Admissions statistics show that the rate of acceptance into medical schools is less that 10%, and at times as low as 4% for certain schools. The following figures highlight the success rate for several American & Canadian medical schools, as an example.
What makes a good medical school candidate? Who are the students who get accepted into the top programs around the country? What qualities or characteristics (aside from excellent academic performance) distinguish these students from the thousands upon thousand of other candidates who receive the dreaded rejection letter from the medical school of their dreams?
These are some of the many questions that our research team at BeMo Academic Consulting will answer through rigorous studying of medical school admission processes and their candidates. Over the years, we have identified some key factors that are essential to being an excellent medical school candidate, and without considering these factors, you are, as the statistics indicate, going to fail as an applicant.
BeMo key factor #1: Selecting inappropriate medical schools
This may seem pretty straightforward. Yet it remains the number one reason most students get rejected. It is critical that you do your research about every potential medical school, make sure that you meet their prerequisite course requirements, AND you must make sure that your MCAT and GPA scores are equal to or above their AVERAGE ACCEPTED GPA. This is very important, because medical schools have been extremely competitive and meeting the minimum requirements is NOT sufficient.
BeMo key factor #2: Starting applications too late
Aside from planning their path too late, most undergraduate students who decide to apply to a medical school also begin completing their actual application way too late in the cycle and too close to the deadlines. Most medical school applications are long and time consuming and require great attention to detail. Each applicant is usually required to complete a combination of detailed autobiographical sketch/CV, a personal statement, and/or short essays. These documents not only have to be perfectly drafted, but they also have to stand out among the thousands of other documents that admissions committees receive each and every year. A good personal statement, for instance, requires over 60 hours of work, and the editing and revision process sometimes spans a period of 2 months. Those candidates who begin their application months in advance of the deadline are statistically more likely to gain admissions into a medical school as compared to those who rushed to complete their application a few days ahead of the deadlines.
BeMo Key factor #3: Application not holistic enough
Medical schools have realized the importance of drawing candidates who are well rounded and possess lots of unique and diverse life experiences. As a result, most medical schools look at their applicants holistically. This means they not only take into account each applicant’s academic performance (GPA and MCAT scores) but also their volunteer, extracurricular, employment and research experiences (i.e. ‘life experiences’), as they give clues about the candidate's NCSs. Thus, it should come as no surprise that every year thousands of candidates with excellent GPA and MCAT scores do not gain admissions into medical schools as a result of not being well-rounded individuals. The best applications are those that are holistic and demonstrate a diverse set of ‘life experiences’ outside of the academic setting (i.e. real world experience).
BeMo key factor #4: Doing what everyone else is doing
Admissions statistics show that the rate of acceptance into most medical schools is less that 10%, and at times as low as 4% for certain schools. Thus, it should be intuitively obvious that doing what everyone else is doing to get into a medical school cannot be the best tactic, as the overwhelming majority of those who apply get rejected even prior to being invited to an interview. Stay away from the herd mentality that drives students to enroll in specific programs and courses that they think will give them an advantage when it comes to applying to medical schools. More importantly, stay away from blog sites and student-run forums/clubs, which promote inaccurate information and unsubstantiated myths, and prescribe them to EVERY student. You need to develop your unique sense of self as early as possible so that you can explore your genuine passions during your early academic career.
Be odd, be creative, and resist the path of conformity because almost everything popular is wrong!
BeMo key factor #5: Not following your passion
The most important factor that prevents students from gaining admissions into a medical school is their failure to recognize and follow their passions. We notice many students who are simply interested in going to a medical school for the wrong reasons. They are either motivated by the economic incentives, or the prestige and job security, or even worse; they are pursing a medical degree as a result of years of influence from their parents. There is a lack of genuine passion and drive, and this translates into poor academic performance in the undergraduate years. Furthermore, this lack of genuine motivation and passion translates into a sub-par application that comes off as disingenuous and insincere. By following your passions, you are going to succeed academically, and more importantly, you will gain those unique and diverse life experiences that will not only set you apart from the herd but will refine your NCSs.
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To your success,