You may think it is too early to even think about or prepare for it but in reality it is harder compare your college application. You need to start in your Freshmen year to prepare for it if you are serious (or at least remotely think this can be one thing you want to do after you get your undergraduate degree).
There are 133 medical schools in US and 17 in Canada so together there is 150 medical schools you can apply to. Medical school in other countries can always be considered but that is probably more work (like accreditation check, intern opportunity, recognize by US medical board, etc.). If you look at the top 50 medical schools listed in US News, 90% has an admission rate of about 6% which is like getting into Harvard when you first apply for college. Average is 9%. Minimum undergraduate GPA is 3.5 to quality and average admitted students have 3.6. Remember there is NO more “weighted” GPA for college for 3.6 is real.
There is test like MCAT which is much harder compare to SAT or ACT. As a UCSD student, they let you take FREE test prep courses at UCSD Extension. For most of this graduate school application required test like GRE, it is a 16 hours course. For MCAT, it is 35 hours. Probably you need at least a composite MCAT score of 30.
Some of the requirements to apply to medical school is similar to high school to college application which is letter of recommendations, interview, extra-curriculum, research, health care related experience, etc. For high school to college application, a lot of these requirements are optional but for medical school application, it is MUST.
You should start reading about some of these requirements to get yourself prepare starting as Freshmen, not as senior like when you are in high school.
What Are Medical Schools Looking For?
- Academic Considerations
- Major: any major is fine but key is to meet the pre-health core curriculum (additional work in biology or chemistry; courses with significant analytical reading and writing components to maintain or improve their verbal skills)
- GPA: overall (4 years) and not just Sophomore/Junior like from high school
- MCAT: only twice a year and not 7 times like SAT/ACT; general take in April of Junior; 3 multiple choice sections: Verbal Reasoning, Physical Sciences (physics and intro chemistry) and Biological Sciences (biology and organic chemistry) and writing section (2 essays)
- Research Experience: get something published
- Non-Academic Experiences
- Extracurricular and Job Experiences: religious, sport, club; develop interpersonal skill, teamwork, leadership, time management; serious commitment (long term verse many different ones; depth verse breath)
- Health Care Related Experience: internship at clinics, hospitals, nursing home, shelters; shadowing a physician; work directly with patients
- Experience to work with people: community service, volunteer work like tutoring, short term mission trip; work with people with different background (ethnic, religious, socio-economic, etc.); compassion for others
- Personal Considerations
- Letters of Recommendation: from 4 faculty members; actively participate in class and get to know the faculty who teach you
- Interview: All medical schools require an interview, often two or three, with members of their faculty and, sometimes, medical students on the admissions committee.
- Professional Behavior: professionalism; personal accountability
What Medical Schools Are Looking For (blog entry from a Harvard Med School Girl)
- reference to 2 good articles
Beyond the Numbers: Making Your Medical School Application Stand Out
3 things every medical school is looking for in an applicant
- People who can handle intensive workloads while being able to maintain some sort of life outside school.
- Every school is looking for a particular ‘breed’ of medical student.
- Personalities fitting the current wind of change.
Medical School Admissions – An Insider’s Guide
Searching For Admission: The Smart PreMed Student’s Guide to Applying for Medical School
List of schools
Select Medical School
101 Things You Wish You Knew Before Starting Medical School
If you are interested in physical therapy (PT) or occupational therapy (OT):
- GRE instead of MCAT
- volunteer work (200 hours) are required
- first aid and CPR certification
- 3 letters of recommendation