For Students Considering Medical School
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How to use this site:
Whether you’re exploring the possibility of medical school, getting ready to apply, or are actually in the medical school application process, there's a wealth of information for you on this page. You can scroll down to find out more about exploring and preparing for MD, DO, or MD/PhD degrees.
Understandably, a large concern of pre-medical students is completing the pre-requisite courses. Below, please find some helpful information to that end. Note that it is not only possible to complete those courses alongside any major, but medical schools appreciate a full range of majors in their entering classes—so you can choose what you are most interested in.
In addition to coursework concerns, it is also important to make sure that you plan to explore the field of medicine. Beyond demonstrated skills in the sciences and other subjects, medical schools want to make sure that you know why you are pursuing a career in medicine. We have listed a number of places through which you can gain direct patient contact under “Clinical Volunteering,” in the "Extra-curricular Experiences" section.
There are also otherlinks below for other extra-curricular activities you might consider, including research experiences and community service. Rather than think of them as a checklist you have to get through, use your extra-curricular commitments to explore a variety of activities. Ultimately, though, depth is more important than breadth for medical school admissions. It’s better to have committed yourself deeply to a few activities than to have taken on many only for a short time.
Bear in mind too that there is no single route to medical school. Two thirds of Penn students who go on to medical school take time between college and medical school, applying after their senior year. This gives you the opportunity not only to gain more experience, but also to spread pre-requisite and possible upper-level science courses over four years instead of three.
Most importantly, please remember your pre-health advisors are here to help answer your questions and advise you as you prepare to enter medical school. Follow the link to the left to find out how to connect with us, including how to sign up for the pre-health listserv.
A note on statistics: the best source for statistics on median GPA and MCAT scores and score ranges for accepted applicants to medical school is the AAMC's book Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR), available in Career Services, or in reference at Van Pelt library, or online for a $15 subscription from www.aamc.org. In Career Services we also have binders of statistics specific to Penn applicants to medical schools. Overall Penn applicants do very well; for the last few years over 80% of graduating seniors have been accepted, with the average overall GPA of those accepted being about 3.6, and the average science GPA about 3.5. These are just averages--of course many with numbers lower than that as well as higher have been accepted. And naturally there is much more to the admissions process than those numbers. If you're concerned about your readiness for applying to medical school, again, we're here to advise you.