What do medical schools look for?

Medical Schools seek candidates with high levels of scholastic achievement and intellectual potential, as well as the motivation and humanistic concern necessary for success as a physician. These qualities are measured by college grades, particularly science grades; recommendations from undergraduate faculty, including premedical advisers; Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores; interview assessments; an applicants' personal statement and application, and occasionally the use of psychological tests of educational development, mental aptitude, and nonintellectual qualities.

The profile of a successful applicant might look like:

  • GPA: 3.5 or better
  • MCAT: Average 30 (double digits in all numeric sections)
  • Outside Activities: Hobbies and Recreational Activities
  • Community Service: volunteer work, church and related activities
  • Experience in health care field: volunteer or paid experience

Applicants must also have good:

  • Recommendations: see Committee Process
  • Interview: see Career Center for mock interview
  • Personal Statement:

You may use the Writing Center as a resource for editing and working on personal statement.

Note: This is simply a composite of an applicant, guidelines do not guarantee acceptance.

Personal Qualities and Attributes:

Candidates' personal qualities are important factors in selection decisions. Evidence of maturity, character and integrity, self-discipline, concern with helping others, and leadership is sought through information obtained from the personal statement on applications, evaluations by premedical advisers and college faculty members, and interviews.

In writing a personal statement, the applicant should record not only the reasons for desiring a career in medicine but also extracurricular and work accomplishments. The activities deemed particularly significant should be described clearly and succinctly.

Evaluations from premedical advisers college faculty, and practicing physicians who know the applicant are given much greater weight by admission committees than letters of recommendations from friends, family members, clergyman or political figures. If applicant has worked extensively during college or is applying several years after college, letters from employers and supervisors are helpful.