For their thirty-first Medical School Headquarters podcast, Dr. Allison Gray & Dr. Ryan Gray talk about 8 key pieces of information that every student going through the premed process, whether in high school or in college, should know.
NO SUCH THING AS THE “PERFECT” APPLICANT
Medical school admission committee members are looking to build a small community with each class they accept. Every student needs to stand apart, with extra curricular activities, scores and other activities that make you shine. Adcoms what interesting, not cookie cutter.
CHOOSING YOUR UNDERGRAD
We talk a little bit about Canadian un- dergrad school because Allison went to McGill. Some schools have strict policies on grade inflation, which is a large problem with schools in the US. Choosing an undergrad program should not strictly be based on the prestige of the school, but how that school fits you.
This is something that you’ll need to know about early in the process, either in high school, or early in college. There are several 7 and 8 year BS/MD programs that guarantee acceptance into medical school if you maintain a certain GPA. Some even don’t have you take the MCAT!
BROADEN YOUR COURSEWORK
We talked to Mount Sinai in Session 16 about FlexMed – a program that lets you apply to medical school as a sophomore in college. If you get accepted, no MCAT! And non of the typical premed requirements. They let you go broaden your horizons and bring some diversity into your medical school class. Enjoy your general education requirements and keep your eyes open about other intersets that you may have.
RESPECT THE MCAT
The MCAT, is the great equalizer. It is like no other test you have taken, and like no other test that you will take. EVER. You need to do practice tests, practice ques- tions, more practice tests and then even more! I’ve covered some MCAT test prep, and will add reviews to some MCAT test prep companies as we are able. If you only get one thing out of this podcast, it is to un- derstand that just because you are a good student, doesn’t mean you will do well on the MCAT.
The average number of medical school to apply to is 14. 5 is not enough. You need to be very flexible when applying to medical schools, and realize that you really have to apply to enough schools to increase your chances of getting into a medical school. If you have a spouse or significant other, have a conversation about where they would be willing to go. Remember – this is just for 4 years of your life. You’ll have the opportu- nity to move again for residency. Speaking from experience, you can truly be happy anywhere, as long as you are open-minded.
Like a giant game of musical chairs – the sooner you can get a chair, the better! Most schools offer admissions on a rolling basis, so if you apply later in the process, many schools may have most of their seats already spoken for. Many advisors may tell you that if you are applying in late August, you should just wait until the next year. Some schools may apply a stigma to the “reappliers.” Applications open in May and typically start accepting submissions start- ing in June. Don’t be the first, because there may be problems (like here), wait a couple of days to let the guinea pigs try it first and then submit yours!
ENJOY THE JOURNEY!
Above all else (well – maybe not above grades and MCAT scores) – you need to enjoy yourself. We’re sure that you’ve heard that the medical education process is a marathon. Pace yourself. Stop and breath along the way and hopefully you will be able to take advantage of everything that college has to offer.
ABOUT THE AUTHORSDrs. Ryan and Allison Gray are practicing physicians, the hosts of the top-rated weekly Medical School HQ Podcast and publishers of MedicalSchoolHQ.net. Since 2012, they have been providing invaluable, expert guidance to struggling premeds, helping them on their paths to becoming physicians. You can listen to their podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and on their website.