Most Important Things To Consider When Choosing What Medical School To Apply To

For applicants creating a list of MD schools to apply to, what are some things they should consider when applying (location, residency programs, etc.)? In addition, specifically looking at the MSAR, how much leeway should one give towards their GPA and MCAT when compared to the stats shown on MSAR? Thank you!

I made myself a matrix on Google Sheets (Excel, basically). Medical school, location, tuition, USNews ranking, MCAT and GPA average from MSAR, whether they have an integrated curriculum, flipped classroom, other notes, what prereqs they have that I might be missing, whether they accept online or community college prereqs, LizzyM score from SDN, whether they have a specific neurology program and ranking. I also make some notes on interesting programs they have (like a summer research program or something)–it helps me decide and also I can potentially mention those in an application/interview. Lots of my data came from each school’s website, not just the MSAR.

Some of those factors that are yes/no, I’m using to rule schools out. Some I’m ranking (like my location preference). Some I’m just using to see where I measure up (MCAT/GPA). Mostly its helped me learn more about the schools, narrow down to my top ones that I’ll apply to, and know how I might compare to the pool of applicants/matriculants at each school.

I am not giving too much weight to MCAT/GPA shown on MSAR. Mine aren’t the highest ever, but I think my entire application is well-rounded and very strong, so I’ll give some top schools a shot!

Hope that helps.

Thanks, this is fantastic. I have an average GPA and MCAT so that was why I wanted to ask.

Hello Mchun,

I did something similar to Doctordoctor, but used the MSAR a bit more. Some of the primary parameters I used were:

  1. GPA/MCAT percentile (was I atleast in the bottom 10% or higher)
  2. location location location (did I want to live there? Do I like the climate)
  3. Out of state acceptance rate - if it was low and I was in the lower percentiles for GPA/MCAT, I typically did not like the school
  4. First or second year clinic experiences - this is very important for me personally
  5. general profile and values

Very helpful. Thank you.

Wow, mchun this is fantastic!
Everyday I look forward to progressing and becoming a better person. For some reason, becoming a better person means organization. Can you manage your time? Can you clean up after yourself? Are your tools and resources accessible? I found that having a clean kitchen results in better food. Likewise having a clean squat rack results in a better work out. I love your idea of creating an excel sheet.

Thank you

PreMedGrapeFruit, Absolutely - through hard work, perseverance, and faith in God, you can live your dreams. I believe in you.