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Tips for Applying to Medical Schools

When should I take my MCAT?

You should not take the MCAT exam until you complete General Biology I/II, General Chemistry I/II, Organic Chemistry I/II, Physics I/II and one semester of Biochemistry. You should complete the MCAT no later than June of the year you plan to apply to medical school.

When should I apply to medical school?

If you are an undergraduate and plan to move directly from college to medical school, then you should plan to apply to medical school in the spring/summer after your junior year. If you apply to medical school after your senior year or post-bacc work, you will have a "gap" year.

How can I find out what classes are required for ______ Med School?

The best source for information about each medical school is the Medical School Admissions Resource, or MSAR. It is available online for a fee through AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges).

How can I find information regarding fee waivers?

Fee waiver information is available on the AAMC website at aamc.org

How many schools should I apply to?

The average number of schools that students apply to is 15. However, I have seen students apply to three schools, and be admitted, and apply to 30 schools and not be admitted. Each school application has a fee both for the primary application and the secondary application, so it can be an expensive process. Be sure that you are willing to attend every school to which you apply if you are admitted.

How should I decide what schools to apply to?

It is important to use the MSAR (Medical School Admissions Resource) on the AAMC website (aamc.org) to assess the average MCAT and GPA values for admitted students to each school you are interested in. Geography also plays an important role for many students, as they assess who their support network will be while they are in medical school. Finally, I strongly encourage you to apply to your state school, if you have one, as in-state tuition can be substantially less.

Should I take an MCAT prep course? Which one?

This depends on what type of student you are. If you can learn on your own, and hold yourself to a study schedule, then a prep course may not be important. Each fall we have a panel seminar in which students who have taken the MCAT speak about how they prepared, whether they took a prep course, and how it helped them, or not.

Does the program provide a committee letter?

Yes, the Premedical Program does provide a letter for all students who have taken classes for at least two semesters at American University.

Who writes the committee letter?

The letter is written by a faculty member of your choice. Because this letter is so important, I suggest that the writer be someone with whom you have taken at least one class, and who you feel knows you well. I provide the committee letter writer with your application packet and advice on how to prepare the committee letter.

Who should I ask for letters of recommendation?

The AU Premedical Program asks that you request four letters of recommendation. I recommend that you ask for letters from two science professors and one physician, or other medical professional. The final letter can be from an employer, volunteer coordinator, coach, another professor, etc.

I didn't major in a field of science. Should I get a letter from a professor in my major?

Yes, it's definitely a good idea to ask for a letter from a professor who taught you classes in your major. They can speak about aspects that your science professors may not. They may also know you better, and be able to speak about your intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies.