No program, no problem
Despite lack of pre-med program, UNH turns out impressive medical school acceptance rates
Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 02:03
At UNH, in Rudman Hall, lies Professor Jahnke’s small, cluttered office. With books piled high, papers scattered around the room and plants in the windowsill, a mug full of hot coffee waits to be drank.
“I always start my day around 7 a.m. while I drink coffee and scroll through my unread emails,” Jahnke said.
Jahnke teaches plant biology and advises about 30 biology students per semester, most of whom would like to get into medical school when they graduate. Jahnke’s plant biology courses are not required to get into medical school, but he hopes that his courses develop students’ critical thinking skills.
Along with plant biology, there are many other courses at UNH that can prepare students for medical school. Courses like organic chemistry, calculus and physics are just a few of the options that UNH offers.
There is no actual pre-medical program that a student can be accepted to at UNH. The same is true for many surrounding schools like Wellesley College and Boston University, as both offer courses for students to get into medical school but do not offer an actual pre-medical degree.
“In some ways, pre-med is a state of mind for these students; they plan to apply to medical school and they are committed to taking the necessary steps to do that,” said Katie Whittemore, an advisor for UNH Pre-Professional Health Programs.
UNH offers a plethora of different information sessions, websites and advising options in which students can get involved. The info sessions allow students to learn about the health profession and what is required of them. With pre-professional health careers, students are able to view what is required of them to get into medical school, receive advising and get help through the application process.
“The advising office helps as much as it can,” said Nick Morettin, a junior biology/pre-medical student.
According to medschoolpulse.com, the national average of schools a pre-med student applies to is 13. UNH has also kept data pertaining to students applying to medical school. According to UNH, out of the 127 students who applied over the last five years, 78 of the students got accepted into a medical school. More than half of these students also had a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
The numbers are for medical school applications only and are representative of students who registered with the Pre-Professional Health Programs Advising Office, according to Whittemore.
For students, the hardest part of preparing for medical school is the course load from both the time spent on classes as well as the time spent in the laboratory. In order to get into medical school, students are required to take nine courses, including biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, calculus, statistics, English, biochemistry and psychology.
A new requirement for the revised 2015 Medical College Admission Test is a sociology course.
“There really is no easy part about being a pre-med student,” said junior Sean Byrne, who hopes to get accepted into medical school.
Along with the required courses, UNH also has a Discovery Program that requires students to take classes in different areas of study. Some examples of courses that are required are in the fields of Environment, Technology, and Society, Fine and Performing Arts, and Social Sciences. Some students hoping to get into medical school find the discovery courses valuable, while others think they have little use.
I feel like the discovery courses are a waste of my time and money when I already know what I want to be,” Byrne said.
“The classes set you up very well for preparing you for medical school if you take them seriously,” Morettin said.
According to Whittemore, medical schools are looking for well-rounded, intellectually curious students who are taking challenging courses across disciplines, and UNH can offer this opportunity.