As a pre-med student, you’re probably used to getting advice from many different people and sources, and sometimes it can be a lot of information. But hearing directly from students who have gone through the medical school application process recently can be especially helpful.
We asked current medical students to give us their best advice, and you might be surprised at what they had to say:
“There is no recipe for a perfect applicant. Don’t do something for the sake of checking off a box on an application. Be sincere and well intentioned in everything that you do. Invest your time in activities that challenge and question your own biases, stereotypes, preconceptions, and assumptions of what you know to be true; develop new modes of thinking as a result. In an effort to achieve that 4.0 or ideal MCAT score, we lose sight of our original humanistic and altruistic motivations that gravitated us toward this profession in the first place.”
-Luis E. Seija, Texas A&M College of Medicine, 2019
“If you really want to be a physician, go for it. There may be a million reasons to quit, and it is definitely a challenging path, but the ability to touch lives is an absolute privilege worth all the effort.”
-Christina Tull, University of Washington School of Medicine, 2019
“Be honest with yourself about the reasons you want to become a physician. I feel that if I love what I do, then it’s really not a job. I want to be able to wake up every day and love my career. If you feel strongly that medicine is your calling, then volunteer in health care settings and shadow doctors to get a feel for the profession. If you still feel that medicine is your life and passion, then hit the books and don’t look back. Look forward to your future, focus, and prepare yourself to be a competitive applicant.”
-Ana Jimenez, The University of Kansas School of Medicine, 2017
“Shadow. Shadow a lot and as much as you can, because there is so much to learn about medicine; there are trials and joys, but the only way to know about either is by seeing it for yourself. Also, seek out mentors for yourself; other people have stood in your shoes and they can be incredibly supportive. Finally, be stubborn about your success. Don’t assume that this path will be easy and don’t give up because it is hard.”
-Ogochukwu Marietta Ezeoke, SUNY Upstate Medical University, 2019
“Do it. If you are like me and have a mountain of things ahead of you before applying, take it one step at a time. Make sure you really love what you are doing, and then do more of it. In the end, you will find yourself in one of the most rewarding career fields out there, and you will meet some pretty amazing people along the way. Don’t make it one huge decision, but enjoy the process.”
-Clay Downey, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, 2017
You can read more about all of these medical students and others in AAMC’s Inspiring Stories interviews.