FAQ’s about “Pre-Med” at Bates

How many applicants from Bates are actually accepted into medical school?

Qualified Bates College applicants are very successful.  Depending on the specific pool of applicants each year, roughly 75 – 100% of the qualified students and alumni who apply are accepted to medical school each year.  Acceptance rates to other health professions schools, dental, optometry, PA, nursing, veterinary, etc., are even higher.

Bates College provides strong premedical preparation for its pre-health professions students including most of the requisite coursework, internship opportunities, pre-health professions advising and support from the Medical Studies Committee.

Of course, not every Bates applicant is accepted.  Why? Acceptance into medical or any health professions school is dependent on the qualifications of the student applying.  Students who are accepted to medical school have performed at a high academia level (usually earning a 3.5 GPA or better), have done well on the MCATs (composite score usually above 500), have demonstrated a working knowledge of the health professions (by taking advantage of volunteer positions or shadowing opportunities), and have demonstrated a commitment to service.

What constitutes a “premed” major at Bates College?

There is no single “premed” major. Medical schools are looking for students who have completed specific course work and who have performed at a high academic level in their major and in the sciences.

We recommend that students’ interests dictate their choice of major as long as the prerequisites for medical school admission are also met.  Because of their interests, most Bates applicants to medical school have completed the B.S. degree in Biology, Chemistry, Biological Chemistry, or Neuroscience.  Others have pursued interests outside of the sciences (in English and Psychology for example).

Should I be a double major?

Medical school admissions personnel state that the specific undergraduate major is not a consideration in the admissions process. They are interested in the courses that applicants have completed and the grades they have earned.

What are the premedical course requirements?

The prerequisite courses for medical school admission are: Two semesters each of General Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Physics. Most schools require at least one course in English, and some require calculus, college math, and/or statistics. Psychology, statistics, sociology, and biochemistry are tested on the MCAT.

Biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, developmental biology and statistics may also be required or recommended. In addition, all schools value strong communication skills.

What academic record do I need to get into medical school?

Successful applicants to medical schools have a grade point average of 3.5 or better, a composite MCAT score above 500 and strong letters of recommendation.

Is there any way to predict what sort of scores I will have on the MCAT?

The best correlation we have seen between MCAT and any other achievement test is between the MCAT and SAT scores. However, we have seen students with modest SATs achieve strong MCAT scores. The best predictor of success on the MCAT is diligent preparation and lots of practice.

What can I do to strengthen my application to medical school?

Most successful applicants, in addition to strong academic records, have had experience working in hospitals or in the health professions community. Many have held responsible positions outside of college: employment, service, volunteerism, etc.  Remember, though, nothing substitutes for a strong academic record.

What other factors are considered in medical school admissions?

Admissions committees often consider employment, additional responsibilities during the school year, extracurricular involvement including sports, and community service, and patient contact hours.

Does the College write supporting letters for all applicants?

The Bates College Medical Studies Committee provides letters of evaluation for all health professions applicants who require them.  The chair will always inform an applicant if the Committee feels it would be unable to recommend a student in its letter of evaluation.  Letters are written after advising and interviewing applicants, and they include statements from individuals who have submitted letters to the Committee on behalf of the applicants.

The “Committee Letter” is in fact a packet of materials sent by the Committee in support of our student applicants. Not all professional programs require a committee letter.

When should I apply to medical school?

Current admission policies have resulted in a number of common pathways:

  1. Application after junior or senior year for students with a 3.5-4.0 average, good MCAT scores (combined scores of 500 or better), evidence of a working knowledge of the profession, and a commitment to service..
  2. Application after a student completes post-baccalaureate study to improve a weak academic profile or to take additional required courses.
  3. Application after a year or several years of “life experience,” along with completion of all the required courses and experiential components.

What if I’m not ready to apply to by the time I graduate?

The average age of matriculating medical school students is approximately 26.  This means that many students elect to wait to apply. The Pre-Health Advisors work with both undergraduates and alumni to provide advice and support during the preparation and application processes.

Many recent graduates have decided to pursue other interests before submitting their medical school applications.  They have worked in the biomedical profession, taught school or work in a variety of service organizations both in and out of the country.  The possibilities are endless and the experiences are invaluable.

Can I reapply to medical school if I have been rejected?

Yes! A high percentage of our applicants who reapply are accepted to medical school. There are a lot of ways to improve an application to medical school. Many are admitted after significantly improving their applications.

For more information about post-baccalaureate programs visit:

The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) http://services.aamc.org/postbac/