October 25, 2013
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Just as your MCAT scores and grades are important, so is the clinical exposure you have had. Just submitting an extensive list of random experiences and accomplishments is not going to impress the panel that reviews your application. You need to show them how committed you are and how much effort you have taken to gain some relevant experience. Volunteer at a healthcare organization, shadow your physician or participate in a gap year internship program in a developing country. Add this experience to your application and see the difference it makes.
Many medical school applications get rejected simply because the application material and content is not laid out in an effective manner. Irrespective of what your grades are, your personal statement has to convince the admissions committee that you are a worthy candidate for a personal interview. The objective material like your academic achievements and profile that you add to your application is important and so are the reference and experience letters. Every document that you add to your application should be written in an articulate and concise manner and your interest in the medical filed should shine through in all the content.
Keep in mind that though you are not required to have outstanding grades in college, it helps to have excellent academic qualifications. Your performance in college and in the MCAT has to be strong enough for the committee to feel that you are a candidate with mettle. Your MCAT scores and college grades have to move beyond a minimum threshold for the panel to consider your application, or else it just gets rejected at the primary stage.
You may be an exceptional applicant but if you have submitted your application late, this can prove to be a problem. You should understand why it’s important to apply on time. AMCAS takes up to 6 weeks to review an application and medical schools will consider your application only if it is verified. Even if you are a very competitive applicant, if your application comes in late, the medical school just may not be left with any more acceptances or interviews to extend. You might just end up receiving a ‘wait list’, ‘reject’ or a ‘hold’ decision.
Once you have reached the interview stage, the interview is the next important milestone. You will be graded on emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills. Being an introvert at an interview will not help you in any way. If you come across as an inarticulate or nervous person, your application may well be rejected. So, practice your interview, learn to speak about yourself with confidence and aim to impress the interviewing panel.
Keep all these pointers in mind and know that applying and gaining admission in a medical school involves a lot of hard work, persistence and patience. Don’t give up after the first rejection. Success may in fact be just around the corner.
Irrespective of what anyone tells you, one way of ensuring a better chance of admission to a medical school is to apply to as many as you can. Don’t stop at 10 or 15. Just as it is important to be confident, it is also important not be over-confident and presume that you will gain admission in a school of your choice.