You know you’ll be a good doctor someday. You know you have what it takes to patiently serve patients and collaborate with a team of healthcare professionals to provide the best care possible. However, you might not know just how to help present the best of yourself to medical school admissions committees. In fact, there is actually a decent chance that things that you may be doing are actually turning off medical schools, potentially leaving you without an acceptance letter at the end of the year’s admissions’ cycle. Avoid making these three simple mistakes, and you’ll successfully cut out several ways that you might otherwise be making yourself look like a less appealing candidate.
Perhaps the most obvious trap that medical school applicants need to avoid is that of blatant bragging about their accomplishments. While it’s understandable that students feel the need to make themselves stand above and beyond all other applicants in the pool, the truth remains that admissions committees fully recognize that there is a fine line between blatant bragging and justified pride regarding one’s accomplishments. Let your accomplishments stand for themselves—your MCAT score, research experience, GPA, etc.—and let your personality be what shines through your application essays and interviews. Use these opportunities to highlight your positive character traits (like the determination and discipline that has helped advance you to this point in your academic career in the first place), and let the things that “make you look good on paper” speak from your application alone.
Perhaps on the other end of the spectrum from blatant bragging, making cliché statements during either your interview process or in your personal statement also won’t do you any good. “I want to be a doctor because I want to help people,” may actually be true for you, but the statement (or ones similar to it) will only make you appear uncreative and unoriginal to admissions committees. If a desire to serve people is a major reason that you desire to be a physician, then let this desire be made evident through your application and interview time without actually specifically saying so in such a cliché statement.
Social Media Activities
This final area is one that is of controversial importance to the likelihood of you being accepted or rejected from a medical school. Admissions committees are swarmed with thousands of applications per year for only (at the most) a few hundred seats in the incoming MS1 class. The chance that medical school admissions committees will attempt to check up on your life through your Twitter or Facebook account is probably fairly slim. However, at the same time, there is still a very real chance that admissions committees could do so, particularly if they want to decide between you and a few other comparable candidates. Take the time to keep your social media footprint as clean as possible by removing any photos or statuses/statements that could come across as a less than desirable future physician.