Some of the most telling faults in a medical school applicant’s admissions journey include these:
Transcript history with a low GPA, and little sign of improvement:
Perhaps it would be better to complete post-baccalaureate coursework, and acquire some vocational experience related to medicine before submitting the application. Weak grades that contribute to a borderline GPA make rejection very likely. Conversely, an steady improvement in your GPA shows maturation and likely ability to handle an intense med school curriculum..
Low MCAT score? Retake the MCAT before applying. Apply after you receive your score so that you can use the score as a guide for which schools you’ll apply to.
Weak Letters of Recommendation:
Letters must be current and strong. Not submitting strong letters can substantially hurt your chances, because these documents are discussed at great length during selection committee meetings. Develop the kind of relationship with your professors and mentors that will elicit strong letters to support your application.
MISTAKES IN THE APPLICATION ITSELF:
Be aware that even small mistakes – e.g. wrong state for permanent residence - can raise a red flag that could lead to automatic rejection by schools that only interview or accept residents. Scrutinize every detail. Have others eyes check it, too.
Too Little Information:
List everything you have done in all 15 activity descriptions. Use every character allowed and complete each description, even if it is optional. Demonstrating that you have put the time and effort into the application to paint a full personal picture will serve you well. Don’t short-change yourself.
Don’t stretch the truth. It’s a smaller world than you might think – the world of med school admissions. If you’re lacking clinical experience in the form of internships, summer work, shadowing, etc., don’t make it up! Get that experience before you apply! Even high school students applying for 7-year B.S./MD programs have accumulated remarkable records of medicine-related activities.
Poor Primary and Secondary Essays:
Badly-written essays raise more questions than answers. Does the writing flow well? Does the narrative answer questions about your intentions regarding medicine? Does the writing grab the reader and reveal your personality beyond the statistics? Frankly, this is one area where a professional set of eyes is critical. Don’t risk rejection because you have failed to write a coherent essay,
You’ve been called for the interview - but you haven’t prepared! Practice interviews will help develop your ability to perform well, to present a strong interview. Assertiveness, curiosity, and fluency are essential. Do you have those qualities pinned down?
Working with a professional consultant and editor can give you a leg up in your application for medical school. In any case, application to a professional school requires incredible attention to detail. There’s nothing quite like it, and it’s a possible window into the rest of your vocational life. Are you ready?