Building your credentials
Students prepare for a career in medicine by building 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 a student “stand out.” Students are encouraged to pursue majors in which they are most interested.
The Numbers Matter and so do Grade Trends
Students who wish to enter a medical program will require strong science and overall GPAs. Admissions committees also look for trends on a student’s transcript—so all is not lost if a student stumbles in their first semester or two, but then shows substantial improvement each subsequent year. However, they will also notice negative trends such as if a student is consistently withdrawing from or performing poorly in hard sciences or is completing them away from their home institution. While an instance or two is not a deal-breaker, a pattern of behavior will be. Students 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.