The Mayo medical school's focus on small class sizes, high patient-to-student ratios, flexible electives, and world-class research opportunities make it a perennial dream school for many medical students. However, with an overall medical school acceptance rate of 1.4% the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine is among the most exclusive MD programs in the country. With the right information and preparation though, you can provide a strong application and significantly increase your chances to receive one of those coveted admittances. In this blog, we'll go over the necessary information to understand and improve your chances for success.
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“The Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine will educate and inspire a diverse workforce of physicians and scientists through excellence in medical education, research and clinical care; to alleviate human suffering by providing compassionate and culturally sensitive care; to enhance the biomedical sciences through discovery and innovation; and to advance the national health care system through population science and leadership.”
Advanced Dual Degree Programs
In addition to the MD and MD-PhD programs, MCASOM also offers eight advanced degree programs through its Arizona and Minnesota campuses. Once students have completed 2-3 years of the MD program and are in good standing, they become eligible to participate in these programs (which Mayo refers to as “complementary academic enrichment experiences”). These programs cover a great range of medical specialties, including:
Check out our video for more information about the Mayo med school:
MCASOM’s M.D. curriculum is centered around three main sections of work:
The 1st and 2nd year of the MD program are focused on two major subject blocks of coursework and applied learning/clinical integration activities.
The 1st year includes coursework on basic sciences including:
- Basic Principals and Structure (anatomy, histology, genetics, biochemistry)
- Human Structure (anatomy and radiology)
- Normal Function (pathology, cell biology, immunology)
- Principles of Disease (microbiology, pharmacology, therapeutics)
Additionally, 1st year students participate in the Basic Doctoring course that focuses on interviewing, patient histories, and physical examinations. 1st year students also begin work in health care delivery, which remains a part of their curriculum throughout their four years in the program and earns them a certification in HCD upon graduation.
The 2nd year subject block focuses on what MCASOM calls the “organ systems approach.” This focuses on physiology, anatomy, and pathology in the following specialized courses:
- Brain and Neuroscience
- Introductory Psychiatry
- The Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems
- Hematology and Rheumatology
- Gynecology, Urology, and the Renal System
- The Gastrointestinal System
Additionally, 2nd year students participate in the Advanced Doctoring course, which builds on the foundations of the 1st year’s basic course. Students conduct guided evaluations in clinical experiences that include:·
- Internal Medicine
- Clinical Integration with subject blocks (clinical practice related to the systems coursework listed above)
Lastly, 2nd year students also begin preparation for clinical clerkships that begin in the 3rd year, with courses focusing on:·
- Hospital survival skills
- Common presentations in specialties including ophthalmology, obstetrics and gynecology, dermatology, family medicine and many more
- Musculoskeletal physical exams
- Evidence-based medicine
- Medical innovation
- Procedural and Communication skills
There is also an intensive review section toward the end of this year to prepare for the USMLE Step 1 exam.
One of MCASOM’s most inventive features is the use of what are called “selective” (self-directed elective) blocks, which are 1- to 2-week blocks of time that, as the name suggests, allows students to engage in self-directed study or activities that help develop a sense of personal responsibility and interest in specialization(s). These blocks emphasize cultivating a sense of career direction and/or personal exploration in various modalities including research, enhancement of clinical skills, professional skill development, and much more. Selectives also allow students to travel to and work at any of the other Mayo Clinic campuses (Arizona, Minnesota, or Florida) as well as other institutions within the Mayo Clinic Health System. Selectives can be self-proposed or -designed, or chosen from available clinical experiences under the guidance of a mentor. Selectives also encourage students to both give and receive feedback on the experience, which helps them develop a greater sense of their strengths and weaknesses as novice medical professionals.
For more information on this novel aspect of the Mayo MD program, check out the MCASOM Selectives page.
Check out the most important statistics and requirements of the Mayo medical school:
Clinical Clerkships and Electives
The 3rd and 4th years of the MCASOM MD program are, as with most MD programs, oriented around extensive clinical and applied work. These include required clerkships in:
- Family medicine (6 weeks)
- Internal medicine (6 weeks)
- Neurology (3 weeks)
- Obstetrics and Gynecology (6 weeks)
- Pediatrics (6 weeks)
- Psychiatry (3 weeks)
- Surgery (6 weeks)
The 3rd year curriculum also includes a 3-week intersession that applies basic science knowledge in integrated topics like public health, radiology, professional conduct, and much more.
Lastly, there is a 12-week research quarter requirement that introduces principles and practices relating to biomedical research, which is a central aspect of the Mayo Clinic’s overall project. This includes a supervised research project designed to complement your career interest and expose you to scientific research methods.
