Every doctor is different. Every medical school is unique. And every medical school applicant promises to bring his/her special skills and gifts to contribute to a new matriculating class of students. However, despite everyone’s differences, there are some “across the board” traits of likeable medical school candidates. While obviously you’ll meet medical school students who don’t seem to have these traits, admissions committees will be quick to tell you that these characteristics definitely make you stand out as a more likeable applicant.

Passion for People

Even though saying, “I want to be a doctor because I want to help people” is often mocked as a cliché statement, the truth remains that medical school admission committees are still more impressed by premed students who have shown a passion for serving people than by those who don’t seem to care. A good physician is one who actually likes his/her patients, and your general attitude towards the value of others can easily come across in how you spend your time, how you talk about your community service experiences, and how you answer certain questions during your interview. Fortunately for most med school candidates who truly have a passion for serving people, this passion for human lives will be readily apparent during their interviews, whether they blatantly state so or not.

Passion for Learning

A passion for people is great for serving a humanitarian role in society, but a passion for learning is also necessary in order to succeed in medical school. There are many ways to serve people that don’t involve taking on the marathon-task of medical school, and admissions committees will be sure to tell you this. A passion for learning, on the other hand, will take you above just a desire to serve people and will propel you through long nights and early mornings of studying. If you simply despise studying, then medical school is probably not the best route for you.

Passion for Persevering

Last but not least, choosing to have a passion for persevering above any odds in your own life is undoubtedly a very impressive trait to possess. Medical school is hard, but so are many of the issues one will come in contact with while training to be a doctor—from early morning rounds to late night on-calls, persevering and doing your best despite circumstances will help you be successful both as a medical student and as a future doctor. If you’ve overcome great odds to get to where you are today, go ahead and weave that fact into your medical school interviews or personal statements. Let it be known that hard times can’t come between you and your dreams.