Medicine is an extremely popular health career goal. Since many
more students apply than can be accommodated, admission to medical
school in the United States is very selective. The attrition rate
among those students who are admitted is very low--the usual
reasons for withdrawing from medical school are poor health and
loss of motivation. Medical schools are, therefore, very careful
that the motivation of each student they admit is both strong and
realistic. To have a reasonable chance of acceptance to medical
school, you should have a good grade average, good motivation, and
a mature and attractive personality. Any suspicion of dishonesty or
antisocial elements in your character usually results in rejection.
This, of course, applies to all health professions.
There is an admissions examination required of all applicants to
medical school, the Medical College
Admissions Test (MCAT). You must arrange to take the test
before you apply to medical schools. The test is given twice a
year, spring and late summer. The best time to take it is in the
spring (April) before the application period (roughly mid-June
through November) begins. There are more applicants than openings
to medical schools. This means that they are choosing those
candidates whose records show convincing evidence of excellence of
character and intellect, as well as academic achievement. S.J.U.
applicants with a CUM GPA of 3.6-3.7 or better have a very good
chance of acceptance to a medical school assuming other factors
(MCAT scores, motivation, character) are good.
One bit of advice: an excellent candidate is NOT always the one
with the highest grades. In fact, if achievement of high grades
seems to be the main motivating force in you, then an admissions
official may wonder about your sense of values. Think about this.
Fighting for high grades is the most common mistake
pre-professional students make, and usually alienates the very
professors on whose recommendation the student must depend. Good
grades should stem only from excellence in academic work.
Most medical schools subscribe to an application service, The American Medical College
Application Service (AMCAS), which must be used by students who
apply to those schools which subscribe to AMCAS. The AMCAS
application is submitted on the Internet. You should open your
application account early, often in April, so that your application
will be complete and ready to submit on the day sometime in June
when applications are first accepted.
American Association of Medical Colleges catalog contains
valuable resources, including MCAT practice examinations and
guides, and a vital book, Medical School Admission Requirements,
that every pre-medical student should own.