Pre-Medical Program

Description

The term “pre-medical” refers to a curriculum of classes and a subset of extra-curricular activities designed to prepare you for medical school. You can attend any 4-year college or university and be pre-med, so why should you come to UMKC? Take a look at the following information and you will see why over 140 students have chosen to be pre-med in the College of Arts and Sciences at UMKC.

Why UMKC?
 > Personalized advising from a pre-health advisor who will help you combine the pre-dental coursework with one of over 30 programs of study in the College spanning the arts, natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences.
 > A freshman seminar for pre-health students covering admission to health professions, medical case studies, and controversial bioethical issues.
 > Medical related research projects with faculty
 > An optional minor in Healing and Humanities which enables students to explore the complicated nature of health care relationships by integrating knowledge from the arts and humanities with the social and natural sciences.

Real-World Experience
Seminars, guest lecturers, and other events on campus will give you opportunities to meet students with similar interests and goals and to meet and learn from practicing healthcare professionals. Because UMKC is located in the middle of a large city, there are many part-time and summer employment opportunities for students who want to get some practical health care-related experience or shadow professionals in the field.

College of Arts and Sciences Faculty
The College of Arts and Sciences faculty includes several Fulbright Scholars, five University of Missouri Curators’ Professors (the university’s highest teaching distinction) and many recipients of outstanding research and teaching awards.

Pre-Medical Society
Students interested in health-related professions can come together through the Pre-Medical Society student organization. The Pre-Medical Society coordinates guest speakers from the healthcare field including current students and admissions representatives from a variety of health professional schools. Students also participate in a number of volunteer activities and learn of the many opportunities to become involved with Kansas City’s healthcare field. The numerous leadership positions within the organization allow students the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills for their future profession. Pre-Medical Society students commonly also join the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) and participate in regional conferences sponsored by AMSA.

Careers
The career outlook for health-related professions is outstanding for both the short and long term. Health care is definitely one of the hottest fields, measured by growth in the number and types of jobs available, job satisfaction, and salaries offered.

Pre-Medical Course Requirements

Most dental schools require the following courses be taken before admission:
  >  One semester of college algebra
  >  One year of English Composition
  >  One year of general biology with labs
  >  One year of general chemistry with labs
  >  One year of organic chemistry with labs
  >  One year of physics with labs

At UMKC, the above courses are referred to as pre-med courses. They should all be completed before the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is taken. Meeting with your College of Arts and Sciences pre-health advisors will ensure you are taking these classes at the correct time and in the proper order. The course titles and numbers for those courses are:

Math 110College Algebra3 hrs
English 110English Composition I3 hrs
English 225English Composition II3 hrs
Biol 108General Biology I 3 hrs
Biol 108LGeneral Biology I Lab1 hr
Biol 109General Biology II3 hrs
Biol 109LGeneral Biology II Lab1 hr
Chem 211General Chemistry I4 hrs
Chem 211LGeneral Chemistry I Lab1 hr
Chem 212General Chemistry II4 hrs
Chem 212LGeneral Chemistry II Lab1 hr
Chem 321Organic Chemistry I3 hrs
Chem 321LOrganic Chemistry I Lab1 hr
Chem 322Organic Chemistry II3 hrs
Chem 322LOrganic Chemistry II Lab1 hr
Physics 210General Physics I (includes lab)4 hrs
Physics 220General Physics II (includes lab)4 hrs

In addition to the above courses, some medical schools may have additional course requirements. These additional courses commonly include:

Math 210Calculus I4 hrs
Stat 235General Statistics3 hrs
Biol 202Cell Biology3 hrs
Biol 206Genetics3 hrs
LS Bioc 365Human Biochemistry I3 hrs
LS Bioc 366Human Biochemistry II3 hrs

While many of the required courses are sciences, medical schools also encourage students to have a solid background in the social sciences and humanities. For this reason, pre-med students are encouraged to complete an optional minor in Healing and Humanities which incorporates medicine and healing in a context of humanities and social sciences.

Pre-Medical Advising: Majors, Minors, and Sample 4-year Plans

Majors

The term “pre-medical” refers to a curriculum of classes and a subset of extra-curricular activities designed to prepare you for medical school. It is not, however, a major. Pre-med students will still choose a major and complete the courses for that major along with all general education requirements for that degree. So, what major should pre-med students choose?

