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What factors/requirements are medical schools mainly looking for in the resumes and applications of prospective students?

I am thinking ahead about what my goals and priorities should be in undergrad in order to have a well-rounded application for when it's time to apply for medical schools. #medicine #hospital-and-health-care #hospitals #science #college

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James’s Answer

hi elysia,

i graduated med school in 1993 and have been a family physician for 20+ years.

the simple answer to your question is: consistent commitment to a health professions career.

there are something like 2 to 3 applicants for every med school position. the most feared outcome of the admissions committee is for someone to drop out or flunk out of med school. so they want to be sure that an applicant is committed to becoming a physician.

many applications are unsuccessful because they don't demonstrate any particular attachment to the health professions career. that means that someone may have good grades, good test scores, and have taken all of the pre-med required courses. but they don't show anything "extra." or the applicant's pre-med courses are all bunched up over the last years of college suggesting a late decision to pursue a medical career.

in my case, for instance, i started taking the required pre-med courses from my first semester and continued all the way through. i also took a few "recommended" courses beyond the "required" ones. so it took me longer to graduate college.

also, every year i added something medical to my resume. one summer i did a preceptorship with my hometown family physician. one summer i did an 6-week program for minorities planning a medical career. during college i was a volunteer blood pressure screener. i was also on the health professions council, the presidents' committee on student health, and was an officer in a group for minorities in the health professions.

some of my med school classmates got to med school through a different academic route. we had dentists, pharmacists, nurses, dietitians, EMTs, physical therapists, and probably others. several had masters degrees.

some other options include volunteering within the health care system. or possibly paying jobs like phlebotomy, or receptionist at a medical practice.

lastly, i'd also suggest that you do some medical reading. personally, i enjoy biographies and history. so i read books about scientists and medical history. others picked a current medical journal or newsletter to read every month. unfortunately, none of that would go on a resume. however, it isn't without value. you can always discuss this during your interviews. it'll also give you some insight on what issues to expect over your career.

good luck!

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Richard’s Answer

Good grades
High MCAT score
Commitment to medicine as demonstrated by shadowing, research or volunteering.