SupremeDoc

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I've been researching over summer about what it takes to stand out among all the other thousands of applicants applying to medical school, and a lot of articles have emphasized the importance of having a "narrative". For example, if your relative or someone close to you was affected by cancer, that could be your reason for wanting to pursue a career in medicine, and find treatments/a cure for cancer.

Your clinical volunteering and research could be related to aspects of Cancer, and for non-clinical volunteering, maybe you would tutor kids who have been affected with cancer. In essence, your whole application would have a strong and evident theme. This would probably make it easier for ad coms to remember your application, and thus, you would stand out.

At the top medical schools, its not enough to just have a checklist/laundry list of activities, or else you'll drown with the majority of the applicant pool into oblivion. This is exactly what I'm worried about. Personally, I have been fortunate enough to never have a loved one or anyone I know affected with any serious disease or illness. My reasons for wanting to become a physician are pretty cliche in my opinion; I love how medicine combines my passion for science and inclination to help/care for others in need. See what I mean? I'm sure a million other kids will say this exact thing during their medical school interview in response to being asked why they want to go to med school.

The activities I plan to pursue when I start college in the Fall (I'll be a Freshman) won't really have a theme. I plan to just do activities I enjoy, but at the same time prepare me for medical school while giving me a unique opportunity to write about/discuss when it's time to apply to medical school. But I feel like this is so much weaker than someone who has a very deep reason for joining medicine. I would never in a million years wish anything bad upon anyone I know just to write something for my personal statement, but I guess I need some kind of assurance.

Is it enough to get a good GPA, MCAT score, participate in clinical/non-clinical activities that are meaningful to me, shadow, maybe do some research, but have absolutely no "theme" or "narrative"? I want to do all of this solely based on pure passion; I don't have any deep reason or vengeful desire. Any tips/advice would help a lot, thank you.
 

Ad2b

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It is probably safe to say that one does not "pursue" a narrative; it comes naturally via all the activities you're involved in.

Be happy. Pursue excellence. Be kind, gracious, humble. The rest will come! Good luck this coming year :)
 

NotASerialKiller

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I've been researching over summer about what it takes to stand out among all the other thousands of applicants applying to medical school, and a lot of articles have emphasized the importance of having a "narrative". For example, if your relative or someone close to you was affected by cancer, that could be your reason for wanting to pursue a career in medicine, and find treatments/a cure for cancer.

Your clinical volunteering and research could be related to aspects of Cancer, and for non-clinical volunteering, maybe you would tutor kids who have been affected with cancer. In essence, your whole application would have a strong and evident theme. This would probably make it easier for ad coms to remember your application, and thus, you would stand out.

At the top medical schools, its not enough to just have a checklist/laundry list of activities, or else you'll drown with the majority of the applicant pool into oblivion. This is exactly what I'm worried about. Personally, I have been fortunate enough to never have a loved one or anyone I know affected with any serious disease or illness. My reasons for wanting to become a physician are pretty cliche in my opinion; I love how medicine combines my passion for science and inclination to help/care for others in need. See what I mean? I'm sure a million other kids will say this exact thing during their medical school interview in response to being asked why they want to go to med school.

The activities I plan to pursue when I start college in the Fall (I'll be a Freshman) won't really have a theme. I plan to just do activities I enjoy, but at the same time prepare me for medical school while giving me a unique opportunity to write about/discuss when it's time to apply to medical school. But I feel like this is so much weaker than someone who has a very deep reason for joining medicine. I would never in a million years wish anything bad upon anyone I know just to write something for my personal statement, but I guess I need some kind of assurance.

Is it enough to get a good GPA, MCAT score, participate in clinical/non-clinical activities that are meaningful to me, shadow, maybe do some research, but have absolutely no "theme" or "narrative"? I want to do all of this solely based on pure passion; I don't have any deep reason or vengeful desire. Any tips/advice would help a lot, thank you.
Wanting to be a doctor because a relative of yours had cancer is actually pretty cliche. If your stats are good and your ECs are meaningful to you then you're set.

