Part 1: Introduction

Located in Washington, D.C., George Washington University School of Medicine is the first medical school in the U.S. capital. GW School of Medicine is known for its health and biomedical sciences. Because of its location in Washington, D.C., the school of medicine offers unique opportunities in government areas and non-profit organizations.

GW School of Medicine partners with the GW Hospital, GW Medical Faculty Associates, Children’s National Health System, Washington DC VA Medical Center, and more

George Washington University School of Medicine has excellent opportunities for prospective students. Today, we’ll give you a virtual “tour” of what the university has to offer: its programs, cost of attendance, admissions requirements, secondary essays (with samples!) and interview information. By the time you’re finished reading this guide, you should have a pretty good idea of whether you want to apply to George Washington University School of Medicine. 

We’ve split this guide up into five parts, so you can easily navigate to the sections that matter most to you:

  • Part 2: Programs at GW School of Medicine
  • Part 3: Test Scores, Grades and Other Requirements
  • Part 4: Secondary Essay Questions with Samples Essays
  • Part 5: Interview Day: What to Expect

Let’s dive in!

Part 2: Programs Offered at George Washington University School of Medicine

George Washington University School of Medicine offers the following programs:

In this article, our main focus will be on the MD program. We’ve linked the other programs to their respective pages on the GW School of Medicine website, so you can navigate to what interests you. We’re including brief descriptions of each program below, as well. Will the information provided throughout the rest of this guide be useful if you’re interested in a program other than the MD program? Yes. While some details might be different, the application process is much the same, and the information provided in the secondary essays section will benefit every applicant/prospective student.

Inside the MD Program

Like many MD programs, George Washington University School of Medicine has three phases, but its phases are unique. 

  • Fundamentals of Medicine
  • Fundamentals of Clinical Practice
  • Transition to Advanced Clinical Practice

Fundamentals of Medicine

This first stage of the program involves an introductory course and classes that expand beyond the bachelor’s level of science courses. Subjects include Anatomy (both microscopic and gross), biochemistry/genetics, physiology, pharmacology, pathology and microbiology. Prevalent themes throughout these courses include human behavior and development, clinical skills and reasoning, public health and health policy, professional development and diversity. Courses are as follows.

  • Student Orientation
  • Foundations of Medicine
  • Immunology/Hematology/Inflammation/Infectious Disease
  • Cardiology/Pulmonary/Renal
  • Gastrointestinal/Liver
  • Musculoskeletal/Spinal
  • Brain & Behavior
  • Endocrinology/Reproduction
  • Practice of Medicine 1, 2 and 3
  • Fundamentals of Patients, Populations and Systems
  • Applying Principles of Patients, Populations and Systems
  • Patients in Health Systems

Fundamentals of Clinical Practices

This phase takes things to a new level with students entering clerkship territory. They are also allowed to take elective courses, which is a key part of determining what their specialty will be. Clerkships and courses are as follows:

  • Foundations of Clinical Practice
  • Internal Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology
  • Primary Care
  • Psychiatry
  • Electives

Transition to Advanced Clinical Practice

This third and final phase of the MD program puts more pressure on students who are preparing to enter the field as Doctors of Medicine. The course load is intense to provide upcoming graduates with the most amount of preparation. Courses are as follows.

  • Acting Internship
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Capstone Course
  • Electives
  • Neurology
  • Anesthesiology

MD/Master of Public Health

George Washington University School of Medicine and the Milken Institute School of Public Health come together to bring this program to students. This program is designed to be completed in five years, and students have the option to take the Master of Public Health courses through the Milken Institute at any point after their first, third or fourth years at GW School of Medicine. Some courses can be taken online, while other courses must be taken at the Milken Institute campus. Go here for more information.

