The DoctorPremed Blog

The hardest part of medical school is getting in. Let me show you how to successfully get into medical school so that you actually become a DOCTOR!

What No One Ever Tells You About Getting Into Medical School, Even If You Have Great Stats

applying to medical school medical school acceptance premed May 28, 2020

“I have a 3.95 GPA from undergrad and aced my MCAT scoring in the 99th percentile. I’m frustrated right now because I’m struggling with the medical school application process and it does not look like I’m going to get in anywhere this year. I thought the GPA and MCAT was the decisive ticket to medical school.”

Do you feel there must be more to getting into medical school beyond a top MCAT score and high GPA?

Today is the day you’ve been waiting for, even if you never even realized that you need what I’m about to share with you.

The goal is very simple: get into medical school and become a doctor!

Premeds live for the day they can have the M.D. behind their name. And let’s not forget about how proud Mom and Dad will be because of your impressive feat.

I’m going to give you the truth on what it actually takes to successfully get into medical school. This is the exclusive, insider information that no one openly talks about.

Heck, when there’s a 60% REJECTION rate of first time applicants to medical school, then you must follow a different path or you’re going to end up like many of your classmates applying to a Special Master’s Program (SMP) throwing away $50k in tuition and wasting at least 1 year of your life all with the hopes that you will boost your chances of getting into medical school.

Imagine, going down this path without any guarantees that you’ll ultimately be rewarded with a white coat and stethoscope and despite your best efforts you still don’t get admitted.

Ouch, that is really going to hurt.

Okay, let’s jump right into things and pull back the curtain on how medical schools actually decide who is getting into medical school and who gets denied.

Seriously, How Important Is the MCAT and GPA for Getting Into Medical School?

Your MCAT and GPA absolutely matters.

If anyone tells you otherwise they are lying and do not have your best interest.

What you need to know is that there are more qualified applicants than seats available in a first year medical school class.

A medical school is going to receive over 10,000 applications for only 150 spots.

Meaning they need a fast and efficient way to narrow down the applicant pool for deciding who is getting into medical school.

The easiest way is to screen medical school applicants based on your MCAT score and GPA. 

A computer is going to be programmed to have a minimum MCAT score and GPA, where if you do not meet these minimums your application is automatically tossed aside. This is before a human ever reads or has contact with your application.

Meaning all your extracurriculars, letters of recommendation and personal statement that you thought you could use to boost your chances if your stats weren’t competitive enough go out the window.

That’s why you can never bank on an AdCom looking favorably on your application despite your low stats.

Let’s run some more numbers.

Out of the 10,000 applications received only 1,000 applicants will be invited for a medical school interview, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Your MCAT score and GPA serves one purpose… to get your foot in the door.

Once, in the real work begins.

Everyone Has Similar Stats, What Do You Bring To The Table?

Here’s where you’re going to be thrown for a loop.

Thousands of students are perplexed over the fact that they have stellar numbers, top MCAT score, and extremely competitive GPA but they are not doing well in the medical school application process.

These students have only met the first hurdle of getting into medical school.

They are the ones who are in for a rude awakening.

I’m sure you’re aware of the applicant who said, “I have stats that are better than the medical school’s average, but I just don’t know why I didn’t get into any medical schools.”

What’s actually going on here?

This applicant has the numbers but now it’s time to raise the stakes and you have to compete with everyone else who has just as competitive stats or better. 

It is entirely possible that your stats make you a “diamond in the rough” premed student where you do not stand out against the competition.

However, this won’t happen to you because I’m going to make you aware of what you need to do to avoid the heartache of a medical school rejection.

For starters, I want to make this very clear and drill this into your brain.

Medical school admissions is a very unforgiving process and there is no room for error.

In actual reality, AdComs are looking for a reason to say no to your application. The numbers bear this out because they have 10,000 applications and maybe 50% of those will be screened out by the computers. At this point, you’ve made it past the cutoff and now a human being is going to manually review your application.

Personal Statement, Letters of Recommendation & Extracurriculars Oh My

The key to practically guaranteeing getting into medical school comes down to these three things after you have earned a top MCAT score and GPA:

  • Personal Statement
  • Letter of Recommendation
  • Extracurriculars

If you master these three points there is no reason why you cannot get into medical school and become a doctor.

You have to be strategic with how you compose your medical school essay.

The goal with the personal statement is to share more about yourself. You want to share facts and tidbits about you that cannot be found anywhere else in your medical school application.

The ultimate goal with your personal statement is to make such an overwhelming impression on your reader that their only thought is to want to meet you in person where they offer you a medical school interview invite.

Remember you need the interview invite in order to get into medical school. If you can’t make a strong case for yourself then you will not become a doctor.

