If you are looking for medical school acceptance rates and want to learn how to increase your chances of admission, you've come to the right place. Whether you are applying to DO vs MD programs or looking for the easiest medical schools to get into, you need to know what you are up against before you start working on your medical school applications. Scroll down to see each school's overall acceptance rates, in-state acceptance rate, out-of-state acceptance rate, average GPA of the matriculants, as well as their average MCAT. Also, visit our blog for medical school acceptance rates by major.

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List of Medical School Acceptance Rates

Albany Medical College, NY

Acceptance Rate: 1.04%

Success Rate (in-state): 2.16%

Success Rate (out-of-state): 0.83%

GPA: 3.73

MCAT: 510

Albert Einstein College of Medicine, NY

Acceptance Rate: 1.87%

Success Rate (in-state): 4.9%

Success Rate (out-of-state): 1.08%

GPA: 3.82

MCAT: 516

Baylor College of Medicine, TX

Acceptance Rate: 2.4%

Success Rate (in-state): 6.82%

Success Rate (out-of-state): 0.5%

GPA: 3.92

MCAT: 517

Boston University School of Medicine, MA

Acceptance Rate: 1.26%

Success Rate (in-state): 2.0%

Success Rate (out-of-state): 1.25%

GPA: 3.86

MCAT: 517

Brody School of Medicine, NC

Acceptance Rate: 7.11%

Success Rate (in-state): 7.11%

Success Rate (out-of-state): N/A

GPA: 3.63

MCAT: 505

The Secret of Admissions Stats and Why You Need to Know Them

Why is it important for premeds to know the admission statistics listed above? One of the best ways to ensure you get accepted to the medical school of your choice is to know how admissions decisions are made. Armed with this knowledge, you can determine how competitive of an applicant you are and selectively apply to the schools where you stand the best chance of getting in.

In short, the secret to using admissions statistics to your advantage is to analyze them holistically and selectively, much in the same way medical schools will be evaluating you and your application.

Medical school admissions requirements (MSAR) and statistics can reveal the selection process and admission tendencies for specific schools. There are numerous factors that are considered during med school admissions, but some of the most critical are students’ GPA and MCAT scores. A lower acceptance rate or higher median GPA or MCAT can be an indicator that a school is more selective, or it may mean that a medical school values these as evaluation tools of a student’s ability. A higher acceptance rate or lower median GPA and MCAT scores might mean a school has more relaxed admissions, or they simply don’t value your GPA and MCAT as the biggest indicator of your suitability for medical school.

Use our Medical School Chance Predictor to calculate your chances of medical school admissions success!

Your MCAT and GPA are used as indicators of your academic ability and suitability and are the first aspects medical schools will look at to determine whether they will even look at the rest of your application. If you don’t meet the thresholds set by schools, you won’t move on, and your application won’t be reviewed. Top schools will not even consider an applicant who presents a GPA or MCAT score below the average. If you do move on and your application is reviewed, it needs to be strong enough to secure you the next rounds of admission: secondary applications and interviews.

MSAR and admission statistics is also a useful comparison for you to determine how competitive YOU are as an applicant to specific schools. As we’ve noted, your best shot of moving on to the next round of admissions is to at least meet all the minimum requirements. From there, it’s about standing out in the qualitative aspects of your application. If your goal is to get accepted to a top-ranked, highly selective school, it’s imperative to know how they choose applicants and how you can put yourself in the category of “top applicant”. In most cases, this means presenting an application with stellar grades and test scores on top of a well-written personal statement, plenty of relevant experiences in your extracurriculars, glowing recommendation letters and a strong interview performance.

Learn the medical school acceptance rates you NEED to know! Check out this video:

How to Use Admissions Stats to Choose the Right Medical School

If your stats aren’t perfect and you don’t meet the requirements for a highly competitive school, what then? For instance, if you want to get into medical school with a low GPA, use the stats to determine which schools are more likely to accept you based on median GPA scores, and focus on crafting excellent applications for these schools. This will stack the odds of acceptance in your favor even without perfect stats. Or, if your MCAT score isn’t competitive enough, you can still get into med school with a low MCAT by applying to schools with a lower average matriculant MCAT score or by applying to medical schools that don’t require the MCAT. Be careful of applying to schools which consider only your latest MCAT score, if you’ve taken the test more than once. If your retake of the exam yielded a lower score, some medical schools will evaluate you based on this lower score. If your first score was your best, choose schools that will consider your highest MCAT score or the average of all your scores.

