What Are the Helpful High School Courses to Become a Neurosurgeon?

The right high school courses can help you reach your career goals.

While high school may not prepare you for the rigors of medical school, it will prepare you to study college-level anatomy or biology. The courses you take to prepare for college-level science will depend largely what school you attend. Most high schools require biology, chemistry, physics and algebra, so push yourself to go beyond the basic requirements and take the most challenging math and science courses available at and beyond your school.

1 Biochemistry

2 While biology

While biology, a graduation requirement at most high schools, will teach you about ecosystems, evolution, cell division and other concepts, biochemistry focuses more on the chemical reactions involved in biological processes, including the nervous system. In addition to learning more about how the body functions, a biochemistry course will likely give you the chance to practice your surgical skills. Granted, dissecting a rat or a fetal pig is hardly comparable to operating on the central nervous system of a human being, but you can still practice holding a scalpel properly and gauging the pressure necessary to make an incision.

3 Anatomy

4 Like biochemistry

Like biochemistry, anatomy focuses more on specific functions within the body. The concentration in anatomy is more on the physical and less on the chemical. Most anatomy courses offer software that mimics the dissection of a human body. Some courses will also require you to dissect the brain itself. According to Biology Corner, some anatomy courses require students to dissect a sheep's brain in order to identify the parts of the brain and their role in the central nervous system.

5 Calculus

6 Anyone who plans to enter the sciences

Anyone who plans to enter the sciences, medical or otherwise, needs a solid foundation in mathematics. According to Emory Medical School, most medical schools require at least two years of college-level math and recommend calculus. Clinical research requires you to record and extrapolate from data accurately. If you are able to pass an AP exam in calculus, you can take higher levels in college or free up time to take more science courses.

7 Summer Premed Programs

8 Premed program

Though a summer premed program at a university isn't necessarily a class, it will give you more practical experience: Some programs will even teach you routine medical techniques like suturing and splinting. Other programs may teach you about the cutting-edge equipment physicians use to diagnose their patients. Experienced medical scholars and students will give you more insight as to what you should expect from your future studies and career. Beyond this, as always, participating in programs that indicate your ambition and work ethic will improve your chances when applying for colleges and financial aid.

Since 2003, Momi Awana's writing has been featured in "The Hawaii Independent," "Tradewinds" and "Eternal Portraits." She served as a communications specialist at the Hawaii State Legislature and currently teaches writing classes at her library. Awana holds a Master of Arts in English from University of Hawaii, Mānoa.