Medical School Admissions
The medical school admissions process is a long and
difficult process. But, it is worth it in the end! Several months
after submitting your application, you'll be smiling with your
acceptance letter just like this guy!
This page will help you do two
1. Understand what the admissions
committee is looking for.
2. Understand the medical school admissions
This page provides a basic overview and will help you
get started on these two essential tasks for acceptance to medical
school. You'll find full details in my eBook!
Some of the information will vary from school to
school, but the the principles can be applied to any school.
The 8 Things Medical Schools
During my time on the UCLA medical school admissions committee,
I learned that there are eight main categories that medical schools
use to evaluate you for medical school entry. You'll find five of these medical school admissions categories here. The rest you can find in my eBook!
Having an activity in each of these areas is not
really enough. You'll need to follow three keys to have your
activities stand out on your AMCAS application. Learn about the 3 Keys to Your Activities in my
eBook! You'll also find examples of what are strong and
weak in each of these categories in my eBook.
1. Academic Achievement
This means MCAT and GPA. No
question, these will be a big part of how your application looks.
Medical schools want to know that you can handle the extreme amount
of material you will need to learn to be a good physician. However,
they certainly do not mean everything. Work
hard and do well in your school classes, particularly your science
classes, and study hard for the MCAT. You can find my tips for the
here. You can also see my reviews
of the many MCAT prep courses here. If your scores are lower
than you had hoped, you might want to check out Caribbean
medical schools. Getting into medical school in these schools is
a little easier than medical school acceptance to most U.S.
schools as far as academics go.
The Rule of 4’s
Although MCAT and GPA don’t
mean everything, you do need to be “in the
ballpark” of the
schools you are applying to. In my research and experience, I’ve
found a “Rule of 4’s” that stands true for most medical
schools. This rule can help save you time, money and
aggravation and can help you avoid being screened out by the
computer. Learn about this rule in my eBook!
The way around the
The very first part of the medical school admissions process
is done by a computer. Applications are screened based on MCAT and
GPA. If your scores are above the school's cutoff, you will receive
a secondary application and your application will then be reviewed
by someone on the medical school admissions committee. There is a way to
bypass the computer and get your application viewed by a
real person even with a low MCAT and GPA. Learn more about this
in my eBook!
Another aspect of
academic performance is your course load. For example, if you took
your science classes one at a time over 10 years and got all A's,
that's not as impressive as you taking 30 credits of science classes
in one semester and getting all A's. We as the medical school
admissions committee are trying to figure out if you've prepared
yourself for the difficult curriculum of medical school.
Medical schools look at this to make
sure that you can handle the medical school curriculum. Research has shown that a score
of a 24 (8 on each section) on the MCAT is enough to handle the
curriculum. You’ll learn how to get your application looked at
by top schools even with a 24 in my eBook.
However, most schools will be looking for MCAT scores in the 30s to
consider you a competitive applicant. You can view the
average MCAT and GPA for the Top 100 Medical Schools
2. Community Service
This medical school admissions category is relatively
straightforward. We want to know whether you have spent time serving
others. This could be in many different capacities. You might have
worked in an AIDS clinic, volunteered at a school, cleaned up a
local beach, tutored, served in Big Brothers/Big Sisters, etc. I put
my involvement in my church in this
Most people applying for medical school acceptance will
have done community service. But, by using the Three
Keys found in my eBook, yours will stand
You are demonstrating and
developing character traits important to medicine. Those include
compassion, service and humanism among others. Make sure you're
doing it for those reasons and that you make those reasons stand out
on your personal
statement and your application.
Remember that the purpose in all of these activities is to
become the type of person that will be a great
doctor. Community service should help you become
more compassionate. That's what medical school admissions committees are really looking for.
This medical school admissions category lets us
know that you understand what you're getting into. There are many
cons to medical school, which I address in my eBook.
You should be familiar with those as a result of your clinical
experience. And despite the cons, you should still want to be a
We want to know that you have worked with people who
are sick, that you have seen what doctors do, and you still want to
be a doctor. The same three keys apply here as to other
that count for clinical experience involve either:
2. Working directly with
It doesn't particularly matter what kind of doctor
you shadowed. Maybe your parent was a doctor. That counts too. The
more doctors you shadow the better. It's a good idea to shadow
doctors that do what you think you might do as a doctor. Pick a few
doctors to shadow and spend a good amount of time with them. They
may be able to write you a solid letter of recommendation. These
letters are particularly useful because they'll be able to comment on how you interact with
Now for working directly with patients.
