How to Crush the 15 Meaningful Experiences on Your Medical School Application
by Story2, on Jun 20, 2016 5:00:00 AM
It was Tuesday which meant it was infusion day. Instead of a stress ball, my mom used my hand. My other hand held the infusion bag above our heads while the nurse inserted the needle into the crease of her arm. “I can’t wait until someone can fix this,” she said. After 30 minutes of near silence most of the solution had traveled through the tube, needle and into her veins. It was our first Tuesday of this ritual for what would become a weekly stain on the calendar. “I’ll be that one,” I said as the nurse squeezed the remaining solution from the bag like an empty toothpaste tube.
Here’s the deal -- 15 experiences can feel like a lot. As part of the primary medical school application you are asked to list moments that define you as a candidate. You get 700 characters to describe each one. Out of the 15, you are asked to choose the three most meaningful and describe the significance of each one and its impact on you. For each of these three you are given 1325 characters.
Your experiences can be comprehensive as work experiences, shadowing, volunteering, serving as a teaching assistant, tutoring, sports, scholarships and awards. But the purpose of this part of the application is rather simple -- admissions committees want to see a well-rounded person with diverse interests.
It’s good to highlight how the experience was transformative or made you see a medical community, group of patients, differently. If you volunteered at a clinic in an underserved part of the world, then you can talk about the doctors’ ability to work with limited resources. Or if you worked in a lab, you can share the innovative research methods you have witnessed and what you may want to continue or pursue further. You can also discuss research you have done or some way your work has made an impact.
The important thing is to convey why the specific experience was valuable to you. You should choose the three that really are the most meaningful to you – your passion will be evident if you are truthful. Also, you may be asked about these experiences in interviews, so it makes sense to choose experiences you could talk about extensively. That said, you should highlight activities to which you devoted considerable time, rather than more peripheral ones.
The structure for all fifteen should be simple and direct. Explain briefly what your role was without restating your title. Then explain in a few sentences what you observed that influenced you and factors into your future goals.
Feature image via KaplanTest.com