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Is it more important to have good grades or to stand out for med school?

#premed #doctor #medicine #college

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Diana’s Answer

It's a combination of many things. MCAT is a major component along with GPA. Definitely check out the requirements and the GPA/MCAT averages of students accepted, it will give you an idea of where you need to be. Research and volunteering/ community service is also very important. Get involved with the Pre-Health clubs at your institution as they should offer volunteer opportunities. I think the most important factor is showing why medicine is important to you/ why you want to pursue it through the things that you do throughout undergrad. Show your passion and interest through your work and you will stand out! Everyone volunteers and does research, but why is YOUR experience different? Keep these things in mind!
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Estelle’s Answer

Good grades will make you stand out and pass the initial application phase. When med schools get tons of applications, they use simple measures to week through the initial applicants such as GPA and MCAT scores. "Standing out" with your experiences and personal statements and interviews comes later.
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Richard’s Answer

Maybe you need to "stand out" to be considered for a competitive private school like Harvard. For public university medical school, focus on grades and MCAT.

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.

It won't really help you stand out unless you are involved in the publication of a highly regarded article (which takes a lot of luck), try to find opportunities to pursue research.


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D.’s Answer

In my opinion, important to have good grades. Good grades will make you stand out!!!
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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Henry this is a great question actually because there can be uncertainty of the responsibilities for medical school applications. I would say both to be honest; I actually remember telling my premed adviser that I thought of the MCAT/GPA as the cake of the application and everything else like sprinkles and her agreeing with me. It's humorous but true. You want to first of all stand out academically because medical schools have cutoffs so you want your GPA to be a 3.7+ and your MCAT to be a 508+ to really be competitive. There could be some distinctions, like for example if a school reports a 510 average for MCAT there will be students who will have received a 515 or students who will have received a 507 in making up the class average. A high MCAT score can compensate for a low GPA and vice versa. However, you also want to stand out besides academics and be a well-rounded applicant because medical schools do also look beyond MCAT and GPA. They want to see that you are close with community ties and like to help others as well as engaging in clinical work to make sure you really are positive that you like this field and are ready to interact with patients. AAMC.org and your premed adviser will be your top two go-to places in helping with fulfilling requirements and being a competitive applicant. That being said try to volunteer at a local hospital or clinic, shadow a physician and also get in some non-clinical experiences as well like tutoring or volunteering in a soup kitchen. These experiences should help you grow but you should also like to take part in them; for example I love to tutor especially since I struggled academically and am now a volunteer tutor for high school students. Check out opportunities on campus and see which one fits for you. Also quality not quantity for medical schools, if you take part in a couple volunteering activities for the duration of college that will seem more favorable and committed than doing 10 different activities. It isn't checking off boxes but being able to work with your experiences and make a difference in your life and others. If you are working part time as well that will also help. As a waitress I gained so much experience for the medical field; I worked with others, learn to think quick and be innovative, take leadership like seating customers when needed or resolving disputes. Although it was a paid position it is also something to include in your application! Just be sure to maintain high grades, and do well on your MCAT and get some experience for medical school!

P.S. right now with the COVID there are many thing uncertain so if you do have to take a halt on your experiences don't worry. You can also check out remote opportunities as well; check out Pointsoflight.org. or OperationWarm for remote opportunities if you are interested!

Best of luck!

Yasemin recommends the following next steps:

Volunteer clinically/non-clinically
Do well academically
Check out AAMC.org/keep up with premed adviser
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