The Best Medical Schools with Low MCAT Scores
January 5, 2021
The Best Medical Schools with Low MCAT Scores
You already know by now that the medical school admissions process is a highly intense one. As you prepare your application, you may be disappointed to discover that the MCAT score you’ve received isn’t up to the mark for the programs that you’ve got your eyes on. As a result, you’re in search of the best medical schools with low MCAT scores.
The median MCAT scores at top programs such at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Stanford are understandably very high. While it’s certainly true that medical school admissions are holistic and you might still have a chance by boasting a strong GPA, a compelling personal statement, and impressive extracurriculars, it’s good to be safe and keep your options open when deciding on which medical schools you should apply to. In this blog, we’ve outlined the best medical schools with low MCAT scores along with other steps to take if your MCAT score isn’t as good as you had hoped for.
List of Top Medical Schools with Low MCAT Scores
The table below outlines the best medical schools with low MCAT scores that fall among US News’ top 100 medical institutions. “Low” is an extremely relative term here—we’ve included schools where the MCAT median is 512 and below. By no means is 512 a low MCAT score, but the process for medical school admissions is so competitive that it has become a comparatively low score, considering the average MCAT score of all medical school matriculants in 2019-2020 was 511.5.
|13||University of Washington||509|
|23||University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill||512|
|27||University of Wisconsin - Madison||512|
|29||Oregon Health and Science University||510|
|30||University of Alabama - Birmingham||508|
|38||University of Iowa (Carver)||512|
|38||University of Utah||512|
|43||University of Minnesota||510|
|48||Indiana University - Indianapolis||510|
|50||Wake Forest University||512|
|52||University of Connecticut||512|
|52||University of Texas Health Science Center (McGovern)||511|
|60||Medical College of Wisconsin||509|
|60||Medical University of South Carolina||510|
|60||Temple University (Katz)||512|
|65||University of Arizona - Tucson||507|
|65||University of Nebraska Medical Center||510|
|67||University of Kansas Medical Center||509|
|67||University of Vermont||510|
|67||Virginia Commonwealth University||512|
|70||University of Texas Medical Branch - Galveston||508|
|72||University of Kentucky||506|
|75||Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School--New Brunswick||512|
|75||University of SUNY (Jacobs)||510|
|78||University of New Mexico||506|
|78||University of Oklahoma||508|
|78||University of Tennessee Health Science Center||510|
|78||Wayne State University||509|
|82||University of Missouri||508|
|83||Texas A&M Health Science Center||509|
|84||University of South Dakota (Sanford)||509|
|84||West Virginia University||508|
|88||University of Central Florida||512|
|89||University of California - Riverside||509|
|90||Eastern Virginia Medical School||507|
|90||Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center||506|
|90||University of South Carolina||506|
|94||East Carolina University (Broady)||507|
|95||East Tennessee State University (Quillen)||507|
|96||Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine||500|
|97||Florida Atlantic University (Schmidt)||512|
|98||Florida State University||505|
|100||Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine||503|
What to Do If Your MCAT Score is Low
- Retake the MCAT: The most obvious solution is to try again. If you took the MCAT early enough, chances are there is still time for you to increase your score by studying hard, reviewing problem areas, and preparing to retake the test. Make sure you’ve understood the test, made a daily and weekly schedule for studying, and reviewed everything you’ve studied. Finally, choose the test date that is ideal for you so that you can give it your best effort.
- Boost your GPA: If your MCAT score isn’t on par with the schools’ medians, aim to bring a high GPA to the medical school admissions game. Even if you’re applying to one of the best medical schools with low MCAT scores, a strong GPA helps. Whereas your MCAT result is the product of one day’s performance, you’ve worked hard to build up your GPA and it shows a sustained effort in terms of academics. On another note, even if your undergraduate GPA isn’t the best, you can take the time to pursue post-baccalaureate classes in order to strengthen your GPA so that your transcript impresses the medical school admissions committee.
- Strengthen your extracurricular experiences: Medical schools want to see students pursue clinical opportunities as part of their preparation for applications. Take initiatives around clinical experiences, volunteer work, research, or shadowing. There are plenty of chances out there to work with patients, such as becoming an EMT, medical scribe, or a clinical research assistant. The latter is an effective way to get research experience in a way that still allows for patient work. Patient interaction will make you more comfortable with the communication skills you need as a doctor. You can also seek out volunteering initiatives at hospitals. See if there are any blood drives, fundraisers, or even opportunities to assist nurses and physicians during medical emergencies. Reach out to local doctors and see if they would allow you to shadow them for a significant period of time. Shadowing can help you understand the schedule of a doctor better, and also give you time to talk to them about their work and medical school experience.
- Write a wonderful personal statement: Another place which allows your personality and goals to shine is the personal statement. Your medical school personal statement is your chance to tell your unique story to the admissions committee and provide them with context on why you want to pursue medicine. Writing a stellar essay that makes a highly compelling argument of why you’re a strong fit for both medicine and the specific program can sometimes take the attention off your MCAT score and bring to light your dedication to the profession.
- Look beyond just MD schools: It can be tempting to only apply to Ivy Leagues or the best ten medical schools in the country. However, if you have a low MCAT score, it’s also wise to be cautious and keep your options open. Consider keeping a few DO or Caribbean medical schools on your list. DO, or osteopathic medical schools, cover more of the holistic care of the body, looking at the patient as an individual rather than their organs. If your MCAT score is in the lower 500s, DO schools might be a good option for you. Caribbean medical schools, which are medical programs in the Caribbean, tend to be less selective than schools in the United States. If your score is in the high 400s and you don’t want to retake the MCAT or reapply in the next cycle, consider putting Caribbean schools on your list. Although acceptance rates at all medical schools are low—and there really is no safety—applying to medical schools where your MCAT lines up with the program median might help increase your chances.
- Explain any extenuating circumstances: Finally, if your MCAT score was affected by illness, the death of a loved one, or a change in your studying environment due to COVID-19 ,make sure you let medical schools know. You can do this through your AMCAS application or secondary essay prompts which specifically ask you to outline if there is additional information you want to share. This will help admissions committee members understand your circumstances better and evaluate your applications accordingly.
While applying to the best medical schools with low MCAT scores is a good decision if you aren’t happy with your MCAT results, the process is still intensely competitive. Make sure you’ve strengthened other components, made a balanced list of options, and explained any circumstance that may have affected your score. If you don’t have time to retake the MCAT this cycle and would prefer to apply with a stronger score, consider a gap year. There are plenty of options, and hopefully you’ll give yourself a fighting chance at acceptance. Good luck!