The Secret to Getting Into Medical School Released!

August 6, 2013 in DiverseMedicine Blog

Over the years I have been asked this question many times.  What’s the secret?  How do I get into medical school?  What’s the secret???  Well, as a member of the good old boys club, I have been selective with who I choose to share this secret with.  So, for the first time ever, on DiverseMedicine.org, I will share this secret with everyone.  In order optimize your chance of getting into medical school, you must work hard!!!  That’s it!  It is really that simple!

Something that people do not know about doctors is that not all of us are that smart.  But on the other hand, all of us have some level of work ethic above the average individual.  Using myself as an example, I do not think I am really all that intelligent.  What I do have is common sense.  Throughout college, I had enough common sense to know that if I spent more nights studying than partying, I would score higher on tests that my classmates who didn’t understand that simple principle.  As a freshman, I memorized my notes from class verbatim and went over them numerous times so that on the day of the test, it was a cake walk.  In other words, I worked hard!

So perhaps working hard is easier said than done.  Staying motivated and focused is a challenge.  Here are 5 tips to ensure that you do!

1)      Make friends who have similar goals.  This is crucial to your success.  If both you and your best friend want to go to medical school, you will push one another to remain focused.  During my college years, a lot of my close friends were premeds as well.  We would compete to see who could score the highest on test (seems nerdy in retrospect but paid off).  When feeling too tired to sit down and study, all it took was a glance at a buddy studying to get me up.

2)      Post motivational reminders in your room.  At the start of every year, I would decorate a push pin board and write all sorts of motivational quotes on it.  That board was right next to my bed and each day the quotes screamed success at me.  I had “failure is not an option”, “4.0”, and “don’t let them down” on that board.  These among other things kept me focused.

3)      Find good mentors.  I cannot emphasize the importance of this.  You absolutely MUST have someone guiding you who knows what he or she is talking about.  Don’t trust just any old Jim Bob on the street to tell you how to get into medical school.  Find someone who has either done it, or is on the way there!  And keep in mind, that’s why DiverseMedicine.org exist, to provide you with mentors!

4)      Set Goals!  It’s rather difficult to work to accomplish something if you don’t have goals in place.  Getting into medical school is a process, not just a single step.  Set goals along the way!  EVERY student should start off each semester with a GPA goal!  Why not aim for a 4.0?  If you miss maybe you’ll get a 3.7!  Set the goal and take it seriously!  Keep your eye on the prize!  Set study goals (e.g. I will learn topics x,y, and z tonight), set summer goals (e.g. I will apply for these summer programs).  Just set goals!!!

5)      Believe in something more important than Medicine itself! In other words, rely on God!  There will be plenty of times that things don’t go your way.  You will fail a test, not have enough money to pay semester dues, and lose loved ones.  Life happens and you cannot change that fact!  So, those nights when you are stressed, crying, hungry, etc; those nights when you wonder why you are chasing this dream of becoming a medical doctor; those nights when you tell yourself that you’d rather die than not be a doctor; remember that “after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you!” (1 Peter 5:10).  Also remember, one day, after you’ve achieved your goal of becoming a physician, life will continue.  Then what will you look forward to?  Medicine is great, but it isn’t the end all be all!

These are the things that will allow you to persist and work hard to get into medical school!  Stick to them and hopefully we’ll be welcoming you into the field in only a few short years!

 

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7 responses to The Secret to Getting Into Medical School Released!

  1. Thanks for the wise words. I needed that

  2. This has to be the best post EVER!! Number 5 is my favorite!!

  3. I think the only part which might discourage me, from applying to medical school in the future, is my GPA. I don’t bolster a fancy 4.0, GPA like many of my other peers.

    During my first two years in college, while at a JC, I was working 35+ hours a week(manual labor), and couldn’t always perfect the most impressive grades. I would come home dead tired. Not working wasn’t an option, as times were hard for my parents, yet they did everything to help put a roof over my head. Luckily this upcoming semester I’ll begin to take on the bulk of my “core” science courses.

    My overall GPA, will probably be significantly lower than my science GPA. As of now, my parents financial situation has improved, and I’m to attend school full time, without working, so I’m able to dedicate an enormous amount of time to studying…

    • That sounds like the start to an awesome personal statement. Admission committees look carefully at other strenuous activities you had to overcome. Just make sure you take full advantage of this time without working to raise that gpa. A lot of people get into med school without that high gpa. The rest of the package has to be solid though and the gpa trend needs to be trending up from here on! Keep working hard and take heed to the 5 tips above!

    • I agree with Dr. Dale response to Ean Hodge. . . you are more than your GPA. In fact, most ALL medical institutions are looking for people with more than just brains. As a physician for nearly 8 years (and a below average college GPA I might add with even more average MCATs), I can tell you that not ONE patient has asked me for college my GPA. . . nor have they asked me what I got on my standardized tests. . . not. one. single. time.

      My diploma and my resume don’t say how many tests I almost failed. . . or the tests I did fail. My patients will tell you that I have what many “big brains” don’t. . . compassion, sense of humor, faith, discipline, commitment to service.

      I agree with Dale, sounds like a great personal statement. . . you may notice that as a freshman, “everyone” wants to go into medicine. . . but by the end of the 4-5 years, how many are left standing? Sure, brains, background, and downright luck help. . . but the work ethic is what separated me from my peers. . . when I graduated from high school, the Dean of Medical School Admissions at my college sat me down in his office (who also happened to be a white male) and gave me the best advice anyone has relating to my desire for a career in medicine. He told me that it would not be easy. . . and if I really, really wanted it. . . I had to answer THREE QUESTIONS (and this changed my life):

      1) What do you want?
      2) How bad do you want it?

      and this is the one that separates Lebron James from Leroy James (who? exactly). . .

      3) What are you willing to do?

      If your GPA is low, what are you willing to do to make your application the strongest 2 point or 3 point something an admissions committee has ever seen? What are you willing to do regarding retaking courses that you didn’t do well on? What are you willing to do when you have a chance to study or party? What are you willing to do when you make the decision on who you will date or sleep with? What are you willing to do when faith is all you have to depend on?

      What do you want? How bad do you want it? What are you willing to do?

  4. Tip #5! That’s what I live by. Thank you so much for sharing!

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