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This premed wants to know how they can highlight their multicultural background when applying to med school to pursue primary care.
Ask Dr. Gray: Premed Q&A is brought to you by Blueprint MCAT. Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
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[00:28] Question of the Day
“I was born and raised in a South Asian country, and I completed high school there. Then I moved here with my family, and I started my bachelor’s. Now, I’m almost completing my bachelor’s so I’ll be applying next cycle.
I just wanted to just get an idea of what would the best way be to highlight my multicultural background and establish that I want to be in primary care.
Because primary care is not emphasized enough in the country where I was raised and born. So I just wanted to get an idea what would the best way be to highlight that in my application and personal statement?”
[01:19] Don’t Force Your Narrative
I don’t recommend that students try to force narratives into an application. The multicultural background is forcing that into everything you do. And at some point, that can become useless.
The fact that on your application, you’re going to put that you were born in another country automatically tells me that you have a diverse background. So you don’t need to keep adding it everywhere you go.
Many students will say that because of their multicultural background, they can do this. And you just end up selling yourself if you do this.
Don’t sell yourself.
You’re selling yourself into the idea that you’re different therefore you’re better and they should accept you. This doesn’t help you stand out because there are a lot of other students with different diverse backgrounds as well. And so, that alone is not what separates you from other students.
Now, the questions that you need to think about are not how do I add in multicultural or how do I add in primary care? The question that you should be thinking about is – how do I tell my story in each part of the application that best answers the specific question in front of me?
[03:05] The Goal of Your Application
The Goal of Your Personal Statement
The specific question for the personal statement, generally speaking, is why do you want to be a doctor?
And so, you can tell that specific story of being an immigrant to this country, and therefore, you are multicultural. You understand immigrants and you want to serve the underserved population. But that’s not the goal of the personal statement.
The goal of the personal statement is – Why do you want to be a doctor? Now, some of those themes may come out but don’t force them in there.
The Goal of the Activity Section
The goal of the activity section is what have you been doing with your life since high school. Are you doing shadowing, clinical research, community service, leadership, and all of that fun stuff? Show your hobbies as well. Again, without forcing that you’re an immigrant.'Just tell your story as naturally as possible, and those themes will come out naturally.'Click To Tweet
And so, thinking about how to force your theme in from the get-go is the wrong way to think about it.
Instead, just look at each question in front of you at that moment in time, wherever you are in the application cycle. Then answer the question to the best of your ability without forcing anything in there.
There may be secondary essays that will ask how you envision your future. Are you interested in primary care? Then you could express your interest in primary care there.
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The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Personal Statement
The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Application Process
The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Interview