How many medical schools should I apply to?

It is not easy to get into medical school. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimates that only 41 percent of all applicants enroll in medical school (in some years, the percentage is higher or lower). Many students ask how many medical schools should I apply to? 

After a stressful premed curriculum, completing the MCAT, and participating in so many extracurricular activities, you are qualified to get into medical school. But the process is long and complicated for all premed students.

Even after you meet the medical school requirements and read the guides the AAMC provides, you may still have questions. Some of the burnings questions might be:

  • Is joining medical school the right choice? Are you ready?
  • Where do you start?
  • How many medical schools should you apply to?
  • Which medical school the best?
  • How do you prepare for the MCAT and application interviews?

This guide walks you through the entire process, so you are ready to be part of the 41 percent who get into medical school. But first, the basics.

What Does Being a Doctor Involve?

Before getting into the race, it is worth spending time to learn what to expect in your journey to become a physician. There are many surprises when you join a medical school, and long hours are just the start of it. 

Some weeks, you will work for more than 60 hours. But the rewards of being a physician will motivate you when applying to medical school. An excellent salary and the satisfaction of saving lives should keep you motivated when applying to med school.

When you join medical school, you will devote your freshman and sophomore years to classroom learning, and junior and senior years to clinical rotations. You will also need to begin the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) tests. 

In your final year, you need to apply to residency programs- which could last up to seven years, depending on your specialty. If you wish to specialize further, you will have to complete additional fellowship training.

Types of Medical Schools to Apply

Before you start applying to med school, you need to understand the types of medical schools and which best meets your goals. 

Medical schools in the USA offer allopathic or osteopathic programs or both. Allopathic programs confer the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree while osteopathic programs confer the Doctor of Osteopathic (DO) degree. While all medical schools offer the MD degree, only 33 accredited colleges in the US offer the DO degree

The MD and DO programs are almost similar as both aim at treating the entire body. Allopathic physicians specialize in disease prevention, mental health, and systemic factors. Osteopathic doctors consider the use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), a hands-on technique, to diagnose illnesses and facilitate patient recovery. DOs deliver evidence-based treatment and are always involved in medical research.

MD programs are more popular taking up to 80 percent of medical students. The reason MP programs are popular is because they are more recognized than DO programs and tend to absorb higher–achieving students. There is less competition to get to DO programs, but most students prefer attending MD programs (DO programs are seen as second options). 

DO students end up as successful as their MD counterparts. The bone of contention only lies in the prestige. According to the American Osteopathic Association, DO programs offer additional training in the musculoskeletal system, which is the interconnection of the nerves, muscles, and bones. 

Which is the best type of medical school for you? It is a personal choice, but the two choices are almost similar if you consider the duties and responsibilities and the salary.

Qualifications to Meet Before Applying to Med School

Getting to medical school is hard, but the process is not complicated. You may understand the requirements as listed on the AAMC, but knowing exactly how to get them and how to craft your application is the challenge. 

The truth is, almost 60 percent of all applicants fail to get in. Therefore, you have little room for error in the application and admissions process. Again, you need to achieve high scores in your academics and extracurricular tests. With so much competition, a high score, whether in your MCAT or GPA is always welcome.

It is important to understand why medical schools ask for high grades, but it is also important to understand why you have to complete certain coursework. Completing the coursework is a demonstration of your commitment to medicine and the lifelong pursuit of knowledge, the desire to serve people, and your passion for promoting health.

It is essential that you do not develop a checklist mentality, instead focus on being the best person you can be holistically. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), below are the core competencies you need to get to medical school.

Pre-Professional Competencies

  • Service orientation – desire to serve others
  • Social skills – be aware of other people’s needs
  • Cultural competence – understand socio-cultural factors that affect behavior and interactions
  • Team player – collaborates with others to achieve shared goals
  • Oral communication – effective at conveying information
  • Ethical responsibility – behaves honestly and in an ethical manner
  • Reliability and dependability – fulfills obligations promptly 
  • Resilience and adaptability – tolerates stressful and changing environment
  • Capacity for improvement – purposes to learn new concepts

Thinking Competencies  

  • Critical thinking – looks at alternative solutions 
  • Quantitative reasoning – describes phenomena by applying quantitative reasoning
  • Scientific inquiry – apply scientific knowledge to solve problems
  • Written communication – effectively convey information in written form

Science Competencies

  • Living systems – apply knowledge in natural sciences to solve problems
  • Human behavior – apply knowledge on self, others, and social systems to solve problems

You can display the competencies above through your academic and extracurricular activities. In short, medical school admissions test you in four areas:

  • Academics – you need high MCAT and GPA scores
  • Extracurricular activities including doctor shadowing, patient exposure, research, and community service
  • Qualities such as leadership, thoughtfulness, compassion, and interpersonal skills
  • Personal factors including ethnocultural, regional and socioeconomic background

So, besides understanding which medical school to apply to and how many applications to send, you need first to understand what is required in your application.

