Tips for getting accepted to medical school
Out of the 34,859 applications submitted in 2001, only 17,456 were accepted. That means 17,403 rejections. Click here for more statistical data .
Getting in into a medical school is not easy. However, if you do extremely well academically: that is, if you get (1) high GPA, (2) obscenely high MCATs, (3) write an impressive personal statement and (4) get research experience (5) do volunteer work at a hospital, and (6) do well on the interview, your admission to medical school is virtually guaranteed if in addition to that you (a) have good recommendations, (b) have done community service, (c) have an uncle who is the chair of an admissions committee.
Of course, even if it seems that everyone but you fits that profile you're not alone. In fact no one manage to do all these tasks with success since you can't fit all of that in a 24-hour day. The truth is that no one on the admissions committee really expects you to do all of that. Doing some of the things well is good enough.
The secret to success is to control the variables that you can control. Success depends on setting the right goals and priorities and relentlessly following the path to success. Your desire should be to make an ‘A’ in every course you take. I know it’s tough to keep an ‘A’ average across the board, but you must put forth the effort. Keep in mind that other aspiring physicians know how competitive it will be so they are doing everything they can to make all A’s. These are the types of individuals you will be competing against when you apply to medical school.
Most schools will first look at your numbers: GPA and MCAT scores. Each school gives different weight to GPA and MCAT scores--some think GPA is more important others give more value to MCAT. The bottom line is that if these do not meet the schools minimum requirements, which vary from school to school, your application will not be seen by a human being. At this point
it does not matter how many awards you have listed on it or how much community service you participated in. If you application does not pass through GPA/MCAT sift, no one will know of your other accomplishments. To get a foot in the door, you need to maximize your GPA and MCAT scores.
Try not to waste your time by doing things twice that should only be done once. MCAT is a tough exam, no doubt about it. In my humble opinion, the secret to success is more obvious than one might expect: Doing well in pre-med classes. Most of questions on MCAT Organic and Inorganic Chemistry & Physics sections could be answered with the knowledge of the required premed courses: Intro to Chemistry and Intro to Physics as well as one-year long organic chemistry course. If you make some sacrifices and do well in those classes you will not only have good Science GPA (which is very important) but you will likely do well on the MCAT!
You should get the MCAT Manual. which lists all the topics covered on MCAT well before you plan to take MCAT. In fact, if you're a sophomore you should have it by now. Note all the topics that you did not cover in your classes and study them on your own or with a tutor, or take classes where you will learn this information. You will probably find that the pre-med biology class you took covers only a minute portion of the biology content tested on MCAT. I highly recommend that you take several practice tests before you sit for the actual MCAT. It is essential that you get accustomed to answering the types of questions that you will encounter on the exam. You can get copies of practice tests from AAMC. A large number of applicants also take expensive review courses (i.e. Princeton Review or Kaplan ) to prepare them for the MCAT. It’s a good idea to take one of these courses if you can afford it. There are also free summer enrichment programs that are designed to help you prepare for the MCAT.