1. I need to begin my prehealth science courses immediately as a freshman even if I am not academically prepared for them or am unsure if I really want to go into health care.
Truth: The time to begin your prehealth prerequisites is when you are prepared, both academically and motivationally. Some students can excel in a rigorous course of study even when they are unsure of what their final goal is, while some students cannot. Ideally, a student will complete all of his or her prehealth prerequisites during four undergraduate years, but not all students can do this. Usually, success comes to the students who take the time to be strong in their academics and sure of their goals even if this means sacrificing a little time.
2. Since I am interested in health care, I should focus exclusively on building myself up in science and math. I don't need to worry about my skills in reading and writing.
Truth: To be a strong and successful prehealth student (and an effective communicator) you need to become an excellent reader and a capable writer. Liberal Arts courses, the library, and the Writing Center can be important resources to help you in this area.
3. Classes are "too big" for me to get to know my professors.
Truth: You have to step forward and out of the herd to build a professional and academic acquaintance with university faculty. It's a big world, but the existence of a crowd guarantees you the opportunity to stand out from it. Classes can indeed be large, and you will not build an excellent relationship with each and every professor you have, but you can get much more out of your education both intellectually and in a career-oriented sense if you make a commitment to tapping your professor's brains during his or her office hours. Small seminars and advanced level courses offer you the opportunity to take courses with a small class size. You should look into these options, but keep in mind that they are not an excuse to put off going to professors of large lectures during their office hours.
4. I can counterbalance bad grades with good extracurricular activities.
Truth: The only thing that can counterbalance bad grades is good grades. Do schools of the health professions demand academic perfection? No. They look at your undergraduate record as proof that you could sucessfully bear a heavy academic load in their educational program and pass the rigorous tests that lead to licensing. No amount of volunteer work or community service can serve as proof of your ability to excel in academics. The only thing that will do the trick is good grades in challenging courses.
5. I have to be a biology major to get into medical school.
Truth: You can select any major and pursue medical school, once you complete the required prerequisites needed for the application process. It is important that you are being successful as a student in all of your courses.