Remember that your GPA and MCAT score aren’t everything, either. Whether you have high scores or not, you should still be selective in choosing which medical schools to apply to and do careful research to determine which medical school profiles are a fit for you. And even a perfect application on paper isn’t enough to guarantee success. There are many hurdles which can and have sunk even the best applicants. Which is why it can be illuminating to not only look at the acceptance rates and other notable statistics, but to look at the full extent of admissions data that medical schools publish.

Keep in mind that MSAR reflects only the median GPA and MCAT of medical school matriculants. Certain schools will publish the average or minimum accepted GPA and MCAT score on their websites. It’s best to check with each school to be certain you meet or beat the average GPA and MCAT of matriculants to give yourself the best chance of acceptance.

Here’s a list of the medical schools which receive the most applications overall, to give you an idea of the size of applicant pool you’re looking at:

Top 10 Most Popular Medical Schools

  1. UCLA-Geffen Medical School -- Applications: 13,122 Matriculants: 173
  2. George Washington Medical School -- Applications: 15,216 Matriculants: 181 matriculants
  3. Georgetown Medical School -- Applications: 15,992 Matriculants: 203 matriculants
  4. Tulane Medical School -- Applications: 15,925 Matriculants: 190
  5. Tufts Medical School -- Applications: 14,105 Matriculants: 200
  6. Loyola-Stritch School of Medicine -- Applications: 13,383 Matriculants: 170
  7. Drexel University College of Medicine -- Applications: 15,980 Matriculants: 304
  8. Temple-Katz School of Medicine -- Applications: 12,756 Matriculants: 218
  9. Albany Medical College -- Applications:12,495 Matriculants: 139
  10. Rush University Medical College -- Applications: 12,797 Matriculants: 144

List of Medical Schools that Don't Require the MCAT

Residency and international applicants

Another important statistic to analyze is the in-state and out-of-state acceptance rates of medical schools. In general, medical schools will be more likely to accept in-state applicants than out-of-state or international students. Some schools do not accept international students at all, or only a limited number of out-of-state applicants. Applying to in-state schools will mean your chances of success are already higher, especially if you meet admission requirements and submit a very strong application. If you are applying to out-of-state schools, knowing the acceptance rate and admission statistics will help you as you create your application.

Here’s a list of schools which accept international students. Canadian applicants can check out our list of Canadian-friendly US medical schools to see where they have higher chances of acceptance.

Medical Schools Which Accept International Students

If you need help navigating med school admissions and choosing which schools are best for you, consider hiring a medical school admissions consultant, who can provide you advice on choosing the best schools based on your applicant profile!

Want to hear from one of our students who was accepted to medical school?

Checklist for Medical School Selection

Here’s a quick checklist you can use when evaluating medical school requirements and determining where to apply. We also included some tips on what to do if your answer to the questions on this checklist is “no.”

5 Tips to Increase Your Chances of Getting Accepted

1. Prepare Ahead and Apply as Early as Possible

One of the questions that is on every premed student's mind is "How hard is medical school and how hard is it to get into medical school?" The first thing you should know is that the majority of American medical schools have rolling admissions. This means that they review applications as they come in and send out medical school secondary essays applications, offer interviews and admissions as soon as they see worthy applications and candidates. The longer you wait to apply, the less likely you are to be accepted.

Additionally, the admissions committees will be able to tell if you put little time into preparing your application. Rushed applications will be evident based on the quality of reflection and writing on the part of the student. To have the greatest chance of acceptance you should prepare your application early and apply to medical schools of your choice as soon as you can. It would be wise to aim to apply as early as May when the application process opens. This means a lot of planning on your part. First of all, you will need to prepare all of your application components, including your personal statement, extracurriculars, transcripts, and recommendation letters. You do not need your MCAT scores or letters of reference to submit your application, but by the time you apply, you should at least be planning to write the MCAT and to have potential recommenders in mind.

If you have only one school of choice and you are certain that your credentials meet their expectations, you may want to consider applying to their Early Assurance medical program. Keep in mind that not all med schools have early assurance programs, so be sure to check with the school of your choice. For example, there are Ivy League medical schools that have early decision/early assurance programs; however, Geisel School of Medicine does not - so, make sure to research whether the medical school to which you want to apply offers this option.

Another tip: if you do have a Top Choice medical school, you might want to learn how to write a medical school letter of intent. This essay will ensure your #1 choice school that you are a serious and dedicated candidate. Typically, you should send a letter of intent about a month after your interview.

