Medical School Admissions: Lessons Learned

AMCAS opens in early May and the next wave of applicants is preparing to submit applications, so it seems apropos to summarize some key observations I have made while privately advising medical school applicants. Here is my list of some essentials for medical school applicants to improve their chances of acceptance.

  1. Submit an early application
    Everything you read tells you that the #1 rule of medical school admissions is to apply early. But, I find that many applicants still ignore this advice. You should not only submit your application as early as possible but also make sure that your transcripts and letters of reference are sent in promptly.
  2. Take your MCAT exam early
    Again, the key word here is “early.” Your application will not be reviewed until your pending MCAT scores are in so, if you have worked hard to submit your AMCAS application in June, don’t negate this effort by taking an August MCAT.
  3. Don’t apply once for “a practice run”
    Yes, people do this. I suggest applying only when you are truly ready. While the stigma of being a reapplicant is declining, being a third-time applicant does trigger a negative bias, so it is best to try and make your application as perfect as possible the first time around. Take an honest inventory of your stats, experiences and accomplishments and decide if you are ready to apply or if you must do something to enhance your candidacy.
  4. Apply broadly
    It may be your dream to attend a top 10 medical school, but be realistic. Too often, applicants apply to only a few schools initially and limit their chances. It is important to apply to a broad range of schools both in terms of geography and ranking. Around this time of year, I receive calls from applicants who say “Well, I didn’t get in last year but I applied only to five schools because I wanted to stay in California.” If you really want to increase your chances of being accepted, do not limit yourself.
  5. Think about your story
    I encourage applicants to think about their unique story and path to medical school. What motivates you? What are the overarching themes in your background and experiences? Why do you want to be a physician? Really thinking about who you are, how you got there and what you hope to do in the future will set the stage for your entire application process. Think about this throughout your education. And, remember, nothing is set in stone. As you develop new interests, expertise and hobbies, your story will evolve and change. Just make sure that your story doesn’t have any major unaccounted gaps in time because admissions committee members often regard these gaps as “red flags.”

  6. Make your application entries descriptive
    While some applicants write a bulleted and brief description for each AMCAS entry, my advice is always to give as much information as possible in your written activities descriptions. You have a 1325 character limit per entry so, unless you have nothing to say about your experiences (which would be a red flag in my book), use this space to your advantage. The person who wants to read less can opt to skim your entries but the person who wants more information won’t take the time to pick up the phone and inquire about your experiences. These descriptions present an opportunity to write about your insights, experiences, accomplishments and observations.
  7. Do not regurgitate your application entries in your personal statement
    It is important to say something new, different and fresh in your personal statement that does not repeat your application entries. Interestingly, I find that many applicants shy away from the very topics and aspects of their backgrounds that make them unique. Applicants also lament that they don’t really have a story or anything special about them. Boloney. Every applicant has a compelling story, but sometimes you need an outsider to bring it into focus. Often applicants are self conscious about the very experiences that will make them more compassionate providers (and more attractive applicants), such as being an immigrant, growing up with few opportunities or having their own encounters with illness. Applicants often say, “I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me and I don’t want to tell a sob story.” As long as you present your story in a matter- of- fact way and write about the positive direction of your path, you won’t be perceived as a whiner. It is often the most challenging times in our lives that are the most catalytic, and any experienced medical educator understands this.
  8. Fill out your secondary essays in timely fashion
    Here is that theme again. Early, early, early.   For schools that have secondaries, your application won’t be screened until the secondaries are in.

  9. Practice Interviewing
    Many applicants think interviewing is easy and, for some, it is, but everyone needs practice. Even if you are a great public speaker, sitting down and talking about yourself one on one with a person in a position of authority does not usually come naturally. Also remember that you can guide your interview and highlight what you think is most important about you. Most medical school interviews are fairly low stress and conversational, so enter your interview knowing which experiences and thoughts you want to discuss and emphasize. When I do mock interviews with clients, I am often surprised at how many people, including those with a long list of impressive achievements, are not able to present their stories cohesively and comprehensively.

