How to Succeed as a Johns Hopkins Premed

April 24, 2024
6 min read


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 4/24/24

Navigating the healthcare field can feel overwhelming, but the Johns Hopkins pre-med program has you covered.

Whether you're eyeing medical school or aiming for a career in health policy, their flexible curriculum and extensive research opportunities will set you on the right path. 

With experienced advisors by your side, you'll sharpen your interests and emerge as a well-rounded healthcare professional. And with an impressive track record boasting 80% of med school applicants being admitted to one or more programs, you're in good hands.

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Requirements for Pre-Med at Johns Hopkins

Understanding the requirements for pre-medical studies at Johns Hopkins is crucial for aspiring medical students.

Sample Two-Year Course Plan

Here's a straightforward two-year course plan outlining the required and elective courses for pre-med students at Johns Hopkins University.

Freshman Year

Fall Semester Courses Spring Semester Courses
Introduction to Chemistry I Introduction to Chemistry II
General Biology I General Biology II
Introduction to Chemistry Lab I Introduction to Chemistry Lab II
General Biology Lab I General Biology Lab II
Calculus I (Biology and Social Sciences) Calculus II (Biology and Social Sciences)
Major requirement class Major requirement class

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester Courses Spring Semester Courses Junior Summer Semester Courses
General Physics I (Biology OR Physical Sci.) Organic Chemistry II Biochemistry
General Physics Lab I General Physics II (Biology OR Physical Sci.)
Organic Chemistry I General Physics Lab II
Introduction to Fiction & Poetry Introduction to Organic Chemistry Lab
Elective/major required class Introduction to Psychology

Strategies for Maintaining a High GPA in Johns Hopkins Pre-Med

Maintaining a high GPA at Johns Hopkins University as a pre-med student requires focus and smart study habits. Here are some simple tips to help you keep your grades up:

  • Stick to a Study Schedule: Plan out your study sessions and stick to them. Find a routine that works for you and helps you stay on track.
  • Stay Organized: Keep track of your assignments and deadlines using a planner or calendar. Being organized will help you stay on top of your workload.
  • Start Early: Don't leave things until the last minute. Start studying for exams and working on assignments well ahead of time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Balance Your Course Load: Don't overload yourself with too many difficult courses at once. Spread out your classes over multiple semesters to make things more manageable.
  • Use Resources: Take advantage of tutoring services, study groups, and TA sessions. Getting extra help when you need it can make a big difference.
  • Stay Engaged: Pay attention in class and participate actively. Engaging with the material will help you understand it better and retain information more effectively.
  • Get Feedback: Don't be afraid to ask for feedback from your professors or advisors. Knowing where you stand can help you improve.
  • Take Care of Yourself: Make sure to get enough sleep, eat well, and take breaks when you need them. Taking care of yourself is key to staying focused and motivated.
  • Keep Your Goals in Mind: Remember why you're doing all this hard work. Keeping your long-term goals in mind will help you stay motivated when things get tough.

By following these tips and staying committed to your studies, you can achieve the GPA you need to succeed as a pre-med student at Johns Hopkins.

Top Academic Resources 

The Pre-Professional Advising Office at Johns Hopkins offers personalized guidance through advising appointments and virtual drop-in sessions, while comprehensive advising guides and student organizations provide essential resources and support for pre-med students. Let’s take a look at each of these resources. 

Pre-Professional Advising Office

This office serves as a central hub for pre-med students seeking guidance on their academic and career paths. Through 30-minute advising appointments, both in-person and virtual, students can receive personalized assistance tailored to their specific goals and aspirations in healthcare or law.

The office offers virtual drop-in advising sessions, providing students with convenient access to quick questions and concerns. These sessions allow for on-the-spot guidance and support, ensuring that students stay on track with their academic and professional efforts.

The Pre-Health 101 resource serves as a guide for students navigating the complexities of pre-medical education. It offers essential information and tips for success, covering topics such as course selection, extracurricular involvement, and application preparation.