Physician Assistant Studies

Physician Assistants are needed throughout the country, and George Washington University School of Medicine provides an excellent curriculum to introduce new PAs into the field. PAs are allowed to practice medicine under the supervision of a licensed Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Their training is shorter. The lack of extended experience is what requires them to be supervised. 
GW School of Medicine provides the following avenues for prospective PA students:

  • Physician Assistant
  • Physician Assistant/Master of Public Health

The curriculum for PA students is as follows:

  • Internal medicine
  • Surgery
  • Emergency medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Psychiatry
  • Primary (Ambulatory) Care Medicine

The PA/Master of Public Health track offers the following opportunities to students. They are linked to their respective pages on the George Washington University School of Medicine website.

Biomedical Laboratory Sciences

This degree offers a wide range of opportunities for pre-medicine students who are interested in laboratory science.

Clinical Research and Leadership

As the course name suggests, this is primarily meant for students who want to increase their knowledge and gain leadership experience.

Health, Human Function and Rehabilitation

This program is designed to help injured people rehabilitate and to help them and their families adjust to any permanent changes in routine.

Please note that these degrees will not award you with an MD degree. They are complementary courses that will add to your knowledge as a doctor. Additionally, these degrees can be taken by themselves for students who want to work in these fields, but who don’t want to become Doctors of Medicine.

Ph.D. Programs

The Ph.D. programs are part of the Institute for Biomedical Sciences. While these degrees will provide you with a wealth of knowledge on topics varying from cancer biology to neuroscience, they are not dual-degree MD/Ph.D. programs, and will therefore not graduate you as a Doctor of Medicine with a Ph.D. Instead, an MD would need to be earned separately, with your Ph.D. as a separate degree. 

Cost of Attendance

Based on what George Washington University School of Medicine has to offer, it’s not surprising if you’re ready to turn in your application right now. The question going through your head is probably, “but how much does it cost? Can I afford to attend GW School of Medicine?”  

Tuition ranges from $62,000 to $63,000 per year, depending on what year you’re in. Years 3 and 4 are more expensive than Years 1 and 2 are. GW School of Medicine put together a helpful chart for your budgeting purposes.

  • Year 1: $86,895 total
  • Year 2: $91,521 total
  • Year 3: $95,896 total
  • Year 4: $95,100 total

These bullets include all related expenses, such as housing, food and transportation. The total amount you’ll need to pay might be less or more, depending on how much you spend on personal needs. Part of the reason why Years 3 and 4 are more expensive is because of the fees you must pay for residency applications and interviews.

George Washington University School of Medicine gets expensive, but the good news is that they offer financial aid to students who need it. So, don’t eliminate the possibility of attending school at GW School of Medicine until you’ve considered all your options. They rank among the best schools in the country, so they’re well worth your time.

Part 3: Class Stats and Requirements for Getting In

Class Statistics

For the Class of 2020, here are the statistics that George Washington University School of Medicine proudly published on their website.

  • Over half the students were female.
  • Ages ranged from 19 to 40.
  • New students came from 30 different states and countries like China, Saudi Arabia and Canada.
  • A wide diversity in ethnic backgrounds: African, African-American, Colombian, Asian Indian, Cuban, Burmese, Filipino, Pakistani, Salvadoran, Puerto Rican, Senegalese, Venezuelan and Vietnamese
  • Average 512 MCAT score
  • Average 3.74 overall GPA
  • Students from over 87 colleges
  • Nearly 70% of students have bachelor’s degrees in science majors.
  • Popular majors included: Biological Sciences, Psychology, Public Health

Required Courses

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Lab experience
  • Stats/Biostats/Probability/Math
  • English
  • Social/Behavioral Science

George Washington University School of Medicine doesn’t list required scores for these classes, but most medical schools accept a C or higher for transfer grades. Courses in which you’ve earned a C- or below oftentimes need to be retaken. 

GW School of Medicine also expects students to show strong skills in communication, observation, motor function and emotional and intellectual abilities. 

GW School of Medicine doesn’t accept older versions of the MCAT exam, so they won’t accept a score from before April 2018. 

For transfer grades, only classes taken at a college campus will be considered. Online coursework or courses taken at a university outside the United States are not eligible for transfer credits.

