What should I do to "look good" to Medical (Veterinary, Dental, etc.) Schools?
The most important things are:
- Do well in the required courses
- Do well on the MCAT (or DAT or GRE or other exam required of the Health Profession you select), which is based on the content expected in the required courses
- Do well in your major (research or an independent project should be considered: see 5 below)
- Do enough observation and/or volunteer and/or work experience in a medical (or other health professional) setting to ensure that you know that is what you want to do. The amount and type of work varies by profession and individual school.
- "Walk on water, and have someone see you do it" -- Do something you love, make a difference that is valued by others. Whatever your strengths are (leadership, initiative, perseverance, compassion, attention to detail, competence, cooperation, critical thinking/good judgment, etc.) need to be documented. This can be done in volunteer work, in sports, in clubs, in summer jobs, in internships, in research, ... in just about anything. Put yourself for a significant amount of time in an environment you love where you can make use of your personal strengths and be observed by some "authority" who can, in turn, write a strong letter for you. You will not be able to predict what you will do that will impress the "authority," but if you are doing what you like to do, and if it is worth while, and if you do it with enthusiasm and competence, the "authority" is likely to see it. Yes, doing this in an academic (research) OR medically related arena is good, but doing it is more important than where you do it. Doing research poorly, doing volunteer work reluctantly, or working incompetently would NOT help. It is not so much that you "check a box" but that you "make a difference."