Reddit Premed: True or False? (2021)
Congratulations on your decision to pursue a career as a physician. While the road ahead of you may be long, you can expect the opportunity to help others achieve greater health and wellness and excellent monetary compensation for your efforts.
Although you’re probably excited about medical school and everything that follows, you may also be experiencing some anxiety. In particular, prospective med school applicants may worry that they don’t have the grades or test scores needed to earn a spot at a prestigious institution. And unfortunately, the internet is full of rumors and personal anecdotes encouraging these fears.
In particular, applicants who turn to Reddit’s Premed forum may find themselves confronted with horror stories about the process of applying to schools. Instead of finding guidance to help them on their journeys, prospective MDs may start to reconsider their chosen path out of a mistaken belief that they don’t have the skills or experience to succeed.
The good news is that a lot of what you read online isn’t true. Not only do medical schools accept a wide array of applicants, but they also actively seek out a diverse pool of students from different backgrounds and walks of life.
Wondering what your odds are of getting into a great medical school? Start by checking out some of the top Reddit premed myths and then find out what you can do to boost your odds of acceptance.
True or False No. 1: You Won’t Get into Medical School If You Aren’t at the Top of Your Class
It’s no secret that medical schools are competitive, and not everyone who aspires to a career as a doctor is guaranteed to achieve their dreams. However, that doesn’t mean only the most exceptional students should apply.
While it’s true that around 60 percent of medical school students are rejected the first time they apply, many of them go on to be accepted in future years. Moreover, 40 percent of applicants do get into med school — a number representing far more than the handful of students who sit at the top of a given class.
Rather than getting discouraged by the medical school admissions stats, it’s best to focus on aspects of the application process that you can control. Invest your energy into performing well in your classes, studying for the MCAT, and writing exceptional application essays.
The goal is to look at the big picture instead of worrying that one aspect of your applicant profile isn’t up to snuff.
Answer: False. Every year MedEdits works with students who were told they had no shot of being accepted to medical school.
True or False No. 2: You Need an MCAT Score Over 520 to get into Medical School
Speaking of MCAT scores, it’s easy to get down on your odds of admission if you go by Reddit. In fact, many posters in the Premed forum have suggested that you need to earn a 520 on the test to be admitted to a good medical school. Fortunately, this claim is something of an exaggeration.
In fact, over the last few years, the average MCAT for med school attendees was 511. In other words, many of the students accepted to medical schools scored well below the 520 threshold.
While you clearly don’t have to earn a 520 or higher to become a doctor, it’s worth noting that average MCAT scores are on the rise. In fact, the mean score for 2020-2021 was 511.5. If you’re worried about how your MCAT scores stack up to the competition, it may be worth taking the exam a second time or signing up for an MCAT preparation course.
However, those with lower scores shouldn’t give up on their dreams of practicing medicine. It’s important to note that admissions officers consider a wide range of factors when making admissions decisions, including extracurriculars, essays, and overall grade point average.
Answer: False. Every year MedEdits works with students who have 520s and 510s who are accepted to medical school.
True or False No. 3: You Need a Sky-High GPA
Undergraduate GPA has a significant impact on grad school admissions in numerous fields, so it’s no surprise that medical schools put a strong emphasis on this stat. However, Reddit rumors that suggest you need a 4.0 to become a doctor are something of an exaggeration.
Among students who matriculated at medical schools in 2019-2020, the average overall GPA was 3.72, with students earning 3.8 in their non-science courses. It’s important to remember that these numbers represent average scores, so many students successfully got into med school with lower GPAs.
Additionally, there are steps you can take to boost your odds of admission. If your GPA is low based on less-than-stellar scores during the early part of your college career, don’t be afraid to explain this issue to admissions officers. Take ownership of the situation and describe how it was a learning experience on your academic journey. If all else fails, you may want to consider retaking some courses in which you earned lower marks.
It’s also worth noting that other factors can compensate for a lower GPA. If you did great on the MCATs, then admissions officers will likely take this into account when making decisions. Similarly, impressive extracurriculars can send an otherwise mediocre application to the top of the pile.
Answer: False. Every year MedEdits works with students who have upward trend GPAs who are accepted to medical school!
True or False No. 4: You Need a Million Extracurriculars
Extracurriculars are unquestionably important for medical school applicants. However, that doesn’t mean you need to participate in every activity your college offers. Instead of signing up for dozens of activities, aim to choose just a few extracurriculars and devote more time to them. In general, the quality of your activities matters far more than the quantity in the eyes of admission officers.
Additionally, the Reddit Premed community often suggests that students need to have the perfect extracurricular profile to get into med school. While shadowing doctors or working in a lab can undoubtedly boost your profile, there’s no one right answer when it comes to extracurriculars.
Instead, the goal is to create a narrative that shows admissions officials why you have the drive and integrity to succeed as a physician.
Answer: False. MedEdits students who are accepted to medical school tend to have extracurricular depth rather than breadth.
True or False No. 5: Only Certain Topics Are Appropriate for Personal Statements
When it comes to creating a narrative, personal statements play an important role in the application process. However, a common Reddit myth is that there are specific topics applicants should use or avoid to boost their chances of getting into school.
While it’s true that certain subjects may be considered trite or overused, that doesn’t mean there are hard and fast rules for crafting application essays. This piece of writing is your chance to speak directly to an admissions committee, so it’s important to be open, honest, and personal. In other words, focus on saying something meaningful rather than creating an essay that looks similar to the ones you see online. The goal is to show schools why they need you to be part of their community.
Answer: False. There are only a few topics that are off limits and MedEdits students who are accepted to medical school have written about topics considered “trite” by Reddit premed standards.