Geisel School of Medicine: Requirements, Statistics & How to Get in 2020

Updated: September 1, 2020


Geisel School of Medicine is the only medical school in New Hampshire. It also happens to be one of the most competitive and highly regarded medical schools in the world. With the help of this blog, you will learn its admissions statistics and eligibility criteria, admissions requirements, and strategies that will help you get accepted!

Here's What You'll Learn:

Mission Statement

Admissions Statistics and Eligibility

Available Programs

Academic Curriculum

Application Timeline

Recommended Courses

Tuition and Debt

Funding Opportunities

Selection Factors

Interview Format

Acceptance and Waitlist Information

Contact Information

FAQs

Mission Statement

“To improve the lives of the communities we serve through excellence in learning, discovery, and healing. To foster an inclusive, diverse community that reflects our world and addresses the most challenging issues in health care.”

Admissions Statistics and Eligibility

Number of Matriculants: 92

Overall Success Rate: 1.1%

Success Rate (in-state): 5.5%

Success Rate (out-of-state): 1%

Success Rate (international): 1.17%

Average MCAT: 516

Average GPA: 3.78

Eligibility

Geisel School of Medicine accepts applicants from all over the world. As you could see from the stats I include above, in-state applicants tend to have a higher acceptance rate than their out-of-state counterparts. Geisel is one of the Canadian friendly US medical schools, so Canadian applicants are also eligible to apply and are considered in the same pool as US citizens. International and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status applicants are also welcome and are considered in the same pool as US citizens.

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Available Programs

MD

Dartmouth’s medical school program builds the practice of medicine on a foundation of basic science. The training of clinical skills is done through experimental learning that spans all four years. The first-year clinical skills course, On Doctoring, employs simulated clinical experience for first-year students to enhance learning, observation, and feedback. The simulated clinics start in September and run until April of the first year. Another popular course, Patient and Populations, exposes students to issues of great importance to healthcare. Geisel School of Medicine prioritizes training its students to become effective agents to improve the healthcare system and to enact change as a response to hot topic issues of the day, such as the national opiate crisis or the ethics of international medical research.

MD-PhD

Candidates looking to apply to Geisel’s MD-PhD program must simply complete the AMCAS combined MD/PhD application, the MD-PhD Statement of Interest Form, and the Geisel School secondary application. Remember, in addition to providing your personal statement, you must also submit the Significant Research Essay and the MD PhD essay as part of your AMCAS application. You must complete all components to be considered for the program. MD-PhD applicants will be considered both for the dual degree and for the MD-only program. Geisel encourages early application.

The MD-PhD programs take 7 to 8 years to complete. At Geisel, the first two years of your education will be dedicated to completing the pre-clerkship MD curriculum. After this, you will be required to complete the PhD phase of the curriculum. Typically, it takes about four years to obtain your PhD. Following that, you will complete the MD portion of the program, i.e. your clerkships.

MD-MBA

This program is coordinated with Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business. The graduates of the MD-MBA program become leaders in healthcare and medical administration and entrepreneurial ventures in pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical-product industries. To become enrolled, you must apply to the Tuck School during your second year as a medical school student. The MD-MBA program admits up to 6 students annually. Students tend to complete the combined program in five or six years.

Health Policy Programs

MD-MPH and MD-MS are offered in collaboration with the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. You may apply to these combined programs as soon as you are enrolled in the MD program. The programs are designed to provide you with the academic knowledge and skillsets to make an impact in evidence-based public health practice and quality improvement.

Engineering Program

The MD-MS program is offered in collaboration with the Dartmouth Thayer School of Engineering. It is designed for people who intend to pursue clinical practice and want to develop additional research skills related to the engineering area. This is also a great opportunity for those, who want to explore technologies that are employed by practicing physicians.

Academic Curriculum

Geisel School of Medicine prides itself on preparing students to become complete physicians. The instruction style includes lectures (less than 40%), labs, team-based learning, case-based learning, problem-based learning, small groups, and flipped classroom sessions. Attendance policy does not demand students’ presence, but you may be required to attend lectures by individual professors in the case of a special presentation or demonstration with live patients.

Essentially, the students are trained to succeed in careers across the entire spectrum of medical practice including all clinical specialties and subspecialties, research in academic health centers, rural and urban settings, and for diverse patient populations. The curriculum is composed of three phases of learning: Preclinical, Clinical Clerkships, and Readiness for Residency.

Preclinical Curriculum includes courses that introduce the students to a variety of basic sciences and medical topics:

  • Anatomy and Embryology
  • Imaging
  • Cells/Tissues/Organs
  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry
  • Pathology
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Health and Values
  • Oncology
  • Nutrition
  • Pediatrics

Clinical Clerkships Curriculum

This phase of the curriculum begins in April of the second academic year. You will be required to complete clerkships in the six major clinical disciplines: Internal Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Family Medicine. Each clerkship is six to eight weeks long. The Clinical Clerkship curriculum allows students to take up to six weeks of clinical electives along with the six required clerkships I listed above.

Readiness for Residency

Starting in April of the third academic year, you will be exposed to two required four-week clerkships in Neurology, Geriatrics, and Ambulatory Medicine and at least one advanced four-week sub-internship in a field of your choice. By completing the required clerkships by April of the third year, you will have 5 to 6 months to explore career choices through electives before applying to residencies. You can choose from electives available on campus, across the US, or even around the world. You can also design your own elective with the support of a Geisel faculty member.

Grading system

Pass/Fail is used for pre-clerkship courses. In your clerkship years, you will be awarded with one of the following: Honors, High Pass, Pass, or Fail. Students at Geisel School of Medicine are not ranked.

Application Timeline

This is the general timeline of the Geisel School of Medicine application process. Make sure you check the exact medical school application timelines on their website or in the AAMC portal.

June 1: AMCAS application opens.

September: Interviews begin.

November 1: AMCAS application deadline.

December 1: Secondary application deadline. The secondary application fee is $130.

February 19: After February 19, accepted applicants may select the “Plan to Enroll” option in AMCAS. If you are certain you will not attend Geisel or another school where you have been accepted, Geisel encourages you to withdraw your application as soon as possible.

April 15: After this date, accepted applicants, holding acceptances at multiple schools, should narrow their choices to no more than three med schools. Applicants may remain on the waitlist at other schools.

April 30: After this date, accepted applicants may select the “Commit to Enroll” option in AMCAS. This will mean that you are withdrawing all other acceptances but may remain on waitlists. If you receive another acceptance offer, you must notify Dartmouth within 24 hours, indicating the name of the school and the amount of time you have to respond to another school’s offer.

May 31: Interviews end.

July 1: Accepted students are required to select “Commit to Enroll”. If you do not select this option before July 1, your offer will be automatically withdrawn. You must also withdraw from other waitlists or other acceptances by this date. Failure to do this will result in your offer being revoked.

Recommended Courses

Geisel School of Medicine has a set number of medical school prerequisites. You must have a bachelor's degree. Your undergraduate degree can be completed in any discipline you prefer, but you must demonstrate having taken the following subjects:

  • One year (8 semester hours or equivalent) of general biology and general physics.
  • Two years (16 semester hours or equivalent) of chemistry, which must include one semester (or equivalent) of organic chemistry and one semester (or equivalent) of biochemistry.
  • One half-year (3 semester hours or equivalent) of college-level mathematics, including either calculus or statistics.

Although there is no expiration date for your prerequisites, Geisel School of Medicine encourages students who have been out of school for more than three years to complete some recent science coursework before applying to the MD program. As an international student, you must also complete a minimum of three years of post-secondary study at a US or Canadian college or university. Geisel recommends students to explore studies in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities that provide a solid foundation in the scientific basis of medicine and human behavior and society. Although no particular English courses are listed as requirements, you must demonstrate fluency in written and spoken English.

