Aug 3, 2016
Other Health Professions Student
Hi. I have had this question on my mind for a while now and have been pondering it since I've began considering medicine as a possible career:

How do I successfully prep myself to be a competitive medical school applicant while pursuing an engineering degree for undergraduate study?

I am currently enrolled in a community college and am going to start my first semester of college this fall. I do plan on transferring to a four-year once I earn my AA for transfer in engineering. Once I transfer, and earn my BA in bioengineering, I plan to apply to medical school (and hopefully get accepted).

My main concern in taking this nontraditional path to becoming a doctor is will I be a competitive enough applicant to earn me a spot in a medical school program. I've done my research on what is required (and strongly encouraged) on a medical school application-- volunteering, research, and scoring a 30+ on the MCAT in addition to having a 4.0 or near 4.0 GPA. At my community college, pursuing an engineering degree, means that you have to take all the physics (up to statics) and math courses (up to differential equations and linear algebra). While this coursework is capable of prepping an engineering student to transfer, I am not planning on just being an engineering student, but hopefully, a future surgeon with a background in bioenginnering that will allow her to conduct meaningful research. So, in addition to these courses, what other courses should I take that will fulfill pre-med requirements once I transfer? Will I have enough knowledge by my third year in undergraduate study to do well on the MCAT? When should I get involved in research? What kind of research should I get involved in? Should I expect to take an additional year or two after I transfer to fulfill medical school requirements? Any ideas on what kind of volunteering should I get involved in?

The community college I am currently enrolled in doesn't have the resources to provide me answers to all my questions thus I am depending on the people in this forum to help me out. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Note: I am attending a community college in California and plan to transfer to a UC university.
May 11, 2016
You write like you're writing secondary application essays already. : )

Yep, you pretty much get the gist of it. You can take anything in the world as a ug student, but you need to make sure to take the prereqs for med school and maintain an above average GPA. It doesn't have to be 3.7-4.0, unless you have your heart set on ivy league. Your MCAT will be the new MCAT so you need to make sure you are utilizing the new study materials. Aim for around a 510 or more. You can get in with less, but it's always best to aim higher.

Bioengineering is not that off course of a subject matter to what a lot of students take, ie biology or chemistry. It's really not nontraditional.

You don't need to do research right away. For goodness sake! You're in a community college. If you really want to be a lab hand, I'm sure a prof wouldn't mind having you wash glassware or something. It's not the easiest thing in the world to get into any meaningful research below a master's degree. This is mostly because of the fact that with a B. Sci. or B. A. you are exactly that, a novice. Some people are able to do it, and some people just take time volunteering at a hospital or shadowing. Get some time in volunteering.

Finally, don't worry. Get out and do something non academic, too. Colleges like hearing about it on their applications. They seem to want to see an applicant who is well rounded. Keep working at it. Don't worry about too much so far out or you'll drive yourself nuts. Good luck!
Apr 25, 2014
Medical Student
The path doesn't matter as much as making sure you've taken what is required for application along the way. So add in the std requirements for med school and do well on the rest. Also be sure and take Biochem. At some point you will add in shadowing, volunteering, EC's, etc but right now focus on making A's.

A word of caution, some med programs (mostly some MD) frown heavily on Community College, so check on the schools your specifically are interested in and see what they "prefer." You might have to transfer to a university for the premed reqs or you may be just fine where you are taking the foundations.

Good luck