We cannot stress enough the importance of understanding and thinking about a medical school’s missions statement – while doing school research at the beginning of the admissions process and then later on while writing secondaries and preparing for interviews. Knowing the school’s mission statement will help you narrow down your choices and apply only to the schools at which you’d genuinely be happy, and it’ll help you fine-tune your secondary essays and your interview answers so you can best express your fit with the program.
While reviewing med school mission statements, ask yourself the following 2 questions:
1. Will you fit into the culture of the school?
Adcoms are looking to see if you’ll be a good “fit” for their program. They are seeking candidates who will fit into the culture of the school – future students who will feel comfortable being themselves and contributing to the classroom or campus environment.
The adcoms are putting together a puzzle – they are seeking diverse students with shared ideals who will fit together to create a cohesive class. So if the school has a collaborative culture or teaches with a very hands-on philosophy, then you’ll want to demonstrate that those points are important to you as well. If you prefer to work alone, and this is evident in your experiences, then a culture of teamwork may not be for you. Make sure your essays or interview answers highlight that the ideals of the school are important to you and that you are the missing piece of your target school’s puzzle
2. Do your goals match up?
You want to apply to programs that will support your goals and aspirations. If their ideals are in line with yours, you’ll receive greater support during your med school journey and a much better chance at achieving your medical dreams. If research is your passion, but your target school’s focus is almost entirely clinical, then…well, this school shouldn’t be your target.
Once you’ve read and understood a school’s missions statement, you’ll have an easier time framing your background and past experiences to match the school’s goals. Show how your shared passion for primary care and your vast family doctor shadowing experience position you to reach your future goals – that is, if your target school accepts you.
If you have an idea of the residency you would like to pursue, check out MedHound’s stats on residency placement for different schools in different specialties. Knowing which schools have successfully helped others achieve your similar goals will help you choose the right schools and show those schools that your goals are appropriate for their program. (For more insight into Medhound’s work, check out this podcast.)
For this point, you’re demonstrating to the program that they are your personal puzzle’s missing piece.
Read the mission statement so you get the best idea of who the school is looking for, so you can demonstrate in your secondaries and interviews that you are a candidate who will succeed – who will get into a top residency program and make them proud. If you share a mission and ideals, you’ll increase your chances of success at that particular school.