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Becoming a Competitive Applicant. Lauren Banks, MS4 Tomas Diaz, MS1 Eric Medina, MS2 Toy Ogunkua, MS4. Welcome to Perelman School of Medicine!.

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Becoming a competitive applicant

Becoming a Competitive Applicant

Lauren Banks, MS4

Tomas Diaz, MS1

Eric Medina, MS2

Toy Ogunkua, MS4

Welcome to perelman school of medicine
Welcome to Perelman School of Medicine!

Although medical school may be 2-3 years away, there are steps you can take now to better prepare yourself for the application process and life after graduation.


  • There is no magic formula to get into medical school, and no two Perleman School of Medicine students have identical journeys.

  • However, there are some basics which helped all of us succeed.

The basics
The Basics

  • Get Organized!!!

  • Estimate COSTS (and SAVE if you can)

  • Learn the Application Process

  • Know the Deadlines and Expectations

THE PREGAME Gather Information & Utilize Resources

Gather information utilize resources
Gather Information & Utilize Resources

  • Rule #1: Decide to devote a significant time commitment to preparing for medical school.

  • Rule #2:Get to know your pre-med office!

  • Rule #3: Seek advice from current med students, pre-health advisors, and mentors familiar with the medical school application process.

  • Rule #4: Research national medical school acceptance data based upon GPA and MCAT scores found in MSAR

How to identify a mentor
How to Identify a Mentor

  • Approach a professor in one of your pre-med science classes

  • Get to know faculty by going to their office hours

  • Faculty advisor of a student group you are involved with

  • Seek advice on who to approach from your pre-health advisor

    This is an active process.. You need to seek these figures out and approach them yourself

Gather information utilize resources the msar aka your best friend
Gather Information & Utilize ResourcesThe MSAR aka Your Best Friend

  • The Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) profiles every medical school in the US and Canada.

  • Check the MSAR before applying to get a sense of what a school’s numbers are, their requirements, and their curricula.

    • Comprehensive guide found online at AAMC website(sign up fee of $15)

      • Google “MSAR Online”

    • Your premed office may have a paper version, but it is not complete

Create your academic plan
Create Your Academic Plan

  • Before applying to medical school, you must take the following courses (and LABS!):

    • Biology

    • General chemistry

    • Organic chemistry

    • Physics

    • English/writing

    • (and BIOCHEMISTRY, statistics, and social sciences)

  • Meet with your pre-med advisor ASAP to discuss your plan for taking these courses.

    • National discourse regarding evolving course requirements

    • Pre-med advisor should help you navigate the changing climate

What do the numbers mean
What Do the Numbers Mean?

Applicants accepted to at least one medical school



AAMC Data Warehouse, Table 24: MCAT and GPA Grid for Applicants and Acceptees to U.S. Medical Schools, 2008-2010

Grades Matter

Grades matter.

  • Don’t bank on being the outlier.

  • It’s stressful to take that risk (both financially and emotionally).

  • No one will see how wonderful you are unless your numbers get by the screening.

  • You DON’T have to be a science major (at all!), but you DO need good grades in your science classes

  • Your early grades can have a lasting effect on the rest of college – make sure to maintain them!

Grades matter tips on academic success
GRADES MATTERTips on Academic Success

  • Balance your schedule and major – you should be challenged, but not to the point where you are unhappy and aren’t doing well.

  • Don’t be ashamed or afraid to ask for help!

  • Go to professor AND TA office hours!

  • Work in groups to solve problems.

  • Don’t get caught up in the hype of how others are doing (or how they claim they are doing).

  • When things don’t go quite right, troubleshoot – ask yourself, “How can I do better next time?”

The Medical College

Admission Test

About the medical college admissions test mcat
About the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)…

  • The MCAT is a multiple choice, standardized test required for admission into medical school

  • Tested subjects include:

    • Biology

    • Physics

    • General Chemistry

    • Organic Chemistry

  • All sections except the Writing Sample will have many, many passage-based questions.

  • Study for the Verbal Reasoning and Writing sections of the MCAT.

NOTE: The MCAT is changing in 2015 and there will be NO writing sample, and more emphasis on biochemsitry and interpersonal skills…Stay tuned…

General tips
General Tips

  • 65% of applicants take a prep course

    • Different styles and intensities (and prices)

  • Aim to take the MCAT when you are PREAPARED!

