As a pharmacy student applying to medical school, we are often unaware of how competitive the application cycle really is. We've done well enough in school to get accepted into an accredited pharmacy program, but what does "well enough" even mean in the context of medicine? Most pharmacy students/graduates decide against making the switch and have never considered a different profession. However, I am confident that that almost all of them are curious to know how they would compare to the average accepted medical student?
You are probably wondering what it takes to even get into medical school. Of course, good grades and a passion for medicine go a long way but what does that really mean? I certainly had no idea when I began to investigate this career altering pathway. What I have found is that heartfelt personal statements, stellar letters of recommendations, and fascinating clinical activities often fall to the wayside when an applicant has low medical school statistics. Let that last sentence sink in.
As pharmacy applicants those facets of a good application are our bread and butter. We have ample clinical experience, a laundry list of meaningful patient encounters, and access to devoted professors. I am here to tell you that these are ancillary components, at least in the beginning stages. Your final goal may be to get an acceptance, but your short-term goal is to survive the first round of application rejections. Strong medical school statistics are what get you through the door or rather prevent your application from making its way to the recycling bin. Hopefully, you will read this section and have a better understanding of what it takes and if you have potential to pursue a career in medicine.
For the 2020-2021 application cycle there was over 53,000 applicants but only a little over 22,000 matriculated. In other words, only 42% of the applicant pool made it into medical school. Some programs are obviously more competitive than others and this individual data can be found online through each respective medical school’s website or through the paid Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) platform. We will review the MSAR in the future so don't go running off spending money prematurely. As you can see getting into medical school is no easy task.
The two most important medical school statistics are your Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) Score and your Undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA). Some medical schools refer to this as your cumulative GPA (cGPA). Your GPA can also be further subdivided into your BCPM GPA which stands for Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math courses. I will often refer to this GPA as your Science GPA (sGPA). This is calculated when you input all your courses into the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS).
You can also calculate it yourself using MedicalSchoolHQ GPA Calculator. I would encourage you to do this since your overall GPA you get from your pharmacy program is not equivalent to your sGPA. As a pharmacy student you will find that you will have taken far more credits that count towards your sGPA than traditional applicants. You are spending two extra years in school so adding more grades can be beneficial to minimize a few B’s and C’s along the way. Medical schools appreciate a high cGPA but take more interest in a strong sGPA. The sGPA demonstrates proficiency in courses related to science and medicine, which admissions feel is a more accurate predictor of future academic success considering our line of work. In general, its far easier to get an “A+” in “English 101” than it is to get the equivalent grade in “Organic Chemistry 202.” Your sGPA reflects this reality and it holds more weight in the eyes of an admission officer. This process may seem trivial, but it can give you a good idea of where you stand.
I have listed some important statistics from the most recent application cycle below for your reference. You can use these statistics to gauge how qualified you are to apply to medical school. We will discuss the complexities of a strong application in more depth in later sections. Alas do not get discouraged if you fall below these averages. Plenty of students get in with below average statistics and I can almost guarantee you that none of them have pharmacy doctorates.
2020-2021 Application Cycle:
Average MCAT (Allopathic): 511.5
Average MCAT (Osteopathic): 503.8
Cumulative GPA (Allopathic): 3.73
Cumulative GPA (Osteopathic): 3.54
sGPA (BCPM): 3.66
Non-Science GPA: 3.82
CALCULATE YOUR LizzyM SCORE:
The LizzyM Score is used to quantify your chances of getting into medical school using the success rates of other applicants with similar medical school statistics. You can use this tool to determine the odds of getting accepted based solely on your GPA and MCAT scores. This can be a useful tool to give you a snapshot of your application health, but the calculator neglects other facets of a strong application. Also, just because the calculator says you have a “75% chance of getting accepted somewhere” does not mean you will be part of that cohort. You could very well be part of the 25% with the same stats that did not get in. Use this tool to get a rough idea of where you stand but do not rely on it beyond that.
• Statistically speaking, only 42% of applicants will ever matriculate.
• Receiving a medical school acceptance is getting harder every year.
• A strong MCAT and GPA are essential to a strong application.
• Your sGPA is more valuable than your cGPA.
• The LizzyM Score can be a useful metric to determine your percent chance of getting an acceptance.
For more information consider signing up for a Physician Pharmacist Membership! Additionally, check out "PharmD to MD" on Amazon. As always, let me know if you have any specific questions or concerns. Thanks for all the support!