The following is an excerpt from the Medical School Admissions chapter of our insider's guide
A medical education requires applying to many different schools and programs, as well as performing successfully in each of these programs. However, there are a couple points to keep in mind which will help you on any application process, whether you’re trying to get into an Ivy League University, a top Medical School, or a prestigious residency.
Get great grades, and get great grades consistently. You want to consistently show scholarship in your classes. Not just the classes that relate directly to medical school, but all of your classes. You want to demonstrate academic ability, creativity, and diligence.
Ace your exams every step of the way. For example, for University you take the SAT, for Medical School you take the MCAT, and for Residency there are two tests which you take during Medical School, called Step 1 and Step 2. It is essential to ace all of these exams so you can get into a great school for the next portion of your education.
However, putting so much stress on grades is not to undervalue the importance of relationships. A great letter of recommendation can do wonders to get you into a program that you might be on the fence for. Throughout your academic career, it is essential to find advocates. These can be teachers, professors, academic counselors, thesis advisors, anyone who can advocate for you and say that you’re a great candidate.
You can’t ask a teacher or professor to write you a letter of recommendation two days before your application is due. Identify potential advocates with whom you click, and work to develop the relationship over months and years. That way when you ask them for a letter, they’ll have excellent things to say about you.
Stand out from the crowd. You will be applying to the same school as your classmates, so make sure that you’re doing something which makes you different. Join clubs, start a club, excel at a sport, play in a band. It doesn’t matter as much what the activity is. What matters is that you demonstrate that you can be proactive, and that you can focus on a few things and really excel at them.
Also, as with anything, its important to show consistency. So don’t just join a club during your last year so that you can throw it on your application. Medical school admissions councils value consistency and dedication.
All the application processes involved in becoming a doctor can seem pretty daunting, but as long as you work hard, apply yourself, and follow these simple steps, the applications will be a lot easier.