Prospective students can get confused by the medical school admissions process and have no where to turn for help. The admissions requirements for PhD programs are very similar to med school admissions. However, if you have questions about a certain part of the med school application process, it is always best to consult the most recent edition of the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) book and then the school directly. There are some simple steps to applying for med school and they are outlined below.
What Do Medical Schools Look For in a Candidate
Medical school faculties have a responsibility to society to matriculate and graduate the best possible physicians, so admission to medical school is offered to those who present the highest qualifications for the study and practice of medicine. Medical schools look for candidates who have integrity, leadership experience, motivation, curiosity, imagination, personality, volunteer experience, and commitment. Medical schools want to see grades for your premedical requirements.
Also, medical schools seek individuals who are well-rounded academically. (Also note that some medical school requirements vary so be sure to check out each school's requirements carefully before you apply.) In regard to which major you choose, while it is true that many students major in the sciences, medical schools tell us that it is fine to major in whatever you like. While most MIT undergrad premedical students major in the sciences, only 44% of the class of 2001 majored solely in Biology. Medical school Admissions Deans have said that they are very pleased to see humanities majors or any other major applying to their schools.
Medical School Admission Interview
After you fill out your application you will have to go to the school for an interview. Your med school admission interview will likely involve questions about contemporary ethical or economic problems encountered by physicians. They will also ask you about your current knowledge about the field of medicine. For example, medical school admission committees will expect applicants to have tested their suitability for a medical career by seeking firsthand medical exposure in hospitals, clinics, or doctor's offices.
First, though, even before you apply, you need to take the MCAT exam, the Medical College Admission Test, and then apply to medical school through AMCAS, the American Medical College Application Service. Med schools use a common application process that is administered by AMCAS, a division of the American Association of Medical Schools. The AMCAS application provides medical schools with enough information to make an initial screening; it includes a modified undergraduate transcript, science and overall GPAs, MCAT scores, information about extracurricular activities, and a short personal comment. Rising tuition costs, decreasing physician salaries, a troubled medical system, and increased costs of malpractice insurance are all factors that have affected recent applicant pools, and they are leading many prospective students to reconsider medical careers.
Whereas students can theoretically decide on a whim to apply to other types of graduate and professional programs, med school usually requires at least some degree of specific undergraduate preparation. In theory, it is easier to get into medical school-and into a choice residency-now than ever before, simply because there are fewer applicants for each open slot. However, there are still about twice as many applicants as there are open spaces, and med schools are still attracting first-rate students. The competition is still stiff, and med schools have in no way lowered their expectations for the caliber of students they wish to enroll.
The people who excel in medicine are those who are happy spending every waking moment thinking about medicine – and those are precisely the kind of people that medical schools are looking for. So if you're interested in becoming a medical doctor, be prepared to make huge sacrifices, first in medical school and then later in your internship and residency. Even when you're not working directly with patients, you will be spending a significant amount of time as a doctor reading and staying current in new medical techniques and research. Best of luck with your medical school applications.