We tend to put a lot of emphasis on the MCAT for being the gate-keeper for medical school admissions. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just skip taking the MCAT all together? You may be surprised to know that some medical schools don’t require the MCAT to get in.
There are schools that don’t require MCAT!? Tell me more.
For traditional medical school admissions, students are required to complete a bachelors degree program, which includes the prerequisite courses of Physics, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, General Biology, English, and usually your choice of humanities courses. At some point during a student’s matriculation, he or she will then take the MCAT before applying to medical school.
However, BA/MD programs exist wherein students apply to joint degree programs while in high school and transition to medical school after completing a required number of hours towards their BA degrees. For many of these programs, the MCAT requirement is waived. Essentially, it’s like applying to medical school while still in high school. Granted, these programs do require stellar SAT or ACT scores, but they do save a lot of time and money by bypassing the MCAT for students who are particularly ambitious.
So, the schools that don’t require the MCAT require a joint degree?
What may be even more surprising than joint BA/MD programs, perhaps, are schools where the regular admissions process doesn’t require the MCAT either. Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine is one such place. Even though they don’t require the MCAT, it is highly recommended that students applying to Dartmouth take the exam. Failing to do so will put students “at a disadvantage,” according to their admissions office. With a warning like that, most students obviously elect to take the exam.
In addition to joint BA/MD programs and medical schools where the MCAT is only strongly recommended, there are also post-bacc programs that don’t require students to take the MCAT to advance to medical school. Granted, these programs are linkage programs that evaluate student readiness in other ways that are just as rigorous (if not more so than the MCAT), they do exist and are extremely competitive to be admitted to.
Now you can see that while there might be options for those students who are vehemently opposed to taking the MCAT, most people sit for the exam anyway.