Tuition and Debt

Tuition and fees for in-state and out-of-state students: $67,794

Total cost of attendance: $87,872 per year

Students receiving financial aid: 81%

Average graduating debt at Geisel: $207,739

National average graduating debt at public medical schools: $175,607

National average graduating debt at private medical schools: $184,892

Funding Opportunities

Geisel School of Medicine Financial Aid Awards

According to the Geisel School of Medicine, about 90% of students receive internal financial aid. Students' eligibility is based on their financial need as determined by FAFSA, CSS Profile Form Analysis, the financial application, supporting documentation, and tax returns. The financial aid packages consist of loans and the Geisel School of Medicine scholarship. This application cycle, the standard base loan is around $45,700 and is awarded to students who demonstrate the need for this loan. If the student's need is less than this loan, he or she will receive a partial amount. If the student's need exceeds this loan, he or she will be awarded with a Geisel School of Medicine scholarship. Please visit Geisel’s Financial Aid webpage to learn more about the application procedures and required documentation.

External Financial Aid

State Aid and Additional Resources

It might be wise to apply to the State Medical Society in the state in which you reside to see what options are available, as well as to contact local lending institutions to see if they have trust funds or educational funds for which medical students may apply.

Personally searching for various scholarships, grants, and loans can be time-consuming, so check out a list of scholarships, as well as a listing of state medical agencies with contact information available on this website. When a student receives a loan or scholarship from an outside source, an equivalent deduction is made from the loan portion of the Geisel School of Medicine aid package.

Scholarships

These scholarships provide substantial financial support in return for a service commitment. Once such an award is accepted, all Geisel School of Medicine scholarship and loans to the student are rescinded.

1. National Health Service Corps Scholarship (NHSC)

2. Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Programs (HPSP). These federal military scholarships include tuition, living expenses, books, and increased pay for 45 days of active duty (required) each year in exchange for a commitment to serve as a military physician; this is a year-for-year scholarship with a three-year minimum.

3. Indian Health Service Program. This scholarship program offers scholarship grants through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Indian Health Service (IHS). The IHS grants consist of a monthly stipend, money for books, supplies, travel, and tuition.

4. Geisel School of Medicine, Office of Multicultural Affairs. If you are an applicant who would like to be considered for non-institutional minority funding, you may wish to contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs. This Office can advise you to see if you might qualify to apply for specific outside grants, scholarships, or loan programs and then point you in the direction to access them.

Other Funding Opportunities

The terms of these loans are subject to change at any time, so make sure you research these options carefully.

  • Direct Unsubsidized Federal Loan. This funding option is available to United States Citizens and Permanent Residents who have applied for financial aid to Geisel School of Medicine and it is currently the best option for additional financing, other than family or personal assistance. For the first- and second-year students, the maximum Unsubsidized Direct loan is $42,700 per year, and the interest rate is around 4.53% while the student is in school and during repayment for loans borrowed. Payments on this loan may be deferred while the student is enrolled in school, but interest will accrue, and the standard repayment period is 10 years.
  • Graduate PLUS Loans U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents may be eligible for a Federal Grad PLUS loan which is credit-based and has a 5.30% fixed interest rate for loans borrowed. Payments may be deferred while in school, but interest will accrue on this loan. The standard repayment period is 10 years. Cost of Attendance minus aid is the maximum amount that can be borrowed. Students with poor credit history will most likely be required by the lender to have a co-signer who has resided and worked in the United States for at least two years.

Want to learn how to get into an Ivy League medical school? Check out our video:

Selection Factors

GPA

As a member of the Ivy League medical schools, it will not come as a surprise that Geisel School of Medicine has a highly selective admissions process. This is why your GPA must at least match the GPA threshold set by the previous year's matriculants. Your academic record is the primary indicator of your ability to keep up with the rigors of the MD curriculum and your familiarity with the core MD prerequisites. And while some schools may forgive a lower GPA if the rest of your application is outstanding, I would not recommend students with lower GPAs to apply. If your GPA does not meet Dartmouth’s standard, there are strategies you can implement to increase your GPA. If you’re a current student, try to take courses in disciplines you ace, but do not forget to complete the med school prerequisites, as well as your program’s requirements for graduation. If you’re struggling with a particular discipline, consider hiring a tutor. If this is not an option, try organizing a study group or look for study groups on campus. Another good way to get help with course content is to visit your professors and TAs during their office hours. They can expand on difficult concepts covered in lectures or help you with assignments. You can also ask them if they offer any assignments for extra-credit.

