What GPA Do You Need for Med School?

August 26, 2023
By AdmissionSight

What GPA Do You Need for Med School?

What GPA do you need for med school? One thing has remained consistent, no matter how the medical school admissions landscape has evolved: the importance of a student’s MCAT score and GPA. Even though many medical schools emphasize the holistic nature of their admissions process, the rising statistics among matriculating students suggest that high scores remain crucial.

While written components like the medical school personal statement, AMCAS Work and Activities section, letters of recommendation, and secondary applications are vital, they can’t fully compensate for low MCAT scores or GPA.

a female student sitting and appears to be thinking

To optimize your chances of admission, it’s essential to know the average MCAT score and GPA of matriculating students at each school. This helps determine if your statistics are competitive for a particular school and identifies which schools might be easier to gain admission to based on numbers alone. In this blog, we’ve done the research to identify the ideal GPA for med school admission, so you can target schools where you have the best chances.

What is the Average GPA Requirement for Medical School?

The admissions committees for medical schools put a significant amount of weight on your grade point average. Each university will have its own prerequisites for medical school, and many of them will set minimum standards for the applicant’s grade point average (GPA) in medical school to eliminate applications. So, it’s natural to wonder what are the most common medical school GPA requirements.

Because med school admissions committees receive thousands upon thousands of applications each year, establishing a minimum GPA allows them to more efficiently screen out applicants that they do not believe to be best suited to manage the rigors of medical school.

There are a few medical schools that do not require applicants to take the MCAT; however, the majority of medical schools do require applicants to take the exam, and many of these schools also have minimum MCAT score requirements that applicants must meet in order to be considered.

Two people talking in a table.

However, there are certain medical schools that do not believe in the concept of giving a minimum acceptable GPA.

This is because these schools focus an emphasis on examining applicants in a holistic manner and take into consideration every application they get regardless of GPA or MCAT scores. In accordance with these perspectives, some schools distribute secondary essays for medical school to each and every applicant, whilst other institutions may screen applicants based on their GPA and MCAT results before distributing secondary essays.

It is essential to keep in mind that just though a med school does not mandate a minimum GPA or score on the MCAT for admission, this does not necessarily mean that it is easier to get into, and the majority of the students who are accepted still have highly competitive scores.

In the majority of cases, the minimum grade point average criterion will be set at 3.0, and this seems to be a normal practice among medical schools that implement these criteria. Additionally, it is not uncommon to find that the GPA requirements for in-state and out-of-state applicants are not the same. For instance, the University of Calgary requires a greater grade point average from applicants who live outside of the province than it does from those who live within the province.

These standards are different for in-provincial and out-of-province students. There are, however medical schools that need a far higher minimum GPA, such as the medical school at Virginia Commonwealth University, which requires a minimum GPA of 3.3 for admission.

According to the data provided by AAMC (for medical schools in the United States) and AFMC (for medical schools in other countries), the following table illustrates the average GPA that was accepted among applicants from the previous year (for medical schools in Canada).

Average Medical School GPA Acceptance Rates
Country Average Accepted Overall GPA Average Accepted Science GPA
US 3.73 3.66
Canada 3.62 NA

It is important to keep in mind that these values represent the mean of the statistics, which indicates that there were accepted students with scores both lower and higher than these. In addition, matriculant data are always higher than applicant data. For instance, the mean science and total GPA of candidates to US medical schools in the previous year were 3.45 and 3.56, respectively. This demonstrates how tough the admissions process is for medical schools.

In addition, determining what constitutes an “average” grade point average (GPA) at Canadian medical schools can be a challenge due to the fact that these institutions typically have varying GPA requirements for students coming from other provinces, and some schools even use their own unique grading systems.

Because they re-calibrate student GPAs depending on this scale, it is impossible to obtain an accurate average that takes into account all of the different schools. The numbers that have been provided represent a ballpark calculation.

So, what does all of this mean for you? While a poor grade point average may hinder your acceptance, does a good GPA guarantee it? The truth is, your grade point average plays a critical role in whether you’re invited for an interview or receive an acceptance letter.

However, it is hard to calculate your exact chances of getting into medical school only based on the GPA that you have earned, regardless of whether it is a 3.5, 3.9, or 3.0. This is due to the fact that numerical values are meaningless in and of themselves, and the majority of admissions committees are interested in a wide range of variables in addition to your academic performance.

There are some students with low GPAs who are accepted, and there are other students with nearly perfect GPAs who are not accepted. The academic history and extracurricular experiences that each applicant brings to the table for medical school are entirely unique. There is no precise formula that can be used to determine whether or not x and y will equal admission.

Instead, admissions committees look for applicants who have a great passion for assisting others, good grades, and test scores, and who can demonstrate that they are suitable for the profession in order to choose who will be accepted.

How Important is GPA for Medical School?

Now that you’re aware of the minimum GPA for med school admission, it’s worth noting that an applicant’s GPA and MCAT score are often the two primary factors considered by medical schools. However, with several institutions omitting the MCAT requirement for the 2022 application cycle, the GPA will take on even more significance in the admissions process.

three students studying outside

Admissions committees assess your GPA to gauge your academic commitment. A low undergraduate GPA might raise concerns, given the heightened academic rigor of medical school compared to undergraduate programs. While a low GPA won’t necessarily disqualify you, it’s essential to know how you stack up against other applicants.

What Should You Do if Your GPA is Low?

There is no hard and fast rule that says you shouldn’t apply to a school if your grade point average is lower than the median for that institution. Even though your grade point average is lower than others, you can position yourself as a more competitive applicant by doing the following steps:

Retake Classes to Improve Your Grades

If you have one or two classes that are dragging down your grade point average, you might want to think about repeating them. Your grade point average (GPA) will be increased as a result of the higher grade because the lower grade will be replaced by the higher grade.

Add an Addendum to Your Med School Application

Include a narrative justification as an appendix to your AMCAS application if your GPA is lower than usual because of an isolated semester. Your addendum shouldn’t come across as making excuses; rather, it’s your opportunity to explain a personal struggle that you were dealing with for a limited time and demonstrate what you learned from it and how you’ve improved as a result of it. It’s important that your addendum doesn’t come across as making excuses.

Focus on Your MCAT Score

You may not be able to dramatically increase your grade point average in just a few months, but if you put in the effort to study for the MCAT over the course of just a few months, you can enhance your score.

a female student being homeschooled by a male teacher

Shift Your Target Schools

Although medical schools often give the grade point average the most consideration, this is not always the case. Some medical school admissions committees will take note of your dogged pursuit of the ideal program and curriculum for you, and they will admire you for it. For example, here at AUA, we believe in a holistic approach to candidate evaluation, which means that we look at you as more than just your grade point average or your result on the medical college admissions test.

Want to learn more about increasing your GPA for med school? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.


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