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What Makes a Good Applicant?

Suggestions to be a successful application

(Taken from OUHSC Health Advisors Day)

  • Join the Pre-Med / Pre-Health Club (or other available organizations)
  • Select a Major of Interest
  • Prioritize Academics
  • Gain Health Care Experience
  • Volunteer Time
  • Become involved on Campus

Additional Suggestions from the Pre-Medical Professions Advisory Committee

    • Find out what it takes in terms of classes and extracurricular activities – and do it
    • Strive to do well academically from the start (or from that point on…)
    • Start your application as soon as becomes available – most are online by June
    • Apply as early as you can – even before the application deadline – to get the best chance of an early interview and early acceptance
  • Seek advisement – from instructors, professionals in the field, the school to which you are applying, and other students who have been there.
    • NOTE:  While other students are good sources of information, please verify what they tell you!
  • Have other people review your application
    • This is especially true of your personal statement – this is the first impression that the professional school gets
  • Demonstrate Leadership in at least one activity
  • Do well on the pre-professional test – study for the test and do practice tests!!!! 
  • Gain knowledge about your field of interest
    • Check out the school(s) to which you may apply beforehand by talking to the admissions people and current students, and by visiting those campuses in person
    • Visit the individual website(s) of the school(s) to which you are applying
    • Go to the Helpful Websites section or search online to research the field
    • Interview a professional within your field of interest
  • Display a true passion for that field of interest

You’ve made the academic cut and you’ve got an interview – now what do you do?

  • Be able to articulate an understanding of health care in general, the specific profession for which you are interested, and the program to which you are applying
  • Show that you are excited about that field – know specifically why you want to go into it
  • Be able to describe at least one example from actual volunteer / work / shadowing experience that left an impression on you
  • If it is in your application, you better be able to explain it! (i.e., research experience, volunteer work, participation in a club event, etc.)
  • Mock interview so that you are familiar with common questions and are prepared to think on your feet
  • Be honest and be yourself – the interviewers want to get to know you as a person and see if you are a good “fit” for the program
  • Avoid canned answers – you will only get flustered if you can’t remember every word that you had memorized
  • Show up early and come prepared, with a copy of your application, resume, and transcript, as well as pen and paper.
  • Treat EVERYONE as if they were the interviewers
  • Ask questions of the interviewers
  • Make eye contact, try to relax as much as possible, and be confident – this is your moment to succeed

What if you don’t get in the first time you apply?

  • Try not to be discouraged
  • Honestly assess the situation – is there a realistic chance for you to get in next year if you make certain improvements to your application??  Improvements may include:
    • Re-taking pre-requisites (although some professional schools are no longer honoring academic forgiveness policies)
    • Taking advanced courses in science
    • Improving GPA (especially by taking more upper level science courses)
    • Finishing your degree
    • Taking classes to earn Graduate School credit
    • Becoming more familiar with the profession (i.e., by researching on the internet or interviewing health care professionals)
    • Gaining more experience by volunteering or working in a health care setting
    • Doing more shadowing in the specific field
  • Seek advisement for specific recommendations
    • Contact the professional school to make an appointment to go over the application packet and interview scores
    • Follow their recommendations and try again
    • Re-interview with the SWOSU Pre-Medical Committee – be prepared to tell the Committee why you are a stronger applicant and even more prepared now to enter into this field.
  • By applying again, you are demonstrating that you have made a commitment to this field and that (hopefully) you are now a more qualified applicant than in the previous year.  Being older and wiser definitely weighs in your favor in the medical fields!