List of Medical Schools with Early Decision Admissions

2. Research the Schools to Which You are Applying

Do not apply to medical schools blindly. Be selective in choosing which schools you want to attend. Make sure that you meet all the medical school requirements that are listed by the school. Medical school rejection is often the result of not taking the time to find out what kind of applicants different medical schools tend to admit. To be a competitive applicant, you will need to meet some of the criteria set not only by the school but by its former matriculants. Even though most schools have no official GPA or MCAT cut-offs, you will learn their GPA and MCAT score expectations from this blog and from our DO school rankings – make sure to meet these averages. For example, if the program’s matriculants had an average GPA of 3.7, then you should work to at least meet this GPA expectation. If the school’s matriculants had a median MCAT score of 515, then you must prepare for the test and receive a score no less than 515.

Premed experiences also play a big role in the selection process, so research the schools to which you’re applying and note what kind of skills and experiences their matriculants possess. For example, a medical program you choose may be very research-oriented and expect its students to have quality research experiences. If you have little to no research experience, your chances of getting admitted to that school decrease significantly. The key is to know what kind of criteria and requirements the school has before you apply. If you apply to schools that have a higher GPA and MCAT score expectations than what you have achieved, you are wasting your time and money to apply there. Find out if you meet the requirements of the school before you apply. 

Applying to med schools? Watch this video on how to avoid common mistakes that can get you rejected!

3. Emphasize the Right Extracurriculars

To increase your chances of acceptance, you must choose the right extracurriculars for medical school to include in your application. This also involves a lot of research into the schools to which you're applying. Some students do not pay attention to what kind of experiences they include in their AMCAS Work and Activities section. Rather, they simply list their experiences without considering what their chosen schools value in their applicants. Whether you are applying through AMCAS, AACOMAS, TMDSAS, or OMSAS, you need to strategically choose what employment, volunteering, and other extracurriculars you include in your application.

For example, your school's mission statement or webpage description may indicate that they value applicants with a clinical background in rural and underserved communities - this is something you will not know unless you do research. Your application must demonstrate that you have had clinical experience in these areas and are willing to talk about it not only in the application, but hopefully in your interview. Another tactic could be researching what kind of premed experiences matriculants of the previous years had. According to AAMC statistics, over 90% of Ivy League medical schools matriculants have research and lab experience. So, if you are considering applying to one of the Ivy Leagues, make sure you have quality research experience and demonstrate what valuable skills and lessons you learned from the research process. According to Stanford medical school stats, over 80% of its matriculants had clinical observation and shadowing experience; so if you’re applying there, you will know to emphasize your clinical and shadowing experiences in the application.

To know what kind of experiences your chosen schools value, find out what kind of experiences their matriculants have, and include them in the list of your personal experiences accordingly. You can find the necessary information using the AAMC directory or by searching the programs' websites.

4. Ensure High Quality of Your Application Components

Each component of your application must be of the highest quality to increase your chances of getting accepted. The admission committees get the first glimpse of your communication skills and levels of responsibility by simply reading your application. They will be able to tell your levels of commitment, your attention to detail, your ability to communicate concisely and clearly, and your ability to present a holistic, informed image of your candidacy for medical school. This is why preparing your application early is important. Take your time to brainstorm and carefully compose each section of your medical school application. It is crucial to eliminate any grammatical and punctual mistakes. Research the schools to which you're applying to look for ideas and inspirations for your own personal statement, employment and activities section, and even for your recommendation letters.

5. Follow Instructions

A very simple rule of following instructions can help you increase your chances of acceptance. Studies show that the students who receive medical school rejection tend to forgo the details of application instructions. It is absolutely vital to follow sections’ instructions very carefully and do exactly what is indicated in the guidelines. Not only does this show your maturity and determination, but it also demonstrates your attention to detail and comprehension skills. Throughout the application process, you must always understand what is being asked of you. Pay close attention to the essay prompts – if you do not answer the exact prompt in your personal statement or a secondary essay, your chances of admission decrease significantly. Make sure you answer the question you're being asked and do not ignore the prompt!

Interested in seeing a summary of some of these key points? Take a look at this infographic:

How to Improve Your Medical School Application

#1 GPA and MCAT

If you would like to learn how to get into medical school with a low GPA, make sure to read our blog. But if your heart is set on schools that have higher medical school GPA requirements than your own GPA, you can certainly try to increase your grades and improve your GPA. See if you can retake some of the classes in which you performed poorly. Retaking such classes will also show admissions committees your dedication and desire for improvement. Create a study plan and stick to it, join a study group, or get a tutor to help you ace your course. You must get a much better grade in your second sitting of the class to make it worth your while. You can also ask your instructors and teaching assistants (TAs) if you can do anything for extra credit. Your genuine interest and hard work will not go unnoticed. To get higher grades, you can also try taking classes in disciplines you enjoy. Pursuing coursework that you are passionate about tends to result in better grades.

