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Medical School Application Process

by Kevin Ahern, PhD
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    00:01 In the application process, students work on something called a "Personal Statement." And the personal statement is very much like the who are you.

    00:11 In fact in the class I teach at OSU that who are you leads to the personal statement.

    00:16 I want you to think about that who are you and your personal statement.

    00:21 Your personal statement is defining you in words for a committee that knows nothing about you.

    00:30 You are a complete blank slate to them except for your grades, except for your refrences, until that personal statement is done.

    00:38 Now that personal statement is of course your perspective of yourelf.

    00:43 That personal statement is the part where I talk about the creativity that has to come through.

    00:49 And is the part of the application that students struggle with the most.

    00:55 Everything else you can work and you can get if you work hard enough to do them.

    00:59 But writing a good personal statement is absolutely difficult because it takes self analysis, it takes honesty, and it takes creative writing.

    01:12 The thing I advise students along their pathway, that they often times don't listen to as carefully as they should, is that there's two classes that you should take in any pre-med path that's going to help you to write that personal statement.

    01:27 One is a creative writing class.

    01:29 And when you are squeezing all those chemistry classes in there and all that science in there, it's very easy to overlook the components of writing and communication.

    01:40 Don't miss that.

    01:41 You need to have those things as part of your application.

    01:47 Take a creative writing class and take it early.

    01:49 If you wait till junior you'd to take it, you're not going to have the chance to develop those skills.

    01:55 The second class that I think every student should take who wants to go to medical school, to help improve that analytical quality.

    02:02 Because you are going to be analyzing yourself is philosophy.

    02:06 Philisophy will make you look at the world and think about the world in a completely different fasion.

    02:12 If you've never taken a philosophy class, by the time you apply to medical school, you will not write a good personal statement.

    02:20 I've never known anyone to do it without taking a good philosophy class.

    02:25 That perspective change that happens as a result of the training that you get in philosophy class and creative writing make for an absolutey unique personal statement.

    02:38 Now here's where uniqueness is critical.

    02:40 Imagine how many letters of application or how many personal statements that a medical school committee is reading.

    02:49 Stanford gets 7,000 applications a year.

    02:51 Imagine how many of those letters sound like the same thing over and over and over.

    02:57 The more you read, the more they sound alike.

    03:00 This is where being distinct and standing out will help you to avoid that pile that goes over here that's like everybody else.

    03:10 But that takes creativity.

    03:12 And that takes insight.

    03:14 It takes all those things that we've talked about.

    03:16 Because if you don't stand out in that personal statement, you are not going to stand out in other ways.

    03:21 Most people apply into medical school have great grades.

    03:25 Most people applying into medical school have great references just like you do.

    03:30 How do you distinguist yourself.

    03:32 That personal statement is criticial to that process.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Medical School Application Process by Kevin Ahern, PhD is from the course How to Get into Medical School.


    Author of lecture Medical School Application Process

     Kevin Ahern, PhD

    Kevin Ahern, PhD


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    Useful tips
    By Julek S. on 17. September 2017 for Medical School Application Process

    I've just started my IB programme and this is really helpful for me to set my long-term goals. Wish me luck on my way to becoming a neurosurgeon!