During the 4th year of the MCASOM MD program, students participate in four rigorous required clerkships that include·
- Emergency medicine
- Internal medicine (as a hospital subinternshp)
- Residency boot camp
- Social medicine
The nature of the 4th year is intensive preparation for specialization and residency, so students must participate in electives in a wide range of specialties and subspecialties. 4th year students also participate in the 12-week Community Physician Apprenticeship Program (CPAP), which focuses on community care in both hospital and outpatient environments. The 4th year culminates in M.D. students’ preparedness for both residency and further graduate medical education.
Grading System Subject blocks in the 1st and 2nd years are graded Pass/Fail, with clerkships and other applied activities in the 3rd and 4th years being graded Honors/High Pass/Pass/Fail.
This is the general timeline for the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine’s application process. Be sure to check the exact medical school application timelines or the AAMC MSAR portal before beginning your application. MCASOM does not offer an Early Decision Program or EDP.
Admissions Statistics and Eligibility
Overall acceptance rate: 1.4%
In-state success rate: 1.3%
Out-of-state success rate: 1.4%
Mayo Medical School Overall Success Rate:
The Mayo Clinic’s Alix School of Medicine only admits students who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States or Canada at the time of application. However, if a student meets these criteria but currently resides elsewhere, they may also be granted admission. Students with refugee or asylee status are also considered eligible for admission. Unfortunately, foreign nationals who do not meet any of the above criteria are not eligible for admission regardless of visa or permit status.
The Mayo medical school also does not accept transfer students, regardless of the location of their medical school or citizenship.
The Mayo Medical School does not have specific medical school prerequisites, but recommends that applicants have a strong background in life and social sciences including, but not limited to:·
- Social Sciences
Successful lab work is also recommended in these fields, though there is no indicated number of hours.
Additionally, MCASOM recommends the following nonacademic technical standards be demonstrated in applicants’ materials:
- Motor skills
- Intellectual, integrative, and quantitative abilities
- Behavioral attributes like good judgement, promptness, sensitivity, adaptability, toleration of taxing workloads, the ability to function under stress, and professionalism
Lastly, while the Mayo Medical School doesn’t have especially concrete course requirements, they do require either a Bachelor’s or Pharm.D. degree from an accredited college in the US or Canada. There are no substitutions for this degree requirement.
Check out the reasons prerequisites are so important for medical school applicants:
Tuition and Debt
Medical school tuition ranks among the most expensive in higher education, and MCASOM’s M.D. program is no exception. The Mayo Medical school offers the following budgetary estimate for its MD program:
The Mayo medical school or MCASOM’s funding opportunities are fairly extensive, in large part due to the school’s considerable involvement with research industry development.
All students who apply are considered for scholarships funded by the school’s benefactors, and these scholarships are awarded based on both prior academic performance and financial need. Financial need is determined by calculating parental income and asset data, which is the way most medical schools make this calculation. Additionally, scholarships with the Mayo medical school are reevaluated annually, and so are renewable depending on performance and student’s circumstances. For more information on both Mayo’s institutional aid programs and external funding programs available to MCASOM students, check out Mayo College’s extensive Grants and Scholarships page.
Eligible US citizens and permanent residents may be awarded federal loans through the US Department of Education. These include Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Federal Direct PLUS Loans. To apply for federal financial aid, they must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For more information on US Federal Student Aid, check out the Department of Education’s Student Aid page on loan types and details. Learn more about how to pay for medical school in our blog.
The Mayo Medical School chooses its first-round interviewees based on six factors:
- Academic Performance
- MCAT score and percentile (75th percentile or above)
- Depth and breadth of extracurricular experiences like volunteering, research, and creative endeavors·
- Personal statement
- Letters of recommendation
MCAT and GPA
As should be expected of a world-class medical school, admission to the Mayo medical school’s MD program is extremely competitive. With an overall acceptance rate of just 1.4%, the odds are heavily against most applicants.
Accepted applicants had a median MCAT score of 520, with the overall range for accepted applicants extending from 512 to 524.
It’s important to remember that you can retake the MCAT if you score below these medians, and it’s quite common to do so. You can retake the MCAT up to three times in a year, and seven times in a lifetime. If you do poorly the first or even second time, reevaluate your MCAT prep strategies. Before you begin your prep, learn when to start studying for the MCAT and review the best MCAT study schedule to inspire your own. Make sure to take an MCAT diagnostic test to gauge your baseline and see improvements as you study. Forgo online forums like the MCAT subreddit to create your MCAT study plan – they are not helpful and often misleading. Practice with MCAT CARS passages, physics equations, and other sample questions. Remember, you should only take the MCAT when you are feeling 100% ready.
