My Med School Application: How Can I Stand Out?

At a school with so many premedical students, it can seem that everyone is the same — taking the required courses, volunteering, conducting research and planning to move forward into a medical career.  Frequently, future applicants will lament that there is nothing about their application that will “stand out” and grab the attention of admissions staff during the application process.  From the point of view of your pre-health advisors, however, the applications to medical school from Penn students and alumni reflect a great diversity of interests and talents.  Instead of asking, “How can I stand out?” the question might be reconsidered as “How can I stand up?”  Instead of thinking about how you can distinguish yourself amongst peers, consider how you can best spend your time to satisfy your intellectual curiosity, serve others, engage with your community or challenge yourself.  An application that “stands out” frequently is submitted by a person who didn’t spend a great deal of time calculating how to make that happen and stood up for their interests with passion and commitment.  Have faith that if you are a good fit for medicine, have explored the field, and have developed yourself personally and professionally according to your inclinations, you will be noticed.

Author: Carol Hagan

Carol Hagan is a pre-health and pre-grad advisor in Career Services. She has a Ph.D. in art history from Penn and did her undergraduate work at Wesleyan University.