The 2016 AMCAS application will be available soon and the MCAT is looming. Have you chosen your schools yet? Which med schools are the best schools for you? How many should you apply to?
Sounds like you have some big decisions to make! Consider the following:
• Applying to medical school is expensive.
The basic MCAT registration fee is $305. The primary AMCAS fee is $160 for the first school, and $37 for each additional school. Add to that the school application fees payable at the secondary stage – up to $150 per school. Your grand total is now well over $1000, not including the cost of a prep course for the MCAT or travel to interviews. (There’s a fee assistance program for AMCAS and the MCAT, but it’s very difficult to qualify for it.)
• State residency plays a greater role in medical school admissions than in college admissions.
Many public schools are required by state regulation to give some degree of preference to legal residents of the state. Some set aside a certain percentage of seats for in-state applicants, and out-of-state candidates who are accepted usually have considerably higher grades and MCAT scores than their in-state counterparts. In addition, out-of-state tuition is substantially higher than in-state.
• The highest-ranked medical schools want the highest grades and the highest MCAT scores.
If you don’t have at least a 3.7 GPA and an MCAT score over the 90th percentile, don’t spend your money on the “big guns.” While of course anything is possible, it is highly unlikely that you’ll get in to one of these schools if you don’t have the high stats to match the expectations of these programs.
What all this means is that every candidate needs a “core group” of wisely-chosen schools – a mixture of schools that are in-state and out-of-state for which you are competitive and have a fair shot of acceptance. Of course you should also throw in a few reaches if you have some dream schools that you could reasonably get into, with a super-strong application.
The number might be 10 or 20, depending on how many public schools there are in your state and the strength of your academic record and test scores. It rarely makes sense, financially or in terms of improving your odds, to apply to more than 20. If you don’t get into one of your 20 schools, then you’ve most likely chosen schools that are way beyond your reach, and had you added more schools to your list, they would probably also not be matches. Or you simply weren’t ready to apply to med school, should take a year off to boost your credentials and experiences, and then reapply the following year.
Need help evaluating your profile and choosing the best med schools for you? We can help! Speak to one of our expert med school consultants now!