What are medical schools looking for in a successful applicant?
- Academic excellence: Students should aim for a science grade point average of 3.3-3.6.
- MCAT proficiency: The Medical Colleges Admissions Test is designed to predict how well students will fare under the medical school curriculum.
- Extracurriculars: Sports, hobbies and leadership experience in healthcare and service help distinguish an applicant.
What should I know about the MCAT?
- The test predicts success under medical school curriculum.
- It is held online seven times each year (January, April, May, June, July, August, September); results are returned six weeks later.
- The test consists of four components; verbal reasoning, physical sciences, biological sciences and writing sample.
- Practice tests can be obtained on-line (http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/practicetests.htm) and students may also opt to take prep courses such as Kaplan.
When and how should I apply to medical school?
- Students start applying in their senior year.
- American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), a network of 125 medical schools, allows students to designate where to send MCAT scores, references and transcripts.
How many students does each medical school accept?
- Most schools accept 100 to 250 students, out of 2,000-8,000 applicants.
- Because of this competition, you must be patient and choose a “safe” school.
How much does medical school cost?
- Medical school costs anywhere from $30,000-40,000 per year of study for tuition and fees alone.
- Loans through the Federal Stafford and Consolidation programs can help with costs.
What is the difference between allopathic and osteopathic medicine?
- Both start with two years on basic science and the third and fourth year on clinical rotations.
- These doctors are indistinguishable in a hospital or general practice setting.
- Differences lie in philosophy and use of manipulation: Osteopaths believe that the body has intrinsic healing mechanisms so that patient health involves the whole person.
What other things should I think about in choosing which medical school to apply to?
- Consider the school’s size, its location and “feel”.
- The American Academy of Medical Colleges (AAMC) produces a book “Medical School Admission Requirements”, which may help narrow down suitable institutions.
What other health professional careers are there?
Five major areas pre-medical studies graduates are chiropractic, dentistry, physical therapy, podiatry, and veterinary medicine.
Chiropractic – This field focuses on how bone, muscular and neurological disease influence the general health of the patient. Treatment is primarily holistic and drug-free, and focuses on changing an individual’s lifestyle and nutritional habits to promote natural healing processes.
Philadelphia University has a “3+3” agreement with Logan University, the oldest chiropractic school in the country, and those aiming for this field will be guided in their course selections by Dr. Cundell, who is the liaison for this program.
Dentistry – This field focuses on the mouth and facial areas, with a majority of graduates entering private practice. Most dental schools require students take the dental admissions test (DAT), a four part examination similar in subject matter to the MCAT, which is held annually in March or April.
Physical Therapy – This area of medicine involves interacting with patients injured during an accident or suffering with a progressive medical condition to help regain motor function. Many schools also require an interested student to have shadowed and volunteering up to one hundred hours and to possess a valid CPR certificate.
Podiatry – This field focuses on to prevention, diagnosis and treatment disorders of the foot and ankle. Podiatrists perform physical examinations, biopsies and can prescribe medications. Many are involved in sports and geriatric medicine. Students interested in becoming podiatrists should take the MCAT exam.
Veterinary Medicine – This field focuses on all aspects of health in non-human patients including diagnosis, pharmaceuticals and surgery. Graduates may focus in a variety of areas after taking a further 2-3 years internship in fields ranging from exotic small animals to radiology and anesthesiology. Most schools expect entering students to have taken the general record exam (GRE) and to have an excellent G.P.A.