What You Need to Know Before You Apply to Medical School

hemist, Laboratory, Periodic System

If it is your dream to go to medical school, you are likely tired of hearing about how hard it is to gain admissions. While the process can be a little complex, it is much more productive to spend your time thinking about how to accomplish a goal than fretting about the difficulty of obtaining the goal. The following are three things every prospective medical student should know about before applying to medical school.

Make Undergrad Count

Regardless of the specific major you choose, your undergraduate coursework should be filled with courses in the sciences. Cells, genetics, and the general framework of life sustainability are the building blocks of modern medicine. Biology classes that include laboratory work will provide prospective medical students with a healthy dose of knowledge and understanding of these topics. 

A general chemistry class that includes a laboratory will provide aspiring doctors with an understanding of acid-base imbalances and how medicines work to help patients. 

Physics will introduce students to the concepts of pressure and volume that will help them understand how specific forces work within the body. 

Core courses necessary to complete undergraduate coursework include English, math, and government. 

Study and Prepare for the MCAT

The Association of American Medical Colleges is responsible for administering the MCAT, a computerized standardized test required for admissions to an accredited school of medicine, to prospective medical students. The test is given 14 times a year. 

Recent changes for the Medical College Admissions Test include extending the time it takes to complete the test to eight hours from five and eliminating an essay writing section. A new section added to the test seeks to measure the aptitude a potential medical school candidate possesses to deliver medical care to individuals from various cultures and backgrounds. 

The Medical College Admissions Test features four essential sections for test-takers to conquer:

  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior

The Association of Medical Colleges allows prospective medical students to complete the entire registration process online. You should register as early as possible to ensure your seat for the test. You will need to know the test dates for the MCAT that best fit your schedule and situation. 

Know the Application Process

Medical schools accept applicants on a rolling basis and will allow qualified students to enroll until all spots are filled.  Applicants must submit their applications through a centralized application service. Your primary application to a school of medicine is meant to provide schools with information to help them, screen candidates. It should include undergraduate transcripts, MCAT test results, information about work experience, and other pertinent information.

Your primary application should include a personal statement that explains the applicant’s motivation for pursuing a medical career, challenging personal experiences you have endured, and a relationship in your life that has propelled you forward. 

There are two possible outcomes to expect from submitting your primary application to become a medical student. You will either be denied admission, or a secondary application will be requested by schools that are interested in you. 

Final Thoughts

There is no denying the fact that entry into a school of medicine is not easy to obtain. However, this is no reason to give up on your dream of becoming a doctor. You will take much of the stress out of the admissions process and improve your chances of acceptance into a school of medicine if you start the process early and make sure you are fully prepared to submit all needed documents.