Harry presented well on paper – his grades were exceptional and he had an impressive list of activities, both academic and non-academic. He was a typical over-achiever. However, he initially could not translate what all his achievements meant for his medical school applications.
Because Harry had been involved in so many activities in and out of school, it was tempting to try to squeeze everything into his applications. What he did not understand at the start of the coaching process was that one’s takeaways and lessons learnt were more important than a laundry list of activities. Like many students, Harry thought his experiences would speak for themselves and admissions committees would be impressed. His coach knew that would not be the case.
Applying to the top medical schools in the world is extremely competitive. All the applicants are exceptional so it takes more than good grades, on-job shadowing and volunteer work to catch a committee’s eye. Because Harry was applying to Cambridge, his super-curricular activities were more important than his volunteer work. He also applied to NUS which required a different approach. Harry’s coach worked with him to ensure that he submitted customised personal statements that reinforced his applications. He was also shown the importance of consistency in all aspects of his application and guided to demonstrate a strong personal brand, and mature thought and reflection in his interview responses.
Harry received offers from both universities but he accepted Cambridge as it meant embarking on a very different adventure.