If you're no longer a student, but wish to increase your GPA, remember, Geisel encourages students who've been out of school for more than three years to re-take the science prerequisites. Take this opportunity to increase your grades with the help of a tutor or a study group.

If you’re unable or uninterested in working to improve your GPA, check out some tips on how to get into med school with a low GPA.

MCAT

Your MCAT must be written within 3 years of your application date. You must score at least 503 to be considered for admission. Students with MCAT scores of 502 or below will not be sent a secondary application. Don’t forget that last year’s matriculants had an average score of 516 on their MCAT, so it's important to try and achieve this score to be a competitive applicant. Your GPA and MCAT are the yardstick with which you will be measured against other MD applicants, so in order not to give the adcoms any reasons to cut you out of the initial applicant pool, you should strive to meet these minimums.

MCAT preparation is an arduous task. You should know when to start studying for the MCAT and what a good MCAT score is. Whether it’s your first time taking the MCAT or you are rewriting the test, you should have a solid study strategy. Before you create a thorough MCAT study schedule, make sure to take the MCAT diagnostic test. Taking a practice test will reveal which areas of knowledge and concepts you need to improve. When you create your study schedule, make sure to include the areas you need to cover, i.e. MCAT biology questions, MCAT physics equations, MCAT psychology topics, etc., as well as active study strategies to tackle your challenges. Don’t forget to pay special attention to MCAT CARS practice by working with CARS sample passages and doing challenging reading. Continue taking the diagnostic tests to see if you're improving and rearrange your study schedule according to your needs. You need to be consistently scoring at least 90% during your practices before you write the real MCAT. If you are wondering “When should I take the MCAT?”, make sure to read our blog.

The Essays

Your AMCAS personal statement will provide the adcoms with the first glimpse of your candidacy outside of scores and grades. In addition to your AMCAS Work and Activities, your personal statement will give the admissions officers a more in-depth understanding of your interest in medicine and why you chose to apply to medical school. Essentially, your personal statement must answer one important question: “Why do you want to be a doctor?” You will have only 5300 characters to tell you story. This means that you will need to be very selective about what you include in the essay.

The statement must follow the format of an academic essay, i.e. introduction, body with 2 or 3 experiences, and conclusion. Before you begin writing your statement, reflect on your past experiences, brainstorm ideas, and choose only the most meaningful experiences for your essay. Your personal statement should be structured around 2 or 3 experiences; limiting the number of experiences you include in your personal statement allows for space to talk about each experience in depth. The introduction of your essay must be strong to captivate the readers and keep them interested in your story. It might be easier to write your introduction last, after you write the body and conclusion of your statement. This way you will already know what your essay talks about and you will be able to formulate an introduction that indicates what the reader should expect from your personal statement. The body paragraphs need to demonstrate your experiences and qualities you acquired that make you a perfect candidate for the schools to which you’re applying. Be very selective about the experiences you include – they must show, rather than simply tell, about your readiness to become a medical school student. Be sure to demonstrate what these experiences taught you and what kind of valuable skills you learned from them. Remember, you are trying to show the quality of your experiences, do not simply list them and expect the readers to know why they were important on your journey to medical school.

Your conclusion may reiterate some of the key points of your essay, but do not just write a dry summary. Leave a lasting impression by including an insightful comment about your journey to medical school or your reflections on the importance of medical professionals and their role in society. Your personal statement gives adcoms an idea of your personality, values, and history. Not only does it tell your story, but it also demonstrates your self-awareness and ability to self-evaluate, shows the quality of your communication skills, and ability to identify the most significant points of your experiences. Writing clearly and concisely is a skill greatly valued by admissions committees. Be aware that writing a good personal statement may take you weeks. Polishing and editing several drafts are normal steps in ensuring that your essay is of high caliber. Before you write your statement, make sure to read medical school personal statement examples to understand what adcoms are looking for in their applicants.

