How to Stand out as an Applicant Without Any Awards or Recognitions

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During our recent MedSchoolCoach webinar, “Establishing Your Brand: How to be Unique When Applying to Medical School”, Dr. Mehta, CEO of MedSchoolCoach, spoke with Dr. Katzen, MedSchoolCoach Master Advisor, about his take on not having awards or recognitions on your medical school application and if this can hurt your chances of being accepted. Read more about this topic from a previous admissions committee member below!

Dr. Mehta:  Dr. Katzen, here’s a quick question for you. Do medical schools look down upon an applicant who doesn’t have any awards or recognitions on his or her application?

Dr. Katzen:  Again, I think that this gets to how do you look at the application as a total entity. As we mentioned before, there are a couple of components that I think are very key that go beyond, as Dr. Mehta mentioned, the GPA and the MCAT. What is it that you put forth about yourself in the personal statement? And how creative, or I’ll use the word strategically again, do you utilize the MCAT’s activities? Are there other things that you have done, or other awards that you have done, that you can bring to show different aspects of what you have done? These don’t necessarily have to be scientific or academic. Can you show that you were a leader? Can you show that you’re artistic? Those types of things can help you put together a stronger application.

And, you know, when I work with the applicants, I like to take a while to interview them because sometimes we find things that we think may be of value just by talking to them; we learn things about the applicant that strengthens their application, even if there is not a specific academic or other honor.

Dr. Mehta:  Great. Thank you.