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Getting into professional school

Academics / Departments & Programs / Pre-Professional Health / Getting into Professional School

Applying to medical or dental school is a challenging process with many detailed steps. This guide gives you an overview of the process and some resources to direct your efforts.

Specific course requirements to enter medical or dental school are minimal, which puts a lot of weight on academic excellence. Excellent performance on MCAT or DAT exams, life experiences, and familiarity with the professions are also important. Calvin will provide you with the guidance, the experience, and everything else you need to pursue medical school, dental school, and beyond.

From relevant high school coursework and sending your application to one of the central application services, down to recommendations and interviews, Calvin's established process will help you get accepted to graduate school and follow your calling into medicine.


This is a suggested time line for a “typical” student. It can easily be modified, for example, for transfer students, students who enter the pre-med/dent program late or students who plan to study off-campus for a semester.

  • Preparing for college

    Preparing for college

    Although medical and dental schools will not review your high school grades, ACT, or SAT scores, your performance may determine how prepared you are for college courses and your eligibility for scholarships.

    Advanced Placement (AP) credit scores will determine the college credit earned, if any. More importantly than getting credit for earning an exemption from a science course is whether or not you have learned the material! Please remember that not all medical schools accept AP credit for required courses.

    Summer before year 1
    • Attend one of the four Passport sessions.
    • Attend the Pre-Med/Dent meeting on the afternoon of the first day of Passport.
    • Meet the Pre-Med/Dent advisor and receive an overview of Calvin’s Pre-Med/Dent program.
    • Consult and perhaps purchase excellent references such as “Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) ( or Official Guide to Dental Schools (
    • Explore websites for various medical dental schools. Pre-Meds may consider accessing Michigan State University College of Human Medicine’s “Premedical Handbook and Self-Assessment Guide”.
  • Year One
    Year 1
    • Fall—suggested Courses: Biology majors may take Biology 123. (Non-biology majors may consider biology 141), Chemistry 103
    • Spring—suggested Courses: Biology majors may take Biology 224 (Non-biology majors may take Biology 205), Chemistry 104.
    • Meet with Pre-Medical/Dental advisor.
    • Get involved in community service particularly in the summer.
    • Get some clinical experience.
  • Year Two
    Year 2
    • Fall—suggested courses: Biology (see Pre-Med/Dent advisor), Chemistry 261
    • Spring—suggested courses: Chemistry 262
    • Meet with Pre-Medical/Dental advisor.
    • Select an area of concentration (major).
    • Obtain medical/clinical experiences.
    • Explore research options for summer if interested.
  • Year Three
    Year 3
    • Fall—suggested courses: Physics 221
    • Spring—suggested courses: Physics 222, Chemistry 303.
    • Meet with Pre-Medical/Dental advisor.
    • Continue medical/clinical experiences.
    • Explore research options for summer if interested.
    • Prepare for MCAT or DAT. Register for MCAT or DAT in January. Take MCAT or DAT in April.
    • Attend Pre-Med/Dent application meeting in early May.
    • Select recommenders for committee letter in May. Complete applications (AMCAS, AACOMAS, or AADSAS) by June 1 or as soon after as possible.
  • Year Four
    Year 4
    • Continue application process, completing secondary applications, scheduling interviews, etc.
    • Continue to prioritize community service, clinical experience, and research experience.
    • Review a contingency plan with Pre-Medical/Dental advisor if necessary.

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