Procedures of application to the medical school
Becoming a doctor is a dream for many people, but the application process can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, the process can be broken down into three simple phases.
The first phase is the primary application. This is the first portion of the application that you will submit, and it can be submitted as early as the first week of June of the application year. Most U.S. medical schools use the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), which is a centralized medical school application processing service. The great thing about AMCAS participating schools is that you only need to submit one online application, even if you're applying to multiple schools.
Before submitting your primary application, you'll need to gather all the materials that will go into it. This includes official transcripts, a personal statement, and information about your extracurricular activities. You'll also need to take the MCAT, as medical schools will only review your application if it's considered complete, and this includes having an available MCAT score.
The second phase is the secondary application. After submitting your primary application, there are two possible outcomes: the medical school will reject your application or they will send you a secondary application. The secondary application is specific to each school you're applying to, and it's where they ask the specific questions they want answered. Some schools will just want an application fee and no additional info, but others will want to know more. It's important to have a fast turnaround for these applications, and in an ideal world, you'll spend much of July and August submitting secondary applications.
The final phase is the medical school interview. If you're not invited for an interview, the school will notify you right away and the process will end for that school. If you are invited for an interview, you should schedule it at the earliest convenient time. As schools are interviewing applicants, they're making decisions. Usually, you'll hear one way or another within a month of interviewing, but sometimes this phase takes longer.
It's a long process, but with the right planning, it's completely manageable. Successful medical school applicants are those who view each phase of the journey as an opportunity to put their best foot forward and showcase their best qualities.
Useful information and FAQ
Medical schools seek individuals who are driven to become empathetic and compassionate leaders in medicine. They have a mission to train the most compassionate and brightest physicians that are thoroughly prepared to serve the diverse and changing needs of patients and communities.
Most medical colleges offer three main programs including the traditional 4-year MD program, the accelerated 3-year Primary Care Track (PCT), and dual degrees including MD/PhD (MSTP), MD/MBA, MD/MHP, etc.
Students who intend to apply to a medical school must complete all of the requirements for admission and should initiate their application through American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). AMCAS is a nonprofit, centralized application processing service available to applicants entering their first year at participating medical schools.
There are nine sections of the AMCAS, where you will be asked to provide background information, course work, work experience, extracurricular activities, and letters of evaluation. In the seventh section of the application, you will be asked to enter all of the schools you wish to apply to. After this step, you will submit essays, and standardized test scores, then certify and submit your application. Learn more about this process by visiting the AAMC How to Apply to Medical School website.
Making it in medical school can be challenging. But you can be a front-runner by knowing what to do to prepare for a successful candidacy. You will have to prepare the following lists for medical school, including undergraduate courses you should take, grade point average (GPA), and MCAT score.
Compile your checklist for applying to medical school:
- Complete prerequisite courses
- Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)
- Grade Point Average
- Recommendation letters (two academic required)
- Official Transcripts
Biology, general chemistry, biochemistry, organic chemistry, and physics are all required classes for admission. Some additional classes can also bolster the strength of your application.
Required Premedical Coursework:
- Biology: Two semesters or three quarters
- General Chemistry: Two semesters or three quarters that consists of a general chemistry series including laboratory work incorporating quantitative and qualitative analysis
- Biochemistry: One semester/quarter course in biochemistry
- Organic Chemistry: Two semesters or three quarters of an organic chemistry series that includes one year of a lab experience or equivalent
- Physics: Two semesters or three quarters with a laboratory experience
Additional Recommended Premedical Coursework:
- Anatomy: One semester/quarter course in anatomy
- Writing/Speech: Courses that emphasize written and verbal communication. Applicants are required to demonstrate spoken, auditory, reading and writing proficiency in the English language
- Social Sciences: Courses such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, and economics
- Humanities: Courses in art, music, drama, literature, and languages
- Diversity: Courses that focus on the culture, history, and/or current circumstances of diverse populations
- Ethics: Courses that address questions and issues related to morality and moral behavior that may include meta-ethics, normative ethics, applied ethics, moral psychology, and descriptive ethics
The MCAT is a standardized test required for admission to medical school. MCAT scores and grades are carefully considered and are an important part of the application process. Scores will be accepted from tests three years prior to application. (Example: If you apply in 2023 for enrollment in 2024, scores will be accepted from tests taken January 2020 through September 2023.) More information is available at aamc.org. For application to top-tier medical schools, you will need to target total MCAT Percentile rank among peers 94th or higher.
The GPA are considered in the context of the difficulty and rigor of the applicant’s major. Prospective students should note that the GPA is only one factor in the admissions decision and is taken into consideration along with many other circumstances. The academic profile of recent successful candidates to the most competitive medical school includes a 3.7 GPA or higher (BCPM GPA 3.8 or higher).
You should request letters of evaluation from professors, supervisors or other individuals who know you well and can accurately comment on your qualifications for medical school. It is important that those who write the letters clearly indicate whether they taught or supervised you and the length of time they have known you. The letters of evaluation are only received through the AMCAS letter service. More information about this process is available at aamc.org.
