Mercer University undergraduate students who plan to pursue a career in medicine are considered to be on the "pre-medicine" or "pre-medical" track. Pre-medicine is not an academic major, but a preparatory track; pre-medical students enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts declare and work towards an academic major and minor >> as they fulfill the admission requirements for their preferred medical school(s). Information and advice about all aspects of the pre-medical track can be found in The Student Handbook for the Pre-Medical Tracks>>. Information about all of the pre-professional tracks at Mercer-Macon can be found on the web pages of the Office of Academic & Advising Services>>.
Please note that the minimum science coursework required for the pre-medical track is only offered by the College of Liberal Arts on the Macon campus. Also note that competency in mathematics at or above the calculus level is required to begin the chemistry and biology course sequences at Mercer University. Students planning on following the pre-medical track are therefore advised to take mathematics in high school at least through the pre-calculus level.
Becoming a Competitive Medical School Applicant
Admission to medical schools is highly competitive, with acceptance rates in the U.S. ranging from 2-3% (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Harvard Medical School) to 11-12% (Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University; Mercer University School of Medicine) to about 21% (Meharry Medical College) (data from the AAMC's publication, Medical School Admission Requirements, 2012-2013).Pre-medical students must therefore plan ahead carefully with a mind to creating a competitive medical school application "portfolio" during their undergraduate years.
Pre-medical students must therefore plan ahead carefully with a mind to creating a competitive medical school application "portfolio" during their undergraduate years.This means taking the appropriate coursework, performing well academically, and participating in appropriate extracurricular activities that will develop the skills and characteristics required of a successful medical school applicant.Students must bear in mind that medical schools are looking for individuals with the following characteristics:
- a strong academic background with a firm foundation in the sciences but a breadth of experience and education;
- good reasoning ability and strong critical thinking skills;
- self-motivation and a strong work ethic;
- a positive attitude, able to function effectively under stress;
- strong leadership skills but with the ability to work well on a team;
- compassion anda commitment to community service;
- strong interpersonal skills, able to connect well with people from various backgrounds;
- excellent communication skills (both written and oral);
- integrity and high ethical standards;
- a good base of knowledge about the field of medicine and commitment to its study;
- competitive Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) or Optometry Admission Test (OAT) scores; and
- a well-written Personal Statement.
Because the pre-medical track is challenging and medical schools are so selective, all pre-medical students should develop an alternative plan to implement in the event that adequate progress is not made on their pre-medical track (i.e., GPAs below 3.5) or acceptance to medical school is not achieved. Such plans may include strengthening the application portfolio followed by reapplication or a complete change of career goals. Students are advised to consult the Office of Career Services>> and their advisors for guidance in this regard.