What do Medical schools look for in applicants?

There is no one particular skill that makes for a good doctor. Instead, all doctors need a range of different qualities and skills to be able to provide the best care for their patients.

The same holds true when it comes to getting into medical school. Many prospective students ask us, “What do medical schools look for in their applicants?” Again, there is not an easy answer to this question. Every medical school differs, which is why it’s important to research different schools to make sure you choose the right one for you.

In this article, we will look at some of the common qualities medical schools look for, as well as the experience we at MSIH prioritize when assessing students for our M.D program with a global health focus.

Experience beyond Academic Qualifications

There are a minimum set of academic qualifications that every medical school will look for. This includes coursework in biology, chemistry, and physics, a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, and a MCAT or GAMST score. You can learn more about MSIH requirements by visiting our admissions page

We ask for a committee letter or a minimum of three letters of recommendation. We prefer that two of these letters are academic in nature. It is always helpful for the admissions committee to read letters from people who know you well, both in an academic setting and other settings.

Academics is only part of the equation, as you also need experience in the field. Clinical exposure to medicine is a key component of a medical school application. This can take many forms, from being a volunteer in a clinic or hospital, shadowing a physician, or working in a paid position as a medical assistant or scribe. Through clinical exposure, students can learn more about the profession and make an informed decision before committing to the long path of training to become a physician. At MSIH, this experience is invaluable as our students begin interacting with patients in year one.

Commitment, Attitude and a Passion for Medicine

We welcome students from all different backgrounds, including non-traditional backgrounds. No matter an applicant’s background, it is important that they can demonstrate the commitment and maturity necessary to complete the four challenging years of our global health program. A commitment to a medical career and, more importantly, a commitment to others, is something that we look for in applicants.

At MSIH, we prioritize students who can show that they have a passion for global medicine, public health, and working with diverse cultures. Our curriculum includes rotations at medical centers throughout Israel and North America, where you will be treating patients from different nationalities, as well as religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.  In addition, MSIH students partake in an eight-week global health clerkship at a resource-scarce site across the world. 

At MSIH, we believe that working towards providing equal access to health care–-no matter who you are, where you’re from, or where you live–-is as much our responsibility as the treatment of disease, and it’s important that you can demonstrate that you share that vision. Our previous graduates are making a real impact as medical practitioners attuned to issues of social justice, whether it involves working to reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities, or working throughout the world to ensure vaccinations are readily available and reach the people who need them the most. As an MSIH student you too will be prepared to make a real impact as a medical practitioner.


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