More Flexibility in Medical School Admissions

But med school admissions are more competitive than ever before.

November 9, 2020
(SUNY Downstate Medical School)

It may be more difficult than ever to get into medical school. The number of applicants is up 17 percent amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But in a Kaplan survey, 93 percent of medical school admissions officers say they have made admissions more flexible than in the past through a variety of measures:

  • Accepting pass/fail grades for prerequisite courses.
  • Extending MCAT score submission deadlines.
  • Moving admission interviews online.
  • Adding a place for prospective students to explain COVID-19’s impact on their overall application.
  • Evaluating applicants from a more holistic perspective.

The results come from a Kaplan survey of admissions officials at 69 medical schools.

On the MCAT, while the officials were flexible on submission deadlines, they were skeptical of some potential changes. Only 27 percent think that the Association of American Medical Colleges -- the organization that produces the MCAT -- should launch an at-home version of the exam, like test makers for other graduate-level exams have done, primarily citing test security concerns. The MCAT is still only administered in official testing centers.

Admission officers also say that an applicant’s MCAT score is the most important admissions factor, followed by undergraduate grade point average.

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