Figure: A typical timeline for medical school admissions.
Getting accepted to university
For most students, this means getting good scores on your SATs or provincial exams. You will need to carefully fill out your college applications, and hopefully you have been preparing for your college applications in your high school years by getting involved at your school.
Writing the MCAT
Taking the MCAT is a rite of passage for medical students, and something that all pre-medical students will need to do in order to get into medical school. The MCAT exam is long and covers much of your first and second year science courses. It is necessary to attain a competitive score or you will have to re-write the exam.
Working on extra-curricular pursuits
The importance of your extra-curricular interests (or “ECs”) depends a lot on the universities you are applying to. Some schools emphasize having very well rounded students and what you have accomplished outside the classroom will be important on those applications. They will want to see research experience, athletic success, volunteer hours and other such things. Other universities, however, are more traditional, putting heavy emphasis on GPA and MCAT scores.
Completing 3 to 4 years of university
In order to get accepted to medical school, you will need to complete at least 3 years of university. In fact, most universities will require you to have graduated with a 4-year undergraduate degree. For most, this will require persistence, hard work and careful financial planning.
Applying to Medical School
If you thought your college applications were difficult, then applying to medical school will be a wakeup call. Some universities take applications directly, but most take them through an online application system such as AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) or OMSAS (Ontario Medical Schools Application Service). You will need to fill out details about your academic record and extra-curricular activities. It is often necessary to write an essay and provide academic transcripts and submit to a criminal record check.
Attending a Medical School Interview
If you are lucky enough to be selected, the final step in the application process to medical school is to attend the medical school interview, one at each university by invitation only. This will either be in the form of a multiple mini interview (MMI) or panel interview, where you will be asked hypothetical questions, ethical questions and other questions that might be designed to test your character or critical thinking ability. At most medical universities in the United States and Canada, the medical school interview plays a major role in determining acceptance. Many overseas medical schools, however, do not require a medical school interview.
Or take another year to improve your application and try again!