Santa Clara University

Pre-Health program

Medical School Admission Triad

This page is primarily dedicated to students seeking to become allopathic physicians, the education of whom results in the MD degree, with a subsequent quick look at the DO, DPM and ND degree programs. The TRIAD is grade point average (often with the natural sciences segregated for particular scrutiny), MCAT score (Medical College Admission Test), and, equally important, experiential activities, some of which must be medically related. It is akin to a 3-legged stool; if any one leg is much shorter than the other, the stool is unstable. Here's a quick summary; to be competitive at U.S. allopathic medical school admission, strive for a 3.5 overall gpa, an MCAT score of 30 or more, and accummulate a nice portfolio of experiential activities. This is not to say students falling a bit below these standards won't be admitted, but experience here at SCU over the past decade shows a nearly 100% admission rate (for students meeting all three of the above criteria) to at least one allopathic medical school in the U.S. if they take a year off between graduation and matriculation into medical school. A year off? Yes, medical schools are consistently moving toward a preference for students with some additional life experience beyong the senior year of college prior to medical school matriculation. The application system is structured such that there is a 15-month delay between applying to medical school and actually beginning the program. Taking a year off has the advantage of allowing the applicant to apply for medical school admission at just about the time of graduation from SCU. This way all four years of undergraduate coursework and all four years of experiential activities are completed at the time of application. This not only makes for a stronger application, but results in MCAT scores based on four years of SCU training, rather than just three. On the average about 15 students matriculate into allopathic medical schools from SCU each year; of these usually 12-13 have taken a year off. It is an excellent admission strategy and allows the applicant to recharge his/her batteries before taking on the rigors of medical school.

Admission standards for osteopathic medical schools (DO), podiatric medical schools (DPM) and naturopathic medical schools (ND) are less stringent, as is the case for admission to any of the handful of quality allopathic medical schools located in the Caribbean Sea.  One should definitely consider osteopathic schools; they offer graduates the same ability to specialize as allopathic schools.  Please see the career options page on this site for more about the DO, as well as the DPM and ND degrees.