  10. Make every interview count
    Every interview is an opportunity for an acceptance. Be sure to smile, be positive and be personable on your interview day. Regardless of “scoring systems” or “rankings,” there is a huge subjective component when evaluating an interviewee. This “halo effect” works both ways; if someone perceives you positively, this will likely carry over to everything about you and your candidacy, whereas if someone perceives you negatively, the opposite is true. I have several clients who received only one interview invitation which resulted in an acceptance. So, approach every interview, literally, as if it is the only one.

  11. Get good advice
    This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Seek out individuals who are knowledgeable about medical school admissions and provide sound guidance. When I used to evaluate applicants as an admissions officer, it was often obvious when an applicant received bad guidance because they did not have the best mix of experiences, had poorly written documents or weak interview skills.

  12. Stay objective and be honest with yourself about your chances
    If it is late in the season and you have not received any interviews or only have wait list offers, consider what went wrong and correct your mistakes. If you plan on reapplying, you must, once again, do so early. If you reapply in August after you realize you won’t get off a wait list, you may again be unsuccessful. Inevitably it is the waitlisted applicant who reapplies in June who gets off a waitlist in August just before classes start.

Learn from my collective experience working with medical school applicants and try to make the most of your candidacy. What I have learned from my clients, most of all, is that the new generation of physicians is a motivated, well-intentioned and inspiring group with a positive outlook.  Apply well because our patients need you. Good luck!
Jessica Freedman, MD, a former medical admissions officer, is president of MedEdits (, a medical school, residency and fellowship admissions consulting firm. She is also the author of the MedEdits blog, a useful resource for applicants: (

46 thoughts on “Medical School Admissions: Lessons Learned

  • Very good advice. Thank you, I will keep this as reference when it is my time to apply to med school. I’m curious how many applicants would follow this advice.

  • hun.. it’s the serious students you are competeing with.. prolly 89% .. nice.. but unfortunate for us.

  • #6 is contrary to what LizzyM encourages pre-meds to do.
    I am now confused.
    ::sits in corner::

  • My advice is don’t waste too much time on the essays if you already have good grades and MCAT. I had good grades and MCAT but I wasted months brooding over my essays. In the end , I realized that my grades and MCAT score were the two major factors. I think the adcoms know how easy it is to cheat on the essay parts but grades show 4 years of work and MCAT is difficult to cheat.

  • I love all these advice columns about ‘how to get into medical school’. Most are total BS, including this one. Unless you are a stellar applicant (ie, high grades & MCAT), your chances of getting into medical school are left to pure luck. The best (and only) advice from this column is the “Apply broadly.” You will have incredible difficulty getting into a state school as a non-resident, but there are plenty of private schools (like Drexel, eg). Also, if you are an advanced student, remember that your applications are being read with people with non-advanced degrees (ie, medical school is not graduate school! you are re-taking sophomore/junior-level classes, and most will likely stay at this level throughout their career). if you really want to get into medical school, state that you want to go into ‘geriatrics.’

  • To Jim:
    Hah! That’s the spirit. Apparently you need to read a few statistics about grades and MCAT to understand that you don’t even have to be an average medschool applicant to get in. If this was all about luck, then people could just apply blindly without worrying about any aspect of their application. And “geriatrics”? Anyway, pretty immature response. I hope you will use only your luck or “stellar” grades to get in. Makes it much easier for the rest of us. You’ll be one of the whiners on SDN who start a thread about having almost perfect grades and no acceptances. Need an attitude adjustment.

  • Yeah – you know what?
    This process is full of subjective crap that nobody can predict.
    Apply to medical school at your own risk, and be careful of stepping into the BS.

  • @ food / @ Jim
    I got into a great school a few days ago with less than stellar numbers. Largely, it was because I followed similar advice to this columnist. In the med admissions process, it’s _not_ luck. It’s working super hard and convincing a school that they want you.
    And luck.

