What is Involved in Applying to Medical School?
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What is Involved in Applying to Medical School?

July 6, 2020

If you have considered attending medical school, you may have wondered exactly what is required to be accepted, and what attending was like. While you probably understand admittance is competitive, you may wonder if there are things you can do to increase your odds of acceptance. Once admitted, will you be able to keep up with your classmates?

Paying for School

Deciding how to pay can be a challenge. There is no arguing that it is expensive, and it is important to come up with a plan to pay early on. Attending medical school is very stressful. Classes move quickly, a great deal of learning must happen on your own time, and there isn’t much room for you to lose focus. Taking care of the financial details allows you to put your focus where it needs to be. Taking out private student loans to pay for your education allows you to borrow the money you need to get through school. You can borrow for tuition as well as living expenses, and you won’t face the borrowing cap that you do with federal student loans. Interest rates are favorable, and can even be lower than federal student loan rates.

Applications

There is a centralized processor, the American Medical College Application Service, that is used by most US-based medical schools. This service will collect and verify the information you send as well as your MCAT score, and forward it to the schools you wish to apply to. They are not involved in the selection process but help streamline the massive amount of information that is required to make these decisions. In addition to the application process through the AMCAS, the school you are interested in applying to may have additional criteria. You may need to fill out additional applications that are specific to particular schools. You should also expect to be interviewed as part of the selection process.

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MCAT

You will begin the application process in the spring before you hope to begin. This period will be busy, as you must take the MCAT and complete the application process. Focus on getting a great score on your MCAT so you are not faced with the decision of whether you should retake it. The admissions period for medical school is short, with the application and decision process happening over a period of months in the late spring and early summer. A strong MCAT score on your first try will boost your admissions process.

It helps to know exactly what to expect when you take the MCAT. It is a grueling test aimed to help showcase the strongest candidates for medical school. The test is 7 ½ hours and is broken down into four sections. The test covers biology, chemistry, psychology, social behavior, and critical analysis and reasoning. Join a study group or at the least pair off with someone else hoping to be accepted to study for your MCAT. Spend time each day studying for the exam, separate and apart from your normal school work.

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