I recently talked about the issues related to being a pre-med at a large college or university. But, if that is your path, how do you make the most of a big college before medical school?
First, can you get into an honors program at the college? Honors programs typically have some advantages including some smaller class sizes, classes reserved just for the honors students and early registration to make sure you get the classes you need. Honors colleges are a large colleges attempt to try and give their students some of the advantages of the smaller liberal arts colleges.
Second, be assertive. If you get shut out of a class you need because of a poor registration time, don’t just accept the loss of the class. Go to the professor and ask if you can get in. Ask about a waiting list. It is not unusually in many of these big classes that they will be “full” but after a week or so, students will drop out opening up seats for students that didn’t just take no for an answer.
Third, if the professor offers any review session, either with the professor or with the TA, go to the review session. Even if you think you know the subject, it won’t hurt to review with someone who knows the topic better than you do.
Fourth, get to know your professors. Go to their office hours. Talk to them when you have the opportunity. Getting to know the professors is important for two reasons. One, if you get to know your professor you may be able to use them for a letter of recommendation when you apply to medical school. Such letters are very important to medical schools. Two, if you get to know your professor you have a better chance of getting involved with their research and getting research is also critical for medical school admissions.
Following this advice will help make you a more competitive candidate for medical school but you are almost always better off just attending a small liberal arts college with a strong history of medical school placement.