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Academic Preparation

Coursework vs. Competencies

Today's applicant to medical school faces some unique challenges, including preparing for an ever-evolving admissions process, with requirements under a period of transition--including a revised MCAT that is nearly twice as long as the previous version with an expanded range of topics covered. While pre-requisite coursework and accompanying GPA continue to be important selection factors, most medical schools engage in a holistic admissions process that seeks to assess each applicant's ability to demonstrate specific core competencies for entering medical students. Of course, success on the MCAT requires specific content knowledge usually gained by a particular sequence of coursework. The links to the right offer more information about each approach to undergraduate preparation for medical school.

In practice all of this means that applicants must research the specific admissions requirements for each school they are considering applying to. Some schools have specific course requirements and grade minimums, while others offer a more descriptive and qualitative set of competency-based requirements for admissions. To get a sense of the range of admissions approaches, compare the links below: