How do schools evaluate applicants?

  1. Grade point average (GPA)- Schools will look at your cumulative college grades and your prerequisite or science GPA. Average GPA for medical schools is 3.6.
  2. Standardized test scores- Most schools have a minimum standardized test score. See the main pre-professional advising page for links to the test web pages.
  3. Volunteer and work experience- Your volunteer and work experience show the reviewers your dedication to projects and your ability to work with people. Your experiences do not necessarily have to be all in the clinical setting. In fact most schools want to see a well-rounded individual with many interests. Being a president of the chess club or soccer club can still show your leadership and organizational skills. If you are considering being a physician’s assistant, be aware that PA schools want PAID experience in the health care setting. Student pursuing this field may want to consider a CNA or EMT certification to gain paid experience.
  4. Personal statement- This is an essay describing why you are pursuing your career and what you hope to accomplish. It is your opportunity to show your personality and passion that is not visible in your GPA, test scores and work experience. Take some time to think about this essay and have several people read your essay critically for content and grammar before submitting it.
  5. Letters of recommendation- Professors will be your main source of letters of recommendation. Attending class and earning an “A” will not be enough for the professor to write a good letter for you. As you go through college, it is important to cultivate mentor relationships with at least three or four professors. This can be done through class projects, meeting with the professor during office hours, and working in a research lab. After these experiences, the professor will be able to write a detailed letter about your characteristics.