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What are medical schools looking for in a student ?

#medical #student-development

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Subject: Career question for you

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John’s Answer

Jose while a solid GPA and MCAT score will get you through the initial screening process, medical school admissions officers are ultimately seeking out applicants who demonstrate their passion and personality needed to be a good doctor. To apply for medical school, you will need to get a bachelor's degree in a science-based field. There is no specific degree to apply for medical school although degrees like chemistry, biology, and health science are very common. Keep in mind that every medical school has its own prerequisites and requirements to apply for them. Therefore, if you already decided that you are going to apply for medical school, you will need to look for the prerequisites of the medical school you will apply for to make sure that your bachelor's degree fulfills them. Courses like chemistry, biochemistry, organic chemistry, biology, microbiology, genetics, psychology, English, calculus, etc., are very common prerequisites for medical school.

GRADES – Yes, your grades are important. Along with your MCAT score, they often determine whether or not you’ll be accepted into their medical school. However, it is not the only thing that admissions officers look at. Even within a student's overall GPA, the science GPA is far more important than anything else for most medical schools. In terms of overall GPAs, most top medical schools require their applicants to have a GPA of 3.5 or higher. For pre-med students wanting to apply to medical school, the typical science grades that are required are As and Bs. This equals about mid-3.0 range and higher for actual science GPAs. It is very important to realize, however, that there are many students who are admitted to great medical schools with grades and GPAs lower than that. Admissions officers understand that perfect 4.0s are difficult to attain, so they also look at work experience and interview quality, among other things.

MCAT – The Medical College Admission Test is the standardized 7.5 hour test that has been a part of the admissions process for over 80 years. The MCAT assesses an applicant’s critical thinking, reading analysis, and scientific knowledge. While GPA demonstrates a student’s educational routine, the MCAT reveals students’ intellectual talents under high-pressure conditions. The MCAT also provides medical schools with a means of comparing students from different universities and backgrounds. While schools will not accept applicants based solely on MCAT scores, it is a reliable gauge of a student’s test-taking skills. These skills, by the way, will become especially important during the board exams and reflect on the school’s training.

LEADERSHIP – This is an important skill that’s often overlooked by applicants. As a physician, you will be leading a team of health professionals and guiding patients through difficult choices and options. You can start now by gaining the skills you will need to persuade, guide, and lead. You don’t have to be president of an organization to lead others. Some lead through teaching, coaching, or motivating others. Use your clinical experience, community volunteering, research, and paid work to hone your leadership skills. Say yes to leadership roles. Like anything else, practice makes perfect.

VOLUNTEERING – This is considered a must-have by many medical schools, and for good reason. They want applicants who tend to put others’ welfare ahead of their own. Doctors give up a lot of personal time for the benefit of others. Take a look at your experiences so far. Have you been a selfless giver of your time? If not, what’s stopping you? You may feel too busy or too tired, but these are not good excuses. Med students, interns, and doctors are always busy and often tired, but they continue to push themselves.

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION – This section is the trickiest of the five, as it requires the most planning and effort in reaching out to professors and other references. Once you decide on applying, it is a good idea to keep a running list of professors and mentors with whom you have established solid rapport. After all, any applicant can go on about themselves and their qualities, but when multiple physicians or professors reaffirm the same qualities, it provides a greater voice of authority. Most schools require at least two letters of recommendations from science professors and one from a non-science professor. It’s not enough to just tell them how badly you want to go to med school. You need to show them what it means to you.

Hope this is helpful Jose
Thank you comment icon Thank you for answering my question Jose
Thank you comment icon Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible”! John Frick
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John’s Answer

Medical schools are looking for someone with a passion for medicine and serving others. They also want someone that can withstand a rigorous medical school curriculum. How do you demonstrate this? Take a heavy course load (i.e., lots of credit hours) in undergrad with advanced natural science courses. Shadow physicians and other medical professionals. Work or volunteer in a medical role (think EMT, CNA, etc.).
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