The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

Behind the Admissions Curtain: How Medical Schools Screen Applications

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen talks to Dr. Ian Hagemann, the Assistant Dean for Admissions at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. They talk about how medical schools screen applications and the future of admissions in the advent of AI and chatbots.

  • [00:44] Introducing Dr. Ian Hagemann
  • [06:46] What Happens to Your Med School Applications
  • [13:25] Medical School Admissions & Screening Process
  • [19:12] Preparing for Reapplication
  • [27:18] AI and Chatbots in Medical School Applications
  • [29:58] What Dr.Hagemann Would Change About Healthcare

What Happens to Your Medical School Applications

After students submit their applications, the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) verifies and converts grades into a standardized scale. Next, the completed applications are sent to the schools, which have their own reviewing process.

Generally, schools will check that each portfolio has all of the required documents. Depending on their criteria, schools will then send out secondary applications. There is typically an application fee, but students can apply to waiver programs to ease the financial burden.

Evaluating Medical School Applicants

Medical schools review applicants both qualitatively and quantitatively. Know the mission and values of a school, and you can quickly figure out what they’re looking for in a potential student. Once schools have determined applicants who best fit their learning environment, they will invite them for an interview.  Interview schedules vary per institution. Students who apply early have an advantage, as they will be offered interview slots first.

Increase your Chances of Admission in Reapplications

In some cases, students who have strong portfolios may have chosen incompatible schools. It would be a good idea to choose schools that are aligned with your personal values and to diversify your list. But what is true for all reapplicants is that they need to make use of the year to showcase significant growth. Rewriting your essay is not enough. Immerse yourself in opportunities that show your dedication to medicine. If you’re unable to do so due to financial reasons, you must be able to articulate your story in a way that resonates with the school.

Can Artificial Learning Help in Medical School Applications?

Most schools do not allow students to use AI or ChatGPT to write their essays for them. However, students can seek assistance from family, friends, mentors or other devices. Artificial intelligence programs can be especially helpful in helping students generate a personalized school list. In the future, medical schools may employ the help of AI to screen applications.


To learn more about how MedSchoolCoach can help you along your medical school journey, visit us at Prospective Doctor. You can also reach us through our social media:


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Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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