First of all, if you want to avoid writing the MCAT, you can always choose to apply to medical schools that do not require the MCAT. If you are not happy with your current MCAT score you can retake the exam. A word of caution: if you decide to retake the exam you must do better than in your first attempt. The admissions committees will be able to see all the scores you have, so you must show improvement. Before you take the exam you must know what is a good MCAT score and when to start studying for the MCAT

MCAT test prep is a laborious process that requires time and dedication. Take an MCAT diagnostic test to get an idea of your baseline and what you need to focus on. Your results will indicate what areas of knowledge you need to study. Create a thorough MCAT study schedule and change it accordingly to correspond to your improvements and challenges. If you are having trouble creating your prep plan, it might be a good idea to reach out to an MCAT tutor who can help you get organized.

Use our foolproof MCAT CARS strategy to tackle MCAT CARS practice passages and do a lot of challenging reading to get ready for the Critical Analysis and Reasoning section of the exam. Continue to take practice tests to see if you are showing improvement. Take the real test only when you are ready. If you take the test prematurely, you will waste your time and money. You need to be scoring consistently well (in the 90th percentile) before you retake the actual test. If you are still wondering “When should I take the MCAT?”, make sure to read our blog.

Typically, your GPA and MCAT are juxtaposed by the medical schools to which you apply. Many medical schools will forgive a lower GPA if the MCAT score is high. Likewise, if an MCAT score is lower than the school’s typical average, the GPA may compensate for it. The AAMC provides a chart that shows the correlation between GPA and MCAT scores in medical school acceptance rates. For example, if your GPA is between 3.2 to 3.39, you must score between 514 to 517 on your MCAT to have a 50% admissions chance. You can check out the chart to see how you measure up.

Remember, your GPA and MCAT are not the only components of your medical school application, but they are the yardstick with which you will be measured as soon as your applications are under review. GPA and MCAT scores are used to weed out students from the initial applicant pool, so research the schools you’re applying to and see if your GPA and MCAT scores at least match their average before you apply.

If you are wondering how to get into medical school with a low MCAT, make sure to review our blog for expert advice.

#2 Altus Suite

If your school is one of the medical schools that require CASPer, you might have to complete the entire Altus Suite. In addition to the CASper test, this multi-level evaluation tool is composed of the one-way interview tool called Snapshot, and a ranking system called the Duet. And while all of these application components will take time and effort to prepare for, CASPer remains as the most challenging part of the Altus Suite.

The CASPer test is meant to assess students’ professional suitability for medical and other professional schools, but it does not evaluate your scientific or clinical knowledge. The test is comprised of 15 scenarios dealing with real-life situations. You are asked 3 follow up questions based on each scenario you observe. Essentially, the questions will prod you to answer how you would deal with the situations you witness.

You are given 5 minutes to type your answers for the three follow-up questions in the first section of the test. In the second portion of the CASPer exam, you will be given 1 minute to video record your answer to each of the 3 follow-up questions. Your answer for each scenario will be given a score between 1 (lowest) and 9 (highest). The quality of your answer will determine how well you do on a question. It is possible to leave 1 or even 2 of the three questions blank and still receive a good score, though we encourage you to answer all three questions! Your score is solely based on how appropriate, mature, and professional your answer is whether you answered just one of the follow-up questions or all three. It is vital to know how to prepare for CASPer.

Frist of all, make sure you have a solid approach for each type of question included in the test. Second of all, use realistic simulation and receive professional feedback when you are preparing – you will not know how well you are doing and what you can improve without good feedback. Check out our CASPer questions and expert answers to figure out how to approach these challenging scenarios and questions. When you feel ready, schedule your test on one of the available CASPer test dates.

