Medical School Application Process
Writing a medical school application is a long process that has many parts. All five parts in particular require lots of detail, information about you, and unique descriptions that will help you stand out amongst others. These five parts are your MCAT score, college transcripts, personal statements, extracurricular activities, and interviews.
The first part of your medical school application takes place before you start to fill out your application. The year before you apply for medical school, you should take the MCAT. The MCAT is also known as the Medical College Admissions Test. This test is an important factor that can determine whether or not you get into medical school. This test should be taken a year before your application is due. It should be taken between September and April the year before you will submit your application. This will give you enough time to include your MCAT score in your application when it is due in June of the following year.
After you have taken your MCAT, you should start preparing your application. This application includes your MCAT score, college transcripts, personal statements, and extracurricular activities. Your college transcripts are a list of what classes you took in college, and what grades you earned in these classes. Your personal statements are questions that you answer on your application. These answers are normally in paragraph form. Your answers give medical schools a feel of what your personality is like, what your morals are, what motivates you, and shows them whether or not you will be a good fit at their school. This is a heavily weighted part of your medical school application.
In addition, another important part of your application is your extracurriculars. Your list of extracurriculars is a list of everything you did outside of school. This list can include jobs, shadowing doctors, volunteer work, leadership experiences, and medicine related experiences you’ve had. You should be getting all of this information ready in May, so that in June- when most medical school applications are due- you are ready.
After you submit your medical school application, you will wait for medical schools to decide whether or not you are a good fit for their school. After they have considered you, you will either get rejected or sent a second application. If you are rejected, that is the end of your application for that medical school. If you are sent a second application, that means that the school is considering you. Secondary applications often ask questions that are specific to the school you are applying for. You will finish this application, and send it back to the medical school.
After you have submitted your secondary application, the medical schools will take time to review all of the applications. From there, you will be sorted into one of three groups. The first group is the group that the school is interested in, and wants to interview. If you are in this group, there is a higher chance that you will get into the school. The second group is the group that the medical school is rejecting. If you are rejected, your application process for that school will end there. The third group is the group of people that the school is not sure about yet. You are in limbo, and the school might decide to interview you, or reject you, depending on how their first group does.
If you are in the first group, you will be given the opportunity to interview for that school. This interview is very important. It will give interviewers a chance to put a face to your application, get to know you, and find out what motivates you to become a healthcare professional. During your interview, the admissions officer interviewing can ask you about anything on your extracurricular list. Make sure that you remember everything you’ve done, and that you know specific details about the extracurriculars you participated in. For example, if an interviewer asks you about your experience shadowing a doctor, give them details about this experience such as the name of the doctor you shadowed, and what field of medicine that doctor was in. You might also want to expand further by including details that were not in your application. Your interviewer will also ask you why you want to go into medicine. Make sure that you have an answer prepared; make sure that what your answer is genuine, and not a cliché. Administrators conducting the interview hear all day that the reason someone wants to go to medical school is because they want “to help people.” (! Any profession can help people, so why do you want to go into medicine specifically to help people). Also, remember that this interview isn’t just about seeing if you’re a good fit for this school, but also seeing if this school is a good fit for you. Make sure to ask your interviewer any questions you have about the school.
To prepare for your interview, remember that the interviewer is trying to get a feel for your personality, and how you communicate with other people. If you sprout off answers robotically, your interviewer won’t get to see your personality. To prepare, have someone else interview you. If you know someone in the medical field, ask them to interview you! Doing practice interviews can make you better prepared. Another tip is to go into your interview exuding confidence.
A common interview system that medical schools use is the Multiple Mini Interview, or the MMI. In the MMI system, there are 6-10 interview stations. Each of these stations has a certain scenario that you are going to be interviewed about, or a certain skill they are testing to see if you have. Some of the skills that they are looking for are communication skills, non-verbal skills, and social skills. Before each interview, each interviewee has a short prep period that is about two minutes. Then, you will go to a station where you will have a 5-8 minute interview. For example, some interview stations may ask you about current events, to see what you know about the world and what is going on. In addition, other interviewers will ask you to role play, and act as if you’re a health care professional, and they’re the patient. Remember that as you go through the stations, if you don’t make a good first impression with one person, the next person is another opportunity to make a good impression!
Lastly, an important part of your application is your letter of recommendation. Most medical schools will ask for three letters of recommendation from your undergraduate school. Medical schools normally accept two letters of recommendation from two science related courses. Your third letter can be from a class that isn’t science related. Some medical schools also ask you for a letter of recommendation from a faculty member, or a letter from someone who was in charge of an extracurricular you participated in. Your letters of recommendation are strongest when they are from a class in which you received an A or higher in. Make sure that you are asking teachers that know you from more than just the classroom, and can vouch that you are a good candidate for the school. In conclusion, your medical school application has five different parts. Use each part to highlight who you are as a person.