Academic Requirements 

Your MCAT and GPA scores matter when you need entry into the best medical school. The two scores represent your academic achievements and how fit you are to join medical school. 

Your GPA is the most important variable for admission into medical school. However, there is no standard GPA conversion table, and the medical school admissions consider different grading practices and the prestige attached to a premed school. For instance, a GPA of 3.6 from UC Berkeley has more value than the same GPA from UC Riverside. 

To further make GPA essential, the medical school admissions consider your overall GPA and your science GPA. The latter considers your score in Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Math. In most cases, students have a higher overall GPA than a science GPA – which goes further to show that it is easier to score high in humanities than in sciences. 

Due to the GPA variabilities, medical schools use the MCAT, a standardized exam that tests four areas:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry/Physics
  • Psychology/Sociology
  • CARS (Reading Comprehension)

These tests make for a long day of tests. MCAT scores range from 472 to 528, with 500 standing at the 50th percentile score. If you need to get the best score, you need to study for at least two months before the test day – concentrate on the content as much as you do on the test strategy. 

What MCAT score do you need to get into medical school? The best score is dependent on your GPA score and your extracurricular achievements. If you want to get into Harvard Medical School or any other prestigious medical school, you need the highest score possible. If you already have a high GPA score, it will cushion a low MCAT score, but that is not a ticket to score low. Again, stronger achievements in extracurricular activities, say you have multiple research publications, will convince the medical school admission that you need a chance. 

Extracurricular Activities 

Most of the students who fail to secure a chance at medical school have a high GPA and MCAT scores. Granted, stats alone will not get you into medical school.

Besides scientific knowledge and achievements, you need to perform exemplary outside the science class. By assessing extracurricular activities, the admissions board needs to understand how you spend your time after classes, your passion for helping people, commitment to service, and your leadership skills.

Start by shadowing a doctor. This is a hand-off experience where you observe what a doctor does every day. You need to shadow at least two physicians for at least 50 hours across multiple specialties and medical contexts. Shadowing proves to the ADCOM (Admission Committee) that you know what goes on in a hospital. 

While shadowing a doctor, you also need to gain clinical experience, which encompasses:

  • Patient exposure, which includes working with patients, say as an emergency medical technician (EMT).
  • Clinical volunteering, which involves paid or unpaid service in a clinic. 

Clinical volunteering passes as a patient exposure when you care for patients in a hospice or even at the hospital’s information desk. 

While there are many service opportunities, the best experience is hands-on patient exposure. 

Besides patient exposure, you need experience in community service. Your service doesn’t have to be medically related, but it helps if it is. You can do simple tasks such as starting and running environmental cleaning initiatives. Medicine is a career of service and the ADCOM wants a display of service before you get a chance to get into medical school. 

Scientific research is another extracurricular requirement by noteworthy medical schools. Research is a demonstration of your scientific knowledge and your ability to add to the knowledge pool in your field of study. You can show your scientific knowledge by working in a science lab or conducting a clinical research. 

When you research, you can work in a wet or dry lab or focus on data science in a cognitive psychology lab. The ADCOM cares about your commitment and your publication record. In a competitive MD field, you might have to work in multiple labs. Here, the ADCOM might need to see letters of recommendation from the PIs you worked with. 

While shadowing is necessary, the admissions committee will consider volunteer work, research, and hands-on experience with patients. The best medical school wants to enroll students who are very good at something. For instance, you can publish a number of first-authored papers or teach science in low income schools. 

There is no extracurricular field that is inherently better than the others. To stand out to the ADCOM, you need to stand out in one of the fields. If you choose research, be the best at it. It sounds difficult, but it is doable – research or do community service until people start talking about you. 

Qualities

Applying to med school requires that you display certain qualities in your premed school years. Compassion, desire to learn new skills, and empathy are among the most look at qualities. You can display these qualities through your extracurricular activities. For instance, empathy and compassion are best displayed when you handle patients directly, and not just shadowing. Qualities such as leadership and critical thinking are not on categories of their own – you display these qualities when you work with patients or conduct research.

Personal Factors

As a doctor, you will serve people from all walks of life – religious and non-religious, the rich and the financially challenged, majority and minority ethnic groups and so many more. Medical schools recruit people from different ethnic backgrounds, different religions, economic backgrounds, and sexual orientations. While you do not have control over gender or ethnicity, you can show your commitment to serving diverse patients through your extracurricular activities or coursework.

Choosing A Medical School Location – And How This Affects Your Odds Of Getting In

The geographic location of the medical school you apply to affect your chances of getting in. So many applications in a very competitive region might see you missing your opportunity.

If you choose a medical school in a popular state, say New York or California, you lower your chances of getting in. Ergo, avoid concentrating your applications in these competitive states. 

You will have higher odds of getting into medical school if you apply to regional or in-state medical colleges. Most public schools prefer to admit in-state students as there is a likelihood they will use their skills to serve the state. For instance, public med schools in Texas give a higher priority to in-state students. In a medical school that prefers local students, your odds of getting in are low when you are an out-of-state or out-of-region student.

In 2019, the University of Washington admitted 17 percent more in-state students than from other regions – these are students from Alaska, Washington, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Considering the free and the work you will put into each application, you need to be very careful of the school you put on your application list. 

Medical School Location and Fees

Even if you find the best medical school out-of-state or out-of-region, the fee difference might be too much for you to handle. If a school charges different fees for in-state and out-of-state students, consider leaving it out of your list (unless you can pay without hassle).

For instance UCLA has different fees for in-state and out-of-state students. On the other hand, USC, still in California, has the same fee amount for in- and out-of-state students. UCLA charges $42,266 and $54,511 per year for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. On the other hand, USC charges $64,538 per year for in- and out-of-state students. Granted, it would be more affordable for California students to attend UCLA as they will enjoy cheaper education. By so doing, you will save up to 35 percent. 

When you factor in the cost of living in some areas, you understand why some schools are preferable to others. While medical school is only four years, you might end up with a huge student loan that you will pay for more than a decade. 

Where do you want to spend your four years?

Medical school is only four years, but you need to ensure that you choose a good location to spend your four years. Depending on financial resources, you can choose between a rural and an urban area. You can also choose based on the prevailing weather in the location. Again, if your family wants you near them, you need to choose a local school. 

While your GPA and MCAT stats will determine where you go for medical school, you also have a chance to choose a location that makes you comfortable. 

How Many Med Schools Should You Apply?

The average number of schools to apply to is 16. The higher the number of schools you apply to, the higher your chances of getting in. Although your odds are up, applying to that many schools can be exhausting both physically and financially. For starters, you will have to write 16 different essays. You have a higher chance of entry if you write ten quality essays and send them to well-selected schools. In interviews, your finances may not allow you to travel to 16 states for interviews.

It is also not safe to apply to only a few schools as this reduces your odds of finding a good school.

So, how many schools should you apply to? Send applications to between 15 and 25 well-selected schools. By well-selected, we mean a medical school where you have high odds of entry such as in-state or in-region school and a school where competition is low. Once you do that, dedicate your time to meeting all the requirements and to writing the perfect applications. Once you have applied to the first 15 or so schools, you can then reuse your essays and apply to ten more med schools. However, do not apply to more than 40 schools as that will exhaust you and see you delivering mediocre-quality essays.

If your GPA and MCAT scores are low, you need to apply to more schools to increase your chances of getting in. If you have high stats, say a GPA of 3.9 and MCAT of 519, you have a higher chance at the top 25 medical school programs; assuming your extracurricular achievements are impressive. 

In summary, if your GPA and MCAT scores and your extracurricular achievements are higher, apply to a lower number of schools, like ten. If you have lower grades, increase the number of schools you apply to. Even if you apply to more than 40 schools, individual schools will have no information where you applied. 

Which School Should You Apply?

While you can consider the fees and the proximity to your home, it is still challenging to choose the best medical school to apply. 

You can start by comparing the profile of the entering class in your colleges of choice with your stats. For instance, Tuft University shows the profiles of each class to help you compare. If you have exemplary scores, you do not need to do so many comparisons. Note that if you apply to schools whose average GPA and MCAT scores is higher than yours, it is one way to miss a chance. 

Even if you check the entry class profile, it is still challenging for you to classify schools and create a good list. 

Use the WedgeDawg’s System to Create a List of Schools

The WedgeDawg’s System (WARS) helps determine how competitive your stats are in various medical schools. Instead of comparing your scores to the entry year student profiles one university at a time, you can do so in a system with all the medical colleges.  