Primary and Secondary Applications

George Washington University School of Medicine participates in the American Medical College Application Servicesystem. Commonly referred to as AMCAS, this is like submitting your resume to every major company in your area. Your transcripts, work and activities and personal medical statement are all part of the AMCAS application, and every school you apply to will receive your application. This is known as your primary application.
Here are the requirements for your primary application:

  1. Complete the entire application, and sign it.
  2. Obtain a Pre-Health or Pre-Medical Committee Letter or three individual letters of recommendation if you cannot obtain a committee letter.
  3. Pay a $130 application fee.

Your secondary application is the one you’ll send directly to George Washington University School of Medicine with essays that are tailored to the school. You’ll fill out a secondary application for each medical school to which you apply. 

George Washington University School of Medicine employs a rolling admissions system. This means that they review applications as they receive them. Even if the application deadline hasn’t passed, the incoming class can fill up quickly. Once it’s full, you’ll have to wait for the next incoming class to be considered. Because of this, it’s very important to submit your application as soon as possible. 

Part 4: Application Essays with Samples

George Washington University School of Medicine asks applicants a lot of questions. But before you panic that you’ll be writing essays for the rest of your life, pay attention to the word counts. These responses need to be short and sweet. While it can be challenging to write long essays, it can be equally challenging to write shorter responses if you have a lot to say. 

Let’s take a look at each essay prompt, break down what the question is asking, and look at samples. If you get stuck, reach out to us for help. We’ll review your essays for you and provide feedback to help you improve them. 

Question #1
Please give the Admissions Committee a list of your activities, scholastic involvement, work and anything else you were involved in that took up 30-40 hours of your week. List everything leading up to your matriculation in 2021. (375 words)

We recommend dedicating one paragraph to each activity. If you’ve only participated in a few activities, you’ll have more space to talk about each activity. If you’ve participated in multiple activities, you’ll need to keep the paragraphs shorter. 

Here’s what we mean.

I became a CNA and EMT during my junior year of high school. I used these skills to volunteer at my local free clinic for two summers (between 11th and 12th grades and between 12th grade and starting college). I assisted doctors by checking in patients, putting their information into the computer system, taking their blood pressure and blood oxygen levels and preparing them to see the doctor.

During my senior year of high school, I was on the debate team. I attended a private, Catholic school, where we were required to wear uniforms. Our debate team won with the argument that uniforms were good, but that women should be able to wear the same uniform as men and not be required to wear skirts every day. Our win got the attention of the headmaster, who ultimately reformed the dress code with members of the school board. 

Throughout my undergraduate education, I worked at the Student Health Center on my campus. My university had a health insurance plan for students who weren’t otherwise insured. The Student Health Center was the only place where these students could receive medical attention. I worked part-time during the school year and full-time during the summers. I used my skill set as a CNA and used my paychecks to pay for what my scholarships and grants didn’t cover.

I took a gap year between my undergraduate education and applying for medical school. I was burned out from working and doing school full-time for four years. I moved back in with my parents and worked full-time as a CNA at a local doctor’s office. I was able to save almost all of my income to prepare for upcoming medical school costs. 

I spent one month during the summer working as a volunteer EMT with the local fire department. I had several experiences giving CPR to unconscious individuals. I helped get the wounded/injured onto stretchers, and I took their vitals and kept them calm on the way to the hospital.

Altogether, my experiences as a CNA and EMT have confirmed my desire to become a doctor time and time again.

This response comes in at 356 words, so it makes the cut. It’s written in essay format but clearly separates each role this prospective student had. The closing sentence ties everything together by connecting her experiences with her desire to become a doctor. 

Question #2
Our Doctor of Medicine (MD) program has a strong focus on Clinical Public Health so that our graduates are prepared to face issues in population health, health systems science, health policy and community health. Share what interests you and any experiences you’ve had that have contributed to your interests. (175 words)

This question is there to ensure that you understand what George Washington University School of Medicine holds as its primary focus. If you’re not interested in Clinical Public Health, then this program probably isn’t for you. But if you are, GW School of Medicine wants to know what you’ve experienced and how that experience has contributed to your desire to become a doctor. It’s your space, so share away!

