Common Mistakes Made by Applicants
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Completing Your Application Late
Applicants should plan to complete the entire application (including supporting documents, photos, fees, etc.) by the end of the summer prior to the year of planned enrollment. This also includes the timely submission of your Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score(s).
Apparent Lack of Knowledge of Osteopathic Medicine
It is the expectation of the Admissions Committee that applicants have at least some reasonable knowledge of the tenets and practice of osteopathic medicine. It is the applicant’s responsibility to conduct research on the topic. Another method that has been seen as beneficial is spending time with a D.O. in practice.
Apparent Lack of Knowledge of the Medical Profession
Since you are making a long-term commitment of entering this profession, the Admissions Committee expects applicants to have some knowledge of the nature of daily medical practice as well as the social, economic and political issues surrounding the medical profession. There are many issues surrounding patient care that go beyond diagnosis and treatment such as liability insurance, federal or state funding of medical care, research ethics or health insurance systems.
Poorly Written Personal Statements
While there is no template of what should be written on your personal statement. However, applicants should be able to express their thoughts and ideas in an organized and meaningful manner. Typically, we ask that applicants identify their underlying motivation for a career in medicine, personal qualities they possess that will benefit the profession and their future patients, potential careers goals in medicine, and any components that they wish to highlight or address such as other portions of the application like adverse changes in their academic record or significant learning experiences that may have influenced their development as a human being.
Using the Same Application from Last Year
The Admissions Committee expects improvement on your reapplication. Do not submit the same answers to your essays from the previous year. There should be new information or experiences over the past year that can be incorporated into a new application. Using ‘cut and paste’ indicates a lack of effort.
Not Retaking the MCAT When the Applicant Knows That Their Score is Not Competitive
If you know that your MCAT score is far lower than those who are normally admitted, you should consider retaking the test to gain a higher score. This is especially true for those who have only taken it once.
Not Including Specific Information in Response to Activity Questions
The Admissions Committee carefully evaluates your extracurricular and health-related activities. Be sure to provide in-depth information about them including the time-frame and number of hours per week. Lack of information or providing inconsistent information does not present itself well on your application.
Failing to Complete the Prerequisite Courses
The prerequisite courses are required for admission. There is no policy on waiving these requirements. Therefore, you should demonstrate on your application that you will complete them no later than the first day of medical school. Some medical schools may want them completed prior to your application so be sure to read their guidelines carefully.
Demonstrating No Improvement from Last Year’s Application
If you were unsuccessful in your previous application, you should evaluate how to improve your future application. On the TMDSAS application, there is space to answer what you have done to improve your application from the previous year. Do not leave this question blank. If you have nothing to add, then you should be concerned about how your reapplication will be perceived by the medical schools.
Submitting False or Misleading Information on the New Application
Unfortunately, there are occasions that applicants submit materials that either misinform the Admissions Committee or omit information that was asked of them during the application process. It is the best policy to be honest during the admissions process. Be sure to be complete and comprehensive in responding to questions on the application.
Quitting Activities after Graduation
While your lifestyle may change after graduation (obtaining full-time employment), applicants are expected to maintain some involvement in their community and health-related service activities. It is our perspective that medicine is a profession of service and we look to find those who continue to engage themselves in these activities.
Applicants who do not Interview well
Since one of the key components of medical practice is communication, interviews are a very important part of the admissions process.
This is a difficult area to assess since many applicants are not certain how they actually performed in their interview. However, if you were having difficulty answering questions or know that it is very difficult for you to communicate with strangers, then you may want to practice interviewing with friends or take a public speaking course to help you overcome any anxiety you may experience in an interview situation.