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What can I do in the beginning it my undergraduate years to increase my chances of medical school admissions?

I am a rising senior in high school planning on majoring in neuroscience and later entering medical school.

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Jesse’s Answer

Source: Mean importance ratings of Academic, experimental, demographic application data used by admissions committees for deciding which applicants to invite for interview/admissions (N=127)

1. Academic Metrics
-cumulative science/math GPA
-MCAT total
-upward or downward grade trends (don’t have to have straight As everyone messes up but did you get better?)
-competitiveness of the undergrad institution you attended
-cumulative non science/math GPA

2. Experiences:
-health care/community service/volunteer (save contacts)
-experience with under served populations (went to Africa to give free health care/exams to Kenyans)
-navigated through cultural barriers or challenges/times of adversity in your life AKA resiliency
-life experiences
-global experience
-leadership (you’re the doctor it’s in the job title. People all look at you for direction)
-research experience
-Do you do anything other than be good at school? (Clubs/sports, play guitar, professional dancer, sky diver) in other words, are you a cookie cutter student or someone that stands out. Everyone played the cello in high school, National honors society, IB program, debate team. What’s so different about you?

3. Demographics:
-US citizen with permanent residency
-state residency at the public school you intend to apply
-1st Gen college student/medical student
-Rural or urban background
-age/sex

4. Applicant Information/attributes
-success on interview
-great letters of recommendation (networking)
-personal essay/statements or letters of intent
-cultural humility
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A. Michelle’s Answer

Be focused and disciplined. Strong candidates for medical school need a high GPA MCAT scores, as well as demonstrated leadership. If you haven’t already done so, sign up for advanced and match classes in your senior year. If they are AP and you get a high score, you might be able to knock off a few of your college’s pre-med requirements. Once in college, be sure to take and do well in required Matt and science courses. Don’t hesitate to get the tutoring or join study groups. Outside of classes, explore opportunities to show drive and leadership. For example, do research or lead student volunteer STEM tutoring for local students. If you are managing your coursework, it is fine to do a non-science or math-related activity to differentiate yourself and add some variety to your college life.
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Shelia’s Answer

Hi Allison - Being accepted into medical school requires a high GPA in your college major, strong MCAT scores, professor recommendations, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and service hours in the medical field. It is important to focus on your grades especially in those sciences courses like chemistry, bio-chemistry, biology, etc. Find an extracurricular activity that will help you to grow strong leadership and communication skills. In your junior year, look into working part time as a medical scribe at a local hospital. It's important to build your relationship with professors or people in the medical field in order to get excellent recommendations. Lastly, don't overstretch yourself to take too many courses each quarter and work with your college counselor to keep you on track. Good luck in your senior year of high school!
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Jennifer’s Answer

Allison - keep those grades up and focus strong. Don't get discouraged if your first semester of college (or two) aren't AS successful as you'd like them to be because it's a completely different world than high school, and requires a learning curve.

Generally med schools give preference to individuals with GPAs over 3.5, and like to see around a 3.8 or higher in the sciences.

Focus your coursework on medical sciences and math (bio, a+p 1 & 2, chemistry, physics, organic chem OR biochem), and it doesn't hurt to use your electives to strengthen that foundation with more advanced courses.

Focus on your coursework the first two semesters. But once you get the hang of courses and the college flow - you can bolster your experience with volunteer and internship opportunities!

Med School admissions aren't as scary as people make them out to be. They even take people from non-scientific backgrounds! (But again - those who show drive get preferential treatment)

They want to see people with drive and determination, excellent people skills, and good MCAT scores make a difference - but you won't have to worry about that until senior year of undergrad at least.

Show an interest, and show that you're trying.

Jennifer recommends the following next steps:

Register for classes early
Adjust to your collegiate learning curve and knock out those gen eds
Focus your energy after semester one on science and math courses
Tip: knock out the classes you're not gonna like too much first - save the favorite topics for last. When senioritis hits, having subject matter you enjoy WI
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Jennifer’s Answer

Allison - keep those grades up and focus strong. Don't get discouraged if your first semester of college (or two) aren't AS successful as you'd like them to be because it's a completely different world than high school, and requires a learning curve.

Generally med schools give preference to individuals with GPAs over 3.5, and like to see around a 3.8 or higher in the sciences.

Focus your coursework on medical sciences and math (bio, a+p 1 & 2, chemistry, physics, organic chem OR biochem), and it doesn't hurt to use your electives to strengthen that foundation with more advanced courses.

Focus on your coursework the first two semesters. But once you get the hang of courses and the college flow - you can bolster your experience with volunteer and internship opportunities!

Med School admissions aren't as scary as people make them out to be. They even take people from non-scientific backgrounds! (But again - those who show drive get preferential treatment)

They want to see people with drive and determination, excellent people skills, and good MCAT scores make a difference - but you won't have to worry about that until senior year of undergrad at least.

Show an interest, and show that you're trying!

I'm sure school will have clubs that can also help with your extracurricular experience depending on what you want to do in the future.

Don't stress too much - you're going to do great!

Jennifer recommends the following next steps:

Register for classes early
Adjust to your collegiate learning curve and knock out those gen eds
Focus your energy after semester one on science and math courses
Tip: knock out the classes you're not gonna like too much first - save the favorite topics for last. When senioritis hits, having subject matter you enjoy will make all the difference
Tip: Relax! You're going to do great!!!
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Midwest’s Answer

The beginning of your undergraduate years are the perfect time to begin refining your application for medical school. There are some key components to your medical school application to keep in mind as you plan and begin undergrad

1) Academic excellence - Neuroscience will be a challenging major! This is great and the most important part of choosing a major is choosing something that you will be passionate about and invested in and accordingly will likely do well in. Unfortunately due to the hundreds to thousands of applications that medical schools must consider, simple academic grades are an easy way to filter people out. While molding your undergraduate curriculum it is important to keep in mind that while you should pursue courses and majors of highest interest to you, you will be a more competitive applicant with a 4.0 GPA from "easier" classes than a 3.3 GPA taking the most difficult courses offered at that institution. The best answer is likely a middle ground, but you must remember this

2) Experience - This may be in the form of medical related work experience, shadowing, internships, research projects, etc. In medical school and even residency applications and interviews, these places want to know about you - what have you experienced? What have you done to gain insight into this career? Do you really know this is what you want to do, and if so, what have you done which demonstrates that? You should keep an open mind about this as it does not follow a rigid, specific mold and an be achieved in many ways

3) Service - Volunteering is an excellent way to contribute to your local, national, or world community while also gaining more experience. It is expected and can also be an excellent opportunity for experience

4) MCAT - The best strategy is to do as best as you will be able to do on the first try and not to take it until you're ready to.

5) Personal statement - This is related to your experiences and how you synthesize these into your personal statement. Aspects such as spelling and grammar are essentials and cannot be compromised. In general a very small portion of personal statements are exceptionally good, a small portion exceptionally bad, and the rest are part of the middle ground majority. In general it is best to land squarely in the middle ground majority rather than "take chances" in what to include here.

Make sure that you apply broadly when you do apply. Again, medical schools get so many applications that the places you gain interviews and admission to versus not will almost always not be logical or predictable - make sure the net you have cast is wide enough!

Congratulations and good luck!

Midwest recommends the following next steps:

Arrange your freshman curriculum for success
Brainstorm how to spend your freshman year summer
Establish contact with a medical school counselor early
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