Sometimes, whether you’re accepted to med school comes down to the numbers (GPA / MCAT score), and you can’t change those. However, there are many areas you can improve on – or spin to create a more impressive resume.
These tips below can help you build a strong, professional resume to help your acceptance chances.
Stop: Take a step back before you begin your resume, med school application or anything else. Try to find a theme, belief or mantra that describes you or what you stand for and thread it throughout your entire application. Write a little blurb about yourself, stating why you are bound for a great medical career, but do not include it on your resume. Create it around your qualities and skills and write everything in your application from that blurb.
Objective statement: This should speak to your core belief. Med schools want to see that you’re a passionate, enthusiastic student heading for a profound medical career, and your objective statement should indicate that. But, “passionate, enthusiastic student heading for a profound medical career” is a terrible objective statement because an admissions counselor has read that before.
Take some time with your objective statement, and boil it down to the one unique quality you have that will make you a catch at any med school – similar to the blurb you write about yourself.
If you’re interested in research, your objective statement could speak to your desire to find a solution to every problem – or your statement could be about how you will to help people through the gift of medicine. Work on your objective statement and write something completely unique, something that will make a med school counselor stop and think.
Benefit-driven work experience: Med schools’ admissions are very competitive, and only about half (or less) of the students who apply are actually accepted. Nearly every admitted student will have a prestigious internship; so simply having one will not help you much. You need to indicate that what you did during your internship helped the practice and ultimately its patients. Med schools want to see tangible results of your efforts. Write as specific and detailed as you possibly can about your internship experience.
Don’t just write: “worked closely with doctors, patients, nurses, etc.” Instead, write: “Administered medicinal injections for quicker/more effective patient support. Analyzed blood/urine samples for more sophisticated data entry.” As an intern, you will most likely handle a lot of administrative work like filing patient records or data. But, med schools don’t care if you are the world’s quickest filer. Write about your medicine-related duties.
Use resume paper: If you are mailing in your resume, use resume paper. It will make you look more professional.
Use a template: You’re on your way to becoming a doctor, not a graphic artist. There’s no shame in using an existing resume template. Aesthetically pleasing templates are readily available online and maybe even on your computer in programs like Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and even Microsoft Office. But, your resume should still look professional, and make sure you have lots of white space because that makes it easier to read.
Academic accolades: Include where you went for undergraduate school and what honors or accolades you earned. Include what groups, clubs, organizations, extracurricular activities, etc. you were a part of and what results you created there.
Contact info: Name, permanent address, email address, phone number, and website (if you have it) should all be in the header on your resume.
Strong GPA: At this point, you cannot change your GPA or MCAT score (for those of you who have not taken the MCAT yet, you should strongly consider a private MCAT tutor). But, you should have at least a 3.5 GPA to be competitive at mid-level med schools. You will probably need around a 3.7 or higher for top tier schools. The average GPA is 3.57 for students who get accepted into med school, and that number is rising, according to eHow.com. However, some students who have lower GPAs opt not to include it in their resumes. This could work in your favor, but remember: the school is going to see your GPA one way or another.
Learn how MCAT tutors can help you improve your chances of acceptance into a top med school.
High MCATscore: This could be the most important factor on your resume because the MCAT allows med schools to compare any and all students. But again, you cannot change it. The average MCAT score for accepted students is a 30, and rising. But, if you want to be competitive at top med schools, you will need to at least be in the 33-36 range.