A Holistic Approach to Admissions
The MCAT serves an important purpose — to be a metric to determine future performance in medical school. It is a tool used to assess a student’s readiness to succeed in an intensive academic environment.
However, we feel most medical schools over-apply that idea and use it to weed students out. Rather than a predictor, it can sometimes be used as an ever-changing barrier to entry, allowing top test performers to move on to the next round of admissions and leaving many qualified applicants without options.
Our founders sought to change that. Their goal was to provide a high-quality medical education in a supportive environment with an admissions process that looks at the entire student, not just a number on a piece of paper.
The MCAT is a complex test made up of a number of subjects, refined regularly in the hopes of giving medical schools a better understanding of a student’s potential. However, we have found that it is a better evaluation of what a student has already learned in their undergraduate institution and not a measurement of capacity to learn.
For the majority of applicants to any school, there are many requirements, including:
We know that students are more than just a single test score. The system of rejecting applicants with low MCAT scores leaves so many students out of the race before it even starts. Those students then find themselves with a challenge above and beyond attending medical school: getting into medical school with a low MCAT score.
With so many factors that need to be considered when evaluating admission into medical school, we do not agree that a single test score should dictate the course of an applicant’s life. In 2020, the average MCAT score of medical school applicants was 506. At the same time, the Association of American Medical Colleges indicates that only 87% of applicants with MCAT scores above 518 with a high GPA (above 3.8) were accepted into a United States medical school. That means that even the most successful MCAT test-takers still do not have a guarantee of getting into a U.S. medical school. For individuals with less-than-ideal MCAT scores, those statistics can paint a potentially bleak picture.
Looking at the same set of data from the AAMC, we know that less than 30% of students with high GPAs and below-average MCAT scores were accepted into an American medical school. We don’t believe that those students deserve to be shut out from their future of becoming a physician, so we decided to do things differently.
We understand how students can feel defeated despite all of their hard work and accomplishments, especially those in the frustrating position of having a high GPA and a low MCAT score. Some students find themselves in even more challenging situations where their grades may have been deflated by circumstances beyond their control, like working full-time, supporting a family, untimely illness, or the death of a loved one. Trinity offers a holistic approach to admissions, taking each applicant’s situation into account and evaluating students based on their potential, not just their scores.
Trinity students with lower GPA and MCAT scores have gone on to secure fiercely competitive residencies. So while we do require the MCAT, and the score is a factor, it’s one of the many aspects you can put into the proper context with the admissions team.
For more information about Trinity’s holistic approach to admissions, contact one of our admissions
Not all medical schools require the MCAT. However, because the MCAT has become a standard requirement at many accredited U.S. and international medical schools, you’ll find that it is still an important piece of the admissions process at most quality education institutions.
Trinity does require the MCAT as part of our admissions process. However, we do not rely on the MCAT as the determining factor in the admission decision; instead, we see it as a starting point to showcase a student’s potential. We consider many other factors when reviewing an applicant, and we do accept low MCAT scores from those who excel and show potential in other areas.
It’s important to not allow a low MCAT score to derail your aspirations of becoming a doctor. While a low MCAT score can put you in a challenging position, if you have a high GPA, then the two components can balance one another out.
This is especially true at Trinity, where our approach focuses on the student as a whole. We apply a holistic methodology when determining if a student is a good fit for Trinity, which includes those who have a high GPA and a low MCAT score.
The MCAT has four sections with each being scored between 118 and 132. This means that your total score will be between 472 and 528. The average scores are 125 per section and 500 overall.
The minimum MCAT score required for admission to medical school depends on a number of factors. Some schools place a heavy emphasis on test scores like the MCAT and your GPA.
At Trinity, we understand that the MCAT is only one part of a well-rounded medical student. We take a “big picture” look at each applicant instead of allowing a low MCAT score to keep a promising student from gaining the knowledge needed to practice medicine.