  • I agree with Erik M

  • Brava maestro.
    Succinct, clear, and elegantly put. I’ll look it over a few times throughout the application season.
    Thanks for the insightful, helpful piece.
    –Be talking to you then.

  • To the disgruntled commenters–and I understand your point of view.
    What Dr. Freedman does is combine her years of experience in the selection of people for this career, with a determined compassion to bring out the best in people.
    Knowing full well the biases and subjectivity in play. If you read the piece you could hardly fail to see her addressing how an applicant can work in this milieu for their maximum potential to emerge.
    It is most certainly not BS. And it may be the only voice in your corner that is troubling to get through to you on how to fight your fight. Pacquiao listens to Roach. Don’t be foolish. Do the same.

  • This is far from the hackneyed advice from counselors and the vapid “getting into medical school” books. It is sound and clear advice that will improve one’s chances of getting into Med School. In a few areas it challenges some of the usual dogma that gets passed on from year to year and she clearly explains the reasoning. It’s great having someone with Dr. Freedman’s experience and written eloquence on SDN… many THANKS!!!

  • Reasonable advice, and fits well with my recollection.
    The lateness thing is so true and it always surprises me when applicants get lazy. I bet med schools use it to help trim their pool — reasoning that if a person can’t get their application together in time, how could they do well in med school?
    The only thing I’d add to Dr. Freedman’s advice is maybe a concession to the “scores are all that matter” crowd. If scores are so important, well, take the MCAT in August — but the YEAR BEFORE you apply. Taking it so early demonstrates foresight, discipline, and it’s easier to study for MCAT in the summer.
    Otherwise I think Dr. Freedman’s advice is spot-on and I was lucky to get enough good guidance like this from my college’s pre-med adviser.

  • LizzyM suggests the opposite for number 6……..

  • Why is it so important to apply early? I have heard that most schools don’t even consider looking at applications until at least November. I become concerned when I hear this because I am wrapping up my pre-reqs this summer and taking the MCAT in August. As a non-traditional student, I am already older than the average applicant and I don’t want to wait another year to apply.

  • @ Eryn
    You’ve heard wrong. Some acceptances go out as early as October 15th. An August MCAT is very, very late.

  • I got into med school with really piss poor numbers (3.2 and a 32MCAT, but retook the exam and got a 27 – family emergency screwed up my focus right before the exam). For the most part, I agree with the advice, especially applying broadly. However, I think the two other things that really help are sickeningly strong recommendation letters from individuals with some heft to their name (I had three really strong rec letters from people who are fairly famous in their fields write and then call the schools I liked for me). Also, I think playing to your absolute strength is huge. I have a lot of research experience compared to others my age, so I applied as an MD/PhD and killed the interviews. Good luck to everyone and just take it one step at a time.

  • I think people make this harder than it really is. The important things are:
    1. MCAT
    2. GPA
    3. Interview (i.e. being a normal person who can hold a conversation)
    The rest is important only for those who don’t have 1-3 nailed down or are going for top schools where all bets are off.

    • I’m Ghassan Al_sadiq an Iraqi citizen that just immigrated to the United States.I am interested in attending st.james school of medicine hopefully soon. I had some questions regarding the admissions process; I had moved to the states from Iraq- where I got my high school diploma, and attended three years of undergraduate studies (pre-medicine) at the – . I got my GED back, however, due to the slight difference in the grading system between Baghdad and the US, my grade point average was calculated to1.30, and many of my science classes ended up being recorded as F’s and D’s. I am planning on applying to a community college to finish the required classes for medical school. I would appreciate any guidance or opinion about my situation and what you would think is the best path would be for me in order to be a good candidate for your school.

  • Jimmer,
    The person who I heard this from was on the admissions committee at the University of Minnesota. Some schools’ deadlines aren’t until December 1st. This is why I am confused about why applying early is so important. Do schools NOT wait until the application deadline to start looking at applications?

