The following is the typical scenario each and every application cycle: The MAJORITY of students that apply to medical school end up with the dreaded REJECTION LETTER, the resulting stress-induced stomach ulcers, and thousands of their dollars in the admissions officers’ pockets.
So what do admissions officers really look for when selecting excellent MD candidates? And how can you avoid that rejection letter and save a lot of time and money in the process?
The decision for most medical schools is based on 4 independent ingredients:
Ingredient #1: Your academic performance. The admissions officers want to make sure that you can handle the rigorous curriculum of medical school. Therefore, not surprisingly, your grades and MCAT scores matter. Tip #1: Your grade point average or GPA and your MCAT scores should be higher than the average accepted GPA/MCAT scores and not the minimum requirements.
Ingredient #2: Your non-academic performance. The admissions officers want to make sure that you are a well-rounded individual and as they look at your application, they ask “OK… you have excellent GPA/MCAT scores, but what else have you done with your life?” They want to see EVIDENCE of those essential qualities that any doctor must possess. These include evidence of excellent communication skills, collaboration, scholarship, professionalism, integrity, altruism, social responsibility, etc. Tip #2: Therefore, you must be very careful on what to include and what to exclude from your application.
Ingredient #3: Your referees. You must have reference letters that are going to mirror everything in your application and in essence can provide further proof that you are who you really claim to be on your application. Moreover, you must choose the “right” referees. Unlike what you may have heard or read, it is VERY important to ask the right individuals for a reference letter. Tips #3: make sure you choose referees that truly know you well and can provide you with strong letters of reference mirroring your application. Additionally, avoid choosing only academic referees. It is critical to also ask non-academic referees for reference letters because non-academic referees (such as a past employer or volunteer coordinator) can comment on very important non-academic aspects of your personality.
Ingredient #4: Your application. Lastly and most importantly, it is critical that you are able to convey your personal message and communicate the ingredients above in a clear, concise, and creative manner. This is something that is usually overlooked. Think about this concept. You have spent YEARS for your grades and an entire summer studying for the MCAT. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that you spend as much time (if not more), on your medical school applications. Review some medical school personal statement examples, read up on the AMCAS Work and Activities section, the AMCAS Most Meaningful Experiences, or the OMSAS application (depending on where you're applying). Reviewing all of these in advance will help you establish a firm foundation of knowledge, on which you can build your own unique experiences. Think long and carefully on the key question "Why do you want to be a doctor?" and reflect on this in light of the qualities and competencies expected in your field, and how these connect with your own experiences and motivations.
Bottom line, if you have the above 4 ingredients right, you will be invited to an interview. If not, you may receive the dreaded “rejection letter” and regrettably end up with the ensuing stress-induced stomach ulcers. Therefore, we highly recommend that you take your time to make sure you have all the 4 ingredients in order before pressing that “submit my application now” button.
If you are serious about getting into medical school, visit our medical school admissions consulting page to find out how our medical school admissions experts can help you make your application stand out. Guaranteed or your money back.*
And if you are applying to a school that uses CASPer, visit our CASPer prep page to learn more about our CASPer simulations, CASPer practice test, CASPer sample questions, & CASPer Test Prep courses that are designed to help you ace ANY CASPer question.
To your success,
Your friends at BeMo