Applying to Medical School
Frequently Asked Questions


What does it take to get into medical school?

Associate Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Cherie Singer talks with Richelle O'Driscoll on KUNR-Reno Public Radio's Health Watch about the increase in applications to the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and how students may enhance their chances of being selected for admission. Listen to the interview.

Is there a preferred undergraduate major?

No. Students are encouraged to gain a broad educational background and choose a major that is challenging and interesting to them.

Do I have to choose a science major in college?

No. There are core science classes required of all applicants, regardless of major. If a student chooses a non-science major, they will need to take those science courses outside of the major requirements. Most science majors include the pre-requisite courses required by the medical school.

Do all medical schools require the same pre-requisites?

No. Many of them require similar core classes, but they aren't identical. Be sure to check the requirements of all schools you plan to apply to.

Will a graduate degree help my chances of being admitted to the School of Medicine?

The Admissions Committee is most interested in your undergraduate coursework and those grades are reviewed first. A graduate degree does demonstrate your desire to further your education and shows motivation and maturity.

I graduated from an international medical school and want to become a doctor in the US. How do I apply?

If you graduated from a medical school outside the US, you can become a physician in the US without going to medical school again. Here are some links to helpful webpages with more information:

Questions are residences should be directed to the Office of Graduate Medical Education.

When should I take the MCAT?

The MCAT is offered throughout the year, via computer testing centers, from December through September. Students should schedule the MCAT at a time when concentrated study and preparation is possible. Students must take the test no later than the last test date offered in September of the year in which they are applying to the School of Medicine.

Under what circumstances should I retake the MCAT?

It may not be necessary to retake the test if your score is at or above average for accepted students at the medical schools to which you plan to apply. You can request that information from the schools in which you are interested. Nevada's average MCAT score for matriculating students is 30 out of a possible 45.

Which MCAT score does the Committee consider?

Nevada's committee considers your most recent MCAT score. Previous scores are compared to measure improvement or decline in test performance. The School of Medicine will accept both the old and MCAT 2015 scores through the 2018 AMCAS application cycle.

How should I prepare for the MCAT?

Information on preparation is available at the AAMC Website or contact your campus pre-professional or health career advisor for information on review courses, review books and self-study guides. You are the best judge of effective study strategies and can best evaluate the type of preparation you need to do well on the test.

How do I know if my GPA and MCAT score are competitive?

Be sure to check with all the medical schools to which you plan to apply to ask for their average GPAs and MCAT scores for accepted students. Nevada's average GPA is 3.6 and the average MCAT score is 30 for accepted students. In general, a GPA below 3.0 makes it difficult for an applicant to be competitive.

Do activities outside of class help my chances of being accepted?

Yes. It is important for applicants to demonstrate a broad range of experiences and good communication skills. Activities should not interfere with your studies or your ability to get high grades, however.

What kind of extracurricular activities should I pursue?

Students should select activities which interest them. There are no "right" or "wrong" extracurricular activities. For example, if you enjoy children, choose something that allows you to work with kids. If you like teaching, work as a tutor on your campus.

Do I need health care experience?

Yes. The School of Medicine seeks applicants who are knowledgeable about the world of medicine and healthcare. Activities can include volunteer positions in hospitals, clinics, crisis call centers, nursing homes, ambulance services and doctor's offices. Paid positions in healthcare are also valuable ways for students to gain experience.

Do I need research experience?

Yes, if you can find time in your academic schedule. Research gives students chance to learn problem-solving and analytical skills needed in medical school and in medicine. Research does not need to be biomedical. Select a research are available at your undergraduate school.

How are students selected for interviews?

Applicants are selected for interviews based on established criteria each year for GPA and MCAT scores. Most in-state applicants receive an interview.

Will my age, gender or ethnicity make a difference in my chances for admissions?

No. The School of Medicine encourages applicants from all socioeconomic, gender, racial and religious backgrounds.

If I was selected to be interviewed last year, will I automatically be invited to an interview this year?

Each application is viewed as a new application. There is no guarantee you will be invited to interview as a re-applicant.

Can I reuse my letters of recommendation?

You are able to re-submit new letters of recommendation which can be the same as the prior year. Re-applicants are encouraged to seek out new or updated letters for the Admissions Committee is able to review the most accurate information about you when your application is discussed.

What is evaluated for re-applicants?

Re-applicants' metrics, personal statement, AMCAS application, letters of recommendation and interviews are evaluated.