  • Does all of what she suggested apply to Canada as well, or only to the United States? Would it be much more difficult for a Canadian to gain entry into a medical school in the United States?

  • To Eryn – from what I’ve heard, the U. of Minnesota has a fairly slow and lagging admissions process, so it may be true they don’t accept until later.
    On a more general note, schools most definitely do NOT wait until the application deadline to look at apps. They do so whenever it fits their schedule. I have heard of interviews going out july and august. An august mcat means they won’t get your score until november. It’s not impossible to get in then, but there will be fewer interview slots available. Perhaps at big schools or your state school you will still get an interview and will have luck.

  • Question #1
    I am re-taking MCAT at the end of July.
    I was wondering if I can still submit everything else (Personal Statement, CV’s, etc) to get the primary application varified while the MCAT score is being scored (will be released at the end of August or early Sept).
    Question #2
    I checked from the other link (
    Data for allopathic (MD) schools Entering Year
    Overall GPA MCAT (Verbal) MCAT (Phys) MCAT (Bio) MCAT (Essay) MCAT Total
    2005 3.63 9.7 10.1 10.4 P 30.2 P
    2004 3.62 9.7 9.9 10.3 P 29.9 P
    2003 3.62 9.5 9.9 10.2 P 29.6 P
    2002 3.61 9.5 10.0 10.2 P 29.7 P
    2001 3.60 9.5 10.0 10.1 P 29.6 P
    2000 3.60 9.5 10.0 10.2 P 29.7 P
    Does anyone know official link to this website so that I might be able to find GPA data for 2006-present.
    avg GPA 3.60’s seems way below med schools in Canada so I got little confused.
    (My GPA is 3:65 for 4 years of undergrad then does this mean that my GPA is competitive enough to get in?)
    Any inputs on these matters will be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you.

  • I meant, in terms of GPA itself.
    avg GPA 3.60’s seems way below (than GPA requirements for) med schools in Canada so I got little confused.

  • “Just make sure that your story doesn’t have any major unaccounted gaps in time because admissions committee members often regard these gaps as “red flags.”
    I know, but what if you have gaps in time that are accounted for? ie, due to illness in self and family members??

  • For people against advice #6:
    It does not hurt to do it. Doing it is like the equivalent of overstudying (with the right information) for a test. As mention in this thread, an admission officer that is not interested in knowing a lot about your activities could just skim through the descriptions.

  • @Early application: Knowing all of that, I knew I was a very competitive applicant so I applied later than what I originally intended. I was a non-traditional applicant with somewhat of a strict timeline, but I was fairly certain that I would be accepted….I was lucky, but I wish I knew…
    – It’s probable that you gain acceptance somewhere, but it may not be your ideal program. As an applicant, you only have a ballpark understanding of what is most important in your personal choice in a medical school. You won’t find out what is really important to you until you interview at 3+ schools and learn more.
    – You may realize your top program is no longer your first choice. It is doubtful, but you may able to apply still and gain acceptance elsewhere. I met people on interviews who advanced a last choice school to their first choice.
    – Once you are accepted somewhere, you can not start the cycle over again unless you seriously wish to put your opportunity to become a physician in jeopardy. The program has no reason to accept you a second time. Deferrals may limit your ability to reapply to any other programs.
    – You may be interviewing at your first choice program’s waitlist and have very little recourse…for my first choice program, I was very excited that I had an interview invite…for the rest of the night I couldn’t fall asleep when I realized that it wasn’t until the end of January.
    – The pre-medical committee for our school didn’t write my LOR until every LOR was received. Even though I met with them in April before I applied, my letter and files were not complete until October. Other committees meet very early or very late in the season.
    – Applying early translates to more acceptances, more options and better choices (programs, housing, research opportunities, etc). In some urban areas (eg, Philadelphia), housing options radically dropped as more people enrolled in the entering class.
    – Applying to medical school is costly and time-consuming. You have to miss class and/or work for interviews and your grades suffer, albeit very little. It is hard to build a more competitive application for the following cycle unless you get outright rejections at all schools.
    – Once you are accepted, you have more time to transition into medical school. More time to evaluate housing, plan, and prepare for all of the steps that follow. There are always more things that are better to be done before medical school begins.
    – The earlier you are accepted, the more time you have to enjoy the joys of being accepted to medical school. Enjoy your freedom, free time, and complete lack of responsibility – arguable, your last chance for many years…
    to appeal to your lazy side, applying early means you can relax sooner! 😉

