From Meh to Master: What do I have to do to get into UVA School of Medicine

I am looking for any advice/input from people whose experiences overlap with mine.

To begin, I am a senior at an “elite” public high school in Virginia. In many respects, I screwed the pooch with regard to my high school experience. I mismanaged my time here, missed out on some opportunities there, etc. I attribute this to not really having any sort of goal other than “do well” until recently when I realized that my dream is to pursue a career in medicine, specifically emergency, dermatology, or family/general practice. Things could change, but right now I want to shoot for the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

That is where I see myself in five years. I am aware of the typical advice (get a high GPA, study your a** off fo the MCAT, volunteer, do research etc.), but I was wondering if anyone knows what UVASoM looks for in their applicants specifically and what I can do to essentially give them what they want.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly:
GPA: 3.6 UW/4.2 W
SAT: 780 R&W / 800 M
SAT II: 800 Bio / 800 Math Level II / 770 Phys / 760 USH
5’s on AP Bio, Chem, Environmental, BC Calc, Stats, USH
(I actually got a B in my AP Bio class. Smart slacker?)
Although I do some other ECs, the most relevant to mention here are that I volunteer in the ER at a local hospital and work as a volunteer tutor for students who need help with math among other things. Are these activities that are worth continuing, or should I focus my efforts elsewhere?
On the whole, I would say that I love learning but not boring AF work. I read biochemistry textbooks and historical monographs for fun, yet I struggled to do well on assignments related to readings in Biology and United States History.

I am considering majoring in biomedical engineering (I know, crazy right? How the hell is he going to get a high GPA in engineering? I don’t care. I love the field.). Although I am applying to several more selective colleges, I am seriously considering Virginia Tech, VCU, and Clemson. I see the first two as good choices because they are associated with a medical school and have fairly strong STEM reputations. However, would it be wise of me to try to transfer somewhere more competitive with or without the major that I want to study to get into UVASoM? How many people from Tech and VCU who apply actually get accepted?

Well, that’s about it. I don’t really know what to expect, but any advice would be helpful. Thanks.

Lots to unpack here.

Considering what med school you want to go to during your senior year of high school is putting the cart before the horse. Miles to go.

If you must, UVA school of medicine has what they look for clearly laid out on their website: and profile of the most recent class:

Focus on the task at hand which is identifying schools with the major you want, which have good pre-med advising, write committee letters for all applicants, and offer local opportunities to gain patient facing experience and research. Since you mentioned you don’t care what people will say about needing a high GPA and majoring in biomedical engineering I would at a minimum try to look at grade distributions in your major as well as typical pre-med required courses at the schools on your list.

For med school admissions, it is not relevant how prestigious or selective the undergrad school is…the more selective the school the greater the competition in each and every course. Applicants need to have a high GPA and high MCAT coming out of any school, along with patient facing experience (job or volunteering). Most applicants take between 1-3 years in between undergrad and applying for med school in order to gain more relevant job experience, do research, perhaps take the MCAT again. It can be difficult for a student applying straight out of undergrad to compete with someone with significantly more relevant experience.

Regarding your undergrad college list, since it is mid December…have you already been accepted (or denied/deferred) anywhere? Where have you applied? What other schools are on your list? What can/will your family pay for undergrad per year?

My opinion…if…and I mean IF you actually get to the point where you are applying to medical school…plan to apply to about 20 schools…and pray you get at least one interview and at least one acceptance. Frankly, putting all your eggs in the UVA SOM basket is not a wise move.

Why do you feel you must got to UVA for medical school. And how are you making this leap as a high school student?

@WayOutWestMom What else does this high school student need to know?

I’m sorry that I bothered y’all. Ignore me. I have a lot of things that I need to take care of before I will know about whether medical school is really right for me. For starters, I need to learn to actually like myself.

That’s the most important thing! If you like engineering, there are plenty of career options through that field. Biomedical engineering will allow you to be an engineer but still have some interaction with hospitals or research faculty to some capacity. Have you considered any other fields of Engineering?