It’s no secret that medical schools, especially those in the U.S., are selective when it comes to deciding which applicants will be on campus in the fall. Although some schools are more competitive than others, like the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, which has an acceptance rate that barely passes 2%, there are steps you can take to increase your odds of getting accepted.
In this post, we outline a few of the most critical components of your application. Some of the items include hard work and planning during the undergraduate portion of your education. For this reason, there is no time like the present to set yourself on the path to success and become a U.S. physician!
Earn a High GPA
You’ll need all the A’s you can get during your undergraduate education to get into medical school. Most medical schools do not even consider applications that show GPAs of less than 3.5. While this figure does leave applicants room for a few B’s, the closer you get to that perfect 4.0, the higher your chances of getting into a program. In 2019, U.S. medical schools reported the average GPA for accepted applicants was 3.75.
Making these marks might not be easy but, if you prioritize your studies and understand that there will be related tradeoffs, you’ll find yourself donning a white coat in no time.
Ace the MCAT
Like your GPA, the higher the MCAT score the better! MCAT scores can range from 472 to 528. The average MCAT score of those accepted into medical school has remained at around 510 for the last few years. Depending on the school you apply to, you may need a much higher score to be considered a serious applicant. Knowing this, it is essential to prepare for the exam properly. For individuals pursuing an undergraduate education in the sciences, 3-6 months of preparation is generally sufficient.
Medical schools want to know those they accept are interested in pursuing medicine in the long run. Because working in the healthcare system can be demanding, there is the likelihood that a good portion of medical students do not finish their education, deciding the field and lifestyle are not what they had in mind when enrolling. Showing that you have the experience, be it volunteering, aiding in research, or participating in clinical experiences, can demonstrate to schools that you are ready to commit to medicine.
How much experience is enough? Although the number can vary, medical school admissions recommend at least 50 hours of clinical experience. To get started on this recommendation, create a free AMO account and explore pre-med clinical experiences with AMO!
Show Good Character
Based on the emphasis medical schools place on an applicant’s GPA and MCAT scores, how you look on paper is essential. That is not to say that character doesn’t count for something, though. To be a competent physician, you’ll need to have compassion when caring for patients, take responsibility when it comes to managing cases, be motivated to find solutions, and finally have respect for anyone and everyone you come in contact with.
A number cannot represent the virtues outlined above. Although it may be difficult, the best way to show you meet these standards is through your personal statement. Select an anecdote that allows you to touch on each of these skills in one way or another. If you do an excellent job of showing who you are, you might be invited for an interview to elaborate on your character in person.
Applications for medical school are reviewed on a rolling basis, meaning the earlier you submit, the more seats there are available to be filled. Submitting your application earlier can mean less competition and a higher chance of being accepted. If the school is impressed with you, you’ll be notified and given the first pick of interview slots, which is a bonus.
Applying early doesn’t mean you should rush your application, though. If you have to sacrifice the quality of your personal statement or any other component to get it in a day or two earlier, wait. It’s better to create a polished application and send it in by the deadline.
For additional information on applying to medical school in the U.S., click here.