On Tuesday, February 28, 2012, a panel of members of the admissions committee and medical students from the Emory University School of Medicine presented a program to premedical students at the University of Georgia. The members who comprised the panel shared some valuable advice with the undergraduates who were in attendance.
Many panel members stressed the importance of doing what you love and what you are passionate about. They suggested shadowing physicians and gaining clinical experience in order to properly evaluate whether medicine is the right profession for us. Several people recommended taking advantage of study abroad opportunities, both medical related and otherwise. The importance of making personal connections and branching out was emphasized. A close relationship with a faculty mentor is especially crucial, for only this person will be able to know you on an intimate level and be able to vouch for your abilities in a way others will not be able to, which will make for exceptional recommendation letters instead of the usual letter which attests to a student’s academic abilities and good work ethic. Interviews should be enjoyable; it is important to be yourself and be genuine. Medical schools are looking for genuinely interested human beings with integrity. Make sure your personal statement sounds 100% like you do. Applicants will usually be expected to sufficiently respond to why you want to be a doctor. They will also be expected to adequately answer why they are interested in the school to which they are applying. Remember to demonstrate humility and know you are not always right, be friendly to everyone-patients and peers alike, and take everything in stride. Some medical students decide to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in medical school. Others take a gap year to work for the CDC or intern at the National Institute of Health.
When choosing members for the incoming class, medical schools consider a variety of factors. The MCATs are viewed as the most egalitarian index of academic potential. Admissions committees seek to diversify the student body in terms of interests, cultures, ethnicities, geography, and other aspects. About 1/3 of Emory’s medical students are Georgia residents. For most medical schools, the application deadline falls around October 15. One woman on the admissions committee pointed out, however, that “deadlines are for people who really are not interested in medical school.” Most applications open June 1 and should be completed as soon as possible. Even after submitting an application, a 4-8 week verification process must take place before an applicant even exists to a medical school. For this reason, it is of paramount importance to submit applications as early as possible. Applicants should also remember to cast a wide net; the average successful medical student applicant applies to about 15 medical schools. When choosing the right medical school for you, it is important to choose with your heart.