How to Get into Medical School | MCAT and Other Requirements

Did you ever dream of wearing a white coat? To become a doctor, you have to attain medical school requirements. There’s a lot that goes into med-school, but with proper planning and execution, your dreams won’t be too far away.

Getting into medical school may seem intimidating at first, however with one step after another you can easily transition into a pre-med workflow. Gather all the materials and patience you need because this journey will be a long, but worthwhile ride. 

How to Get into Med School - Your First Steps

The medical school process is not an easy task. You want to understand the amount of personal responsibility you’ll need to acquire before you begin your process. It can seem hectic, however with careful planning and studying you can attain almost all of the qualifications.

For med school, you want to begin by weighing your overall GPA. This is an automatic bump and expectation for med school applicants. To see your eligibility schools look for academic excellence. They do not want to see you at a mediocre grade level. 

Start thinking and applying to volunteer or gain internship experience.
Often, med schools want to see a source of reliability.

Whether this is through research labs or volunteer clinics they want to see a well-rounded applicant.

You want to gain experience over time to also build a credible reference for your letter of recommendations. 

Have a Solid Overall GPA and Science GPA

There is no pass for bad grades. In medical school, this is a strong contending factor that will make or break your qualifications. You want to consider a solid GPA for sciences because med-school will contain an overload of conceptual, textbook information.

If you don’t have the grade point GPA that you desire, you want to consider a post-bac program. This will make you a stronger contender for med school. Whether or not you are going to go to a post-bac program you want to focus on achieving above-average or nearly perfect scores.

Med-school has numerous criteria for consistent performance. You want to build the habit of achieving high test scores because this will build the stamina you need for med-school. 

Aim for a Good MCAT Score (505 or better)

A solid MCAT score is your ticket into a good medical program. Even if you have all the grades and extracurriculars, a poor MCAT score will decrease your eligibility into the program. You want to maintain a strong discipline for your studies. Prepare early on and keep up consistent improvement.

The passing range is generally between 505-507. You don’t want to risk your chances by submitting a score anything under this range. Take as many practice tests as you can in a quiet space. Direct all your focus and energy into these tests to simulate a parallel to the official MCAT test. 

Don’t rush taking the official score because it can postpone your entire application.
Begin by purchasing the best MCAT prep books for your studying session. Courses can also help you study and prepare as well - it just comes down to preference and budget.

You want to create a study schedule that you can stick to.

This way you can have allotted time for the materials that you need to finish before taking the official test. 

Apply for Med School Early

Frequently, med school application opens on June 1. It doesn’t hurt to turn it in early, by prioritizing at least 12 months before your application process. The rolling admissions process showcases that when fewer spots are taken, there will be more spaces to upkeep.

There’s no guarantee that this will earn you a spot, but applying early will help you mentally. In the long run, med school itself will be taxing on your emotional, physical, and mental health. You want to minimize any further stressors that will jeopardize this process.

You don’t want to spend all summer worrying about when you’re going to submit your application. Submitting it early will give you a sense of peace. When you prioritize your application you don’t need to worry about any more logistics. Applying early will help you maintain a positive attitude because you know you got all the heavy-weight stuff out of the way. 

Get Recommendations On Time

During your undergraduate year of college, you want to create meaningful bonds with faculty members you truly look up to. Forming these bonds will increase your likelihood of a solid letter of recommendation. The more genuine your relationships are can make the letter seem personable and credible.

You want to ask your recommender at the start of the new year. Asking them in January will give them ample time to create a strong outline of what to write. Each month you can send them a reminder or a follow up to see how the letter is going.

A strong letter of recommendation can help you in a long way. Forming these bonds will give these professors something to write about. The more specific they are in their letters will provide a personal perspective on your unique qualities.

You want to ask your recommender at the start of the new year. Asking them in January will give them ample time to create a strong outline of what to write.
Each month you can send them a reminder or a follow up to see how the letter is going.

A strong letter of recommendation can help you in a long way. Forming these bonds will give these professors something to write about. The more specific they are in their letters will provide a personal perspective on your unique qualities.

Get Real Medical Experience

The actual medical field is far from the glamorized version of doctors on Grey’s Anatomy. You want to know what it takes to be a doctor. Before you get into the med-school process you want to know what you’re getting yourself into. If being a doctor is too overwhelming for you, you want to seriously reconsider your application.

You want to start with hands-on clinical experience or duties. This will give you an overview of all the responsibilities you’ll encounter. It is an additional plus if you shadow physicians to see their day-to-day tasks. Doing this will show the schools how seriously you’re considering to complete med school.

Schools want to confirm that you aren’t just interested in being a doctor, they want to recognize your devotion and commitment to this practice. There is an emotional toll that doctors have to encounter alongside with high physical demands. You want to prove to them that you have what it takes to be successful health care professional. 

Do Your Med Prep Research

Research can seem daunting in the beginning, but it will show how qualified you are. You want to present as much of your traits into your application. Think about what makes you excited about med school and what field best suits you. 

Once you finalize this, you’re able to understand that research can set you apart. You want to see what helps you. Maybe it's bench research or clinical research, the more you know the more you can choose the best involvement for you. 

Research direct patient-related engagement because you’re going to be placed in a workplace with people everywhere.
This will increase your skill sets and help you have a better understanding of how to combat the med-school enrollment process.

Have Experienced People Go Over Your Application Essays

Thankfully, people have successfully complete the med school process. After the amount of time you’ve invested in your application, you want to run it by someone who understands the inner-workings of med school.

The admission office is going through your application with a baseline of qualifications, however, an experienced person can tell you about the underlying factors of their application process: stressors, motivation tips, essay writing topics.

You don’t have to take in every person’s opinion about your essay. At the end of the essays, you have the final say of what to take out or add. You want to ask a couple of people to see an objective point of view for your essays. When the topic and essay development is fully processed, have a final edit for your grammar and punctuation. 

Do Practice Interviews

You’re going to attend a lot of interviews so you want to do as many mock interviews as you can.
If you’re a natural interviewee, you don’t need to worry about this step as much.

Doctors and premed advisors are the best people to do these interviews with.
Before each interview, you want to think about all the activities and things you did on your application.

You don’t want to just list what you did, you want to show what makes it special to you. An interview isn’t a resume, it’s not just a checklist of accomplishments. You want to make sure that you’re personal and present your unique traits.

More than just saying the facts you want to share personal stories about each endeavor. Create bullet points so you don’t ramble into off-topics. Consider the deep ethical problems in the medical field to present yourself as knowledgeable. At the end of the interview, you want to treat it like a conversation with a friend with more formality. Be natural and comfortable to have a strong interview. 

Don't Be Afraid to Self-Promote (In a Humble Way)

Every applicant is different in a special. You want to see what methods work for you and what don’t. The faster you get the hang of this, the easier it’ll be to strengthen your qualifications. Med school is based on score qualifications, but it's also based on you as an individual.

You want to promote yourself in a way that sets you apart. Whether it’s through showcasing their unique experiences or characteristics, schools will recognize students who stand out. Don’t be afraid to show them all the work that you’ve invested in.

Colin Ma

As the first hire of Study Prep Lounge I primarily help with growth strategy, but also assisted with managing our small team of writers and designers. Another aspect of work I've taken up is writing and I thoroughly enjoy it! I grew up in Arcadia, CA, and went to school at University of California, Santa Barbara before transferring to University of California, Irvine where I got my BS in Computer Science. I am currently working full time in software and am also fulfilling my prerequisites so I can apply to Medical School.

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