After reading thousands of applications over the years, I’ve noticed that there are common strategies that successful applicants use in their application essays. Your child, too, can use these strategies to earn an interview and acceptance.
The best application essays:
1. Avoid verbatim repetition
When reviewing your child’s essay, you may notice that it’s nearly impossible not to mention the same activity or experience twice in the application, for example in the activities description and personal statement, but you should make sure that those experiences are covered from an entirely different angle. There should be no repeated or identical sentences or descriptions. Your premed should reframe the information while still ensuring that there is some consistency in the life experiences represented across the different application components.
2. Maintain a balance between personal and professional information
The best personal statements often maintain a strong balance between sharing enough personal information to be interesting and unique and enough professional background to help your child appear as an accomplished and well-qualified applicant. Sharing too much personal information can make your readers squirm! Or on the other side of the spectrum, being too professional can make you seem like a robot. Remind your premed that they should only include what they would be comfortable discussing in an interview.
3. Are authentic
Premeds should spend time reflecting on their motivations for going into a career in medicine. The more honest they can be about their reasoning, the stronger their essays will be. Journaling and talking with friends and family can help them identify that information.
4. Are strategic
Strong essays address any concerns that the admissions committee may have about your premed’s application. By anticipating and responding to these questions, your child will demonstrate great maturity and intelligence. Help your child come up with these questions so she can better address them in the essays.
5. Provide evidence of improvement
If premeds have a particular weak area, then it’s important that they show improvement. If your applicant had a decreasing trend in her GPA for a quarter or year, they should explain what happened. Your child’s essay should end on a high note, focusing the adcom reader’s attention to the improvements made in your child’s GPA or how they graduated with an increasing trend. The audience for your child’s application is made up of doctors who love data and numbers.
These are some general goals for your child’s application essays. If your child requests your feedback, you can go down this list to ensure that the essay does its job and that the application will be more closely reviewed and will hopefully earn your future doctor an interview!
Do you want to help your pre-med child get into med school…without having to nag or stress them out? This series has loads of concrete, actionable advice that will help your premed discover their competitive advantage and get accepted!
Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs.