Chemistry and biology aren’t necessarily what come to mind when thinking of the “writer’s college,” but for the thirty percent of Kenyon students who choose to major in STEM fields, the Science Quad is home. This rings especially true for students planning on pursuing medical school and other healthcare careers. Though “pre-health” (an umbrella term that encompasses “pre-med”) is not an official course of study, students are able to design their own path to prepare them for graduate school and beyond.
Medical and other health-related graduate programs evaluate students based on rigorous criteria: In addition to transcripts, activities, personal statements, letters of recommendation, test scores and interviews, students are expected to fulfill extensive course requirements to be considered. Classes in chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics are among the most important. “My advisor and I have put together a plan that will help me take all the required classes,” Chris Chu ’26 said. “I intend to major in biology because the requirements for the major help with the pre-[health] track.” In addition to enabling students to do well on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), the coursework is invaluable for finding success in medical schools.
Considering the intensity of the pre-health path, Kenyon offers many resources for students to take advantage of. From the Knox County Medical Experiences Designed by Students (KC-Meds) and the Math and Science Skills Center (MSSC), to the Kenyon Career Network (KCN), students can access a network of peer tutors, alumni and professionals to further support them on their journey to medical school. Olivia Ide ’27 said, “Although I’ve only been here for a few weeks, and the classes are difficult, there are a multitude of resources that I can utilize to help better my understanding of challenging topics, study for quizzes and tests and complete homework.” Her personal favorite is the MSSC: “[T]here are always people there to help.”
KC-Meds in particular has proven to be tremendously helpful for students. Jack Caine ’24, a molecular biology major and member of the KC-Meds leadership, talked about the impact of the group on students: “Everyone involved is passionate about medicine and guiding others through the pre-med process in undergrad, and preparing them for the MCAT and schooling after Kenyon.”
Of course, each student has their own reason for taking on this challenge in their academic careers. Neuroscience major Joshua Breard ’26 outlined his motivations for choosing the medical path, as well as the specialties that interest him: “My interests are trauma surgery, emergency medicine, neurology and oncology.” Having dealt with illnesses in his family as a child, Breard believes that the pre-health path will help his personal dream of helping underrepresented communities and combating racial injustices in healthcare. Chu wants to give back to his family and be able to help those who are less fortunate.
Even with the challenges the pre-health path gives, students are eager to tackle them head on. “It is often said that the pre-[health] journey is a marathon, not a sprint,” Breard said. “Enjoying each step of the way is important!”