- Which courses should I take for the English requirement? What if I AP'ed out of Berkeley's Reading & Composition requirement?
Taking two Reading & Composition (R&C) courses is your safest bet- even if you have placed out of them with AP credit. These are our writing-intensive courses at Berkeley and will satisfy the one-year requirement that some medical schools have. If you did not (or choose not to) take any R&C courses, we recommend looking into classes from the following departments: English, Rhetoric, Comparative Literature, and the College Writing Program.
- Can I take prerequisite courses at a community college?
Yes, most medical schools accept community college coursework to satisfy prerequisites; however, we highly recommend that you take the vast majority of your required courses here at UC Berkeley (this does not apply to transfer students). If you consistently take courses at a CC when you could take them here, then you may be considered less competitive during the medical school admissions process.
For other Health Programs, certain courses will need to be taken at a CC, since they are not offered at Berkeley,
- I hear that med schools don't like applicants who take a gap year(s)- is that true?
No! The trend, both at Berkeley and nationally, is for applicants to take at least one year off before starting medical school. The average age for new medical students is 26. Time only gives you more opportunity to strengthen your application- additional classwork, fit in MCAT, clinical experience, research, job experience, or travel.
- Can I take prerequisite courses P/NP?
No! All required courses for health profession programs need to be taken for a letter grade. Exceptions have been made for the year 2020 only.
- Is research required for medical school?
It is not a requirement, although many of our students have some form of research experience before applying to medical school. UC Berkeley, as a top research institution, has many opportunities to get involved. Research can come in various forms, not just lab research. For example, psychology research, clinical research or public health research, to name a few. The OURS department has excellent research information, workshops, and resources. We encourage you to sign up for their newsletter to keep up-to-date on research opportunities.
- How do I find clinical experience?
There are many clinical experiences that a pre-med student can have during their time at Berkeley. From hospital/clinic volunteering to being a health advocate, spending time around medical settings, patients, and health professionals can be a great way to expand knowledge and skills.