For most aspiring surgeons, practitioners and family doctors, the path to a successful medical career can be a long and arduous one. And while securing a spot in that renowned residency program or nabbing a position at a heralded hospital might seem like most challenging feat a medical professional can face, the true career legwork can take place long before professional work commences. In reality, it’s the undergraduate effort it takes to reach those steps that tends to require the most work, preparation and just a smidgeon of good luck.
Every year, some 45,000 hopefuls compile packets of GPA, MCAT and transcript information to be divvied out to their dream medical schools. And while every institution sets a unique framework for acceptance, there are a few uniform medical school requirements that tend to encompass the majority.
While an undergrad GPA number or MCAT score might be the least decorated component to a resume, it’s the most important of medical school requirements by several leaps and bounds. Although a colorful volunteer or shadowing additions might help to add a unique angle to an application, if a GPA and MCAT score are subpar, the packet is more likely to see the bottom of a trash pile that the top of an admissions heap.
Learn to add some “oomph” and successfully leverage these basic medical school requirements.
Medical School Requirements: A Degree
Obtaining a degree from an accredited institution is the most primary and basic component of medical school requirements.
However, it doesn’t necessarily have to come from a four-year university. An increasing number of medical schools have begun to recognize several other kinds of specialized degrees, such as baccalaureate diplomas. At the very pulp of acceptance terms, medical school admissions teams are searching for a dedication and passion to a particular kind of study.
While acquiring a degree is one of the foremost medical school requirements, it’s not a guarantee for admission. The better your undergrad institution, the better chances you’ll have at acceptance to your dream medical school.
Undergrad Prerequisites as Medical School Requirements
Although no two institutions will require identical undergrad prerequisites for medical school, there are a few courses that tend to be some of the more overarching medical school requirements.
- Physics (with lab)
- Inorganic chemistry (with lab)
- Organic chemistry (with lab)
Medical School Requirements: Average GPA for Medical School
Just as the coursework and kind of degree you undertake at a four-year university is variable in a medical school admission team’s eyes, your GPA is no tell-all for your academic profile and one of the finite medical school requirements. But although there is no average GPA for medical school, there are a few benchmarks that tend to befall a few more accepted applicants than declined ones.
Although an undergraduate institution is likely to post a single, decimalized number to your transcripts, medical school admissions teams tend to assess your score from a much more intricate angle. And for college freshman that may not have received the most stellar score in their English or Introduction to Art Class, and in terms of particular academic medical school requirements, this can be monumentally good news.
Although your overarching grade point average will certainly come into play, medical schools break up your score by:
- BPCM GPA. The best candidates will boast a BPCM GPA score of 3.61 or more, give or take three tenths of a score.
- Non-science GPA. The best candidates will have a non-science GPA of roughly 3.74, give or take two tenths of a score.
- Overall GPA. The best candidates will boast an average GPA for medical school of roughly 3.5 or more. Applicants should note that a GPA below 3.5 will most likely oust your portfolio from some of the more prestigious schools.
Medical School Requirements: The MCAT
The MCAT, or the medical college admissions test, is the fourth component to essential medical school requirements. And like your GPA, an MCAT can skyrocket your application to the front of the pack, or leave it piled at the bottom of a rejection heap.
So what constitutes as a good MCAT score? Similar to its cousins the LSAT, SAT and GRE, the test is comprised of multiple problem-solving and reasoning categories (physical sciences, biological sciences, verbal and a writing sample). Although benchmark MCAT scores will vary by institution and state, the best test marks will typically fall in the 9- to 11-point range.
A Final Note on Medical School Requirements
Although compiling the necessary info for a stellar medicals school application might seem like an incredibly daunting task, try to remember that medical school admissions teams are not drones void of human emotion or analysis, and that medical school requirements aren’t predictable tell-all’s of acceptance. Rather, the admissions teams are people too – capable of understanding significant setbacks or unintentional faults.
If there’s space to explain a problematic situation in your personal statement, then do it. Although defining a poor non-science GPA or various other excuses certainly won’t guarantee acceptance, it won’t hurt to try.