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What is the most important thing medical schools look for besides your GPA or MCAT?

I have all of these options and I know I need to do something to show on my application. It is nice to be involved and well rounded. #medicine #med-school -school #doctor #admissions #college-admissions

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Madyson’s Answer

Hello,

When applying to medical schools you need to be seen as a well rounded person. To do that, medical schools are looking for volunteer hours, clinical hours, research hours, leadership experiences, shadowing hours, high GPA, good MCAT score, and diversity experiences. Below I will break down each of those categories:

Volunteer Hours: These hours are time you spend helping people without pay. These hours could include clinical volunteer hours such as volunteering at a care facility or in a hospital. Or they could include community volunteer hours such as tutoring elementary school children, teaching English to adults, or mission trips (humanitarian trips).

Clinical hours: These hours show you know what the medical field is like. It shows medical schools you have a basic understanding of medicine. This could include jobs such as working as a CNA, EMT, MA, surgical tech, etc. Or it could be from volunteering in a care facility or hospital.

Research hours: These hours show that you understand that research and medicine go hand-in-hand. You need scientific research to improve medicine. You can get these hours by working as a research assistant during your undergraduate time.

Leadership experiences: As a doctor you will be leading a team of nurses, techs, other doctors, etc. Medical schools want to see that you are capable of fulfilling that role. These can be obtained by being the president of a school club or sports team. They can also be obtained through finding ways to lead out projects at your workplace.

Shadowing hours: These hours show medical schools that you know what the life of a doctor looks like. You can obtain these by asking local physicians if you can shadow them a few different times.

Diversity experiences: In medicine doctors may have the opportunity to work with a wide array of patients. Medical schools want to ensure that you are respectful to all people. These experiences can be obtained through learning new languages, performing service in under represented populations, or traveling to foreign countries for humanitarian projects.

Hope this helps!
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Suman’s Answer

Very good question. At least when I entered medical school in 1999 the following were true:


1) Many highly ranked medical schools are research universities. Therefore research as an undergraduate can look good...or even be necessary for certain schools.

2) A commitment to other human beings/public service, including of course some experience with the medical field. For example, I tutored a child with an autism spectrum disorder and wrote my application essay about this experience.

3) Being an "interesting" person. Of course one should not do things just to seem interesting. Nevertheless medical schools (unlike residency programs, mostly) are often very interested in things like artistic or athletic accomplishment, leadership activities, intellectual pursuits outside of medicine, etc. I can tell you schools were far more interested in my philosophy major than my biology major when I was applying, although excellent pre-med grades and MCAT scores are always a requirement.


Good luck!


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Richard’s Answer

Try to find opportunities to pursue research.
Volunteer at your local hospital or low-income clinic. Ask physicians, PAs or other clinical providers if you can shadow them.
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