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Why do you want to apply to this school?

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wadels

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So I've started to get a few secondaries trickle in and every single school invariably asks something along the lines of "Explain why you want to apply to our school?" I've struggled a lot with coming up with anything convincing.

The thing is, I cast my net pretty broadly and chose schools with lower average GPAs. I'm not really picky about location (although I would like to stay out of the freezing cold) so that wasn't a huge factor for me in putting together my list.

I realize that I can't just say "I chose this school because I think I have a chance of getting in with my ****ty GPA and good MCAT score." While I do research the individual schools and look up what they emphasize or focus on, it also seems really cheesy to me to say "I want to attend ___ because I believe that their interdisciplinary model of learning is very beneficial...blahblahblah."

Not looking for any answers here, just some tips on how not to sound like a drone when I write these essays.
 
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So I've started to get a few secondaries trickle in and every single school invariably asks something along the lines of "Explain why you want to apply to our school?" I've struggled a lot with coming up with anything convincing.

The thing is, I cast my net pretty broadly and chose schools with lower average GPAs. I'm not really picky about location (although I would like to stay out of the freezing cold) so that wasn't a huge factor for me in putting together my list.

I realize that I can't just say "I chose this school because I think I have a chance of getting in with my ****ty GPA and good MCAT score." While I do research the individual schools and look up what they emphasize or focus on, it also seems really cheesy to me to say "I want to attend ___ because I believe that their interdisciplinary model of learning is very beneficial...blahblahblah."

Not looking for any answers here, just some tips on how not to sound like a drone when I write these essays.
Don't cite low tuition or "My mom works there," but much else is fine, like early clinical exposure, availability of local med-school run free clinics, research done in your area of expertise, preferred mode of curriculum (problem-based, systems, block, traditional lecture) especially if you have experience with that form, collaborative learning, having a local support system, favored nearby recreational opportunities, etc. I even think that mentioning one's stats are on par with those of past acceptees is OK to say.
 
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Crayola227

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this is a test -

not just of how well you know THIS school, but how well do you understand medical education, since that is what you are proposing to dedicate the next 4 years of your life to? how well do you understand yourself in this process, and how that all meshes to ideas you have for your ultimate career goals (remember, it's not uncommon they ask what sort of medicine you might see yourself doing in 5-10 years)

have you done enough research (hint you can find some using the SDN search button!!!) to speak to things like Cat said - systems vs block based and how that fits your learning style, timing the Steps and study period (do not bring up vacation!!), resources they have like online curriculum, you can talk about the patient population you are most likely to see and why you want that exposure, what affiliations the school has with community hospitals or a VA (bonus if you can say why that matters to you!), emphasis on primary care, these are just ideas going on and on, but I think if you can show something thoughtful in terms of identifying something about yourself and how that ties to the way this school teaches medicine, that's the win

if you have decently strong family ties to the area that's good

I will disagree with the almighty @Catalystik & @gyngyn in that on interview day, we were asked roundtable style why each of us were interested in this particular school, and someone mentioned nearby recreational activities, and got the tongue-lashing of their life about how rotten that was and they should never say that -- their rationale seemed strong to me, so I recommend that you find things about the *school you will be attending to be a doctor and spending most of your time* more than the location or activities. Make the school feel like you want them so they should want you - not that you're marrying them for the dowry of good skiing nearby. those should be lowest on the list of your priorities

funnily enough, for residency in certain specialties, the non-competitive ones, the script completely reverses and ALL anyone wants to talk about it geography, weather, and rec activities and local food (tuck that away for later)
 
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osckey

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Why do you want to join our school?

"Because you award the degree that allows me to enter the profession I want to be in. Are we done here?"

That's the answer I always wanted to give with those questions. Like others above me have mentioned, it's a question used to see what you know about the school's programs, focus, and mission. Read about those on the school's website and tailor your answer to what you find there. Of course, in the span of doing your research you may find several schools that you actually don't want to go to. I had several schools whose secondaries I did not finish because upon further review I felt like I didn't match well with their mission or purpose.
 
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Why do you want to join our school?

"Because you award the degree that allows me to enter the profession I want to be in. Are we done here?"

That's the answer I always wanted to give with those questions.
This question is also a test of good "social filters" and, obviously, you passed by failing to give this answer.
 
L

LoveBeingHuman:)

Don't cite low tuition or "My mom works there," but much else is fine, like early clinical exposure, availability of local med-school run free clinics, research done in your area of expertise, preferred mode of curriculum (problem-based, systems, block, traditional lecture) especially if you have experience with that form, collaborative learning, having a local support system, favored nearby recreational opportunities, etc. I even think that mentioning one's stats are on par with those of past acceptees is OK to say.

I know that medical schools watch out for students who deliberately make it seems as if their goals match up with the school's mission statement (thinking that these students are doing it just to increase their chances of getting in?). However, what should you do if your goals genuinely do match up with the mission statement and you want to let the school know that that you are interested with being the type of doctor they want to produce without being tagged as an applicant trying to do it intentionally for the wrong reasons?
 
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I know that medical schools watch out for students who deliberately make it seems as if their goals match up with the school's mission statement (thinking that these students are doing it just to increase their chances of getting in?). However, what should you do if your goals genuinely do match up with the mission statement and you want to let the school know that that you are interested with being the type of doctor they want to produce without being tagged as an applicant trying to do it intentionally for the wrong reasons?
I don't think there's any way a med school can guard against clever feigners or sort out who is genuine. I look at the question as an attempt to get one to look more deeply into what the school has to offer and think about it. If you are in accord with a school's mission, your ECs will support that, not your statement. So, "Show" rather than "Tell." JMO.
 
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AirplaneFruit

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what affiliations the school has with community hospitals or a VA (bonus if you can say why that matters to you!)

you can talk about the patient population you are most likely to see and why you want that exposure


Aren't these the same thing? Why I want to work at a specific community hospital is because of a specific patient population, etc.?

Also, what about location based hospital affiliations? For example, Dartmouth has an affiliation (that they mention prominently) with a San Francisco hospital. So it's a "large, urban teaching hospital with diverse patient populations."

That's like totally opposite of what Dartmouth's "feel" is and is also 3,000 miles away. Dartmouth is not urban, not large, not that diverse, and not California.

However, I am attracted to a large urban hospital in California because that's where I want to work (all three of those attributes).

Will it look bad to mention this particular affiliation?


Will they just say: OK why don't you just go to UCLA then?


More info: https://geiselmed.dartmouth.edu/ed_programs/teachinghospitals/
 

Crayola227

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um there's a way to make it all about the main location, Dartmouth, and just toss in a line, about how impressed you are that they have a transnational affiliation that affords a view of medical practice on the other coast, as the medical culture differs greatly, and it allows you to experience the practice of medicine in a smaller... blah blah

you need to express excitement over the exposure to BOTH practice environments

sorry, I reserve the right to stop writing this essays for you as soon as I feel like stopping

I hope this gives some direction
 
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