FAQs

General Questions

How can I prepare myself to become a competitive applicant?

This really begins during your freshman year of college, and sometimes earlier. It is important to work closely with your undergraduate and pre-med advisors. They can help you understand academic requirements and provide suggestions for structuring your academic program. Taking the proper courses in the proper sequence should prepare you to take the MCAT at the earliest possible time. Optimally, students will prepare to take the MCAT during the spring of their junior year in college.

Does LSU Health Shreveport give preference to students who completed degrees in the LSU system?

No. LSU Health Shreveport does not give preference to applicants based on undergraduate academic institution.

How selective is LSU Health Shreveport

Last year, LSU Health Shreveport received over 2,800 applications. Of that applicant pool, approximately 300 were interviewed. The final matriculating class was 149. Approximately 10% of the accepted applicants were from out-of-state.

What are the minimum academic standards?

We do not maintain a minimum standard, however, in recent years, the average GPA, in Science and overall, has been 3.7 and the average MCAT score has been 505. 

Louisiana Residency

Do Louisiana residents get preferential treatment?

The Admissions Committee reviews and evaluates completed applications from both residents and non-residents of the State of Louisiana. Qualified non-Louisiana residents may be invited to interview. However, as a state-supported institution, LSU Health Shreveport has a responsibility to insure that a substantial majority of each matriculating class is comprised of Louisiana residents.

What is the definition of a Louisiana resident?

The Official Residency Regulations are detailed here. Questions about the regulations or your specific situation should be directed to the Registrar at shvreg@lsuhsc.edu or (318) 675-5205.

Can I claim residency in Louisiana and a second state?

No. The preferred state of legal residence that you specify in your AMCAS application is the one we will use.

Do you accept international/DACA applicants?

LSU Health Shreveport will only consider applicants who are U.S. Citizens, Permanent Resident Aliens or Asylees as designated by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Permanent Resident Aliens or Asylees must possess a final INS documentation (green card) before the application will be considered.

Coursework and GPA

What is the average GPA at your school?

In recent years, incoming freshmen have averaged 3.7 in Science and 3.7 overall.

Which bachelor’s degree or major is required?

LSU Health Shreveport does not require any specific bachelor’s degree major. We suggest that you major in an area that is of interest to you. If it is not a science-related major, we strongly suggest that you use your non-major electives to take as many science-related courses as possible. This will help to show the Admissions Committee that you do have an aptitude for the sciences, and will help to prepare you for the MCAT and future academic success in medical school. Regardless of your major, you must complete all required coursework prior to matriculation.

Can I take my required undergraduate courses at any college or university?

The required hours must be taken in, or through, a college or university located in North America and accredited by a Regional Accrediting Organization. Credits earned at foreign institutions (except study-abroad courses taken while attending a qualified institution) satisfy none of our requirements. It is expected that the required science courses be taken at the senior college level. Applicants whose academic work (especially science coursework) was done predominantly at the junior college level may be at a competitive disadvantage.

Can I take all of my pre-med courses at a junior college near my home?

Most admissions committees feel that there are differences between junior college and senior college courses. LSU Health Shreveport will accept junior college courses but much prefers that the pre-med courses be taken at the senior college level. Perhaps a more important question to ask yourself is how well courses completed at the junior college level are going to prepare you for medical school.

I went to an exclusive school. Does that increase my chances of being accepted?

It is far more important how you did in your studies than where you went to school. Attending a well-known, big-name school does not confer any significant advantage.

I have been out of school for some time and I took some of my pre-med courses, such as chemistry, 10 years ago. Will you accept those credits?

Yes. We will accept them, but this is something that any admissions committee is going to look at very carefully when making a decision. Better questions to ask yourself are: 1) Will those 10-year old courses give me the current foundation in the sciences that I will need to survive medical school? and 2) Am I prepared to take the MCAT with knowledge that is 10 years old?

My freshman GPA was low because I had the roommate from Hell. After that, my GPA steadily improved. Does the Committee look at trends in GPAs?

Yes. Everybody understands that unpleasant roommates, adjustment to college life, girlfriend/boyfriend problems, problems at home, and a myriad of other things can diminish academic performance. Hopefully, it's a temporary problem. Be prepared to discuss any poor academic performance in your personal statement or in an interview.

