5 Tips for Pre-Med Students on Applications to Medical School

Upon reflecting on my medical school journey I would like to share the following five tips with you. I hope that the following tidbits help you in your journey in becoming a physician. 

1. Be Authentic – Short Essays

As a medical school applicant, remember to always be authentic. The short essays component of your application is the perfect opportunity for you to showcase your most cherished work while highlighting your character, personality and values. When writing your essays, take time to critically reflect on the question asked. Each essay should convey a clear message to your reader – what is your specific message? Remember that writing your essays is an ongoing process. Therefore, I recommend starting as early as possible to allow yourself time to make changes and re-evaluate your work. 

Once you have thought about your essay’s message, focus your essay with 1-2 main ideas. Support your idea(s) with life experience wherever possible. Always remember that with essays quality is more important than quantity.

2. Every Word Must Tell – ABS

One of the best pieces of advice that I received was from my grade 10 English teacher who once said the following: “when writing, every word must tell”. When writing your ABS with limited characters, make sure each word is impactful. You can achieve this through the following: 

  1. Use action-oriented verbs. 
  2. Use numbers wherever possible to quantify your work. 
  3. Use common abbreviations wherever possible.
  4. Have your ABS reviewed by a friend or family member for grammar and understanding.  

Always remember that with the ABS quality is more important than quantity.

3. Showcase You – References

When asking for references try to pick individuals who know you well and can speak about your personality, values and character in addition to your academic work. At the end of the day, the admissions committee will pick individuals they want as their future colleagues. Naturally, they want to work with individuals who are kind, compassionate, and collaborative. Therefore, it is helpful if the reference letters convey this. 

Therefore, as an undergraduate student, make the effort to get to know your volunteer coordinators, research supervisors and your university professors. 

4. Understand Each School

Each Canadian medical school is a little different with regards to their application process. For example, each school has a different MCAT requirement and some schools require essays while others do not. I would recommend making a large spreadsheet with the pertinent information for each school. Take time to understand how GPA is calculated at each school. For example, some schools have a weighted GPA option. Furthermore, understand which schools you meet the cut-off requirements for and dedicate your time towards those applications. 

5. Practice, Practice and more Practice 

Once interview invites are out it is time to start practicing. Remember that each medical school has a different interview style. As mentioned in tip # 4, it is important to understand each school.

I preferred to practice independently at first. I began by first gathering a list of common interview questions, which I easily got from Google. I then took time to reflect on my application package. Specifically, I re-read my essays and ABS. 

I also found it helpful to practice with colleagues, family members and interview preparation services offered through MDConsultants and my undergraduate university. 

I hope that you found the above tips helpful! Good luck. 

Check out more blogs on the medical school application process:
Start Preparing your CV and ABS for Med School
5 Tips for Applying to Med School
Perfecting your OMSAS ABS
Write a Solid Personal Statement

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