Admit-A-Bull // Official Admissions Blog

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Medical School


Are you a college student with aspirations to become a doctor? While it may seem daunting, with hard work and dedication, getting into medical school is absolutely possible. In this post, we'll discuss the different ways you can increase your chances of getting accepted into medical school. By following these tips, you can demonstrate your passion for medicine and convince admissions committees that you have what it takes to succeed in medical school.

Study Hard and Get Good Grades

This first tip may seem obvious, but it’s an absolutely essential one. If you're planning to apply for medical school, it's vital to study hard and get good grades. This means that you should aim for a GPA of 3.5 or higher to have a shot at getting into a top medical school. The earlier in your college experience you work toward this achievement, the more likely you are to stay on track for medical school.   

To achieve this, you need to be diligent and committed to your studies. Develop effective study habits, such as creating a study schedule, breaking down complex concepts into smaller pieces, and reviewing materials frequently.

Moreover, you should take advantage of academic resources like tutoring and study groups to help you stay on track and clarify any confusing topics. With hard work, dedication, and a positive attitude, you can achieve your goal of getting into medical school.

Take the Right Courses

Taking the right courses is another crucial factor in your application to medical school, as many institutions require specific prerequisite courses that you must take before you can apply. For example, USF requires a variety of courses to apply to our MD program. These courses are designed to provide you with a solid foundation in science and math, which is essential for a career in medicine. According to the U.S. News & World Report, the following courses are prerequisites for many programs:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry (Including general chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry)
  • English or another writing-intensive academic discipline
  • Genetics
  • Math (Including calculus and statistics)
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

In addition, taking advanced courses like anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and biochemistry will not only set you apart from other applicants, but will also give you a deeper understanding of medical concepts. By taking the right courses, you can show admissions committees that you have the academic ability and the passion to succeed in medical school.Two USF students using laptops and taking notes.

Ace the MCAT

In addition to good grades and taking the right courses, acing the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is essential if you want to get into medical school. The MCAT is a standardized test that is used by medical schools to assess your knowledge and readiness for medical school. It covers topics like biology, chemistry, physics, and critical thinking. A high MCAT score can help you stand out from other applicants and increase your chances of getting accepted into medical school.

To ace the MCAT, you should prepare extensively by studying and practicing for the test. There are many resources available, such as study guides, practice tests, and online courses, that can help you prepare for the exam. Additionally, you can attend MCAT prep courses or hire a tutor to help you master the test. By achieving a high MCAT score, you can demonstrate to admissions committees that you have the academic ability and the dedication to succeed in medical school.

Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities  

Similar to applying to your undergraduate program, getting involved in extracurricular activities is also important if you want to get into medical school. Admissions committees look for well-rounded applicants who have interests outside of academics. By participating in extracurricular activities related to healthcare or medicine, such as volunteering at a local hospital or clinic, shadowing a doctor, or joining a pre-med club on campus, you can demonstrate your commitment to the field of medicine and show that you have gained practical experience.

Prioritizing these activities while you’re in college can also help you develop valuable skills such as teamwork, communication, and leadership. Your participation in extracurricular activities will show the admissions committee that you possess these qualities. It can also help you stand out from other applicants and make your application more memorable. So, take the time to explore your interests and find extracurricular activities that align with your passion for medicine.

Write a Strong Personal Statement

Your personal statement is one of the most vital parts of your medical school application. It is your chance to tell admissions committees who you are, what motivates you, and why you want to become a doctor. A strong personal statement can set you apart from other applicants and help you get accepted into your dream school.

To write a strong personal statement, take the time to reflect on your experiences and think about what sets you apart. Consider discussing challenges you have overcome, experiences that have inspired you, or any research or volunteer work you have done in the field of medicine. Make sure to also emphasize your personal qualities, such as empathy, compassion, and a strong work ethic, as these are essential traits for aspiring doctors. It's also important to have someone else read and review your personal statement to ensure it is clear, concise, and well-written. By crafting a strong personal statement, you can demonstrate your passion for medicine and convince admissions committees that you are the right candidate for their program.

Obtain Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are an essential part of your medical school application because they provide admissions committees with insights into your academic and personal qualities from people who know you well. When selecting people to write your letters of recommendation, choose individuals who can speak to your strengths and provide examples of your abilities. Ideally, your recommenders should be professors or mentors who have worked closely with you and can speak to your academic abilities, work ethic, and personal qualities.

You may also want to consider asking doctors or other healthcare professionals who you have worked with or shadowed, as these individuals can provide unique perspectives on your interest in medicine. It's important to give your recommenders plenty of time to write your letters and to provide them with any relevant information, such as your resume or personal statement. Remember to thank your recommenders for their time and support, as their letters can play a significant role in helping you get accepted into medical school.

Four USF medical students hanging out together.

Nail Your Interview

Once you are invited to interview for medical school, it's essential to prepare thoroughly to present yourself in the best possible light. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your passion for medicine and show that you have the qualities that make a good physician. A strong interview can help set you apart from other applicants and increase your chances of being accepted into medical school.

Come prepared with the following tips to help you nail your admissions interview:

  • Research the school and its values so that you can speak knowledgeably about why you want to attend that particular program.
  • Be prepared to answer questions about your academic background, your experiences in healthcare, and your personal qualities.
  • Practice your responses to common interview questions, so that you are comfortable and confident when you are face-to-face with the admissions committee.
  • Dress professionally and arrive early to allow time to get settled and calm your nerves. 
  • Remember to be courteous and respectful to everyone you meet, from the receptionist to the interviewer.
  • Send a thank-you note or email to the interviewer, thanking them for their time and expressing your continued interest in the program.

Stay Positive Throughout the Process

The process of applying to medical school can be long and challenging, with many potential roadblocks along the way. It's important to stay positive throughout this process and maintain a resilient mindset. One promising statistic is that of nearly 54,000 medical school applicants, 43% were accepted during the 2020-2021 school year. While it may not be ideal, you should remember that rejection is a normal part of the process and that it doesn't reflect on your worth as a person or as a future physician. 

If you find yourself in a position where you miss out on your dream medical school, use rejection as an opportunity to learn and improve for future applications. Focus on your goals and your motivation for pursuing medicine, and don't let setbacks or obstacles derail you. Seek out support from friends, family, and mentors who can offer encouragement and advice. Finally, don't forget to take care of your physical and emotional health during this time by eating well, getting enough sleep, and engaging in self-care activities. A positive and resilient mindset can help you navigate the challenges of the medical school application process and ultimately achieve your goal of becoming a physician.

Staying on the Right Track

Getting into medical school can seem challenging, but by following these tips, you can increase your chances of acceptance — even into your dream school! Each of the factors we discussed will help demonstrate your passion for medicine and convince admissions committees that you have what it takes to succeed in medical school.

Is USF Health’s at the top of your list for medical school? Be sure to explore our specific requirements and prerequisites ahead of time to ensure you’re on the right track for acceptance. Good luck, future doctor!