I am a Louisiana resident and my undergraduate GPA is a 3.2. How high do I have to score on the MCAT to offset my low GPA and become a competitive applicant?

GPAs and MCAT scores do not offset one another. Both have predictive value for success in medical school, particularly in the first two years, which everyone seems to agree are the hardest. Therefore, the Admissions Committee generally prefers students who have both good GPA’s and good MCAT scores.

I did all of my undergraduate work in a foreign country. Will you accept those credits?

If you have completed a Master’s Degree or less at a non-U.S. institution you need to complete, at a minimum, a second Bachelor’s Degree or a Master’s Degree, in-person, at a regionally-accredited U.S. institution. All prerequisites must be completed in the United States. Additionally, foreign graduates would need to demonstrate medical motivation through medical volunteering and shadowing. As with all applicants, the Committee will also look for community service, teamwork/leadership activities and research. Additionally, all applicants must take the MCAT by the application deadline. In order to be eligible to apply you must be a U.S. Citizen, “Final” Resident Alien or have INS approved Asylum in the U.S. 

Credits earned at foreign institutions while the applicant was studying abroad under the auspices of an accredited college or university located in North America are accepted.

What about online courses? And CLEP? AP?

Required Science courses may not be taken online. Other courses, including non-science courses, may be taken online.
 
CLEP and AP are given the same consideration as online courses, i.e., required science courses, no, non-required courses, yes.

Do I have to have completed all the requirements before I apply?

No.

Though not required, most applicants have completed required courses when they apply.

You can apply, interview and be offered provisional acceptance without having completed all requirements. However, all requirements must be completed before registration.

What do you mean by "Humanities?"

Humanities includes the following as well as many other courses: History, Foreign Languages, Economics, Linguistics, Theater Arts, Fine Arts, Philosophy, Anthropology, Geology, Religious Studies.

MCAT

What is the MCAT average at your school?

Last cycle, the average MCAT score for accepted applicants was 505.

Do I have to take the MCAT exam?

Yes. All applicants must take the MCAT exam.

When should I take the MCAT?

The best answer is to take it when you're ready to take it. Taking it just to see what it is like is pretty wasteful. In any case, you must take the MCAT no later than September, 10 months before you hope to start medical school.

Will taking the MCAT for the first time in September hurt my chances of getting accepted?

No. Scores from the September test usually reach us in mid-October, when we are just beginning the interview process. If you are going to take the MCAT in September, the best thing to do is to send in everything else needed to complete your application way before October. That way, when your MCAT scores arrive in October your application will become instantly complete.

My first MCAT will be January and I would like to start medical school the next fall...is this too late?

For sure.

If I've been interviewed already, is there any use re-taking it in January? Or March?

Yes and no. September is the last MCAT we will consider in deciding who will be interviewed. However, if you are on the Waiting List and your MCAT is thin, an improved score could possibly move the needle for you.

I took the MCAT in 2013. Is that OK?

No. You must have an MCAT score from some time in the past 3 years. To begin school in July 2020, the oldest MCAT we will consider is September 2016.

I've taken the MCAT multiple times. Do you see all of the scores?

Yes. The new AMCAS application will show your Testing History and include the date of every MCAT you have taken since 1991. It will also show your scores, if you released them.
 

I retook the MCAT and my scores went down. How is that going to affect my application?

It depends on your scores and the size of the decrease. For small point decrease, highly unlikely; if your score decreases by several points, the opposite. Be prepared to discuss why your score went down, either in your personal statement or in an interview.

AMCAS Application

When is the deadline for applying through AMCAS to LSU Health Shreveport?

November 1 is the deadline for submitting your AMCAS application.

Can I get a deadline extension?

No. Deadline extensions are not granted.

Should I send a printed copy of my AMCAS application directly to the Office of Admissions to speed up the process?

No. We will begin the application process and make decisions on electronically-transmitted, AMCAS-verified files only. The best thing you can do is stay in touch with AMCAS and make sure your file is verified in a timely fashion.

My address and phone number have changed since I submitted my AMCAS application. Should I send that information directly to the LSU Health Shreveport?