List of Medical Schools that Use CASPer or other Situational Judgment Tests

  • University of Alabama School of Medicine – AAMC Preview STJ
  • California Northstate University College of Medicine – Interview Day Writing Sample
  • University of California, Davis, School of Medicine – AAMC PREview
  • University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine – AAMC PREview
  • University of Colorado School of Medicine – ALTUS Suite, including CASPer
  • Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University – CASPer
  • Howard University College of Medicine – CASPer
  • Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University – CASPer
  • University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine -- CASPer
  • Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University -- CASPer
  • Mercer University School of Medicine -- CASPer
  • Morehouse School of Medicine – AAMC Preview
  • University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine – AAMC Preview
  • Carle Illinois College of Medicine – AAMC Preview
  • Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science – AAMC Preview
  • Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center – CASPer
  • Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center – Duet
  • Southern Illinois University School of Medicine – AAMC Preview
  • University of Illinois College of Medicine – CASPer, Snapshot and Duet
  • Indiana University School of Medicine – CASPer
  • Boston University School of Medicine -- CASPer
  • Michigan State University College of Human Medicine – Either CASPer or AAMC Preview. Duet strongly recommended.
  • Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine – AAMC Preview
  • Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine -- WMed Online Assessment. Applicants will be provided a link as part of the Supplemental Application process. Designed to learn more about your attributes, the multiple-choice assessment includes 45 questions with 30 seconds per question. Must complete in order to proceed in review process.
  • Saint Louis University School of Medicine – AAMC Preview
  • Wake Forest School of Medicine – CASPer
  • Cooper Medical School of Rowan University – AAMC Preview
  • Robert Wood Johnson Medical School - CASPer
  • University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine – CASPer
  • CUNY School of Medicine – ACT and SAT scores
  • Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell – CASPer; no Snapshot or Duet required or reviewed
  • New York Medical College – CASPer
  • State University of New York Upstate Medical University – CASPer
  • Stony Brook University School of Medicine – CASPer
  • Northeast Ohio Medical University – CASPer
  • University of Oklahoma College of Medicine – AAMC preview
  • Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine – CASPer
  • Drexel University College of Medicine – CASPer
  • Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine – AAMC Preview
  • Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University – CASPer
  • Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine – SJT
  • Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine – AAMC Preview
  • East Tennessee State University James H. Quillen College of Medicine – ALTUS Suite
  • Meharry Medical College – CASPer
  • Baylor College of Medicine – CASPer
  • McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston – CASPer
  • Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine – CASPer and Standardized Patient Exercise
  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine – CASPer
  • University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine – CASPer
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Southwestern Medical School – CASPer
  • University of Utah School of Medicine – SJT
  • Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine – CASPer
  • University of Vermont College of Medicine – CASPer
  • University of Washington School of Medicine – CASPer
  • Medical College of Wisconsin – CASPer; AAMC Preview not accepted; Snapshot and Duet not required
  • Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine -- CASPer

#3 Personal Statement

Applying to medical school is a laborious and time-consuming process. You need to think ahead and plan each component carefully. Your personal statement alone can take weeks or months to prepare. A personal statement must answer the important question: "Why do you want to be a doctor?" You must create a unique and coherent narrative that would make you stand out among hundreds of applicants and you will have a limited amount of space to do this. If you're applying through AMCAS and AACOMAS, you have 5,300 characters including spaces; if you're applying through TMDSAS, you have 5,000 characters including spaces. This means that you will need to 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. Your statement should be structured like an academic essay that includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. 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 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, 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 admission committees 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. Before you write your statement, make sure to read medical school personal statement examples to understand what admission committees are looking for in their applicants. You can also get ready to write your statement by reading AACOMAS personal statement examples, TMDSAS personal statement examples, TMDSAS personal characteristics essay, and AMCAS personal statement tips.

Writing your medical school personal statement? Watch this video to learn how to structure your essay:

#4 Secondary Essays

Secondary essays are typically more difficult to plan since you do not have as much time to write them. If you are not given a specific deadline from the school, you should aim to submit your secondaries within two weeks after receiving them. Make sure you do not rush your essays. They still need to demonstrate high quality of thought and reflection. Look at some medical school secondary essays examples to get an idea of what’s expected. You can also check out UCLA secondary essay prompts and examples, as well as UCSD secondary essay prompts and sample essays. When you brainstorm ideas for your essays, make sure you read the prompt carefully and understand what is being asked of you.

List of Schools that Don't Require Secondary Essays

  • Indiana University School of Medicine
  • University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio

#5 Extracurriculars

Extracurriculars for medical school are an excellent way to improve your med school application. Your extracurriculars, typically detailed in your AMCAS Work and Activities section and your AMCAS Most Meaningful Experiences examples, outline all your non-academic achievements and experiences. These are important for medical school admissions because they show your diversity and make you a well-rounded candidate. As we’ve seen, good grades are not all medical school admission committees look for, so its important to have a strong list of extracurricular activities in arts, athletics, academics, community service, volunteerism, employment and more. When choosing your extracurriculars, remember to think of quality over quantity. Keep in mind that your extracurriculars don’t need to be extensive, but you will need to demonstrate what your extracurricular activities have taught you and how they helped mold you into an ideal med school candidate. Be very specific about how your work and activities or even AMCAS hobbies examples contribute to your candidacy.

#6 Clinical Experience and Physician Shadowing

US medical schools require their applicants to demonstrate clinical experience in their application components. Having clinical exposure indicates your understanding of what the medical profession is about. Start gaining clinical experience as early as you can. 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 the admissions committees.

