80% of students never get past extremely basic research. Basic research tells you things like what the GPA and MCAT averages are, what the deadlines of applications are, and what are the admissions requirement specifics of that school. That is it. That research is easy to do, everyone knows it, and most importantly DOES NOT get you into medical school
As I've become better at getting people accepted to medical school, I've heard people over and over comment on how "random" they thought the admission process is. Attitudes like "just apply to as many schools as you can afford because it's a crap shoot" are very predominant feelings among applicants. This is perhaps the MOST WRONG applicants are about the entire application process.
Schools have a very specific set of criteria they are looking for in their applicants. If you don't know what that criteria is, you might get lucky and just happen to get it right or you may not. That is why people think the process is so random. You're job is to do the research so you don't have to depend on luck. If you know what schools look for in applicants, you can apply strongly to schools in a way that makes you extremely likely to get accepted.
I used to call lack of research "applying blind," and researched applications I would call "educated application" however I recently read a blog that said it better when they said that un-researched applications were like using a shotgun with pebbles flying everywhere and hoping they hit something, and compared that to researched applications which he said was like a sniper shot, one shot, one kill. Here's the question that really drives this point home: If competitive schools are farther away on a shooting range and you shoot a sniper rifle or a shotgun, which is more likely to be a hit? Research is that powerful, it literally will make the difference at the schools that matter most to you.
Great question. This question in answered somewhat differently for every school. Some schools have a very specific criteria that they judge students on. This is often called "behavioral competencies." And what it means is that the school will look at you and try to answer questions about which areas you are strong in. Some of examples of these questions may be:
And the list can go on. Every school looks at these things differently, and oftentimes each school has their 1-2 things that are more important to them than the rest.
Other schools, however, don't have a set, strict criteria that they judge student off of. They instead have a more loose criteria that probably is not written anywhere. Oftentimes this is a result of the opinion of the admissions committee chair deciding what makes a good student, combined with the research done by the school. This is both advantageous and disadvantageous to your research as it makes it easier to get a decent idea of what they look for, but harder to get a picture perfect view.
Your job, no matter how the criteria is set up, is to find out as much as you can about it. Once you have done that you can show the school what you have done in your life that proves your level of competency in areas that are important to the school you are applying to.
This is by far one of the hardest things you can do in the application process. But it really will increase your chances of getting in to any specific school by 2-3 times. The biggest reason that I have a 96% acceptance rate with the students I coach is because of this principle. I've seen people with numbers well below the schools average get accepted because of this principle alone, and you can to.
If you would like some help doing this research, I've done it for many schools and can show you how to do it as well. Come over to my admission to medical school coaching page, sign up for the coaching, and I'll show you how to do this research in a way that doesn't offend anyone at the school, and actually makes them like you more. I believe it to be the MOST valuable part of my coaching that I offer.
As always, if coaching is not for you, please enjoy the free information on my medical school confidant website as well as the remainder of the days on this course. It will continue to help you to get into school easier even without the coaching.
Day 3 is all about the EASIEST thing you can do to increase your chances of medical school admission. Hope you see you there.
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