Yes and no. Our database is updated by AMCAS so you must send changes to them. However, it is not a bad idea to e-mail us at shvadm@lsuhsc.edu with the information. You should definitely let AMCAS know when your e-mail address changes. This is extremely important because we rely on e-mail, almost exclusively, to communicate with applicants.
 

Just how important is the Personal Statement on the AMCAS application? Do I need to write one, or can I just leave it blank?

The Personal Statement is incredibly important because it is the first place you have a chance to look like a human being to the Admissions Committee. Never leave the space blank! Follow the AMCAS instructions for writing a Personal Statement. Do not write irrelevant short stories that you would submit for a creative writing class. Write about yourself and why you want to study medicine, the experiences on which your decision is based, and why you think you'd be good if entrusted with the privilege of taking care of people.
 

Is the photograph necessary?

The photograph is your introduction to the Office of Admissions and the Admissions Committee. Of course, your goal is to project a professional, polished, and mature image. We suggest a current and appropriate photograph. 
 

Secondary Application

Are all applicants allowed to submit a Secondary Application?

Yes. All AMCAS-verified applicants may submit a Secondary Application.

How/when do I get access to the Secondary Application?

When we are notified by AMCAS that your application is verified, you will be given access to our Secondary Application.

Do I have to submit a Secondary Application?

Yes. Your file will not be complete nor under review by the Admissions Committee until you submit a Secondary Application.

Early Decision Program

What do you mean when you say that all supporting materials must be received by August 1?

On or before August 1, we must have on file the following:

  • Verified AMCAS application;
  • Completed Secondary application;
  • Non-refundable application fee of $50 (unless you received a fee waiver from AMCAS);
  • A letter from your pre-professional advisory committee or letters from 3 professors.

And if my file is incomplete on the August 1 deadline?

Soon after August 1, EDP applicants with incomplete files will be notified that they have become regular applicants, and that their non-admission through EDP does not prejudice their outcome in the regular process.

AMCAS has received my application and is waiting for transcripts, and August 1 is a week away, will this hurt my chances for EDP?

Very likely. It takes days or weeks for AMCAS to verify an application. Best to complete and submit the AMCAS application as soon as possible, have Letters of Recommendation sent, and pay your application fee well ahead of the deadline.

When are EDP applicants interviewed?

These are held in August and September. Just like regular admission, only selected applicants (not all) are invited by e-mail to interview.

All EDP applicants will be sent a letter informing them of the Committee's decision by October 1.

Letters of Recommendation

What address should I have my LORs sent to?

We use the AMCAS Letters Service exclusively.

Please refer to the AAMC webpage concerning letters.

Requirements?

Letters should be signed and dated.

Do I need a Committee letter?

While not required, we strongly prefer a letter from the Pre-professional Advisory Committee or its equivalent. It’s the one we really want and the only one you need. If your school does not have a committee, letters from three individual professors will suffice. Science professors are preferred.

What sorts of information should be included in letters of recommendation?

The best letters are from faculty members (and others) who know you well enough to comment in some depth not only on your academic performance, but also on your personal qualities for a career in medicine. Both things are equally important! They should mention how long they have known you and in what capacity, and how well they know you. They should also put their remarks about you into some kind of comparative context with others for whom they have written letters.

I plan to send letters from my senator, several alumni of the medical school, and physicians whom I have known. Will that help my application?

Letters from elected officials who do not know you personally can prove embarrassing. It might look as if you're trying to substitute influence for excellence, connections for achievement, privilege for accomplishment, and the Admissions Committee generally does not like that. Letters from physicians you have shadowed have a tendency to be uniformly positive and tend to offer committees little help in distinguishing between applicants.

I have been out of school for five years and I cannot get letters from my old professors. Are there any substitutes for these required letters?

Military commanders (for military personnel) and immediate supervisors (for applicants with a long employment history) may be good people to write such letters. Still, we want to hear from science professors, if at all possible.

Residency Programs

Do you have residency programs at your hospital and if so, how do they stack up?

A very important part of our medical center is the Ochsner-LSU hospital which is a major residency training institution with 18 residency training programs and 15 fellowships accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Currently, there are 464 and residents and 91 fellows training in LSUHSC Shreveport residency programs.

Interviews

Does LSU Health Shreveport require a personal interview?

