How to Get Into Medical School

Many consider Medical School to be one of the most competitive and difficult post-graduate educational programs. As a student, what should you do to make sure that you can gain acceptance to these elite institutions?


Stay on Track: Linked here is a great timeline from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine: "Undergraduate Timeline for the Pre-Medical Student Applying to Osteopathic Medical Colleges".  This will help you not only graduate from GVSU in a timely manner, but let you know what you should be doing currently to secure a smooth and successful application process in the future. 


Maintain a High GPA: Whether you plan on attending a M.D. program or a D.O. program it is essential to maintain a strong GPA. 

The Minimum GPA requirement for most medical schools is a 3.00.

The average GPA for M.D. programs is a 3.65, however, the average for D.O. programs is a 3.50

  So how do you do well in your classes?  Please click here or see our link to the left titled           "Succeed at GVSU".

Do Well on the MCAT:  Doing well on the entrance exam (the MCAT) can put you ahead of the competition.

 To do well on the MCAT:

1. Preparation classes

a. A popular preparation class is the Kaplan program; www.kaptest.com/MCAT 

b. Grand Valley also offers a much cheaper MCAT prep course through the CLAS advising               center.  To find out more about this program the CLAS office is located at C-1-140                   Mak, you may call at (616)-331-8585 or email at www.gvsu.edu/clasadvising

2. Take practice tests (prep courses included practice tests)       

a. Afterwards, go over each test and solve each problems you missed.  

b. When taking practice exams don't take breaks or get annoyed by outside noises.                       Remember, there will be noises during the actual MCAT.

3. Review your practice problems over and over.

4. Practice reading short complicated passages quickly. Reading articles from the Economist or Wall Street Journal is advised.  


Courses Attractive Medical School Admissions Officers:

~Psychology (start with PSY 101)

~Bio Chemistry (CHM 461)

~Anatomy Cadavar Lab (BMS 309)

Other Upper Level Science Courses


Outside the Class Room:

Shadowing: Medical schools want to see that you know what you are getting yourself into, and they want you to be sure that this is what you want to do before they invest in your education.  Here are a few local D.O. Physicians you may shadow:

1) Keil Lasik Vision Center Dr. Michael Keil, D.O. email: info@keillasik.com

2) Metro Health Sports Medicine, Dr. Ed Kornoelje email: Ed.Kornoelje@metrogr.org

3) Born Clinic - assistant manager's email: elaine@bornclinic.com

Remember these people are taking time out of their day to help you, so be professional, be polite, and be flexible.


Patient Care: Medical Schools also want to see that you have experienced real patient interaction, therefore patient care is essential.

There are many ways to accomplish this:



There are many ways to volunteer, all of which are acceptable.

Habitat for Humanity:



Local hospitals:

Hospitals are always looking for volunteers, but the application process can take up to 4 weeks, so start early.

1) Spectrum health


2) St. Marys Hospital

Rachel Selgo Volunteer Services Coordinator, email selgor@trinity-health.org



Working as a Patient Care Assistant (PCA) or working at a nursing home:

Working as a PCA or in a nursing home looks great. For some positions you with need to be a certified nursing assistant (CNA).

Local CNA training:



International Travel/Medical Experience:

Internation work shows that you have a strong desire to help the under-served in community.

One group affilated with GVSU is International Service Learning (ISL):


ISL travels mainly to Central and South America, but there are also some trips to Africa and other destinations. The trips last from one week to a month (trips even available over winter or spring breaks).

Also a non-school-affilated christian group that accepts students is Solid Rock Missions:


These trips work in the most under-served areas of Third-World Countries where little to no medical care exists for most people.  Here, students are able to help locals using a personal, hands on approach.


Interviewing for Medical School:

Interviewing can be nerve racking for anyone. Luckily there are resources available to help you conquers these fears.

GVSU's Career Services Center is here to help. They will teach you what to say and what not to say. They will also discuss the importance of body language, and hold a practice interview with you.  If you are interested, they can video tape the simulated interview and show you how you look and sound.

Email career@gvsu.edu                                                                                          Or Visit them at their downtown office: 116 B Devos

If you are interested in the types of questions medical schools might ask check out:



Research Involvement:

Contact GVSU professors who are doing reserach in your field of interest: