How to Get Admitted to a Medical School
Applying to medical schools is unusual in the United States. Unlike in the case with any other graduate program, only one application form is required, which eventually be can send to all those educational establishments that you find suitable. The process is indeed easy but does not always lead to the desired results. You should know that when it comes to international students willing to obtain M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) degree, the admission rate is rather low.
This information is provided not to dissuade you from applying. Instead, it should spur you to think twice before proceeding. If you are sincerely fascinated with medicine, determined to help people, and possess qualities that might help to become one of the few admitted, go on with the application. If, however, you have second thoughts, you should take another look at your choice.
What to Do Before Applying
Before actually filling in the form and sending it to medical schools, you need to take a test called MCAT. It is fully computer-based and requires 4-5 hours of your time. The test is aimed at evaluating your general knowledge of science, critical thinking, reasoning skills, and ability to clearly express your thought in writing. It should be passed early before you obtain a Bachelor’s degree or even in your junior year of the undergraduate program. Such an approach allows retaking the test and raising the score if you did not do well for the first time.
MCAT plays a determining role in the application process and is one of the criteria for deciding whether you will be accepted to a medical school or not. Fortunately, if you think that the score obtained may negatively influence the decision of an admission committee; you may retake it up to three times a year without lifetime limit. You even can refuse to accept the score in case you feel you did not cope well throughout the test before being informed the result.
How to Apply to a Medical School
Once you finally have the MCAT results that completely satisfy you, you should proceed to compiling a list of medical schools where you would like to pursue a degree. Make sure to examine the policy and rules of admission of every establishment that interests you since many may not accept international students at all. You can find the necessary information online. Visit the official websites of the schools, not some forums and communities in social networks, as it is the only reliable source.
With a few colleges chosen, you can start filling in the application. For this purpose, you should use special application services called to make the process standardized and unified across the US. For those aspiring to obtain M.D. degree, there is American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) while the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS) is to help those interested in a D.O. degree (Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine).
You should definitely take advantage of these platforms since they can save a great deal of time for you. For instance, along with the application form, you will have to provide letters of recommendation. Fortunately, both AACOMAS and AMCAS are connected with the website titled interfolio.com. It is a service that will automatically send your letter to the schools, which you have indicated, free of charge. As you can see, AACOMAS and AMCAS are indeed user-friendly.
How Much to Pay for Studying at a Medical School
As you probably already know, financial aid is not offered for international students. Therefore, apart from persuading that you are a worthy candidate to consider, you will also be required to prove own capability to pay for either the first year of studies ($30,000) or the entire education ($200,000) within the establishment. Moreover, you should mind that state-funded medical schools rarely accept international student while private ones are willing do it but demand to pay even higher tuition fees than those mentioned above. So, make sure to set aside a substantial sum of money if you want to be admitted.
Although challenging, the process of applying to medical schools can be successfully completed. If you have sufficient funds, exhibit determination and passion to study, and meet the criteria of educational establishments, do not stop and fight for your place in the sun. Remember that with a medical degree obtained in the US, you will be able to work in any hospital in the world.