Icahn School of Medicine: How to Get In & Admission Statistics

October 10, 2023


Reviewed by:

Akhil Katakam

Third-Year Medical Student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Reviewed: 10/10/23

If you’re interested in attending a medical school with an unwavering pursuit of intellectual change, read on to find out more about how to get into the Icahn School of Medicine. 

As a medical school that ranks 18th in the nation for research, it’s no wonder one of the Icahn School of Medicine’s mottos is “another day, another breakthrough.”

As a world-renowned school that consistently pioneers breakthroughs that improve and save countless lives, there’s no doubt that this school produces excellent physicians and researchers!

If you’d like to join the Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai (ISMMS) in its commitment to discovery, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about getting into ISMMS!

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Icahn School of Medicine Programs

There are various programs for prospective students to choose from:

  • Summer Undergraduate Program: Undergraduate students interested in attending medical school can join Icahn’s 10-week lab fellowship.
  • Post Baccalaureate Research Education Program: After completing their undergrad, students can gain research and lab training experience to prepare them for MD coursework. 
  • MD Program: A traditional four-year MD program.
  • Donald and Vera Blinken FlexMed Program: An early assurance program for sophomore students in any major. Students pursuing this option don’t have to write the MCAT and don’t have the same science prerequisites as traditional MD students.
  • Dual MD/MPH: Allows students to pursue an MD and a Master’s degree in Public Health.
  • Dual MD/MSCR: Allows students to pursue an MD and Master of Science in Clinical Research.
  • Dual MD/PhD: Allows students to pursue an MD and PhD to prepare them for careers as physician-scientists.
  • Various Master’s Programs: Students can pursue Master’s degrees in Biomedical Science, Biostatistics, Clinical Research, Epidemiology, Genetic Counseling, Health Care Delivery Leadership, Health Administration, and Public Health.
  • Various PhD Programs: Students can pursue PhDs in Biomedical Science or Neuroscience, Clinical Research, or a Physician Scholars Program.

Whether you’re an undergraduate student or already have your MD, Icahn Medical School has the perfect program to advance your medical career!

Icahn School of Medicine Admission Statistics

As a high-ranking school, Icahn aims to admit big thinkers who are interested in changing the face of medicine. Due to their rigorous curriculums, they have high expectations of all prospective students. 

Icahn School of Medicine Acceptance Rate

The Icahn School of Medicine acceptance rate is extremely competitive at 1.5%, meaning prospective students must craft stellar applications to stand a chance at acceptance.

Average MCAT

The median MCAT score of accepted candidates is 518. In order to achieve this competitive score, it’s essential to create a comprehensive study plan and stick to it!

Average GPA

Like their MCAT score requirements, Icahn has high GPA requirements. Accepted students have a median undergraduate GPA of 3.89.

Icahn Medical School Requirements

To apply for ISMSS’s MD program, there are various requirements you must have.

Course Prerequisites

Icahn requires students to complete the following key subjects during their undergrad:

  • General Chemistry: One academic year 
  • Organic Chemistry: One academic year or one semester of organic chemistry and one semester of biochemistry
  • Biology: One academic year
  • Physics: One semester with labs
  • Biology/Chemistry: One academic year of lab work in either
  • Math: One semester of statistics (preferably biostatistics) 
  • English: One academic year of writing intensive courses

Icahn also suggests students develop proficiency in a second language and acquire basic competencies in social sciences such as political science, global health, psychology, and sociology. 


ISMMS requires students to take the MCAT within three years of their desired matriculation date. 

Letters of Recommendation

Icahn School of Medicine prefers students to submit a committee letter or package of letters. However, if these options are unavailable to students, they must submit at least three separate letters of recommendation.

These letters must be written by people who can speak to your passion for a career in medicine and your academic potential. Possible sources include research mentors, supervisors, professors, or clinical preceptors.

Icahn Medical School Secondary Essays

Students must also complete secondary essays as part of their application. Since many students find the essay writing components of med school applications difficult, we’ve included ISMMS’ exact essay questions, along with tips to help you answer them!

1. “If you are currently not a full time student, please briefly describe the activities you are participating in this academic year. (100 word limit)”

How to Answer: You should only answer this question if you aren’t a full-time student at the time of application. ISMMS asks this question because they want to ensure you make good use of your time and are still committed to a career in medicine even if you aren’t in school.

Ensure you explain any important work or volunteer experience you’re focusing on during your time away from school, relating it back to how these experiences will make you a better med student and physician.

2. “If you are committed to a particular community or if there is an important aspect of your identity not addressed elsewhere in the application, we invite you to do so here. Briefly also explain how such factors have influenced your motivation for a career in medicine. Completing this section is optional. (100 word limit)”

How to Answer: Attending school during COVID was an adjustment for everyone. If you feel you dealt with COVID-related adversity that prevented you from performing as well as you expected, use this essay to write about it! 

You may also choose to write about adversity that affected you outside of COVID. Ensure you briefly describe the adversity, explain how it affected you, and how you grew from it and overcame any hurdles. 

Remain positive, and don’t try to make the committee feel bad for you! Try to stay factual and only discuss adversity that truly affected your progress.

Perhaps your MCAT was delayed, or an internship you spent months preparing for got canceled. These are both valid forms of adversity to write about, but getting a lower mark than you wanted in an elective course isn’t. 

3. “What is the toughest feedback you ever received? How did you handle it and what did you learn from it? (250 word limit)”

How to Answer: During medical school, you’ll be expected to accept a lot of feedback in order to ensure you’re completely ready to care for patients independently. ISMMS wants to know you’re capable of growth and able to take criticism well.

