The road to medical school takes a level of determination and some disciplined planning. It’s incredibly competitive to get into medical school. According to statistics compiled by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the average national acceptance rate is 42 percent. Needless to say, applicants are laser-focused on increasing the chances of getting accepted.  

What does it take to get into medical school? Is it hard to get into medical school? Aspiring medical students exploring how to get into med school should concentrate their efforts on specific steps to get a leg up on the competition. With careful planning and knowledge of how you’ll be evaluated, you’ll be better able to display your skills and achievements when an admission committee reviews your medical school application.

HOW TO GET INTO MEDICAL SCHOOL – ASSESS YOUR DESIRE AND SKILLS

Before diving into planning, ask yourself if you are the right person to attend medical school and become a doctor. Do you have the personal skills necessary for a career in medicine? It’s essential to decide if you possess the aptitude and personality to be a successful physician, and the fortitude to get through medical school.

Medicine is a demanding vocation, and requires a person who has stamina and grit, can advocate for patients, be compassionate, has a true passion for the work and is ready to take on a high degree of challenge. If you think you have what it takes to be a successful doctor, you’ll need to use that self-awareness to explain why you want to be a doctor during your medical school interview. At the same time, that same level of determination will also come in handy when dealing with the challenges of medical school.

STEPS TO GET INTO MEDICAL SCHOOL – HOW TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCES

If you are willing to deal with the rigor of a medical school curriculum, these steps can help you learn how to prepare for medical school and appear as an ideal candidate to the admissions committee. Many factors can influence whether a student is offered medical school acceptance during the admissions process. These tips can make you more prepared for your medical school application and interview.

1. GET CLINICAL EXPERIENCE 

While admissions committees don’t expect you to have experience treating patients, they’ll want to see that you have a true desire to help patients in a clinical setting. Perhaps the best way to gain clinical experience and be exposed to the day-to-day challenges of a medical career is to job shadow with physicians and medical professionals. A clinical opportunity will help you to be sure what you’re getting into as a future doctor. Other excellent options to display your experience are working as a hospice volunteer, becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or a volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT). 

2. ADD COMMUNITY SERVICE EXPERIENCE AND EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

There are lots of organizations and programs that need prospective health professionals to lend time in your community. Any type of service allows a medical school committee to see your commitment to the greater good. Showing you have other interests and commitments besides coursework will help you to present yourself as a well-rounded candidate. For example, learning another language will show your interest and understanding of other cultures, crucial for anyone entering medicine. 

3. DO RESEARCH TO ROUND OUT YOUR EXPERIENCE

Stand out from the crowd by seeking out research opportunities in major hospitals or patient-related organizations. A research position will help to demonstrate your hands-on science knowledge. 

4. SPEND SUFFICIENT TIME ON YOUR APPLICATION ESSAY 

Your application essay is the most important representation of your strengths, accomplishments and potential. It pays to spend a lot of your focus on this presentation, providing a full yet concise snapshot of your experience and why it makes you a great candidate in contrast to the thousands of others who apply. If possible, send supplemental materials in addition to your application, such a published paper. 

5. DO PRACTICE INTERVIEWS

You’ll need to know how to practice and prepare for your medical school interview. Typically, the questions will revolve around identifying your personality traits, your interest in the field, your education and background, qualifications and experience, as well as questions about the healthcare industry and how you would make decisions in a healthcare environment. Obtain books or talk with other students to develop a list of questions that are typically asked to review and prepare answers to the types of questions that will be asked. A good way to rehearse is to ask others to drill you in practice interviews. 

6. SHOW HOW YOU STAND OUT

When you are competing with so many other applicants, you’ll want to show how you are unique. Do something that you feel passionate about, even if it isn’t medically related. 

7. GET RECOMMENDATIONS EARLY

Develop personal relationships along the way, so your reference can genuinely know you, and produce a letter that reflects your true skills and potential. Start early and gather recommendations from someone who has seen you do research, clinical work or volunteer work.

8. SHOW OFF A STRONG GPA AND MCAT SCORE

Choose a major that will produce a competitive GPA. However, if your GPA is less than the school’s 75th or 80th percentile, don’t panic. While there’s no substitute for a high GPA, there are some options for you. You may want to explore doing a post-baccalaureate degree to have a second chance to prove your academic strength. Admissions are about much more than GPA at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). While a GPA is important, it’s not the end-all and be-all of admissions. The Admissions Committee will also take other achievements, abilities and experiences into account, such as pre-professional competencies and social consciousness, as well as thinking and reasoning competencies. Other ways to display your academic success are to take courses in the sciences and earning high grades can accentuate the positive. 

We can’t underestimate the importance of your MCAT score. A good MCAT score will depend on the other pieces of your application and the school you apply to. The typical range is 472-528. However, if your MCAT score is not what you expect, you can retake the exam—but be sure to take the exam early so a second chance is an option. Practice tests are the best way to prepare for the MCAT. If necessary, find a tutor or take an MCAT preparation class to get ready. Also, think about consulting your pre-health advisor or join a pre-health admissions club for support and information. 

In the end, there’s no specific strategy to get admitted to medical school. Knowing yourself and completing the recommended steps to get into medical school can go a long way to make you a star candidate.  

The Admissions Team at RUSM evaluates prospective students who can display factors such as academic success, experience in and knowledge of the medical profession, interpersonal skills and motivation. RUSM evaluates a diverse mix of majors from applicants with well-balanced academic backgrounds.

Admissions associates are available to answer any questions about applying to RUSM and provide additional information. Our knowledgeable associates can help you learn how to get into medical school, discuss career planning and assist you with your application. Request more information now

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In 2020, 91% of RUSM students passed the initial step of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) on the first attempt. And in 2021-2022, results show yet another strong year for RUSM with a 96% first-time residency attainment rate* thus far. Located on the island of Barbados and with a network of more than 15,000 alumni, RUSM is one of the largest providers of doctors for the U.S. healthcare system. RUSM graduates practice in all 50 states and in Puerto Rico.

*First time residency attainment rate is the percent of students attaining a 2022-23 residency position out of all graduates or expected graduates in 2021-22 who were active applicants in the 2022 NRMP match or who attained a residency position outside the NRMP match.