The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

Med School Applications Decoded: Anatomy of Success

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen talks to Leila Amiri, Ph.D, the associate dean for admissions at Robert Lerner M.D. College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. They talk about how to address blemishes on your medical school application and how to stand out as a reapplicant.

  • [01:01] Introducing Leila Amiri, Ph.D
  • [02:31] Anatomy of a Successful Medical School Application
  • [06:42] Addressing Issues in Your Med School Application
  • [14:11] Communicate Your Personal Why
  • [19:53] Re-applying to Med Schools
  • [23:16] What Leila Amiri Would Change About Healthcare

Do These Before You Apply to Medical School

There is no perfect timing to start applying to medical schools. Students must apply when they feel academically and emotionally ready. Becoming a physician is a long journey, you must be certain of your why. Students don’t have to apply to every medical school. Instead, choose institutions that have mission statements that resonate with you. Consider learning environments that would be most conducive to your development.

Applying with Low Grades or a Disciplinary Record

Academics is a big factor in medical school applications. There is a standard score in order to be admitted. If you’re having trouble with poor grades, try hiring a tutor or enrolling in further education. Retaking a class will not necessarily boost your GPA. Figure out your level of mastery and then come up with a plan to improve your scores.

Another blemish to address in your application may be a negative disciplinary record. An incident will not disqualify you from getting into a medical school, but you must be transparent about what happened. Highlight what you’ve learned from this experience.

Authenticity in Your Personal Statement

During interviews, it’s typical to want to please the admission committee. Instead of trying to be the ideal candidate, be yourself. No matter the outcome, being genuine will help you match into a school that is best suited to you.

The personal statement is another way to let yourself be known. Clearly state why you want to pursue medicine and mention the relevant opportunities you’ve had in the field. The essay should give the admissions committee a picture of who you are. Use personal analogies and provide appropriate context.

Standing Out as a Med School Reapplicant

Didn’t get into a medical school on your first round of applications? It’s okay, this doesn’t mean you’re unqualified. Sometimes, schools have very limited slots to offer. Take this time instead to strengthen your application by adding more experience, research, or leadership opportunities. Don’t wait for a rejection notice to start improving your résumé. Admissions committees want to see the growth you’ve had in between your first and second round of medical school applications.

To learn more about how MedSchoolCoach can help you along your medical school journey, visit us at Prospective Doctor. You can also reach us through our social media:


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Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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