Sunday, June 6, 2010

Medical School Applications

Applying to medical school can be tough. I reminisce back to those days with a grimmace. What difficult times those days were!

Back in freshman biology class, my professor asked, "How many of you want to become a physician?" All of us raised our hands.

Shaking her head sadly, she said, "Only one in four of you poor souls will make it."

This was very troubling, because I realized that the competition would be very stiff indeed. What could I do to assure myself the best chance at succeeding through the application process?

As my fellow undergraduate colleagues and I progressed through the college experience, many people starting dropping like flies. A few people scored poorly in freshman biology and then dropped out of the pre-med program. Others bit-the-dust during inorganic and organic chemistry. Still others dropped out during physics. In the end, there were not that many people left in my class who had completed their MCATs and going through the application process.

As I talked with my fellow classmate applicants, I discovered that many of them with marginal scores had only decided to apply to in-state schools. Their rational was, "Well if I can't get in to in-state medical schools, then there's no way that I'm competitive enough to get in at other medical schools."

Many people think that this is true, and this advise is widely disseminated to applying students from their college advisors. I always questioned the validity of this game-plan, and my experience would certainly suggest that this advice should be disgarded.

When you apply to medical school, you must apply widely to many medical school programs. You have to throw as much money at it as you can. When I was going through all of this, I did not have the greatest scores, but applied to 20 medical schools. Out of those 20 schools, I was invited to send out secondary applications to 12 of those 20 schools. 8 schools then invited me to interview with them, and out of those 8 schools, I was accepted to 4 schools.

And interestingly, my first acceptance was to Saint Louis University Medical School -- I eventually attended this school for medical school. As one of the oldest medical schools in the nation, it has a rich history and a sound legacy of turning out leading physicians in every specialty. Noteably, I did not receive an acceptance to my in-state school until much later in the interview season, and it was ONLY after they realized that I was already accepted to an out-of-state school!

So when you're applying to medical school, you'd better do it right! Work hard in undergrad. Do the best you can on the MCATs. Then throw as much money into the application process as you can, applying to as many schools as possible. You'll likely achieve a good outcome.

Read more about this and other topics in my book, Just Trying To Be A Doctor. You can leave feedback to this page.

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