Reflecting on my journey to medical school and on my current experiences as a pre-med consultant, I can think of three major and over-arching lessons I’ve learned about the medical school admissions process.
1. Be humble and open to advice
- There is a pay-it-forward culture within medicine — people at all levels want to help those at previous stages. This is crucial since it would be impossible to navigate through medicine without the real-life wisdom of others.
- When I was applying to medical school, meeting with current medical students and residents helped me gain insight into the field and my place in it, and taught me how to better showcase myself as an applicant.
- Now, as a consultant for pre-med students, the most common mistake I encounter when conducting mock-interviews is that applicant feel that they shouldn’t reveal their flaws or gaps in knowledge. The opposite is true. The ability to admit human flaws in a humble, endearing, and reflective way is a characteristic that medical schools look for in their students.
2. Be “well-rounded” and “pointy”
- There are certain elements of your application that just need to be “checked off” so that admissions committees know you’re ready for medical school — great GPA, stellar MCAT score, exposure to research, exposure to clinical medicine, some leadership experience, etc.
- However, at the same time, it’s important to be “pointy” — to have something unique to you that will stand out to the committee. This can be a leadership experience, a unique life story, or even a hobby that you excel at. Whatever it might be, the most important thing is that you’re genuinely passionate about it.
3. Be reflective
- Medicine is a life-long commitment. Before embarking on a career in medicine, you have to be certain enough that it’s right for you and that you’re right for it.
- A large part of that is your ability to reflect on your life experiences, how they’ve shaped you, and how they’ve led you to medicine.
- For each experience you include in your application, ask yourself two questions:
- Why was it meaningful?
- What did I learn?
- The answers to those two questions will make application writing and interviewing a whole lot easier and more successful.
- Yale School of Medicine 2021
- York University 2017
- 2013 Schulich Leader