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Preparing for Medical School  April 16th, 2012

There are many components that go into a medical school application. Having strong overall and science gpa’s, and a high MCAT score are only part of what makes a good medical school applicant. Admissions committees look holistically at applicants. They seek students who have strong communication skills, work ethic, compassion, and commitment. Your shadowing, healthcare experience, community service, research, leadership, and work experience all go into your application. Admissions officers are also likely to take into consideration any obstacles or hardships you have overcome. The term “distance traveled” is often used by medical schools to acknowledge life challenges that have been addressed.

Academic Competencies
Courses completed
Undergraduate grades
MCAT Scores
Personal Competencies
Personal statements
Letters of recommendation
Reflections on experiences
Core Areas of Competence
Integrity and Ethics
Reliability and Dependability
Service Orientation
Social and Interpersonal Skills
Capacity for Improvement
Resilience and Adaptability
Cultural Competence
Oral Communication

•Know your resources: Frequently talk to your advisors, professors, instructors, and teaching assistants. Take advantage of free tutoring, study tables, study tips, success classes, and other resources on campus.

•Get Involved: Shadow a doctor (multiple if possible), get direct patient care experience, participate in community service, work with a professor on a research project, hold a leadership position in a club, go on an international internship/study abroad, get a part-time job (even if it’s not healthcare related).

•Grades: Trends are very important. Your grades should improve over time. Downward trends are red flags to medical schools. Having more than 2-3 withdrawals or “W” on your transcript will be looked at negatively unless there is a compelling reason. Repeated courses need to be A’s. Challenge yourself but don’t take on too much.

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