There are few career choices that are more daunting than becoming a doctor. After all, graduating with a MD in medicine is one of the highest accolades a person can receive. It’s no wonder that modern-day MCAT students are under tremendous pressure. Here at Tutor the People, we’ve done our research to ease the tension of applying to med school. We’ve conferred with former admissions committee members and current med school applicants to discover an evidence based, two part, “magic” formula that makes the perfect med school candidate.
The first ingredient of this formula is a MCAT and GPA combination in the top 20% of applicants. Students want to do their best to gain firm footing in the steep competition of med school applicants by making sure that their testing and GPA proves that they are prepared for med school. Usually only 20% of applicants gain admission, so a score in the 80th percentile (or higher) gives your application a substantial competitive edge, however your cumulative GPA is equally important in ensuring a place in the top 20% of candidates. If your GPA is above a 3.75, even if you do not achieve the 508 minimum on the MCAT, that could still ensure good status in admissions, and vice-a-versa, a high MCAT score coupled with a low GPA of, per-say a 3.4, could still rank a candidate in the top 20% .The bottom line is to do whatever is in your power to ensure that you, as a candidate, are in the top 20% of all applicants in the first round. Personalized MCAT test prep can help tremendously in the process.
The second ingredient of the formula for the perfect application is the right perks to outshine the other applicants. To see that an applicant is a committed and motivated person who is the best choice for med school, the admissions committees always look for strong letters of recommendation from other doctors, service work that embodies the hippocratic oath- perhaps a strong college history of serving vulnerable populations in a health-related capacity, or a long term volunteer job with a well- recognized non-profit , and a dedicated and consistent history of preparing for med school throughout the four years leading up to the application.
In summary, the “magic”, evidence-based formula for getting accepted into med school is the combination of a successful performance in college and a MCAT score high enough to put you in the top 20% of applicants, in addition to enough science and health related extracurriculars to prove that you are a dedicated and versatile person who embodies the Hippocratic Oath. Being a doctor is the dream job of millions of people and few are dedicated and hard-working enough to have made it this far. Yes, this is a stressful time filled with major life changes and equally daunting uncertainty. Rejoice in the fact that many have walked this road before and have paved the way. Continue your research until you feel emboldened and confident. This unique and difficult decision is made a little more universal and easy when you discover how many others are doing exactly the same. Henry David Thoreau said it better than anyone with his time-enduring quote:
“Go forth in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe become simpler.”