Ask the Experts: Create a Successful App (2023)

ask the experts

Sunny Gibson

Medical schools vary in the qualities and experiences they seek in students. Many of these aspects are driven by the institution's mission, which you can usually find on its website or brochure. What you notice is different at each school.

Keep in mind that applicants usually have some exposure to the following in their applications: community service, research and/or publishing experience, leadership experience, medical exposure (shadow or work-related), and extracurricular activities. Most applicants also have a strong academic profile, which also differs by school in terms of requirements, with significant courses in science (regardless of course).

So if you want to stand out, think about what's in your app that probably isn't in other people's apps. If your entire app focuses on the experiences above and doesn't include anything unique to you, it's less likely to stand out.

For example, I worked with an unconventional student who played professional women's basketball in Denmark for four years. Less global, but equally interesting and unique, was a student who volunteered for two years on a political action committee to elect a senator. Of course, these experiences came with insights and reflections that gave them depth and helped them differentiate themselves further.

Brenda Lee

In addition to academic credentials, which bode well for success at a particular institution, admissions committees are enthusiastic about applicants who bring a unique perspective to the school. The unique perspective can relate to performance against great odds, exceptional achievement or service, exceptional talent (sporting, artistic, investigative, etc.), and a well-articulated vision and story for transforming the lives of marginalized and/or underserved populations.

Sunny Gibson

The first rule of thumb when reapplying is to make sure you've done something different than the last time. It would be silly to do the same thing and expect a different result, right? Here are some reapplication tips that may help.

Ask schools for feedback. Many deans or admissions counselors will provide feedback on your application upon request. This can be done in person, by email or over the phone. View your rejection letters and use the provided contact information as a starting point. Even if few respond, it's worth getting feedback directly from schools.

Compare your transcripts with those of the schools you applied to. Objectively look at the typical profile of applicants accepted to the school to see if you meet sufficient criteria. For example, if they say that 89% of students have done research and 75% are heavily involved in community activities, your application should show that you have these things in place to give you better opportunities. Schools have many variations of characteristics and experiences they are looking for.

A good resource to get an idea of ​​what schools are looking for is theMedical School Admission Requirements (MSAR®).

Critically check where you applied. If you've only applied to high-profile, well-known schools and haven't done your homework on which schools are most interested in students with credentials like yours, you may have overlooked schools where you had a better chance of getting accepted.

For example, some state schools have criteria that allow you to apply as a non-resident if you belong to a minority group they have identified as underrepresented, have ties to that state (such as an immediate family member living there), or are applying for a license specific program like MD/MBA or MD/PhD. Do your school homework to really find the ones where you are most competitive.

Evaluate your interviews mentally. how they went Did you feel relaxed and able to contribute to your strengths? How were you received? If you need more practice, work with a career center or a friend to practice your conversation skills. I knew a student who actually went on multiple job interviews just to improve his skills!

Evaluate your letters of recommendation. I understand that the candidates are waiving the right to see the cards. What you can evaluate are items you know: Did they ship on time? Were they recent (within the last six to eight months?), relevant to medicine, and specifically geared toward medical school admission?

If you sent a general letter about your strengths and credentials, but it wasn't specific to your medical school entrance, you should correct things. Another thing to ask yourself is whether your letter writers agreed to write a strong letter for you. If they hesitated or responded that they "didn't know you well," these were the clues you might have missed to let you know they couldn't write too strong and specific a recommendation.

Consider the weather. Although schools have many admissions processes that follow different schedules, it never hurts to arrive early. Some schools use an ongoing system that slightly penalizes later enrollments. If you applied later in the process, this may have prevented you from taking the exam because the school was out of places.

Correct any deficiencies you find. If, based on your own assessment or feedback from others, you feel you need to take more medication, be proactive and get it! Think of the things you can change and do them. More community involvement in areas of your personal passion is always a plus.

Articulate what you did differently. As a candidate, schools want to know what you changed or did differently. Reflect on what reapplication has taught you and meant to you. If there are any lessons or new experiences, please share those things in your app.

