Aspire to Achieve: Three Core Qualities for Medical School Programs
When we are children, we always dream of the potential careers that we would like to pursue in order to become successful. For me, this started out as a swimming teacher at age five, a dentist at age ten, a lawyer at age fifteen, and now, my end and final career aspiration, a physician at age nineteen. After months of research, a plethora of college application supplemental essays, and countless interviews, I believe that there are three qualities that direct medical school programs look for in potential applicants. Before I get into that, let me explain more about what these programs are all about.
A direct medical school program is a program offered by many colleges around the United States where individuals who are selected receive conditional acceptance to the affiliated medical school, a path that can take either seven or eight years. These programs potentially eliminate the hassle of traditionally applying to medical schools after achieving an undergraduate degree as they are guaranteed programs as long as the program requirements are met. The program I am currently in is at Rutgers Camden which has an affiliation with Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine. A couple of other programs that I had personally looked into and had gotten accepted in are at Union College in conjunction with Albany Medical College, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in conjunction with New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, and New York Institute of Technology in conjunction with New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine. These programs are very difficult to get into, but the good thing is they are no longer looking for the "cookie-cutter" students with perfect GPAs and standardized test scores. This article will help you all understand what I believe to be are the three core qualities individuals must have in order to succeed in gaining acceptance in these programs.
The first core quality that I believe is important for these programs is leadership. Leadership comes in many shapes and forms, whether it be in school in the classroom or in clubs, or out of school with different organizations. Personally, I showed my leadership by being a part of the student council, becoming President of my Interact Club and the National Honor Society at school, and being a board member for my school's chapter of HOSA: Future Health Professionals. Leadership does not have to be grand or noticeable, but the quality should be possessed by being able to take charge in a situation and work with team members in order to achieve a common goal. It is then that people will see you as a team player who is able to take the stress of being in charge and delivering results with the help of your team members. After all, this is what a Physician does in the workplace, and so it is very important to possess this quality.
The second core quality that I believe is important for these programs is community service. Community service is more than just showing off volunteering hours and simply getting a paper signed. Service to the community should come from within and should motivate you to be selfless and help others, especially in their time of need. I personally did this as a certified Emergency Medical Technician who volunteers at my local emergency squad, delivering quality care in an expedited fashion to help patients in need. Whether it be tutoring underprivileged populations or giving time at your local food bank, community service goes a long way in showing that you care about others and that you are willing to put in the work in order to serve the general public. It is a Physician's job to provide for individuals when they are hurting, whether it be physically, mentally, or emotionally, and taking part in community service demonstrates that you have taken the first step.
Depending on where you live, there are local squads everywhere that are always looking for volunteers to help out!
An EMT course is required in order to get a certification. Check out your local agencies to see if they offer this service for you and get certified to help others!!!
The last core quality that I believe is important for these programs is extra-curricular activities. As mentioned before, these programs do not want to see only students with the perfect GPA and top standardized test scores. They want to see that you have the ability to live a balanced life that combines your hobbies and interests while keeping up with academics. For example, some of the extracurriculars I was involved in were music, including singing and playing the guitar, and art apart from the clubs at school. I was also the manager of my high school soccer team and helped to support their needs as well. Being a part of a couple of extra-curricular activities allows for different strengths to the surface and demonstrates what a well-rounded individual you become. This is also relative to being a physician as they are aware that you are able to balance multiple different responsibilities while still being able to manage a work-life balance.
Based on my personal experiences and acceptances, I can safely say that these are the three most important qualities that individuals on the panel for medical school programs look for in their students. Be the person you want to be in order to help others instead of the person society wants you to be. Use your strengths, be confident in your decisions, and help others, and success will follow your path. As Mahatma Gandhi once stated, "Be the change you wish to see in the world" and the world will stand by you!Comment below your strengths and how they help you in your career and feel free to ask any questions at all!
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