College of Medicine / Admissions / MD / Frequently Asked Questions


       

Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine
Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431

561-297-4828
mdadmissions@health.fau.edu

Frequently Asked Questions

Never call a medical school admissions office and ask to speak with an advisor or counselor until you've done your homework.

Medical school admissions offices don't have advisors or counselors. Instead, admissions offices rely on premed advisors and counselors at your undergraduate institution who are extremely knowledgeable about the application process and who probably know you and your situation better than anyone else. Moreover, they're likely to be readily available to you. If you want counseling and suggestions about how to improve your application, start with them. They have counseled and advised many students and can probably provide better personal advice than you can get from any other source. Beyond your premed advisor, there are dozens of websites with good advice about reapplying to medical school. A simple web search about "reapplying to medical school" (or some permutation) will lead you to these sites. These web sites should be a primary starting point for "non-traditional" students who have been out of school for several years and don't have ready access to a premed advisor.

This page is intended for applicants to the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University who were not accepted and who are now faced with the challenge of reapplying. Between May and August of each year medical school admissions offices are overwhelmed with calls and emails from applicants who want to know why they were not accepted so they can improve their application for the next cycle. Except in the most obvious cases, the answers to these questions can be both complex, somewhat subjective, and can be quite time consuming to find the information and provide it to the student. To answer all of these calls and emails requires an extraordinary amount of effort at the very time that web sites have to be updated, brochures have to be rewritten and printed, reports have to be prepared, and new committee members have to be trained. That's why this page has been written to help you answer your own questions before you call the office of admissions. Considering the information below will almost certainly give you insight into why you may not have been accepted.
The Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine does not accept applicants with advanced standing.

Get a copy of the profile of the medical school's most recent entering class and compare your "numbers" to those of accepted students.  Doing this will give you a good idea about the cognitive credentials of students that the medical school is interested in admitting. Do an objective comparison of your "numbers" with the class profile. How do you compare? Medical schools always look for good MCATs and good GPAs. These cognitive measures provide different information and both are predictive of your performance in the first two years of medical school, which most students agree is the hardest part of the medical curriculum. Another point to remember is that MCAT scores and GPAs do not offset one another. So, if both your MCAT score and your GPA are low you are going to have to improve both. A low MCAT score can be improved in a relatively short period of time by studying and re-taking the MCAT exam, or by taking any one of a number of preparation programs to sharpen your test-taking skills. You can easily find these programs on the web. Improving a low GPA is more problematic because it's going to take longer.

One of the questions that reapplicants ask most frequently is "Should I take a formal post-bac program or enroll in a graduate (MS) program, or can I just take additional coursework to strengthen my GPA?" All three options will work but admissions offices generally won't advise you to do one or the other because admissions offices don't know enough about you and your specific circumstances to make a good recommendation. Probably the best rule of thumb is to embark on a course of study that's convenient for you (nearby, flexible scheduling, offers appropriate courses) and affordable.

A related question is "Generally, how many credits do I have to take to offset or change my undergraduate GPA?" Don't forget, we will always get your undergraduate science and cumulative GPAs and you'll never be able to change them. Instead, any additional coursework will be reported to admissions offices as "post-bac" credits or "graduate" credits. Whichever program you decide to undertake your goal is to show admissions committees that you are capable of doing very well in a science-intensive curriculum over time. Is taking one 3-credit course in microbiology and getting an "A" going to change a committee's collective mind about your undergraduate GPA? Probably not. How about 15 credits of A in upper division biology classes? Possibly. How about 30 credits of A (equivalent to an entire year of full time work)? Probably. Remember, admissions committees are looking for track-histories of performance because the profession of medicine requires physicians to be life-long learners!

Do not reapply until you have significantly improved your application.  If your application didn't work the first time, what makes you think the same application will suddenly and mysteriously work the second time you send it in? Many medical schools prioritize applications for review by GPA and MCAT information, regardless of the time during the admissions cycle that they were received. So, if you've significantly improved one or both of these parameters you should consider reapplying. However, you should also take the time to update all aspects of your application by considering the ideas presented above. Many applicants with a GPA problem will enroll in a post-bac program or MS program and then submit their application before they get their first grade. What's going to change? Probably nothing. In this case, you should wait to reapply until you've completed the post-bac or graduate program for the reasons described above. When you're 22 or 23 years old a year seems like a lifetime. But if you take the year (without reapplying) to concentrate on your schoolwork, getting those meaningful medical experiences, and on developing your application, you may have to apply only once more!
This is important because these are the primary places where you can tell an admissions committee why you want to study medicine, on what experiences is your decision based, and why you think you'll be a good doctor. In writing these segments, it is important to keep in mind just exactly who your audience is. The people who review your application are more than likely to be very busy people who volunteer on the admissions committee while seeing a full panel of patients every day, people who are engaged in full-time research, or perhaps administrators who have numerous other responsibilities. To be honest, they want to be able to read your application and quickly find the salient points and not have to wade through a sea of (sometimes beautiful) prose that seems far better suited to winning a Pulitzer Prize than applying to medical school. They have limited time to review your file and they want clarity and brevity. 


Last Modified 11/8/16