How Many Medical School Applications Should I Have?

If you’re someone who is considering starting their medical school applications, there are many school choices in front of you. With over 150 accredited allopathic medical schools in the United States, applicants have a high chance of finding the right fit for them – but the process proves to be difficult more often than not. Many applicants don’t know how many they should be applying to and don’t realize there are other factors being considered, such as competitiveness, costs, GPA and test scores, and just how they fit with a school’s individual mission statement.

What are the Acceptance Rates?

Currently, the acceptance rate for medical school applications is about 40% while other schools with specific requirements are at about 1%. This means that finding your place within a school is already very competitive. Given that this can be concerning for applicants, the wrong thing to think is, “I will go to whichever school will accept me!” You’ll still want to take your time with the application process!

Back with the 2018-2019 applicants, it was found that the average number of applications being submitted was 16. 16 may seem like a lot, but for these applicants, it means they planned strategically. They most likely found 16 schools that fit certain requirements on their primary and secondary lists that they knew would also accept them based on their grades and more.

How Do 16 Applications Affect Me?

16 medical school applications can be a daunting task to handle if you don’t start early on. You don’t want to be left behind, having to pick options you would have never considered to begin with. You also don’t want to be stuck paying for applications that would have never been the right fit for you. Saving money is the ultimate goal here while personalizing your list that fits just your needs.

Medical school application costs are extensive. For a majority of medical schools, applicants will submit their applications through the American Medical School Application Service. The first school applied to will cost $170, and every additional one after is $39. Applying to 16 medical schools will cost around $755, and some students have paid in the thousands to apply to 30+ institutions! If you start research now and narrow down your list of schools, you’ll save a lot of money in the long run instead of having to go through rejection letters that were inevitable.

How Many Medical School Applications Should I Have?

Medical School Factors to Consider When Applying

1. Competitiveness

There are various aspects that factor in how competitive you are within a certain medical school. The ones you can count on being the most relevant are your MCAT scores and GPA. In 2019-2020, it was found that applicants averaged a 506 MCAT while GPA was recommended at being 3.5 and above.

With the average MCAT score being 506 and an idea of what GPA is acceptable, this means that you’ll want to consider your own scores and find schools that will accept students within that range to have the best chances possible. Once you get your initial list out of the way, don’t be afraid to aim high with additional schools if you can afford it. You never know when you might get lucky!

2. Costs

Even if you have an extremely competitive MCAT score and amazing GPA, you might find that your financial standings outweigh the benefits of going to certain schools you were considering. With the reality of student debt, many medical school applicants are finding themselves having to say no to more prestigious programs, such as the ones at University of Southern California or Columbia University, because of high costs of living, high tuition, current financial situations, and more.

When creating a medical school list, remember that you don’t want to be concentrating on financial stress instead of your work. If you know this is likely for you, research for schools closer to your location and that are more within your price range.

You will also want to start looking for forms of financial aid early on that can help you stay out of as much debt as possible. These can be found with programs and lenders outside of schools and depending on where you want to attend.

3. Location

Going across country to a different state to attend medical school might sound appealing but for some applicants, it can cause more burden than needed. Having family close by or living in a familiar setting is a deciding factor for many students who choose to go to less prestigious schools because they know their success depends on these supporting forces.

There is no shame in choosing to stay in a comfortable setting as long as you reap the full benefits of medical school. Make sure to research any schools within your vicinity and see how they will fit within your lifestyle (e.g. if you get to live at home instead of on campus, if you get to visit your parents daily, etc.)

4. A Medical School’s Makeup

A medical school’s Admissions department is designed to know their ideal applicant inside and out. They know that students will have to practically live and work next to each other and with staff for years to come, so Admissions will have specificities on what makes a student a great fit for their school.

For example, smaller, private institutions are known to be pickier on who they accept because their group is likely not diverse to begin with. Even if their students all come from a different background, they may have traits, grades, and other aspects that make them fit well within that school.

Studying the typical student within each school you choose to apply to will prove to be vital as you can see how you compare. If you see blatant differences or that a school has a teaching style that you’re not accustomed to, you can cross that school off your list and move on to finding one suited best for you.

What AUSOMA is Doing

AUSOMA is dedicated to providing as much help as possible during the applicant process. It’s an exciting time for our potential students, so we want to streamline it so you don’t have to wait for an answer forever!

Our application fee is $100 and we don’t require MCAT scores. As long as you have a 3.0 GPA and your transcripts and the other necessary information submitted, we will look at your application and can start the admission process from there. Because our review process is so simple, we can’t wait to start assisting you today.