Brenda Lee

Since there are many factors that contribute to bounces, giving a "general" answer to your question is of limited use. For example, there are rejected applicants with competitive qualifications who limit their applications to several dream schools and end the admissions cycle with no admission. Had they applied to a wider range of schools, they would have received an offer of admission. There are candidates who are rejected because of bad interviews. Efficient candidates are rejected because they failed to distinguish their candidacy from other candidates. Rejects also result from credential gaps.

The missed opportunity, knowing your continued interest in going to medical school, is not discussing strategies to improve your competitiveness at the time of rejection.

At this point, work with your professional healthcare advisors and ask for their support in getting feedback from medical schools to improve your application. Additionally, you can contact the schools you interviewed at and ask for feedback on your previous application and chances of success in the next admissions cycle.

Sunny Gibson

Yea! The American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS®) app accommodates 15 experiences (each 1,325 characters long) to allow you to share non-numerical academic, personal, and extracurricular experiences. Categories are predefined, e.g. B. leadership, publications, research, occupational health, occupational health, volunteering, extracurricular, others, etc. You should definitely take the time to actively describe a variety of experiences. Use this space to share all the things you've done to prepare.

Check the AMCAS website in advance. You can download a spreadsheet or just launch an app to see how it goes. You do not pay any fees unless you submit the application with certificates etc. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with this early on. You can keep a journal of your experiences and associated contact information and date ranges throughout your studies so that you will have the information readily available when the time comes to fill out the AMCAS.

Brenda Lee

This is an important part of the app. Schools are particularly interested in activities that have had a transformative impact on a candidate, as well as those that show that, if a candidate is admitted, they will leverage the institution's vast resources and make a profound impact.

In addition to using part of the personal statement to discuss volunteer experiences and service activities, there is an "Experience" section in the AMCAS application for this purpose.

Sunny Gibson

I have to give the "lawyer's answer" here - it depends. As with any specialization, you should be able to clearly articulate why you chose it; Care is no different. Why did the Major attract you and what did you take away from him? I think it's a mistake to think that medical schools don't like to receive nursing students. One problem is that sometimes pre-med classes and nursing classes don't always coincide. Please check your course very carefully with your advisors to ensure you meet pre-medical and nursing requirements. Some considerations regarding evaluating a major would be: the academic rigor of the course (ie, did the student choose the path of least resistance? Or were they challenged by the courses they chose?) and a clear explanation of the choice of major. Many of the junior nursing students and registered nurses I worked with were excellent and successful candidates. They had insights into medicine that other students did not, and these insights were clearly an asset in taking on a different role on the medical staff. Admissions committees often consider this a strength when presented as such.

Brenda Lee

While there may be individuals participating in the licensure selection process who screen candidates who seek licensure from other health professions more closely, this is the exception rather than the rule. Once you've decided to pursue a different healthcare career as your path to medicine, it's important to discuss why that path was chosen (e.g., initial interest but wanted broader responsibility for patient care, backup plan if you're not accepted in medical school, opportunity to earn money to help pay for medical school, etc.) and how this improved their competitiveness for medical school and a career in medicine.

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Sunny Gibson

It depends! There is an elite school where over 70% of students take a year or more off between graduation and medical school. The questions you need to answer are "why" and "what". Why did you take time off? What have you gained or achieved during that time? If you got a job, learned a new skill, traveled or spent time with family, you need to explain what you gained during that time and that you're ready to take on the challenges of medical school when you apply. 🇧🇷

Schools will want to know that you will be able to return to the classroom learning environment without missing a beat, so anything you can do to explain how you stayed academically engaged is of crucial importance. Consider taking at least one course a year at a community or continuing education institution - even arts or languages ​​show that you are interested in learning and show your curiosity as a learner.

So overall, taking time off won't hurt you, but be very careful and conscientious about your plans and how you use that time. I had a student who just burned out, so she wrote about it and what she was doing to support herself after college. She took a total of three years off. She details all the insights she's gained about her own well-being and how to keep it under extreme stress. She related them to modern environments and working with others. When she spoke about the community work she's done these three years, she really stood out. These were clearly vested assets that would help her thrive in medical school and her medical career. Just an example of how to respond effectively to the “what”.

