Beware of colleges that boast of extremely high medical school acceptance rates from their premed programs. These schools often achieve those high numbers by weeding out their premed students aggressively, so that only the best premed students are even allowed to complete the program. You can calculate a school’s “true” acceptance rate by dividing the number of premed graduates it has accepted into medical school by the number of current freshmen premed majors. A 90% med school acceptance rate probably means that the school rejected students who would have been borderline medical college admits before they finished their premed programs!
If you believe you would be near the median of such a premed program, you will probably not want to attend that particular university. You would run the risk of being pushed out of the program if your performance slipped.
Not all premed advisors are created equal. If you are not happy with your advisor, see if you can discretely (and tactfully) switch. Many advisors’ only training consists of reading a pamphlet describing the required courses. A good advisor will go beyond that to advise you on which order to take the courses in, and many on additional items.
Our consultants will be glad to act as competent premed advisors and conduct pre admission consultations with you. We generally spend 1 to 2 hours per year with each of our pre admissions clients, during which we cover positioning issues such as course selection, extracurricular activities, and work experience.
Hard work, motivation, and dedication are what really matter. Most medical school graduates will tell you that their class work was not really that cerebral. It was just extremely voluminous. (The average SAT score of a medical school student is not much higher than the average SAT score of a college student.)
Never CLEP out of an introductory science course. If you take a more advanced course, you will only wind up competing against sophomores and juniors with superior studying skills. Worse, you may find out that your high school AP class didn’t cover the introductory class material as well as your high school teachers said it did.
If possible, audit a demanding science course such as organic chemistry over the summer at a nearby university. Take science classes beyond what is required of you (usually inorganic and organic chemistry, biology, and physics) only if you believe it will raise your sophomore and junior year science GPA.
Wait until your senior year to take the most difficult classes required for graduation as well as any optional science classes that will help prepare you for medical school. That way, those grades will not affect the GPA that medical school admissions committees see.
You may be tempted to volunteer in a hospital one night a week during your freshman year. However, it is wiser to stay focused on your course work. After completing your freshman year, though, you should consider part-time employment that shows you can manage your time and get along well with others. A job in a hospital or doctor’s office is ideal.
Not only can such experience boost a borderline application, but it can also provide a letter of recommendation. Most importantly, the job can allow you an opportunity to reexamine your desire to attend medical school.
Extracurricular activities can persuade medical schools that you are genuinely concerned about others and that you have good interpersonal skills – critical qualities for any aspiring doctor. Pursue extracurricular activities that you genuinely enjoy. This genuine enjoyment will come through in your applications. The only stipulation is to avoid activities that require too much of your time. Toastmasters, debate teams, premed and science clubs, and intramural sports are all very helpful in managing your work/life balance and increasing your medical school admissions chances.