It may feel like there’s a lot at stake when applying to medical school. Prospective medical students discover that the competition to get accepted to a medical program is fierce. It’s natural to feel like your entire medical career may depend on the school you choose, the cost of applying to medical school, getting admitted, and making it through school and exams, not to mention getting matched for residency.

Without a clear guideline, you might be feeling anxious and overwhelmed—and have lots of questions. Learning how to apply to medical school doesn’t have to be an intimidating process. The key to entering medical school is knowing how and what to prepare and familiarize yourself with medical school requirements. You can increase your chances of getting an acceptance letter by knowing what to expect.

Preparation and timing

Before even applying to medical school, it’s important to plan wisely for the application process.

  • If you’re currently in school, start by meeting with your advisor to ensure you plan to take the prerequisite courses required for admission. You can review Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM)’s admissions checklist for prerequisite coursework requirements.
  • Investigate the application timeline for medical school, including when you might begin school.
  • Seek out a mentor who can guide you through the application process and provide advice.
  • Look for opportunities to get lab research experience, volunteer for a healthcare organization or shadow a medical professional.
  • Ask your professors and supervisors to write letters of recommendation on your behalf.
  • Prepare for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT):  You can and should take the MCAT before completing your application.   
  • Investigate possibilities for financial aid. Contact the RUSM Financial Aid Office for more information about tuition and fees and options for scholarships.

Ross University School of Medicine admits students three times a year, in January, May, and September. Early preparation will allow you to take advantage of RUSM’s rolling medical school application timeline and we encourage you to apply as early as possible. The 2020-2021 RUSM Medical Sciences Academic Calendar and Clinical Sciences Academic Calendar can be used as a guide to the academic year timeline. An RUSM admissions associate can assist you with any questions about when to apply to medical school and the timeframe to prepare your materials.

How to apply to medical school – following the steps in the process

When applying to RUSM, you’ll need to complete these medical school requirements to submit your application :

  1. College transcript: Your undergraduate and graduate college GPA and pre-medical coursework will be reviewed by our admissions staff. 

  2. Letters of recommendation: At least two letters of recommendation are required.

  3. Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score: The MCAT is a 7.5-hour exam with four sections: Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior; and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. RUSM evaluates students based on the MCAT score, an individual's GPA and other factors. 

  4. Personal statement: A strong personal statement should discuss your unique perspective and can include an experience that challenged you personally or changed your perspective about medicine, a relationship with a mentor or your rationale for pursuing a career in medicine.

  5. Work history: Candidates that stand out typically have some medical experience. Paid or volunteer experience in a medical facility or with a healthcare-related organization, clinical shadowing or lab research will show your commitment to the field of medicine.

  6. Activities: Extracurricular activities that show diverse interests, dedication to service and a long-term commitment to the medical field will highlight your aptitude and passion for work as a physician. Medical schools seek unique candidates who display altruism, leadership and initiative.

  7. Secondary essays: These essays require you to respond to a specific question. Choose subject matter that complements your original essay.

  8. Interview: The interview is conducted within two to four weeks after initial application materials have been received. A good way to prepare is to do a mock interview to practice your interview skills. Review topics in medical and scientific thinking, research, bioethics, and current issues, as well as reading biographies of doctors. Be ready to talk about your experiences and how they relate to your future medical goals. Finally, create a list of possible questions and develop answers so you’ll feel fully prepared to impress the admissions panel.

RUSM has a holistic approach to every student applying to medical school.  Each applicant’s entire achievement history is reviewed and considered.

How to stand out as a candidate

Since hundreds of hopeful students apply, you’ll want to show that your experience and achievements make you stand out from the crowd. Admissions staff will look for the elements that make a student unique. At RUSM, prospective medical students are evaluated on factors such as undergraduate performance, knowledge of the medical profession, interpersonal skills, motivation, personal character and clinical experience. As part of your application, your recommendation letters and transcripts, your personal statement, and Medical College Application Service® Work and Activities summary are reviewed.

We’re here to help aspiring medical students realize their dream of a medical career. Our graduates have achieved proven success with more than 15,000+ alumni across the United States and Canada.

An admissions associate can answer any questions about applying to RUSM and provide additional information to guide you through your application. You can reach the Admissions Office at 1-855-MDROSSU (855-637-6778 or email Our knowledgeable staff is ready to help you achieve your educational and career goals.

* Average MCAT score of students entering medical school at RUSM in September 2015, January 2016, and May 2016.


In 2020, 91% of RUSM students passed the initial step of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) on the first attempt. And in 2022-2023, results show yet another strong year for RUSM with a 98% 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 2023-24 residency position out of all graduates or expected graduates in 2022-23 who were active applicants in the 2023 NRMP match or who attained a residency position outside the NRMP match.