Med Schools Want 3 Things (The 3 Pillars)
Med schools want applicants to have three things: (1) exposure to healthcare, to show commitment; (2) a high GPA/MCAT, to show ability; and (3) certain personal competencies, also to show ability. The point of focusing on these three pillars is not just to get in anywhere; the goal is to have choices, ideally multiple offers, and even better, with some scholarships.
A very helpful page on this topic is this section of the AAMC website; the entire AAMC website has a wealth of knowledge that every pre-med should be acquainted with. Here in our website we also detail why Atlantis brings great healthcare exposure, helps you focus on your stats, and refines/highlights competencies for applications and interviews. Here on this page, in the below sections that follow, we describe more on why medical schools work the way they do, and, later on below, how Atlantis impacts the actual sections within the AMCAS application (and similar applications for other healthcare programs).
“Can Do” and “Will Do”
If you were to put yourself in the shoes of a medical/PA School, you would want students with both “can do” and “will do.” You would want students who can actually do the job – “can do,” shown primarily by grades and the MCAT, but also by certain personal competencies) – and you would also want students with a passion for healthcare – “will do.” Without that deeper motivation, a student may easily drop out, or worse, be stuck as a doctor or PA who doesn’t love their job – unfortunately, a rising trend. Motivation is often assessed by an applicant’s level of clinical experience, such as shadowing.
Medical schools may talk about other things they would like to see in applicants, but for most schools, including top ones, everything else is subordinate to or less important than the three pillars showing “can do” and “will do”: 1) exposure, 2) stats, and 3) competencies.
It is very important to understand and to have confidence in your knowledge of what med/PA schools really want. Tune out Reddit and tune in to your pre-health advisor; or, if you don’t have one, look at the pre-health advising sites at elite undergraduate institutions, such as Princeton.
First Clarify if Medicine is The Path For You
In the words of one study, “approximately 11% of students have serious thoughts of dropping out of medical school each year.” These numbers suggest that severe burnout is not uncommon for medical students.
81% of alumni who have been accepted to med/PA school said Atlantis impacted their passion for medicine. Even among alumni who don’t attend medical school, we repeatedly hear that Atlantis helped them make the right decision.
Watch Video: 20+ Alumni Unfiltered:
What Role Did Atlantis Play In
My Med School Interviews?
- We asked Atlantis alumni to answer the questions “What about Atlantis did you highlight in your med school interview?” and “How helpful do you think Atlantis was in the actual med school interviews?”
- We asked alumni to describe this in their own terms in a video made at home through their phones!
How Atlantis Impacts Key Sections
Of the Med School Application
Here we focus on the example of the MD track, but keep in mind that what we are saying here applies also to applications to other healthcare degree types. The AMCAS has 9 sections. Atlantis helps with all of the ones that require more effort – the ones that capture who you are on a deeper level.
9. Standardized Tests
Here you’ll find your MCAT scores, mark upcoming test dates, and add other exam scores (optional). This is also a key section. And what are MCAT scores often a product of? They’re often a product of how well you’ve mastered the topics in your classes, and on that topic see the section above on how Atlantis can contribute to your course performance. Moreover, when it’s time to actually take the MCAT, Atlantis can free up your time then as well.
Better, Concentrated Healthcare Exposure Lets Pre-Meds Focus on Grades, While Still Increasing Relevant Experience for Interviews
There is very little in your premedical coursework which actually prepares you for the difficult task of taking care of sick people.
Each interview is different, but it’s common to be asked, “Why do you want to be a doctor?” To answer, you may want to tell a story about an experience or series of experiences that have led to your decision.
Our Alumni Are Often Admitted To Great Medical Schools And Beyond
Hear more from them on their experiences during and after Atlantis, including the many medical schools that they have been admitted to.