Medical School Speaker Series: UT Houston
EVE SHARIFI An admissions representative from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston spoke to prospective medical students at UT on April 6, 2015. She began by emphasizing that medicine is a group effort and that one of the missions of the medical school is to train doctors who work well in group settings. She described a successful medical student as smart, selfless, sincere, educated, personable, honest, and a problem-solver.
Below are the most important areas she mentioned that the admissions committee considers when they look at each applicant’s qualifications in order to extend admissions offers:
- Academics: Enrolling in rigorous coursework and being involved in an honors program are some factors aside from GPA and MCAT scores that the admissions committee deems very important.
- Interpersonal characteristics: These include writing an engaging personal statement, holding leadership positions, involvement in long-term volunteering and community service projects, and delivering a personable interview.
- Stated motivation for medical school: This differs from one applicant to another, but an inappropriate answer can really destroy an applicant’s chances of getting an offer. Aside from showing a sincere and honest motivation for enrolling in medical school, students should also demonstrate interest through their own volunteering, research, and shadowing experiences. Students should reflect on these experiences in their essays.
- Professionalism: Another very important factor to admissions committees. Most often evaluated during the interview sessions.
When asked by several students about the value of taking a gap year, the representative commented that about a third of first-year medical students at UT Houston are actually non-traditional students and have taken a gap year. Taking a gap year does not hurt an applicant’s chances at all if he/she utilizes that time wisely. She emphasized that that an extra year should be utilized efficiently to gain more healthcare exposure and engage in meaningful learning experiences.