As a member of AMSA, you already have a competitive advantage when it comes to applying to medical school. However, your brand, which applicants almost never even think about despite its importance, is the first thing you should figure out to differentiate yourself from all the other highly qualified applicants.
Your brand must be supported with relevant meaningful experiences. Conversely, figuring out your brand a few years before applying to medical school provides guidance on what experiences to pursue. For instance, if you want to work with marginalized populations, then you might shadow a physician at a clinic for the uninsured, and volunteer at a soup kitchen. Ultimately, your brand impacts your personal statement, secondary essays and medical school interviews.
Follow these steps to figure out your brand:
Understand Why You are Passionate about Becoming a Physician
You must go beyond “I want to help people” or “My doctor parents inspired me.” One client’s grandmother suffered from chronic pain, which inspired his interest in pain management.
Envision How You Will Practice as a Physician
Even if you don’t know what you want to specialize in, you can still envision your future. Maybe you want to do research. Maybe you want to work in a rural setting.
Identify Your Medical Approach to Treating Patients
Is there a way you envision yourself caring for patients? For instance, we have clients interested in a public health approach.
Figure Out the Population You Want to Treat
Are you drawn to working with marginalized individuals? Or with specific cultures? For instance, we have clients who want to work with immigrants.
Determine the Medical Issues that are Important to You
Are there issues like child advocacy that you care about? For instance, we have a client who cares about how art and medicine intersect.
You should start figuring out your brand as soon as possible since it takes time to cultivate the experiences that will support it. If you do, you’ll be ahead of the curve!
Do you need more help navigating and optimizing your pre-med journey? MedSchoolCoach has a team of physician and writing advisors. Schedule a free consultation with a MedSchoolCoach enrollment advisor today!
Ziggy Yoediono, MD
Dr. Yoediono is the Associate Director of Advising at MedSchoolCoach. Previously, he was a Duke University pre-major advisor, and an adcom member for Duke University School of Medicine, the University of Rochester School of Medicine and the Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency Program.