Insider Advice for Applying to Medical School

Here's some of the best advice I have for applying to medical school. You definitely want to review this section carefully because it may make the difference between Yes or No!

Your Numbers and Stats

The standard rule is that your application will never make it to the eyes of a human if you do not have the numbers which a particular medical school requires. 

This is not to say if you are lacking your chances for are over, but there are some standards which will virtually guarantee your success.

Medical schools will acknowledge that an applicant with a MCAT score of 30+ and GPA of 3.5 or better should get an acceptance when applying to medical school barring any glaring deficiencies in other parts of their application.

Academics versus Activities

Admission committees are not as sophisticated as applicants make them out to be. For instance an admission officer for the MD/PhD program stated that it is the combined record of the applicant which matters. 

Medical schools go through a checklist to see if you have volunteered, conducted research, have health care experience, etc. These activities do not have to be completed at the same time.

If your grades are bad concentrate on getting them up and worry about your extracurricular activities later. 

The admission committee will not flag your file and state, "this applicant only studied while in school, and did his activities at a different time." The goal is to have experience in all areas and the timing of them is not as important.

Re-Applicants

If you are a re-applicant to medical school it is very important to find out what went wrong with your application and make dramatic changes before reapplying.

If academics have been a problem for you then my advice would be to enroll in a post baccalaureate program, particularly one where an advanced degree (Master) will be awarded. 

This is important because it shows you are serious about medicine and in the event you decide medicine is not for you, you still have an advanced degree which can enhance your job choices.

Timing Your Application

This is very important: only apply when you are the best candidate for medical school. If you know there is an area of your application which needs improvement, make sure it is taken care of before you apply. 

Getting into medical school is one of the most difficult challenges you will face and you need to do everything in your power to be successful the first time around.

Remember, it is not a race, by taking the time to do things correctly the first time it will save you time, money and stress in the long run.

Get in Touch With the Medical Schools

One of the best things you can do is become informed about the schools you want to apply to.

This means calling/emailing a particular school and getting your questions answered. You want to find out more than what is compiled on a website or in a brochure, it is important to find out the intangibles that mean a lot to you. 

I have learned location, facilities, faculty accessibility, and housing options are some of the most important criteria when making a decision beyond the academic reputation of the institution when applying to medical school.

Medical School Rankings

I have never understood why individuals get so caught up in the medical school rankings when applying to medical school. There is no reason to automatically select or reject a school based on the U.S. News Report.

Medical Schools go through a very rigorous accreditation process and you will find the curriculum is virtually the same between all allopathic institutions.

As a medical student you want to pay more attention to Board scores and placement into residency programs. 

As one physician has stated, "a MD is a MD wherever you go". If you are bent on rankings use them as a guideline and not the sole factor in choosing where to attend because there are a number of subjective criteria which must be considered.

Reach Schools

I am a firm believer in the mantra, "you can't get in if you don't apply." Over the years I have heard many premeds state they will never get into a particular school so what is the use in even applying.

My advice is very simple, if you are truly interested in a school and your credentials are not equal to the averages of a particular medical school, then go ahead and still apply.

Let the admissions office inform you that you did not get in and not yourself. You will be amazed at what individual schools are looking for when it comes to adding diversity to their class profile.

However, when applying to medical schools don't over do it with your reach list (no more than three to five schools).

Your! Comments

Join the conversation! Leave me a comment in the box below.