  • Peter: MedEdits now offers a more affordable service with fees comparable to Essay Edge. You can work directly with our professional editors/writers all of whom have at least 10 years of experience and are trained in the art of medical admissions. As an added bonus, TWO people review and edit every document. We do not hire recent graduates — we hire only the most experienced professionals. Check it out.

  • No thank you Dr Freedman, I used Essayedge for half the price and they provided great service. If anyone is interested, you can use my coupon code (MED9A for $15 off)

  • Jessica,
    I just came across your article and found it very similar to the advice I have received from my advisor. After reading that the medical schools do not evaluate an application until all the scores are released even if I apply in June, I became worried. I am currently waitlisted to one medical school and am on “hold” for another. I am beginning the application process again and have not retaken the MCAT because I did not expect to be going through this process again. I just rescheduled the MCAT a week ago for the July 31st date. After reading your article, I realized that my application would not be evaluated until after September 1st, and I don’t want a repeat of last year. I thought the schools would still evaluate me with my old score. I applied late last year because I took the MCAT in August and one of my recommendation letter writers did not provide me with the letter until November!!!
    So, is it better to apply with a 28O and a 3.86 overall GPA in June or take a chance and take the MCAT in August hoping for a better score (thus applying “late”)?

  • Dear Rebecca: There is not an easy answer to your question. Please feel free to contact me directly to discuss your situation.

  • Dr. Freedman,
    I am in a difficult situation. When I was a junior in college three years ago I took my MCAT without proper preparation and I scored a 24Q. I knew that I needed better scores to get into medical school; therefore I decided that I was not going to take the test again until I was properly prepared. I just retook the MCAT last month and when my scores came back the other day I was devastated because I had scored a 23M. I studied really hard for the test, however my nerves really got the best of me that day and instead of going with my gut instinct and voiding the test I allowed it to be scored. Now I am at a crossroad in my life and I’m not sure which direction I should go in. I have been asking around for advice and most people have told me to forget about becoming a doctor because I had my chance to prove myself and I essentially blew it by doing even worse on my MCAT.
    Just to give you some background information. I am the first person in my family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. I graduated 9th in a high school class of close to 400 students. I struggled with my SATs and got wait-listed and eventually rejected from several excellent undergraduate institutions. Regardless, I got into my safety school, which was an average small liberal arts college and in my four years there I did my best to get the most out of my education. I have always loved science; therefore I majored in Biology and minored in Chemistry. As a member of my school’s honors program I worked hard to excel in the classroom. When I graduated two years ago I held a 4.0 science GPA and a 3.98 cumulative GPA.
    Outside of class I did not do as much as I could have done. I had a lot of scholarships, however they did not cover my entire tuition and I was afraid of letting my grades slip because I knew that I would be the person paying off my loans after graduation. My major extracurricular/passion outside of the classroom was research. I began doing research at my school the summer after my freshman year of college and I continued to do research year round until I graduated. Overall, I spent three summers working in my school’s research lab and one summer working in a biomedical science lab at a Fortune 500 company.
    I decided to take time off after I graduated because I felt burned out and I did not think that I would be able to handle the stress of medical school. In addition, with age I figured out that there was a lot more to medical school then I knew and that a lot of sacrifice and responsibility comes with wearing that coveted white coat. I looked at my time off as a way to prepare myself mentally for the rigors of a medical education, as well as a time to evaluate my life and decide if I really wanted to go into medicine. With that being said, I spent the summer after graduation doing research at my school. I simultaneously volunteered at a psychiatric hospital for six months. I shadowed a physician for a day, secondary to time constraints in their schedule. All of that was followed by a two month break at which time I went to job fairs/interviews, I met with my research advisor and worked on turning my research data into publications and I also spent time overcoming a personal illness. Finally, at the end of those two months I found my current job. Over the past year, I have been working in an emergency department shadowing doctors while they examine patients, typing their notes, tracking down diagnostics, making phone calls and doing anything and everything to help the doctors effectively treat their patients. Working this past year has made me want medicine more than I have ever wanted it before. I love my job and I could not imagine doing anything else for the rest of my life, however it seems like the MCAT is cutting my dream short.
    I realize that I have made a lot of mistakes and that I could have done things differently in order to make myself a better candidate for medical school. I realize that compared to other students I am probably a mediocre candidate. I want this badly, however I feel like my hands are tied and that there is nothing that I can do to dig myself out of the hole that I am currently standing in. I am about to turn twenty-four and my advisors have told me to stop wasting time and move on with my life. Is my dream shot or should I still give it a try? I have never applied to medical school and I am afraid that if I just give up that I will always be questioning myself.
    As of now I am registered to take the MCAT again in July. My scores will not come back until September, so I am technically late in the application cycle. In addition, I’m trying to work full-time overnights, study, fill out my application, write a personal statement and balance my personal life. In all honesty the stress of everything is starting to make me question my decision to pursue this career and I do not think that I will be able to do any of the things that I need to do in that kind of mindset. Would it be better for me to take another year off and do things the right way or should I just move on? Thanks for your advice.

