Why are these two students smiling? They were among the select few to be chosen for admission to medical school.

© iStockphoto.com/GordonsLife

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), medical schools admitted about 46 percent of applicants between 2005 and 2007. This means fewer than half of those applying for a medical school were accepted. With statistics like that, you have to make your application stand out in the crowd.

Your preparation for the medical school admissions process begins with your college undergraduate work. You'll need an academic record that gives you a competitive edge, especially in the courses required for medical school. Pre-med programs in colleges can help you focus on that goal, even if you're not majoring in biological sciences.

When the admissions process begins, it might be as much as a year from the time you select the schools to the receipt of your acceptance letters. You'll start by selecting and applying to several schools, meeting all the requirements of each initial application. For schools where you make the first cut, you'll complete and submit secondary applications, and for schools where you make the second cut, you'll go in for interviews.

This article describes this process, including what courses you need to take as a college undergraduate, what you'll need for your applications, how application services can help and what to expect for secondary applications and interviews.