While the “typical” pre-health student traditionally chose a major from the hard sciences, such as chemistry, physics, or biology, many students have shifted their primary focus to a major in the liberal arts. Medical schools are seeking individuals with a breadth of knowledge that spans the disciplines. While it is crucial for pre-health students to have a strong background in the hard sciences, it is equally important for them to have a strong foundation in the social sciences and humanities. Simply put, medical schools have realized that in diagnosing and treating patients, logic, critical thinking and imagination are powerful additions to scientific training, and flexibility of perspective is often key. “Flexibility of perspective” means that someone from a social sciences or humanities background may look at a patient differently that someone with just scientific training, even though they both ultimately receive identical professional training.

Students should choose a major they genuinely love because they likely will perform better in their courses and will have a back-up plan if they change their mind about a career in healthcare. Popular pre-health majors in the College of Arts and Sciences include chemistry, psychology, communication studies, sociology, philosophy, and Spanish. The latest undergraduate catalog shows the majors and degrees offered within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Students interested in completing a degree with a major in biology should contact the School of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Programs Office at 816-235-2580 for advising.

Minors

Though minors are not required within the College, many students complete a minor when wishing to learn more about a specific subject outside of their major. Pre-med students are encouraged to complete the minor in Healing and Humanities due to the applicability of the courses with their future profession. The latest undergraduate catalog shows the minors offered within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Sample 4-year plans

The pre-med curriculum can be combined with a variety of majors and minors. Sample 4-year plans for the most common pre-med majors in the College of Arts and Sciences are shown below. Make an appointment with a pre-health advisor to learn how to develop a plan incorporating your major with the requirements for dental school.

Characteristics of a Successful Pre-Medical Student

It’s Not All About Grades

While medical schools do look at GPA and MCAT scores, there are a host of other factors that medical schools use to determine who will be a successful medical student. To develop those skills, pre-med students should:

  • Volunteer and job shadow in a variety of medical settings and specialties throughout the college career (i.e. primary care physicians, specialties of interest, rural and urban settings, community clinics, dentals centers, mission trips in U. S. and abroad, etc.)
  • Be actively involved with activities demonstrating social conscience, compassion, and personal character
  • Show leadership ability through collegiate or community activities
  • Be active members of UMKC’s Pre-Medical Society
  • Develop an ability to communicate with a variety of people in a variety of ways (i.e. written, verbal, non-verbal, technological, etc.)
  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively manage time

Pre-Health Advising

Maintaining contact with your pre-health advisor throughout your college career is critical to being a successful pre-dental student. Advisors not only help you with scheduling your pre-medical courses and general education requirements, they also are invaluable during the medical school application process. Most medical schools will want a letter of recommendation from your pre-health advisor so developing a close relationship with them is vital. Advisors will also help you with your personal statement for medical schools and preparing for medical school interviews.

Academic Resources

UMKC provides a number of free resources to students in order to help them with their academic achievement. Not only are these services helpful to pre-medical students in their own course achievement, but these are great places to work and help your peers. These include:

  • Math Resource Center
    Free assistance with college algebra, calculus, and statistics.
    816-235-1108
    205 SASS Building
  • Supplemental Instruction
    Free peer-facilitated support for difficult courses such as biology and chemistry.
    Hours and locations change each semester—see SI website for updated schedule
  • Writing Center
    Free peer review for class papers and personal statements
    816-235-1146
    5201 Rockhill Road

Pre-Medical Society

UMKC students can explore opportunities for dental school and dental-related careers through the Pre-Medical Society. This student-run organization meets regularly throughout the fall and spring semesters and provides a way to connect with peers to discuss topics of interest to pre-dental students. The Pre-Medical Society coordinates guest speakers from the dental field including current students and admissions representatives. Students also participate in a number of volunteer activities and learn of the many opportunities to become involved with Kansas City’s healthcare field. The numerous leadership positions within the organization allow students the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills for their future profession.

Active involvement in the Pre-Medical Society expands experiences within the healthcare field as well as provides leadership opportunities—experiences that dental schools recognize favorably.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is the test all students take as part of the medical school application process. This test assesses a student’s knowledge and abilities in biological sciences, physical sciences, verbal reasoning, and writing. Therefore, students should complete the following pre-med courses before taking the MCAT:

  • One semester of college algebra
  • One year of English Composition
  • One year of general biology
  • One year of general chemistry
  • One year of organic chemistry
  • One year of physics

The MCAT is a computer-based test offered multiple times each year. Students should take the MCAT in the year in which they are applying for medical school. For instance, if students plan on starting medical school in 2010, they should take the MCAT and apply for medical school in 2009. Students will typically take the test in spring or early summer. In addition, students are encouraged to register for the MCAT early so as to ensure a seat at a testing location near them. Check the MCAT Website for testing dates, locations, registration, and fee-waiver information.

