How Hard Is It To Get Into Medical School? Details Explained.

Is it hard to get accepted into medical school?  The short answer is yes.  One of the most difficult processes an undergraduate student can undergo  is the application experience for med school.  The requirements are difficult for a reason.   Medical school requires highly motivated individuals with highly intelligent academic capabilities and highly competitive personalities to  survive the rigorous educational process.

Medical school is not easy.  It's brutal even for the most gifted students not because the material is harder than other post graduate training programs but because the  volume of information is like nothing an undergraduate student can ever comprehend or prepare for. It is nothing like nursing school.  It is nothing like PA school or NP school or pharmacy school or PhD school.  It's medical school and it's in a class of its own.

The road to a medical school education starts with the first day of college and continues until that acceptance letter arrives in the mail.  What are the minimum requirements to apply for and get accepted into a medical school program?    Unless things have changed in the last 15 years, most medical schools  don't require their students to complete  an  undergraduate degree.  Most medical schools only require ninety credits or so of  a universal basic science curriculum, which includes such classes as organic chemistry, physics and biochemistry.  However, due to the highly competitive nature of post graduate medical education,  I wouldn't plan on getting accepted without completing an undergraduate degree.

If you're an undergraduate, there is no such thing as majoring in premed. When you see sportscasters announcing that quarterback of the football team is majoring in premed, just remember no such thing exists.  You can't get a degree in premed.  Imagine getting a degree in pre nursing. It just doesn't exist.

In addition to completing the core basic science curriculum, the medical school applicant must also take the MCAT, or the Medical College Admission Test.   Once these objectives are completed, the only thing left for an applicant  is to  pay the application fees, complete the personal statement and hope for an interview from schools they have applied to.

Here are some words of advice.  If you have less than stellar undergraduate grades and or MCAT scores, your probability of being accepted into an accredited medical school is slim, unless you are lucky enough to be a minority, but not just any minority.  You have to be black or Hispanic to improve your odds of getting accepted with objective scores that are lower, on average,  than the rest of your program's accepted applicants.  This is a statement of fact on current acceptance policies.  The numbers don't lie.

If you aren't a minority, consider saving your application money.  Schools are looking for applicants with great grades and great MCAT scores to stay competitive in their national rankings with other medical school programs.  You are going to have to accept that as a reality. You may believe you can be a great doctor, but many schools will over look you in a race for the best numbers to publish.  Perhaps you could apply to something less rigorous if you  desire a field in health care.

Medical schools do not think highly of applicants who didn't excel in their undergraduate experience.  They want highly motivated, highly intelligent, highly competitive applicants and they want their institution to reflect that standard. What kind of grades and MCAT scores do you need to get accepted?  Plan on at least a 3.7 grade point average and a 27 or higher on your MCAT scores.  Here's a list of all schools with their average GPA and MCAT scores.    My acceptance into medical school in 1996 was delayed a year after my  3.7 grade point average in Chemistry and a 23 MCAT score improved to a 29 MCAT on my second attempt.

Objective data is everything.  If you don't have the scores, they won't take you and nothing has changed in almost 15 years.  However, acceptance into a medical education track starts well before you take your MCAT.  It starts  in your first semester of your freshman year and it never lets up.  If you want to get accepted into a medical school education program,  you can never let up your guard.  A grade of D or F in any class, but especially a core curriculum class will weigh heavily against your odds of acceptance.  Bad grades are highly frowned upon.  If you chose to party instead of study for the big test, you have nobody to blame but yourself.  You  can't take that bad grade back.  You have to live with the consequences of your actions forever. That means many  medical schools will not  consider you because you flunked organic chemistry your first try, choosing instead to interview applicants who didn't stutter in their educational journey.

Your best chances for getting accepted into a medical school is to apply to your state university.  Most state institutions have rules in place that give preference to their instate residents.  They want instate residents, for whom they are subsidizing with state tax dollars, to stay in the state and practice medicine once their education is complete.   The amount of tax dollars the state will eventually collect from these doctors will dwarf the amount of money they provided in state funded subsidies.  The real winner here is the state's tax coffers.

By now you've spent three years of undergraduate work meticulously studying and staying competitive. You've aced your MCATs and you've written an excellent personal statement on why you want to help people and prevent greenhouse gases and  do mission trips in the African jungle.  You've paid your application dues and now you wait.

If you have rock star  numbers, be prepared to get multiple interview requests.  But remember, unless you are an incredible genius with a 4.0 GPA and 12's on your MCATs don't waste your money applying to out of state university systems.  Like I said before, they play favorites with their own.  And if you aren't planning a future in academic medicine, don't worry about not getting into an Ivy League school.  The medicine they teach is the same medicine you learn at a State College or  University.  Plus you're spending a lot of money to name drop.  It won't earn you any extra money from the Medicare National Bank once you're out in the real world.  You'll just have a couple hundred thousand extra dollars to pay back in student loans.  

If you have average to good competitive scores, stay inside your state institutions, or private colleges for your medical school education.  Private colleges are going to cost you at least double, at least $50,000 a year or more a year in tuition and living expenses.

Once you get an interview, I have just one word of advice for you.  Be happy.  If you have competitive scores, what will separate you from the other competitive guy is not only how you dress but how you act.  If you carry yourself well, make eye contact and act interested  you will separate yourself from the rest.  It always helps to be good looking too.   Hell, if babies prefer  attractive mothers, it's not hard to imagine the professor of anatomy wanting eye candy as well.

Once you get accepted be prepared for nothing you've ever experienced.  I assure you, no matter how much you believe you are prepared, you aren't.  The medical school experience is like drinking from a fire hose! You'll will feel like you are drowning in course work for your first two long and painful years.    Medical school education changes you from day one.  It will be the wildest ride of your life.

"Your personal statement says you want to become a doctor to help people.  The lie detector determined that was a lie."

Your personal statement says you want to become a doctor to help people.  The lie detector determined that was a lie humor meme photo.


Print Friendly and PDF