Applying to medical school is an intricate process, and if your MCAT or undergraduate scores are not impressive, the chances of acceptance to top medical schools will increasingly decline. All schools want to accept students who have a strong potential to fulfill the demands of the medical school curriculum. Your undergraduate and graduate performance can help decide the medical school admission committee to judge your ability.
Many aspiring medical school applicants have below-average academic performance, some students have difficulty in science subjects, while others struggle to clear their concepts of non-science courses. Before you start researching the school data, keep in mind that medical schools provide average scores they accept. You will not find a complete range of scores on any medical school’s website. You won’t believe that many medical school admission committees are more forgiving than you think. If you have bad grades, but a stellar MCAT score and a strong personal statement, the chances of acceptance will be increased.
So, if you have low scores, don’t be disappointed; you can still get into your favorite medical school. All you need to do is to choose those schools where you will have a greater chance of acceptance. Here are some smart ways to choose the right school based on your low academic scores.
Calculate Your GPA
If you want to come up with a wiser decision, it is important to calculate your cumulative and science GPAs. If you have a very bad academic score and your GPA is below average, don’t apply to this admission cycle. It is advised to enroll in a postbaccalaureate program or complete additional coursework. These programs are designed for undergraduate students who want to improve their GPA prior to applying to medical school.
Review Your MCAT Score
If you have a competitive GPA, then it’s time to carefully review your MCAT scores as it is one of the major factors that effect on your candidacy. MCAT scores are the most important application data that medical school admissions committees use to check whether the applicant is eligible enough to meet the institutional goals. When it comes to making decisions about whom to send interview invitations, acceptance offers, and which applicants will get secondary application invitations, MCAT exam scores play a key role.
The MCAT exam tests the reasoning and critical thinking skills and the basic science concepts required to succeed in medical school. MCAT scores help admission committees to interpret grades and select medical students on the basis of their academic data. But in addition to student’s MCAT score, admission officers also examine applicants’ life and academic experiences and personal qualities. So, if you have a low MCAT score, but a strong GPA, vast medical experience, and impressive personal qualities, you can still get admission into your favorite medical school.
If you have a lower GPA, you can improve the score by using many online resources, such as Khan Academy and Magoosh, and reading books for MCAT preparation.
Research Schools Wisely
Once you have a clear idea about your numbers and other academic stats, it’s time to start researching medical schools based on academic performance. Don’t get discouraged by your GPA; review it objectively in relation to the schools, and you will be coming up with a realistic and successful decision. You can choose schools on the basis that you meet at least one of their average criteria – MCAT or GPA. For instance, if you have a higher MCAT score than the school’s average scores, but have below GPA, you can add the school to your list.
You can also choose the schools on the basis of your personal interests like research opportunities, financial aid programs, graduate degrees, international clinical placements, and more. Schools that offer financial aid should be on your list, as it helps you complete your medical education without any financial burden. Similarly, choosing schools that offer research and training opportunities is also a great idea as it will enrich your medical school experience.
Furthermore, explore the type of specialty options you will be provided as a medical student. When you have a clear idea about the type of medical school programs, it will help you decide which career is best for you that can fulfill your professional goals.
Check the Medical School Admission Requirements
It is one of the most important steps that can help you refine your school list and make a better medical school choice. If you don’t fulfill any single requirement, you may be disqualified from serious consideration. Check the websites of all the medical schools in your list and check one by one where you simply don’t meet the basic admission requirements. For instance, some schools require students to complete advanced science coursework on human anatomy, physiology, and genetics. Some require at least two letters of recommendation, while others want work experience that aligns with their institutional goals.
There is no denying the fact that your academic stats are one of the most important criteria, but it is not the only factor that you should consider when applying to medical school. By using a strategic and realistic approach, you will prepare yourself for a challenging medical school journey and improve your chances of acceptance.