If you aspire to become a doctor someday, you must realize the fact that the journey would be long and tough. Knowing how to get into medical school is the first step that will guide you on your path ahead.
So in this post, I will be sharing all information, especially quick tips, on how you could make your way to become a successful doctor.
Let’s get right into it!
Is It Really That Hard To Get Into Med School?
I will not sugarcoat anything—getting into med school is hard and costly. You need to prepare for it as early as high school. Admission officers will check your credentials, active participation in extra-curricular activities, community engagement, and leadership roles.
And you will compete with thousands of students who aspire to be a doctor too, so better do your best at everything to build a strong background and make an edge.
But is it really that hard? In the following video, I talk about it and put some context on why you and others may feel this way.
No amount of medical school tips will help you get through if you think med school is impossible. The road to becoming a physician is not a walk in the park but it’s not the most difficult thing in the world either.
Check out this video! And if you enjoy it, make sure to subscribe for weekly content.
Do You Need Straight A’s To Get Into Medical School?
Though higher grades are advantageous, having straight A’s as a requirement for medical school is a misconception. There are several factors that Admissions officers consider in selecting students. One of which is your GPA.
I would admit that students with higher GPAs have higher chances to get in. But if for some reason you are not a straight-A student, do not be discouraged. You could always apply and do well on other components such as the MCAT and interview.
Can An Average Student Get Into Medical School?
Students worry if they have the brains to get into medical school. Yes, an average student can get into medical school.
When we say “average,” we could refer to those students who had passing GPAs, MCAT scores that fall just within the median, and perhaps those with no extraordinary things to tell in terms of their letters of recommendation.
If you are an “average” student yet you have the burning desire to be a doctor, then I advise that you go get that MD!
I know several students who, though not geniuses and may not learn fast, become reliable and competent doctors. As long as you have grit and an intense passion for learning, you will succeed in medical school.
How To Get Into Medical School With A Low GPA
You can definitely enter medical school with a low GPA—grade that falls below the 75th percentile.
But take note: Grades are important components of your application. So as early as today, aim for higher grades as much as possible.
Some medical schools set at least a 3.0 GPA, but this may also vary with your chosen school. As much as possible, if you are still in your first or second year, you still have a chance to work harder to make your grades higher.
What if you are already in your third and fourth year? You must take extra effort to improve your grades.
Assess why you think you have a low GPA. What are your weaknesses? What makes you distracted? What hinders you to do well in school? These are some questions you could ponder to know the root cause of your low grades.
In addition, here’s a video where I provide 6 tips on how to get into medical school with a low MCAT score. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for weekly content! You can also check it out in article format.
How To Get Into Medical School From High School
Here is your journey from high school to med school!
Completing High School
You might not be fully aware but acing high school is one step towards your dream. Your high school grades could be a factor to being admitted to medical school.
Satisfactory grades and active participation in extracurricular activities will give a good impression to the Admissions officers.
Here is the part where you ask a favor from your mentor. In asking for a letter of recommendation, you must choose wisely whom to ask.
Choose a class where you excelled. Preferably, ask your science and non-science professors, a physician, and an extracurricular adviser.
They would provide the admissions officers an idea of who you are as a student and the recent academic achievements that would make you stand out above the rest.
It goes without saying that building good working relationships with your professors and mentors can help you in the long run.
By this time, you should have attained good grades from your pre-med course, aced the MCAT, and created your compelling personal statement. These are heavy-weighted components of your application.
If you are a graduating high school student who is thinking of what pre-med major to take, I suggest you take a science course so you will get familiar with some scientific concepts in med school.
Although students enrolled in either science or nonscience courses are accepted in med schools, it is of prior importance that you enroll in a course that you are interested in.
There are some students who prefer nonscientific courses since they believe that it is their only chance for a different experience outside science.
Most importantly, if you choose your desired course, you have a higher chance of getting a high GPA—a very critical component of the selection criteria.
If you are thinking about how many schools to apply to, you may check out this video. If you like it then hit the subscribe button here for weekly content!
Few days after you submit applications to multiple schools, you will receive an invitation for an interview.
Practice some of the most common medical interview questions such as:
- Tell me about yourself
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- How do you deal with stress?
