acuity Insights for Medicine (UME) (CSP-10111 – U.S. Medicine).
Access Acuity Insights to create an account and for more information on important dates and requirements, and the Acuity Insights assessments.
Interviews: CU Medical school requires interviews which are held approximately September through February. Typically, 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 303-615-1133 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 and be yourself – don’t just answer what you think the interviewer wants to hear. 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. Don’t just copy and paste your previous application, make sure it demonstrates growth from previous 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. Grades do matter, and if your GPA is less than 3.0, consider a master’s program, and make sure you are strong in other evaluation areas (experience in healthcare, research, community service, leadership…) If MCAT needs improvement, consider a prep course.
AAMC Postbaccalaureate Information: https://students-residents.aamc.org/preparing-medical-school/postbaccalaureate-programs
|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
Fax: 303-724-8028Email: [email protected]Website:http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/medicalschool/education/Admissions/Pages/Admissions.aspx
CU Admissions Specialist: Lamar Cherry, [email protected]
Digital Brochure for UCHSC Medical Program: https://www.cuanschutz.edu/docs/librariesprovider15/default-document-library/v2-dig-print-2022-academic-catalog-final.pdf
PRE-MED EXPERIENCE: ScribeAmerica is usually looking to hire medical scribes. Contact Rachel Vredeveld with inquiries.
PRE-MED OPPORTUNITY: Critical Care and Pulmonary Consultants is a busy pulmonary practice in the Denver Metro area with clinics at the Medical Center of Aurora, North Suburban Medical Center, GreenWood Village, and soon to be at Swedish Medical Center. I wanted to reach out to your program to encourage any premedical students who are in need of clinical experience and exposure to contact our clinical manager, Melissa Chiquelin, and/or True Montoya, our clinical supervisor, to discuss a possible position with CCPC. We often have open positions for medical assistants, schedulers, and receptionists. Students would have the opportunity to interact with our physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and respiratory therapists including possible mentorship and shadowing opportunities in clinic or the hospital (ICUs and general hospital wards) to explore a career in medicine. Please contact myself, Melissa Chiquelin, and True Montoya so we can provide further details for any interested students.
|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