Advice from MCAT

Being a Unique Applicant: How to Stand Out From the Crowd

by Patrick Boyle, Kaplan Elite MCAT Instructor

How many of you have been in a lecture hall of over three hundred people? How about in an auditorium with over a thousand people? Now imagine walking into a stadium with 42,880 other people. I would imagine it would be very easy to feel anonymous in a crowd that large. Well, last year 42,880 of your peers applied to medical school. Last week, the new AMCAS application opened and the first applications will be submitted at the beginning of June. Now keeping in mind you are in a “stadium” with roughly 40,000 other applicants, how can you stand out from the crowd?

By the Numbers

Standing out in the application process is much more than the numbers you believe might define you. Every student who applies has a MCAT, a GPA, and all of the required prerequisite classes. If you have a strong MCAT and a strong GPA that is a fantastic start; however, don’t forget that there are many other applicants who have similar numbers – it takes more than that to get noticed.

Clinical Experience

Clinical experience is a must in medical school admissions. Most, if not all of your fellow applicants will have some form of clinical experience, but how was yours different? Were you able to observe in a distinctive setting? Do you have clinical experience abroad? Are you a nontraditional student that has had employment in a clinical setting? Above all, consider what you learned; even if the experience itself wasn’t unique, what you took from it should be.

Research Experience

Research experience is becoming ever more common in medical school applicants; however, it’s not truly considered required. Even if many other applicants have done research, yours was probably different. Were you published? Was the research you did in a new and upcoming field? Just like with clinical work, the key is to focus on how you set yourself apart – what were you able to take away from your research to help you in the future?

Personal Statement

The personal statement is your best chance to make your application memorable and unique. Here, you can really explain what makes you an individual. Each applicant has led a different life; the personal statement is a chance to show how the experiences in your life have shaped you and will continue to help you as a medical student. Don’t forget to check out last month’s blog post on writing the personal statement for additional tips on this subject.

Above and Beyond

Consider the things you were involved in that were unrelated to medicine? Were you on an athletic team? Have you played an instrument your whole life? Do you speak another language? There are plenty of things that make people individuals. Some people had to work their entire undergraduate careers to pay for college. Other applicants might be non-traditional students or members of the armed services. There are plenty of things that each of us does that should be included; the most important thing is to show admissions committees that you are a real, flesh and blood person. Don’t leave something out because it wasn’t academically or clinically related.

Today, diversity is more than the color of your skin or the origin of your ancestors; diversity can mean an experience you had abroad, an inspiration from a particular event while growing up, an experience from shadowing. Everyone has things that make them unique. One of the most important parts of the application process is being memorable to the admissions committee. Everyone follows their own path into medical school, and we will all eventually have our own path after. Remember that medical school is only the beginning – it is part of the journey into your life’s work, and that’s a story that only you can.


Medical Trials & All That: Part 1


Once more I begin a post by bringing the continually shameful state of my finances to the reader’s attention. Until I figure out a way of jailbreaking my current account and pushing its balance up, you will notice that much of my writing is motivated by my own poverty.

Let’s take ourselves back to June, 2008. A carelessly planned gap year between sixth form and the big, wide world of higher education had me lounging in the garden with more time on my hands than I knew what to do with. Battling the full force of stressed and agitated customers at a large retailer over the Christmas season had deterred me from ever seeking employment in the sector again. On top of that, I was led to surmise that the start of term would require a few shekels if I was to take part in the rites of self-destructive passage…

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Dental Prosthetist- Fix Up Your Dentures In A Proper Manner

Dental people, this one is for you

Brett Water

It is our duty and prime consideration to care for our teeth the most as if we won’t do it, then it will not last or will break soon. Not only this, for proper solutions of toothache, teeth whitening and teeth managing you can visit to the best dental clinicwho will definitely amaze you by giving you the healthy, proper and shiny dentures.

Apart this if you are more interested to construct or reconstruct your dentures for this you can highly recommend to the dental prosthetistas he is the person who is well expert and specialized in this dental profession and able to construct your overall dentures as the way you like to have.

Earlier, we used to spend huge time in the row at the dentist clinic to fit and clean dentures, but now its services are very fast, quick and clean. Now with the advanced technology…

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Breast cancer impersonates neurons to invade the brain

Well worth a read medical people


Women with breast cancer often enjoy several years in remission, only to then be given the devastating news that they have developed brain tumours. Now we are finally starting to understand how breast cancer cells are able to spread undetected in the brain: they masquerade as neurons and hijack their energy supply.

For every tumour that originates in the brain, 10 arrive there from other organ systems. Understanding how tumours spread, or metastasise, and survive in the brain is important because the survival rate of people with brain metastases is poor – only a fifth are still alive a year after being diagnosed.

Rahul Jandial, a neurosurgeon at the City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, California, wanted to explore how breast cancer cells are able to cross the blood-brain barrier and escape destruction by the immune system.

“If, by chance, a malignant breast cancer cell swimming…

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Something from the BMA

Top tips for medical students

We know how challenging it is to study medicine.

So we’ve pulled together this list of practical help and real life advice to get you through it.

See our light-hearted cartoon on the perils of being a medical student.

But first…
BMA members – make sure we know your most up-to-date details. That way, we can better support you with relevant local updates and advice.
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Not a BMA student member? Join the BMA and enjoy discounted rates on revision and careers resources to support your studies.
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You’re not alone
You may think you’re the only one feeling overwhelmed by starting medical school. Read these first hand experiences and you’ll see that others have been where you are now – and they survived.

For those times when you are tempted to jack it all in, read our inspirational stories about why medicine matters.

Follow #tipsformedstudents for more helpful hints

True stories about surviving medical school

#tipsformedstudents compilation on Storify (best viewed in Firefox or Google Chrome)

“The first time I…”

Common challenges while studying

Doctors4Doctors help and advice

My inspiration for becoming a doctor

Revision – help!
We have such an abundance of services, courses and learning modules to help you with your revision, that we may as well sit the exams for you.

Wishful thinking, we know. Instead, why don’t you take a look at the range of practical help we have to offer?

BMA Careers and Dr Clarke revision courses (99.7% pass rate)

BMA Library

BMJ Learning modules (free access for BMA members)

How healthy is your bank balance?
Finance while studying at university is bewildering, especially if you are a medical student. However, there is support out there.

Guide to medical student finances

How will you deal with an ethical problem?
Our essential tool kit for medical students as it gives you an introduction to common ethical problems that you may encounter and practical ways of thinking about how to solve them.

We have also produced a short video to give you an overview.

Ethics tool kit for students

Choosing your medical elective
Your medical elective, usually taken during your fourth or fifth year at medical school, can be one of the most rewarding parts of your medical education. Our guide will assist you in planning for a successful elective.

Guide to choosing your medical elective (BMA members only)

Go to to the bma web site. It’s worth a look


Blog for medical students