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School of Medicine

M.D. Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the questions posted here are not only asked about our School of Medicine but about medical schools in general.


Demographics

 

  • How large is VCU’s medical school class?
    The Admissions Office accepts a total of 216 students into the M.D. program. This includes 8-10 in the M.D./Ph.D. students so in any one year there are 216 students in the entering class.
  • How large is the applicant pool?
    The applicant pool has increased again since then to over 9,000 applications for the 2016 entering class. The school receives more applications from out-of-state than in-state.
  • How many students from out-of-state are accepted?
    The school usually accepts about 90-100 students from out-of-state, but this may vary from year to year.
  • What is the average GPA of students who matriculate?
    The average GPA of students who matriculate is 3.6.
  • What is the percentage of black students accepted to your medical school?
    It varies from year to year, but approximately 8 to 10 percent.
  • How many women do you accept into your medical school?
    Currently, 47 percent of our students are women. The same percentage as the applicant pool.
  • What percent of students pass their boards?
    96 percent to 99 percent on all sections.
  • What percent of your students receive their choice of residency programs?
    98 percent of the class of 2011 secured residency positions. Of particular interest, 95 percent of VCU School of Medicine students matched prior to the “Scramble,” a figure that is once again above this year’s national average of 94 percent.

Selection Process

  • Are you a state school and, therefore, do you give preference to in-state residents?
    The school is supported with about 7 percent of its budget coming from the Commonwealth of Virginia each year. Consequently, we do give preference to in-state residents.
  • I am an international student, and I graduated from an overseas undergraduate school. Am I able to apply to your School of Medicine?
    Only United States citizens or those with Permanent Resident Status (Green Cards) may apply. If you have this status but did not graduate from a United States undergraduate program, you will have to complete a degree of some kind from a United States accredited school to be eligible to apply. You may seek another Bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree such as a Master’s or Ph.D.

    This requirement does not apply to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, who are treated in the same manner as out-of-state students.
  • When is the next mailing of offers?
    Offers are generally sent Oct. 16, Dec. 15, Feb. 1 and March 16.
  • When will the alternate list be formed?
    The alternate list is created after interviews are complete. The alternate list is generally formed by the first week of April.
  • How long do I have to wait to find out if I will be offered an interview?
    It varies depending on the time of year (Interviews are scheduled from the end of August until early March). In the early parts of the interview cycle, the decision is made within one month of the completion of the file. Later in the cycle, the wait can be as long as two to three months.
  • Why haven’t I received correspondence from you yet, when my interview was months ago?
    You should have received an e-mail within a few weeks of your interview, advising you to check the status page where you would be placed on hold or notified that we will not pursue your file further. For those on hold, no further correspondence will take place until we are ready to make an offer or place you on the alternate list.
  • If I am not accepted for the M.D./Ph.D. program, will I be rejected for the M.D. degree, too?
    Not necessarily, because the decision for acceptance to the M.D. program is made independently of the M.D./Ph.D. decision. Please notify the School of Medicine admissions office if you still want to be considered for the M.D.-only program.
  • What is the medical school admissions interview like at VCU?
    VCU has a good reputation for its style of interview. The interviews are extremely low key, non-threatening and very conversational in nature. Interviews are one-on-one and last at least thirty minutes in length but can go as long as one hour.
  • What is the most heavily-weighted selection factor considered?
    VCU’s Admissions Committee considers the selection factors for medical school almost equally. The selection factors include, but are not limited to: (1.) a competitive MCAT score, (2.) solid grade point average, (3.) well-written essays, (4.) in-depth medical exposure and (5.) highly-supportive letters of recommendation. Candidates must demonstrate very strong interpersonal and communication skills and maturity during their interview to be considered competitive and (6.) significant community service that is not clinical.
  • How many people get an interview?
    Each year, the School of Medicine will invite approximately 1,000 plus candidates to interview.
  • Does VCU accept update letters to applications for admission?
    The only updates that we accept are grades from courses that were completed after an application was submitted and academic publication material that was published after an application was submitted. We do not accept letters of interest.