The WARS system considers your GPA and MCAT scores, your undergraduate institution, your personal factors, and your achievements in extracurricular activities. To be specific, the system considers all the variables below:

  • GPA score (both cumulative and science)
  • MCAT score
  • Research experience
  • Shadowing experience
  • Clinical experience
  • Volunteer work
  • Leadership and teaching experience
  • Undergrad institution
  • Representation in medicine
  • GPA trends
  • Any other achievements

The system then uses an algorithm that weighs all the variables and gives you a score between 0 and 121. From the score, WARS shows the percent of schools you can apply to from Category 1 schools (Harvard, Stanford, and Duke,) to the rest. The higher you score, the higher your chances of getting into Category 1 schools.

The system also gives you recommendations on the number of schools to apply to in each category. However, the number suggested might be low, especially if your stats are low. With a high GPA and MCAT score and good extracurricular achievements, the system shows you a higher percentage for tier 1 (category 1) schools. 

Once you have entered your GPA and MCAT scores, the other scores are subjective as you will need to give yourself a score of 3 or 4. The WARS system gives you practical examples so you can rate yourself appropriately. If you are on the fence and do not know which rating to give yourself, always choose the lower score. This way, you will approach your list in a conservative manner.

Instead of struggling with the multipliers on the system, use the WARS Online Calculator which gives you an overall score when you enter your ratings. The subjective nature of the WARS system is not a weakness as long as you give yourself the right rating. However, there are some issues about the WARS system that you have to consider;

  • The system groups MD and DO schools together although there is a difference in the accepted GPA and MCAT scores. 
  • It does not work well for MD-PhD programs which consider research more than they do other experiences.
  • The system does not consider the strength of your application or recommendation letters. 
  • It does not work well with disparate GPA – say if you scored a low undergrad GPA but a high grad GPA. 

Even with its limitations, WARS is an excellent system to filter hundreds of schools to find your best match. Once you have a list, you can find the scores and profiles of each school’s entering class.

Consider Your GPA and MCAT Scores

From the list of schools the WARS system presents to you; you can choose the “best fit” based on your GPA and MCAT. Consider the average score of the medical school’s entering class vis a vis your score. 

Your GPA can either be equal to the average GPA of the entering class, lower than that of the entering class, or higher by 2. Same case applies to MCAT – it can be equal to the average, lower by 3 points or higher by 3 points. If both the scores are higher than the average, then schools in that category are good for you; you can apply to as many as you can. 

If both your scores are lower than schools in a given category, only apply to a few schools, as your chances of getting in are slim. If your scores are the same as the average scores of the entering class, apply an average number of schools in that category and more schools, a few schools in category 1 and the highest number of schools in category 3. 

If the GPA is high and the MCAT average or vice versa, consider that as an average score. Consequently, if the GPA is average and MCAT lower than average, consider both scores to be below average and apply to more schools in Tier 3.

Note that, you still need to apply to a medical school in the lowest category (lower than category 3), to increase your chances. These “safe schools” increase your chances of getting in. Once you develop your list of schools, check if any of them requires CASPer Test and sign up for the test. 

Sending Your Medical School Applications

It is on your medical school application where your medical and extracurricular fields meet. You applications will go into three phases:

  • Primary applications
  • Secondary applications
  • Interviews

All three phases are essential; you need to apply as much energy when sending your first application as when sending your second and when attending the interviews. Although some medical schools will weigh on the first application more than the second or vice versa, it is still advisable to put in all your efforts in both. 

Besides putting in energy, you need to start working on your application early, at least three months before the application date. There are many applications to write, and if you apply late, you limit your chances of getting in. Most medical schools practice rolling admissions where the first batch of applications is processed before the second batch comes in. This means that if you submit your application late, you will find fewer slots remaining.

The applications open in May and you should be ready to go immediately they open. If you start preparations late, your ability to submit all the applications on time diminishes. 

Primary Applications

The primaries are centralized application systems where you send your application to individual schools. You will send your letter of recommendation, MCAT scores, demographic information, resume, personal statement, and transcripts.

  • Primary applications are in three categories:
  • AMCAS for MD programs
  • AACOMAS for DO programs
  • TMDSAS for Texas Medical Schools

For each of these applications, you will send more or less the same documents and details, save for a few. Giving your demographic details is straightforward as the medical schools only need details such as your age, residence, gender, and family income. Next, you will need to enter your academic information – that is, college courses, grades, and MCAT attempts and scores.  

