Question of the Week: What Are Top Schools Looking For?

Friday, Nov 23, 2018

Hi HPA – I’m a sophomore and I feel like I’ve made a good academic adjustment. My grades are strong and I’m loving my academic path so far. While I know how hard it is to get into top med schools, is there anything I can do to try to maximize my chances?
It’s going to just sound like a series of platitudes, but they’re looking for future professionals who are intellectually curious, who embrace lifelong learning, and who have already proven themselves as leaders. They tend to seek innovators and visionaries who have a strong sense of themselves and their values, and who have the vision and drive to constantly improve and grow while also demonstrating a commitment to caring for patients from all backgrounds with humanism and empathy. Most schools’ admissions websites include something about selection factors (e.g.,  NYUWash UCornell); if they do not state them directly, you can glean them from the school’s mission and how they present themselves through their online admissions information. The MSAR online publication also includes data for each medical school regarding the range of MCAT scores and GPAs for accepted applicants, as well as how many of their students participated in clinical volunteering, shadowing, research, community service, military service, and other experiences. You can subscribe to the website for an annual membership fee or access it on the HPA computers for free. As with all medical schools, use the AAMC Core Competencies as a backbone for preparation and seek to develop them through deep involvement in a curriculum and co-curricular activities that are meaningful to you, then be ready to help others understand the meaning that you found in your choices through the way that you present yourself as a future physician in your application and your interviews.

QOTW in 2017: How Much Science?
QOTW in 2016: Committee Letter from Princeton or Postbac?