MCAT Optional FAQs and Advising Guidance

How is my state residency considered in the evaluation of my application to the University of Minnesota Medical School?

The University of Minnesota Medical School is a public land grant institution. We give preference to MN applicants at each stage of the review process.

Twin Cities MD Program: The Twin Cities program receives about 800 completed applications from MN residents and 2000 from Non Residents. Non Resident applicants do not need to demonstrate a special connection to the state of MN, but it is considered a plus factor if a connection exists. The connection to MN ranges from visiting the state to be with family, friends, and being a tourist to going to college here to working and living here for an extended period of time. You will first be viewed by the state of residence you declared on your AMCAS application. From there the committee may or may not give your application extra weight in terms of your connection if you have one. Remember, a connection is not required. If no connection to the state is identifiable in your application then the committee will look for the unique and extraordinary attributes and experiences you present that would add to the diversity of the incoming class.

On average about 20% of the class is made up of non residents.


Duluth MD Program: The Duluth program receives about 500 completed applications from MN residents and 1400 from Non Residents. Non Resident applicants must demonstrate either a special connection to the state of MN or a commitment to American Indian/Alaska Native healthcare. The connection to MN ranges from visiting the state to be with family, friends, and being a tourist to going to college here to working and living here for an extended period of time. You will first be viewed by the state of residence you declared on your AMCAS application. From there, the committee may or may not give your application extra weight in terms of your connection, if you have one. If no connection to the state is identifiable in your application, then the committee will look for a commitment to American Indian/Alaska Native healthcare and the unique and extraordinary attributes and experiences you present that would add to the diversity of the incoming class.
On average, about 13.5% of the class is made up of non residents.

 

Why did the University of Minnesota Medical School decide to make the MCAT optional for Cycle 2021?

This decision was primarily driven out of consideration to candidates who have attempted to take the MCAT examination during the COVID-19 pandemic, March 14 - September 30, 2020; but the MCAT optional process applies to all applicants in the current cycle.


We were made aware of the fact that applicants are finding it challenging to prepare for the test with limited to no access to quiet study spaces, concerns about sitting for the test in a closed space with others given personal or family health challenges, difficulty securing testing accommodations, and difficulty with rescheduling their test date due to multiple cancellations. The mental distress has been exacerbated by recent national events related to racism and police brutality. We were presented with an opportunity to demonstrate empathy and inclusivity for applicants who have faced professional and personal disruptions due to COVID-19. We recognize that this is not a perfect solution and there are strengths and challenges associated with this decision for applicants. We hope the information we provide will help alleviate some concerns.

I have taken the MCAT, now what happens?

If you have taken the MCAT it is considered a part of your AMCAS application which will get transmitted to the UMN in its entirety. During the final decision making phase, after the  interview, the MCAT will be considered for those applicants who have submitted a score to AMCAS or indicate they will be submitting a score. Scores will be considered holistically in the context of all other aspects of the candidate’s application. We recognize that making the MCAT optional and removing it from initial evaluation creates a certain level of flexibility for some candidates. We also recognize that the evaluation process may place greater emphasis on the GPA when evaluating candidates' academic readiness.

Can I cancel my MCAT score?

You can only cancel your score immediately upon completing the examination. If you did not cancel your score immediately after taking the examination it will be submitted to AMCAS and become a part of your application.  

Can I prevent the UMN from seeing my MCAT score?

You cannot prevent the UMN from seeing your score if you did not cancel it immediately upon completion of the test. If your score was submitted to AMCAS it will be a part of your application that is transmitted to the UMN. 

I would still like to take the MCAT and have scheduled a date, what does this mean for me in terms of your review process?

We welcome you to take the test and submit your score later.  We will grant you a supplemental application and review your application for an interview while your score is pending. If you have indicated in your application that you have a future test date, we will wait to receive that score before we make a final decision on your application post interview. 

I read that the MCAT WILL NOT be used in the initial review of applicants. What does this mean?

The MCAT will not be in view of reviewers when making a decision on whether to invite a candidate to interview at the UMN. We will review other parts of your application, including GPAs, coursework, personal statement, experiences, supplemental responses and all other information included in the AMCAS application.


Twin Cities MD Program:

Our interview process remains "closed-file". Your interviewers do not have access to your application materials.


Duluth MD Program:

Our interview process remains “open-file”. Your interviewers will have access to your application materials.

