Medical School > Medical Admissions
The admissions process to medical school is a long road, and one that requires planning and preparation from as early as the time you enter your undergraduate. In order to get into medical school there are certain pre-requisite classes that must be taken. These classes MUST be taken in a college setting and may not be credits transferred in from high school. This is important as if you transfer credits you will not get credit for the pre-requisite class.
In addition to doing well in school to get a high GPA, you must also consider doing volunteer work at a local hospital or clinic or try to get shadowing in. These types of experiences are becoming increasingly necessary in order to get into medical school and even things like studying abroad will set you far ahead of other students. Understanding and analyzing the competition getting into medical school is necessary in order to get in.
There are increasingly amounts of smart people from all over the world applying to United States medical schools and it is becoming harder and harder to get in. Setting yourself apart from others will do a great job in helping you achieve your dream. The medical school admissions process is extremely competitive, and in retrospect, much of the anxiety can be avoided by developing a comprehensive, pragmatic admissions strategy early in undergraduate.
Pick Your Major
Take Beneficial Classes
?More than once, I have heard admissions committee members refer to the “unspoken requirements” of admission. One important example is practical, sustained volunteer experience (greater than 6-12months) in the medical field; ideally in direct patient care. Research experience in which a project was brought from conception to peer-reviewed publication or presentation is another example, as it is demonstrative of intellectual curiosity and a willingness to see a project to it’s completion.
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Take Your MCAT
Take the MCAT exam in either April or August: Acceptance into UAMS in the past has generally required a total in the mid to high 20’s on the three parts of the MCAT exam that are scored by numbers. The writing portion of the test is more difficult to figure in, but the farther down the alphabet the better.
Admissions committees use MCAT scores to assess an applicant’s relative level of preparedness for the rigorous pre-clinical years, and data supports a correlation between MCAT scores and success on the USMLE Step 1 exam. By succeeding in your required premedical courses you are doing the preliminary work to master the MCAT, but a knowledge of and comfort with the format and content of the exam is critical. Therefore, demystifying the exam as early as possible, taking a preparatory course, and doing numerous practice tests as exam-time approaches are invaluable strategies.
Once you have a solid background and application, it is time to apply to medical school.
To apply to the majority of medical schools in the United States, you must use the official AAMC application service, American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS). This service is a central system that can be used to easily apply to a great majority of medical schools from one simple application. This AAMC application is often considered your primary application
Down-load a copy of the electronic application form that is available from the Association of American Medical Colleges. Go to http://www.aamc.org and from there you click on student, applicant and advisor information. What you want is AMCAS-E. You can apply to as many medical schools as you like (and can afford) with the same form. This service is available from June 1 to Nov 1.
The AAMC primary application has a processing fee of $160.00, which includes one medical school. Additional medical schools can be added for a fee of $34.00. Note, these fees are always subject to change.
The AAMC offers a fee assistance program, where qualified students can obtain a waiver for up to 14 medical school applications, and also reduced registration costs for the MCAT. You can find all of the terms and conditions for the fee assistance program at the AAMC website.
Some schools often require a secondary application
Once your primary and secondary applications have been reviewed, it is time for the interview. The interview is perhaps the most important part of the medical school application process. The interview allows the medical school to see you for exactly who you are in your whole. Some people look great on paper but lack even fundamental communication skills in person. Having quality interpersonal skills is essential for becoming a good doctor as you will have to deal with every facet of society.
Interviews can happen at the campus or off campus, that is completely up to the discretion of the medical school who is interviewing you. Interviews come in multiple forms, including by one official, or in front of an entire board.
The AMCAS application generally opens during the first week of May. Submission opens on June so there is a month gap during which students may work on the application. Do not under estimate the time it takes to fill out the AMCAS application. The primary application is tedious and requires you to give a lot of information about your academic career and qualifications.
Medical School Interview
Thinking about taking a year off? It may not be such a bad idea.