Advising Guides

Pre-Professional Programs and Advising has put together a series of planning guides and FAQs to help ease the process of preparing for and applying to medical school. These resources address common questions and concerns along the way.

The guides cover a wide range of topics essential to the pre-medical journey, including pre-medical planning strategies, securing strong letters of recommendation, navigating the application process, and preparing for interviews. Students can refer to these guides at various stages of their undergraduate careers to ensure they are on the right path towards their goals.

Student Organizations

Johns Hopkins University hosts a number of health-related student groups geared to pre-medical students. These organizations offer networking, mentorship, and personal growth opportunities.

Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS)

  • Affiliated with the Student National Medical Association, MAPS supports underrepresented minority students in medicine.
  • Provides community service projects, networking events, and professional development opportunities to empower students.

Women’s Pre-Health Leadership Society (WPHLS)

  • This group offers a supportive platform for female undergraduates interested in healthcare professions.
  • Fosters a sense of community and provides resources such as mentorship programs, community service projects, and career development workshops.

Medical Ethics Discussion Panel (MED Panel)

  • Provides a forum for discussing ethical issues in medicine and healthcare policy.
  • Offers interactive meetings and guest speaker events to explore complex ethical dilemmas and develop critical thinking skills.

These resources play a crucial role in supporting pre-med students, offering guidance, mentorship, and opportunities for academic and professional growth in healthcare. 

Choosing the Optimal Major for Johns Hopkins Pre-Med Studies

The major you choose depends on your interests and strengths, but popular choices include Neuroscience, Biomedical Engineering, Molecular/Cellular Biology, Public Health Studies, and Psychology.

These majors provide a strong foundation in scientific principles and research methods. These skills are essential for success in medical school and your future as a medical practitioner. However, it's important to remember that medical schools appreciate diversity in academic backgrounds. 

So, while these majors are popular choices among pre-med students, don't feel limited by them. Instead, choose a major that genuinely interests you and plays to your strengths while also fulfilling pre-medical prerequisites. Ultimately, the key is to excel academically and pursue your passions as you prepare for a fulfilling career in medicine.

Ideal Timing for MCAT Exams 

For pre-med students at Johns Hopkins, it's typically recommended to take the MCAT in the spring of your junior year or the summer before your senior year. This timing allows you to complete the necessary prerequisite coursework and gives you ample time to prepare adequately for the exam.

Taking the MCAT during this period ensures that you have completed the foundational science courses required for the exam, such as biology, chemistry, physics, and biochemistry. Additionally, it allows you to focus on MCAT preparation during the summer months when you may have fewer academic commitments.

Preparing for the MCAT requires thorough study and practice, so it's essential to start early and develop a comprehensive study plan. 

Count on resources like AAMC's MCAT prep materials, practice exams, and study guides, coupled with our tailored one-on-one private MCAT tutoring from top-scoring tutors, to ace your exam with confidence.

Consider your learning style and preferences when choosing a study method, whether it's self-study, group study, or enrolling in a commercial prep course.

The key to MCAT success is consistent practice and review. Take plenty of practice exams to gauge your strengths and weaknesses, and adjust your study plan accordingly. Analyze your performance on practice tests to identify areas for improvement and focus your efforts on those areas.

Ultimately, the goal is to feel confident and well-prepared on exam day. Remember to also take care of your physical and mental well-being during the preparation process by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing stress, and seeking support when needed.

Extracurriculars for Johns Hopkins Pre-Med Students

Pre-med students have plenty of chances to get involved, from volunteering to shadowing and research. These experiences not only build skills but also strengthen applications for medical school.