Will the MCAT be used in any part of the review process?

During the final decision making phase, after the interview, the MCAT will be considered for those applicants who have submitted a score to AMCAS or indicate they will be submitting a score. Scores will be considered holistically in the context of all other aspects of the candidate’s application. We recognize that making the MCAT optional creates a certain level of flexibility for some candidates. We also recognize that the evaluation process may put greater emphasis on candidates’ GPA if an MCAT is not present when determining academic readiness. 

I see that the minimum MCAT score previously required to apply to the Twin Cities MD program has been removed. What does this mean?

For this cycle we will not require a minimum MCAT score. We will offer a supplemental application to applicants who select UMN in their primary application as long as they are a US citizen or permanent resident. Your file will also be reviewed for an interview without the requirement of an MCAT score. We recognize that one of the ways in which you might make your decision on where to apply is by looking at the academic metrics of each institution. Please note that the AVG MCAT and GPA for applicants accepted to the Class of 2020 are 513 and 3.7 respectively. The ranges for both metrics are 500-527 and 2.9-4.0 respectively.

Note: The Duluth MD Program was set to begin a requirement of a minimum 498 MCAT score for the 2021 Cycle. However, with the move to go MCAT Optional, this requirement has been removed. We will offer a supplemental application to applicants who select UMN Duluth in their primary application as long as they are a US citizen or permanent resident. Your file will also be reviewed for an interview without the requirement of an MCAT score. We recognize that one of the ways in which you might make your decision on where to apply is by looking at the academic metrics of each institution. Please note that the AVG MCAT and CUM GPA for accepted applicants are 506 and 3.67, respectively. The ranges for both metrics are 497-520 and 2.6-4.0, respectively. Of the accepted applicants, the AVG MCAT and CUM GPA for the entering Class of 2020 is 508 and 3.7.

I see that the AVG CUM and BCPM GPAs for accepted applicants to the TC MD Program are 3.75 and 3.68 with ranges of 2.9-4.0 and 2.7-4.0 respectively. I have a 2.8 and will not be submitting an MCAT score. How will my academic readiness be evaluated?

We recognize that making the MCAT optional and removing it from initial evaluation creates a certain level of flexibility for some candidates. We also recognize that the evaluation process may place greater emphasis on the GPA when evaluating candidates' academic readiness. 

Your academic readiness will be evaluated by taking into consideration your academic major and/or minor, rigor, coursework, size of course load, improvement in GPAs freshman to senior year, BCPM GPA, post bac program or graduate school GPA and any other coursework. We do this review in the context of your personal and professional experiences, the opportunities available to you, the content of your letters of recommendation, and the overall distance you have travelled and the challenges you have overcome to arrive at the point of applying to medical school. 

Finally, we utilize national and local MCAT, GPA, and Step 1 data to put candidate scores in context. This table in particular, on page 28, might be helpful to you in terms of understanding how your metrics are evaluated.

Twin Cities MD Program: As mentioned above, the AVG MCAT and CUM GPA for applicants accepted to the Class of 2020 are 513 and 3.75 respectively. The ranges for both metrics are 500-527 and 2.9-4.0. Very few applicants accepted to the Class of 2020 had a CUM or BCPM below a 3.0. Those that did, presented other unique academic accomplishments including graduate coursework, advanced degrees and/or post bac program completion where the more recent GPAs confirmed academic readiness. 

Duluth MD Program: The AVG CUM and BCPM GPA for accepted applicants are 3.67 and 3.56 with ranges of 2.6-4.0 and 2.43-4.0, respectively. The AVG MCAT for accepted applicants is 506 with a range of 497-520. Very few applicants to the Class of 2020 had a CUM or BCPM below a 3.0. Those that did, presented other unique academic accomplishments including graduate coursework, advanced degrees and/or post bac program completion where the more recent GPAs confirmed academic readiness.

I made it through the interview, but now you will see my MCAT score and it is low, lower than your previous cycle’s requirement of 499.

The Twin Cities and Duluth MD programs conduct a holistic review of applications within a competency based evaluation framework. We are looking for evidence of 13 competencies across three evaluation points. 