We require a personal interview at the medical school in Shreveport. Tuesdays from 11:30-5:00, are our interview days for regular applicants. These begin in October and usually conclude by early April. Interviews for Early Decision applicants occur in August and September.

Who will interview me and what is the interview format?

At LSU Health Shreveport, applicants are interviewed members of the Admissions Committee. The format is relaxed and is meant to be a forum for information exchange.

Applicants will have two one-on-one interviews, lasting approximately 30 minutes each. These interviews are “blind,” meaning that while your interviewer will have access to your Personal Statement and biographical data, he or she will not have access your grades, MCAT scores or Letters of Recommendation. “Blind” does not mean that your interviewers know nothing about you when you arrive.

Applicants will have an open-book interview with either the Chairman of the Admissions Committee or the Dean of Admissions (or potentially both) who will review all aspects of your application. These last from a few minutes to as long as needed to clarify any issues. The purpose of this interview is to anticipate any questions that might arise during committee review.
 

What kind of things are they trying to assess in the interview?

Basically, they are trying to assess those things that are almost impossible to quantify: interpersonal skill level, maturity, depth and source of motivation, soundness of decision-making, experiences, and the like. In general, they are trying to find out what kind of person you are and how motivated you are to study medicine.

So, how do I prepare for a medical school interview?

Ask ten people, and you may get twelve answers. Consider the following: Since the interviewer is interested in You, the best preparation is to know yourself. Know yourself so well that you can articulate clearly your motivation to become a physician. Be able to detail how your activities support your claim of wanting to be a doctor. Go to mock interviews if you can. Evidence of motivation is the key thing.

Re-What? Re-Interview? Are you serious??? What's that mean?

Perhaps your interviewers had different experiences? Perhaps you were ill or overly nervous? Bottom line, the Admissions Committee felt your chances of admission would improve significantly with more input from additional interviews.

How is a re-interview different from my first interview?

Different days, different interviewers, different times, maybe different duration. No cookies, and definitely no tour.

We want you to interview with people who have never heard of you and were not present when your application was reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Re-interviews are scheduled an hour apart when possible, so time is less likely to be a factor. Again, the best thing you can do, is be yourself.

Counseling

Can I find out why I did not get in?

Not from Dr. Kennedy or Mrs. French. Attempting to detail explicitly “why” leads into treacherous waters, and we will not go there. But, by reviewing the information for Re-Applicants most people can figure out why. A better question is “How can I improve my competitive standing in next year’s application cycle?”

Can I schedule a meeting with Dr. Kennedy so he can go over my application with me?

No. The Office of Student Admissions does not have the time nor the resources to provide individual application review. This is best pursued with your pre-professional advisors.

I'm going to be in Shreveport a week from tomorrow, and I was wondering if I could drop by and go over my application with the Dean of Admissions while I'm there?

No.

I'd like to make an appointment with the Dean of Admissions to talk about my application, so he can get to know me a little better. I mean, I'd just like to find out if I'm even heading in the right direction. Can I do this?

No. This question sends a message you probably would rather not send. If you have availed yourself of advice from this website, your pre-professional advisors, information available from AMCAS, the MSAR (the book, “Medical School Admissions Requirements”) and numerous other sources, and do not know if you are heading in the right direction, then it is doubtful that such an appointment will meet your needs.

The Dean of Admissions suggested that I should get a Masters degree. If I do, does that mean a guaranteed interview?

Counseling sessions are just that. Advice and suggestions are just that, no more. Counseled applicants must realize that all one can hope for is guidance in identifying possible ways by which an applicant might improve his or her competitive standing in a future applicant pool.

One can think of many similar scenarios, but a true example is the person who was advised to get a Masters degree in order to address a low GPA. He got his degree, was invited to interview, but then performed so poorly in the interview that he never made the Acceptable List.

Note: Addressing one shortcoming does not negate any others. All available information is reviewed in making any decision. This is discussed in more detail in the section for Re-Applicants.

The Dean of Admissions told me I needed to raise my MCAT score, and I did. Why haven’t I been invited to interview?

See the answer to the previous question.

School of Medicine Admissions

School of Medicine Admissions

School of Medicine Admissions

School of Medicine Admissions

School of Medicine Admissions

School of Medicine Admissions