If you’re applying to med school you’re one of the strong-stomached. Getting into medical school is no small feat, so don’t let these 5 myths trip you up.
Myth #1: You have to be pre-med or a science major to get into medical school.
Students are admitted into grad schools each year from all different majors. While majoring in science or going pre-med will often guarantee that you’ll have all your pre-reqs squared away, you can incorporate the required courses into other majors as well. Remember that medical schools are looking for candidates who will make great future doctors one day. Having a broad grounding in more than one discipline won’t hurt your chances as long as you maintain a strong GPA and complete all your prerequisites.
If you’re majoring in the humanities, you may also want to look into the Humanities and Medicine Program at Mount Sinai Medical School. The program is designed specifically for humanities majors and accepts 35 undergraduates each year, even if they have never completed courses in the hard sciences.
Myth #2: My application is all about my grades and MCAT score. I don’t need to worry too much about the essay.
A great essay is not going to make up for a weak GPA or MCAT score, but that doesn’t mean your essay doesn’t matter to admissions committees. If you’re applying to a top-tier medical school, you can bet that most of the other applicants are going to have comparatively competitive extracurriculars, GPAs and MCAT scores, so the essay is your chance to distinguish yourself from the rest of the applicant pool.
Think of the essay as a tool to get yourself an interview. Given that most schools only accept candidates they interview, your AMCAS essay should be the element of your application that impresses the admissions committee and makes them want to call you in for an interview to learn more about what makes you unique.
Myth #3: You have to submit your secondary application within 2 weeks or schools won’t think you’re really interested.
This myth is probably a holdover from the undergraduate days, in which submitting applications early (and making early decisions) is a recognizable way to express your interest in a school. With secondary applications for medical school, things are a little bit different. Secondary medical school applications are rolling, so it’s worth it to spend an extra week on your application, rather than rushing to send something in too quickly just to show your interest.
Myth #4: I can take the tough science classes in the summer to make my life easier during the school year.
Taking the tough science classes over the summer is generally not a good idea. Some medical schools specifically want students to take these classes during the semester. The material in these classes is important for the MCAT and summer classes tend to go by faster than those that last an entire semester.
Myth #5: I can start volunteering at hospitals and shadowing physicians right before I start applying to medical school.
Again, this is definitely NOT the case. Schools want to see that you’re genuinely interested in the field and have done your research over time by getting involved. They’re looking for a sincere and sustained interest in the medical field and waiting until the last minute to volunteer does not demonstrate this.