  1. Evaluation for Interview Invitation

  2. Interview

  3. Final Decision (Accept, Waitlist, Deny)

 

  1. Academic Readiness: Your academic readiness will be evaluated by taking into consideration your academic major and/or minor, rigor, coursework, size of course load, improvement in GPAs freshman to senior year, BCPM GPA, post bac program or graduate school GPA and any other coursework. We do this review in the context of your personal and professional experiences, the opportunities available to you, the content of your letters of recommendation, and the overall distance you have travelled and the challenges you have overcome to arrive at the point of applying to medical school. We recognize that making the MCAT optional and removing it from initial evaluation creates a certain level of flexibility for some candidates. We also recognize that the evaluation process may place greater emphasis on the GPA when evaluating candidates' academic readiness. 

    Finally, we utilize national and local MCAT, GPA, and Step 1 data to put candidate scores in context. This table in particular, on page 28, might be helpful to you in terms of understanding how your metrics are evaluated. Also, for the Twin Cities MD Program the AVG MCAT and GPA for applicants accepted to the Class of 2020 are 513 and 3.7 respectively. The ranges for both metrics are 500-527 and 2.9-4.0. For the Duluth MD Program, the AVG MCAT and GPA for accepted applicants are 506 and 3.67, respectively. The ranges for both metrics are 497-520 and 2.6-4.0. Very few applicants accepted to the Class of 2020 in either program had a CUM or BCPM below a 3.0. Those that did, presented other unique academic accomplishments including graduate coursework, advanced degrees and/or post bac program completion where the more recent GPAs confirmed academic readiness. Remember that we put these data in context as previously mentioned.

 

  1. Sociocultural Humility: Your sociocultural humility is evaluated by reviewing your application for evidence of 

a. Treating others with respect.
b. Interacting effectively with people from diverse backgrounds.
c. Awareness of how sociocultural factors impact diverse groups of people in society. 
d. Recognizing and acting on bias. 
e. Adjusting behavior in response to others' needs.
f. Showing appreciation for multiple dimensions of diversity.

 

  1. Service Orientation: Your service orientation is evaluated by reviewing your application for evidence of a desire to help others, your sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and your recognition of and actions associated with your responsibilities to society.

  1. Written Communication: Your written communication is evaluated by reviewing your application for evidence of your ability to convey information effectively. Are your answers clear and concise and free of spelling and grammatical errors?

  1. Reliability and Dependability: Your reliability and dependability are evaluated by reviewing your application for evidence of accepting responsibility for completing tasks, managing time successfully, and adhering to deadlines.

  1. Resilience and Adaptability: Your resilience and adaptability are evaluated by reviewing your application for evidence of tolerating stressful or changing situations, persisting despite obstacles, and recovering from setbacks.

  1. Scholarly Inquiry: Your scholarly inquiry is evaluated by reviewing your application for evidence of applying scientific processes to solve problems and your ability to participate in the discourse of science.

  1. Critical Thinking: Your critical thinking is evaluated by reviewing your application for evidence of using logic and reasoning and your ability to identify strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions

  1. Oral Communication: Through the interview your oral communication is evaluated for evidence of conveying information clearly and concisely. This competency is further evaluated during the interview by identifying evidence of recognition of barriers and adjustments made to your approach to communicating.

  1. Ethical Responsibility: This competency is evaluated by reviewing your application, including interview scores and comments, for evidence  of reflecting upon one's own actions and implications in situations. The competency is further evaluated by reviewing your application for evidence of assuming responsibility for actions you have taken. 

  1. Teamwork: This competency is evaluated by reviewing your application for evidence of working in collaboration with others and demonstrating respectful behavior.

  1. Self Awareness/Capacity for Improvement: This set of competencies is evaluated by reviewing your application for evidence of your engagement in reflection to make improvements within yourself and how you interact with others. 

  1. Understanding of Medicine: Your understanding of medicine is evaluated by reviewing your application for sustained medically related experiences with meaningful reflective comments. 

 

Note: In addition to these 13 competencies, the Duluth MD Program also looks for evidence of an applicant’s commitment and connection to a future medical practice that serves either rural MN through family medicine or American Indian/Alaska Native communities.

CONTACT ADMISSIONS

Twin Cities Admissions
Phone: 612-625-7977 
Fax: 612-625-8228
Email: meded@umn.edu

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

Duluth Admissions
Phone: 218-726-8511 
Fax: 218-726-7057
Email: dmeded@d.umn.edu

1035 University Drive, 180 Med
Duluth, MN 55812