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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it critical that I begin [medical] school right out of undergraduate?

No. You should start medical school when you are absolutely sure that you are the best applicant you can be.

Will I be at a disadvantage if I do something else first after undergrad? (i.e., a Master’s program, take a gap year, etc.)

You will not be at a disadvantage and it is often encouraged to do so to gain more clinical/research experience and overall knowledge of the field you want to pursue.

Taking time off before med school can actually ENHANCE your chances of getting into school. Taking time off allows you to build your resume with new experiences (which can set you apart from other applications). It also gives you more time to reflect on your strengths, weaknesses, and the basic question of "why medicine" (and being out of college helps you do this...). And, both of these factors alone will probably allow you to write a stronger personal statement.

Will I be at a disadvantage if my gap year is longer than one year?

No. You should take as much time needed to ensure you are the best candidate you could be for medical school.

Do I have to be pre-med major to be accepted to medical school?

You do not have to be a premed major to be accepted to medical school. In fact, many universities do not offer a premed major. Instead you must satisfy some basic academic prerequisites including lots of science and math courses.

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Are there any characteristics that make for a successful med school applicant?

There is no single cookie-cutter best-med-school applicant. Medical schools are looking for excellence and accomplishment, and both depth and breadth. Students must excel in academics and communication skills, have very good health care experience, a commitment to community service and an understanding of health care issues. (Retrieved from

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) outlines core competencies reasonably expected of entering medical school students. Applicants who provide evidence demonstrating these competencies (key attributes and experiences) are most likely to have a successful application to medical school. These competencies are described in full detail here.