Schools want you to apply and start medical school with 100% of your focus and passion. If you're burned out, unsure about medicine, or just want to explore the world, schools are generally okay with getting that out of your system before you knock on the door. They'd rather you deal with it before school than during, right?! However, the “what” and the “why” are very important aspects to take into account when applying.

Brenda Lee

Graduates who are delaying admission to medical school should be prepared to discuss in their applications the factors that influenced their decision not to apply.

Delay applying for career-enhancing experience (e.g., a Fulbright Scholarship), internships in competitive environments (e.g., National Institutes of Health), unique opportunities related to artistic or athletic ability (training for the Olympics, attending a symphony , traveling to the theater). , etc.) can improve the competitiveness of the application itself. Most schools do not discriminate against applicants who feel the need to rest and get away from intense academic situations before starting medical school.

Candidates looking to take a year off before starting medical school should explore options for deferring admission. The person could then apply during the final year and, if admission is offered, defer and be relieved of work associated with the admissions process during the deferred year.

Sunny Gibson

The best advice I can give you is to face the fears and insecurities that a selection committee can have. Schools need to weigh the risks and opportunities with each student. They have a limited number of places and want to ensure that the students they choose are those most likely to succeed based on predictive factors such as academics and personal characteristics.

I would take the time to explain your situation and then talk about what you gained from this "deviation". You want to highlight your strengths and resilience and your commitment to medicine and medical research. Focus on where you are now and what you gained from where you were.

Recommendation letters are vital for you. Committees need objective assurance from those who know you best that you are "on the right track" this time. Try to have at least one letter from someone who has known you through all these challenges so the committee has another longitudinal perspective alongside yours.

Make sure your app is competitive overall. Remember, you are competing with graduate students with a wealth of managerial, service, and research experience. Cover all your bases so you can be competitive against your peers, then use your experience to stand out and gain an advantage.

Do your homework on MD/PhD programs and what everyone is looking for academically and personally. Be prepared to compete in this applicant pool as it is separate from the MD-only pool at most schools. Be aware of deadlines, it is even more important to apply in advance for MD/PhD programs.

Brenda Lee

Because medical school readmission opportunities are even more competitive than initial admission, I suggest you start the process with an open discussion with the medical school you attended. If the leave is related to health and family issues (as opposed to scholastic failure and a pending discharge recommendation), your best and most logical prospect would be resumption at the same school. As part of this process, you must provide conclusive evidence that you have resolved the issues, or at least are better able to resolve the issues that contributed to your holiday. Crucial parts of this are the academic and professional pursuits you've participated in since graduating from medical school.

If that option doesn't work, I recommend starting a conversation with affiliated institutions where you studied and worked and that have medical schools. Professors who know and/or have observed your performance since medical school can play an invaluable role in advocating for your readmission to institutions with which they have contact. Given your interest in pursuing a doctorate, you may apply for admission to a doctoral program at an institution with a medical school. By doing so, you have the potential to gain positive visibility and champion your admission to medical school.

Getting her back to medical school will be quite the challenge. In everything you do or say, be honest and upfront about your previous admission, the factors that led to your license, and how and why you would be better prepared for success if given another opportunity to attend medical school, speak up.

Sunny Gibson

If you made mistakes early and ended well, the schools will see that. A grade point average of 3.5 is good! My follow-up questions would be:

  1. What is your science GPA (biology, chemistry, physics, and math)?
  2. Did you calculate your grade point average using the AMCAS method?
  3. What is your MCAT® score? And 4) What are your non-cognitive strengths?

Most approval procedures are holistic in nature and look at the big picture. The committees will consider your life experiences and extracurricular activities such as research, ministry, leadership, etc. to determine your candidacy in their schools.

Brenda Lee

When reviewing applicants for admission, most schools consider the trend of your own academic performance along with your overall GPA. For candidates with inconsistent academic performance, it is important to discuss in the personal statement the decisions that led to the inconsistent performance and that allowed the candidate to get back on track. Confirmations from the health care professional committee or the author of the letters of support may be helpful in the assessment.

