- Open a file (see Current Students page)
- Take the right courses. If you are hoping to apply to medical, dental, optometry, physician assistant, or podiatry school, you have to fulfill the following prerequisites (usually by the time you are ready to apply in your junior or senior year):
- 1 year of Biology with Lab (119:115-116, 117)**
- 1 year of General Chemistry with Lab (160:161-162, 171)
- 1 year of Organic Chemistry with Lab (160:307-308, 311)
- 1 year of Physics with Lab (750:203-204, 205, 206)
- 1 year of College level math (including one semester of Statistics)
- 1 year of English/Writing (355:101, plus 1 additional course)
- 1 semester of Psychology
- 1 semester of Sociology
- 1 semester of Biochemistry (694:301 or 694:407)
- 1 semester of Statistics (any Stats course will suffice)
**If you receive AP credit for the Biology sequence, you need to take at least two upper level Bio electives in college.
You should always check the admissions requirements for individual schools as well. For a list of course requirements for prospective dental students click here.
For students interested in becoming a Physician Assistant, you can skip the Physics sequence but may need to take other courses, depending on the schools you think you wish to apply to. You will eventually need to take the GRE. Information on individual PA program requirements can be found here.
- Work hard to get the best grades possible. Adjust your study habits from high school. Ask for help from professors, TAs, seek tutoring!
- Don’t take winter or summer classes unless you need to. Unless you are behind for some reason, or want to do something special like a double major or graduating early, you should not need to take summer or winter courses. You should use that time to gain clinical exposure, engage in volunteer service, travel, work, do research, or other activities to develop your strengths outside of the classroom.
- Explore opportunities to get clinical experience, volunteer experience, and get involved in things you find interesting.
- For medical school, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) has developed a list of 15 core competencies, divided into 4 categories, which medical schools use to evaluate applicants in order to select people who have mastered the sciences but also have skills and experience in areas important for patient care. (https://www.aamc.org/admissions/dataandresearch/477182/corecompetencies.html). These competencies are also highly valued by admissions committees for dental, PA, and other graduate programs, not to mention jobs!
Don’t use these as a checklist but rather as a guide to help you reflect on your experiences. Obviously some students will be stronger in some areas than others and these competencies take time to develop. By the time you are ready to apply, you should be able to reflect upon the experiences you have had at Rutgers that have developed your competencies.
-Service Orientation: Must be able to consistently demonstrate a desire to help others and have shown sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings and sought to alleviate others’ distress; Must be able to show that you recognize and act on your responsibilities to society; locally, nationally, and globally?
-Social Skills: Have you specifically and consistently demonstrated awareness of others’ needs, goals, feelings, and the ways that social and behavioral cues affect peoples’ interactions and behaviors? Can you describe situations in which you adjusted your behavior appropriately in response to these cues?
-Cultural Competence: It is vitally important for physicians to be aware of the ways socio-cultural factors affect interactions and behaviors. You will need to be able to think of and describe specific experiences when you have had to recognize, analyze, and act upon the way socio-cultural factors inform your own judgement/reaction in certain situations. Have you had substantive and meaningful interactions with people from cultures and socioeconomic status different from your own?
-Teamwork: Physicians work as part of a team. You will need to be able to give specific examples of your experiences as a team member and leader.
-Oral Communication: You will need to demonstrate that you are able to effectively convey information to others and recognize potential communication barriers and that you can readily recognize communication problems and adjust your approach or clarify information as needed.
-Ethical Responsibility to Self and Others: Honesty and ethics are extremely important qualities in the medical profession. You have to be sure to behave in an honest and ethical manner and follow rules and procedures. You will need to show that you can resist peer pressure to engage in unethical behavior and to encourage others to behave in honest and ethical ways. Are you able to demonstrate ethical and moral reasoning skills?
-Reliability and Dependability: You will need to demonstrate that you consistently fulfill obligations in a timely and satisfactory manner; take responsibility for personal actions and performance.
-Resilience and Adaptability: Will you be able to demonstrate tolerance of stressful or changing environments or situations and adapt effectively to them; will you be persistent, even under difficult circumstances and been able to recover well from setbacks?
-Capacity for Improvement: Show that you set goals for continuous improvement and for learning new concepts and skills; do you engage in reflective practice for improvement; do you solicit and respond appropriately to feedback?
THINKING AND REASONING COMPETENCIES
-Critical Thinking: What activities/classes/projects help you develop your ability to use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems?
-Quantitative Reasoning: Will you be adept at applying quantitative reasoning and appropriate mathematics to describe or explain phenomena in the natural world?
-Scientific Inquiry: Will you be able to show that you can apply knowledge of the scientific process to integrate and synthesize information, solve problems and formulate research questions and hypotheses, and be comfortable using scientific language to describe your work?
-Written Communication: Are you satisfied that you are able to convey information to others clearly and with few errors in usage?
-Living Systems: Your grades and test scores should show that you are able to apply knowledge and demonstrate skill in the natural sciences to solve problems related to molecular and macro systems including biomolecules, molecules, cells, and organs.
-Human Behavior: You will need to be able to use your knowledge of yourself, others, and social systems to solve problems related to the psychological, socio-cultural, and biological factors that influence health and well-being.