Even after entering your details online, you still need to send your official transcripts and MCAT scores to the medical college’s physical location. You also need to indicate the person to submit your medical letters of recommendation.

Next, you need to fill in the AMCAS Work and Activities form – this is a longer-than-average resume. Here, you will enter all your extracurricular activities, awards, period, and a short description of each. You might also be asked to discuss your most meaningful extracurricular activities.

Your personal statement comes next. This is a one and a half essay that describes your journey to and your reflections on medicine. Among all other elements of your application, your personal statement is the one that will take the most time and will stress you more than any other element. 

There are no limitations on the topic of your personal statement, and there is no topic that is better than others. It is important that you write a perfect essay in a topic you like than write a poor essay in a topic you think the medical school prefers. Of importance, the essay needs to highlight why you want to be a doctor and what makes you the right candidate for the slot available. 

The last step is choosing the list of schools where you need your application to go. The list is large; most of the schools will have the average score for the entering class the same as your GPA and MCAT scores. However, there will still be schools with lower and higher scores than yours. 

For TMDSAS, you will have to submit two additional essays – a Personal Characteristics Essay and an Optional Essay. Always treat the optional essay as a required essay. 

Secondary Applications

Your first application goes through a verification process before it is sent to the schools you selected. Some schools filter out applications that do not meet specific GPA and MCAT cutoffs – these may not get your application if your score is low. Next, you will receive a secondary application from each of the schools that received your primary application. 

Secondary applications are school-specific essay prompts with varying characters and lengths. In most cases, colleges will ask for essays on why you wanted to join medical school, diversity, and challenges you may have faced.

If you consider rolling admissions, you need to submit your secondary application within two weeks. You can prewrite your secondary applications by looking at the previous year’s essay prompts as the prompts do not change much.

Check the Status of Your Application

Your Primary Application

You need to be sure that your primary application went through. You can confirm that by logging into the AMCAS or AACOMAS account using the username and password you used when applying to med school. When you submit your primary application, a request for transcripts goes to the colleges where you undertook the course. Ensure you check the status of the transcripts to ensure there are no delays in the submission of the transcripts. Once the transcripts are in, processing of your application begins – this can take a few weeks. After the verifications, your application goes through. Stay in communication with AMCAS/AACOMAS to ensure that your application goes through without any hitches. 

Check Status of your Secondary Application

The second application goes to the school. After you send your second application, call the admissions and confirm the receipt of your application. Most medical colleges have online systems where you can confirm the receipt of your application. If you submitted your secondary application online, it is easy to check its status. 

Medical School Interviews  

You will receive medical school interview invitations a few months after submitting your second application.

Interviews are either traditional or multiple mini interview (MMI). Traditional questions are general questions about yourself, your weaknesses, why you need to be a physician and others in that line. However, the interviewers will not put you on the spot by asking very personal questions like they did in medical school years ago.  

Multiple Mini Interviews require you to come up with a solution when presented with difficult situations at your workplace. For instance, you might be asked to describe how you would handle an ethical problem or how you would work with your colleagues to solve a problem.

Through the interviews, the ADCOM wants to affirm their positive reaction towards your application. It is, therefore, vital that you practice interview questions with an experienced interviewer. Instead of practicing specific questions such as, “What your take on the United States response to COVID-19?” practice questions such as, “Why do you want a chance to join our programs?” Focus on how you give your answers as much as the content of the answers. Note that, the reason you attend the interviews in person, and not just send essays, is so that the ADCOM can see how you bring out the answers.

Waiting for the Admissions Decision

After applying to med school, you wait for the interview invitation. The waiting is stressful. After the interviews, now you wait for the admissions decision. 

During this period, you need to do something that does not remind you of the waiting. You can also send update letters to the medical schools if you have any update that you would like to share. These letters also show your continued interest in the programs offered by the schools. However, some schools request that you do not send any letter after the secondaries or after the interviews. 

The admissions decision sometimes comes after the secondaries or the interviews. The decision is either:

  • Acceptance
  • Rejection
  • Waitlisting

An acceptance or rejection letter is straightforward. Waitlists are challenging to deal with, and they only add you stress. Some institutions will ask that you send letters of continued interest while others will expressly ask that you do not send any letter. If you receive multiple acceptance letters, lucky you – you will need to pick one school and turn down the others by May 15. If a letter of acceptance comes after May 15, you have up to two weeks to decide if you need to accept the new offer and turn down the offer you had accepted.