Sunny Gibson

This is a difficult question. I would say that you should take as much responsibility as possible for the choices you make. If you mention the situation, each reader will deduce what they think the effect was and what the fair decision is for their application. In other words, publish it and take ownership of it, and each reviewer will decide how much leeway they give you.

Don't forget to mention the memories you gained from the experience. Would you have acted differently if you had known then what you know now? What did you learn from the experience about your personal boundaries? Can we be sure you're not making the same mistakes as a medical student?

Brenda Lee

As a starting point, you need to explain why you need to work full time. If your performance on the GPAs and MCAT® exams is in a competitive range for admission, you need to allay concerns that admissions committees may have to repeat that standard if you are admitted to medical school. The personal statement and the Health Professionals Committee or the people who write the letters of support should address the limitations you faced.

Sunny Gibson

The technical effect of a "W" is minimal. It's not an average of your GPA as far as AMCAS is concerned. So if we're just talking about GPA, a W is always better than an "F".

The interpretation of Ws varies by school. Committees generally evaluate the following things:

  1. How many W's is it?
  2. what is the pattern
  3. What might these things say about a candidate's potential performance in medical school?

If there are more than a few Ws, the committees usually check a little further to see what was going on.

If the majority of Ws are in science class, this can be interpreted differently than if they are not in science to some extent. Pattern also plays a role. Think about the meaning people derive from Ws and why. They review your transcript to determine whether or not you can handle the first two years of medical school. Once you start, there is no time or space to simply start over or repeat things. If you have a consistent pattern of trying too many in a class, some committee members would consider it a risk for you to pursue medical school, as opposed to a semester where you dropped out due to a personal or family crisis. The Ws may simply indicate that you were a poor planner, received poor guidance, or didn't understand how to be a good judge of your performance in your early college years. They can indicate a low level of "perseverance" or signify that you are indecisive.

So my advice is to think about the Ws you have. Were they insignificant or did they represent bigger problems for you? Are they numerous or few? What conclusions might a committee draw from this? How can you alleviate these concerns in your application? If there is an extensive pattern, it is important to explain why.

Brenda Lee

A “W” (retired) does not materially affect your candidacy. A string of W grades across your academic record will set a red flag for examining boards. If W grades are due to a specific reason (family emergency, health issues, etc.), justification must be provided in the personnel file and documented by the professional health committee or supporting writers.

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Sunny Gibson

The most important ingredient in choosing an extracurricular activity is (drums please)dedication🇧🇷 The first guideline is that you choose things that are important to you, that you like and that are meaningful to you personally. If you follow this advice, you'll enjoy your life more, excel in your chosen pursuits, and likely develop stronger relationships with others you work with (which could lead to more opportunities and/or better letters of recommendation in the future).

I once counseled a student who volunteered at a nursing home. She didn't look excited at all. When I asked why she was doing this and what was in it for her, she said, "Well, I need a patient liaison for the medical school, that's why I'm there."
That isNotan answer she might give in a medical school interview, right?! So why not follow your passions and do the things you love?now🇧🇷 It's all more fun and easy. It will add authenticity to your essence which will shine when you apply it.

The second consideration is to make sure you are doing this strategically to cover your bases for how you will be evaluated going forward. The trick is finding the balance between typical pre-medical needs (like research, service, medical exposure, leadership, etc.) and your passion.

For example, I worked with a student who loved to dance. She needed medical attention to complete her application. For example, in her freshman year, she taught dance at a children's orthopedic clinic, adapting many of the moves to the children's physical handicaps.

This is a great example of starting with passion and finding a way to cover "your base" with typical pre-med requirements/experience. Starting with her passion, she was able to serve others in unique ways, showcase her talent and creativity, and demonstrate personal initiative. Plus, she was having fun and anyone who shared the experience with her could see her passion for others and express that in her letter of recommendation.