- What would you do if [insert an ethical dilemma]?
- Why do you want to become a doctor?
If you want to ace your interview, here’s a rundown of the common med school interview questions and how to answer them.
Be professional and smart. Have presence of mind.
Waiting For Admission
This is the part where you are not expected to do anything but is the most stressful of all.
By this time, you have already accomplished all prerequisites for medical admissions. What makes this part stressful is when nervousness eats you up whether your chosen schools will accept you or not.
You may use this time to unwind, breathe some fresh air, and distract yourself from medical school admissions.
Undergraduate Requirements For Medical School
Course Requirements (AAMC)e
- Biology: 1 year
- Lecture: two semesters or three quarters
- Lab: one term
- English: 1 year
- Lecture: two semesters or three quarters
- Chemistry: 2 years
- General chemistry – Lecture: one semester or two quarters, Lab: one term
- Organic chemistry – Lecture: two semesters or two quarters, Lab: one term
- Biochemistry – Lecture: one term, Lab: not required
- Lecture: two semesters or three quarters
- Lab: one term
- Lecture: two semesters or three quarters
- Clinical experiences
Since doctors are health frontliners fulfilling roles are to treat patients, clinical experience is the most important extracurricular activity that will give your application an edge.
Students who had experience with direct patient care have higher chances to be accepted.
- Research experiences
Engagement in research work has been a trending competency in both the academic and clinical world. Medical schools prefer students who have excellent skills in the field of research and development.
- Volunteer experiences
Participating in volunteer programs provides an impression that you have a heart for service.
Medical schools look for compassionate and altruistic doctors who are willing to serve others especially the less fortunate.
Letters Of Recommendations
Build good relationships and emphasize your best assets.
Write a compelling personal statement about your burning passion to be a doctor. Tell your story of inspiration and how you opt to use your profession to help others.
Though some medical schools use only primary applications as bases for screening, secondary applications may still depend on your chosen med school. They may require you to complete an essay.
Competitive MCAT Score
Aim for at least a 508. The higher your MCAT score, the more chances you’ll be considered. In 2019-2020, the average MCAT score among matriculants is 511.5.
Medical School Interview
For an in-depth discussion on how to answer 25 of the most common med school interview questions, check out this blog post.
List Of Medical Schools Without Prerequisites
1. California University of Science and Medicine – School of Medicine (CUSM-SOM)
They recommend courses to successful matriculants that they think will help them keep up the curriculum and prepare for medicine courses.
2. David Geffen School Of Medicine of UCLA
They suggest college-level coursework that will help students to be competent in science, humanities, and mathematics.
3. Keck School Of Medicine Of The University Of Southern California
Though all applicants can stand out in their chosen field, they are expected to possess competencies in sciences.
4. Stanford University School Of Medicine
They do not have specific course requirements but they expect that students need to prepare themselves for the demands of med school.
5. University Of California San Diego School Of Medicine
They will only recommend coursework that would be helpful for your application.
6. George Washington University School Of Medicine And Health Sciences
They have competency-based recommendations that encompass strong academic performance, MCAT scores, and letters of recommendation.
7. Carle Illinois College Of Medicine
Aside from strong backgrounds in biology, chemistry/ biochemistry, mathematics/statistics, physics, and social sciences, they also prefer students with experience in computer programming and languages, coding, modeling, and/or data sciences.
8. Rush Medical College
Quality over quantity—this college puts emphasis on mastery of courses rather than the number of units gained. They prefer students who have a strong foundation in biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, and social and behavioral sciences.
9. Southern Illinois University School Of Medicine
They do not require any course prerequisites but recommend courses needed to prepare for MCAT.
10. University of Chicago Pritzker School Of Medicine
A number of courses do not matter more than the mastery of the courses. They even call students to pursue fields they were passionate about. They encourage students to gain exposure to psychology, sociology, anthropology,
philosophy, ethics, and economics are particularly encouraged.
Getting Into Medical School Tips: How To Make Your Medical School Application Stand Out
Increase your chances to get into med school by following these 3 tips!
If you prefer the video format, here it is:
Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel to be notified about weekly content!
Tip #1: Submit Your Application Early
I can’t stress this enough!
