Applying for medical school can be an exciting but nerve-wracking experience. Statistics from the Association of American Medical Colleges show that in 2013, 690,281 people applied to medical schools across the United States. But less than one third of those applicants, 20,055, enroll. Why the huge gap between applicants and matriculants?
It comes down to a matter of space. There simply are not enough available spots in medical schools nationwide each semester for every applicant. This means that medical schools get their pick of the best and brightest applicants out there. So what can you do to make sure you stand out from the massive crowd of competitors and boost your chances of being accepted to medical schools?
WOLFPACC offers tips for avoiding the five most common reasons for medical school application rejections:
- Go wide with your applications: A top reason that worthy applicants find themselves waiting out yet another semester is that they limit themselves to a narrow range of medical schools when sending applications. This is common among students who perhaps are a little too confident in their abilities and thus apply to only top-tier schools. But even if you’re a stellar applicant in every way, the competition is fierce. Be open minded about where you’ll study and cast a wide net of possibilities when applying.
- Get clinical experience: Having some amount of clinical exposure to include in your application will only boost your chances of acceptance, as it helps demonstrate your commitment to your career choice. Ask if you might be allowed to shadow your family physician for a semester’s time. Volunteer in a free clinic or hospital that serves the low income communities. Or sign up for a formal premedical program that involves spending time with working physicians.
- Mind your words: All the medical-minded brilliance in the world won’t matter if you’re unable to string together a complete sentence. Well written application materials are critical to your success, particularly in the first stage of the medical school admissions process when the committed decides whether it will invite you back for an interview. If writing isn’t a strong point, ask a tutor or hire an editor to go over your materials before submitting your application.
- Beat your competition to the punch: Most US medical schools use the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) to help streamline their application review process. This service begins taking primary applications early June each year, but each of those applications must undergo an initial review and verification – a process that can six weeks or more. Submitting your application early will help ensure that there’s time to address any problems that may arise with your application. It also boosts chances that you’ll be invited for some of a medical school’s limited number of interview spots before they fill up.
- Ace your interview: Looking great on paper is only half the battle. So, acing your medical school interview is crucial to your success. Admissions committees want to know that you have the interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence and confidence that are critical to career success. If you tend to be nervous, consider hiring a professional interview coach who can help prepare you. That said, know that medical school interviews typically are far more relaxed than the tense interrogation you may have envisioned. The interviewer simply needs to get to know you and make sure you have the qualities and characteristics that will make you a good fit for the school.
Understand that getting accepted into medical school is just the beginning of a long journey toward career success. A great starting point to help ease your stress, boost your confidence and rock your studies is WOLFPACC’sPre Med Head Start program, which provides a preview of the medical school environment and curriculum. Make sure you’re equipped to handle all that’s before you by calling 904-209-3140 and talking with a WOLFPACC enrollment specialist.