As you may have heard, admissions committees are always looking for well-rounded candidates. In other words, they’re not looking for any one thing—they want the whole package. Although grades are very important, admission is not solely about grades. Some things that committees will look for are as follows:
Grades and test scores: This is the obvious one. Programs almost always look for candidates with GPAs over a 3.0, and many often see incoming cohorts with minimum GPAs of 3.5, 3.7, or even 3.8. Test scores are important, too, so make sure you’re studying up for that MCAT, DAT, OAT, GRE, or PCAT.
Relevant background and experiences: In addition to having awesome grades and test scores, committees expect candidates to have awesome life experience, too. This experience can include volunteering, participation in student or professional organizations, studying abroad, research experience, and other relevant activities and hobbies.
Balance: Just working hard in your math and science classes won’t cut it. Search committees are looking for candidates with a broad knowledge base. This can include proficiency in oral and written communication, excellence in humanities and social science courses, thoughtful consideration of the ethical issues in your chosen profession, an awareness of current events in the profession, valuing lifelong learning, and integrity and strength of character.
A kind, ethical, interesting colleague: Professional school is a little different than college because a professional school student is both a student and a colleague to their professors and advisors. Keep that in mind when you are applying (and hopefully interviewing)—be yourself and let your personality come through.