Programs

  • Does the MCV Campus have a Physician’s Assistant Program?
    No.
  • What is the Guaranteed Admission Program?
    This program allows high school seniors with the appropriate grades, SAT and/or ACT scores to apply for admission to VCU and the School of Medicine. If the student is accepted into the Guaranteed Admissions Program, they must complete the VCU Honors Program with a GPA of 3.5 or better to be able to matriculate into the School of Medicine four years later. For further information, contact Dr. Anne Chandler at 804-828-1803 or visit the VCU Honors College.
  • What is the Preferred Applicant Track?
    The Preferred Applicant Track (Medicine) offers honors premedical students an opportunity to apply to the Honors College Guaranteed Admission Program (Medicine) at the end of their sophomore year at VCU. We accept up to 2 from George Mason University, Virginia Military Institute, Hampden-Sydney College and College of William and Mary.
  • What is fmSTAT?
    Family Medicine Scholars Training and Admissions Track, fmSTAT, is a program for candidates who are committed to Family Medicine as their medical specialty career choice, if accepted they will be mentored through a specialty program for 4 years.
  • What programs does the School of Medicine offer?
    The SOM offers the M.D., M.D./Ph.D., M.D./M.P.H., M.D./M.S., M.D./M.H.A., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.

Contact Us

  • Can an applicant make an appointment to meet with Dr. Whitehurst-Cook in regards to their application?
    Yes, there are four counselors available in Admissions: Dr. Michelle Whitehurst-Cook, Dr. Donna Jackson, and Candace Dungee. Please call 804-828-9629 and speak with Shenia Tyler to set up an appointment with Dr. Whitehurst-Cook, or to be referred to the other counselors.
  • What is the school’s mailing address?
    VCU School of Medicine
    Admissions Office
    McGlothlin Medical Education Building (MMEC)
    1201 East Marshall Street, Room 1-200
    Box 980565
    Richmond, Virginia 23298-0565
  • What is the location of the Admissions Office?
    The Admissions Office is located in the McGlothlin Medical Education Center (MMEC), 1201 East Marshall Street, Room 1-200.
  • May I speak with Dr. Whitehurst-Cook, Dr. Donna Jackson or Candace Dungee?
    You may speak with the admissions counselors only if you have an appointment.

Prerequisites

  • What are the core prerequisite courses required for admission to medical school?
      1. English or writing intensive courses : six credits of writing intensive courses. Other courses may be substituted upon request, please contact the admissions office.
      2. College mathematics: six credits of college level math/statistics
      3. Biological science: eight semester hours, including laboratory. This may be satisfied by general biology, general zoology, or botany. No more than half may be botany.
      4. General or introductory chemistry: eight semester hours, including laboratory. A portion of this requirement may be met by courses in analytical chemistry or physical chemistry.
      5. Organic chemistry: eight semester hours, including laboratory. Biochemistry may be subsituted for half of the organic chemistry semester hours requirement. The courses should be equivalent to and acceptable for continued studies in a chemistry major.
      6. General or introductory physics: eight semester hours, including laboratory experience.
      7. Upper level science course: three credit hours. Examples: Biochemistry, Anatomy and Genetics.
      8. Psychology: Highly recommended
      9. Sociology: Highly recommended 
  • Are community college classes accepted as prerequisite course credit?
    They may be, but the Admissions Committee generally expects students to complete all prerequisite courses at a four-year undergraduate institution.

Visit the Campus

  • Does the Admissions Office give tours to prospective students?
    No, tours are only given on interview days and to scheduled pre-medical student groups. There is a self-guided tour packet available in the Admissions Office.

Applying

  • When should I send in letters of recommendation and transcripts?
    Letters of recommendation are requested when the Supplemental Application is sent to the candidate. Transcripts are not required until after acceptance is granted. Letters may now be submitted to AMCAS with the the AMCAS application.
  • How many letters of recommendation may I send?
    The VCU School of Medicine requires a minimum of 3 letters of recommendation from those who know you well from a supervisory position.
  • What does the action “hold” mean?
    Hold status is used in two different situations. The first is when the Committee believes they do not have sufficient information, and they will notify the candidate that they have been placed on “Hold for MCATs” or “Hold for Grades.” In each of these cases, it is important to submit the necessary material as soon as it becomes available.

