California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Pre-med Expectations Are Too High

Getting into medical school is way too difficult.

And before you say, “Wait…but don’t I want my doctor to be smart?”

Think again.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, in 2016 the average GPA for medical school acceptancees was 3.7. The average MCAT score? 507.

He also stated that more than 800,000 students applied to get into medical school but less than three percent were accepted.
That means it is harder to get into medical school than it is for undergrad students to be accepted to Harvard, Princeton, Yale or Stanford.

In order to get into medical school, students are not only expected to take a seven and a half hour exam, but they are also expected to master nine semesters of “basic”, microscopic sciences (with labs). If pre-med students don’t perform well school-wise, they risk their application being tossed from the pile immediately.

This standard is ridiculous because book-smart people don’t always make great doctors. Quick thinkers, problem-solvers and personable people make great doctors.
Pre-med students are tested for things they don’t need.

“It’s insane how they expect you to know literally every single thing possible,” said Cal Lutheran senior and pre-med student Amanda Miller. “But it’s not even just simple questions of ‘What is the primary structure of a protein?’ You’re reading these passages that are just full of information, but at the same time, you could have never read something on that subject ever, and you’re trying to answer questions about it, and you only have about ten minutes for that passage.”

These sensitive questions make sense for students going into emergency medicine, but many doctors are in low-pressure situations where time restraints are not as extreme.

“I feel like in the real world, yes, there is pressure for time on things, but at the same time if you’re just an internal medicine physician, or, for me, I want to be a pediatrician and I’m just doing routine check-ups, I’m not pressured for time. I can spend time with my patients,” Miller said.

Yes, in recent years, the United States has drastically changed the way students are reviewed for and accepted into medical school; with a brand new MCAT and more pressure being placed on well-rounded students with lives outside of science, getting into medical school has morphed.
But even with these changes, the system still has so many faults. The minimum GPA that medical schools expect tosses too many potential doctors out of the pile before they even have the chance to be reviewed.

If they do make it past this grueling first stage, then medical schools also expect pre-med students to have clinical volunteer hours, scholarly research, and extracurricular activities.

“They expect you to have the best possible grades ever while having extracurriculars, volunteer time and time to sleep and keep yourself well and have a hobby so you’re well-rounded. It’s not possible,” Miller said.

Seasoned doctors today did not have to jump through the hoops that millennial premed students are now expected to backflip through.
Medical schools should lower their minimum GPA and MCAT standard, and look more at the dedication pre-med students have in every aspect of their life without expecting them to do everything.

Yes, doctors should be intelligent.

Yes, doctors should excel in the sciences.

But these factors alone do not decide a person’s ability to be an effective medical doctor, and it absolutely should not make or break who becomes the physicians of tomorrow.

Rachael Balcom

More to Discover