Harvard Medical School is considered by many people to be one of the top medical schools in the country. Admission is competitive, and you need to have excellent grades and test scores to even consider applying. If you meet Harvard's qualifications, then applying is simply a matter of following a series of commonsense steps.
Take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and find out your score. Your score tells you where you rank compared to your peers. This test is one of the main determining factors that the admissions committee considers when looking at applicants. The closer you score to the average scores of admitted students, the better your chance will be for acceptance. The average of the admitted class of 2009 was Verbal: 11.01; Physical Science: 12.09; and Biological Science: 12.03.
Check to see if your grades fall into the average of accepted students and that you have completed all the prerequisite courses. Although there is no minimum GPA or test score requirements, it is important to have excellent grades. The average GPA for the admitted class of 2009 was 3.8. Prerequisite courses are one year each of biology, physics, calculus, and expository writing, and two years of chemistry.
Ask people who know you well to write letters of recommendation for you. Ask a professor, mentor, boss, or someone else who knows you in an educational or professional setting. Ideally, you want people to write about why you would make a good medical student. Be sure to ask for these letters early in the application process. Not everyone you ask may be able to write a letter, and you may need to find a replacement.
Put substantial time and effort into your personal statement. Explain why you think you would make a good doctor. Make sure that your essay is unique and shows a side of you that is not revealed through your test scores and grades. Remember to proofread it at least three times yourself, and then ask someone else to read it over as well.
- Pay attention to the application deadline; exceptions are rarely made for late applications. Plan to send in your application before the deadline. This way, if unforeseen roadblocks appear in your application process, you will have extra time built in to deal with them.
Julia Kitlinski-Hong graduated from Emmanuel College in Boston, majoring in English. She is a freelance writer and blogger, and is currently writing as a social media editor for iTourNow, a travel media website. If she could be anywhere, she would be traveling abroad, processing everything through writing.