In 2022, there were more than 55,000 applicants to allopathic medical schools in the United States. Just 22,712 applicants were lucky enough to gain a spot, putting the acceptance rate at 41.2%. One of the most competitive medical schools is one of the newest programs: Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine (KPSOM). It enrolled its first class of medical school students in 2020 and has continued to grow in popularity. During the 2021-22 application cycle, KPSOM received more than 11,500 applications and accepted 50 students. That means just 0.4% of applicants were accepted.
Unsurprisingly, the accepted students at KPSOM are at the top of their class: the average cumulative GPA was 3.83, and the average science GPA was 3.8. The average MCAT score was 517. To put those numbers into perspective, the successful matriculants into medical schools had an average cumulative GPA of 3.74 and a science GPA of 3.67. The average MCAT score was 512.
While top grades and test scores play a factor in a student’s acceptance, it isn’t the only thing. Students might wonder how to crack the code and get accepted to top medical schools like KPSOM. To gain insights into how to prepare for medical school, Moon Prep sat down with three students at KPSOM: Alex Argame (graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a 3.95 GPA and an MCAT score of 514), Matthew Fisher (graduated from Georgetown University with a GPA of 3.9 and an MCAT score of 517) and Christina Tran (graduated from Stanford University).
How To Prepare For Medical School
Many aspiring medical students start preparing for medical school when they enter their undergraduate university. Between shadowing, research, leadership, community service and other experiences, it can be stressful to build a competitive resume. While getting clinical and medical-based experiences is vital to ensuring that this is the right career path for you, branching outside of medicine to find resume-building activities could also be beneficial.
For Tran, she believes one of the most meaningful activities of her medical school journey was participating in Teach For America. Not only did it help her become a better student-doctor, but it also made her a “stronger advocate and how to be an effective change agent in both education and medicine.” These experiences outside of medicine helped her mature as a leader, think more clearly under pressure and develop interpersonal skills to become a more effective and caring physician.
Comparatively, Fisher encourages students to pursue activities that genuinely interest them. “It was the genuine stories from my experiences [that] I was able to tell—both medical and non-medical—that I believe helped me stand out in the applicant pool.”
However, some students don’t always know they want to be a doctor from the beginning of their undergrad. Argame took an untraditional route to medicine and worked first for seven years as a Registered Nurse in various settings, including Interventional Radiology, Same Day Surgery, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, Intensive Care Unit and Community Health, before even applying to medical school. Because of the gap between undergraduate and medical school, he completed a post-baccalaureate program through California State University, Fullerton, to fulfill the pre-medical prerequisites.