What College Gpa Is Needed For Med School?

Medical school admissions are extremely competitive. This is due to the pandemic-related increase in medical interest.

Admissions officials recommend that undergraduates in premed should aim to earn a GPA greater than 3.5 to be admitted into top-tier medical schools. Additionally, applicants should strive for A’s, B’s, and C’s in science courses to ensure academic readiness.

Christina Grabowski associate dean of admissions and enrolling at the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Medicine, says "We tend look at the science Grade Point Average." "So, no matter if you’re a psychologist, a business major, and a biology major – we’ll be looking at your science coursework specifically."

Medical School Admissions: Achieving a High GPA

Grabowski, assistant professor of medical educational with a Ph.D., explains that admission officers will review a candidate’s transcript in order to see evidence that they can handle the academic demands of med school.

She says that if we find someone is incapable of academic work, it doesn’t make a difference what other skills they may have. They must also be able and willing to go through medical school to become physicians. But they don’t need a 4.0.

Grabowski says that while perfect grades do not necessarily make you eligible for medical school admissions, it is a good idea to have mid-range to high scores in order to feel more competitive.

Even though a low or average GPA is possible, you can still be accepted to medical school. She says that medical school hopefuls should not look at the median or average GPA of students admitted to a school. However, there may be people who are admitted to that school with lower GPAs.

Dr. McGreggor Crowley, an admissions counselor for IvyWise, said that perfect grades in premed school are rare.

Crowley sent an email stating that a perfect GPA can be difficult to achieve, regardless of where the student is from. "This means that the student must earn all A’s within her major as well as all prerequisites for premedical practice. This is quite significant."

Crowley states that a GPA of 3.8 or more is an excellent GPA.

Students accepted into medical schools by their college GPAs

According to U.S. Medical Schools admission statistics, they have high academic standards. In fall 2020, the median GPA among the 121 top-ranked medical schools was 3.46. This is based on a 4.0 scale. These schools had an average GPA of 3.75.

The average GPA to enter the top ten primary care medicine schools was 3.81. And the average GPA to enter the top ten research-focused medical school was 3.88. New York University Grossman School of Medicine topped the list with a 3.96 median GPA and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center ranked second.

David Lenihan, the president and chief executive officer of Ponce Health Sciences University (which has campuses located in Missouri and Puerto Rico), said that admissions officers to med schools prefer a GPA between 3.5 and 3.5.

Lenihan (a neuroscientist who has a Ph.D.) wrote that a good GPA is at least a 3.5 in competitive majors. However, GPAs in college are not a good indicator of student success in medical school. Your freshman year might have been difficult or you may have had difficulty adapting to college. Even though a minimum 3.5 grade is still the standard for medical school admissions, many schools have begun to realize that there are excellent candidates available who don’t need to meet this threshold.

High GPAs from students majoring in challenging disciplines like physics are a big plus for medical school admissions officers, Lenihan says.

Grabowski claims that although science majors are not always preferred by her admissions staff, they prefer students who excel in their pre-med school courses.

She said, "We don’t dismiss anyone who doesn’t hold a science degree." "We are happy to have people with…all kinds of educational backgrounds in the class. The more diversity we have in our classes’ training and experience, the more we can learn from one another."

Grabowski insists, however, that students must complete prerequisite studies in sciences to be able to build the right foundation.

While academic preparation is important for medical school admissions, it’s only one. Grabowski states that medical schools look at applicants holistically, in order to determine additional qualifications for a career, such as service, leadership and teamwork.

Crowley says that medical school admissions officers pay close attention to whether or not applicants have taken rigorous academic courses and what grading systems they used in certain undergraduate programs.

He states that admissions officers know which schools have more difficulty and which are more easy. They know that different routes can be taken to the same major at different colleges, some are easier than others. They will gravitate to the student who is more risk-averse if they see someone passing by with a less challenging course load at the same college than they do with someone else.

Luz Claudio, who is a professor in the Icahn School of Medicine Mount Sinai, holds a Ph.D. degree in neuropathology.

Claudio sent an email explaining that while students may take easy courses to increase their GPAs, they might not be able to get into med school if their science grades are low.

How Premeds with high GPAs can get into medical school

Lenihan advises that physicians with poor grades in college should show their academic potential through other means.

He suggests that there is an alternative method to show that you are capable of handling the demands of medical school. "You could mention the difficult courses you took, discuss the jobs you held during your undergrad years to make ends meet, or enroll in a competitive program after bac where you can leverage the first year’s medical school curriculum."

Claudio suggests that internships in medical research could be worth it, particularly if they lead you to publication in peer-reviewed journals. "Published papers combined with outstanding letters of reference and exceptional MCAT scores can often propel students to medical school."

Jordan Frey is a plastic surgeon at the University at Buffalo. D.O. Medical schools across the U.S.

Frey recommends that aspiring doctors who have poor college grades should aim to be excellent in both the qualitative and "humanistic” sections of their applications. This includes their personal statement, recommendation letters, and any other relevant or interesting research or clinical activities.

Pierre Huguet – CEO and cofounder, H&C Education admissions consultant – believes leadership is a great way for premeds.

Huguet stated in an email that students should have genuine passions and interests not related to medicine. Students should consider activities that will help them stand out from the rest of the med school applicants. For instance, starting and running a club, non-profit, or publishing in peer reviewed journals can be far more impressive then passively following a physician in the halls of a medical facility.


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