Don’t try to use this opportunity to highlight strengths by saying you received feedback about your unrelenting work ethic or your inability to let projects go because of your perfectionist attitude. 

Be vulnerable. Tell the committee a true story about when you received harsh feedback and how you implemented it to grow and improve.

4. “Describe a situation that you have thought to be unfair or unjust, whether towards yourself or towards others. How did you address the situation, if at all? (200 word limit)”

How to Answer: Again, ISMMS is using this essay to see how you problem-solve and overcome obstacles. Think back to a time you genuinely felt you were being treated unfairly, or you witnessed someone else being treated unfairly. 

Explain the circumstances and how you created more equality in the situation. You want to demonstrate you feel an ethical and moral obligation to address and resolve injustices because this is part of what physicians do as advocates for their patients!

Icahn School of Medicine Application Timeline 

As you begin applying to ISMMS it’s important to keep the following dates in mind:

Month Admissions Cycle
May AMCAS Applications open
July through October Secondary application invitations sent via email
July through January Application screening
August Interview invitations sent via email
September through February Interviews
October 1st Final due date for AMCAS applications
November 1st Final due date for Secondaries
January through July Decisions released on a rolling basis

Source: Icahn School of Medicine

Ensure you make a note of these deadlines to reference back to as you prepare your application!

Icahn School of Medicine Tuition

Like any other medical school, attending the Icahn School of Medicine is an investment! Tuition and fees alone cost $66,446 a year

To help ease some of the financial burdens of attending this school, Icahn has an enhanced scholarship program where students can fill out a needs-based application and be given grants based on their financial circumstances. 

ISMMS also has merit-based awards that students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement or a commitment to science or service are given. 

If you feel the ISMMS financial aid won’t be enough to get you through medical school without drowning in debt, you can also apply to external scholarships that often cover a good part of, if not all, of your tuition!

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Interview

ISMMS knows how stressful interviews can be for prospective medical students, so they do their best to make them more conversational. In fact, a second-year MD student even called the interview “very relaxed,” which is not the typical adjective students use when describing med school interviews.

The interviews consist of two in-person 30-minute interviews with members of the admissions committee. They are considered to be semi-structured traditional interviews, where the committee members aim to get a holistic view of the applicants.

To prepare for these interviews, students should go over the school’s core values and review common interview questions. Icahn Medical School interviews mainly focus on the following areas:

  • Academics
  • Clinical exposure
  • Community service
  • Research and other extracurricular activities

To ensure students make the most out of their visit to campus on interview day, ISMMS sets up a full day of events for them:

Time Activity
10:30am - 11:00am Meet with Leadership
11:00am - 11:20am Welcome and Introductions from Admissions
11:30am - 3:00pm Interviews (schedule sent via email)
3:00pm - 3:20pm Interview day wrap-up
4:00pm - 5:00pm Unfiltered conversations with current students

Source: Icahn School of Medicine

As you can see, interview day is an amazing way to begin networking and meeting the staff, faculty, and potential students you’ll be spending the next four years with!

Tips to Get Into Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Given Icahn School of Medicine’s ranking, low acceptance rates, and high score requirements, you might feel disheartened about your chances of joining one of their medical programs!

To reignite your optimism, here are some tips to help you get into this medical school! 

Focus on Demonstrating ISMSS Core Values

ISMMS is very specific about the types of values they like to see in their applicants. On the school website, Icahn lists the following traits as core values they look for in candidates:

  • Self-Improving & Wellness (Adaptive, Humble, Resourceful, Resilient, Self-aware)
  • Advocate (Culturally Humble, Empathetic, Socially Conscious, Systems-aware)
  • Life-Long Learner (Committed, Curious, Disciplined, Passionate, Self-starter)
  • Leader (Change-Agent, Innovative, Practical, Visionary)
  • Team Player (Appreciative, Collaborative, Dependable)

You’ll want to display all of these traits throughout your application: in your secondary essays, your extracurriculars, and your interview.

Get Excellent Letters of Recommendation

Unless your letters of recommendation prove you’re an exceptional student or person that is meant to become a physician, consider them useless. Your letters should in no way paint you as average. 

Ensure you ask people who know you well enough to write stellar recommendations for you. These recommendations must be personal and shouldn’t obviously follow a template. The admissions committees can tell, and it’ll decrease the sincerity of your letters.

Trust the Experts

There’s no better way to increase your chances of getting into Icahn than to enlist the help of admissions experts who know the ins and outs of the application process.

Inspira’s experts can increase your chances of getting into your dream school by seven times!

FAQs: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

If you have any remaining questions about the Icahn School of Medicine, read on to find the answers!

1. Is the Icahn School of Medicine Prestigious?

Considering this school ranks as one of the top 20 research medical schools in the nation, it is prestigious. 

2. How Hard Is it to Get Into the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai?

With a low acceptance rate of only 1.5%, it’s difficult to get into Icahn. Students need to have stellar applications to be considered competitive! 

3. What Is the Icahn School of Medicine Known For?

Icahn is most known for its groundbreaking research and comprehensive spectrum of research labs, institutes, and centers across various disciplines.

4. What GPA Do I Need to Get Into Icahn School of Medicine?

You should aim to maintain a GPA of 3.89 or higher to be considered competitive.

5. What MCAT Score Do I Need to Get Into Icahn School of Medicine?

Your target MCAT score should be 518 or higher.

6. Is There an Interview at Icahn Medical School?

Yes, it consists of two 30-minute interviews.

Final Thoughts

The Icahn School of Medicine has built an impressive reputation for its innovative approaches and life-changing research. By attending this school, you’re guaranteed to gain a diverse and advanced education that will catapult you into a prosperous medical career.

Good luck!

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