You must achieve a minimum score of 503 on your MCAT to be eligible to receive a secondary application. All applicants who meet this threshold will receive the secondary application. Medical school secondary essays are more difficult to plan and execute since you will have a limited amount of time to complete them. Remember to submit your primary application as early as possible to have more time to write your secondary essays. You will have until December of this application cycle to submit your secondaries to Geisel. When you are preparing to write your secondary essays, remember to carefully read the prompt and provide an answer to whatever is being asked of you. Make sure you understand what the prompt is asking of you. Responses that do not provide the necessary information are typically discarded and their authors face medical school rejection. Secondary essays are also typically shorter; the prompts will outline the expected word count. Your secondary essays must be concise and clear. Make sure to read our medical school secondary examples before you set out to write your own.

Secondary Applications Prompts

1. Please indicate your plans for the upcoming year. (No indicated word count)

2. Please share something about yourself that is not addressed elsewhere in your application that you feel might be helpful to our Admissions Committee. (No indicated word count)

3. Geisel School of Medicine values social justice and diversity in all its forms. Reflect on a situation where you were the “other”. (250 words)

Recommendation Letters

Geisel School of Medicine will accept a composite recommendation from your school’s premedical committee. If your school does not have a premedical committee, you must submit a minimum of 3 individual letters. A maximum of 5 individual letters is accepted. In addition to three academic references from science and non-science instructors, you are encouraged to submit letters from supervisors, employers, and other colleagues who know you well. If you are in graduate school, one of your three academic referees must be your thesis supervisor. Submit all your letters through AMCAS using one of their acceptable form of receipt. Make sure you do not submit more than 5 letters, as Geisel will only read the first 5 references they receive.

Your medical school recommendation letters are important components of your application. Your reference letters must be stellar. Your recommenders must know you well and be able to speak to your strengths and virtues. Make sure that the people you ask to write your references fully endorse your candidacy for medical school and are eager to show their support in the letter – you do not want any mediocre or lukewarm letters. When you approach a potential writer and ask them to write you a strong letter of reference, make sure they agree to write you one. If you see any hesitation, it might be a good idea to ask another person to be your recommender. To help your writers, provide them with a draft of your personal statement, your CV, transcripts, and any other information that may be helpful in the writing process.

Extracurriculars

Extracurriculars for medical school allow adcoms to see what kind of activities informed your decision to apply to medical school. Not all your experiences need to be medically related, but the committee needs to see that you have taken the necessary steps to “test drive” your future career. Therefore, you are recommended to have clinical and shadowing experiences. For your reference, 84% of Geisel’s last year’s matriculants had medical and clinical volunteer experience. 53% had medical and clinical paid employment experience. 78% of Geisel’s matriculants had physician shadowing and clinical observation experience. Additionally, 77% had other community service and volunteer experiences, while over 95% had research and lab experience.

Remember, quality trumps quantity, so do not spread yourself too thin. It is important to show to the committee that you have dedicated a substantial amount of time to activities that you truly enjoy. So, rather than engaging in a multitude of clinical activities for short periods of time, choose an activity you like and stick with it. Whether it’s volunteering at the hospital or in a retirement home, your extracurricular activity must demonstrate a commitment. If you’re still working on building up your med school application, apply to volunteer in hospitals and clinics, as well as long-term care and retirement homes. Other ways to gain clinical experience may include volunteering in hospices, working as a health professional’s assistant, becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA), a volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT), a medical scribe, or a personal caretaker. As a future physician, you must have experience in patient interaction. Exposure to patients and their needs will cultivate your empathy and compassion – qualities highly regarded by admissions committees.

And even though shadowing is not a requirement, but a recommendation, you should participate in shadowing to be a competitive candidate. Shadowing a physician will expose you to the everyday responsibilities of a practicing physician. Having shadowing as part of your medical school application will indicate to the adcoms that you know what you are getting into and that you are ready to take on responsibilities associated with being a doctor. Make sure you know how to ask to shadow a doctor and how many shadowing hours are required for medical school.

Remember, stick with an activity you enjoy and commit to it. If you dedicate your time and energy to an activity you like, you will have better chances of having a positive impact on your colleagues and patients. Your dedication may even result in a glowing reference from your supervisor.

