Applying for medical school is no small task. It consists of numerous steps and requires extensive knowledge and dedication to pass admissions. However, many aspiring med students make application mistakes, diminishing their chances of entry.
Explore these common admission mistakes applicants make when applying to medical school, so you can avoid them and give your application the best chance of success.
5 Common Medical School Admission Mistakes
Few things are more important to your future medical career than your medical school application. It’s the primary deciding factor in a university’s admissions process, but even the most qualified students can make mistakes during the admission process and fail to show the admissions team why they are motivated candidates.
Once you understand the most common medical school admission mistakes, you can create a strong application that sets you up for a bright future.
Mistake #1: Not Researching the School You’re Applying To
This may seem obvious, but take the time to learn about the program before you apply. Where is the school located? What is the program’s match rate? What do graduates go on to do? Explore the university’s website for answers to these questions so you can go into your interview prepared.
Mistake #2: Not Taking Part in Extracurricular Activities
Many applicants believe their MCAT score and GPA are the only things medical schools look at during evaluation. Although having a fantastic MCAT score and high GPA is very important, they aren’t the only thing medical schools base their decision on. Most medical schools want applicants to participate in a few extracurricular activities as well.
Some strong extracurricular activities to add to your med school application include:
- Completing volunteer work
- Taking part in mentoring programs
- Shadowing physicians
These activities give medical schools a glimpse into your personal life, helping them determine what type of person you are. They also show your dedication to the field and the career path you want to pave for yourself.
Although participating in sports will improve your application, they aren’t as important as volunteer work and other non-athletic activities. Add at least two or three non-sports-related extracurricular activities to the application to help you stand out from the crowd.
Mistake #3: Not Providing a Strong Recommendation Letter
Having a top-notch recommendation letter is another way to impress the admissions office. Try finding an esteemed professor you have a good rapport with and ask them to write a thorough recommendation letter for you. It’s always a good idea to have a friendly relationship with a few of your professors who can highlight your best qualities and qualifications whenever you ask them for a recommendation letter.
That said, always ensure the letter has the correct school on it. It’s very common for students to send the same recommendation letter to numerous medical schools only to find they didn’t change the university name beforehand. Many schools will just tear up the recommendation letter and throw it away if it doesn’t include the correct name.
Mistake #4: Failing to Prepare for the Interview
Many medical schools conduct interviews to better understand you as a person and your credentials. These interviews used to happen over the phone, but now video interviews are very common. Nailing the interview will paint you positively and enhance your chances of acceptance.
Always talk with confidence during interviews and explain what makes you a good candidate for the university’s medical program. List your credentials and show your passion for medicine and healthcare while maintaining a professional tone. Give the interviewer a full picture of you as a student, including your goals after medical school.
It’s always a good idea to practice as much as you can beforehand to ensure you are comfortable speaking about these topics and prepared to dazzle the admissions board.
Mistake #5: Not Putting Effort into the Essay and Personal Statement
Nearly every medical school requires an essay that helps them get to know you and your aspirations before accepting you to the medical program. It’s crucial to be yourself in the essay and talk about your achievements instead of what you plan on doing after attending the university. You want to show the school that you’ve taken steps to further your academic and medical career while explaining why you are a good choice for their med program.
In short, be yourself and don’t try to overcompensate for shortcomings. Authenticity goes much further than you might think, especially when applying to medical school.
Start Your Future Medical Career at Saint James School of Medicine
If you want to take the first step to a successful medical career, your journey starts with your medical school applications. Learn from these common mistakes, and don’t be afraid to ask older students what they wish they had known when they applied for med school.
Give Saint James School of Medicine a call at (800) 542-1553 and start your future on the right foot today!