    • To LMH, Dude, you really need a pep talk. I am passing about 30 years as a physician, and it sounds like you would be a fine physician yourself, if u make up your mind to NOT listen to Naysayers!! You keep shadowing doctors , and doing research, so it sounds like your heart is in it. Is it? U gonna let some Jerk steal your dream!? Heck no! Tell ’em to kiss ur grits! (Or whatever) I had the opposite problem. Bad freshman grades kept myGPA relatively low but a good MCAT. I too had done some research and maybe should have applied as MD/Phd candidate. But I jumped to a foreign school and got lucky by transferring back to an American med school, after 2 1/2 years. Consider the MD/PhD option. They may roll out the red carpet , who knows… PS, will the doctors(psych , ER AND researchers) write you strong/good rec’s ? ASK them “would u be able to recommend me” ? Then gauge their response. Follow through on the one’s who do not sound wishy washy. Hope this helps. (I asked one of my favorite professor’s to write a rec. He wrote lukewarm rec and slowed things down, so u need to be as sure, as possible, that they appreciate you. ) Maybe, u just need a confidence boost. “You can do it!” ET (Everyday read a page or two of something uplifting ie “success” literature to counter all the negative u r experiencing)

  • Hi Dr Freedman,
    I started taking graduate courses while working full-time. I had a really good academic and extracurricular record in undergrad. However, on my 5th graduate course, Introduction to Java, (in the other four courses I got 2 A’s and 2 A-‘s) I helped a friend (who was mourning the loss of a family member) with one of his homework assignments and we both got disciplined for inappropriate collaboration and were required to withdraw from the course. Obviously, I understand where the school is coming from – that was against the rules, regardless of my good intentions. I have definitely learned my lesson. I was also put on probation for a year so I haven’t been able to take other courses yet. But I plan on it.
    I have 4 questions:
    1) Do I have to report this under institutional action even though I was just taking random courses (not towards a degree)?
    2) If so, in my explanation should I explain the circumstances under which I was disciplined or should I just say that I am sorry and that I have learned my lesson. I feel like an explanation is necessary to show that I was, albeit misguidedly, just trying to help someone – I had no personal gain in it.
    3) What are the chances of medical schools still considering a good candidate for medical school?
    4) Is there any thing I can do, besides taking more courses, to show that I am not a dishonest person?

