What are your chances of getting into medical school? It depends on a variety of factors including your relevant experience, GPA and MCAT score, and interview performance - but keep in mind that medical school acceptance rates get lower every year whether you are applying to MD or DO schools. In this blog, you'll learn what you can start working on today, and by utilizing medical school admissions consulting, you can improve your chances of getting into medical school.
1. Gain relevant experience.
One of your main responsibilities when applying to allopathic or osteopathic medical school is proving to the admissions committee that becoming a physician is your dream and that you're willing to put in the time, effort and money required to accomplish this goal. On top of this, you'll have to demonstrate that you're not just interested in the profession, but you are also suitable for the profession. Admissions committees will be sorting through thousands of hopeful doctor's applications, so if your application doesn't provide evidence to answer the question "why do you want to be a doctor?" it will likely result in the dreaded rejection letter. So how can you avoid this? By gaining relevant experience that will demonstrate your passion and motivations for pursuing medicine.
One of the best forms of experience you can add to your application is shadowing a doctor. Once you know how to ask to shadow a doctor and how many hours of shadowing are required for medical school, the process becomes easy and you can start connecting with physicians from a variety of medical fields. This is particularly useful if you're not sure which area of medicine you want to pursue as you'll learn a lot by passively watching a typical day in the life of each physician. During breaks, you'll have the opportunity to ask questions and through this entire process, you'll start gaining a better idea as to which fields speak to you and which do not pique your interest.
In addition to clinical experience, there are other forms of experience you can gain to show the admissions committee what motivates you. You could work in a lab and participate in conducting research which will be beneficial to your application, especially if you're applying to MD-PhD programs. Keep in mind that these programs are only suitable for students with a serious interest in both medicine and research. These programs will train students to become physician-scientists that are highly focused on research, possessing both an MD and PhD. If you're applying to MD PhD vs MD programs, you'll need to complete two additional essays in your application, one of which specifically discusses your extensive research experience.
Contribution to the community is another essential aspect of your medical school applications. Most medical schools review applicants holistically, meaning that they are interested in all aspects of an applicant including volunteer experience. Prospective doctors have to demonstrate selflessness and the drive to serve others, regardless of their patient's culture, language, religion, beliefs or values. This is why medical schools are very interested in candidates that can demonstrate service to the public and their community as these acts demonstrate the valuable attributes medical schools are looking for. You'll have the opportunity to include significant experiences in the AMCAS work and activities section of your application, in your personal statement, and when completing medical school secondary essays. Other examples of excellent experiences include teaching experience, contributing to publications, employment in the medical field, and any other experiences that helped shape your growth and solidify your decision to become a physician.
2. Perfect your application.
Think of the application you send to medical school as a meeting with a member of the admissions committee that lasts less than five minutes. If you only had this short amount of time to talk, what would you say? Would you keep this person's attention? Would you fumble over your words? Would you convince them that you are suitable for a career in medicine? Your application will serve as your voice to the admissions committee and will create the first impression of who you are as an applicant. Your medical school personal statement, in particular, can make or break your application. With thousands of applications to sift through, a statement that isn't original, engaging and convincing won't result in an interview invitation. Make sure to review successful medical school personal statement examples to help you create your own unique statement.
In general, your entire application needs to be captivating, interesting, well written, and free from any errors. One of the main reasons that students are rejected from medical school is because their application has not been put together well. It may contain grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, poor formatting or it simply may not be answering the unanswered question of why medicine? To perfect your application means to make sure that it's perfect. Whether it's true or not, your application is a direct reflection of who you are as a person. Mistakes or poorly written areas of your application indicate someone lacking essential skills required for medical school: organization, meticulous attention to detail, and true dedication to the profession. The idea is, if you're not willing to put as much time as needed into crafting the best application, what else are you not willing to put time into? I can tell you right now that the admissions committee will not be willing to make a gamble on you based on a poorly put together application. The best way to combat this issue is to have your application reviewed by highly trained individuals with expert eyes for spotting mistakes, red flag items, and weak areas in your application to ensure that you put forth the best version of yourself.