You do not need to spread your time among several clinical activities. Remember, quality trumps quantity, so 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 medical school reference from your supervisor.

Shadowing a physician is a requirement in most American medical schools. It is a passive learning activity that allows you to learn about the responsibilities and everyday routine of practicing physicians. Again, try to commit to shadowing a physician for an extended period of time to forge a relationship with the professional. They may become one of your medical school referees. To find a physician to shadow, start by asking your personal physician, family members, and friends, as well as doctors with whom you have volunteered and worked. They may allow you you to shadow them or recommend physicians who typically take on students.

Otherwise, look for physicians in your area and call their office to ask if they take on students – shadowing is a common practice in the US, so don’t be shy to ask. When you call or email the physician, explain that you are a premed student, and express your interest in their specialty. Briefly explain your medical experience and your aspirations in the medical field. Arrange a schedule that fits both of your needs and responsibilities. If you’re submitting a DO school application, make sure you shadow a DO physician. Having clinical exposure with a DO doctor will be your competitive edge. Shadowing an MD doctor only is not going to be enough to stand out as an osteopathic candidate.

Check out the ways you can gain clinical experience:

#7 Research

Most medical schools expect to see some level of research experience in students’ applications. If this is an area of your application that is lacking, you must work to gain quality research experience, especially if you are looking to apply to MD-PhD programs. You do not need to get involved in several research projects to make a good impression. 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. It’s a bit more challenging to find research positions if you’re no longer a student on campus.

If you are taking a gap year before medical school, you can still 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 premed that needs to gain research experience and state that you would like to volunteer in their lab. Describe what important skills and qualities you would gain from working with them. 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. Even if they are not personally involved in research, they may be able to recommend professionals or organizations that are looking for research help.

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 joining special master’s programs. Typically, graduate degrees have built-in research opportunities, but do not get a master’s to simply fulfill the requirement. Master’s degrees are expensive and time-consuming – you must have better reasons to apply than to bolster your application.

#8 Recommendation Letters

Another important component of your application is medical school recommendation letters. Just like with your personal statement, you will need to strategize to get the best quality letters from your referees. Medical schools tend to ask for reference letters based on your circumstances and experiences. For example, if you are still a student when you apply, schools will request a number of letters from your science instructors and non-science instructors. If you have significant research experience, then your principal investigator (PI) will need to write you a letter of recommendation. Schools might ask you for letters from your work supervisors or colleagues if you have spent a significant amount of your time in the workforce. If you were in the military, the schools may have specific requirements for your references. So, make sure you know what kind of writers you need to approach to ask for a letter.

You should choose writers who know you well and have worked with you for extended periods of time. Most importantly, they must be ready to write you glowing reference letters. Avoid getting letters that are mediocre or lukewarm; these will only decrease your chances of acceptance. If the person you’re asking for a letter seems hesitant, it would be better to ask someone else. Your writer must be eager to celebrate your achievements, qualities, and personal virtues in the recommendation letter. There is a chance that your recommenders may ask you to draft your own reference letter. In this case, be sure to check out our blog about how to write your own letter of recommendation.

Keep in mind that medical schools in the US may accept either committee letters from premedical advisory bodies or a letter pack from your college or university. Many schools will list a preference for one or the other, or they may accept both. Some schools require a committee letter on top of individual letters of recommendation from a physician, supervisor or professor.

Letter of Recommendation Preferences by School

Medical Schools that Prefer Committee Letters over LORs

  • University of Alabama School of Medicine
  • University of South Alabama College of Medicine
  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine
  • Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California
  • Loma Linda University School of Medicine
  • University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
  • University of Colorado School of Medicine
  • Yale School of Medicine
  • Georgetown University School of Medicine
  • Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University
  • University of Central Florida College of Medicine
  • University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine
  • Emory University School of Medicine
  • Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine
  • Northwestern University The Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center
  • University of Louisville School of Medicine
  • Louisiana State University School of Medicine in Shreveport
  • Harvard Medical School
  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine
  • University of Maryland School of Medicine
  • Central Michigan University College of Medicine
  • University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine
  • Wake Forest School of Medicine
  • Creighton University School of Medicine
  • Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
  • Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
  • Albany Medical College
  • Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo
  •  State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine
  • State University of New York Upstate Medical University
  • Stony Brook University School of Medicine
  • University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
  • Weill Cornell Medicine
  • University of Oklahoma College of Medicine
  • Drexel University College of Medicine
  • Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
  • Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine
  • Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine
  • Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine
  • University of Vermont College of Medicine

#9 Interviews

Each school has different interview formats, so make sure you know which interview style your school uses to assess its applicants. It is key to know how to prepare for you med school interview. Remember, the right practice makes perfect! If your school holds Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI), make sure to practice with MMI questions and know how to prepare for your MMI. Don’t forget to go over the most common medical school interview questions and panel interview questions, since they can be incorporated into most interview formats.

