Jordan Branch is a 2nd year MD candidate at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. You can follow her on instagram or linkedin.
The best way to prepare for applying to medical school is to create an excel sheet with all of the schools you may be interested in attending. This excel sheet should contain the following information for each school;
- School name
- Average MCAT score
- Average GPA
- Acceptance rate
- Match rate
- Course Requirements
- School motto and mission
Next, spend time researching all of this information for each school. Most of this information should be readily available on the school’s website. There are also many websites like usnews.com that may also have information about school rankings, average MCAT score, etc. Alter your list to include information that is most relevant to your interests, as well as anything distinct or unique that a school has to offer.
For example, if you have an interest in global medicine, it would be ideal for making a note of any school you come across that has programs or opportunities at their school related to global health and international medicine.
Think about the reasons you have for being interested in attending each school on your list. If you have participated in a summer program there, know current students, or have other connections, make a note of it. If the school focuses on research within their curriculum, make a note of it. Anything that stands out to you, or turns you away, makes a note of it. Record anything unique that you come across.
Continuously update this list as you gain more information about the schools on it. Don’t hesitate to add other schools you had not considered before. Check with your school’s health careers office or your pre-med advisor for admissions pamphlets that may share more information about a school and what it has to offer. Not only will this list help you process your thoughts of each school, but once it’s time for interviews, it will become a great resource to reference before interviews.
Knowing what each school has to offer that others don’t will help you decide where you want to be. Seeing the numbers and stats are always helpful, but once you have been accepted, all of the other information you obtained will become more important. Looking at a school’s motto, special programs, or social environment will set it apart from other institutions.
In 2018-19, the average student applied to 16 medical schools. Don’t hesitate to make this list extensive and cut down as you receive more information. Include “reach schools” on your list, as well as “safe schools.” Place your list in order of preference. Putting all of your in one place will be very helpful when deciding where to apply.
Greater Influence Tip: Apply to your in-state institutions. Schools love to accept students from their state. Not only does it likely increase your chance of acceptance, but it also gives you an automatic connection to the school and its community.