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1. Develop an outline 

Medical school admission is extremely competitive, and the AMCAS statement is often the key differentiator when medical school admissions committees make their final decisions. It is crucial that you develop an outline for your AMCAS statement because you need to have confidence in what your statement will say before you develop the statement itself.  Most importantly, the outline can keep you from committing the sin of “telling but not showing” your committee reader your strengths, because in the outline you will make room for the evidence to back up your assertions.

2. Offer the evidence

This is the most important thing to do in your medical school admission essay. In the AMCAS statement the key thing to keep in mind is to provide specific examples when you are describing your strengths and what you bring to the program. Provide details in the form of the names of the doctors you shadowed, the focus of the research you performed, the names of any associated publications, and the specific names and settings of the places where you volunteered.

3.  Don’t just “touch the bases”: touch the one base that matters

Medical school admissions committees see many five-paragraph AMCAS statements that “touch the bases.”  In the first paragraph one learns the candidate has always wanted to be a doctor (a major problem in terms of an assertion, but this does not keep many candidates from making it).   The next three paragraphs address (1) clinical experience; (2) community service experience; and (3) research experience, not necessarily in that order.  The conclusion says that these experiences have all prepared the candidate for medical school.  In this case, an uninspired format tends to suggest an uninspired candidate.  Why not focus on the one thing you did best?

4. Keep it simple

Beautiful English constructions that offer “observations” about the nature of medicine will work against you.  Keep the English and your story simple, the way you would for a good friend. Because making the reader your friend – not “impressing” the reader – is your goal in the medical school admission essay.

5.  Don’t try to sound like a doctor

This is a bad idea because this is just another way of trying to impress the reader – which it is not your goal to do in your AMCAS statement.  You want the reader to like you, and to want you in the program. Keeping it simple and straightforward is often the very best approach.

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