The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

The Heart of Your Application: Unveiling Your ‘Why’ for Medical School

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen talks to Andrea O’Brien, the Director of Residential Admissions at A.T. Still University. They talk about communicating your why in medical school applications and the mistakes to avoid.

  • [00:57] Introducing Andrea O’Brien
  • [02:27] Ways to Stand Out as a Med School Applicant
  • [08:21] Med School Application Mistakes
  • [17:25] A.T. Still University’s Waitlist System
  • [19:09] When to Submit Your Medical School Application
  • [22:51] What Andrea O’Brien Would Change About Healthcare

Know Your Why for Pursuing Medicine

Medicine is a difficult profession, so schools would like to see your authenticity and passion come through your application. Accumulating experience over the long term can really set you apart from other applicants. Medical schools want to see that you’ve been preparing for it not just in the last few months. Community service and cultural competency are also things you want to highlight in your resume. “Know Your Why” by Simon Sinek is a book that can help you communicate your motive for pursuing medicine. 

Avoid These Mistakes in Your Med School Application

Choose schools where you’re going to feel most comfortable and supported. Align your own goals to the school’s mission. If you have encountered a challenging situation which affected your application, be sure to address it. The admissions committee notices any unusual changes and would appreciate an explanation. 

Another mistake to avoid is rushing to submit your application. Take all the time you need to build a strong resume. Rejected or waitlisted students would do well to follow any feedback and advice given to improve their application. 

Best Time to Apply for Medical School

As a general rule, it is always better to submit your application sooner rather than later. Applications that are severely lacking may be rejected immediately. It’s wise to let the school know if you’re retaking the MCAT so they can wait for your new score. Submitting your application at the very end of the cycle would be disadvantageous because by then, most slots would already be filled. Late August or early September are ideal times to apply for medical school.

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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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