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3. Maximize your GPA & MCAT score.
Although many medical schools review applicants holistically, your GPA and MCAT score has to be strong to be considered a competitive applicant. For example, students with a 3.0-3.19 GPA who scored greater than a 517 on the MCAT only had a 49% chance of acceptance. However, those with GPAs between 3.40-3.59 and 3.60-3.79 who also scored above 517 on the MCAT have acceptance rates of 70.4% and 80.8% respectively. Those with GPAs greater than 3.79 who also scored above 517 on the MCAT had acceptance rates of 87.8%. While you can still get into medical school with a low GPA, these stats indicate the connection between GPA and MCAT scores and speak to their importance in the selection process. It's important to note that even those with near-perfect stats are still being rejected. In fact, 12.2% of applicants in the highest score categories for GPA and MCAT were rejected, which tells us that while grades and MCAT scores are important, they are not the only consideration for acceptance. By using our medical school chance predictor, you can determine how competitive you are as an applicant at different medical schools but don't forget to round yourself off by participating in various extracurriculars for medical school.
4. Target schools appropriately.
Many students are rejected because they applied to the wrong medical schools. So, what are the right schools? Those that are best suited for your skillset, interests and statistics and where you've taken all necessary medical school prerequisites.
Most schools have minimum accepted GPA and MCAT scores posted on their websites under admission requirements or class profile sections. If you do not meet the minimum requirements at a school, don't apply. If you're struggling to locate this information, you can find the average accepted GPA and MCAT score at each school on the MSAR website. This information is essential because you should be applying to medical schools where you'll be considered a competitive applicant. For example, if the average accepted GPA at a medical school is 3.7, and you have a 3.1 GPA, your chances of getting into medical school at this particular school will not be very good. Many students ask us “how many medical schools should I apply to?” however, it's important to determine which schools are suitable to apply to which means that applying randomly to as many schools as possible is not a good strategy. Other than your academic statistics, you should make sure that you apply to medical schools that align with your short and long term career goals. This is when it becomes essential to review a school's mission statement and values. For example, if you're hoping to work in a rural setting helping underserved populations, be sure to look for schools that also value and believe in better care for these communities. Similarly, it's important to check a school's requirements when it comes to in-state vs out of state applicants. If you're applying as an out of state applicant, some medical schools only accept a handful of out of state applicants making the competition fierce and your chances of getting into medical school low. There are even medical schools that don't accept any out of state applicants and if you applied randomly without knowing this, of course, it will be a wasted application that could have been better directed to a suitable school. Instead, make sure that you apply to out of state friendly medical schools to avoid this issue.
5. Apply early.
This is something that I can't stress enough. Many medical schools employ rolling admissions, meaning that applicants are reviewed in the order that their application is received. As more time goes by, your chances of admission decrease, as suitable applicants are invited for interviews and subsequently offered admission. Sometimes students find themselves on a medical school waitlist simply because, by the time the admissions committee received their application, all of their interview slots were already taken. This is why it's so important to apply to medical schools early on in the admission cycle, ideally at the start to the middle of June. Have a look at our medical school application timelines blog, which will give you more information regarding deadlines that you don't want to miss.
6. Ace your interviews.
You may or may not know that some medical schools decide if an applicant should be offered admission based solely on their interview performance. This is a scary reality, but one that is important to know ahead of time so you can learn how to prepare for your med school interview in advance. There are also a lot of medical schools that require CASPer as a way to assess who should and shouldn't be invited to an in-person interview. Be sure you're aware of CASPer test dates so you can register early and review our blog to learn how to prepare for CASPer so you can master your CASPer test prep. Whether you have a CASPer test, MMI, panel or traditional interview, it's essential to practice with realistic simulations, sample questions, like our medical school interview questions and answers, and receive expert personalized feedback from a qualified medical school advisor. For example, BeMo's CASPer and MMI prep programs have been proven to increase applicant's scores by 23% and 27% respectively.
To your success,
Your Friends at BeMo
BeMo Academic Consulting