100 Things

Speaking from Experience: 100 Quotes from Michigan Med Students

From the med school application process to life at Michigan Med, our students are always willing to share their insights.


“Be honest and forthright at all times. Everyone wants to be the perfect applicant, but there is no *one* perfect applicant. We need all sorts of doctors, so just work on being the best person you can be. Take it one day at a time. Right now, you're working on being the best premed *you* can be, here in a few years, it will be trying to be the best med student, then the best resident, and finally the best doctor. Throughout it all though, we get to work on being the best person we can be. Enjoy being a premed while you can, and be sure to help others as you go.”


“The curriculum does not vary greatly from school to school. In the end, everyone takes the same board exams. Choosing a medical school with an administration that is sympathetic to student concerns has had a greater impact on my education.”


“The University of Michigan Medical School recognizes the importance of having a passion and demonstrating your love for something. If you are to be trusted to be passionate about serving patients, it is important that you demonstrate your ability to develop a passion and pursue it.”


“I think more important than anything in med school admissions is showing the committee what you are passionate about and how you will contribute your passion to the medical school community.”


“Focus on the people who you meet while applying. The interests and passions of the people a school chooses to interview and accept speaks volumes to the institution itself. Enjoy the process of meeting future colleagues and potential friends!”


“I talked with people close to me about who I am and my motivation to pursue medicine. Their help was instrumental in my process of writing and editing my personal statement.”


“The people you go to school with are at least as important as the curriculum/other stats in terms of whether a school will be a good fit for you. If you like your classmates everything is much easier and you can conquer any challenges!”


“A classical music background seemed like an odd fit for medical school. I found that some of the demands and challenges of that life provided lessons that would prove useful here, and that I would not otherwise have learned.”


“I think the one thing that helped my admission chances is that I demonstrated a penchant for growth and experiential learning by challenging myself and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. This is important because medicine is not the place to become comfortable. You have to be able and willing to adapt to any number of unforeseeable changes. The medical field is constantly evolving so this will require an ability to change yourself. Also, dealing directly with patients means that you have to decipher human beings and their unpredictable nature.”


#10 I lived a whole other life. I grew, matured, had a career, saw the world and discovered that medicine was where I really wanted to be.

“There is no perfect candidate! I took a roundabout path to medicine and worried (unnecessarily) I might be viewed less favorably than applicants who took a direct route and knew they wanted to pursue medicine since childhood.”


“It's more important to be a contributing member of the class than it is to be good at medicine-related topics. That is, a good applicant should contribute something unique to the class.”


“First, be proud of yourself. Getting accepted into medical school is certainly not an easy task, and it takes a lot of hard work and courage to apply to medical school. Second, take your time. As you know, this application is very important. Start early and give yourself plenty of time to seek advice and revise. Lastly, enjoy your summer. You should not let this application keep you from doing the things you love. Give it the time it deserves, but do not forget to take care of yourself as well. Spend time with family and friends, do what makes you happy, and enjoy your summer!”


“Working on application is a grind. Try to stay at it so that you can spread it out and do not get caught with too many things to do before deadlines.”


“Take time to enjoy yourself one last time before beginning medical school. Once school starts, it can be fast paced and much more difficult to find time to take a break.”


“Applying to med school is a time of a lot of uncertainty. I wish I had known that everything would turn out great.”


“I had consistently heard the statistics about how hard it is to get into medical school that I thought I wasn't going to get in. I wish I would've had more confidence in my application and optimism about the process.”


“Keep everything in perspective. It's very easy to get bogged down on specific grades and test scores (which are important), but it's all about attaining the end goal. Don't paralyze yourself freaking out about deficiencies in an application. Just work hard in the future to make up for them and show how you've been able to learn and improve from failures.”


“I pursued activities and experiences that were in line with my passions and developed a strong understanding of myself and my personal reasons for aspiring to become a physician. The road to becoming a physician (beginning with the application process) is long and sometimes difficult, and so it was invaluable to have a firm understanding of why I was choosing this path. This helped my application in that every part of it was genuine.”


#20 I think getting to know yourself is really important - not just for doing well in interviews, but also for having a fulfilling life. Take some time to reflect on what motivates you, what you enjoy, and lessons that you've learned so far in life. Are there obstacles you've overcome? Think about how you've grown from those experiences. It will not only bolster your confidence, it will also help you with your application and interviews.

“I did a lot of exploration throughout undergrad - toyed with the idea of research, shadowed, did some summer programs - which I think helped me to be able to answer the question 'Why do you want to be a doctor?'. The most important thing is doing things that you like, and if it leads you to medicine then that's awesome, but if you find something else you love, then that should be okay, too!”


