How To Improve Your Med School Application
Getting into medical school can be a challenging prospect. You will be competing with many other talented, ambitious applicants who are all also very invested in their potential future as a doctor. Understanding how to improve your med school application is extremely important for submitting applications that stand out and catch the attention of admissions committees.
Students learning how to improve their med school applications must understand that strong academic performance is only the beginning of a successful application. It has often been said that MCAT scores and grades don’t get students into medical school, but it does keep them out. Having good grades and a good MCAT score are vital to even being considered by most admissions committees, but will not, by themselves, offer success. You will also need to focus on the other aspects of your application to truly stand out.
Ways To Improve Your Medical School Application
There are several important concepts to consider when examining how to make your medical school application stand out. These do not only include academic performance but also include your extracurricular activities and interests. By having well-rounded, well-presented experiences, you will have the essential elements of what makes a strong med school application.
Solid Academic Record
While your academic record will not always be what stands out on a medical school application, it is essential that you do have a solid academic record that demonstrates you are capable of achieving success as a medical student. While you cannot change your past academic performance, you can focus on your continued education.
If your GPA or MCAT isn’t where you think it should be, there are some actions you can take to improve your application’s strength. Some undergraduates may consider pursuing a master’s degree to increase their overall GPA and strengthen their application. You may also want to reduce your emphasis on extracurricular activities to better focus on improving your academic record.
Students concerned with how to improve their med school applications should consider focusing on their medical experiences. Medical schools will evaluate the medical experiences in your past to determine if you understand what it means to be a doctor and the role a physician fills. They will also use your medical experiences to determine how interested you actually are in the medical field.
There is no specific medical experience that you need to have a successful application. Rather, your medical experiences need to be focused on demonstrating that you have an interest in medicine and that you understand what it means to be a doctor.
Reference letters can help your medical school application to stand out if they are high quality and from authoritative sources. You should ask for references from people who are:
- Likely to provide an excellent reference about your character, experience, and ability
- Highly qualified in their respective field
- Able to demonstrate they know you well enough to provide a well-founded, insightful reference
- Experienced in writing reference letters, especially for medical school applicants
Ideally, you should ask a variety of individuals who each have insights into a different area of your strengths. At least one of your references should be a doctor themselves to demonstrate that someone already in the profession thinks you would make a good doctor.
An important concept when considering how to make your medical school application stand out is elements that are not essential, but are nice to have. Research experience is not a “must have” element to your medical school application, but will normally strengthen your overall application. It is important to keep in mind that while research experience can strengthen your application, you should not pursue research experience at the expense of other, more essential components of your application.
Physicians are motivated by a strong desire to help others. Being able to demonstrate altruistic behaviors can help to enhance your medical school application. The specific volunteer experience itself is not very important (although volunteering in a medical capacity helps), but what really matters is a demonstration that you have a selfless consideration for the needs of others.
Doctors are not just members of the healthcare team, they lead almost every aspect of the care the team delivers. Having proven leadership experience is not essential for a medical school application, but can be very helpful. Leadership experience demonstrates that you have this important quality needed to succeed as a physician.
Tips On How To Improve Your Medical School Application
While there are several different components to improving your medical school application, there are also multiple overarching concepts that you should keep in mind when creating your medical school application. Following these simple tips can enable you to hone your application, making it as strong as possible.
Show an Interest in Medicine
Some medical school applicants make the mistake of treating their medical school applications like a checklist where every category needs an answer. Be sure to avoid just submitting what you need to by ensuring that you are demonstrating a real interest in medicine. Medical school admissions committees want to admit applicants who are passionate, not just about being a doctor, but about doing what doctors do.
An important part of any component of your application is consistency. Medical school admissions committees use consistency to gauge how serious you are in your volunteer work, medical experiences, and other facets of your application. Someone who does volunteer work once will be viewed much differently than someone who has consistently volunteered over a period of several years. Consistency can help you to avoid appearing that you did something just to put it on your application and can convey an impression of long-term commitment that can strengthen your application.
Demonstrate Your Personality
It can be easy to become so focused on ensuring your application includes everything it should have and demonstrates all your strengths that it can be easy to forget to let it show admissions committees who you are. Having a personal touch that helps the admissions committee to connect with you as an individual is important and not something that you should overlook.
Use Specific or Quantifiable Examples
Using specific examples to demonstrate your strengths is much more powerful than making generalizations. Giving facts and figures not only helps your application’s reviewers to better contextualize your information, but also providea a better mental image that is more engaging than generalized statements.
Knowing Where to Apply
It can be difficult to figure out exactly where you should apply for medical school. At American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, we are committed to your long-term success, not only during medical school, but beyond. We invite you to learn more about our application process and what we look for in applications to our medical school.