This is the third post in our series on applying to med school in the most efficient and timely manner. You’ve got six months to make this happen. Make sure you do it right by following the tips in Med School Action Plan: 6 Steps for the 6 Months Before You Apply.
In preparing to write your applications essays and to interview for medical school, it’s an excellent idea to get started early by examining the personal traits and themes that continually appear in your life. For example, do you have a strong commitment to social justice? Do you often find yourself serving as an interpreter and advocate for others? Is there a particular population that you return to again and again to assist? By taking the time to identify the characteristics that best represent you through your words and deeds and the major themes that repeat themselves in your life, your essays will begin to take shape.
Often, when I work with clients, they will not have any clue about what is interesting or unique about themselves. By asking a series of questions and creating a story map of their life, I can help point out patterns in these characteristics and themes for them. Sometimes it is easier to have an outside perspective.
Once you identify these characteristics and themes, you can begin to practice telling your story as it relates to why you want to pursue a career in medicine. Journaling can be an excellent way to explore them in detail. “Who are you?” The caterpillar asked Alice in Wonderland. This question of identity remains relevant regardless of what field you are entering. If you have to explain who you are to someone who has never met you before, how would you describe yourself? What stands out about you to others? Where do your strengths lie?
Consider reviewing old yearbooks, journals, photographs and any other memorabilia that remains important to you. You can find a unique and interesting way to present yourself through the details of your life. Thinking about how you can best represent your story will lead to a more successful approach.
1. Finding three major characteristics that best represent you
2. Identifying one major theme that continuously recurs in your life
3. Examining which populations you most enjoy working with.
Knowing this information can reveal a strong structure and focus for your personal statement and most meaningful activity essays. Taking the time to identify the impression you want to make and how to best do so can lead to much more authentic essays that you will be excited to submit because they represent you so well.
Alicia McNease Nimonkar worked for 5 years as the Student Advisor & Director at the UC Davis School of Medicine's postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and other health professional programs. She has served Accepted's clients since 2012 with roughly a 90% success rate. She has a Master of Arts in Composition and Rhetoric as well as Literature. Want Alicia to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!
• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Med School Essays, a free guide
• Ten Do’s and Don’ts for Your Application Essay
• “I’m Smart, Really I Am!” Proving Character Traits in your Essays