What To Look For In a Premedical/Predental Program

1) Disregard claimed percentages on successful medical/dental school placements.

Students get into med/dent school because they have good GPA and MCAT/DAT scores, not because they attend a particular school.  I.E., good students have a pretty good chance of getting in, regardless of where they go.  Don’t expect to get into medical schools just because you attend an undergraduate program affiliated with a medical school

2) A strong GPA, especially in the sciences is necessary to be accepted into medical school.

No matter what undergraduate school you attend, the course work you must complete is dictated by what you need to do well on the MCAT/DAT and what medical/dental schools require.  (Biology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, Genetics, Cell Biology, Human Physiology, General Microbiology, Biochemistry).  These courses will be rigorous no matter what school you attend.  NOTE: Choose a major you could envision a career in and will enjoy.  Med/dent schools absolutely do not care what your major is.  However, no matter what your major is, you must take the science courses listed above and do well in them to be a successful candidate.

3) Then why choose one school over another?

One should look at the underlying support structure in place in a program to provide students with special opportunities that strengthen their application and to help students through the application process.
Having strong guidance helps ease the worries about what to do and when to do it.  

4) Following is a list of what NMU offers its premedical/predental students. Note that pre-PA’s and pre-chiros can participate in anything that isn’t medical or dental school specific.  When you visit other schools or call them, be sure to ask if they have any of the following: 

 a) Formal preceptorship program (we assign juniors and seniors a physician/dentist with whom they can work on a personal basis, including attending surgeries, hospital rounds, patient visits in the hospital and clinic, etc.  (qualified juniors/seniors)

 b) WSU MedStart at NMU program...guaranteeing 2 incoming freshmen acceptance into  Wayne State University School of Medicine.  Students must apply for this program, meet certain entrance requirements and maintain certain standards   throughout their college career (incoming freshmen)

 c) Clinical Conferences at MGH..Every Friday we take students to listen to a medical presentation (and get a free lunch).  (juniors/seniors/MedStart)

 d) Premed/Predent Club (they do various volunteer activities and outreach). Open to all students; a good way for the underclassmen to get to know  upper level students.

 e) Advisory Board Packet and centralized location for letters of recommendation.  We take care of all the letters, including sending them to med/dent schools for the student on request.  This takes a lot of the hassle out of the student’s hands.

 f) If one gets a Board interview, they receive a powerful letter of recommendation  from the University as well as the opportunity to speak in front of a group of physicians and faculty.  It’s good preparation for when the student gets interviews at medical schools.

 g) We keep the students well-informed as to when to register for the MCAT, when  the AMCAS (M.D)/AACOMAS (D.O.)/AADSAS (D.D.S.), CASPA (P.A.)   applications are available on line, etc. Meetings as scheduled for each class (freshmen through junior) as well as timetables and checklists to help them stay on track.

 h) A mentoring program for our applicants with 3rd and 4th year medical students from Michigan State University who are training at Marquette General Hospital.

 i) We give several practice MCATs during the winter semester, a timed test in a group setting to help students get a feel for what the real test situation might be like. 

 j) Several MCAT/DAT review sessions with faculty. (Physics, Inorganic and Organic Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology)

 k) Interview seminar with MSUCHM Rural Program staff and medical students.  The   option for a mock interview is available to applicants.  Utilization of the NMU Job Search Center is also suggested to develop interview skills.

 l) Volunteer opportunities are made available to all students through Marquette General Hospital and many other organizations.  These activities are required for pre-Professional health care students.

 m) Overseas medical mission volunteer presentations (open to all students)

 n) Premed Academic Scholarships (juniors and seniors) varying from $500 to $2000.

 o) We continuously feed information to premed/predent students via email, club minutes, our bulletin board, announcements on boards/doors throughout the West Science   Building, and our file cabinet. We keep students informed of visitors (Air Force,  Army, Medical School Admissions people, graduate program visitor for PA schools) who would make presentations of interest.  (all students)

 p) We offer a biannual, optional seminar course for freshmen and sophomores where physicians/dentists come in on a weekly basis to discuss a wide array of topics;   what medical/dental school is like; health related professions such as physician assistant and chiropractor; medical ethics. (freshmen and sophomores)

q) We visit medical schools in Michigan biannually. (sophomores and juniors)

 r) Operating room volunteer program with Marquette General Hospital (sophomores).

 s) Patient attendant program at MGH (open to all students)

 t) Alpha Epsilon Delta Honor Society and National Meeting (soph and jr rep)

 u) We have a web page which contains our handbooks as well as links to pages of interest to students, including Michigan med/dent schools, application services, etc.  See   NMU’s home page: www.nmu.edu.

v) Faculty accessibility...excellent at NMU (Physics is pretty much open door).

w) Opportunities for undergraduate research....highly recommended for students to try.

 x) Except for intro bio and chem courses (lecture size about 150), most science courses  will be small (30 to 40 students), as are freshmen English and all math courses.

NMU is one of the least expensive universities in the state.  Remember that you will also be provided with a laptop at NMU, included in the cost of tuition but still resulting in lower tuition plus fees than nearly every other public school in Michigan.  The laptop program is a requirement, but bringing another computer to campus is useful in that it can be permanently set up in your room.

NMU has excellent programs, faculty, students and, top-of-the line science facilities.

If any other premedical program in the U.S. can offer all of the above at $16000.00 per year (in-state tuition plus room and board), then it’s pretty darn good.  Remember though, all of the above helps students get through the process, but is not a guarantee for admission into medical school. You must maintain a 3.5 science GPA and get MCAT scores of 10.0 to be competitive.  Dental schools look for GPA >3.3 with 18's on the DAT.  It is your responsibility to do well in your classes, but we can help you with the details that will allow you to focus on the all-important course work, preceptorships and volunteerism.

If you want to discuss the program in more detail, or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call for an appointment.   Dr. David Lucas (906-227-2191 or dlucas@nmu.edu).