The requirements and expectations of medical schools may vary from one to another, but medical schools look for students who demonstrate qualities beyond just academic excellence. Qualities like selflessness, caring for others, and putting service before the self is highly treasured.

From good MCAT scores, high school grades and extra-curricular activities are all taken into consideration. Good performance on the MCAT exam will highlight that you are capable of handling the work of medical school.

The medical school application process these days also considers people from varied backgrounds with different skills and talents to represent diversity. In addition, the modern-day medical school student may be someone who has taken a break or pursued a different profession prior to applying to medical school.

If you’re thinking of sending out medical school applications and want to learn how to get into medical school, keep reading to learn what admission committees are looking for in applicants.

What are the admissions committees looking for?

Medical schools can be very challenging and competitive, and a great number of candidates apply every year. The following are some medical school requirements.

1. Multiple skills: Medical schools prefer candidates who, in addition to having outstanding grades, have demonstrated involvement in community service, volunteering, and extracurricular activities.

2. Include relevant life experiences and information: Share meaningful personal experiences that highlight your growth and capabilities. Be careful to not use boastful language. Avoid redundancy by all means.

3. Highlight your work: Talk about any studies you may have conducted on public health, bench research, laboratory research or any other research work of potential interest to the admissions committee. The medical field needs the human body and diseases to be studied continually for physicians to be able to come up with newer and better healthcare treatments.

4. Gain clinical exposure: Committees look for candidates who have gained clinical exposure before applying to medical schools, either by shadowing a physician or volunteering at a health camp.

It also gives a student some experience in working with patients in a clinical setting. These experiences will offer clarity to students about the expectations of the medical profession on a day-to-day basis. On average, schools expect candidates to have worked 10 to 15 hours a week as a volunteer.

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5. Be confident but honest: Do not exaggerate or write things that are untrue, or you are not sure of. Inconsistencies in an application will make the committee question the authenticity of the candidate.

6. Mention participation in activities: Co-curricular and social activities help candidates to gain leadership skills, collaboration, teamwork, management of time, and communication skills. Participating in social services also demonstrates adaptability in a person. And the medical profession needs physicians to learn continually and keep themselves updated.

Proving to be a collaborative person also highlights that the candidate will be able to work with people of all backgrounds and do their best. Doctors seldom work alone. They need a team to function timely and efficiently. It requires a very professional person to treat people right and work with others. Doctors cannot afford to be unruly and rude in their approach while helping others. When an applicant takes willful and deliberate steps to gain such exposure, they do get an edge over someone with no experience.

7. Letters of recommendation: Your medical school application should consist of recommendation letters from your faculty member- up to as many as 4 in some cases. You may also need some certification from a practicing physician with whom you have work experience.

There are no one-way or set rules for applying to a medical school. Your entire journey as a student will be taken into account by the selection committee and will give equal attention to all aspects of your application.

Enroll in a program today and start your journey into the medical sciences.

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Written by Sudipta Jana