No Chance for Med School?

The ultimate pre-med question is what are my chances for med school? We all want to know if we have a fighting chance. We want to make our application as competitive as possible, get the highest grades, destroy the MCAT, do all the right activities, kiss all the right ass. We push TA’s for half a mark more, ask professors to bump up a grade, all in the name of making ourselves a better applicant.

Before I began undergrad, I looked up some medical school statistics. Getting into medical school is not easy. In Canada, there are 2.2 doctors per thousand population. Admission rates are less than 10% for practically every school. In other words, out of 10 students aiming for medical school, I had to be top one or two. For some schools and situations (such as being out of province), the top student out of 100 applicants.

So is there a chance for you? I believe that any person, over a certain threshold of intelligence, could be a good doctor. They might have the compassion to treat patients kindly and care for the sick. However, just because you have the qualities of a good doctor, it doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed you a spot in any medical school. What separates those who get in from those who don’t is dedication.

Medical schools want students who will be dedicated to their patients and their health. They want students who they know will graduate. People who will stay up late studying for exams, lose sleep for their patients. Doctors will sacrifice their personal time for their job. They will strain relationships and put a patient’s health in front of theirs. You don’t have to be the smartest applicant, but you must certainly be one of the most dedicated.

The harsh reality is that for the majority of people (90% plus), there is not the slightest chance that they will get into medical school. That’s just life. Not everyone will become a doctor. Not everyone can sacrifice these lifestyle changes. And that’s ok. There are a lot of professions out there that do good things for our society.

To sum it up, a better way of answering the question of What are my Chances of getting into medical school? is to answer the larger question, How much am I willing to give up, and dedicate to pursue medicine? Very often, this question is tied to the other infamous question, Why Medicine?

Once you have answered that questions, you will know realistically what your chances are.

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