In my opinion, choosing the right college for allopathic medical school preparation is more strategic than most people understand. It is commonly believed that a Bachelor's degree at a competitive and/or distinguished university alone gets your foot in the door at most allopathic medical schools. This is one of the most harmful assumptions anybody can make and can cost you a potential "yes" from an outstanding US medical school.
Exactly how AMCAS medical school applications are assessed
The AMCAS system is utilized by a bulk of medical admissions committees to enhance the admissions process for both the candidate and the school. AMCAS is the system that forwards your verified GPA and MCAT info to each possible medical school. This indicates that instead of having to send out an individual application, records, MCAT rating to each school, AMCAS does it all for you.
There are three crucial requirements that are presented to committees through AMCAS: overall GPA, science GPA, and MCAT rating. In this short article, I will talk about the importance of a high GPA and the approaches that will guarantee your position as an ideal prospect for medical school.
Total GPA vs. Science GPA
A high science GPA is an essential factor in medical school admissions.
The course demands for a lot of medical schools includes a year of the following: basic biology+lab, general chemistry+lab, general physics+laboratory, natural chemistry+laboratory. Variable demands include stats and/or calculus. All these classes get factored into the science GPA, a "number" that indicates to the admissions committee of your personal ability to comprehend product taught in medical school. Even though it could seem unfair, it is the most efficient means that admissions workplace can deal with the high volume of candidates in an orderly and timely manner.
The general GPA plays a role, albeit a small one, in the medical admissions game. If your general GPA varies from the science GPA significantly, it suggests to committees of your lack of interest in certain patients and this may be a warning for some. This is since medicine is an interdisciplinary field and even though the majority of it is science, being an effective doctor may require efficient public speaking and English skills. If you have anything less than a B in these courses in college, it may have some bearing on your opportunities at getting admission. However, keeping a high science GPA ought to be a bigger concern. So if you need to picked between acing your Microbiology exam or writing a winning Poetics paper one late night, I would say choose the Microbiology.
Selecting a School and Major the Maximizes Your Science
As long as you have the above necessary coursework finished, there is no have to pursue upper department coursework (unless you are a science major). If I had actually understood this earlier, I would have majored in economics or government and genuinely enjoyed my lab-free undergraduate days. Rather, I decided to major in biology and invest my nights composing lab reports and memorizing esoteric concepts.
Do NOT feel obliged to pursue a science major if your future strategies consist of medical school. Rather, pursue a major that you genuinely want- could it be art, dance, quantum physics. This will not just ensure that you will keep a high total GPA in college, but also that you will enjoy your college experience. Likewise, this is refreshing to a medical school since non-science majors provide diversity and intriguing insight to the neighborhood. As long as you discover a means to incorporate a method to take all the needed science trainings, you will be fine.
Do NOT major in science unless you understand 100 % that you will get at least a B+ on all upper department coursework. Every science training you take gets factored into the science GPA, not just the required classes. So if you chose to take an innovative natural chemistry course out of sheer interest and end up getting a D, this will be factored into your science GPA and will look extremely poor, even though it was an esoteric course. As a science significant, you will need to take even more science courses in upper department that can be graded more roughly. There is no have to threaten your undergrad science GPA unless you know you will do very well in these trainings. I'm not here to prevent you if you actually want to major in biochemistry or physics, but I do wish to alert you of the possible effects in the growing stiff competition around the world of medical school admissions.
How the College You Attend Gets Factored In
The college you eventually wind up opting to attend weighs greatly, but indirectly, on medical school applications. For the most part, your abilities as a medical school student are represented by the 3 magic numbers: overall GPA, science GPA, and MCAT.
I opted to attend Reed College because of its research-based educational program and thesis year. Reed College had the properties that taught me the best ways to believe significantly and to do self-directed lab research that I assumed would be an extensive intro to medical study and medical school. In fact Reed College creates the most undergraduates that end up getting a PhD in biology in the country.
Exactly what winds up hurting me in the end is a triple threat: Reed's anti-grade inflation policy, being a biology major, and being a biology major at Reed. There have just been a handful of 4.0 graduates throughout Reed's existence. I don't think any of them were in any of the science divisions (I 'd need to check on this). Imagine how this has affected my overall GPA and science GPA. Thinking about how tough I work below, I assume that I would've preserved something near a 4.0 GPA that I had if I had actually attended transferred to a college. This is specifically due to the fact that Reed's upper department courses likewise have a graded lab portion, unlike other schools. However this is not simply the case at Reed.
The majority of liberal arts colleges have a tougher grading system than other universities. The combination of smaller training sizes and focus on academics instead of grades is what drives the GPA down in liberal arts schools. In smaller trainings, professors are more mindful in examining their students and can have more tougher tests due to the fact that they do not need to grade a big volume of exams in a short time period. I tried to take organic chemistry at Reed for a semester and dropped it after a couple weeks. The tests were really intensive, involving composing full mechanisms of reactions and predicting whole chemical structures from scratch. The lab portion was independent. We were asked to try to make a particular chemical with a limited quantity of reagents on our own.
I spent my following summer season at University of California, Riverside taking the natural chemistry course once again. The exams at certain points were multiple choice (!) and the laboratory portion involved following a basic method every conference rather than making use of important thinking to adapt what was learned in lecture into laboratory. And considering that the course was well over 200 students, the entire course was structured by doing this so that grades could be installed on time and TAs can decrease the quantity of time it took to grade.
A lot of liberal arts school have a very strong viewpoint on finding out instead of being instructed. The curriculum is almost always tougher and the average GPA of a graduate almost always considerably lower. Not to put down larger colleges, however Reed students could blow UCR students out of the water in organic chemistry. But who is most likely getting into medical school: the B- student that found out ways to manufacture a ester alcohol on his own or the A student that mastered the art of several choice and rote memorization? I would state the A student since that is exactly what AMCAS sees and the system is blind to any fine detail.