Freshmen better get involved on your campus. Start serving everything you love and don't worry about how it relates to medicine just yet. As you grow and network on campus, more opportunities will open up and you will be able to complete your "pre-medical tasks" more easily. Getting involved will also help you find supportive peers, something we all need to be successful!

Brenda Lee

First and foremost, you should participate in extracurricular activities that interest you and that you are passionate about. The number of activities is not as important as the quality of your engagement and the difference your participation makes.

You would be well served if you plan to have sustained practical exposure to clinical medicine, at least one summer of solid research experience, and involvement in other school-related and service-oriented activities.

Sunny Gibson

Okay, this isn't as bad as you think. There are a few things you should know about "Cs". They are not as bad as everyone thinks. Schools obviously want you to do your best and get good grades, but a C or two won't stop you from going to medical school. In fact, it could indicate that you put in some effort and really challenged yourself during your college days, which is a good thing! What I say about the GPA is: it won't get you through medical school, but it might push you away. If you don't monitor your performance and let things slip, it could spell trouble. You obviously watch yourself closely and are very aware of the consequences of your grades. I think you have a year of college left, so commit to doing the rest of your classes better and putting this behind you.

Consider the costs and benefits of repeating a course. If you learned a lot in class, but your grade doesn't reflect it, get a C+ and move on. If you really felt you didn't learn what you were supposed to learn, repeating this can be beneficial to you. If you can afford the tuition and time, of course. Notice I said PERSONALLY beneficial, right? This is because AMCAS calculates your GPA differently than your university does. So if you are repeating a note, AMCAS will add BOTH notes instead of replacing your note. So if you got a C and an "A" in a four credit class, four A credits and four C credits go towards your GPA for AMCAS, but your university will likely add and delete only four A credits/replace the C. Resuming classes is not an effective way to increase your GPA. Another option, if you don't want to repeat it but still feel like you missed something, is to talk to the teacher and ask to check the class when you have time. In this way, you can recover some things you lost without any pressure.

damage control. Consider taking another course in the same or a similar field to show that you've challenged yourself and mastered the knowledge and skills in that field, if you feel that's important. If your C+ is an anomaly, which your GPA suggests, take the lessons (whatever they may be) from that experience and save your tuition.

If you have another year of school left, make sure you finish the year well so that "C+" comes up infrequently. It's important to finish your degree well because you're hoping to start another four years of medical school, so the committees want to make sure you're ready for that.

Brenda Lee

If you're well prepared, a C+ grade shouldn't limit your competitiveness for admission or lower a cumulative GPA from 3.56 to 3.25. Instead of repeating, take a high school biochemistry or science course in the fall and focus on getting a special grade.

Sunny Gibson

I split your question into parts:

Should I still apply...?

I can't advise you specifically without seeing your entire application and getting to know you. It is very difficult to identify all your strengths, assets and limitations in this limited format. Let me try to do my best to look into the issue.

If you have a low grade point average and a low score on the MCAT® exam, it will be harder for you to be considered. MCAT and GPA tend to balance each other out, but when both are low, you have to work really hard to stand out and show your strengths. The pool you compete in is rigorous, and most of your competitors have better grades on average. That means it's not impossible.

Registering early will guarantee you every advantage possible in the process. If you have limited resources, are not ready to take the MCAT exam, and have not yet begun the other important aspects of your application, such as: B. the personal testimonial, it may be advisable to wait a year.
A college degree and extensive research experience are advantageous. Most committees are very careful not to discriminate based on age, so don't worry about that. Use your age and experience as strengths in your application.

"I have two jobs."

This is a really difficult subject. The life situations we all face are difficult, but I would advise you, if possible, to take less work and focus more on school. Time is limited and something is needed. You are human and there is a limit to what you can do. You may lose your test performance because you are not 100% focused.
Hopefully your situation is temporary as you can't keep up with this pace in medical school. If you're committed to your goal of becoming a doctor, you're taking some risks.

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For application fees, see the Fee Assistance Program to see if you are eligible for reduced/waived MCAT and AMCAS® fees.

