Native College Students

by Elizabeth Sklenarz

Hey Everyone! I’m Elizabeth Sklenarz, a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and one out of three COVID support summer interns at the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center.  I am an undecided major, but am thinking about pursing a Bachelors of Science degree in either neurobiology or genetics. In the meantime, I have been taking courses to prepare myself for the The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). My decision to pursue a medical degree grew from losing both of my parents. I want to be able to help others medically as the doctors and nurses did for my parents. As a college student going on the pre-medical track, I always wondered what courses I would have to take in order to go to medical school. First I had to understand that “pre-med” is not a major, but it is the course load path an individual looking to go to medical school would follow. Therefore, in case anyone else is interested. I have broken down the pre-med pre-requisites according to University of Wisconsin-Madison:

Typical Courses in Pursuing a Pre-Med Major:

  • General Biology: Two semesters, one with lab.
  • General Chemistry: Two semesters, both with lab.
  • Organic Chemistry: One Semester.
  • Biochemistry: One Semester.
  • Physics: Two Semesters, both with lab.
  • Statistics of equivalent: One Semester.
  • Humanities/social sciences intensive writing requirement: One Semester/

Helpful Tips to Get into Medical School:

  • Cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 AND an MCAT score of at least 500.
  • Non-medical experiences or jobs that contributed to personal development.
  • Opportunities or jobs that demonstrated leadership.
  • Experience in a laboratory, clinical or public health research.
  • Participation in student or community organizations.
  • Awards, scholarships or other honors.
  • Motivation to study and practice medicine.
    • Certified Nursing Assistant or Emergency Medical Technician
    • Physician Shadowing
    • Volunteering in a medical setting
    • Medical Scribing

Important things to keep in mind:

I think it is important to go into college with an open mind.  Research your areas of interest. There is always time in college where you can change your major.  You do not have to follow a traditional path.  There are so many students that take more than four years to finish and take time off also.

For More Information on Pre-Med Programs:

Pre-Medical Requirements and Selection Criteria

University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Medicine and Public Health


Native American Center for Health Professions

University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Medicine and Public Health


Indians into Medicine

University of North Dakota, School of Medicine and Health Sciences