Successful applicants had a median cumulative GPA of 3.92 , making the quantitative thresholds of admission especially competitive. There is, as with most medical schools, the chance that a lower GPA can be offset by remarkably high MCAT scores (and vice versa), but you should strive to achieve this GPA threshold.
With these statistics in mind, work to make your other application materials impeccable in order to offset any perceived weaknesses in your numerical statistics.
Are you wondering if you really need to take the MCAT diagnostic test?
Your medical school personal statement is, as always, a massively influential piece of your application package for Mayo medical school. Unlike the hard numbers of your GPA and MCAT score, your personal statement allows you to speak directly to the admissions committee and contextualize who you are and why you want to be a doctor. It’s an opportunity to craft an engaging, first-person narrative capable of presenting the emotional and psychological aspects of your relationship to medicine. The personal statement is something you want to spend a lot of time drafting and editing. Give yourself at least 8 weeks to craft a compelling statement.
As any academic essay, your personal statement for medical school will have an intro, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Your body paragraphs should be based in 2 or 3 solid experiences that demonstrate your suitability for medicine. Remember, this is not a CV – you need to create a narrative, so limit your experiences to those you can talk about in detail. For AMCAS personal statements, you will have only 5300 characters to convince the admissions committee that you are the right fit for medicine.
Students who pass through the first round of selection are asked to complete a secondary application, which is composed of two elements: a medical school secondary essay and your ranking of four campus track options, which are:
- Arizona (ASU) 4-year track
- Minnesota 4-year track
- Arizona/Florida 2+2 track
- Minnesota/Florida 2+2 track
The secondary essays are more specialized than personal statements and require responses of maximum 500-words to 3 prompts:
- Why are you specifically interested in pursuing your medical education at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine even if you gain acceptances to other highly ranked medical schools?
For this prompt, you'd want to find a way to tailor your intrinsic feelings and motivations to address Mayo's mission and research specialties. A good response might connect early fascination and ongoing work with patient care, one of Mayo’s primary foci, or how your interest in/commitment to specific areas of research fit with ongoing research at one or more of their campuses. Don’t just tell them what you think they want to hear, but do try to find a way to relate your experiences to the specificities of the school
- We are all unique in different ways. Explain how your personal diversity manifests in your personal and professional activities.
This one may feel unwieldy at first, but the question ultimately reduces to this: how does diversity (in terms of differences among people and groups, etc.) inform your relationship to the world and your journey toward a career in medicine? This is a traditional diversity essay. Given Mayo’s focus on public/world health programs, a successful essay would illustrate a commitment to helping others who are fundamentally different than the essay writer without resorting to saviorism or cliches. This prompt gives the writer a big green light for digging into what makes them unique, and how this uniqueness affects their relationships with others both generally and within the context of their journey toward medicine. And remember: the Mayo M.D. curriculum is very focused on patients, so be sure to lean heavily on your experiences with diversity in whatever clinical or volunteer experiences you’ve had so far. Have you worked with medically under-served communities, recent immigrants, or people from disadvantaged social/family backgrounds? A question like this is the perfect place to dig into what you’ve learned from these experiences.
- Share with us your thoughts about the relevance—or not—of diverse learning environments in which you wish to learn medicine.
This may seem nearly identical to the prior prompt, but the point here is to speak a bit less of yourself and inner sense of diversity, and more about providing an analysis of how these differences and complexity make for a more fulfilling learning environment. To be clear, although there is the additional clause of “or not” in the prompt, the admissions committee at Mayo will surely be more amenable to an argument in favor or in praise of diversity than a dismissal. A winning essay might touch on any personal experiences in diverse learning environments so far, but these need to be extrapolated into coherent and convincing narrative. That is, you need to engage with the social science part of your knowledge here, showing an understanding of the philosophical and sociological significance of diverse learning environments and medical education in general. Have you met someone who changed your perspective on education? Have you worked or attended class with people from cultural or ethnic backgrounds that differ from your own? Try to find the ways in which your interactions with people different from you have altered your understanding of education and perhaps the world in general.
Check out our video on medical school secondary essays for more tips on how to craft winning responses to prompts like these:
Letters of Recommendation
The Mayo medical school only accepts letters of recommendation through the AMCAS letter service, they cannot be sent directly to the school. MCASOM requires three letters of recommendation or one composite or committee letter from a premed committee. All letters must be on official letterhead and have a handwritten signature by the letter writer.