When applying, if you have limited resources, it's important to make sure your application is the best it can be. If you think you're going to be late or sacrifice quality for speed, don't apply this year. It's usually not worth running. The small advantage over early apps is usually not offset by poor quality. Remember, you also need to make sure your letters of recommendation are working. You don't want to ask for them when schools notify you to submit them.

Brenda Lee

While examining boards recognize your excellence in biomedical research, you must still apply with academic credentials that demonstrate your ability to handle the rigors of medical school and the accreditation process.

You should try to schedule an appointment with a medical school admissions officer to assess your competitiveness for admission.

You can be a competitive candidate for post-baccalaureate enrichment programs designed to work with candidates who need to improve their exam skills and academic credentials. The extra year gives you time to work with a Financial Aid person to create a plan to cover the costs of the medical school admission process, which also includes travel and accommodation expenses related to admissions interviews.

As part of this process, you may receive information about each school's fee waiver policy and interviewee support (for example, student housing programs to reduce admissions interview costs).

Sunny Gibson

I'm glad you haven't given up on your goal of becoming a doctor. If it's your dream, keep working on it! It looks like it's time to regroup and find a new strategy.

Have you thought about a graduate or master's degree? Did you take any courses in the four years you left school? Have you asked the schools you applied to for feedback on what you should do to improve your application?

Take a look at the AAMC's database of post-high school premedical programs. If none of these options are viable, one solution is to create your own post-baccalaureate by taking some high-level science courses to show current and strong performance. You can also take up to 12 credit hours of graduate courses as an unregistered student (meaning you were not accepted into their program; you only attend classes and pay tuition as an enrolled student). Most likely, you need to improve your science and GPA in order for more schools to consider you.

About the MCAT® exam: Schools see all the results you post, even outdated ones. Don't keep repeating the exam without doing anything else in your preparation! Your score has an average “lifespan” of about three years. Many schools would be happy at age 24 if you have a solid recent science background and the rest of your application (extracurricular activities, service, medical experience, etc.) is excellent.

Most schools are very holistic in their assessment and I suspect that their absence from the classroom combined with lower numbers and what they might indicate of performance over time are major concerns.

Even if their numbers were higher, it would be hard for anyone to stay out of the learning environment for three years and then start medical school. Think about it, if I'm a professional golfer and I haven't played at a club in three years, what are my chances of winning my first tournament back? Would you bet on me against others who have practiced and played all year round?

Brenda Lee

You can be a competitive candidate for post-baccalaureate programs designed to work with candidates who need to improve their exam skills and academic credentials. I would recommend post-baccalaureate programs affiliated with medical schools that are actively recruiting and admitting students from these programs.

Sunny Gibson

Sounds like you have a good plan. Schools view community college work differently and there's no real consensus on how to evaluate it because it's so different. To be on the safe side, I would do exactly what you planned. If you do most of your pre-med coursework at a four-year school, you'll be fine.

However, some institutions have close ties to "feeder" community colleges and will not view this course any differently. It all depends on your resources. Always give the best of what you have and admissions boards will usually give you credit for it.

Another note about community colleges: If you have a specific school in mind—say, you really want to get accepted to your state's medical school—talk to the admissions office and see how they view community colleges' work. It never hurts to ask and get the facts instead of relying on the "pre-medical rumour" I doYou knowalive and well!

Brenda Lee

Your plan to take chemistry and math courses at a community college will not adversely affect your competitiveness for admission, as long as you earn higher-level grades at both institutions.

Sunny Gibson

If you have good reason to repeat the courses there, I don't see a problem with that. You can explain this somewhere in your application, depending on the types of schools you are applying to.

It also depends on how well you did in these grades the first time in a four-year school. If you are changing careers, it makes sense to take courses at the adult education center, and committees can do this. Your MCAT® exam score is an important indicator for selection committees as to your proficiency in science and whether you have studied the material.

Repeating courses for an upgrade is one thing - but you should also know that not all schools have an "expiration date" for pre-medical courses. Some require you to come back and take them if they are over 10 years old, for example, and some don't.

Before you spend time and money, assess your motives and do your homework and find out exactly what the schools you are applying to require.

Brenda Lee

The answer relates better to specific scenarios and may differ depending on the candidate's situation.