The College of Medicine requires two academic letters from professors who have taught you and assigned a grade for credit in the course. One letter should come from a professor who taught you in a science course. A premedical committee composite letter satisfies this requirement. If you are a Medical Scientist Training Program applicant, you must submit two additional evaluation letters describing your research experience and qualifications.
After applying through AMCAS and your MCAT eligibility verified by our office, all applicants who designated Ohio State College of Medicine as one of the schools of their choice will receive an email that will include the link to the secondary application. Secondary applications will become available usually in July. An application fee will be paid electronically, upon submission of the secondary application.
Essays: In addition to the personal statement provided on the AMCAS application, we require responses to additional essay questions.
Most medical colleges have a rolling admission cycle, and the Admissions Committee makes decisions every two weeks, usually beginning in October. Accepted, deferred, and rejected applicants are notified of their status via their personal status page every two weeks. Deferred applicants remain in consideration for all subsequent Admissions Committee meetings until April. The deferred list becomes a waitlist after April, and all deferred candidates remain active until orientation. A final official transcript is required to verify that applicants have been awarded a baccalaureate degree prior to their first day of enrollment in the program. Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in spoken, auditory, reading, and writing skills in the English language. If an applicant indicates that English is their second language or is recommended for assessment by the Admissions Committee after the interview, they may be given one-year deferred admission to establish competency through appropriate English coursework. Medical colleges require a criminal background check and drug testing before matriculation to protect property and ensure a safe environment for patients, employees, visitors, and the general public.
Interviews are conducted with faculty members and current medical students or residents. The primary purpose of the interviews is to identify individuals who will be able to deal compassionately and effectively with patients. The Admissions Committee, composed of medical school faculties, community physicians, physician trainees, and medical students, votes on the candidates at the end of each interview day. Applicants are notified of the committee's decision through their status page. Applicants who are dismissed, on probation or hold, or under suspension at another medical school are not considered.
Being deferred means that the Admissions Committee wants to review more candidates before they make their decision on your application. Deferred applications are reviewed every two weeks during the decision-making process, and a number of deferred applicants are admitted during the process. The deferred list becomes a wait list after April. All deferred candidates remain active until orientation.
- Research the school and program before the interview to understand their mission, values, and curriculum.
- Practice common interview questions with a friend or mentor to prepare your responses.
- Be professional and dress appropriately for the interview.
- Make sure to sit up straight and maintain good posture during the interview. This conveys an image of interest and engagement in the conversation.
- Make eye contact, smile, and engage with your interviewer.
- Show humility, empathy, and a willingness to learn.
- Be prepared to talk about your experiences and achievements and how they have prepared you for medical school.
- It is important to sound conversational and not like you are reading from a script.
- Show enthusiasm and gratitude for the opportunity to interview for medical school.
- Demonstrate your understanding of the medical profession and the challenges that come with it.
- Ask thoughtful questions about the school and program to show your interest.
- Be honest and authentic in your responses.
- Follow up with a thank you note or email after the interview.
Medical school interviews are essential for students aspiring to become doctors. To ace the interview, students need to have good interview skills. Admissions committees prefer students who possess the qualities required for success in medical schools. The following tips can help students prepare for their medical school interviews:
- Your answer to "Why do you want to be a doctor?" should include your desire to help others. Medical schools value the willingness to serve humanity more than anything else.
- If an interviewer repeats a question, it means they did not like the previous answer. Students should take advantage of the opportunity to give a "better" answer.
- It's better to pause briefly before answering a question to collect thoughts than to ramble on without direction. It makes students appear thoughtful and well-prepared.
- Arrogance is a turn-off for interviewers. While self-confidence is desirable, students should avoid bragging about their achievements.
- When asked about what they will do if they don't get into medical school, students should convey their passion for the profession by mentioning that they would try again.
- Prior to the interview, students should research the medical school to gain knowledge about the institution's strengths and weaknesses and ask informed questions.
- The ethical question, which used to be asked frequently, should be answered with a focus on doing what is best for the patient.
Medical students have several options for student aid, including loans and scholarships.
Federal loans available for MD Program students include Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct Graduate PLUS Loans, with award amounts based on financial need, Cost of Attendance, borrowing eligibility, and enrollment. Eligibility for federal educational loans requires U.S. citizenship and no prior default on federal student loans. Federal Direct Stafford Loan eligibility is determined by the FAFSA, with no credit check required. Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans require a credit check and cover the difference between Cost of Attendance and other financial aid. Private alternative student educational loans available from banks have variable interest rates and maximums determined by the same criteria.
Various scholarships are available to medical students based on merit, academic achievement, leadership, professionalism, and other criteria. Students are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships upon acceptance, which range in value up to full tuition. Additional scholarship eligibility can be gained during medical school based on academic achievement, leadership, professionalism, research, and financial need. University scholarships require a separate application and should be completed by mid-February each year. Extramural scholarships, including research opportunities, are also available. Alumni scholarships are based on need, merit, or other criteria and can be applied for through the financial aid process. Most of the students receive some form of aid toward their medical education.