The Saddleback College Pre-Med Society hosted guest speaker Michael Richards on Monday night to lecture students and answer questions on what is necessary to get into the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.
Richards discussed the candidate competencies, the types of personal statements, and other things the admissions office looks for in an applicant. One major item they look for are letters of recommendation.
It is recommended that applicants get a committee letter if possible. In order to get a committee letter, the students have to complete required coursework and other outside work in the field.A second choice letter would be a letter from a professor or other academic advisors who can highlight the applicants strong side and explain the weak one in the event of a blemish in the student’s school record.
As far as application and selections of schools goes, it is important to plan ahead and stay open minded to going out-of-state since medical schools are very competitive.
“Most people apply to about 10 to 15 schools,” Richards said. “12 of those schools you should be at or above their median. Two to three of them you’re just trying to throw a penny in a fountain.”
At the Keck School of Medicine there are no specific course requirements, allowing students to pursue a separate field of study all the while distinguishing themselves in the sciences.
The median MCAT for the class of 2021 is 517 with an average GPA of 3.7. Their students come from a variety of different schools ranging anywhere from UCLA and USC to Boston College and the University of Chicago.
Resources such as the Association of American Medical Colleges, Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) online handbook, and the National Association of Advisors to the Health Professions are all resources Richards recommends using for a broad understanding of what different medical schools look for.
As far as the Keck School of Medicine, their website contains a great deal of information relating to their schools requirements directly. Their contact information is found here for any questions an applicant has.