I stress the word directly for a reason. We want to see that you
have interacted with people who are sick. So, sitting at a desk at a
hospital doesn't count as contact with patients. Neither does managing hospital
volunteers. If you worked in an AIDS clinic and spoke with patients,
helped with questionnaires for clinical research or spent time
reading to children with cancer, those count. If you took vital
signs at histories at health fairs, that’s even better. You need to
be talking with patients for this to really be clinical experience.
You’ll really need to emphasize your work with patients in your
application. I discuss how to do this in my eBook.
Again, most premed students will have some clinical
experience on their application. In my eBook
you'll get examples of what are strong and weak clinical experience
activities, as well as the three keys to make your
activities stand out.
What you are
trying to become through this is a person who understands
what being a doctor is really about. Hopefully you're also gaining a
love for working with patients, since that is probably what you'll
be doing for the rest of your life.
schools are very interested in research. Research in large part is
how medical schools get money, either from the government or from
patents produced from research. So, if you are interested in
research, you will want to stress that in your
particularly at schools with a stronger research focus. If you are
really interested in research, you can even have your medical
school and PhD paid for through the MSTP (Medical Scientist
Training Program). This program covers all your tuition costs
and pays you a stipend each month.
Not a bad deal! For more information about this program,
However, even if you're not that interested in
research, you should still probably do some. It's something
that all medical schools will look at and part of the formula
for getting into medical school. If you don't do research, you'll
definitely have to make up for that in others of the 8
categories. Go to your premed office at your school and see
what research options are available. If you don't have a premed
office at your school, check with the different science departments
at your school (biology, chemistry, biochemistry, etc.) to find a
research opportunity. Choose something you're interested in.
When it comes to research, get something published.
Remember that the main purpose of research is to find an answer to a
question and then share that with the rest of the world. The way you
do that is through publication. Getting your name on a publication
makes a big difference in how schools look at you. Find a research
mentor that will help you get published. Let them know right at
first that you want to get your name on a publication. It will be
more work for you, but will definitely help you in your medical
Again, the same principles apply as to the
other sections. Explain exactly what you did in AMCAS, do it for a
long time, and be a leader. And one more thing. Get published!
Poster presentations are ok too, but not as impressive.
Research is a big part of medicine and maybe the
biggest part of "academic medicine" (what faculty at major schools
like UCLA do). You should have an understanding of what research is,
how it's done, and what it takes to publish. Make that stand out in
your application. For
my application editing services, click here.
This is your chance to show some
personality. The other medical school admissions categories are
things that everyone will be doing. Your job there is to do them
better than the other applicants (which you'll learn how
to do in my eBook!).
Hobbies and skills give us an idea of what's unique about you. These
are things that will stick out in the minds of the medical school admissions
committee and may very well give you an advantage in your interview.
For example, if you enjoy skiing and your interviewer does as well,
you have an instant bond with that interviewer. The importance of this quick
connection is huge. For that reason, it’s not a bad idea to put
some of the things you enjoy in your application somewhere. Whether
that’s in your actual AMCAS application, personal statement, or
secondary essays is up to you. For help with this, you can use my editing
Unique things are good here. I put "being
a husband and father" in this section. It caught the attention of
the dean of our school (in a good way). I remember one of the
applicants played the harp. This is your chance to tell us a little
bit about you and your personality and interests. It's the human
part of the application.
Be honest with these. People
have asked me to interview in Spanish because I put Spanish as a
skill I had. Luckily I was telling the truth! Another reason to be
honest here is to avoid looking like an idiot. Let's say, for
example, that you wrote that you like to ski on your application.
Your interviewer is an avid skier, sees this, and starts asking you
questions about your skiing adventures. You will look really dumb
when you say you went down the bunny hill twice the one time you
Hobbies give the medical school admissions
committee an idea of who you are as a person. We also want to know
that you spent at least a little time doing things that
you enjoyed. You'll need to be able to continue that during medical
school and throughout your career to keep yourself
You need to know all the
areas so you can really stand out and get your dream of medical
If you are competitive in these eight areas,
medical schools will be fighting over you. My
will help you understand how to be competitive in
What if you're not great in all of
Check out my eBook to
understand how each category is weighed and whether one weak point
will sink your chances of medical school acceptance.
