Grade Point Average & Standardized Test Scores
Two of the most important factors for admission to any of the health professions schools are a solid grade point average (GPA) and impressive scores on the the appropriate standardized test.
Many schools have a bare minimum GPA to apply, though the vast majority of programs certainly have much higher GPAs than those. Medical schools also have a separate average science GPA that is taken into consideration, known as the BCMP (biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics).
The appropriate standardized test scores play an extremely important role in the admission process and some occasions can be a determining factor for admission if scores or below a certain level.
Only very unusual personal circumstances will compensate for a GPA below a certain level in getting applicants through the initial screening process.
Below you will find benchmark for cumulative GPAs and standardized test scores.
- Allopathic Medicine (MD)
- Osteopathic Medicine
- Veterinary Medicine
- Physical Therapy
- Physician's Assistant
Allopathic Medical Schools: Allopathic (MD) programs usually expect a minimum GPA of approximately 3.5. For allopathic schools, Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores of 10 on each of the three sections is a typical requirement, or well above the national average of about 8 on a scale of 0 to 15 on each of the verbal, biological, and physical science sections. According to AAMC, the 2007 entering class to allopathic schools nationwide, successful candidates had a median overall GPA of 3.65, and a 3.59 cumulative for their biology, chemistry, physics, and math grades; their average MCAT scores were: 10.3 Physical Sciences, 9.9 Verbal Reasoning, 10.6 Biological Sciences, and P for the Writing Sample (on a J [lowest] to T [highest] scale). Keep in mind that these 2007 numbers are averages and not schools specific nor case specific.
Osteopathic Medical Schools: Average MCAT scores for osteopathic school tends to be a 25 combined score out of a possible 45. In 2005, entering students to osteopathic schools had a 3.36 science GPA, non-science GPA of 3.54, and cumulative of 3.44. The AACOM publishes these statistics.
Both allopathic and osteopathic schools publish each individual schools' mean cumulative and science GPA, as well as MCAT scores, for students admitted to their programs. These publications can be lent out for review in Kollett Hall.
Dental Schools: Dental school admissions officers expect to see a minimum of at least a 3.3 GPA and Dental Admission Test (DAT) scores of 18 or higher on a scale of 1 to 30.
Veterinary Schools: Veterinary school admissions committees look for the same GPA as those listed for medicals schools above. Applicants for veterinary school must take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and scores above 600 on a scale of 200 to 800. All veterinary schools accept the GRE, and some will also accept the MCAT.
Optometry Schools: The average GPA for accpeted optometry school students recently was a 3.36. Matriculated applicants have better than average score on the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). Scores range from 200 to 400 with 300 representing average performance.
Pharmacy Schools: In general, pharmacy schools like to see a GPA above a 3.2. Many schools look at both the cumulative and the pre-pharmacy GPA. The average GPA of matriculated pharmacy students ranges from between 3.2 to 3.5. Students should keep in mind that experiences act as a major factor in the application process, so students with GPAs below the average should not be discouraged from applying. Pharmacy schools require applicants to take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT). The PCAT is made up of five sections. Students receive a scaled score and percentage for each of these sections, as well as a composite score. Scaled scores run from 200 to 600. There is also a writing section on the PCAT which is scored from 1 (low) to 5 (high). Many pharmacy schools provide their average cut-off scores for admission which can be found on the websites of individual pharmacy schools. PCAT scores are weighed more heavily than GPA.
Physical Therapy Programs: Many schools require a minimum of a 3.0 in science courses and overall to apply, but expect to have a higher GPA to be competitive. Many schools have an expectation of at least a 500 on both the verbal and math portions of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
Physician's Assistant Programs: A competitive science and cumulative average GPA for admission tends to be around a 3.5. On the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), average scores seem to be between 1000 and 1100 combined score. Check with specific schools for data.
Podiatry Schools: Over the past few years, the admission criteria for schools of podiatry have steadily increased. Recently, the overall GPA was 3.2, with an average science GPA of 3.0. Podiatric schools require also require the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The average MCAT scores were 7.1 on the three sections. Some podiatric colleges will accept the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Dental Admission Test (DAT) test scores.