Research

As I mentioned above, over 90% of Geisel's matriculants have research experience. This should indicate to you that adcoms put a lot of value into the applicants' research backgrounds. If this is an area of your application that is lacking, you must work to gain quality research experience. You do not need to get involved in several research projects to make your application stand out. Even one in-depth, quality research project can be enough to demonstrate your research skills and experiences that can be applied to a variety of scientific fields and disciplines. If you are a student, start by asking your instructors and TAs if they are involved in any research projects and whether they need help. Be on the look-out for any research assistant postings in science departments on campus. If you're applying to research positions on and off-campus, make sure to prepare a stellar research assistant cover letter. If you're no longer a student on campus, you can look for research opportunities in nearby colleges by emailing professors in the departments you would like to join as a researcher. In your email, explain that you are a pre-med student that needs to gain research experience and state that you would like to volunteer in their lab. As a student and a graduate, you can also contact physicians you shadowed or worked with to find out if they have any research opportunities for you.

Other ways to gain research experience may include contacting a medical school and its medical centers near you. Departments at teaching hospitals typically have their own research personnel and you can phone or email them about research opportunities. If academia is your passion, you can consider enrolling in special master's programs. Typically, graduate degrees have built-in research opportunities, but do not get a master’s to simply fulfill the research requirement. Master’s degrees are expensive and time-consuming – you must have better reasons to apply than to bolster your application.

Interview Format

Geisel School of Medicine starts sending out interview invitations in August of the year of application. The interview season begins in September and continues through March. Interviews take place on Thursdays.

Typically, the interview days are designed for the school to get to know you and for you to get to know Geisel. The day begins with a welcome from the Associate Dean of Admissions. After this, you have an information session with the admissions and financial aid team followed by a group exercise. In the afternoon, you have two thirty-minute one-on-one interviews conducted by members of Geisel’s admissions committee. The day ends with brief closing remarks from the Associate Dean.

All interviews for this application cycle will take place virtually. Make sure you check Geisel’s website for updates regarding the application process and interview format.

Acceptance and Waitlist Information

Geisel School of Medicine sends out acceptance notices starting October. Latest acceptance notices are sent in July of the year of entrance. You will have about two weeks to respond to your offer. Please don’t forget to reference the Application Timeline to learn about important acceptance deadlines.

According to last year’s data, Geisel has from 10 to 30 waitlist positions available per cycle. 21 acceptance offers were granted to applicants on the waitlist last year. In May of the year of entrance, Geisel contacts waitlisted applicants regarding their desire to remain on the waitlist and admits candidates from the waitlist via a committee process. If you want to learn how to get off a medical school waitlist, make sure to read our blog.

Contact information

Admissions Website

Admissions Email: [email protected]

FAQs

1. How many letters of recommendation should I submit to Geisel?

Geisel requires a minimum of 3 letters and a maximum of 5 letters will be considered. Note, only the first 5 letters received by AMCAS will be read by the committee. You may also submit 1 committee letter instead of individual letters.

2. Do I need to finish my prerequisite courses before applying?

No, your prerequisites may be completed during the summer of the year of entrance, but you must complete them by the time you matriculate at Geisel.

3. Can online courses count toward my prerequisite requirement?

Although Geisel prefers prerequisite courses to be taken in the classroom, you may be able to meet a Geisel prerequisite with an online course from a properly accredited program in the US or Canada. You can always email the admissions at Geisel to confirm if your online course will count.

4. Can classes taken outside of the US or Canada count towards my prerequisites?

Classes taken outside the US or Canada can count towards the prerequisite requirements. AMCAS will not verify and report them, which means that you will need to provide Geisel with an official evaluation from an educational credentialing service for each course.

5. If I have taken MCAT multiple times, which MCAT score will Geisel consider?

Your most recent score will be considered closely, but adcoms will also look at your other scores. Your MCAT must be written within the last three calendar years.

6. Are international students accepted?

Yes, international students who meet the premedical requirements, including three years of post-secondary study at a US or Canadian institution, are welcome to apply.

7. How do I access the secondary application?

Geisel will send you instructions for accessing their online secondary application if your MCAT score is 503 or higher.

8. Does Geisel participate in the AMCAS Early Decision Program?

No, Geisel does not participate in the Early Decision Program. 

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