Essential and Desired Qualities

Candidates applying to the Twin Cities MD program are evaluated within a competency based admissions framework. The Admissions Committee seeks to find evidence, in each candidate's application, of various competencies.  These competencies are a combination of the Essential and Desired Qualities of an Ideal Medical Student, below, and the AAMC Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students.

Strong academics

The admissions committee will consider each of your composite and subsection scores to identify trends based on each attempt.

Twin Cities
The Twin Cities campus requires a minimum MCAT score of 499 to receive our supplemental application.

The Duluth campus requires a minimum MCAT score of 498 to receive our supplemental application.

Commitment to improving the human condition


  • Sustained and meaningful commitment to human service demonstrated through volunteer activities, scholarly pursuits, employment, academic endeavors, or other experiences
  • Understanding of medicine
  • Commitment to rural patient care (Duluth applicants)
  • Substantial independent research experience(s) (MD/PhD applicants)


  • Commitment to care of the underserved
  • Commitment to community and global patient care
  • Commitment to rural patient care (Duluth applicants)

Professional conduct

  • Honesty and integrity, particularly regarding instances of personal failings or mistakes (essential)
  • Compassion, evident through evaluations, prior employment, or experience in other roles that require compassion (essential)
  • Self-awareness, evident in a student’s knowledge of their own strengths, weaknesses, and when to ask for help (essential)
  • Ethical behavior (essential)

Outstanding interpersonal skills

  • Oral and written communication skills must be excellent, both to share knowledge and to convey empathy (essential)
  • Teamwork skills require acknowledging other team members’ expertise, accurate self-assessment, assuming leadership when appropriate, and subsuming individual interests to the work of the team (essential)
  • Cultural humility and inclusivity (essential)
  • Leadership & diversity experiences (desired)

A dedication to lifelong learning

  • Intellectual curiosity (essential)
  • Demonstrated scientific aptitude—a fundamental appreciation of how the scientific method is applied to the discovery of medical knowledge and to medical practice (essential)
  • Potential for academic success (essential)
  • Psychological resilience as demonstrated through emotional stability, skills to cope with stress, an ability to deal with sacrifice and hardship, maturity, good judgment, and an ability to defer gratification (essential)
  • Creativity (desired)

Duluth campus

Because of the unique regional campus mission, in addition to the essential and desired qualities described on this page, all of our accepted candidates have this Essential Quality:  A demonstrated commitment to practicing family medicine in rural Minnesota or practicing in a Native American community.


Twin Cities Admissions
Phone: 612-625-7977 
Fax: 612-625-8228

420 Delaware St. SE
Mayo Memorial Building, Rm. B639
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Duluth Admissions
Phone: 218-726-8511 
Fax: 218-726-7057

1035 University Drive, 180 Med
Duluth, MN 55812