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How do I Apply to Medical School?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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In order to become a doctor, the first step is to apply to medical school, in order to gain acceptance to a program which will provide a medical education. Medical schools are run differently around the world, which is an important consideration for applicants. Some schools take students out of high school into undergraduate programs, while others are graduate schools which expect applicants to have completed an undergraduate degree, and each school has a slightly different application process.

Students who want to apply to medical school should start by researching schools, ideally in high school. As they research schools, they can find out about specific requirements and the application process in their nation. Students who want to study internationally should do their research early to ensure that they will be able to meet the standards of schools in other nations. It may help to compile a detailed list of application information, including prerequisites, important dates, and individual aspects of the application process.

In order to apply to medical school, someone must generally take an admissions exam. In graduate institutions, the test may be specific to medical school, such as the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) used in the United States. For undergraduate programs, a more general college admissions test will be used. Students must also usually have letters of recommendation, ideally from people in the medical profession, to apply to medical school.

The application itself includes basic biographical information about the applicant, usually along with an essay. In the essay, the student will demonstrate his or her knowledge of the language used for instruction at the medical school, while showing an ability to communicate clearly and precisely. Students must also usually pay an application fee, although this may be waived for financial hardship. In some nations, a centralized agency such as the American College Medical Application Service handles applications, allowing students to fill out one application which is mailed to a list of schools of choice. In these instances, students may need to fill out supplementary application forms to apply to specific schools.

Students are usually required to complete some prerequisites before they apply to medical school. At least one year of biology and physics is required, along with a year of training in the language of instruction, which is commonly English. Two years of chemistry is often required as well. In addition, prospective students are encouraged to complete extracurricular work in medical clinics, hospitals, or doctor's office to make their applications more viable, and to demonstrate a genuine interest in the practice of medicine.

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