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What Else Med Schools Are Looking for Besides the MCAT

September 16, 2019
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Are you dreaming about getting into medical school?

If you are, then you’re probably worried already about how you can qualify. There are several things which medical schools check when considering student applicants. It takes a lot of work to get all of those covered, but it can be done. You just have to be dedicated.

One of the things which might be worrying you is the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). What would you do if your test score is not that good? Is the MCAT the main thing considered by medical school admission boards?

The good news is that the MCAT is not as important as you might have supposed. Read on so you can learn more.

Beyond MCAT

It is easy to see why many medical school aspirants focus on the MCAT. Students get the impression that a good score on the test ensures entry in a medical school.

But the truth is that MCAT is not really that crucial. Saint James School of Medicine for example has a no MCAT required admissions. The school follows a holistic process for admitting medical students. Another important thing to note is that the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) recommends that the MCAT should not outweigh other factors during admission.

Here are the other things that you need to work on to catch the attention of medical school admission boards:

Undergraduate GPA

This one goes without saying. You need a good undergraduate GPA if you want to get into medical school. In fact, having a good GPA is even more crucial than a high score in a test.

Also, some medical schools may require specific coursework which can be completed during a student’s undergraduate studies.

When it comes to computing the GPA, schools may do it in a cumulative way or they might just do it for the fields that are closely related to medicine, meaning mathematics and the sciences.

Social Service Experience

If you become a doctor, you will be expected to help and provide service to others. That comes with the profession. So medical schools really like applicants who can show some experience in social service.

Some programs will have preferences on the kind of volunteer work that they would like to see. Generally, clinical type of volunteer work does not outweigh non-clinical service, but that depends on the program.

Student Background

An applicant’s background is also a factor that is checked by medical schools. For the most part, medical schools are looking for students with the same background as the patients that they will be potentially serve in the future

A Strong Personal Statement

Closely related to the background is the personal statement of a student. That is where you can tell your narrative, as to why you want to become a doctor. If your only reason for wanting to become a doctor is because your parents want you to become one, then that’s not very compelling.

It is on the personal statement where you can convince people that you really do belong in a medical school.

At the end of the day, getting a good score on the MCAT can help your application but it’s not the only thing that some medical schools will look into. There are some schools which encourage students coming from a professional background related to medicine for example.

At the end of the day, the important thing is that you should work hard to reach your goal of studying in medical school. You should never allow small things to discourage you from turning your dream into a reality.

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