How to Get Into Harvard Medical School – Overview
Harvard Medical School (HMS) ranks number one in the United States. HMS is therefore a dream for thousands of aspiring doctors. As the acceptance rate is only around 3.3%, it is difficult for candidates to get admission into medical school.
As per the estimation, more than 6,000 candidates apply for admission to Harvard Medical School. Simply getting a high GPA and MCAT score is not enough, so many wonder how to get into Harvard Medical School.
Let’s take a closer look at the admission criteria and the process of getting into Harvard Medical School.
Selection Criteria of Harvard Medical School
Like most other medical schools, HMS evaluates applicants holistically. Every applicant has a high GPA and MCAT score, which is the norm. Only the candidates with a significant advantage over others get admission into HMS.
Some of the areas you should excel in to get admission into Harvard Medical School are:
- Applicant essay
- Academic records
- Letters of evaluation
- MCAT scores
- Summer occupations
- Extracurricular activities
- Life experiences
- Experience working in health care (research, community work, etc.)
Every criteria listed above are crucial to getting admission into HMS, as it shows your fitness for the school. Your academic excellence and potential to succeed are evaluated through your course selection, GPA, and letters of evaluation. The extracurricular activities you have been involved in, along with your life experiences, demonstrate your dedication to medicine. These factors help the admissions panel to determine if you have the necessary characteristics to be a certified doctor.
Let’s check out every one of these criteria in detail:
To qualify for admission into Harvard Medical School, the basic requirement is having a high GPA, especially the science GPA score needs to be excellent. Besides this, your MCAT score should also be exceptional. The average acceptable GPA should be 3.9 while the MCAT score should be around 519.06.
Though Harvard does not put much weight on the GPA and MCAT scores, you will still need to ensure your scores are within the acceptable range. Besides maintaining high scores and studying diligently for tests, you also need to meet additional requirements, such as:
- 1 year of biology (Cellular and Molecular) + Lab experience
- 2 years of chemistry (4 courses in inorganic, organic, and biochemistry) + Lab experience
- 1 year of physics (Lab experience is not mandatory)
- 1 year of math (1 semester of calculus and one semester of biostatistics)
- 1 year of writing-intensive courses
Letters of Evaluation
Your letter of evaluation should highlight your capabilities. You can submit up to 6 letters. These are the recommendations to follow for getting admission into Harvard Medical School:
- Minimum 2 letters from professors of science who have taught you
- Minimum 1 letter from a non-science professor
- Letter from all research supervisors (for MD-PhD programs)
- 1 letter from the college committee
- Letters of recommendation from employer (if working out of school)
These letters of recommendation help the admission panelists to determine your working ability in different environments and settings and your overall capabilities. Though you don’t necessarily have to submit 6 letters, you can still add additional letters from different recommenders to add value to your application.
Extracurricular activity participation is another advantage when applying for admission into HMS. You will need to do more than just volunteer once a year or work in a common position, such as a medical scribe. You will need to show that your AMCAS activities are unique and display dedication to the field of medicine.
You should strive to establish yourself as a leader, even though your interest lies in medicine. Make sure to choose activities that prioritize experience in patient interaction ad clinical exposure.
You will need to be careful to hone the required characteristics, such as communication, reliability, and empathy. You must display how you can apply these characteristics in medical and healthcare settings.
Besides taking advantage of the AMCAS activities and experiences, your statement should also be unique. Use the essay to show the admissions panel who you are and the value you can bring to the prestigious medical school. Make sure to highlight any life experience or skill that differentiates you from other applicants.
Make sure to think carefully before putting pen to paper to write the essay.
Common Interview Questions
Getting to the interview round for admission into Harvard Medical School itself is a feat, but your work is not done yet. Only around 14% of applicants are invited for interviews every year that shows if you get called for an interview, your chances of getting admission into Harvard Medical School grow exponentially.
You will need to prepare well for the interview round by practicing. Make sure to read through the common questions asked at the interview before admission into HMS.
These are some of the top common interview questions asked for admission into Harvard Medical School:
- At Harvard Medical School, we are looking for students who are truly passionate about medicine. What attracts you most about working in the medical field?
- According to you, what is the most concerning issue facing the medical industry today?
- Harvard Medical School needs to use great discretion when choosing applicants for admission. What is your plan if you are not accepted to medical school this year?
- Medical school is expensive. Have you made a solid financial plan for tuition costs at Harvard Medical School and beyond?
- Tell us a little more about your overall academic performance, so far. Where have you excelled, and where could you improve?
- Why should we accept you over other applicants with the same qualifications?
- What do you feel is the single most important quality a doctor should possess?
- At Harvard Medical School, we believe in the continued growth of our students personally and professionally. What is your self-development plan?
- What is your favorite area of medicine so far? Which is your least favorite? Why?
- If you could meet anyone in the history of medicine, who would you choose and why?
- What questions do you have for us about Harvard Medical School?
As you can see, there is no specific formula that assures your admission into Harvard Medical School. The reason is that medical school admission is highly unpredictable. It is extremely difficult to get admission into a medical school as prestigious as HMS when only around 3.3% of total applicants are called for an interview.
Make sure to do your research and prepare well before applying for admission into Harvard Medical School.
I am a dedicated healthcare researcher and an enthusiast specializing in medical grants, medical education and research. Through my articles, I aim to empower healthcare professionals and researchers with valuable insights and resources to navigate these critical aspects effectively.