Everyone and their Uncle has advice for you about how to fill out your medical school applications. The problem is, many of these people have never gone through the process or sat on an admissions committee. Here are some common medical school application myths:

Medical school application myth #1:

You need to fill in every box for extra curricular activities on the AMCAS. Medical schools want to see some clinical experience and some exploration of your career. But they do not expect you to have run your own clinic, saved the starving orphans of the world, played varsity football, performed at Carnegie Hall, lead the student council all while moonlighting at an E.R. This is crazy. Having too many activities often means you have no depth to any of them. Instead, medical schools want you to choose activities that are meaningful to you, engage in them, show passion and leadership. It does not really matter if you have three or thirty, as long as you have some that have been explored with depth and perseverance.

Medical school application myth #2:

You need to have participated in scientific research. Research is great, and some research focused schools like to see it on your application. However all medical schools realize that not every physician is also going to be a scientist. If you are interested in family medicine it is perfectly acceptable and praiseworthy to spend your time volunteering with a healthy children’s center instead of running gels in a lab. Research is not a required activity for admission. Having an understanding of science, as shown by your grades in science prereqs and the MCAT, is.

Medical school application myth #3:

Speed is of the essence, harass anyone you need to get your application complete. While it is important to send in your applications promptly it is even more important to send them in looking their best. Make sure to re-read essays before hitting submit to check for typos. If you are recycling secondary essays do NOT forget to remove any references to the previous school before copying and pasting. Also, when calling up offices to check on your status or ask question BE POLITE. This may sound silly but you would be shocked how many premeds forget the basic rules of etiquette in their tizzy to get their file completed. Being rude can get you flagged as a difficult student. Just take a breathe, calm down, and smile.