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School of Medicine Columbia

Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility Questions

Although we do not have any prerequisites, a strong preparation in the natural sciences is highly recommended including general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. Further advanced studies in the biological, physical and/or chemical sciences is encouraged. Courses are always valid for admission consideration and do not have an expiration. 

We give preference to applicants who will, upon enrollment, hold a bachelor’s degree. We occasionally admit students on the basis of 90 semester hours of outstanding undergraduate achievement.

The Admissions Committee expects that applicants will have some health care experience at the time of application (i.e., volunteering at a free medical clinic or hospital, physician shadowing, medical scribing, EMT or CNA experience, etc.). We do not have a required number of hours. However, it should be significant enough that the applicant has a reasonable idea of what it means to pursue medicine. 

We do not have a minimum GPA or MCAT score for interview consideration. However, the current GPA average for matriculating students is 3.6 and our MCAT average is 506. The application process is very competitive. Please consider the strength of your application in your decision to apply.

All applicants to the School of Medicine Columbia are required to take the MCAT. You should take the MCAT no earlier than four years before you apply and no later than the last test day in September for the year in which you are applying. 

While our preference is for actual in-person shadowing, we will accept virtual shadowing experience.

Our office does NOT coordinate clinical or shadowing experience.  Please talk to your Pre-Med or Pre-Health adviser regarding these opportunities.  

University of South Carolina students and alumni can contact the Office of Pre-Professional Advising.

The University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia is a state assisted medical school, therefore we give primary consideration to South Carolina residents. We do not interview or accept many out-of-state students and require strong ties (You must be primarily living, working or attending school in South Carolina or have parents who are current legal residents of the state) for interview consideration. Please consider this in your decision to continue with submission of the secondary application.

Early Decision is open to South Carolina residents only. The program is geared toward applicants who are sure that the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia is their first choice of medical school and have a competitive application. This is a binding program and applicants who apply Early Decision are not allowed to apply to other medical schools UNTIL a final decision regarding Early Decision is made. If you are not accepted as an Early Decision applicant, you would not be able to apply to other medical schools until October.

While there are no requirements for Early Decision, an applicant should at least meet the current averages of our accepted students (3.6 GPA and 507 MCAT) for Early Decision interview consideration.

Online courses from an accredited college or university are acceptable. However, the Admissions Committee prefers courses taken in the traditional classroom setting. Applicants who have successfully completed  courses in the classroom will be deemed more competitive in the selection process. For the 2021-2022 cycle, students who do not receive standard letter grades or do not elect to receive standard letter grades during the Spring/Summer/Fall 2020 and Spring/Summer/Fall 2021 semesters due to school closures and conversion to online learning, we will accept pass/fail courses and online labs.

We can only consider students currently enrolled and in good academic standing in an LCME accredited medical school in the United States. We do not allow transfers into the fourth year.

We only accept applications from those individuals who are current citizens of the United States or who are permitted by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to reside permanently in the United States. We can accept applications only from those individuals who have completed their undergraduate premedical educations at a college or university in the United States or Canada.

Currently, international students are not eligible to obtain medical licensure in the state of South Carolina. If the licensure process for the state of South Carolina changes, then the School of Medicine Columbia will revisit the residency requirement.

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Application Questions

All applicants receive a secondary application following the initial screening process. The application process is very competitive. Please consider the strength of your application in your decision to apply.

You do not have to wait until you have received all MCAT scores to submit your secondary application. If you feel confident about your MCAT preparation, you may submit your secondary application with your MCAT score pending. Your application will be placed on hold until we receive all pending MCAT scores. If you indicate in your AMCAS application that you plan to retake the MCAT then later cancel the test, please let us know so we can continue processing your application without the additional MCAT score.

The Admissions Committee will consider your highest composite score but they will also look at scores from all attempts and consider the trend of your scores.

We will waive our secondary application fee automatically for any applicant that is approved for the AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program. You do not need to contact us for a fee waiver. We will verify your eligibility when you complete the secondary application. 

Email is our primary method of communicating with applicants throughout the admissions process. If you have an email address change or preferred day phone number change during the admissions cycle, please login to your AMCAS account to update your contact information there. These updates will automatically be sent to our school from AMCAS on the same business day.

If you have not heard anything from us, then your application is still being reviewed. We will contact you by email as your application status is updated.

South Carolina Residency Questions

The applicant must be primarily living, working or attending school in South Carolina or have parents who are current legal residents of the state.  

In general, second and/or vacation homes and extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and significant others – unless legally married) living in South Carolina are NOT considered significant ties.

The School of Medicine Columbia does not make any decisions regarding legal residency. Decisions for all students are made by the Residency Office at the University of South Carolina.

Residency affects both your tuition and eligibility for scholarships. The University of South Carolina is required by state law to determine the resident classification of all applicants interested in claiming South Carolina as their state of legal residence. South Carolina Residency makes initial determinations for all students at the time of their admission. The School of Medicine Columbia does NOT make any decisions regarding legal residency. Decisions for all students are made by the Residency Office at the University of South Carolina.

Upon admission, all students claiming South Carolina as their state of residence must complete SC Residency Certification in Self Service Carolina. Any new student claiming South Carolina as their residence who does not apply for residency will be billed at non-resident tuition rates.

You will receive an email once a preliminary determination has been made. The preliminary decision will also be available on Self Service Carolina. Your official status will only be updated to resident upon receipt and processing of any additional documents.

The SC Residency Office reviews its records to determine if a student’s residency status may have changed. The office may request additional information to determine if you still meet residency eligibility requirements.

Note: We were informed of the following changes in February 2021:

  • SC Code 62-602.H.2 – An independent person ‘cannot claim the domicile of another individual as their own for the purposes of establishing intent to become a South Carolina resident’
  • Students can no longer sign a lease for a house that is the principal residence and place of habitation of another person and then claim it for residency
  • Students can only rent homes and apartments that are strictly rentals, not rent a room in someone else’s home or pay rent to family members

Miscellaneous

All applicants are required to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).  Preparing for the MCAT takes time and dedication.

Apply to Medical School with AMCAS.

Until further notice, we are unable to offer tours or campus visits to protect the health and safety of all members of our learning community.  (We hope to resume our “Day in the Life” Program in the fall semester.)

We do not provide advising services. Please reach out to your current institution’s pre-med or pre-health advising office for its feedback on your application.

University of South Carolina students and alumni can contact the Office of Pre-Professional Advising. They have a pre-med advisor who can help you as you plan your coursework and application to medical school.

 


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