It is commonly known that the application process to medical school is competitive. From our experience, about 1% of students who express an interest in becoming a physician during their first year of undergraduate studies, eventually matriculate into medical school. While pursuing a career in medicine remains a dream for many and is considered the endpoint of a journey, many different paths can lead towards that destination.
Given the significant time commitment required for a successful application, the decision to pursue medicine is one of the biggest decisions many high school and undergraduate students face. However, many applicants do not look beyond gaining the coveted admission letter and are then left with an incomplete understanding of what medical school entails, and the diverse career paths they can take after obtaining their MD. One of the primary reasons for this is that despite significant progress made in recent years, medicine remains a “closed door” career. A large proportion of students in our medical class had at least one immediate relative within the profession, which is also reflected in the literature. The barriers created by such exclusivity make it difficult for those who have not been socialized into the profession from a young age to navigate the unspoken pitfalls of the admissions process.
This book attempts to break down some of those barriers. It focuses on every component of the medical school application process. It differs from the many other books written on this subject by taking an experiential approach. We believe that the best way to learn about medical school acceptance is to garner advice from those who have recently achieved that milestone, as well, as from individuals in related professions who can provide valuable insights.
This guide is divided into ten chapters, each of them covering an important step along a premed's journey. While this book has a focus on North America, we have written this guide with a global audience in mind, as many of the concepts discussed are relevant to any medical school application process. As such, although the key components of the application process to medical school remain the same across various training systems, not every chapter will be equally relevant to every reader. Typically, an application is composed of academic performance, volunteer activities, research projects, medical college admission test performance, and extracurricular activities.
We have combined the prescriptive style of most books of this type with detailed stories of how real people navigated their personal journeys to reach successful outcomes. This guide shares a broad range of perspectives on what it takes and means to be a physician. We are more convinced than ever that amongst applicants who have the academic credentials, those who seek mentors and network early within the profession, be it through family or friend circles, and those who learn from their mistakes are accepted earlier. This book will help you in that journey towards medical school acceptance and an exciting career in medicine!
Jiayi Hu, MD
Manveen Puri, MD, CCFP
Sameer Masood, MD
Aly Madhavji, CPA, CA, CMA, CIM