Question #3
Share your most meaningful experience working with a patient in a clinic. (175 words)

Be sure to accurately answer this question. George Washington University School of Medicine isn’t asking what your overall most meaningful experience has been. They’re asking what your most meaningful experience with a patient has been. This is one of those questions that would be easy to misread and incorrectly answer. But by answering all the questions correctly, you’re demonstrating your ability to comprehend and follow instructions. 

Here’s an example:

I got to work with an Alzheimer’s patient during my time working at the hospital. This kind gentleman didn’t remember his own name, but he remembered his time serving in World War II and told me stories about some of the experiences he had with his battle buddies. He remembered everything, from his days in Basic Combat Training to his decision to become a Combat Medic. I was assigned to keep him company while his wife was undergoing tests. He couldn’t go back with her, so it was my job to distract him/keep him occupied. Throughout the hour I spent with him, I began to understand that sometimes just sitting with someone is an act of healthcare in itself. It gave me an awesome sense of purpose.

Question #4
Tell us what makes you unique. Share any challenges you’ve faced that you’d like to tell the Admissions Committee. Also, discuss how you’ll contribute to the diversity we strive to maintain within our student body. (500 words)

This essay combines the classic diversity and adversity essays. If possible, find a situation in which diversity and adversity worked together in your favor. For example, you could have been the only girl on an all-boys basketball team. Or you could have been the only person from your country at an international debate for your high school. Share your experience, and find a way to relate it to George Washington University School of Medicine. If you worked well with other members of your debate team, then you will work well with your classmates and colleagues in medical settings.

Question #5
Tell us why you want to attend the MD program at GW School of Medicine. What opportunities are you interested in, and why are you interested? (1,000 words)

Before answering this question, we recommend researching the medical program in depth. You will impress the admissions committee if your thoroughness shows. Find the programs that interest you and, most importantly, explain why you’re interested. You’ve got 1,000 words for this essay, so you can have room to go into detail. 

Part 5: Interview Day at George Washington University School of Medicine: What to Expect

Congratulations if you’ve scored an interview with George Washington University School of Medicine! This is an accomplishment of which you should be very proud. 

Of course, because of the COVID-19 public health crisis, all interviews are taking place virtually. GW School of Medicine doesn’t provide much information on how virtual interviews will take place, but details will be emailed to you before your interview date so that you can prepare. 

You’ll have two interviews at GW School of Medicine. Each interview will last for 25 minutes. One will be with a member of the admissions committee, and the other interview will be with a current student. Neither of them will have access to your file, so the interview will be blind for both of you. This helps reduce bias by allowing the interviewer to get to know you without any preconceived notions.

George Washington University School of Medicine asks prospective students to respect the wait time for the interview process. Please do not ask for the contact information of any of your interviewers. You will only be provided with their names. Please don’t call the admissions office to find out the status of your application, as this information is not released over the phone. 

Everyone will work hard to get your application decision to you as quickly as possible. Remember, GW School of Medicine uses the rolling admissions system, so the sooner you apply, the sooner you’ll know if you got in.

International Medical Aid is Here to Help.

Applying to medical school is a big deal. It’s a long process that takes focus and determination. That’s why International Medical Aid is here to help. If you’re looking for experiences to boost your volunteer hours, consider going on a trip with us to underserved populations in South America, East Africa or the Caribbean. We have opportunities for every field that might pique your interest. 

If you find that you need help with your primary or secondary applications, we’re here for that, too. Our medical school experts will review your primary and/or secondary applications and your essay responses. We’ll also practice interviewing with you. The more you practice, the more prepared you’ll be.

Finally, keep an eye on our blog here at International Medical Aid. We offer definitive guides for different medical schools and osteopathic medicine programs. Just like with this guide, each one provides information on the programs provided, how to apply, tips and samples for essays and what to expect for your interview day. 

We wish you the very best of luck as you apply to medical school! Please contact us if you have any questions or if we can help you with anything. International Medical Aid is here to help you on your road to becoming a doctor.