Year by year, medical school admissions is becoming more competitive. According to AMCAS data, in 2006, the average gpa for matriculating into medical school was a 3.64. In 2016, the average gpa has increased to 3.7 and it will likely continue to rise. Students have more leadership roles, spend more time overseas, and are all around great candidates. The unfortunate thing is that we have more qualified students than we do positions to fill. So, if a 4.0 and 528 are no longer guarantees you admission into medical school, what strategies can be used when applying? Here are 5 tips.
1) Identify your target schools early. This is pretty basic and most premedical students do a good job at it. Nowadays, it is very easy to find information about your various medical schools online (e.g. PreMed StAR). Be sure to use all of your resources to learn as much as you can about your schools of interest. Every applicant should try to have 3 categories of schools to apply to. Reach schools (school that have gpa/mcat/extracurriculars averages better than the applicants), reality schools (your credentials match well with the schools’ averages), and safety schools (your credentials are better than the averages).
2) Network with recruiters from your target schools. Students very often overlook this essential aspect of the application process. Recruiters are your friends! They want to be! Their goal is to find you, and you should make it easy for them.
3) Ensure you application is flawless. Did you catch the typo in the preceding sentence? One flaw, can ruin your credibility and cause an admissions committee member to toss your application out.
4) Submit your application early. Many medical schools will admit students on a rolling admissions basis. This means that you can be accepted to that medical school even before some students have applied or interviewed. So in theory, by applying early, you have less competition. If possible, submit your application within 2 months of the application opening.
5) Be on your best behavior before, during, and after the interview process. It is very important to understand that on interview day; everyone is interviewing you! The receptionist, the medical students, the waiter, the chauffeur, oh, and of course the doctor. Word gets around fast, so if you mistreat any one of these individuals, count yourself out!
These 5 suggestions will not guarantee that you gain admission into medical school, but doing them is a lot better than not doing them. The playing field is more and more competitive each year so all applicants need to stay on their ‘A’ game!
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