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Core Competencies

What are Medical Schools Looking for in a Candidate?

Health professionals literally have people’s lives in their hands, so it is essential that health professionals be as well prepared and fully capable as possible. Therefore, the application and review process is involved, seeking to find those applicants most fitting to the core values of medical practice in general, and of the individual medical school’s mission. Students’ GPAs and admissions test scores are not the only measure of a student’s preparedness; many other criteria, sometimes referred to as “core competencies,” are considered in a holistic review of the candidate. The AAMC has developed a list of the 15 Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students, which spans four categories:

Interpersonal Competencies:

  • Service Orientation
  • Social Skills
  • Cultural Competence
  • Teamwork
  • Oral Communication

Intrapersonal Competencies:

  • Ethical Responsibility to Self and Others
  • Reliability and Dependability
  • Resilience and Adaptability
  • Capacity for Improvement

Thinking and Reasoning Competencies:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Scientific Inquiry
  • Written Communication

Science Competencies:

  • Living Systems
  • Human Behavior

The complete AAMC Core Competencies document can be found here.