If you have a strong academic record but have been out of school for a few years and need to review basic course prerequisites before taking the MCAT exam, repeating at a community college is fine.

When repeat coursework is the result of a need to improve your competitive advantage for admissions, admissions committees pay close attention to course rigor, your performance, and how your wealth of knowledge is reflected in your performance on the MCAT exam.

Sunny Gibson

To answer this question, I broke it down into segments:

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"What are the most important things I should write about in my personal statement?"

A personal statement should answer the question "Why do I want to be a doctor?" answer clearly. It must be personal as it contains unique elements totu🇧🇷 The most important thing to write about is different as everyone's journey in medicine is different. If your personal statement can be from your best friend or a woman down the street, then it's not a good one.

Writing a personal statement is aprocess🇧🇷 You must go through a process of reflection on your experiences and think seriously about why you want to become a doctor. Going through this process will help you later - like in a job interview when someone asks you, "Why do you want to be a doctor?" You must have seriously thought about it!

It should be passionate and interesting to read. Don't underestimate the benefit a good statement can give you. Students often ask, "Is this really important?" My answer is that a great personal statement will never hurt your application, but submitting a marginal statement can. Are you ready to take this chance?

It should have good descriptive words and clear explanations of not only the "what" but also the "why" and "how" of your experiences. Don't just tell me you volunteered in the cafeteria, because I can probably read that elsewhere on your AMCAS application. Tell me why you did what you learned, how that experience affected you, and how it will affect how you choose to practice medicine in the future.

For example, don't just write, "I learned patience and compassion working as a volunteer in a hospice." So, I would like to know how you learned, how was this learning process and what were your experiences. Be accurate! Example: “Taking an hour to help Mrs. Rodriguez getting dressed taught me patience. I had to learn to be present and stop worrying about how long it takes. She could feel it when I looked at the clock and got restless. For her, being able to button her shirt has been essential to her well-being and power as she ages. It was a small thing, but it meant a lot to her. As I developed my patience, so did my compassion.

“I didn't have a single experience that sparked my interest in medicine, but a cluster of events. Would admissions committees prefer to hear about an experience or turning point?

It depends on you. I've seen students take many elements of their motivation for medicine and pour them into a larger issue and make it work. Some students have a pivotal moment that made their purpose and desire clear. Like I said, it's an individual journey.

Use a theme that connects your ideas and your experiences will be communicated more coherently. Is there something central to their experiences that connects them? For example, I asked a student to write about her experience navigating a canoe using only the stars. Great analogy for your path to medicine. She stuffed that into her essay, incorporating her various influences and experiences.

“In general, what do admissions committees look for in applications? What would you rather not see?”

In personal statements, committees seek insight, reflection, analysis, depth of experience and uniqueness. You understand that there are very common reasons why people choose medicine, but would they really want it?tufocus on whatyourTravel era and what medicine meanstu🇧🇷 Like I said, make it passionate and interesting to read and you're halfway there. Committees read so many apps that if they find one that is passionate and refreshing, they get some bonus love!

TheyNotwant to read a longer version of your resume detailing what you 'did'. They don't want a summary of their experiences because they already have them in their 15 AMCAS app experiences. They usually don't like hearing you talk about how awesome you are either. Share your experiences and let us talk about those experiences, what kind of person you are, what qualities you have and what passion you have for medicine.

"Are there elements that all personal statements must contain?"

All affirmations must answer the question: "Why me, why medicine?" I know it sounds easy, but it's harder than it looks. Most students write everything about what they dotattoo, and then they end with a loop: "I did all these things because I want to be a doctor, and now I want to be a doctor because I did all these things." The reader is frustrated because you never told uswhy.

All declarations must be grammatically correct.

All statements should be interesting to read, which means you should get objective feedback on your writing. Ask someone to tell you directly and let them know if your writing is boring, overly self-centered, disorganized, etc. A good method is to tell your reader that if they get bored and tune out while reading, simply draw a line on the page at that point and give the essay back to you. You can also put question marks after anything that is confusing or doesn't "flow" well.

