As you begin the process of preparing for a career in the health professions, keep in mind that your academic credentials drive the timing of this process. Since Pitt students matriculate with varied backgrounds, your plan to enter a medical profession will differ from that of your roommate. Did you come to Pitt with 0 or 30 or 60 AP credits? Did your high school prepare you well for college? Did you learn to study and manage your time in high school? Have you developed strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills? Do you have the maturity to live on your own and continue to be very productive?
You may have developed the maturity and skill sets necessary to succeed in college or you may have to adjust your timing to enable your personal and academic skills to develop. Regardless of the point of entry into the process, your credentials will need to include a high GPA (overall and in the sciences) and evidence of experiential learning and a commitment to service. It isn’t enough to have a dream of entering a medical profession; you must have a realistic plan to reach your goal.
Developing into a strong candidate
The “right” way to prepare for a career in one of the medical professions is to understand that there is no right way – this is a process. One of the biggest mistakes students make is to get caught up in the vortex of misinformation that surrounds the path to any of the medical professions. It is important for you to remember that you aren’t competing against the person sitting next to you in the classroom; you are competing against yourself. There is room in the profession for all good candidates and the only way to move toward your goal is to follow your heart and grow as a person, as a scientist, and as a leader.
Competing for a spot in the health professions
A competitive candidate demonstrates command of the basic sciences, a deep understanding of the profession, and a commitment to help others through the practice in a medically related field.
You want to choose a major, a research project, a study abroad experience and volunteer activities that have meaning in your life. Admissions committees want to see that you care about people and have spent a significant portion of your undergraduate career pursuing activities that will enhance your performance as a health professional.