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What can I do to maximize my chances of getting into medical school and, in the case that I am not accepted, what is the next step I can take?

I am a rising college sophomore looking to attend medical school post-graduation. I have read that medical schools are interested in many things including MCAT scores, GPA, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, ability to answer interview questions, etc. I am, therefore, interested in knowing whether I must excel in each area to be able to compete with the masses, or if I have a bit of leeway. In addition to this, I am interested in knowing if there is anything I can do to still attend medical school if I am originally denied entry. #medical-school #med-school #medicine

Hi Maribel! I found some good advice here: https://www.careervillage.org/questions/36869/what-are-medical-school-committees-looking-for-in-an-applicant-research-experience-extracurricularvolunteer-activities-grade-point-average Abby Lupi

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Justine’s Answer


I think this all very dependent on what you really want to do. I'll try and answer this as a 2 part question. There are many ways to increase your chances of getting into medical school, some of those include:

-doing well in school

-when you get to the point in your education where you select your courses then focus on anything "pre-med" math, sciences, etc.

-study and prepare for any entrance exams (MCAT's in the US).

-network with as many industry folks as you can

If you don't get in you still have many, many options. You can go back and strengthen your skills and re-apply or you can look at your other strengths and interests and pivot to an entirely new career.

Good Luck!

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Richard’s Answer

You will need to get good grades in college in order to apply for medical school. At the medical school I attended, the average GPA is reported to be 3.85, so even one or two B's can hurt your chances of acceptance.

Aside from this, any major is acceptable as long as you complete the prerequisite courses.

Typical medical school prerequisites include:
Biology: Lecture – 4 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
General Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Organic Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Biochemistry: Lecture – 1 semester
General Physics: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Math: Statistics – 1 semester
English: Rhetoric (Composition) and Literature – 2 semesters

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.

During college study for and complete the MCAT. Devote an entire summer to studying for the MCAT and consider paying for a prep course if you can afford it.

My son used MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review 2019-2020: Online + Book + 3 Practice Tests (Kaplan Test Prep) Kaplan Test Prep
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It was about $140 and he achieved his goal score.

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Estelle’s Answer

The most important factors in getting accepted to medical school are the GPA and MCAT score. You also need to be shadowing physicians and volunteering, preferably at a free clinic. If you do not get into medical school, a few other options are nursing, EMT, grad school, or med tech.