Most of you guys have probably heard this tip but I want to make sure you understand why.
Most applications for United States med schools go around the end of April or early May. Meanwhile, Texas medical schools have a totally different application which also opens up at the start of May.
You want to try your best to submit your application the day it opens or within the first week.
The reason is; students will try to wait until July or August when they feel like their scores are all back or their essays are perfect.
But then, you’re compared to a larger batch of applicants.
Med schools will start to get a lot of applicants on day one and even more towards the end of the cycle which is closer to August, September, or October.
You want to be compared to a lesser pool because then the people looking at your application, you can say, “Oh, this is a pretty good student.”
But as they start to get saturated with more and more students that look exactly like you, it’s going to take a bigger threshold for them to put you through the interview.
You don’t want to make it harder on yourself to get an interview just because you submitted your application later.
As best as you can, make sure you start working on your application as early as possible. Get your personal statements started!
The prompts are almost always the same, so Google what the prompts were the year before and start writing those essays. By then you should have already drafted it and is ready to hit submit.
That same goes for things like your letters of recommendation. Tell your professors that the deadline is two weeks before you need them.
That gives you enough time to bother them for two weeks if they’re late and they’ll still be on time. But make sure you submit your applications early.
Tip #2: Keep A Running List Of Your Experiences And Takeaways
One of the biggest deterrents of people getting into med tools is that you sound like just like every other premed in the room.
To avoid doing it, you want to make sure that your personal experiences are ‘personal’.
Keep a list of all the experiences that you’ve been a part of and what your big takeaway was. Take a second, talk out loud, and ask yourself “What did I gain from it?”.
You may have volunteered at the same hospital, but somebody else did too. But surely, your takeaways and experiences were totally different.
So, think about them. Keep a running list. You can use these on your personal statement, essays, and your interview.
By doing this, you’re going to feel like somebody who clearly understands and is self-aware.
This is sometimes not a quality we find amongst med school applicants because we’re all typically the same on papers.
Again, try to keep a running list of your experiences. You can use these later in life as well as during the interview process.
Tip #3: Focus On Developing Your Angle
Your angle is a way to help the person who’s interviewing you, or who’s looking at your application to find something in you that’s unique– something that no one else has.
I think all of us have it, but we tend to go with what we think the admission board wants to hear.
We’re all bio majors, we all love science or anatomy, and we all love taking care of people and helping people. Those probably define almost everybody that reads this post.
What makes you different?
Find out how parts of your background, hobbies, or paths in medicine are different from your classmates who would also want to do the same thing.
You have to work on developing it if you don’t know what it is. But once you have it, try to structure that into your personal statements, essays, or experiences.
Have your letters of recommendation writers include it.
Maybe you’re an athlete, a journalist, or a great researcher. Whatever background is, you have to find that angle and build your other experiences around that.
Again, the last tip is to think about your experiences and your takeaways and find some common core or cores that are different or unique.
You want to be memorable during the interview process and definitely during the application process.
Invest some time to figure out what your angle is or what makes you unique. Once you figure out what your angle is, you can then structure your application, essays, or interviews all around it.
By doing so, you’re sure that when you walk out of the room that person can definitely remember who you are!
Those tips are really powerful and you can use them to immediately increase your chances of getting in a medical school.
FAQs On How To Get Into Med School
Here are other frequently asked questions about med school application:
What GPA Do You Need For Med School?
There is no GPA requirement. However, GPA “expectations” vary for each school.
To be safe, you need to make it high because you will be competing with thousands of aspiring students.
In 2019-2020, the average GPA of matriculants was 3.73. A grade lower than the average might give you a difficult time to get into medical school. So, keep your grades higher than 3.73 as much as possible.
How Many Years Does It Take To Get Into Medical School?
In the US, after finishing four years of your undergraduate program, you could get into medical school once your application is accepted. But if you are also wondering how many years for you to become a doctor, it would take 11 to 15 years in the US.
This includes 4 years of an undergraduate program, 4 years of medical school, and 3-7 years of residency.
How Many Tries To Get Into Med School?
Majority of medical schools do not impose any restrictions on the number of tries you could to get into med school.
