The Flawed Premise
Most pre-meds develop their application to medical school from a flawed premise, which is “What should I say/be/do that will make admissions committees like me?”
A source for this premise comes from medical schools’ surface requirements – gpa above 3.5, MCAT over 30, sufficient experience in the allied health field, sufficient interpersonal experiences, sufficient skills in research (for some schools). So the question – “What do medical schools want?” – creates a grail quest to become the ideal applicant.
This is a myth – there is no such thing as an ideal applicant in reality. In theory, yes, but in reality every candidate for medical school has areas of strengths, and areas of perceived weakness – and (with one exception – which I will address below) this supposed weakness is recognized only in hindsight. In the moment of doing, what will be labeled as a weakness later is really a “best choice” based on the in-the-moment reality. So nearly all weaknesses in candidates are choices – good choices – that were made in a moment in time and then six months or a year later the candidate labels that choice as a ‘weakness’. Stop labeling.
So the motor that runs many applicants turns out to be a Quixotic chase – there is no such thing as a perfect applicant, there is no point in pursuing this ideal, AND pursuing this for most students results in suffering.
“What Do I Want” Is More Important
Resolve the problem by replacing the fear-based question, “What do medical schools want?” with your purpose- and spirit-based question, “What do I want?” And more specifically, “What do I want to achieve as a physician within 10 years after I finish my residency?”
Develop your candidacy from this perspective – not, “What do they want?” but “What do I want?” Begin tonight by taking a blank piece of paper and writing out five things you want from your life as a doctor. You can absolutely want things from your life, and I give you complete permission to ask your life for things you want.
So what do you want? Package this aspect of yourself – your actualized, real self – and see how attractive your purpose is to medical schools.