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A competitive student is a well-rounded individual who seeks opportunities to grow both socially and professionally. It is not enough to excel academically. To be considered for any professional school, you will want to focus on your development as a whole person: academically through coursework, scholastically with honor societies, clubs, and organizations, socially through your community through service, missions, leadership and volunteer work, and professionally through shadowing, work, internship(s), and related field experience.
Strong academic performance is still, however, an important part of successful admission to and completion of professional school. Applicants demonstrate their academic proficiency in two ways.
Admissions Exam Scores
Since admission to professional schools is highly competitive, students should strive to excel on their professional school admission test. This starts with strong preparation for the exam. Multiple prep courses are available to aid in this process: Kaplan, Princeton Review, ExamKrackers, DocFlowers, etc. We recommend in-class preparation due to the large volume of material that must be reviewed, as well as the availability of personal assistance in academic areas that need additional focus. Students who score well on these tests typically also spend considerable time outside of normal course assignments studying specifically for the exam. Visit our entrance exams page for more information about the exam you will be taking for your professional school of choice.
NOTE: Students should avoid taking any entrance exam before prerequisite courses are completed.
Because of the highly competitive nature of admission to professional schools, strong, consistent academic performance is a necessity. All students should be aware of admission requirements, including the minimum GPA for the professional schools to which they intend to apply. It is particularly important that the competitive student have strong working knowledge in science and mathematics. In other words, it is not enough to regurgitate the information; you must also be familiar with the process and how it is applied.
Professional schools typically consider two GPAs when reviewing applications: the overall GPA and the BCPM (biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics) GPA. This means that you will need to show that you can excel specifically in the math and science fields and that you are a strong student all around (remember what you have read here about being a well-rounded student).
You can use this online tool to calculate both your overall and BCPM GPA.
Elements of a Strong Professional School Application