Be ready to answer common interview questions like "tell me about yourself" and "what is your greatest weakness?" Additionally, you should prepare for video interviews because many medical schools in Canada and the United States use innovative video interview tools like AAMC VITA and Snapshot. Your medical school interview preparation is not going to change significantly if you have a video interview; just make sure that your computer and software work properly before the interview. 

Getting ready for your interview involves more than just medical school interview questions and answers practice. Depending on your interview format, you will be able to show your genuine interest in attending the program by speaking directly with its students and faculty. It is wise to research your school and the interviewers who will conduct the meeting. The more you know about your program and its faculty, the more insightful comments you can make and questions you can ask.

You must create a good impression on the interviewers and everyone you meet on the day of your interview. When you prepare for the interview, make sure you have the right medical school interview attire. Although your appearance is not a key element of your suitability for medical school, tidiness and taste can make a great first impression. Make sure not to use perfume, cologne, or any other strong smells on the day of the interview. When you meet your interviewers, greet them and shake their hand if appropriate. Make sure to introduce yourself and politely ask their names if they do not introduce themselves. Repeat the interviewers' names during the interview when appropriate, and especially at the end when you say your goodbyes. As you exit the interview, shake their hand and thank them for their time. Your introductions and goodbyes are of vital importance. Your performance aside, the impression you create with your behavior and tone will speak volumes to your professionalism and maturity. 


1. How do I research the schools to which I want to apply?

Start by researching your chosen schools online. You can visit their websites, read their mission statements and values, read up on their faculty, find out what kind of research they are involved in, and what kind of opportunities their graduates tend to pursue. If you would like to have more information about the schools’ selection factors and other admissions information, you can search the AAMC directory. It is not free, but it can give you some important information about your schools’ admissions process, interview format, and acceptance procedures.

You can also visit the schools’ campuses and talk to current students, faculty, and alumni. Visiting a campus can also help you decide if the school is right for you – you will have a chance to ask questions that websites and AAMC cannot provide answers for, i.e. student experience, campus design, as well as campus safety and security.

2. Should I let other people revise my application components?

It might be a good idea to let a couple of people to look over your application, especially the essay components. Try to choose people who are not medical professionals to test whether your essay is easily accessible to a variety of readers. Not all of admissions committee members are deeply involved in the medical field, so your essay should lack any jargon and be understandable to anyone who reads it.

An external reader may also catch small typos and mistakes that you might have missed, so make sure you ask people who have good grammar and sound judgment. Ideally, they should be a working professional or a medical school advisor who has reviewed application documents before. Tip: avoid relying on your peers from Premed101 forums and Reddit Premed. It is always nice to have support from fellow med school applicants, but they are not responsible for your success and therefore are not committed to making your application stand out.

3. What kind of experiences should I include in my personal statement?

It is difficult to narrow down your journey to medical school to 2 or 3 significant experiences, but you must be selective. Reflect on the experiences that led you to the decision to apply to medical school and consider if they can make a holistic narrative. These experiences may come from personal or family history, your academic background, work, and volunteer opportunities you had, or hobbies and recreational activities you pursued. What matters is the quality of these experiences and whether you can demonstrate in your personal statement how they affected your choice to become a physician.

4. When should I start getting clinical and shadowing experience? And how much clinical experience do I need?

Start looking for clinical and shadowing opportunities as early as possible, i.e. when you enter your undergraduate program. Talk to faculty and alumni to find out what kind of clinical and shadowing experience students of this program pursued. Maybe you will be able to get some recommendations of medical organizations and physicians in the area that tend to hire premed students.

Remember, the quality of your experience is much more valuable than its length. Try to commit to a clinical setting for as long as you can and be able to demonstrate what kind of skills and knowledge you acquired through that experience. If you need to learn how many volunteer hours for medical school you need, be sure to read our blog.

5. I am a Canadian applicant to US medical schools. Gaining shadowing experience is very difficult in Canada. Do I have to do it?

Yes, you must fulfill this requirement even if you’re a Canadian applicant. Start searching for a physician to shadow at least 2 years before you plan to apply. Reach out to physicians you know, professors, family, and friends. Beware, that finding a DO to shadow in Canada is even more of a challenge because there are fewer DO physicians in Canada.