Community Volunteering 

For Johns Hopkins pre-med students interested in community volunteering opportunities, there are several options available:

  • Center for Social Concern (CSC): The CSC helps students engage with their community. They team up with Baltimore City organizations, Hopkins Faculty, and other Campus Partners to create programs that teach students how to be responsible community members.
  • Community Impact Internships Program: This program provides students with opportunities to engage in internships focused on community impact and service.
  • Community-Based Learning: Students can participate in community-based learning experiences that integrate academic coursework with community service. 
  • Additional Resources: The Pre-Professional Office offers lists of local volunteer opportunities and volunteer offices in hospitals in Baltimore. These resources supplement the CSC's listings and provide students with additional options for volunteering. Students can also explore volunteer opportunities on Volunteer Resource Center.

When choosing a volunteer opportunity, students should think about how it aligns with their career goals, if the agency caters to individual needs, if training is provided, how volunteers are supervised, and the chances for personal and professional development. 

Being proactive, having clear goals, and demonstrating reliability and adaptability are key to getting the most out of volunteering experiences.

Clinical Volunteering Opportunities 

The Johns Hopkins pre-medical program offers clinical volunteering opportunities, essential for strengthening applications to health professional schools. These experiences can be divided into two main categories: direct patient interaction and shadowing physicians or other healthcare professionals.

Direct patient interaction involves actively assisting patients in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, community clinics, hospice care, emergency rooms, cancer centers, and veteran's administrations. 

This hands-on experience demonstrates a commitment to patient care and provides valuable insight into the realities of working in healthcare. Examples of roles with direct patient interaction include volunteering in hospitals or clinics, participating in clinical research by collecting patient information, or working as an EMT, CNA, medical assistant, or scribe.

These experiences showcase strong interpersonal skills, empathy, an interest in healthcare, and a dedication to addressing issues related to patient care. It's crucial for students to demonstrate a sustained commitment to these activities, as it enhances their health professional school applications.

To find opportunities for direct patient interaction, students should start by conducting online searches for hospital volunteer offices, community clinics, healthcare facilities, and clinical research labs. It's important to allow ample time for this process, as it may take several weeks to receive responses to inquiries and secure a volunteer position.

Shadowing Experiences 

The Johns Hopkins pre-medical program encourages students to pursue shadowing experiences as part of their preparation for health professional schools. Shadowing involves observing physicians or other healthcare providers in their daily practice, focusing on their interactions with patients, communication skills, and teamwork within the healthcare setting. 

This firsthand exposure demonstrates to admissions committees the student's initiative in exploring the field of medicine and confirms their commitment to pursuing a career in healthcare.

When reaching out to physicians for shadowing opportunities, students should provide their resume, ensuring it is professional and well-presented. 

Additionally, they should include a brief paragraph explaining their interest in shadowing that specific physician or department, highlighting their status as pre-med or pre-health students at Johns Hopkins University and their aspirations in the healthcare field.

To find shadowing opportunities, students should consider different healthcare settings, such as hospitals, community clinics, or family physicians, and identify areas of interest, such as oncology, neurology, pediatrics, or dermatology. They can then email physicians in those areas to inquire about shadowing opportunities for a few weeks or months.

Before starting any shadowing experience, students should inquire about compliance requirements, such as HIPAA training and immunization records, to ensure their and patients' safety.

Research Opportunities 

Johns Hopkins University pre-med students have a wide range of research opportunities available to them both on campus and at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Institutions. These opportunities cover various fields, including health medicine, public health, arts and sciences, engineering, and neuroscience.

You can explore these opportunities through specific channels such as the School of Medicine Research Opportunities or the Hopkins Office for Undergraduate Research (HOUR). Participating in undergraduate research not only allows you to earn credits but also provides hands-on experience, teaching valuable skills like critical thinking.

Additionally, there are various awards available to fund research, such as the Provost Undergraduate Research Awards or the JHU National Fellowships Program.

If you're seeking more options, you can check out resources like for clinical research trials or the Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program (REUs) for summer research experiences funded by the National Science Foundation.

