Medical school admissions are extremely competitive. If you do not have a strategy, your chances of success are very low. Most people think that that the recipe for getting admitted to medical school is the combination of high grades and an excellent MCAT score. Although grades and test scores are certainly important, they are not the only thing schools are looking at when determining their incoming class. Today we will discuss some lesser known tips and methods for improving your chances at getting into medical school. I will share with you some medical school admissions secrets that if applied, will drastically improve your chances of getting into medical school.
But first, let’s look at the numbers. Getting into medical school is incredibly difficult. According to data compiled by the Association of American Medical Colleges, in 2016, 21,000 students enrolled in an accredited medical school in the United States. However, 830,000 people applied for those spots. So, under 3% of people who applied to medical school got in. In other words, 97% of people who apply to medical school will not get in.
Let’s look further at the characteristics of the people who were successful in getting into medical school. The mean MCAT score of medical school applicants last year was 501.8 with a standard deviation of 2.8. However, the mean MCAT score for those who enrolled in medical school was 508.7 with a standard deviation of 2.3. The mean grade point average was 3.55 with a standard deviation of 0.34. Those who enrolled in medical school had a mean grade point average of 3.7 with a standard deviation of 0.24.
So we have established that medical school is difficult to get in to. However, this should not discourage you. You should make it your goal to be among the successful 3% of applicants.
First, it may be encouraging to realize that there are many careers that are much more difficult to enter than medicine. You have a much higher chance of getting into medical school than you do of becoming a professional athlete or an astronaut. Becoming a doctor is not an unreasonable goal. Let’s look at the statistics a little bit more. As I mentioned previously, the mean grade point average of medical school applicants last year was 3.55 and the mean gpa of enrollees was 3.7. This is not much of a difference. In fact, it is within one standard deviation. Therefore, medical schools must rely on something other than grades to determine who to admit. Although there was more of a difference in MCAT scores of applicants vs. matriculants, the difference was not extremely large. So, this means that by numbers alone, most people applying to medical school are nearly equal.
Now that you know about the application process, let’s focus on how to improve your chances of getting in to medical school.
The first medical school admissions secret is that schools want their students to be happy. For this reason, they are looking to admit students who will fit in well at their school. A medical school’s reputation hinges on how well their students perform. Happy medical students are more likely to perform well. If a large percentage of students do not complete their program, it does not reflect well on that school. Medical schools do not want students who will fail out or quit. It is for this reason that medical school applicants who show that they will be a good fit with a school’s curriculum and culture have a much higher chance of being offered admission.
Knowing this information, you should make it your goal to show your top schools that you will fit in well there. You may wonder how to accomplish this. The first step is to do some research on the schools to which you are applying. A lot of information can be obtained by carefully reading a school’s website. Most schools will have their mission statement or core values clearly stated. Many schools post an ‘admissions requirements’ section which outlines the type of student that they seek. In addition, some medical schools will provide a section on their site with information on desired interpersonal skills in addition to academic requirements. For example, empathy, professionalism, and leadership skills are commonly sought after skills. It is wise to carefully review your target school’s website to learn as much as possible about the type of student that is typically accepted there. Some medical school sites have a section for essays or blog entries by current students. You should be certain to read anything written by current students. A few years ago, they were in your position and succeeded. By reading their experiences, you can see what worked for those students and attempt to emulate them.
In order to take advantage of the admissions secrets discussed today, you will need to be meticulously complete your application. You must be sure to list all your experiences and accomplishments. In addition, you will need to carefully pick who will write your letters of recommendation. However, the most important, but often neglected, portion of your application is the personal statement. This essay gives you a vital opportunity to tell medical schools about yourself. The personal statement is the only opportunity you have during the first round of the admissions process to show schools that you are a good fit for their program; and that you possess the desired pre-professional skills that they seek. If executed correctly, your personal statement be the deciding factor that earns you an invitation to interview. It is imperative that you write a strong personal statement.
Your personal statement should accomplish three things. First, it should tell the reader who you are. With the exception of letters of recommendation, schools receive very little information about who their applicants are. Schools want to admit people, not test scores, so you should strive to let the admissions committee learn about who you are as a person in your essay. Second, your personal statement should demonstrate that you are a great fit for medical school. You will likely have a top choice of medical school that you hope to attend. Your personal statement needs to show that you share the values and will fit in well to that school’s program. If you demonstrate that you are likely to be successful in their program, the school will view your application more favorably. Finally, you should demonstrate your pre-professionalism in your personal statement. Choose some of the pre-professional skills and discuss how you have put them to use in your previous experiences.
Because your personal statement is so important, you should plan to have it reviewed by a knowledgable third party before you submit it. Code Blue Essays provides medical school personal statement editing services. Your essay will be reviewed by a licensed and board certified physician who will ensure that your personal statement is ready to help you get admitted to medical school. You can submit an essay for editing on the Code Blue Essays website, www.codeblueessays.com.