Pause and Reflect: How to Highlight your Truest Self on your Medical School Applications

Medicine is a difficult program to get into. Naturally, in applying to a difficult program, we can get caught up with thinking, “what do I have to do to be the applicant they pick” or “what kind of person are they looking for?”. It happened to me during my journey getting to medical school! I had a vision in my head of this perfect candidate that the admissions committees were looking for, and wanted nothing more than to be that person for them. Little did I know, that mindset is what was holding me back from writing a killer application, and showing off the best sides of myself. So before putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboards on your next application take some time to think about these things:

  1. What are the things that get you out of bed every morning: are you obsessed with women’s health? Love exercise? Fascinated by hearts? Excited by enzymes? Love interdisciplinary collaboration? Whatever it is, THIS passion, THIS excitement should be a common thread throughout your application. 
  2. How have the experiences you’ve had in your life led you to have these passions? If you are a women’s health fanatic, where did this passion stem from and how did your love of women’s health bring you to choose each experience you are putting on your application? 
  3. So what? Think about the impact each experience has had on you as a person. What have you learned? How have you grown? How will these lessons impact you going forward as a person and as a future physician?
  4. What is the big picture? By the time you are done reflecting on your journey, you should be able to find that common thread of who you are and what your passions are in every activity/ experience/research opportunity that you have selected to put on your application. This may mean leaving off a lab experience you had, if it is totally off brand for you and isn’t something that would interest you going forward in your career, in favour of including a personal experience, or less flashy experience that is closer to your heart. The more passionate you are about every item on your application, the easier it will be for application committees to have a clear picture of who you will be as a physician. 

When you take the time to reflect on all of the experiences you’ve had that have led you to applying to medicine, you are telling the story of you! Instead of trying to convince the application committee to accept you, show them through your story and experiences why you are going to be an incredible physician!

Check out more blogs on the medical school application process:
4 Tips for Applying to Medical School as a Third Year Applicant
Advice for Canadian Students Applying to US Medical Schools through AMCAS
The Written Application: Maximizing Your Chances at Receiving a Medical School Interview Invitation
Mind over Matter: Tips for Applying to Medical School
7-Step Guide to Completing your Medical School Application
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
7 Tips for Applying to UofT