  • chill guys
    this is not a place for personal questions…

  • I suggest all reading this thread reconsider medicine, even if other occupations don’t seem so favorable right now. I strongly recommend that you follow residents around 1 month in house. Be on call when they’re on call. Everything on our time, not medical student time. You will see what commitment is needed.

  • I agree with Musicaldna. This is simply an article written for SND members to read and consider. There are plenty of forums in which you are able to pose whatever questions you might have or discuss your history/application/CV etc. This is muddles the page with unnecessary text. Gary is right. If you don’t have an opportunity to shadow an intern or resident, i suggest reading the book, “The Intern” by Sandeep Jauhar. It provides, in great detail, the transition from med school to first year internship, all the way through fellowship. Medicine is not a fantasy world. It’s a field that requires giving everything you have. It has to be who you are, not just what you do.

  • what to do to clear NBDE part 1 for dds??(which books i refer)

  • I’m going to take the MCAT in the summer between my sophomore and Junior year…so when I should send my stuff for AMCAS verification? I mean I won’t be applying till the summer between my junior and senior year…so I’m kind of confused…

  • Medical School is not hard to get in. I think you have to apply when you are ready to get in and you will get in!

  • In this time where applicants seek to join any medical school should be a little more complicated. Findrxonline mentions that schools and universities in United States are hosting millions of people from all countries to study medicine and its different branches.

  • Morning bloggers, I am really struggeling with my decision to start the pre-med track, I have most of my prequisite courses done. I first was at the university of kentucky, kind of bombed there, considering I took 3 histories and 2 poli sci classes. Then I transfered back to a community college. I had horrible issues going on at the time, and have withdrawls on my transcripts. Now I am finally on tract and my gpa is steadly rising ( from 2.8-3.45), I am planning on transfering to either U of Mich. Ann Arbor, or U of Minnesota Twin Cities. Before I do this, am I completely wasting my time. On the other hand if I did not get into medical school, would a science realted PhD program such as Pathology, would be a good area to go?

  • I’m Ghassan Al_sadiq an Iraqi citizen that just immigrated to the United States.I am interested in attending MUA of medicine hopefully . I had some questions regarding the admissions process; I had moved to the states from Iraq- where I got my high school diploma, and attended three years of undergraduate studies (pre-medicine) at the medical college of baghdad university. I got my GED back, however, due to the slight difference in the grading system between Baghdad and the US, my grade point average was calculated to1.29, and many of my science classes ended up being recorded as F’s and D’s. I am planning on applying to a community college to finish the required classes for medical school. I would appreciate any guidance or opinion about my situation and what you would think is the best path would be for me in order to be a good candidate for your school.

  • JMC Dr., thank you for an informative article. I have a foreign bachelors degree in Management and CS with what I think is equivalent to 2.62 GPA in the American system (will be waiting on IERF or WES to evaluate… first of all, do you think there is a preference between those 2 organizations?). I’ve been working in the Business field for about 15 years now and intending to change my career to medicine (with ultimate goal of becoming a psychiatrist). Also, I have a lot of hours in community volunteer work and started shadowing doctors. I plan to go to a postbac program to fulfill science prereq’s and a junior college (to save on cost) for other classes (languages and humanities). as obvious, the downside is the low GPA. I’ll do my best to stay in the A’s in my upcoming courses and shoot for at least 34 on MCAT. I’m sure I’ll get excellent LOR’s from my supervisors (whether at work, service, or the doctors I’m shadowing) and hopefully the same from future professors. with this plan, do you think I have any chance to overcome the the low evaluated GPA of the foreign degree (which was caused by personal adversity, still to be honest I could have tried harder) and be a competitive candidate for med school? if this plan is still weak, what else could you advise me to prepare? Thank you in advance for all your help.

  • “some people apply for practice.” BS, third time applicants are trying their asses off to get in but it’s so subjective and competitive that they might as well hope to win big in lottery at the same time. I’ve never even heard of a soul that applied to med school as “practice.” Way too much shit to just “practice.”

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