Applying to Med School for International Student

Hi everyone !

Firstly I am so glad that I found this forum ! There is so much useful information.

I am a new member here and need some advice with applying to med schools in US.

Here is my situation:

I have a BS in Electrical Engineering (GPA 2.4 when I had my degree evaluated here in US), an MS in Mechanical Engineering (GPA 3.87) and currently doing a second MS in Electrical Engineering at USC (GPA 3.2). I have done some research in BioMedical and am really keen on going to med school ! But first I am an international student, second I am 28 years old, and third my GPAs don’t seem to be competetive. I was wondering what the chances are for my acceptance if I just do a premed at a community college and apply ?

Would it be better if I started a Biology undergrad and finished it and then applied ? (2 years of community college and then transfer to UCLA) Is it possible to finish the biology major in three years ? One of the reasons of doing this is that US Med schools seem to like the people who have done their undergrad studies here. The only degree I have from here is my EE Masters from USC which will be over next semester

Can you please give me your advice ?

Thanks very much


Others with more international experience will likely be able to correct this, but my impression is:

  • I believe there’s a preference for having undergrad prereqs from a US school. There’s also less financial support available for international students.

  • Undergrad GPA is considered more significant than graduate GPA

  • You’ll most likely need to have pre-reqs (BCPM) that were completed within the 5-7 years prior to applying

    With that in mind, it seems your route may be similar to mine (and for what it’s worth, your undergrad GPA is similar as well) : I took a handful of classes at a Community College, and I’ll be heading to a local University in the Fall to complete.

    You don’t necessarily need to complete another Bachelor’s degree - just have the pre-reqs completed. It’s generally considered preferable to do those at a University if possible; the general rule of thumb around here is to complete your pre-reqs at the most rigorous (available) setting in which you can excel. Basically, given financial, location, etc restrictions - take Bio and Orgo at the hardest schools you can while still getting good grades.

    Hope this helps!


I’m applying this year as a permanent resisdent…so my situation will be a little different than yours. But everything else looks pretty much similar. I had a BA from Poland and after having my credits evaluated I had GPA 2.92. I was also doing another degree that I never finished and the GPA turned out to be 3.02. I don’t know where you had your degree from, but definitely people from Poland have a huge disadvantage b/c hardly anyone there gets grades equivalent to A. However since my degree in Poland was in teaching ESL and I never took science classes there, I had to take my prerequisites in the US. Most medical schools require you to take at least 90 credits in American school, and some want you to have a degree from American University. Therefore I dediced to get a whole new degree. I hope it will work out for me, b/c this way I don’t even have to report my grads from Poland. And I have a really good GPA in here.

I guess it would be to your advantage to take as many classes as you can to prove that you can manage science curriculum and do well. And make sure you talk to the admission people in schools you are particularly interested in applying to, so you know for sure what their requirments are as far as American degree/ or number of hours is concerned.

Good luck,



I am a permanent resident of the U.S but my undergraduate degree is from Israel. I have done a computer science certificate in the U.S and all the pre med pre requisites. When I talked with AMCAS they said that they will not verify my Israeli grades and will use only classes done in the U.S to calculate my American GPA. Most medical schools I talked to said they wanted to see pre requisites done in the U.S. You do not need another B.A. Some schools mentioned that I will need to send my B.A grades to them just so they can see I have a B.A. I am not sure if they consider these grades for admission. I did not even get the grades evaluated and just sending them official transcripts in English from the Hebrew University.

My seuggestion is to contact the school you are interested in and ask them. I think it is hard for them to evaluate internation degrees because the GPA scales are so different. I also found it much easier to get good grades here than in Israel (gpa here is 3.88, B.A gpa was 3.1), for the simple fact that tests and grading were very tough in Israel and here I noticed a huge grade inflation.

In any case, hope this helps and good luck