Health Professions Advising Office (HPAO)

University of Mississippi

FAQs

Nursing FAQ’s click here

Medical School FAQ’s

Section 1 – Coursework

Do I have to major in the sciences (Biology, Biochemistry, etc.) to be a competitive candidate for medical school?
What are the required courses for admission to medical school?
Do medical schools accept AP credit?
What about retaking a class?
Can the pre-medical course requirements be taken at a community or junior college?

Section 2 – Application Process

When can I take the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test)?
I’ve heard the MCAT is changing in 2015.  Do I need to change my schedule?
How long do have to wait if I want to retake the MCAT?
What about my GPA?
What resources are available for help with my personal statement?
How many letters of evaluation do I need? 
How do I let my professor know I will be asking for a letter of evaluation?
Where are the letters of evaluation submitted?
What are the requirements of the letters of evaluation?
I know the admission committees look for non-academic information.  What should I include on the AMCAS?
I am reapplying.  Do I need to resubmit my transcript and letters of evaluation?  Nothing has changed from my previous application.
Are there general questions I can prep for my interview with the admissions committee?

Section 3 – Making Changes to AMCAS after Submission

How do I update my address, e-mail, or phone number?
Can I add or delete Letters of Evaluation?

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Section 1 – Coursework

Do I have to major in the sciences (Biology, Biochemistry, etc.) to be a competitive candidate for medical school?
Many students think they should major in the sciences to be a competitive candidate, but this is not true.  You should major in what is most interesting and challenging to you, while taking the courses required by the medical schools.  Select a field that best uses your talents and abilities.  Majoring in something that interests you normally means your GPA will be higher.


What are the required courses for admission to medical school?
The required curriculum for admission to UMMC medical school is here.  Generally, the science courses are 1 year (2 semesters) each of Physics, Biology, General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry.  You must complete these courses before taking the MCAT.


Do medical schools accept AP credit?
AP and CLEP credit in science or math are not accepted by many medical schools, including UMMC.  No correspondence, independent study, or online course will count toward UMMC’s pre-requisite courses, either.  You should check with any school you are interested in concerning their policies.


What about retaking a class?
Medical schools do not replace grades, so they will evaluate all coursework, including those in which the student has invoked the “Grade Forgiveness Policy.”


Can the pre-medical course requirements be taken at a community or junior college?
Medical schools prefer that the majority of the prerequisites, especially the science courses, be taken at a four-year, accredited university.

Section 2 – Application Process


When can I take the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test)?
The MCAT can be taken as soon as the required science course work is completed.  The MCAT is required by all medical schools in the U.S, except Dartmouth Medical School.

Many schools do not accept MCAT scores older than 3 years.


I’ve heard the MCAT is changing in 2015.  Do I need to change my schedule?
No, you do not need to change your current schedule.  Here is a link to some FAQ’s about the upcoming changes to the MCAT: https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/mcat2015/faqs/.  If you have specific questions, please contact us for clarification.


How long do have to wait if I want to retake the MCAT?
You can only register for one testing session at a time, and you must wait until the second day following exam administration to register again.  You can take the MCAT a maximum of three times in one year, but only register for one at a time.  Read more here.


What about my GPA?
A competitive BCPM (Math & Science) GPA is a major factor in your evaluation for medical school, but many medical schools also look at the difficulty of your curriculum.  A 3.40 gpa from a student who took full loads and difficult hard courses might be looked upon more favorably than a 3.50 gpa from a student who took light loads and easy courses.  Use the BCPM calculator to determine your Math and Science GPA.


What resources are available for help with my personal statement?
The Center for Writing and Rhetoric‘s Writing Center has face-to-face consultations and online resources ready to help with your personal statement before submission.  Just click on the appropriate channel in the middle of the page to schedule a time to meet with a writing professional!


How many letters of evaluation do I need?
Most medical schools ask for 3 – 5 letters of evaluation written by faculty members who taught you, preferably your required courses.  UMMC asks for 3 letters from faculty members; a supplemental letter from a physician you have shadowed will also be considered by the admissions committee.


How do I let my professor know I will be asking for a letter of evaluation?
Be prepared to spend time with and to get to know the professors you may ask for letters.  Choose professors who really know you and can write about more than just the grade you received in the course; this information is on your transcript.  Give each evaluator a brief resume and a transcript.


Where are the letters of evaluation submitted?
Letters are submitted to AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) by the individual faculty member.  As you list your evaluators on your AMCAS, a letter ID number is generated on a letter request form that you give to your evaluator.  Make sure you choose individual letters, not letter packet, in the on-line application.  The HPAO can provide more information about this important process.


What are the requirements of the letters of evaluation?
Each letters must be written on institutional letterhead and signed by the author.  The letter should also state the class or classes they taught you.  These letters need to tell the admissions committee something about you that they can’t get from your transcript.


I know the admission committees look for non-academic information.  What should I include on the AMCAS?Start early!!  Organize your work and volunteer experiences into a “journal”.  Gather and write down dates, hours spent, specific duties, and contact information; this is important!  Admissions committees look for

  •  Exposure to clinical medicine (volunteer work or employment at a hospital, clinic, nursing home or hospice, shadowing physicians, participating in medical missions);
  • Interaction with diverse people;
  • Volunteer service;
  • Community activities;
  • Leadership;
  • Academic pursuits beyond the classroom (such as research);
  • Cultural interests and other activities that require commitment of time outside the classroom (employment, athletics, artistic performance).


I am reapplying.  Do I need to resubmit my transcript and letters of evaluation?  Nothing has changed from my previous application.
Yes, you will need to resubmit official transcripts and letters of evaluation to AMCAS for each application cycle you apply. AMCAS will need to verify to your designated medical schools that you have not taken any additional courses at a particular school, you must submit new transcripts. Also, AMCAS does not keep letters on file from applications in previous years.


Are there general questions I can prep for my interview with the admissions committee?
We have compiled a short list below.  Please do not think this list is exhaustive.

  • Why do you want to attend UMMC (or another school)?  What are the benefits?
  • What life experiences have prepared you for a career in medicine?
  • How will you deal with patients that are different from you?
  • What career could you take if you don’t get into medical school?
  • What is the biggest problem facing the medical industry today?  Fix it.
  • The future of medicine looks bleak.  Why did you choose it?
  • Were you encouraged by your family to pursue medicine?
  • What will you contribute to our class?
  • What are 2 of your biggest weaknesses?  How will these play out in your medical career?
  • Tell us about a time you really helped someone.

The Admissions Committee might ask you to evaluate ethical dilemmas.  Be ready.

Have three questions ready to ask the interviewers.

Make sure you investigate this school (website, what is unique, why you want to attend).  And click here for a great outside link to sample interview questions.

 

Section 3—Making Changes to AMCAS after Submission

How do I update my address, e-mail, or phone number?
Applicants who have already submitted their application to AMCAS may make limited changes. These are called Post Submission Changes and all of them are listed on the AMCAS Web site here.  After making any of the permitted updates, remember to re-certify and resubmit your application to save the changes.  This step does not cause a delay in your application processing.


Can I add or delete Letters of Evaluation?
To add Letters of Evaluation after submitting your application, simply log in to your AMCAS and go to the LOE section.  Follow the same process as before for uploading letters.

After submitting your application, you cannot delete letters of evaluation.  If a letter-writer will not be sending a letter, you can mark that entry as “No longer being sent” in your application.  Instructions are here.