I’ve gotten quite a few messages in my inbox requesting private answers to questions that boil down to something like the one below. The specific numbers don’t matter that much for the purposes of answering the question.
23. I have excellent extracurriculars, but my grades are so-so and my MCAT isn’t great. Do I have a chance?
In case I haven’t conveyed it effectively in the past, let me take a moment to reiterate…
MED SCHOOL IS HARD.
Extracurriculars are great, but they are extras. Icing on the cake. Yes, you need them (to have a desirable cake), but they are not the basis of your application to medical school (otherwise you’d be all icing and you’d give someone diabetes…). Extracurriculars can help give a boost to mediocre numbers (like rich chocolate icing on a dry boxed yellow cake), but they can’t really stand on their own.
The goal is not to GET IN to medical school. The goal is to GRADUATE from medical school. Amirite? If you hope to get through, you need a solid foundation to build upon.
Now y’all know I hate talking numbers, but the truth is that they DO matter. I’m not here to set minimum standards for medical school applications — most med schools have already done that — I’m just sayin, be realistic. Check out the schools you’re applying to. Your scores need to be at or above their average if you want a good chance of getting in there. Yes, people with lower scores get in, but don’t hope to be the exception. Try to be the rule.
If you are in such a situation, what can you do to improve your numbers?