The 5 Biggest Myths in Pre-health

As a pre-health student, there is often high pressure to have the perfect GPA, perfect test scores, and a flawless application all while still having the “college experience”. This can lead to a competitive environment, where many myths about being a pre-health student form and get spread around rapidly. This post is dedicated to debunking those myths and helping students key in to what is important to focus on during your college career. Here are the Ariana’s top five pre-health myths and how to navigate them.

1). You need a 4.0 GPA to get into pre-health programs: False!
While keeping your GPA up is important, most schools focus on a holistic applicant approach and are more interested in seeing a general upward trend in GPA throughout your years in undergrad than the perfect 4.0 applicant.

Best Advice: Don’t pressure yourself to be perfect, no one is, and it’s more important to work hard and care about what you’re learning then base your success off of a 4.0.

2). The best way to study for standardized tests is memorization: False!
It is important to memorize key concepts for entry exams such as the MCAT. However, the best way to study is by making a strategic plan with your pre-health advisor and learning to be a critical thinker, not a memorizer. Pre-health exams are designed to test you on things you don’t know in order to see that you can solve problems well.

Best Advice: Give yourself adequate time to study for exams like the MCAT and prepare heavily before taking it. Make a testing strategy that allows you to prioritize your GPA while still studying for your entrance exams. Gap years can be a great time to study for entrance exams!

3). Pre-Health Students Can’t Study Abroad: False!
While admittedly it can be more challenging for pre-health students to study abroad, it is still an option. There are lots of programs for pre-health students with excellent science and health opportunities. Going abroad as a pre-health student helps build cultural competency, which is an important skill in the healthcare industry and looks great on pre-health applications.

Best Advice: Make your major and concentration class plans early on so that you can plan a semester abroad into your schedule.

4). Freshman year grades don’t matter: False!
Grades from every year matter and are important in ensuring an adequate GPA for applying to post undergraduate programs. While you still must do reasonably well Freshman year, application reviewers look for an overall trend of success during your four years of College.

Best Advice: Learn to study effectively during your first year of college and be sure to utilize resources like Knowlton Connect, pre-health advising, test prep and tutoring through the University.

5). You have to sacrifice all other things in your life to be a Pre-health student: False!
Being a pre-health student is very time consuming and takes a lot of dedication and hard work. However, it is still important to enjoy college and maintain hobbies and other activities. In fact, pre-health programs value outside interests and activities that make the applicant more well rounded.

Best Advice: Continue to be social and immerse yourself in college life. Maintain hobbies, join clubs, take breaks to do things that make you happy and improve your mental health. Time management is key for balancing pre-health student life with also being involved in other things and having personal time.

By Ariana Debevec
Ariana Debevec Peer Career Fellow: Healthcare and Clinical Research