Also you might have just used the wrong word, but vengeance generally isn't the kind of motivator med schools want applicants to be fueled by (unfortunately for me).
 

Goro

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The activities I plan to pursue when I start college in the Fall (I'll be a Freshman) won't really have a theme. I plan to just do activities I enjoy, but at the same time prepare me for medical school while giving me a unique opportunity to write about/discuss when it's time to apply to medical school. But I feel like this is so much weaker than someone who has a very deep reason for joining medicine. I would never in a million years wish anything bad upon anyone I know just to write something for my personal statement, but I guess I need some kind of assurance.

Is it enough to get a good GPA, MCAT score, participate in clinical/non-clinical activities that are meaningful to me, shadow, maybe do some research, but have absolutely no "theme" or "narrative"? I want to do all of this solely based on pure passion; I don't have any deep reason or vengeful desire. Any tips/advice would help a lot, thank you.
In the bold, this is the whole idea. Just do this, and you will be fine.

Theme? What moron told you about that?

Just do what you love and love what you do.

As a teaching moment, the reason why someone might suggest that you shadow, say, an oncologist if you have a relative with cancer is that you know exactly what you're dealing with, instead of being a starry-eyed deer in the headlight 19 year old who's constantly saying "I'm going to be a pediatric neurosurgeon" who has yet to ever set foot in a hospital or talk to a surgeon.
 
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WedgeDawg

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Most people who get into top med schools have good stats, pursue ECs that are interesting to them, and excel at them. The notion that you need a narrative or theme is bs. Cookie cutter applicants get into Harvard and Hopkins every day. They do all the things most people do, but they just do them exceptionally well.
 
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SupremeDoc

SupremeDoc

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@Ad2b I definitely will, thank you for the advice!

@NotASerialKiller
If your stats are good and your ECs are meaningful to you then you're set.
I'm very glad to hear that; I guess I will continue to follow my original plan, which was to study hard, and involve myself in activities I'm passionate about.

@Goro I suppose I shouldn't believe everything I see on the internet :p. Your advice, as always, is greatly appreciated :).

@WedgeDawg Thank you for appeasing my concern; before, I was under the false pretense that every Harvard/Hopkins admit had come from some special circumstance or something.
 
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DBC03

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Honestly, I realized my narrative well after submitting my primary and half way through secondaries. The narrative I realized was, "wow, I was doing xyz back in the day, which I *really* loved." That kind of led me back to medicine and I after writing a bunch of primaries, I got back involved with xyz type of activities because I was reminded of just how much I love it. Do what you love - that is what makes you unique and interesting. We have doctors that love providing longitudinal care and developing close relationships with patients. We have surgeons who primarily work trauma and may see their patients only once more after surgery. And we have pathologists who like looking at tissues and hardly interact with patients at all. We need all of these doctors and they all have different interests. So pursue what you love and that will lead you to why you want to be a doctor and what kind of doctor you want to be.
 
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raiderette

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The reason you first thought about being a doctor doesn't matter as much as the steps you took to become one. Through clinical and non-clinical volunteering, research, classes and hobbies, you will figure out if you want to be a doctor and your character will drive any narrative.

Sent from my QTAQZ3 using Tapatalk
 
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AnatomyGrey12

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Is it enough to get a good GPA, MCAT score, participate in clinical/non-clinical activities that are meaningful to me, shadow, maybe do some research, but have absolutely no "theme" or "narrative"? I want to do all of this solely based on pure passion; I don't have any deep reason or vengeful desire. Any tips/advice would help a lot, thank yo
Yep! However for top schools you will need to excel at all aspects: GPA, MCAT, ECs.
 
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Goro

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What if I'm one year away from applying and have noticed a theme in my activities (after loads of self reflection)..would crafting an application around a specific theme be naive? Would it depend on the theme?
It's fine. Your app will speak for itself.
 
Aug 16, 2017
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It is probably safe to say that one does not "pursue" a narrative; it comes naturally via all the activities you're involved in.

Be happy. Pursue excellence. Be kind, gracious, humble. The rest will come! Good luck this coming year :)
I would agree; one's life should hopefully be eventful enough to speak intelligently and passionately about it.