Building your credentials
To prepare for a career in medicine you will need to build credentials in scholarship, leadership, humanitarian/community service, research and shadowing in the various settings of the profession. Many students do not get into medical school the first time that they apply. The traits that predict success in the profession include, high academic aptitude, hard work, the ability to work well with others, and good judgment.
There is no “best” major for pre-med students nor are there majors that will make students “stand out.” You are encouraged to pursue majors in which you are most interested.
The Numbers Matter and so do Grade Trends
If you wish to enter a medical program you will need to have a strong science and overall GPA. Admissions committees also look for trends on your transcript—so all is not lost if you stumble your first semester or two, as long as you show substantial improvement each subsequent year. However, they will also notice negative trends such as consistently withdrawing from or performing poorly in hard sciences or completing them away from your home institution. While an instance or two is not a deal-breaker, a pattern of behavior will be. You must demonstrate the ability to handle difficult scientific content.
What do medical schools look for when reviewing applicants?
Medical schools consider the following credentials when evaluating applicants for admission:
- Academic record (both overall and science GPA)
- MCAT scores
- Letters of Evaluation (including faculty and physician letters)
- Exposure to doctor-patient interaction ("shadowing")
- Volunteering, as well as charitable/altruistic endeavors
- Research experience
- Leadership abilities
- Interpersonal communication skills
Note: Medical schools may also require background checks of applicants before matriculation.