Tips to Stand Out on Medical School Applications

Every year, medical schools receive thousands of well-qualified applicants. Most applicants check all the boxes– they have many hours of clinical experience, great research, and fantastic grades. So, how do you make your application stand out? Here are some tips that helped me and what I consider when reviewing students for admissions!

Find your unique, personal mission.

One component of a strong medical school applicant is having a cohesive story. You want your activities and experiences to integrate into one unique mission (even if you didn’t do it for this purpose!). For example, if you’re interested in becoming a pediatrician, show that you’ve volunteered with children or have done pediatric research. If you haven’t, try to find some relationship between your past experiences and your future goals.

When choosing which medical schools to apply to, focus on those with missions that align with yours. It looks great to medical school committees when you can carry out the medical school’s missions while fulfilling yours.

Examples of what to look for– if you’re interested in serving underserved populations, look into schools with outreach programs such as student-run clinics in underserved areas. If you’re passionate about research, look into schools that have lots of research funding and opportunities to work with research mentors.

Show commitment and personal development in your activities.

Medical school committees like to see involvements in activities over an extended amount of time. Try to be involved in a few activities for years versus doing many activities once! Pick an activity you’re passionate about, fully commit to it, go beyond your roles, and work your way to a leadership position. This is how you can impress medical schools.

When talking about your activities in your medical school application, make sure to explain how your experiences contributed to your personal development and how it added to your desire to pursue medicine.

Have thoughtful self-reflections about your journey.

Medical schools like to see that you’ve done some introspection and are passionate about your goals. Thoughtful reflections shows maturity and emotional intelligence. Take some time to think about what drives you. Be able to explain your passions and reasons behind wanting to become a physician.

At interviews, be able to speak insightfully about your experiences and what interested you to pursue those specific activities. I once interviewed an applicant who said the reason he wanted to pursue medicine because his parents are doctors and they inspired him. This is fine, but I would have liked to hear more personally reflective reasons. If you are unable to craft a personally meaningful motivation, consider finding additional experiences to help spark your passion!

Have hobbies!

From running local 5ks to creating our own clothing line, hobbies create a well-rounded application. If you don’t have one, find one! 🙂

As always, contact me if you any questions about applying!!

Good luck!! <3

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