If you’re here you probably just read about things I learned while applying for medical school, if not feel free to check it out!
Applying for any program can be challenging. Whether it’s medical school applications or dietetic internship programs it can be hard! One of the hardest parts? Telling your story aka everything outside of your GPA and MCAT score. It’s in these parts of your application where you put everything you’ve got into a few words to help illustrate to the program director and their team that you are a perfect fit for their program. Just like all parts of your application, you have to put in a lot of thought and effort into it. If you want to learn some tips We’re going to go over a few tips for success in the points below:
Letters of recommendation
Your letters need to be from people who know you well so that they can speak to both your strengths and weaknesses. Yes, weaknesses! We tend to think of our letter writers as those who can speak highly of you and get you that seat in medical school by praising your intelligence and hard-working attributes. BUT, if there are weaknesses in your application, like let’s say GPA/MCAT or lack of leadership, and you have valid reasons, a story, then they should be able to mention it and discuss why they still think you’d make a great physician! The only way they’ll know about any weaknesses and still support you is if you tell them.
By developing strong relationships between you and your professor/boss and sharing with them the challenges and victories you face along the way to application day.
Research, clinical experience, volunteering, leadership, etc. They are all things that pre-meds do to compete in their applications, and that’s great! But there are two things I learned that are crucial about your extracurriculars.
- First you absolutely need clinical experience! It’s the only evidence you have to prove that you know what being a doctor is like, and you still want to do it.
- Second chose extracurriculars you’re actually interested in! That will, of course, make it more enjoyable for you to actually do, but it will also likely make you a particular “type” of applicant that a school may be looking for. If you really just love biology/ chemistry then, of course, do research. But for clinical experience, shadow or work with a physician that is involved in research or academic medicine. Volunteer in a research department of a non-profit, become a tutor at your university or local high school and become president of the biology club. Then your application changes from John Doe, ID 1234567 to John Doe Academic Applicant who will be super involved in our research programs. A seat that can only be filled by an applicant who has shown that dedication and very different from applicant who is our “Public Health Applicant” or the one who seemed just to do whatever just to get in.
Part of your application is your story. The crafting of your application has everything to do with what I discussed above but all of your effort with your letter writers, extracurriculars and grades mean nothing if you don’t communicate them in an impactful way. You’re probably thinking, great, on top of everything else I know have to be an expert in creative writing. It’s sad to say, but I really felt that way and had to try to be. I can write a whole blog post about this but put simply: tell a story. Don’t say I did XYZ and I’m so great for it, that’s not going to catch the eyes and hearts of the board. Instead I used this format that I think really helped me stand out. I structured all my stories like this: Start with an interesting/exciting opening sentence that will capture the reader, make it a story, then conclude with how it’s relevant to who I am and why I want to be a doctor.
Those are some tips to help you be more than just your numbers! I hope this helps you feel more empowered to tell your story during your application process. If you have any questions, or you’d like me to elaborate on anything I mentioned or experienced in another blog post please feel free to leave us a comment, send us an email, or drop us a message on Instagram at @nomorechichos. Thanks for reading and good luck!
¡No More Chichos!