Medical School Application Mistakes

May 20, 2015

A student examining surgical scissors in the operating theatre, Tanzania. You put a lot of hard work into trying to get into medical school. Preparation includes four years of undergrad studies, taking the MCAT and studying hard. You may have also completed research projects, volunteered and gained experience in the medical field. With all the hard work you put into the process, you don’t want to decrease your chances of getting accepted due to mistakes on your application.

The medical school application process is divided into the primary and secondary applications. Applicants sometimes make mistakes on both parts of the application. But if you take your time and do your research, you can avoid common mistakes, such as those listed.

  • Not Following Directions:

It is not uncommon to rush through the application process without thoroughly reading the directions. After all, you may have completed lots of applications in the past for school or jobs. But your medical school application is a big deal. You would hate for it to be rejected because you did not follow the proper format or failed to follow other directions. Your best bet is to read through everything before you get started.

  • Forgetting to Proofread:

Everyone makes mistakes. From simple spelling errors to grammar blunders. But little mistakes on a med school application can decrease your chances of getting accepted. A sloppy presentation creates a negative impression. Take your time and read your application. If possible, have someone you trust look over your application.

  • Under or over-explaining discrepancies, such as low grades:

On your secondary application, you may be asked an essay question regarding, low grades or a lack of participation in extracurricular activities. Your essay answer is a time to explain why there may be something negative on your application. Ignoring it or making excuses will get you nowhere. But don’t go to the opposite extreme and over explain a situation. Striking the right balance in your explanation is key. 

  • Not standing out with your secondary application:

Your primary application allows you to introduce yourself to the schools you are interested in. Basic information is included, such as your grades, MCAT scores and activities you participated in. The secondary application involves answering varied essay questions. It is a chance for the schools to get to know more than the basics. Your secondary application lets the school know who you are and why they should accept you into their program. It is your chance to standout. It is important to let your strengths and personality shine through on your application.

  • Omitting important information:

As you fill out both your primary and secondary application, make sure you include any relevant information. Think about all the volunteer experience you have and all the extracurricular activities you were involved in. You want your application to convey a well-rounded individual who will make a good doctor. Including relevant and positive information can help. 

  • Applying Late:

Missing deadlines is one of the biggest mistakes you can make on an application. Allowing yourself plenty for the process will also reduce stress.