Selection Factors for Health Profession Schools
Your academic record is a very important factor in the application to professional school. Applicants with strong grades and standardized test scores have a distinct advantage in gaining admission. Without a strong academic performance, your letters of recommendation will not be especially helpful except in unusual circumstances. Although professional schools value the subjective comments contained in letters of recommendation, they are not particularly interested in candidates who have weak academic records.
Admission committees try to accept an entering class with a broad range of skills, interests, and abilities. They desire a diverse class of interesting and talented people. Therefore, students should pursue academic and extracurricular experiences that have meaning and value to them. Successful applicants, as varied as their backgrounds may be, have all provided compelling evidence to admission committees that they are high achievers and that their achievements have been accomplished with excellence. The successful applicant has shown a realistic grasp of his/her strengths, weaknesses, and reasons for wanting to be a health professional.
Successful applicants usually are highly motivated, have experience in clinical settings, and exhibit outstanding personal qualities. Evidence of genuine concern for others through volunteer work and community service as well as knowledge of and exposure to the healthcare field are important. Successful applicants possess personal qualities such as maturity, integrity, compassion, leadership, creativity, perseverance, cultural sensitivity, and dedication, all of which are reflected in their involvement in helping others, community service, research, and clinical or other experiences (see AAMC core competencies). It is important to note that these competencies are relevant for individuals pursuing any health profession!