Put a former UCLA medical
school admissions committee member on your side!
During my time
on the UCLA medical school admissions committee, I learned
exactly what it takes to get into a top medical
school. I've compiled that information into my
Here you'll find essential and
easy-to-understand information about applying to medical school.
You'll learn the exact categories medical schools look at and how to
stand out in each. You'll also learn the relative importance of
those different categories. Most importantly, you'll be able to see
things from the insider perspective of a medical
school admissions committee member.
Click here to find out
I also offer personal statement and
AMCAS editing, available
Now that you're
understanding what it takes to get into medical school, there are a
few other things you need to do and understand to guarantee your
medical school acceptance.
Before you even
think about admission to medical school, you'd better make sure
that you have met your specific school's medical school
requirements. Most schools have similar requirements, but make
sure to check with your
best medical schools
that you are applying to to be sure. Getting into medical school
starts with getting the medical school prerequisites right! Click
here to learn more about the
Understand who is on the
medical school admissions committee
medical students, physicians who work at the school and PhD's who
work at the school
who is the gate to your medical school entry is extremely
important. If there is any way for you to find out who will be
interviewing you before your interview, do it! Knowing about your
interviewer could make the difference between getting into medical
school and no medical school admission!
If you can get your interviewer's information
previous to your interview, do a search for them on
PubMed, not Google. Understand what your interviewer does for
his or her research. When you show genuine interest in your
interviewer, your chance of medical school acceptance and medical
school entry goes up dramatically!
Learn more about winning people over in my
Who screens the initial applications from AMCAS (or TMDSAS or
This is your
chance to stand out and show who you really are to the medical
school admissions committee. Remember, as always, to keep in mind
what they want to see. They want someone interesting who has
learned important traits that will help them be a good doctor.
This is very important and will be covered
here. Apply the same
principles to your descriptions of activities and other essays
This will vary by school, but generally you will
have one or two interviewers. Sometimes one of the interviewers
will be a student. The medical school interview could be
the most important part of the decision to extend an offer to you
Let me repeat
that. Getting into medical school can depend largely on your
interview! Who gets medical school entry and who doesn't will
depend largely on how your interview goes.
think from the interviewer's perspective. Is this a person who I
would like to work with? Someone that can add value to my school?
Someone that will be a good doctor?
Some schools are moving from "traditional"
one-on-one interviews to Multiple Mini Interviews (aka "speed
dating"). To learn about these and how to excel,
check out my eBook!
What happens after the interview?
Get full details
in my eBook! You
can also get my free report, A Look Inside the 12 Step
Admissions Process, by signing up for my free
Getting Professional Help
As you can see, the
medical school admissions process is very involved. You may benefit
from having someone with experience coach you through this long and
Some students find it useful to employ a service to
help them with getting into medical school. For
more competitive schools, I would highly recommend
coaching. There are many companies that will help you
with this, but my recommendation is MedSchoolCoach.
MedSchoolCoach is run by doctors with
experience on admissions committees. This makes a big
difference as many companies are run by business people or others
without this essential experience. They also have an
excellent track record, placing 100% of
students in an MD or DO program and 85% in an MD program for
those who sign up for their gold
package. They also offer help with personal statements , interviews and help on choosing which
schools to apply to. They are the company I recommend.
I also like them because their prices are very
affordable compared to other companies you could choose. Also, click here for current discounts from MedSchoolCoach. Remember, about 60% of applicants are not accepted to any medical school! Don't be one of the 60%! The cost of reapplying could easily be as much as getting help the first time around to help you get accepted. You can also specifically request that I work with you on your application if you wish. I served on the UCLA admissions and work particularly with essays, AMCAS applications, general advising, and have experience with California and Texas schools. I'd be happy to help you get into the school of your choice! Click here to visit MedSchoolCoach
The medical school
admissions process is made up of two main parts: your
medical school application and your medical school
interviews. Your application
will get you to the interview and will help you stand out to the
admissions committee. This works a little differently in the MMI,
but you need to do well on both to get accepted. Lear more
about this in my
Remember throughout the admissions process to think from the
perspective of the admissions committee. They want a smart, well-rounded, interesting applicant
who works hard, has experience in medicine and research, and
gets along well with people. Show that through your application
and interview and you will see yourself as a doctor one day!
Find out how to do all this in my
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