Preparing for the MCAT is an intensive process. It is suggested to keep books and study materials from previous pre-med courses to assist in studying for the MCAT. Since material on the MCAT will span all of the pre-med courses, it is wise to continually review these materials throughout the college career. The MCAT Website contains information regarding the topics covered in each section of the MCAT. Most students use test preparation guides or sample tests offered through the MCAT Website or other test preparation services such as Kaplan which is located in the Kansas City area.

Applying to Medical School

How to Apply

The application process for medical school is typically coordinated through a central application service. Allopathic (MD) schools use AMCAS through the Association of American Medical Colleges while osteopathic (DO) schools use AACOMAS through the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. However, schools in Texas use a separate service called TMDSAS. Once your application and supporting materials have been submitted and processed, the application service will forward your materials to the individual schools to which you are applying.

At that point, medical schools review your application and will send a secondary application to you if their admission committee chooses to proceed with your application. The secondary application typically consists of letters of recommendation, an essay, an application fee, and any other supplemental materials. Once the secondary applications are received, the committee will decide who they would like to invite for an interview and campus visit. Final decisions are made after the interview process.

What is Needed to Apply

The application process is a lengthy process and should be approached in a well-organized manner. Students will need to send official transcripts and applications fees to the application service of their choice as well as fill out the application with personal and academic data. Secondary applications specific to each medical school will commonly require a personal statement or essay, letters of recommendation, supplementary materials when requested, and an application fee.

Letters of recommendation should come from professors and healthcare professionals who know you well and can report on your academic ability or promise within the healthcare profession. Therefore, throughout your college career, you should foster relationships with your faculty members, particularly from the sciences, your pre-health advisor, and at least one physician with whom you’ve shadowed. When requesting letters of recommendation from these references, it is best to give them at least one month’s notice before the letters are due. In addition, it is helpful to provide to these references a copy of your personal statement, list of extracurricular activities, and reasons for why you are pursuing a health profession.

When to Apply

Students should apply to medical school during the early summer a year before they would start medical school (typically at the end of the student’s junior year). Application services typically open their applications in May or June for the upcoming year. For instance, the application for admission into medical schools for fall 2010 will be available in May or June 2009. Students are encouraged to apply early due to rolling admissions procedures at many medical schools. That means, as soon as a medical school receives your completed application, they can invite you for an interview and make a decision on your acceptance before some of your peers have even completed their initial application. Therefore, it is to your advantage to apply as soon as the application process opens.

When schools send you a secondary application after receiving your initial application, you must submit an additional materials requested by the school’s due date. These dates vary depending upon on the school. It is best to send these materials in as soon as possible so you may be considered for an interview.

Where to Apply

Students completing their pre-medical education at UMKC can qualify for almost all medical schools nationwide given they have completed the school’s prerequisite courses. However, students should be aware of the differences between public and private schools. Public medical schools have a mission to serve their state residents first since they are state-supported schools. Therefore, a Missouri resident will have a low chance of being accepted into a public medical school in another state without having significant ties to that state. Likewise, MU and UMKC will accept mostly Missouri residents (or applicants with significant ties to Missouri) and KU will accept mostly Kansas residents (or applicants with significant ties to Kansas). Private schools, like KCUMB or Saint Louis University, typically do not take residency into consideration when making admission decisions. For your convenience, here is a listing of medical schools in Missouri and Kansas

  • University of Missouri-Kansas City (MD)-Kansas City, MO
  • University of Missouri-Columbia (MD)-Columbia, MO
  • Kansas City University of Medical and Biosciences (DO)-Kansas City, MO
  • AT Still University: Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)-Kirksville, MO
  • Saint Louis University (MD)-St. Louis, MO
  • Washington University (MD)-St. Louis, MO
  • University of Kansas (MD)-Kansas City, KS

Pre-Medical Links and Resources

UMKC College of Arts and Science Pre-Health Advising Homepage
http://cas.umkc.edu/premed

UMKC Pre-Medical Society
http://www.umkc.edu/studo/premed

UMKC General Catalog
http://www.umkc.edu/catalog

UMKC School of Medicine
http://www.med.umkc.edu

Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Homepage and Student Homepage:
http://www.aamc.org
http://www.aamc.org/students/start.htm

Applying to Allopathic (M.D.) Medical Schools:
http://www.aamc.org/students/amcas/start.htm

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) Homepage:
http://www.aacom.org/

Applying to Osteopathic (D.O.) Medical Schools:
http://www.aacom.org/InfoFor/applicants/Pages/default.aspx

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/start.htm
http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/preparing/start.htm

Kaplan Test Preparation
http://www.kaptest.com/mcat

Kaplan’s Medical School Search Tool (Search and Compare)
http://www.kaptest.com/medsearch

Summer Medical and Dental Education Program
http://www.smdep.org