At least one of your letters must be from a science professor, or at least a teaching assistant in the sciences. We recommend the former, but if you absolutely must rely on the latter you should be fine. For any other letters, Mayo medical school accepts letters from mentors, employers, and supervisors in both volunteer and other medical contexts.
Successful applicants to the Mayo medical school M.D. program typically have extensive relevant extracurricular involvement. In recent years, most matriculants displayed premed involvement in the following:
From this, it’s safe to say that to get into MCASOM’s M.D. program you’ll want to at least spend some time volunteering in both medical and non-medical environments, and have substantial research experience. The good news is that this kind of work usually benefits the writing of both the initial personal statement and the secondary essays. And while shadowing is only recommended by Mayo medical school, you can see that 90% of this school’s matriculants gained this important premed experience.
For more suggestions and tips, check out our blog on extracurriculars for medical school.
The Mayo medical school utilizes a comprehensive virtual interview day, which includes:
- Welcome sessions at one of three campuses (depending on your campus rankings in the second application)
- Two 1-on-1 virtual interviews lasting 30 minutes each
- Virtual tour of campus
- Connecting with current students
- Q&A sessions
Save their virtuality, the two one-on-one interviews are the most important part of your interview day. They are conducted in traditional medical school interview format. Make sure to review common medical school interview questions, and panel interview questions. It is always a good idea to go over the most popular interview questions like “what is your greatest weakness” and “tell me about yourself”, as these can be incorporated into any interview format
Acceptance and Waitlist Information
Mayo medical school makes their acceptance decisions following the completion of all applicant interviews and committee deliberations. Initial offers of acceptance are made in mid-February via phone call.
MCASOM utilizes an alternate or waitlist as well, and notifications for being placed on this list are sent just after initial offers of acceptance go out. If chosen for acceptance from this secondary list, students should expect to receive notice between March and June. Of the approximately 300 waitlisted students, 40 or so are usually granted acceptance. If placed on the waitlist, Mayo medical school welcomes significant updates to your application through their application portal. Additionally, the medical school letter of intent is given extra scrutiny in waitlist decisions, making it an especially valuable application piece.
The Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine program website
Mayo Medical School MD program website
1. Do I need a specific degree to get into the Mayo medical school?
You’ll need a BA/BS or Pharm.D., but there’s no specific major requirement for the Bachelor’s. In fact, only 1% of recent matriculants had a math or science degree! Given Mayo's intense focus on research and innovation, you may want to show expertise in a field that involves these qualities, but there's clearly a lot of flexibility here. What matters most is doing incredibly well in whatever department you choose for your undergraduate work.
2. Does Mayo accept transfer students?
What about international students? Unfortunately, MCASOM does not accept transfer students, but international students (provided they’re citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.) are encouraged to apply. That said, in recent years a staggeringly low number of international students have been admitted, so if you’re applying from outside the U.S. be sure to make your application as strong as possible.
3. Does the Mayo medical school M.D. program have a research component?
Yes, every M.D. student (co-)designs and conducts a 12-week research project toward the end of the 3rd year of the program.
4. Does the Mayo medical school have specific course requirements for admission?
No, but significant experience in both life and social sciences is recommended. Additionally, there should be demonstrable research and lab experience during your undergraduate education.
5. What kind of GPA and MCAT scores do successful applicants have?
For recent matriculants, the median GPA was 3.95 and median MCAT score was 520. To have a truly competitive application, we recommend you aim for these median scores as minimums, and retake the MCAT as needed/able to score as high as possible if your initial scores are lower than the median.
6. What is Mayo medical school's overall acceptance rate?
1.4%. As should be expected of a world-class medical school, MCASOM is extremely selective.
7. How many letters of recommendation does Mayo medical school require?
Three individual letters or one composite/committee letter from a premed committee. All letters must be on official letterhead and have a handwritten signature by the letter writer(s).
8. What are Mayo medical school's tuition fees?
Annual tuition fees themselves total $58,900 (USD) for both in- and out-of-state students. With added costs like books, rent, transportation, and student insurance, Mayo estimates the total cost of attendance to be $95,196.
To your success,
Your friends at BeMo
BeMo Academic Consulting
Disclaimer: BeMo does not endorse or affiliate with any universities, colleges, or official test administrators. The content has been developed based on the most recent publicly available data provided from the official university website. However, you should always check the statistics/requirements with the official school website for the most up to date information. You are responsible for your own results.
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