Can I Get Into Medical School?

On December 11th 2008, Dr. Holm came out with a show titled, “Can My Child Get Into Medical School?”  This show does an amazing job explaining what medical school is like at the Sanford School of Medicine.  

But the real question for the interested pre-med is, “Can I get in?”  Dean of Medical Student Affairs, Dr. Paul Bunger speaks on the show and really highlights the competitiveness of the application and admissions process.  He states:
45% applicants get into a medical school nationwide
34% applicants who apply get into USD
These stats really surprise me.  As a pre-medical student you have less than a 50:50 shot of getting into medical school and if you apply to USD you have about a 1:3 chance of getting accepted.  Dean Bunger, also has a couple tips on what the committee at Sanford SOM is looking for in their applicants.  

Ok so how do you get in?  Here’s a couple tips:
  • Ace that MCAT – but seriously though you want to shoot for at least a 30 (Note: Dean Perry in the video says that a 36 is the highest score one can get on the MCAT, but actually its a 45). But I am not saying you can’t get in with a 27 or even a little lower but you chances definitely go down.  
  • Do well in undergrad – may seem obvious, because it is.  Shoot for the 4.0 but a 3.5 or higher should get you in.  
  • Be well rounded – get in and be involved with things that are not medically related.
  • Volunteer/Job Shadow with something healthcare related – admissions people need to know that you actually know what the healthcare field is like.  I mean how do you know you want to be a doctor and not a nurse or PA?  I know too many people who applied to medical school with no medical or healthcare work in their background and I believe that is why they didn’t get in.  Don’t get me wrong it’s possible to get into medical school without it, but I think it’s really important. 
  • Get involved with a research project – medical doctors are still doctors and are expected to contribute to the future of the medical field.  Who knows you might think that research is fun and pursue a Physician Scientist program.  This is not necessarily required.  
  • Lastly, I highly recommend searching around the StudentDoctorNetwork forums to learn more about the process.