Financial Aid

If you cannot pay the medical school fees out of pocket, you can do so through fellowships, external scholarships or employment. Most of the medical schools do not offer scholarships; unless they pick one of the highest performing students – one they plan to recruit. 

Picking the Best Medical School after Multiple Acceptances

Whether you are lucky or qualified, it is possible to receive multiple acceptance letters. While choosing the best school for you might seem like a simple task, it is not – there are so many factors to consider when choosing a school. Below are a few questions to help you choose the right school:

1. How many students pass the USMLE?

USMLE are licensing exams – anyone who fails in these exams will never practice medicine as they do not get a license. You cannot even secure residency. Look up how the schools perform on these tests and the percentage of students who get licensed. Passing the licensing tests is a reflection of how well the school prepares its students for the tests. 

2. How many graduates join residency programs?

The percentage of students who match into residency programs is an indication of how a school prepares its students. Again, check the specialties that students choose for residency programs – this can tell you whether a school is the right one for the area of study you want to pursue. 

3. What are the school’s accreditations?

It is not common for students to check medical school accreditations because all schools in the US and Canada must have the necessary accreditations to operate. If you are attending a medical school outside these two countries, you need to check the accreditations of the school so you do not end up with a degree you will never apply anywhere. Note that from 2023, you can only practice in America if you attend a medical school accredited by the World Federation of Medical Education (WFME). 

4. What is the percentage of students who graduate?

According to AAMC, 83 percent of medical students graduate from US medical schools. If a school does not graduate at least that much, you need to reconsider choosing it. 

5. Can you develop personal interests while in school?

Schools are not the same. Some will give you more opportunities to develop your interests than others. Take time and consider your goals, then choose a school that gives you a chance to pursue your interests. For instance, a school that allows you to research medicine would be ideal for anyone who wants to join a highly specialized field.

6. Are there support services?

Once you join a program, you will spend so much time on coursework. Even if you love the challenge, the work can be overwhelming. With student support services, you will find it easy to navigate the coursework. Look for mental health resources, support for spouses, and student organizations. 

7. How conducive is the learning environment?

The ideal makeup of a good learning environment is different for every student. However, you should consider an environment that inspires you. If you feel satisfied with the learning environment, you will perform better in school according to research

8. Can you afford the program?

While it is good to look at the fees you pay as an investment; sometimes the cost can be too much. If you have multiple acceptances, choose one whose fees will not put you into unnecessary debt. Tuition will feel less stressful when you can meet all the costs of education. Consider all the financing options available, including loans, scholarships, and veterans’ benefits.

The Final Steps

Once you have chosen the school to join, you need to promptly respond to the letters of acceptance so you can keep things moving.

Medical schools expect you to respond to the acceptance letter within two weeks. At the same time, you will need to pay part of the fees. If you want to reserve a spot at multiple schools, you will need to make a deposit. This is expensive, but it is a great option when you are still at the fence on the school you need to join. 

You may still get an invitation for an interview after you receive the first acceptance letter. In such a case, always attend the interviews and those programs that come later might be the best for you. 

Even after reserving your spot in multiple schools, you will finally have to make a choice. AAMC recommends that you filter the schools and only leave three by April 15. Make your choice by April 30 so you do not delay and miss chances. Be sure to check the timelines of different programs to ensure your application is on track. If you choose not to attend a school, withdraw your application so other students on the waitlist can also get a chance. 

Course Prerequisites and Getting Ready

If there are any courses you would like to complete before joining medical school; you still have a chance. By the time you are accepted into the program, there are still students in their senior year who need to complete their programs. You must complete your undergraduate education and perform exemplary.

There is not much you need to do besides shopping for the essentials on the days before you join medical school. Spend time with your loved ones and get ready for so many working hours. You can also learn the specialties and subspecialties that you might pursue in medical school. 


Choosing the right school makes the difference between getting an acceptance and a rejection. You might have all the qualifications to be a physician, but miss the chance due to mistakes in sending your applications. While MCAT and GPAs are important, extracurricular activities are also as important. You need the same energy on your extracurricular as you put on your MCAT and GPA.

Remember the trick is choosing schools where you are more likely to get an acceptance – these include in-state and in-region schools, schools whose average score for the entering year is the same or lower than yours, and schools that consider your strengths, say in research, more. Do not forget to consider the location of the school and the cost of tuition.

Need more help? IMA has experienced medical school admission consultants available to assist with all aspects of the application process. Visit our website or reach out to us via email at admissions@medicalaid.org to get started!