How ‘Fit’ Affects Medical School Admissions


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A Simple 3 Step Plan to Improve Your Chances of Being Accepted to Medical School

It is very important for prospective medical students to show that they are a good fit for their preferred medical school. A medical school’s reputation greatly depends upon the future success of their students. Medical schools that produce students who do well in the residency match are perceived as superior. For example, US News and World Report uses the perception of residency program directors as a factor in determining scores for their annual medical school rankings. Therefore, medical schools have a strong desire to admit students who are likely to flourish in their program. It is for this reason that medical school applicants who show that they will be a good fit with a school’s curriculum and culture have a much higher chance of being offered admission. In addition, medical students who attend a school where they fit in are happier. Medical training is a rigorous and stressful endeavor. Prospective medical students should aim to lessen the stress of training by seeking admission to a school that fits their personality, goals, and learning style. The medical school personal statement is an ideal opportunity for a prospective medical student to show that they are a good fit for a medical school’s program. This article will present a simple three step plan to convince a medical school that you are a good fit for their program.

Step 1: Know What Your Target School Finds Important

Before applying to a medical school, it is a very good idea for prospective medical students to take time to thoroughly research the program. A lot of information can be obtained by carefully reading a school’s website. Most schools will have their mission statement or core values clearly stated. For example, a quick view of Washington University’s website shows that their program values discovery, innovation and learning. Many schools post an ‘admissions requirements’ section which outlines the type of student that they seek. Most schools will provide a section on their site with information on desired interpersonal skills in addition to academic requirements. For example, empathy, professionalism, and leadership skills are common sought after skills. It is wise to carefully review your target school’s website to learn as much as possible about the type of student that is typically accepted there. Some medical school sites have a section for essays or blog entries by current students. You should be certain to read anything written by current students. A few years ago, they were in your position and succeeded. By reading their experiences, you can see what worked for those students and attempt to emulate them.

Step 2:  Demonstrate That You Share the School’s Values

After thoroughly researching your program of choice, the next step is for prospective medical students to demonstrate that they share the interpersonal skills, academic prowess, and values desired by the school. As mentioned earlier, the medical school personal statement is the ideal medium to prove that you would be an ideal fit for your target school. Write a convincing personal statement that highlights your abilities. Be certain that your essay provides examples of how you embody the school’s values. Ideally, your personal statement should begin with a story or anecdote in which you demonstrate at least one of the school’s core values. Your essay should then continue to discuss your positive attributes and thoroughly convince your reader that you are an ideal candidate for the program of your choice.

Step 3: Show That Your Goals Are Congruent with the School’s Mission

As discussed above, medical schools want to admit students who will succeed in their program. Many medical schools focus on training students to enter a particular type of career. You should also use your medical school personal statement to discuss how your future career plans align with the school’s training focus. For example, if you are planning on a career in academic medicine, it may be helpful to discuss how your target school’s research focus will be helpful to you.

Medical school admissions are very competitive. Often well qualified candidates are not offered admission to a school because the admissions committee concludes that they do not fit well with the school. Therefore, demonstrating fit is an important goal for students seeking admission to medical school. If you write your personal statement wisely, it can be an ideal tool to show that you are a good fit with your preferred medical school.

photo credit: Dr.Farouk stethoscope via photopin (license)
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