Mind over Matter: Tips for Applying to Medical School

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Applying to medical school, while an exciting time in one’s life, can also feel incredibly daunting for those aspiring to enter the medical profession. The reality is that the number of medical school applicants each year far outweighs the number of seats available, and this contributes to a process rife with competition and stress. To increase chances of success and reach full potential, I believe it is important for applicants to adopt a healthy mindset that can be carried throughout the various stages of the medical school application process. Here are some pointers to help achieve a focused and positive mindset:

1. Control what you can control. Identify what factors are uncontrollable (e.g. final decision of admissions committee) versus those that can be manipulated (e.g. how you present yourself during an interview). Direct all your energy towards factors that fall in the latter category, realizing that there is little benefit to ruminating on anything else. For example, in the 2019 NBA Finals, Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors did an excellent job of staying in the moment and focusing on his performance in each game. He did not let the high stakes and pressure consume him.

2. Try not to compare yourself to others. It is sometimes easy to lose confidence when hearing of other applicants who are elite athletes, PhD holders, entrepreneurs, etc. Realize that everyone has their own unique story along with strengths/weaknesses.

3. Continue to pursue activities that make you happy. This is different for each individual but may include things such as exercising, listening to music, practicing one’s faith, and socializing with friends. I find that this serves as a reminder to enjoy the process and remain true to yourself at all times.

While I speak from personal experience and do not have any formal training in psychology, I do think that our everyday thoughts shape our future achievements and the power of the mind should not be underestimated.

Check out more blogs on the medical school application process:
7-Step Guide to Completing your Medical School Application
Start Preparing your CV and ABS for Med School
5 Tips for Applying to Med School
Perfecting your OMSAS ABS
Write a Solid Personal Statement
7 Tips for Applying to UofT