  • Retake the MCAT if needed when READYKnow that schools calculate multiple MCATsdifferently…

    • Last score

    • Average all of scores

    • Best sub-score in each category

A lesson learned
A Lesson Learned

  • Janell was a junior and studied for the MCAT for two months. She hadn’t taken organic chemistry yet but heard it was only a minor part of the test, so she wasn’t too worried. To prepare for the biology section, she studied intently from her dusty biology book that she used freshmen year for Bio 101. She registered a month before the testand was surprised when she was placed at a testing site an hour away. She had to wake up early on testing day in order to make the trip. When her scores came back, she felt frustrated as she got seven points below the average for her target school.

  • How can we help Janell?

The inside scoop
The Inside Scoop

Study reminders

Important programs to know about

  • Take all classes, biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics before taking the MCAT

  • Take an MCAT prep course or study from review books made specifically for the MCAT

  • Do a ton of practice tests

  • Register early and leave time to retake the test before applying

  • AAMC Fee Assistance Program (FAP)

    • Reduction of MCAT registration fee from $235 to $85

    • For more information, go to

  • Sign up with the AAMC Medical Minority Applicant Registry (Med-Mar) Program when you take the MCAT

    • The registry distributes biographical information about examinees and their MCAT scores to diversity/multicultural and admissions offices of medicals school

Okay – good grades and MCAT scores are important to get past the screening.

What else should I be thinking about?

Extracurricular Activities! past the screening.

An extracurricular activity
An extracurricular activity… past the screening.

  • Allows you to develop personal interests outside of class and build leadership skills.

  • Demonstratesthat you’re a well–rounded individual.

  • Brings together people from different majors/ levels of education.

  • Provides a chance to serve the community.

  • Exposes you to health/medically – related projects.

    Shadowing a physician is great, but make it an active experience that includes patient interaction

  • Advice on joining extracurricular activities
    Advice on Joining Extracurricular Activities past the screening.

    Tip 1: Join extracurriculars that you're interested in early, with the hope of an eventual leadership role.

    Tip 2: Don’t stretch yourself too thin! Seek quality opportunities, rather than quantity.

    Tip 3: Try to maintain a balance between extracurriculars and good grades.

    AMCAS past the screening.

    • Centralized application service through the AAMC

    • Available online in mid-May of your application year

      • Apply early if possible


    • Can be submitted in early June

    Amcas sections
    AMCAS Sections past the screening.

    • Identifying Information

    • Schools Attended

    • Biographic Information

    • Course Work

    • Work and Activities*

    • Letters of Evaluation

    • Medical Schools

    • Essay(s)

    • Standardized Tests

    * A note on framing your experiences… they should inform how you will make a good physician/med student

    Letters of recommendation
    Letters of Recommendation past the screening.

    Start thinking about Letters of Recommendation NOW


    • letters from instructors in science courses

    • letter from instructor in a non-science course

      (numbers vary by program)

    • Choose individuals who know you well and who will write very favorable letters of recommendation for you

    • Request your individual letters of recommendation EARLY!

    Essays past the screening.

    Personal Statement:

    • Leave a lot of time to write it

    • Have many, many, manypeople read/edit it (e.g. writing tutor)

      • Especially premed advisor

    • Make the admissions committee want to meet you!


      MD/PhD applicants have 3 essays

    • Personal statement

    • Significant research experience

    • “Why do I want to do this?”

    Application process
    Application Process past the screening.

    • Primary application: The AMCAS

      Submit one set of application materials to AMCAS, which verifies transcripts and forwards application to the medical schools that you indicate.

    • Secondary applications: Most schools send you a supplementary application (usually requires additional fees and essays).

    • Don’t apply to a school with primary application if you don’t intend to do the secondary

    A note on professionalism
    A Note on Professionalism past the screening.

    • Professional dress

      • Conservative accessories, clean appearance

    • Cell phone etiquette

      • Best idea: turn it off!

      • DON’T answer it

    • Positive presentation/impression

    • Listen and don’t interrupt

    • Ask questions

      • Convey your interest

    QUESTIONS? past the screening.

    Let’s keep in touch!

    Lauren Banks, MS4

    [email protected]

    Tomas Diaz, MS1

    [email protected]

    Eric Medina, MS2

    [email protected]

    Toy Ogunkua, MS4

    [email protected]