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Preparing to Apply

Know the Landscape

Data exists. It is helpful to understand the admission trends and benchmarks early, so you can prepare accordingly, consistently assess yourself, and, if needed, redirect your strategies and short/long term goals along the way. Eventually, there will be a day that you apply to your professional schools of choice. This is what the landscape looks like:

Matriculant Data for Schools of Allopathic Medicine, 2018-2019

Mean age of a first-year MD student is 24

  • Mean GPA: 3.72 (3.65 BCPM)
  • Mean MCAT: 511.2/Percentile Rank 84 (highest possible 528)
  • Acceptance Rate 2017-2019: roughly 41%
  • Acceptance Rate for 3.60+ GPA/MCAT 510+ = 78%

Acceptance Rate for 3.40-3.59 GPA/MCAT 502-505 = 29.3%

Applicant Data for Schools of Osteopathic Medicine 2018-2019

Mean first-year DO student is 23.

  • Mean GPA: 3.54
  • Mean MCAT: 503.8 (highest possible 528)
  • 20,981 applicants vying for roughly 7,415 seats (roughly 35%)
  • DO GPA and MCAT mean is lower, but it is not a “back up” plan

Summary of data for Schools of Dental Medicine, 2018

  • Common age first year enrollee: 23-24
  • 11,298 applicants vying for roughly 6,163 seats (54.5% enrolled)
  • Applicant: 18.2/18.6/18.3 DAT; 3.25 BCPM/3.35 GPA
  • Matriculant: 20.5/20.1/20.4; 3.45 BCPM/3.55 GPA
  • DAT scores: Academic Average, Perceptual Ability, Total Science—highest 30 all sections

Commonly Required (or highly recommended) Courses

Dental and Medical School

  • INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY I/II (BIO 121/ 123/ 124)
  • INORGANIC CHEMISTRY I/II (CHE 106/107/ 116/ 117)
  • ORGANIC CHEMISTRY I/II (CHE 275/ 276/ 325/ 326)
  • PHYSICS I/II (PHY 101/ 102 OR PHY 211/ 221/ 212/ 222)
  • BIOCHEMISTRY (BCM 475)
  • ONE SEMESTER OF CALCULUS OR STATISTICS (MAT 285 OR 295 OR MAT 121 OR 221)

Physician Assistant and Nursing School

  • INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY I/II (BIO 121/ 123/ 124)
  • INORGANIC CHEMISTRY I/II (CHE 106/107/ 116/ 117)
  • ONE SEMESTER OF ORGANIC CHEMISTRY and/or ONE SEMESTER OF BIOCHEM (CHE 275/ 276, BCM 475)
  • ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY (BIO 216 OR BIO 316 AND BIO 217 OR 317)
  • MICROBIOLOGY (BIO 409; prerequisites BIO 326 Genetics and BIO 327 Cell)
  • STATISTICS (MAT 121 OR 221)
  • DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY (PSY 335, 336, OR 337)
  • DEVELOPMENTAL PERSPECTIVES IN MEDICAL LANGUAGE (CFS 326)

Veterinary School

  • INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY I/II (BIO 121/ 123/ 124)
  • INORGANIC CHEMISTRY I/II (CHE 106/107/ 116/ 117)
  • ORGANIC CHEMISTRY I/II (CHE 275/ 276/ 325/ 326)
  • ZOOLOGY OR ANIMAL BEHAVIOR COURSES
  • BIOCHEMISTRY (BCM 475)
  • PHYSICS (PHY 101/ 102 OR PHY 211/ 221/ 212/ 222)
  • STATISTICS (MAT 121 OR 221)
  • MICROBIOLOGY (BIO 409) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (required at some schools)

Pre-Professional Competencies

We encourage all students to pursue enrichment opportunities that will develop self-capacity that is relevant to your chosen healthcare field. Think ahead. For instance, physicians must maintain six competencies, and these are largely applicable to all healthcare fields:

  • Practice-based Learning and Improvement
  • Patient Care and Procedural Skills
  • Systems-based Practice
  • Medical Knowledge
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Professionalism

To break this down further, pre-medical students are expected to show evidence of development of 15 Core Competencies within four domains:

  • Interpersonal (service, social, cultural, teamwork, oral communication)
  • Intrapersonal (ethical, reliable/dependable, resilient/adaptable, shows capacity for improvement)
  • Thinking & Reasoning Skills (critical, quantitative, scientific inquiry, written communication)
  • Science Competencies (living systems, human behavior)

What this means is that what "today" holds is setting priorities. Consider how your academic and enrichment activities will help foster these relevant and expected skills. Think about your four years at Syracuse and beyond. What choices will you make that will lend well to your growth and development?

Experiential Learning

Clinical

Clinical awareness is extremely important to professional schools. If you haven’t been "inside the walls" where you were able to witness and participate in healthcare delivery, professional schools may hesitate, and feel skepticism that you understand the career path you aspire to. To show your dedication to and motivation for a career in medicine, you should:

  • Volunteer at a healthcare facility
    • SUNY Upstate
    • Crouse Hospital
    • Veterans Administration Medical Center
    • Syracuse Community Health Center
  • Obtain training and potentially certifications
  • Actively participate in clinical opportunities

Campus and Community Involvement

There are many student organizations at Syracuse University that are oriented to congregate pre-health students. The Mary Ann Shaw Center for Public and Community Service is an instrumental resource in helping students align their interests with volunteer opportunities in local community agencies. Some academic programs at Syracuse, like public health or public policy, often incorporate experiential learning into their course curriculum.

Domestic & International service learning

Not all volunteer endeavors need to be clinical. Students benefit immensely from dedicating their time to community agencies, here and abroad. Students have gained immeasurable skills by volunteering for local non-profits that serve constituent needs in public health, education, refugee resettlement, and youth mentorship and recreational services.

During gap years, students may serve for Teach for America, City Year AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, or other domestic and international organizations. When serving abroad, it is important to vet the program you are participating in. There is ethical controversy about what students are allowed and entitled to do in foreign countries; be mindful that your service abroad is about responsibly meeting the needs of the population; not just serving your own interests, growth, and development.

Research & Scholarship

Research is everywhere. It exists in public health, sociology, anthropology, English literature, psychology, science, linguistics—in other words, if you are interested in research, find a position in a research project that studies something you care about. At Syracuse, there are multiple avenues to research—for pre-health, these are most popularly in the sciences, psychology, and neuroscience—but there are a myriad of current research projects related to health policy, public health initiatives, socio-economic healthcare disparities, drug delivery, bioengineering, and post-traumatic stress syndrome.

See more: Research Centers and Institutes at Syracuse University

If you wish to extend your experience beyond campus, Syracuse students have often pursued research at:

During gap years, some students enjoy obtaining clinical or laboratory research positions at institutions all across the United States or abroad.