Overall, there's a wealth of opportunities to explore your research interests and gain valuable experience during your time at Johns Hopkins.

Seeking Expert Guidance for Medical School Admissions?

To succeed in applying to Johns Hopkins Medical School, start early by understanding their requirements and tailoring your academic and extracurricular activities accordingly. Focus on maintaining high grades, preparing thoroughly for the MCAT, gaining diverse medical field experiences, and honing communication skills. Let’s take a closer look at each of these tips. 

1. Get a Head Start

It's never too early to start planning for medical school. Begin familiarizing yourself with Johns Hopkins' requirements during your undergraduate years. Take note of the prerequisite courses and any additional criteria they expect from applicants. 

The sooner you understand what's needed, the better you can tailor your academic and extracurricular activities to meet those expectations.

2. Ace Your Academics

Keep your grades high, especially in the prerequisite courses that Johns Hopkins requires. If you've taken courses at a community college, consider supplementing them with more advanced classes at your four-year institution. 

Demonstrating academic excellence is crucial, but remember, it's not just about getting straight A's. Engage deeply with your coursework and show a genuine passion for learning.

3. Ace the MCAT

Give yourself plenty of time to prepare for the MCAT. It's a big deal for admissions, so aim to take it by September of your application year. Develop a study plan that works for you, whether it's self-study, a prep course, or a combination of both. 

Practice, practice, practice—familiarize yourself with the test format and timing to maximize your performance on exam day.

4. Diversify Your Experiences

Don't just focus on grades. Get out there and gain hands-on experience in the medical field. Volunteer at hospitals or clinics, shadow physicians to understand their day-to-day work, and get involved in research projects. 

Showing Johns Hopkins that you've actively engaged with the healthcare community demonstrates your commitment to the field and sets you apart as a well-rounded applicant.

5. Sharpen Your Communication Skills

Take writing-intensive courses to improve your communication chops. In medicine, effective communication is key, whether you're interacting with patients and colleagues, or writing reports. 

Strong writing skills will serve you well throughout your medical education and career. Additionally, practice your verbal communication skills by engaging in discussions and presentations—it's all part of becoming an effective communicator in the medical field.

6. Secure Stellar Recommendations

Build strong relationships with professors who can write you killer recommendation letters. Choose individuals who know you well academically and personally, and who can speak to your strengths, character, and potential as a future physician. 

Provide them with ample information about your goals and experiences so they can craft compelling letters that showcase your qualifications for medical school.

7. Explore Special Programs

If you're into research and academia, consider programs like MD-PhD. These dual-degree programs offer a unique opportunity to combine clinical practice with scientific research. 

Highlight any unique experiences or accomplishments that make you a standout applicant for these specialized programs. Research the requirements and application process early to ensure you're prepared to meet the deadlines.

8. Know the Ins and Outs

Understand Johns Hopkins' admission policies inside and out. Take the time to thoroughly read through their requirements and guidelines to avoid any misunderstandings or missed opportunities. 

Pay close attention to deadlines, document submission protocols, and any additional materials they may require. Being well-informed and organized will help you navigate the application process smoothly.

9. Nail the Interview

Practice, practice, practice for your medical school interviews. Research common interview questions and prepare thoughtful, articulate responses. Showcase your passion for medicine and your alignment with Johns Hopkins' values and mission

Be yourself, but also be professional and courteous. Remember, the interview is your chance to make a lasting impression, so make it count.

10. Stay on Top of Things

Stay proactive in keeping up with any changes to admissions requirements. Follow Johns Hopkins' website and social media channels for updates and announcements. Missing a deadline or overlooking a requirement could jeopardize your chances of acceptance. 

Stay organized, keep track of important dates, and don't hesitate to reach out to admissions staff if you have any questions or concerns. Your attention to detail and proactive approach will demonstrate your readiness for the rigors of medical school.

