Although medical schools differ somewhat in who they're looking for in the next class for medical school, the courses, tests, and activities you need are generally the same for getting admitted to medical school. Due to the economy and the offshoring in other fields such as computer science and accounting, medical schools have never been more competitive. High grades, high test scores, and in-depth volunteer work are needed. By planning to do the following steps, you can make yourself eligible to be seriously considered for admission to medical school.
Take the following courses during your undergraduate career:
1 year calculus 1 year general chemistry with lab 1 year organic chemistry with lab 1 year physics with lab 1 year biology with lab
It is highly recommended to take upper division courses in biology.
Your GPA in BCPM (Biology-Chemistry-Physics-Math) should be above 3.50 as well as your overall undergraduate GPA. If your BCPM GPA is low, your chances of getting into medical school will be low even if you have a high overall undergraduate GPA. Graduate courses are excluded from this GPA calculation. You should shoot for a GPA much higher than a 3.50 for the better medical schools or if your MCAT score is lower than average for the schools you're applying to. Even a 3.5 GPA will be below the acceptance threshold of many medical schools. A 3.2 GPA will be a long shot if it's that low.
If you have IB or AP credit for the above courses, it is highly advised to retake those courses. Some medical schools do not accept IB and AP credit in lieu of taking courses in college.
Take the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) by the Spring of your junior year. Most students take a MCAT preparation course beforehand and study intensively for the test. To be safe, you should try to score above a 30 on the MCAT. Unlike the SAT, it is generally frowned upon to take the MCAT more than twice. You really need to prepare well for the MCAT the first time around.
By taking the spring administration of the MCAT, you have time to retake the MCAT and take another preparation course if you do not achieve the desired MCAT score.
Calculate your lizzyM score. It is calculated by adding GPA*10 + MCAT score. For example, a lizzyM score of 67 (3.4 GPA + 33 MCAT) is low and applies to historically black colleges or schools that greatly favor in state applications. A good lizzyM score is somewhere between 72-76 with 30 applications to medical schools, which should result in a very good chance of getting admitted into medical school of at least one of the 30 applications.
Volunteer at a hospital. In order to prove your genuine desire to enter medicine, you have to experience what it's like in the field through extensive volunteer work. This should start by the freshman year in college although it's not a bad idea to start during high school as well.
When you volunteer, try to achieve depth in relevant volunteer work rather than simply rack up the hours.
If you did not do well in the above or are missing some of the above and have already graduated, apply to post-baccalaureate (post-bac) programs designed to help college graduates who want another shot at entering medical school. Some of these postbac programs have linkages to medical school which give preferential or guaranteed admissions for the top students in the postbac program. The linkages can help improve your chances of getting into medical school.