You’ve finished up your undergraduate studies and have a bachelor’s degree in biology, statistics, or perhaps English Lit. Maybe you even went to a college that offered a pre-med major. You graduated at the top of your class, carrying a 4.0 throughout your entire four years. You excelled in your science classes especially, which is what helped you determine that you want to go to med school.
Preparing To Get Into Med School
Getting into medical school is no easy task, and it gets harder every year. It may sound disheartening, but it helps to weed out the weakest link. Because, let’s face it: Not everyone is cut out to be a doctor.
Medical schools don’t just look at your high GPA and rocking MCAT scores. Those are definite factors, but they are not the whole picture. You’ll also be evaluated on your interests and things that make you stand out from all the other candidates vying for the same spot in the medical school student body.
Here are a few things you can do if you’re serious about going to medical school:
- Get some medical experience such as shadowing or volunteering in a medical facility.
- Get involved in research at your college.
- Engage in community service—it’s something med schools look at.
- Be prepared to talk about why you want to be a doctor.
- Apply to a lot of medical schools.
- Put in plenty of study time for your MCATs. You’ll need a minimum score of 70 percent.
- Live a life outside of your studies, one that you can brag about when applying.
- Be polite to everyone you speak with during your med school interview process.
Writing Your Personal Statement
Your personal statement and interview equal about 60 percent of your admissions score. So, you need to kick some butt with your final draft. It can be hard to figure out where even to start, and the pressure to write something amazing may cause a bit of a block. Here are some tips for creating a personal statement that will surely get you that interview.
- Keep in mind when you’re writing your personal statement that the readers are most likely from a non-medical standpoint.
- Give accurate information.
- Choose a topic from a life-defining moment that led to some sort of choice you needed to make.
- Weave that topic into how it will make you an excellent medical student. Maybe it’s your leadership ability, your intellectual curiosity, or any other factor you think highlights who you are and what you have to offer to the medical community.
- Use active verbs. You are the “doer” of the paper.
- Show confidence yet humility.
- Write in a professional tone. Flowery words and sentences are not necessary. But, still treat this paper as a creative writing assignment.
- Don’t use jargon and slang. Again, this is a professional assignment.
- Be concise.
- Use the five paragraph essay format.
- Stay on topic.
- Stick to the word count, which will be stated on your application. Most ask for a maximum of 5,000 words.
- Get opinions from friends, family, and colleagues.
- Rewrite. Rewrite. And rewrite.
Getting Ready For That Medical School Interview
Your medical school interview process is going to be a major determining factor as to whether or not you’ll earn an acceptance into a school’s medical program. Walking in armed with knowledge of expectations will give you a leg up and help you shine. Remember one thing: You passed the application process, and you’re now being considered as a potential student!
- Come prepared. It seems like an obvious statement, but you need to be ready to talk eloquently about your life, from your academic background to why you’ve decided to pursue a medical career.
- Appear relaxed yet alert. You may be judged on how well you work under pressure. The interview committee may intentionally try to fluster you to see how easily you are able to recover.
- Have questions of your own ready to go. Keep in the back of your mind that this is a conversation instead of an interview. Before you go into the interview, research the school website and come up with questions that aren’t readily available through a quick Google search.
- Dress for success. Men should wear a suit; women should come looking professional. Leave your cell phone at home or in your car. Always make eye contact, and give a firm handshake initially and when the interview is done. Remember to smile. It’s also a good idea to send a thank you note 24-48 hours after your interview.
Now that you’ve gotten through the hardest part of the application process, it’s time to sit back and wait for the acceptance letters! Good luck!