50 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing Your Medical School Essays

InGenius Prep

50 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing Your Medical School Essays

To stand out among the tough medical school application pool, strong grades and stellar MCAT scores aren’t enough. You need to use your personal statement to tell a compelling story and convince admissions officers why you’re a unique, must-have candidate. So, your medical school essays should demonstrate that you are genuinely passionate about medicine.

This can be done in a number of ways: you might give specific examples of personal events which kindled your passion for medicine, write about experiences in the medical field that furthered your determination to attend medical school, or describe your ambitions for a future medical career. By the end of your medical school essays, admissions officers should believe that your interest in medicine is genuine and enduring: i.e. – that your decision to attend med school results from years of introspection, reflection, and experience.

For many, it is extremely difficult to articulate why they are interested in medicine or know where to start when it comes to brainstorming their response. One of the best ways to come up with grist for this task is to ask yourself the following 50 questions before you start writing your medical school essays:

Questions About Your Passion for Medicine

  • When did you first know you wanted to go to medical school? When did you first want to become a doctor?
  • Did your passion to pursue a career in medicine grow over time? Why?
  • Alternatively, was there a formative event which sparked your interest in medicine?
  • What motivates you to learn more about medicine?Have the areas of medicine which most interest you changed and evolved? Why?
  • What was your biggest concern when making this decision to attend med school, and how did you overcome it?
  • What significance does medicine play in your life?
  • Is there a particular area of medicine which is especially interesting to you? Why?
  • Have you ever worked in a hospital? What did you like about it?
  • What are you most excited about when it comes to working with patients?
  • Have you had a meaningful experience conducting research in a lab?
  • Have you volunteered in a medical setting? What did you enjoy about it?
  • What characteristics would you bring to the field of medicine?
  • What aspects of medical work are most appealing to you? Why?
  • Why would you be a good doctor?
  • Why do you think you will succeed in medical school?
  • Are there physicians who have been particularly influential in your life? In what ways have they influenced you?
  • If doctors were paid half as much, would you still go to medical school? Why?
  • If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you do? Why?
  • When you think about your future career, what first comes to mind? Try and be more specific than simply “being a doctor.” Who are you treating? Where? For what?
  • What can you bring to medical school that other students cannot?
  • What are your biggest career goals?
  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Questions About Your Interests

  • Do you have a passion outside medicine? How has it shaped you?
  • Do you have a really unique or unusual hobby?
  • What is something about you that people wouldn’t be easily able to guess?
  • How do you spend your free time?
  • What was your favorite subject in college? Why?
  • How have you explored your outside interests?
  • How do you express creativity?
  • Which current issues are you passionate about?
  • Who is your biggest inspiration or role model?
  • What extracurriculars did you participate in while in college? How did you have a positive impact on others through these activities?
  • Did you take a gap year? If so, how did you spend it?

Questions About Your Resumé

  • Have you had a work experience that shaped your personality and character? Can you describe it with anecdotes?
  • How have you honed your leadership skills?
  • In what circumstances have you cooperated with a team?
  • What challenges have you overcome?
  • What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Have you ever been in a situation where you were out of your comfort zone? How did you react?
  • Have you overcome any obstacles during your job or internship?
  • Are there any projects that you’re proud of?
  • What was the most challenging project you’ve worked on? How did it shape you?

Questions About Your Childhood and Background

  • Where did you grow up? How did your community have an impact on you?
  • How has your upbringing shaped your perspective?
  • Has your family played a role in your career choice?
  • What is the most unique or unusual thing about your family?
  • What do you appreciate the most about your culture?
  • Did you face any significant adversity growing up?
  • Is there an experience that changed your life in a positive or negative way?

However it is that you choose to reflect, you should always be asking follow-up questions to probe your justifications. That is, for every answer you formulate for the basic questions, “why do I want to go to medical school?” and “what can I bring that others can’t?,” you should subsequently ask why that answer is true, or how you can demonstrate that it is true. For example, if you want to attend medical school because you genuinely want to devote your life to helping others, you should ask yourself why that is the case, and show experiences you’ve had that can attest to this fact.

You also have to remember that the medical school admissions process has become more cutthroat than ever. You really need to tell your story in as compelling a way as possible to catch the reader’s eye. Don’t just choose any topic. Make sure that you go over each question and reflect on why you’ve chosen this path and what you can bring to it when thinking about your medical school essays

Before writing your medical school essays, dedicate a significant amount of time to brainstorming your choice of topic and thinking about how it can help distinguish you from the highly talented applicant pool. Admissions committee members will want to know that you haven’t made the decision lightly and hope to see commitment to the profession. Having more context on who you are and what kind of doctor you would make can help them understand you and picture you as part of their medical school community. Rest assured, the decision to attend medical school and become a doctor is one of the most momentous and significant decisions that you will ever make. You should treat it accordingly!

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