Before you apply to medical school, it’s wise to ask “What are my chances, and where should I apply?” Medical school applicants who don’t carefully evaluate their chances end up wasting lots of time and money when they apply for medical school at a strategically inappropriate time.
Admissions statistics put out by the AAMC and individual medical schools are are the first indicators you should use to make a preliminary evaluation of your chances. According to the AAMC, applicants with 3.8 GPA and cumulative MCAT of 39, have a 90% chance of acceptance. With an MCAT score below 20, chances of acceptance drop to 10%. Those statistics are the extreme outliers, but they demonstrate an essential med school admissions truth: Your GPA and MCAT are the biggest influence on your chances.
Although GPA and MCAT are the most reliable indicators, there are other factors that contribute to your admissions odds that you need to consider.
What are my chances of getting accepted to medical school, and where should I apply?
You can answer “What are my chances?” by comparing your own GPA and MCAT to AAMC admissions statistics. To answer “Where should I apply?” you’ll need to fetch the admissions statistics for the individual schools you are considering. If you rank in the top 20% of all applicants, your chances are very good. If you rank in the top 30% of all applicants, you have a fighting shot. If you are only top 50% of all applicants for a given medical school, you can “reach” to get accepted there, but your chances aren’t excellent. But that’s ok, because it’s important to apply to a variety of schools.
The “1-2-1” rule
One of the biggest mistakes many med school applicants make is to apply to only a narrow range of schools. As a rule of thumb, I preach the “1-2-1” rule. For every 2 schools that you rank in the top 30%, apply to one “reach” school and one “safety” school. Much like a diversified investment portfolio is more likely to flourish in all economic climates, applying to a diverse group of medical schools will help guarantee that you’ll get accepted somewhere, even if that particular application cycle is more competitive than usual.
Your GPA and MCAT scores give you a preliminary sense for where you stand compared to other applicants, but a clear course of action isn’t always obvious based on your scores alone. “What are My Chances?” is a professional assessment that will evaluate what your chances of getting accepted are right now, and what specific measures you need to take increase your admissions odds to their highest possible level.