What makes an applicant competitive?

What makes an applicant/candidate competitive? I posted this question in the Premed Discussion forum in response to a post by efex101, but I now realize that the Applying to Med School forum is more appropriate for this type of inquiry.
I understand that answers to such topics are not precise and quite variable, but can anyone quantify what constitutes a “competitive” applicant?

I think it varies, based on what the school perceives as the types of doctors it wants to put out during any given snapshot in time. The basics, as I’m sure you’ve heard a million times, are good GPA, good MCAT, good LORs, some type of medical experience, of course good interviewing skills. What’s defined as “good” is completely relative per school though of course, and there are probably many other factors, such as desire to be primary care (in some places), natural or proven leadership abilities, ability to deal with stress and multi-task (job, family, school, etc), and in some locations for in-state schools, coming from a rural area, language skills (esp. Spanish and from south TX, for instance), ethnicity, actually language aptitude in general is supposed to be an indicator of aptitude in med school according to some…
So it’s a pretty wide open question, and the only thing that I feel confident knowing at this point, is that I don’t have any idea how to be a competitive candidate other than to just do the best that I can at every piece of the puzzle and hope it’s good enough - which is the result, in the end, that I’m sure the admissions folks would want to see from their secrecy. The M.D. in charge of the application committee at my university says he is close, long-time friends with someone who has been on the local state med school admissions board for over a decade, and he (the M.D.) still has absolutely no idea what weight is given to what factors at that school. It’s definitely a closely guarded and probably ever-changing set of criteria.
That’s my 2 cents on it.

Quote:

What makes an applicant/candidate competitive? I posted this question in the Premed Discussion forum in response to a post by efex101, but I now realize that the Applying to Med School forum is more appropriate for this type of inquiry.





I understand that answers to such topics are not precise and quite variable, but can anyone quantify what constitutes a “competitive” applicant?







Hi there,


A competitive applicant for medical school is one who shows evidence of being able to handle a challenging curriculum by a strong GPA in the premed courses and your major coursework(undergraduate 3.6 or better) and a strong MCAT score (30 or more). In addition to the above, a competitive applicant has done some volunteer work that shows an interest in their fellow humans. A competitive applicant should have good communication skills and a realistic idea of what a career in medicine involves i.e. they have shadowed a physician. A competitive applicant presents an honest and well-written application that includes a personal statement and Letters of Recomendation that sets them apart from other applicants (this is harder than most people think).





Natalie

Hi Dr. Belle
Thanks for your response. I have always found your advice to be very helpful and “on the mark.” After reading hundreds of posts with entrance stats, I found myself becoming increasingly confused about what it takes to be an “attractive” applicant. Thanks for clearing things up.