Choose Your Letter of Recommendation Writer Wisely

Of course you need persons in positions of authority to vouch for you and this is done through your letters of recommendation.

Do not wait until the year you are applying to medical school to seek your letters otherwise your writer will give you an uninspiring letter that will actually hurt your chances of getting into medical school.

You need to pick someone who knows you very well, is a strong writer and has the time to write you a personalized letter of recommendation for getting into medical school. 

The letter of recommendation is important because up to this point everything in your medical school application is conveyed by you whereas the recommendation letter allows for an outside perspective of your fitness for a career in medicine. 

I hate to say this but many applicants give themselves more credit then they deserve and the letter of recommendation allows for AdComs to have a more accurate picture of who you are as a person and how you compare to your peers.

As they say, “choose your friends wisely,” well you must choose your letter writers wisely too.

Extracurriculars Position Yourself As the Must Admit Applicant

Students always ask, “Do I really need 15 activities on my medical school application?

I’ll share what the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has to say about that, “You don’t need all 15 activities on your application, but the students we admit have all 15 extracurriculars.

In short, you need all extracurriculars otherwise you are going to come across as lazy and not as gungho about getting into medical school compared to your classmates.

Remember boys and girls, AdComs are looking for reasons to say no so if you don’t have every box checked then it is going to be very easy for medical schools to toss your application.

Great, now you’re thinking I will certainly go ahead and make sure I have 15 extracurriculars on my medical school application but I caution you.

Getting your extracurriculars is only half the battle.

Are you ready to unlock your golden ticket to a medical school acceptance?

Some applicants may be aware of the need to have 15 extracurricular activities but it does not explain the discrepancy of how you could have a top MCAT score and competitive GPA and still come up short on your quest of actually getting into medical school.

Here’s what you need to do with your extracurriculars.

You cannot go and just randomly pick your activities without any thought or rhyme of how it will affect your overall candidacy for medical school.

Oftentimes this makes some sense for applicants where they will ensure they participate in activities covering the areas of:

  • Clinical experience
  • Research
  • Volunteering

Clearly, this is a good start but it is not enough.

You want to be so clear and so obvious in what you bring to a medical school when you choose your extracurricular activities.

If you are able to do this to the point where AdComs know exactly how you will fit into their incoming class then your stock rises so fast and getting into medical school becomes the least of your worries. 

The overall goal of your extracurriculars is to paint a comprehensive picture of what you bring to the table.

Do This With Your Extracurriculars And Watch The Acceptances Pile Up

Let me give you an example of having a cohesive theme to your medical school application with your extracurriculars that will guarantee your medical school acceptance.

Here comes premed Johnny. 

John is a scholarship athlete in college. 

John’s time is very limited because during the season he has practice, workouts and film study sessions. 

However, John wants to become a doctor, he specifically wants to become an orthopedic surgeon.

When it’s the off-season John works with the athletic training staff at school getting more first hand experience. He also shadows the team orthopedic surgeon.

John wants to give back so he also coaches a middle school youth sports team.

Research is important too so John works with the biomechanical engineering department helping to come up with new prosthetic devices. He might not get published from his research but it certainly is a very gratifying experience for him regardless.

What do you think is going to happen when John applies to medical school?

He will have the stats but his extracurriculars will set him apart from everyone else applying. 

John ticked off all the boxes of clinical, research, and volunteering but it wasn’t just will-nilly activities scattered everywhere, instead it was all focused on certain areas of sports and medicine. 

As an AdCom, John just made my life super easy and will be getting into medical school.

I know exactly what John will bring to the table at my medical school so that it becomes a no-brainer to say yes to his application. John will be the medical student who organizes intramural sports, runs the orthopedic research group and brings innovation to sports medicine therapies.

John is going to have a very bright career ahead of himself all because he took the time to clearly define what he wanted out of life and it started with knowing himself and then picking activities that supported his long term goals.

If you want to get into medical school be like John.

You certainly want to have a top MCAT score and competitive GPA but you can use your extracurriculars to distinguish yourself from everyone else applying with just as good or even better stats.

This explains why students who only focus on their stats can run into trouble during the medical school application process.

They are only seeing their application through their own set of eyes and not the big picture of AdComs who see thousands of applications each year and are working to build a diverse incoming medical school class.

When you start looking at admissions from this perspective along with being strategic with your:

  • Personal Statement
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Extracurriculars

You will nearly be guaranteed a medical school acceptance.  

This also explains why some students who on paper aren’t as competitive can get admitted to medical school. It’s because they know how to position themselves similar to Johnny where AdComs have to say yes to their application.

You’ve seen just one example of extracurriculars being designed to give you a positively unfair advantage over the competition and this is only the tip of the iceberg.

I encourage you to contact me to learn more about getting into medical school and how I can help you turn those medical school dreams into reality.

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