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What Should Med Schools Consider? An Applicant Weighs In

There has been tremendous discussion and debate recently regarding the changing landscape of medical education and the traits needed in future physicians. A shift to competency-based education has been in the works for several years.

Allan Joseph, a medical school applicant, has weighed in on a few elements that he thinks med schools should consider in applicants. He highlights extracurricular experiences, with emphasis on the word experience. Instead of having med schools consider only the extent of applicants’ experiences, he suggests that they consider more fully the skills that students have learned from the experiences, especially if they were not in a position of leadership. He cites communication skills, along with the ability to work in a team and to juggle competing demands as particular strengths that one learns in extracurricular endeavors.

In addition, he believes that interviews which help medical schools identify applicants’ willingness and ability to brainstorm and work collegially with others–as in the interview format at Northwestern, for example–to be helpful. He also supports the multiple mini interview, in which applicants are given the opportunity to discuss ethical issues and/or hypothetical situations as they do at Duke and a number of other schools. The applicant believes that these types of interviews are particularly helpful in identifying traits that med schools prize, and he also believes these interviews are more objective–and thus more fair–than the standard interview format.

Liza Thompson, Expert Medical School Admissions Consulting

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