The medical school admissions process is competitive enough as it is! But as an international applicant, it’s even harder. There’s a limited number of medical schools in the US that accept or even interview international students. A good place to start making your list if you are an international student is to understand which MD schools even interview international applicants. This list below should help you as it lists medical schools that interview and eventually accept international students.
If you are applying to medical school, you may be applying to both DO and MD schools. While the applications are relatively similar, there are a few differences in character counts/limits for the DO application to keep in mind while you are drafting your essays and activities sections! Here’s a real quick guide for your review that highlights the differences!
|Application||Personal Statement Character Limit||Activities Section||Most Meaningful Activities|
|MD (AMCAS)||5300 characters (including spaces)||700 characters (including spaces)||3 can be selected as a “most meaningful activity.” You’ll have an additional 1325 characters for these|
|DO (AACOMAS)||5300 characters (including spaces)||600 characters (including spaces)||Not applicable|
As always, if you need help through your MD or DO application, MedSchoolCoach is here!
Choosing a major can be one of the most stressful things for a college student to do! I talked to hundreds of early students who wonder what the “best major” for a premed is. That’s a loaded questions with all kinds of different possible answers. There is no single best “premed major”. It really depends on each individual scenario, but I wanted to outline a few key concepts that everyone should consider when choosing a major as a premedical student.
Non-science majors can be attractive to medical school
Biology major. Biology major. Biochemistry major. Biology major. That’s your typical stack of medical school applicants. Imagine if you could insert something really interesting in there like “Beatles, Popular Music and Society”. Okay, that maybe extreme, but the idea would be that you would be a great science student who get’s A’s in all your premed classes, does science research and volunteers at hospitals but also brings a completely unique major to the table.
The premed curriculum is stacked, so plan ahead
There are a lot of great majors out there that have nothing to do with science or medicine. They may make you a really attractive candidate to medical schools because you bring a whole new perspective to the incoming class. I always encourage people to major in non-science fields, however you have to keep the premed curriculum in mind when you decide to do so. And with the new MCAT coming out in 2015, there are even more courses added to the mix. Remember, every premedical student has to take the classes below. That’s a lot of classes! In fact, it’s over 18 courses. With each semester in college allowing you to take 4-5 classes, the premed curriculum could take up as much as 50% of your coursework. That becomes difficult with certain majors that have no overlap with the premedical curriculum, so you should make sure to plan ahead if you are going to choose a non-science major.
- Biology 1 and 2 plus lab
- Inorganic chemistry 1 and 2 plus lab
- Organic Chemistry 1 and 2 plus lab
- Physics 1 and 2 plus lab
- Two semesters of Math
- Two semesters of English
- Biochemistry (some schools)
Remember that your GPA is incredibly important
One factor that premeds overlook too often when choosing a major is how they will be able to maintain a great GPA. Remember, your GPA is incredibly important in your premed process! If you are a biomedical engineering major with a 3.2 GPA versus an english major with a 4.0 GPA, the 4.0 wins out every day of the week, despite the potentially more difficult curriculum of a biomedical engineer! You should keep in mind your ability to succeed and maintain a great GPA in the major you choose.
Major in something that interests you!
You should major in something that you are interested in. You will spend 4 years dedicating yourself to classes in your major. You better enjoy it! If you don’t, your grades will suffer. And even if you are planning to go to medical school, college is a time where you can really learn about something different from medicine. It’s amazing how little what you learn in college will be a part of your everyday life as a physician, no matter what major you are, so it’s great if you can diversify yourself! If you are passionate about film as well as medicine, be a non-traditional premed who majors in film. If you really are mainly interested in the sciences, don’t be afraid to go for the traditional life science majors.
Finding the perfect major also involves understanding your undergraduate institutions curriculum, requirements and pathways. So you need to take into account many of these factors when you decide what you want to major in!
When you receive a medical school acceptance, you are elated, and rightfully so! You’ve worked a tremendous amount to get to the point of being accepted and are now on your way to becoming a physician!
Except, there’s one potentially crippling hurdle in the way: tuition. You’ve probably seen the numbers: many medical students graduate with over $200,000 in debt. It’s certainly not easy to finance medical school nor to leave medical school with so much debt.
Luckily, most students qualify for some sort of financial aid. Whether those are grants from the government or scholarships, your initial tuition sticker shock may be lowered just a little bit. For a select few, there are honors scholarships that can almost pay your entire tuition.
A question that often comes up is if a student can use one scholarship offer to “negotiate” with another school. The short answer is YES, absolutely! Now, I’ve had a student who was actually been on the waitlist at a top 5 medical school, but got into another school (“lesser” ranked) with a full scholarship. Not only did he get off the waitlist at the top 5 school, he got a full tuition ride! How, a well timed and strategically placed letter or phone call to the powers that be can certainly get a school to rethink their offer to an individual applicant.
Bottom line, you absolutely can use one schools offer to talk with another school. You can send an email outlining something along the lines of:
“Dear Dr. _____,
Thank you so much again for the chance to matriculate at University of _______. I couldn’t be happier or more excited to have this opportunity!
As I make my final decisions for medical school, obviously cost is one of the factors I am considering. While I absolutely love your school, the X College of Medicine has actually offered me a full tuition scholarship (see attached). While tuition costs is certainly not the only factor determining my decision, I wanted to understand where I stood for potential financial aid/scholarships at University of ______. I’d love to discuss more with you over the phone or even in person soon!
I hope to hear from you. Thank you again!
A simple letter like this can go a long way in a potential acceptance and a scholarship offer!