1 Drexel Drive
New Orleans, LA 70125
- Full-Time Staff
- Ms. Quo Vadis M. Webster, MA, LPC
- Director of Premedical Program
(504) - 520-7437
Basic Requirements for Entry into Medical, Dental, and Similar Health Professions Schools
Almost all medical, dental, and related health professional schools have minimum basic math/science requirements for entry (some have additional requirements; see below). The basic math/science requirements are:
- Good grades (mostly A's and B's) in 40 semester hours of basic college-level mathematics and science including the following:
One year of general biology with laboratory
One year of general (inorganic) chemistry with laboratory
One year of organic chemistry with laboratory
One year of college physics with laboratory
One year of college mathematics*
- Good scores on the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), the DAT (Dental Admission Test), or a similar standardized exam.
- Demonstrated interest in medicine, dentistry, etc. as indicated by letters of evaluation from at least three college teachers (at least two from the sciences) and participation in enrichment or research opportunities in the health professions.
- Performance during medical, dental, etc. school interviews (by invitation only).
*A statistics course is required by many medical, dental, and other health professions schools; if statistics is not a required course for your major, you probably should make plans to take it as an elective.
Some health professions schools have additional requirements or recommendations such as:
- Advanced science courses (e.g. embryology, biochemistry, histology, etc.)
- A course in psychology
- A course in statistics
- A course in ceramics (dental school)
- Writing-intensive courses such as English composition
- A college degree
- If you are interested in pursuing a career as a physician, dentist, veterinarian, optometrist, or other health professional, it is imperative that you become familiar with health professions school entry requirements and that you are actively engaged in the pre-health professions advising process at the college or university you decide to enroll at.
What a High School Student Should Do To Prepare
There are a number of things which high school students can do to increase their chances of gaining acceptance into medical, dental, etc. school. They are listed below:
- Take four years of mathematics and sciences (including biology, chemistry, and physics) in high school so you are prepared for the required math/science courses in college.
- Work on your writing skills while in high school.
- Work to perform competitively on standardized exams--in particular, you should work to systematically improve your vocabulary by looking up words you don't know, reading on a regular basis, etc.
- Participate in programs for high school students who are interested in science and/or the health professions.
- Become familiar with the health professions so that you can make an INFORMED decision about your career path (e.g. shadowing health professionals, volunteering in a clinical setting, etc.).
More advice about gaining clinical experience: The most practical way for high school students to engage in medical/clinical experience is through volunteering and/or shadowing. Check out the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) "Get Experience" resources. Visit hospitals, clinics, and other patient-serving agencies (e.g. nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, home health agencies, etc.) in your area to inquire about volunteer opportunities for college students. Information regarding volunteer opportunities may also be available on agency websites. Shadowing a physician, dentist, veterinarian, optometrist, podiatrist, physician assistant, physical therapist, nurse practitioner, or other health professional is a great way to gain insight into the world of work. Utilize your personal or family physician, dentist, etc. as a starting point for securing shadowing experience; you are encouraged to shadow a variety of health professionals, in different specialties, if possible. After all, how do you know what profession you are most aligned with until you have explored a variety of professions? For example, if becoming a physician is your primary goal but you have never considered dentistry or podiatry as possibilities, why not also shadow a dentist and a podiatrist? Again, although most health professions schools do NOT require medical/clinical experience, gaining such experience is highly encouraged.