Whoa there! Hold your horses! Remember that getting into any medical school is tough enough, let alone one of the top 10! Your ambition is commendable. Plenty of premeds assume that top ranked medical schools merely require more and better — a better GPA, a higher MCAT score, recommendations from more prestigious faculty, etc. While your performance in those areas certainly need to be competitive, ignoring other important factors is a mistake.
Plenty of premeds assume the following is needed to get accepted to a top ranked medical school:
- Great Grades — Great grades and high class ranks is a bulletproof way to get into a top 10 medical school.
- Premed Courses Trump — All prerequisite courses need high grades but superfluous or fun classes are of lower import.
- Medical Field Experience — The best medical schools require a good amount of experience in the lab, the clinic, or the hospital.
- Overemphasizing Rank — The assumption that a highly ranked school is right for you just because it has a high rank.
Make no mistake; these are absolutely necessary for getting into a top ranked medical school, but there is much more to getting accepted than your grades and MCAT score. Keep in mind that all top applicants will have great GPAs and test scores. Top ranked medical schools want well-rounded individuals dedicated to the entire discipline of medicine. For instance, John Hopkins is well known to accept humanities and art majors. Furthermore, medical schools prefer those who know about the structural realities of modern healthcare — sociology is very quickly becoming a perquisite.
Other criteria that top medical schools seriously consider:
- Extracurriculars — Varied extracurriculars not only show your ability to participate and lead, but also that you are involved with the community and appreciate diverse life activities.
- Research Experience — Research experience within topics pertinent to medicine shows your ability to learn a topic and its theoretical applications, as well as apply scientific principles within a sandbox.
- Other Interests — Hobbies, interests, group affiliations. Your background contributes a great deal to how you will handle patients as a doctor, and how you will interact with your coworkers as well. Medical schools want to see that you are a sociable person curious about the world, not just a walking encyclopedia of medical knowledge that doesn’t interact well with others.
- Applicable Interests — A good anesthesiology department may push for a comparatively unimpressive applicant who’s a whiz at biochemistry — but only if that person clearly states a wish to be an anesthesiologist.
All of these different aspects are weighed more than you may expect. To get a sense for your chances of getting accepted are based upon your qualifications, check out the “What are My Chances” free assessment.