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What are medical school committees looking for in an applicant (research experience, extracurricular/volunteer activities, grade point average,...)?

I am a research postdoc fellow in life sciences. I was recently asked how to get accepted to medical school. This is not really in my field so I figured I should share this question. Hope the answers will be helpful to any student going through the selection process.
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Elizabeth’s Answer

When you are preparing to apply for medical schools, you will want to be able to speak of your experiences in and outside the classroom. Of course you will want to have a strong understanding of the sciences and, ideally, good grades to support that. If given an interview, you will want to describe studies, projects, lessons that stood out to you and perhaps prepared you for this career. Additionally, if you have the opportunity to do research, you will want to be prepared to explain your work. One thing you should remember is that not everyone has a strong science background so you will want to be able to explain this in conversational terms without demeaning your work. If you aren't sure how to do this, practice on friends and family.
You will also want to get practical experience. This includes volunteering in hospitals, job shadowing, working with organizations such as the Red Cross or Planned Parenthood, etc. Anything that gives you a little "day in the life" experience will help you become a stronger candidate.


Thank you Mutharasi S.

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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.

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.

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James’s Answer

hi oliver,


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


the simple answer to your question is that the admissions committee is looking for applicants who know who they are and where they're going.


that could mean numerous things. for some it could mean research experience. for others it could mean clinical experience. for others it could mean volunteer experiences. and for some it could mean something entirely different.


the whole point is that they want individuals who are committed to succeeding in medicine. they don't want people who quit when faced with adversity. they don't want people who are enamored with the white coat but aren't interested in the hard work that it takes to earn that coat.


so it's not necessarily a stellar MCAT score, or straight A's, or a science degree that will guarantee med school admission.


hope that helps.

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Estelle’s Answer

The two most important pieces of information on your application first off are your undergraduate grades and your MCAT score. these will get past the first round of cuts. After that, admission committees look at your shadowing experiences and research, your letters of reference, and your personal statements on your medical school application.
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Blake R.’s Answer

And I also agree with Elizabeth.


Blake

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Rachel’s Answer

GPA and MCAT score. GPA should be 3.8+. You need to have A's in your premed classes too. A few B's won't hurt too much, but they certainly won't help. MCAT score should be good. It is worth taking a prep course.
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Blake R.’s Answer

For me it was GPA, MCAT and the personel interview. It seemed to me at The University of Texas the interview and GPA held the most weight to get in. Please remember this was a decade ago. If your GPA, and personel interview go well, you're in.


Blake

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