However, there are also some schools that allow only two attempts. If a students fails to get in on the third attempt, it is highly likely that the student will not get accepted. So, it would be 100% better to aim that you give your best on your first try.
Here is a video where I share some tips if you don’t get in on your first try.
What Are The Hardest Medical Schools To Get Into?
Here are some of the tough medical schools to get into based on their acceptance rates. This is based on the US News 2021 report. Low acceptance rates mean that they are highly meticulous in choosing only the cream of the crop.
- Florida State University
- Total applicants: 7,148
- Total applicants accepted: 149
- Acceptance rate: 2.1%
- US News Research Rank: 93-123
- US News Primary Care Rank: 79
- New York University (Grossman)
- Total applicants: 9,243
- Total applicants accepted: 205
- Acceptance rate: 2.2%
- US News Research Rank: 2
- US News Primary Care Rank: 41
- Stanford University
- Total applicants: 6,800
- Total applicants accepted: 155
- Acceptance rate: 2.3%
- US News Research Rank: 4
- US News Primary Care Rank: null
- University of Arizona-Tucson
- Total applicants: 9,563
- Total applicants accepted: 216
- Acceptance rate: 2.3%
- US News Research Rank: 70
- US News Primary Care Rank: 58
- Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
- Total applicants: 4,299
- Total applicants accepted: 100
- Acceptance rate: 2.3%
- US News Research Rank: 83
- US News Primary Care Rank: 93-123
What Are The Easiest Medical Schools To Get Into?
All of the following medical schools offer excellent medical programs. They are considered as easy because they tend to accept several applicants.
- University of Mississippi Medical Center
- Acceptance: 41%
- Minimum GPA: 2.8
- Average MCAT score: 504
- Tuition Rate: $26,949 IS / $62,881
- University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine
- Acceptance Rate: 20%
- Minimum GPA: 3.0 (Ave 3.56)
- Average MCAT score: 505
- Tuition Rate: $31,463 IS /$61,052 OOS
- Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport
- Acceptance Rate: 17%
- Minimum GPA: 3.2 (Ave: 3.7)
- Average MCAT score: 509
- Tuition Rate: $28,591.75 IS / $60,413.75
- University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine
- Acceptance Rate: 14.6%
- Minimum GPA: 3.0 (Ave: 3.7)
- Average MCAT: 508
- Tuition Rate: $24,752 IS / $56,592
- The University of South Dakota Medical School
- Acceptance Rate: 14%
- Minimum GPA: 3.1 (Ave: 3.86)
- Average MCAT: 509
- Tuition Rate: $15,386 IS / $36,870
Now you know how to get into medical school, start preparing as soon as possible. Get high grades, ace the MCAT, submit compelling statements and recommendations, and pursue your passion!
The med school application journey may be a long way to go, but if you truly desire to be a doctor someday, no amount of time could stop you from achieving it.
Good luck on your applications!
If you want more, I recommend you go to Amazon and check out my book called The Pre-Med Journey.
It’s basically a start to finish guide on how to increase your chances of getting into medical school from studying all the way to applying.
And if you’re still not sure about what you should be doing to get into med school, try this step-by-step blueprint. These are the tips, videos, and products I wish someone would have pointed me to when I began as a pre-med and medical student.
There are so many lessons I’ve picked up since starting my medical journey. I wish someone would have told me them from day one, but that’s okay. But I want to share them with you through the Pre-Med Blueprint Video Course.
Want to learn how to study better without spending more hours? Learn my simple 3-step strategy to boost your study efficiency every week. Try the Rapid Study Accelerator Mini-Course.
The Rapid Study Accelerator is our tried and proven system and workshop to helping you get better grades. Read more about it here.
And finally, if this blog post has been a great help to you, here are other blog posts that you can also enjoy:
- Hardest Medical Schools To Get Into [Full Breakdown]
- Medical School Timeline: Full Year By Year Breakdown
- Scholarships For Medical School
- 25 Common Medical School Interview Questions [And How To Answer Them]
- 25 Questions For Medical School Interviewers You Should Ask
- What To Do If You Don’t Get Into Med School
- Medical School Chance Predictors [How Do They Work?]
I’ll see you in the next one.
Until next time my friend…