Four Mistakes to Avoid on Your Medical School Application
Starting Too Late
If you can get your act together and submit your medical school application in the summer, you will increase your chances. With the increased competition in this process, you want to be part of the early wave of applicants, when the school’s admissions board is full of energy (hopefully after taking some vacation time), and excited about the new application cycle. You don’t want to be the 2,154th applicant.
Writing a Mediocre Personal Statement
“Curing cancer,” “saving the world,” “eliminating an orphan disease,” and “improving primary care for under-served populations” are all great ideas, but it takes more than that to create a strong personal statement. You want to talk about yourself, your personality, your motivation for pursuing a career. You want to show your intellectual ability and your commitment to this career. You don’t want to be too arrogant, but you do want to be impressive. Reflecting on your life and coming up with insights is not trivial, and what worked for your college essay is not going to be enough this time, so take your time.
Applying Before You are Ready for Medical School
Applying late is not the worst thing; that would be applying when you’re not ready for medical school. If you didn’t have enough time to study and your MCAT is not what it should be; if you didn’t participate in enough health-related activities; if you’re not sure whether you want to become a doctor, don’t rush yourself into the medical school application process–the admissions board will notice. If you know you aren’t ready, the school surely will, too. Think about what’s lacking in your profile and figure out a way to improve it in the coming months.
Not Applying to Enough Medical Schools
You want to apply to medical school and get in the first time. While you don’t want to apply to 40 schools, you want to have options. Even if you only want to be on the East Coast, or just want an MD/PhD program, give yourself some choices. When making your list of schools, be sure it is balanced and includes a Plan B and even C. Just make sure you apply to schools that you would like to attend – don’t apply just for the sake of getting in.