Getting into medical school is tough. In fact, it’s so tough that 60% of the applicants do not get accepted in ANY of the MD programs they apply to! The competition is so great that a vast majority of pre-med students are left to do a post bacc program and reapply or change their field altogether every year.
So what can you do to guarantee your spot? What are the things to consider when applying to medical school?
To make your life easier, we approached medical students and experts who have served on med school admissions committees with these questions. Here is what they had to say:
Show them that you are serious about medical school
The medical school drop-out ratio is astounding. Every year, more and more med students are leaving their college and doing something else. What could possibly be the reason for this after they have gone through such a rigorous process to secure their admission?!
Surveys show that a good chunk of these students drop out because they realize that they really do not want to be doctors afterall. Some of them applied without really knowing the demands of their career choice, and some chose this field with undue expectations of their own from it. Some applied because their parents were doctors and they were simply expected to follow suit. In any case, they were not serious about med school from the start.
So now, the admission committee looks for individuals who can prove their commitment to the degree. When applying to medical school, have a strong answer for “Why do you want to be a doctor?” Instead of just trying to convince them with your words, show you are genuinely interested with your actions. Follow medical professionals during your undergraduate years and get some medical experience under your belt.
As any medical student will tell you, publish or perish
When it comes to sorting med school applications, those with research experience are automatically put on the top of the pile. Real research experience counts for a lot in a pre-med resume. If you want to truly impress the admissions committee, get involved in research projects during your pre-med years. Not only does this show that you are able to put theoretical knowledge into practical use, but it is also another way to showcase your commitment to your career choice.
Med school admissions committees like well-rounded medical students
To make your application stand out in the sea of others received by the admissions committee, you need to add something extra to it. Almost everyone who applies to medical school has good grades to back them up, so you need something more to be considered better than the average Joe. This is why extracurriculars are so important during pre-med.
Med schools want students that can maintain a work life balance. They do not want individuals who will keep their head buried in the books and forget everything else. Although maintaining a good GPA must be your first priority, you should also try to excel – or at least participate – in non academic ventures.
Play the numbers game when applying to medical school
Like we mentioned before, more than half of applicants fail to get in any of the programs that they have applied to. How can you turn the odds in your favor?
Simple. When applying to med schools, play the numbers game. Instead of singling out the two best med schools in your area, fan out and apply to as many as you can. Do not limit yourself by distance or other minor factors. Look for credible med schools outside of the United States as well, for example AUSOMA, and send in your applications.
Different med schools are looking for different things in their prospective students. While you might not make it in one, another might consider you a top applicant. By applying to a number of institutes, you can easily raise your chance of getting into one, or even multiple!
Double-check your applications before hitting send
Every year, so many applications are thrown out just because they were incomplete or did not follow the given directions. When you are submitting yours, make sure that you are not making the same mistake.
When applying at medical school, carefully read through the directions for the application process and make a checklist for each institute you are considering. As you go through what you need to do, keep marking your list. And when you are done, read through the guidelines and your application again to make sure you have not missed anything important. You have got one shot at this – do not send in that application until you are completely sure it is what it needs to be.
Prepare for the medical school interviews
Lastly, do not walk into your admission interview unprepared. You cannot just wing this. Your final interview can be the difference between an acceptance and a rejection from the med school of your dreams.
Approach medical students of that institute before the interview and ask them what they were questioned about in their interviews. Think of interesting but genuine answers to generic questions like why you have applied, where you see yourself after graduating, and what you would do if you were rejected.
However, at the same time, do not try to be someone you aren’t. The only thing that is maybe worse than being unprepared is being dishonest in your med school interview.
Ready to apply at medical schools now? Follow these tips and you are practically a shoe in for the next batch of physicians!