Medical School Admissions, Explained


MSAR stands for Medical School Admission Requirements

The MSAR is published yearly by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) as a resource for pre-medical students. The MSAR is an information resource containing comprehensive data about medical schools, as well as information about the admissions process in general. The MSAR a paid product which contains significantly more information than the Medical School Directory, which provides only basic information about medical schools.

Examples of statistical data published in the MSAR include:

  • MCAT and GPA averages and distributions
  • Demographics of admitted students
  • Acceptance rates
  • Cost of attendance tuition and fees
  • Interview stats
  • Volunteer stats
  • In state/out-of-state breakdown

Examples of guidance information published in the MSAR include:

The MSAR is available in multiple formats including:

  • Hard copy
  • Online access
  • E-book

In short, the MSAR provides pre-med students with a comprehensive and authoritative guide to the ins and outs of the medical school admissions process. The MSAR is an essential resource for pre-med students during the  applications process as it allows prospective applicants to tailor the details of their applications to the various medical schools they apply to. And because the MSAR is published on an annual basis, it contains the most up-to-date and relevant information about medical schools in the US.

The MSAR is available through many channels including, directly through the AAMC website or through online booksellers such as or

Please visit to learn more about the MSAR or to order your copy of the MSAR.

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As you well know, academics are a huge part of the medical school admissions process. This Academics Bucket is filled with items weighed by the medical school admissions committees when assessing your readiness to excel academically in medical school. These include: GPA, MCAT, undergraduate/graduate school strength, course strength, and major. I am often asked, “What GPA and MCAT do I need to get into Harvard Medical School.” I always answer, “It depends.” Many pre-meds think it takes a 4.0 GPA and 45 MCAT score to get into medical school. They are wrong. Pre-meds with 4.0 GPAs and 45 MCAT scores used my consulting services after they were NOT accepted to medical school. Sure, you generally need good grades and a decent MCAT score to get into medical school, but there is no exact GPA or MCAT score that guarantees admission. Medical school admissions committees look at a pre-med’s "whole package" when deciding who gets into medical school. Great grades and MCAT scores, a top-20 school pedigree, upper level classes, and a challenging or unique major are not enough to get into medical school. You need to be well-rounded and stand out among the other 40,000 applicants.