When developing your narrative for your medical school application, you want to strategically use your three most meaningful activities to your advantage. This is your opportunity to show medical schools the transformative nature of the experience, and/or the impact and accomplishments you had in that experience. This can be hard to do with 1,325 characteristics. Here are some tips you should follow to make the most of your most meaningful experiences!
Do not use patient stories
Space in this section is precious. Usually, when you describing a patient’s story, you are spending a significant time telling the reader about the patient. Instead, use this space to talk about YOU! Also, most medical school applicants will share patient stories. This means, if you do that, you will be just like everyone else.
Use the description section wisely
For your 15 activities, you have 700 characters to provide a description of the activity. This is separate from your most meaningful paragraph. Use the description section wisely by covering these questions:
- What is the organization about (if not obvious)?
- What were your roles and responsibilities?
- What impact did you make to this organization?
- What did you take away from this experience?
Don’t repeat your description section
If you followed our advice for creating a strong description, you won’t need to use the space in your most meaningful paragraph to repeat your description. Instead, use this paragraph for what it is intended to be for. Dive deeper into the experience. Show why this experience is more significant than the rest. More on this below.
Express “un-unique” experiences in a unique way
Standing out is all about how you express your experiences. It is all about the narrative that you express.
Say you were an ED scribe. Let’s face it. This is not a unique experience among premeds. BUT, how you write about it can be!
Instead of saying something like: “I learned medical terminology quickly, and took efficient and accurate patient notes. I provided assistance to the physician during patient encounters. I was able to interact directly with patients which confirmed my interest in medicine.”
You should focus on the transformation, the impact, and the accomplishments. See a brief example below.
“After being an ED scribe for only 6 months, I was promoted to the Lead ED scribe because of my commitment to this role. As the lead, I trained numerous new scribes and managed their onboarding process. On top of my typical scribe responsibilities, I took on additional roles in the ED such as helping the nurses with minor care procedures and being a translator for Vietnamese patients. Through my experience in the ED, I learned that optimal patient care requires a multi-disciplinary team. From observing trauma activations to minor falls, I appreciated the crucial roles each member of the team plays in a patient’s care. As a future physician, I will seek to collaborate with various specialties while valuing each team member’s role in order to reach the common goal of providing the best possible patient care.”
While this experience covers a common premed experience, this paragraph lets the admissions committee know that this applicant demonstrates commitment, leadership, and introspection. This is not someone who just went through the motions of being a scribe, but who offered a lot to the job and received a lot back in return. This is someone who they will want to interview!
Focus on the transformation, your personal growth or the impact you had or that the organization had on you.
Here are some important questions you should answer in this prompt:
- What were your major accomplishments in this position?
- What was the impact you had on others?
- How was this experience more important than others?
- How did it broaden or improve your perspective of medicine?
- How did you go above and beyond other students?
- What personal growth did you experience?
- How does this experience make you a unique applicant?
Use a professional tone and have an expert edit your writing
This is especially important if you are not a strong writer. Make sure you get someone (ideally with admissions experience) to review your writing. It makes a huge difference to have something well written and expresses your thoughts eloquently.
The most meaningful paragraphs of your application are your opportunity to demonstrate your uniqueness and qualifications for medical school. Make sure you spend a significant amount of time crafting these sections. Make sure they address at least one of the topics mentioned in the prompt – the transformative nature, impact, and/or personal growth.