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Medical School Application Tips From Real Medical Students

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Read a collection of the latest tips from students who’ve participated in our Anatomy of an Applicant series.

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You may be familiar with the AAMC’s pre-professional 15 Core Competencies for entering medical students which include things like service orientation, teamwork, oral communication, critical thinking, and capacity for improvement. Admissions committees evaluate your experience in these areas to assess your preparedness for medical school, and you can read profiles from real medical students who share how they demonstrated their competency in these areas on their medical school applications.

In addition to talking about specific ways that they demonstrated a range of competencies on their application, each student shares tips for aspiring medical students. Here are some tips for completing your application, along with some student advice that may resonate with you while you’re working on your application:
 

  • Find a mentor and ask for help on your application.
    • “Find a good mentor [who is the] person you go to for premed advice — and mentorship doesn't have to be from the premed office (although that's not a bad place to start). – Jon Roe
    • “Find a mentor. I didn’t have a 'health field' mentor, but in hindsight I can appreciate the benefit of having someone who personally knows you to review your personal statement and guide your school selection.” – Daryl Fields, MD, PhD
       
  • Share details about your experiences, strengths, and research.
    • “Looking back, I wish I’d shared more about the importance of the research I was involved in. Although research can be highly scientific, I believe relating the purpose and how society benefits from the research is important in having a balanced application.” – Nadia Scott, MD
    • “Describe how your nonmedical experiences, jobs, or volunteering pushed you to medicine or grew you in some particular way. I listed out what I actually did, but when you’re one among thousands, explicitly laying out what you learned from the experiences is very important.” – Hannah Winters 
       
  • Practice talking about your weaknesses and areas for improvement, too!
    • “Address weaknesses in your application. Despite my lackluster performance in college, I was able to show that I would be successful in medicine by excelling in research.” – Patrick Molina
    • “Practice before you interview! Having mock interviews with someone that I did not know prior helped to set a more realistic scenario.” – Mike Brigoli, MD
       

To learn more about these students’ experiences and how they effectively demonstrated their competencies on their medical school applications, read their profiles on the Anatomy of an Applicant website. In addition to learning more about these students, you can read more profiles, learn about core competencies, and download a workbook to assess your current progress in different competency areas.

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