Getting beyond the numbers in your medical school interview

Everyone knows that the process of applying and getting accepted into medical school is highly competitive. Last year, 51,680 people applied for seats in U.S. medical schools. Collectively, they submitted 816,153 applications — a whopping 16 applications per person on average. Only 21,338 applicants matriculated to a U.S. school last fall, or 41 percent of applicants.

So how do the admissions committees evaluating all these applicants make their decisions? We know that the MCAT is one of their most important tools in identifying students with high aptitude, with GPA used also to validate past academic performance. For some applicants, these numbers alone, along with solid letters of recommendation, will help them secure a seat.

But let’s say you have been invited for a medical school interview, but you’re concerned that your numbers aren’t going to set you apart from other applicants who may appear stronger on paper. MCAT and GPA, while useful, only tell part of the story for any applicant. To have the best shot at getting accepted, you have to help the admissions committee understand you in full: not just how you’ve performed on tests or in coursework, but how you think, what you value, and what else you have learned that demonstrates you could potentially succeed in medical school.

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