Transitioning to Medical School 

Transitioning to medical school is a big step for aspiring healthcare professionals. Here's a rundown of what to expect:

  • Academic Intensity: Get ready for a significant academic leap. Medical school is intense, with complex concepts and a fast-paced learning environment. It's all about adjusting to higher expectations and developing solid study habits.
  • Hands-On Experience: You'll dive into clinical rotations and clerkships, where you'll apply what you've learned to real patient care. It's where theory meets practice, and you'll hone your clinical skills and professionalism.
  • Finding Your Identity: As you transition, you'll start embracing your role as a future physician. Ethics, cultural competence, and continuous learning become part of your professional identity. You'll move from being a learner to an essential member of the healthcare team.
  • Time Management and Wellness: Balancing coursework, clinical duties, and personal life can be tough. Time management and self-care are key. Prioritize your well-being to avoid burnout and stay on top of your game.
  • Lean on Your Support Network: Medical school isn't easy, but you're not alone. Lean on your peers, mentors, and family for support. Having a strong support system makes all the difference.
  • Explore Opportunities: Beyond the classroom, there are chances for growth and exploration. Engage in research, community service, and extracurricular activities to broaden your skills and interests.
  • Stay Resilient: Adaptability and resilience are crucial. You'll face challenges, but keep pushing forward. Learn from setbacks, stay positive, and remember why you chose this path.

Transitioning to medical school is a journey filled with growth, challenges, and endless possibilities. Stay focused, and you'll be well on your way to becoming the compassionate and skilled physician you aspire to be.

Acceptance Rate and Admission Statistics 

The Johns Hopkins Medical School acceptance rate is 6.3%. Though the Johns Hopkins pre-med acceptance rate isn’t available, it was reported that around 19–24 pre-med applicants are admitted every year. 

Once accepted, students find a welcoming and collaborative atmosphere. The Class of 2023 showcased diversity, with 16% majoring in non-science fields. 

The incoming class of 2027 is equally diverse, with 58% women and 42% men representing various ethnicities and backgrounds. The average GPA for incoming students is 3.92, with an average MCAT score of 521.

Securing Admission to Johns Hopkins Medical School for Pre-Med Students

Securing a spot at Johns Hopkins Medical School demands a thorough understanding of the prerequisites, requirements, and policies in place. Here's a closer look at what it entails:

  • Academic Excellence: Aim for stellar performance in your science and math courses during your pre-medical studies. Your grades are pivotal in demonstrating your academic prowess.
  • MCAT: Before September of the application year, you'll need to tackle the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Remember, scores older than four years prior to your expected start date won't be considered.
  • College Coursework: Complete your prerequisite courses at an accredited college or university. While community college courses suffice, supplementing them with advanced classes at a four-year institution can bolster your application.
  • Degree: Obtain a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from an accredited institution. This serves as the bedrock for your medical education journey.
  • Communication and Teamwork: Showcase your effective communication and teamwork skills by enrolling in writing-intensive courses and engaging in activities that highlight your collaborative abilities.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Secure robust letters of recommendation from professors or your college's pre-health committee. These letters offer valuable insights into your academic aptitude, character, and potential as a future physician.
  • International Applicants: If you're an international student, ensure you submit transcripts from all colleges attended outside the United States and Canada.
  • Application Process: Once you've compiled your application, the admissions committee will conduct a holistic review, taking into account various factors such as academic achievements, extracurricular activities, personal statement, and letters of recommendation. If chosen, you'll be invited for an interview.

In essence, getting into Johns Hopkins Medical School requires hard work, good grades, and a thorough application that meets the school's requirements. If you show your dedication to medicine, you'll improve your chances of being accepted.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for medical school as a Johns Hopkins pre-med student takes dedication and planning. You'll need top grades, ace the MCAT, and get involved in clinical experiences. Don't forget to tap into resources like advisors and student groups—they're there to help. 

Stay focused on your passion for healthcare, and you'll be well on your way to becoming a doctor at Johns Hopkins.

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