Start your search early – you might have to travel to other cities, provinces, or even to the US to get shadowing experience with a DO. In this case, it is better to commit to one extended period of shadowing than to travel to your destination several times. Try to plan one 2- to 4-week shadow session with your physician. Don't forget to look at a list of Canadian friendly US medical schools before you start working on your applications.

6. How much research experience do I need to apply to med school?

You can have only one research experience and still impress the adcoms. Most importantly, you must be able to demonstrate that the research project in which you were involved taught you valuable and transferable skills that can be applied in any lab you join throughout your medical school education.

Be ready to talk about the quality of your research experience, rather than its length. Do not be afraid of talking about the setbacks you experienced and what they have taught you. Research is often a long and scrupulous process where mistakes are inevitable. Rather than focusing on the failures, talk about what they taught you about the research method and process. If you are applying to MD-PhD programs, keep in mind that you will need to outline your research experience in the significant research essay and the MD PhD essay.

7. How can I help my recommenders write me strong letters of reference?

When you approach your writers with the request, make sure you state clearly that you need strong recommendation letters. To help them write, provide your personal statement, transcripts, CV, and any other information that speaks to your accomplishments and potential as a future physician. Pay attention to any guidelines the schools may have about reference letters. For example, most medical schools in America will ask for at least one science professor to be your reference. On the other hand, if you are looking to apply to one of the Canadian Medical Schools that accept US students, you should know that many medical schools in Ontario expect to see at least one character reference.

8. How many medical schools should I apply to?

A good number of schools to apply to is around 15-20. Applying to too few schools can lead to not receiving interviews, while applying to too many can make it very difficult to complete secondary applications in a timely and effective manner.

9. There are quite a few schools where my GPA and MCAT score are below the median. Should I apply anyway?

Out of the 15-20 schools you apply to, perhaps 3-4 can be “reach” schools. These are schools that you really wish to attend but their GPA or MCAT score averages are slightly out of your reach. However, you should still choose these schools carefully and be close to the medians, as applying to schools you are not a good fit for will not end up favorably for you.

10. If a school has a high acceptance rate, does it mean it’s not as good?

No, it does not. All MD and DO schools are accredited and meet a very high standard of educating future physicians. You will receive a great education no matter which medical school you attend. You must also keep in mind that for future residency matching, what matters most is what you do during medical school (electives, research, the mentors who write you reference letters, and your USMLE scores) and not the competitiveness of the school you attend.

Disclaimer: although we have made every effort to provide the most accurate information, admissions information changes frequently. Therefore, we encourage you to verify these details with the official university admissions office. You are responsible for your own results. BeMo does not endorse nor affiliate with any official universities, colleges, or test administrators and vice versa. If you see an error here, please notify us with the updated information, and we’ll send you a FREE copy of a BeMo ebook of your choosing! You can receive our Ultimate Guide to Med School Admissions, our Ultimate Guide to MMI Prep, our Ultimate Guide to Medical School Personal Statements & Secondary Essays or our Ultimate Guide to CASPer Prep! Please email us at [email protected] with any corrections, and we’ll arrange to send you your free ebook upon confirming the information.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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Bert Ching

Hi there. A semantic correction I believe is warranted to your % acceptance rates. What you may be showing is the % of applicants that matriculated, which is different than the % of applicants that were accepted (as schools admit many more than the # that matriculate)


BeMo Academic Consulting

Hi Bert! Thanks so much for your comment! Great insight! You are right that many schools offer acceptances to a bigger number of students than the class size because some do not accept their offers. However, we calculate acceptance rates based on available spots, i.e., we divide available spots by the number of applicants. Plus, most schools do not divulge how many offers they make, only how many applicants matriculate.

BeMo Academic Consulting

Bert Ching, you are the winner of our weekly draw. Please email us by the end of the day tomorrow (May 15th) at content[at]bemoacademicconsulting.com from the same email address you used to leave your comment to claim your prize!


Steven Hull

This is a helpful post. Thanks for sharing!


BeMo Academic Consulting

Hello Steven! Thanks for your comment. Glad you found this helpful!


Victor Chen

My father is a doctor. Does it count if I do clinical research with him and get a publication with him? Will it backfire on me?


BeMo Academic Consulting

Hello Victor! Thanks for your question. While you should not pass on these opportunities, make sure to work with other physicians and publish other research. This way, you will demonstrate that you accomplished these requirements not only under the guidance of your father but also independently.


Aidan Hernacki

What is success rate exactly?


BeMo Academic Consulting

Hi Aidan! Thanks for your question. Success rate is the percentage of students who get accepted out of the students who apply to medical school.