Dear Freshmen and new Transfers,
Welcome to UMBC!
After you gain acceptance into UMBC, you will be required to attend a New Student/Transfer Orientation session to work out your first semester schedule. The Office of Admissions and Orientation (410-455-3244) coordinates orientation days where you meet one-on-one with an advisor to create your first semester schedule. You must register with the Admissions and Orientation Office to attend a New Student/Transfer Orientation day. Orientation advisors evaluate AP credits, transfer credits, your placement test scores, your major(s), your interest areas, your career goals, and then make specific recommendations for your schedule based on all of that information. During New Student/Transfer Orientation Days, students also meet with a representative from their Declared Major to discuss the particulars of entering into a certain Declared Major (for example, Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, English Literature, etc.).
At most undergraduate colleges, including UMBC, deciding to go "PreMed or PreDental" is an informal decision. There is no official major declaration action for PreMed or PreDental, it just means that students have medical/dental school as an eventual goal and are making sure they add the PreMed or PreDental prerequisites to their declared major. Students can decide to go that pathway at any point in their career at UMBC, which might alleviate some decision-making pressure for you in the here and now. Although, preparing to become competitive for professional school does take a few years and is not a quick-process.
UMBC PreMed/PreDental students declare various majors. Most of these students naturally are attracted to the sciences and decide to major accordingly, although majoring in the sciences is not required for medical or dental school. Any major is acceptable for medical or dental school or the other professional areas that fall under The PreMedical and PreDental Advising Office (pre-medical, dental, optometry, podiatry, vet). I always recommend to students to follow their individual passions because your undergraduate career is your time to follow various interests. About 70% of pre-meds, pre-dental, pre-podiatry, pre-optometry, and pre-vet. students are biology majors, followed by 25% biochemistry majors, while the rest fall under Psychology and other myriad choices such as Math, English Literature, Info. Systems, Engineering, Music, etc. Maintaining an excellent academic record is crucial, given our accepted students are averaging 3.7 overall GPA’s and 3.7 science GPA’s.
The office website provides a comprehensive overview of what it takes to become competitive for medical/dental/professional school:
In the short-term, you should focus on the following goals during college, if medical or dental school is going to be option down the road:
1. Earn 3.5+ semester GPA's; earn a cumulative 3.5+ GPA; earn mostly A's and some B's in the sciences and math while avoiding any C's.
2. Obtain research experience, either biomedical or social science/psychology research.
3. Obtain clinical related volunteer experience, via hospitals, clinics, and/or shadowing doctors.
4. Dedicate time to 1-2 community service organizations and help the less-fortunate by volunteering. This does not have to be a medically-related organization. Any .org (dot.org) organization is a non-profit and typically has a philanthropic focus.
5. Become a leader in an on- or off-campus organization. Demonstrate leadership and teamwork skills.
This is a quick snapshot. As you already are aware, the website provides much more detail as to how to go about achieving those goals and suggestions for resources that fall under each goal. Check out profiles of successful premedical and predental students.
For your future reference:
Pre-professional students have two advisors. Sometimes this gets very confusing for students and this might not be a question for you right now, but it’s something to keep in mind once you get on campus.
Your ASSIGNED ACADEMIC/DECLARED MAJOR ADVISOR:
Lifts your registration blocks every semester.
Keeps you on-track with your MAJOR requirements.
Guides you on the General Education requirements.
You must meet with them EVERY semester.
Ms. Roelke, Your PreMedical, PreDental, PreOptometry, PrePodiatry,
Keeps you on-track with the professional school prerequisites.
Provides guidance to help you become a competitive applicant for
Answers questions pertinent to the professional school application process
and issues that arise during that process.
You meet with Ms. Roelke, as needed, but not every semester.
Comprehensive Pre-Medical and PreDental information is located under the Preparing, Applying, and Advising tabs on The PreMedical and PreDental Advising Office website.
If you have questions which are not addressed via these resources, please let me know.