Wednesday, June 11, 2008

#2: Applications

Medical schools are always looking to fill their ranks with the best and brightest students available. That's why they sit around in dark rooms and arbitrarily decide on measures of success to apply to applicants. Mostly this consists of drunkenly throwing darts at each other, and then shouting the first thing that comes to mind upon being struck. The final set of agreed-upon measures are kept completely secret, and are not made available to applicants, ever. This is done to keep them from knowing why they did or did not receive an acceptance.

However, the people on medical school selection committees are not very creative, and the set of measures that they finally decide on are generally similar from one application cycle to the next. If you want to have a strong application, it is best to include things that medical schools have a history of drooling over, such as a high MCAT score, volunteer work, leadership positions, and/or having a parent who is a physician. If these are not options for you, you might want to try spending a few years after college doing something a little off the beaten path, such as helping to prevent the spread of nutritional parasites through rural populations in Kyrgyzstan.

Be careful, however. An excess of the above-mentioned factors is known to cause medical schools to preemptively reject applicants for no plausible reason whatsoever. In order to prevent this from happening, you need to present yourself as being both passionate and normal at the same time (unlike Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer). It may be necessary to place less emphasis on some of your accomplishments in order to create the proper balance that selection committees are looking for. Doing this is a painful process, but it is nowhere as painful as realizing that a school couldn't even be bothered to send you a rejection letter on actual paper and instead sent you your rejection in email format.

Additionally, careful rewordings of simple-sounding phrases and outright hyperbole are important tools to use when selling yourself in your application. Use websites like to find other ways to say what you want to say. For example, if you worked as a janitor for a few months, you might want to use some of these alternative job titles:
  • Custodial technician
  • Domestic engineer
  • Environmental services associate
  • Guest service associate
  • Industrial floor maintenance sanitation engineer
Finding the perfect synonym to replace an inferior sounding word is always a satisfying feeling, and will fool even the most astute of selection committees without being a complete fabrication.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wait... what if you have a lot of family members that are doctors in different medical fields?