    The second type of “Hold” occurs after an interviewed candidate’s file has been considered by the Committee and ranked. The file is then “on hold” until one of the next offer dates. Generally, offers are sent on or about October 16, December 15, February 1, and then the class is completed on or about March 16. All of the remaining candidates on hold after March 16 will be notified that they are on the alternate list or can no longer be considered, usually by the first week of April.
  • Does VCU send applications out? How do I apply?
    No. Application to the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine is done through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). AMCAS applications can be accessed from the AAMC’s Web site at www.aamc.org.
  • What are the MCAT test dates?
    Information on the MCAT test dates will be available on the AAMC Web site. MCATs taken after September 30 are not considered in the preliminary review process.
  • What MCAT scores are viewed as average and which are exceptional?
    Average MCATs are 30 or 10 on each section. Exceptional MCATs are 34-36 or 12 on each section.
  • I was born and raised outside the United States. Can I apply to your medical school?
    Yes, if you were born and raised in Canada. (Canadian citizens are treated in the same manner as out-of-state students.) No, if you were born in another country and you are not a Permanent Resident or citizen of the United States. You must supply documentation of your United States Permanent Residency at the time of Supplementary Application.
  • I attended another medical school and failed my first year. Can I apply to your school?
    No.
  • For how long are the MCATs good?
    The MCATs are good for three years from January of the year you would potentially matriculate.

Transfers

  • Does VCU accept transfers from international medical schools?
    No.

Tuition and Fees

  • How much is tuition and fees?
    Please see Financial Aid's website for this information.
  • How can I get information about Financial Aid?
    Our Financial Aid counselors can assist you. You may contact the office at 804-828-4006. Contact may also be made through e-mail to Pemra Cetin at pcetin@vcu.edu [E-mail] or Bonnie Fore at bhfore@vcu.edu [E-mail].

Medical School Preparation

  • How can I prepare for entrance into medical school?
    The answer to this question should be a book. In fact, there are several books available that deal with this issue. Briefly, preparation for medical school should consist of taking a demanding academic program at a four-year college or university. Coursework must include the prerequisites, which are listed on the Prerequisites (old) Web page. Students should also put effort into developing strong standardized test taking skills so that they will do well on the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test). The committee also expects to see a significant level of patient care experience, community service, altruism, professionalism, and strong communication and interpersonal skills.
  • As a parent, what college should my child attend in order to gain entrance into medical school?
    Students are accepted into medical schools from a wide variety of undergraduate institutions. Generally speaking, a student should attend a college where they feel comfortable and intellectually challenged.
  • If I attend and graduate from VCU, will this guarantee me acceptance into VCU’s medical school?
    No.
  • How can I prepare for the MCAT?
    Practice, practice, practice. Simply knowing all the factual information asked on the MCAT would not likely get you the score you want. Familiarity with the exam is a must. The AAMC publishes a variety of materials including five practice exams that are very useful. The AAMC also produces the "Official Guide to the MCAT Exam". There are also many other books and commercial classes available to help you prepare. Only you can decide which textbooks or classes work best for you, but above all, practice taking the test.
  • I did not do well during my undergraduate college years. How can I prepare for medical school?
    Generally, a student whose undergraduate education resulted in a non-competitive GPA will need to do a graduate program in the sciences. There are a number of ways to do this, either through a post-baccalaureate program, Master’s or Ph.D. Our admissions committee expects applicants to perform well academically in these programs (GPA>3.5) for favorable admission decisions.

Student Services

  • What opportunities do you offer minority students?
    The following services and opportunities are provided to all students:
    Academic and Personal Counseling
    Assigned Advisors and Big Buddies
    Skills Enhancement
    Note-taking Services