Applying to Medical School as an International Student
For those who don’t hold a United States passport, applying to universities and graduate schools in the U.S. can be a major pain. There are many barriers for international students:
1) Obtaining financial aid and student loan funding is very difficult, and sometimes impossible. Scholarships are also few and far between for international students.
2) If you didn’t attend college in the U.S., many medical schools don’t accept course credit from international universities.
3) Interviewing can be tough for international students because of prohibitive travel costs.
If you’re an aspiring medical school student from abroad looking to apply to schools in the U.S., you have probably heard that it’s very difficult. Some schools actually take it upon themselves to discourage international applicants. Taking a look at international students admission statistics from the Association of American Medical Colleges, we can see that 88.4% of international applicants didn’t matriculate at a U.S. medical school. Here’s a sample of interview rates for international students at some choice institutions:
These are daunting statistics.
There are, however, some things international students can do to maximize their chances of getting into medical school. These are CRITICAL steps to take if you are an international student hoping to attend medical school in the United States.
International Students Applying to Med School Must:
1. Create A Roadmap Early
Applying as an international applicant is difficult as it is, but if you don’t recognize early on that you are aiming for a U.S. medical school and don’t plan accordingly, you’re going to experience a lot of disappointment after applying. People don’t plan to fail, but fail to plan. In this case, planning can make all the difference.
Need help with figuring out the right classes to take and how to make the most of your extra-curricular activities? We can help YOU make a roadmap as early as high school.
2. Consider Completing Undergraduate Studies at a U.S. Institution
The honest truth is that international students who attended a U.S. institution for their undergraduate studies have a much better chance of being admitted to a U.S. medical school. Why? First of all, these schools are a known quantity to U.S. medical schools. The course credits for premed classes are all pretty much eligible. Also, the student will already have an F-1 visa granted by immigration to allow them to complete their studies. These, combined with the fact that it’s just easier on admissions committees, makes a U.S. undergraduate diploma a huge boon for international applicants.
3. Consider Doing an M.D. / Ph.D.
Graduate and Ph.D. programs in the United States have the wonderful benefit of being virtually free for the students who attend, as the programs are
usually fully funded by the universities, and also provide the student a stipend in exchange for doing research and TA’ing some undergraduate courses. This definitely helps the funding aspect of attending a U.S. medical school for international students. However, the requirements for M.D./Ph.D. students are still the same for international students, and the individual must have a profile that fits the bill for an M.D./Ph.D.: solid research track record, deep and demonstrated interest in medical sciences and the medical profession, and commitment to a career as a physician-scientist. If you can demonstrate these qualities, the M.D./Ph.D. dual degree may be a great option for you.
If you’re an international applicant facing these challenges, don’t immediately write yourself off! In 2012, there were a handful of international applicants who matriculated to a U.S. medical school, according to AAMC. Proper roadmap planning and crafting of the application can make all the difference.
Here at Cracking Med School Admissions, we’ve helped a handful of international students successfully matriculate to medical school in the U.S. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any other questions you might have about being an international applicant. We have the advising experience to help you reach your goals.
You will find hundreds of tips and copies of successful essays that helped students get into top medical schools in our book. You’ll learn everything you need to know NOW to plan for your medical school applications.