All statements must respond to the provided prompts. For secondary applications, many schools ask something specific like "Who's your hero?" If you don't answer the question, there will be a problem. Even if you write beautifully and write something really moving and elegant, some committee members will focus on the fact that you didn't answer the question.

Brenda Lee

A well-written statement with a compelling message can make your application stand out and lead to an invitation for an interview. Since your interest in medicine is based on an accumulation of events rather than a single experience, your statement should provide an overview of events.

When candidates discuss the following issues, they usually craft an appropriate personal statement:

  • Who are you
  • What your career plans entail
  • Where do you expect to have an effect
  • When did your interest in medicine begin?
  • How did you demonstrate your interest and commitment to a medical career?
  • What makes you a unique candidate?

Sunny Gibson

Find someone with experience grading essays who will help you craft a good essay. Also, be very wary of online services or people who charge money for help. There are many shady operations out there that will take your money and offer "guarantees". There are many people like me who will help you for free because we believe in what we do and the strengths you bring to medicine!

See if you can get in touch with some first-year medical students - throughState Student Medical Association,Latino Association of Medical Students,Asia-Pacific American Medical Students Association,Association of Native American Medical Students- and ask them to share their essays with you. This at least gives you an idea of ​​what the successful candidates wrote last year.

Standing out is an important element of the essay. That oneAMCAS® applicationputs you in boxes in terms of grades and experience so students start to look pretty consistent. An essay can really grab attention; It's the only place where you can shine your way! A college student once asked me if he should write about caring for his sick father or working on an Amish farm every summer. Which one is more exclusive to medical students? I don't advise writing about weird things that have nothing to do with medicine, but working in the fields, this student found common values ​​(hard work, dedication, unconditional acceptance of others, etc.) medicine Your essay made the connection. He found that he could use his father's experience in high school and in job interviews.

If you have extensive medical experience, you should be careful to express it in a way that doesn't sound pretentious. That is, show the insight and analysis of your experience in a humble way. Just stating knowledge of things in an "I"-centered way can seem arrogant and insulting to a committee - "I've been in medicine for ten years and I know more than you do". Share your insights and analysis of your experiences, don't just say you have it.

Brenda Lee

Your personal statement should be a well-written statement of your interest, demonstrated commitment, and vision for a career in medicine. As an applicant, you must provide an overview of how your competitive position for admission (eg, additional courses, clinical medicine practice, biomedical research and publications, service to third parties, etc.) has changed since your previous application. Before submitting, have your statement read and edited by someone familiar with the medical school admissions process.

Sunny Gibson

If you're a truly engaged member of your community and you care about diversity, then your app usually speaks for itself. The experiences you list are likely to involve activities, ventures or organizations related to diversity and social justice issues. If not, you might want to look for experiences that will give you new insights into these areas.

You can also choose an essay topic about one of your diversity-related experiences. Some students write about their families' experiences of illness and the limited options they had in health care. I read essays on cultural beliefs about health and well-being, health inequalities, etc. They are all firmly rooted in the candidate's identity and experiences. This is absolutely crucial.

Don't write outside yourself or try to use buzzwords like "diversity" or "disadvantaged" to impress committees. They are usually very adept at deducing the "fertilizer factor" when it comes to things like this. Think about your own experiences and where you are from. Use your experiences to show how you will contribute.

Also remember that the definition of diversity (both operational and stated) varies by institution.

Brenda Lee

The interest in accommodating a diverse medical student body goes far beyond simply reviewing a self-description and providing a list of activities that demonstrate how one can contribute to diversity.

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The institutional commitment to diversity is part of a vision to educate future physicians who envision improving the lives of underserved patients through patient care, teaching, research and/or service. Schools strive to enroll students who have a history of involvement in activities that enable them to understand the worldview of marginalized populations and underserved communities. Schools want to accommodate students who are willing to provide diverse perspectives on conversations in the classroom and clinical setting.

The ultimate goal is to increase the number of physicians committed to educating their peers and playing a role in reducing health inequalities for the most underserved patients in this country and the world.


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