“I did things I was passionate about, and not simply because it 'looked good.' Come interview time, I could easily and naturally talk about all the things I did and why those experiences were meaningful to me. The passion and dedication were apparent because it was honest!”


“Rather than getting involved with a million different things, I dedicated my time to a few different extracurricular activities that I was truly passionate about. It's much more impactful to focus on a few things instead of trying to check activities off a list that you think admissions committees want to see.”


“I was heavily involved in social justice work throughout my gap year experiences that provided a different perspective of health inequities and solution seeking.”


“I taught high school sciences in Chicago for seven years prior to medical school, and it changed me and prepared me in so many positive ways for medicine. Not rushing into medicine, I really had the time to grow in leadership and teamwork, and see how various actions cause organizations to evolve and change over time. My students taught me the most impactful lessons as they overcame and persevered through myriad life challenges related to poverty and socioeconomic disparity.”


“I believe my willingness to leave behind a successful career to pursue medicine demonstrated my passion for a medicine and played an important role in my acceptance to medical school.”


“One of the hardest things for me when applying to med school was trying to articulate why I feel called to medicine, and why I think I can make an impact. Taking the time to work, travel, and teach gave me the time and opportunity to learn about myself and build up concrete examples of what I could bring to the table.”


“I think exploring non-science knowledge helped broaden my perspective of the world, and it allowed me to bring a different mindset to medical school.”


“Strengthening my story helped me prepare for interviews. Solidifying 5 important points that I wanted interviewers to know about my strengths and ability to contribute to their school helped me present a unified story across a series of questions. Being concise and consistent strengthened my application and presence as an applicant.”


#30 I think that one thing I did that contributed to a successful application process was working to place myself in situations outside of my comfort zone. I think that these situations helped me learn so much about myself. This increase in self-awareness was probably more helpful than any single experience I participated in.

“I explored my interests regardless of how I thought they may impact my application. My other passions set me apart, but more importantly taught me about medicine through different perspectives.”


“I had a non-traditional background in health care that gave me exposure to working with patients, which solidified my desire to become a doctor and also gave me real-world experience.”


“Focus on being a well-rounded individual and pursue passions and hobbies that make you happy. Your excitement about things that make you YOU will shine through in your application.”

- Kate

“I changed careers from video production to medicine, so I was concerned that I would have a hard time convincing people of why medicine, why now. It did come up a lot, but not in a skeptical way like I was expecting.”


“I came from an entirely different field - I was initially in the environmental policy sector before transitioning. While many medical schools appreciate a different perspective from the incoming students, I had to catch up to my peers in terms of understanding how to succeed in academic medicine.”


“I had been out of school for a few years and was working when I decided to start a post-bac and apply to med school. Leaving a career made the application process feel more risky, but at the same time, was incredibly exciting and motivating.”


“I am more shy than average. This can make everything harder, from asking for letters of recommendations to interviews. The key I think is just to not dwell on/overthink it, and be true to your personality while also emphasizing what makes you a good fit for medical school.”


"I spent a lot of undergrad on my humanities major, and I was worried that medical schools might not want to hear about it. This was not the case! So I say talk about things that are important to you and why they make you a good medical school candidate, even if it doesn't relate to medicine on the surface.”


“Read your essays multiple times at multiple times of day and if possible in multiple settings to make sure they reflect YOU rather than what's on your mind when you happen to be writing in a particular moment.”


#40 Nowadays, I think diversity in all forms is valued and appreciated so I don't view my race as any sort of obstacle. It just makes me unique.


Black males make up a significant minority of all medical students and we sadly continue to be less represented now in medical school than we were several decades ago. I just think there are stereotypes and psychological challenges that you have to deal with when applying, interviewing, and progressing through med school itself that only minorities can really understand.


Just understand that being a black male in medicine means responsibly mentoring aspiring doctors waiting in the wings and blazing the trail for those to come. You have to set a positive example because you are held to a high standard and there is a high expectation for you to represent the people closest to you well.

“Talk to med students at the schools you apply to! They are more than happy to talk to you and offer advice and help you through the process.”


“Take time to consider what it would be like to live in the area you go to medical school. It is important when you're also trying to live a full life.”


“Don't feel rushed to commit to a certain specialty or career path within medicine. It is good to jump in and explore a few options, but appreciate that a career in medicine is really quite flexible.”


“The wait to get an answer is really hard and stressful. Taking care of yourself is important at that time!”


“If you get an interview, you are qualified to go there. Don't sell yourself short because of grades or test scores. The interview is the time to show them who YOU are and why you'd make a great physician. Own it!”


“Be prepared to self-study. You will be the primary driver of your education from here on out, so develop good habits, bookmark good resources/websites, and above all, find friends who will hold you accountable.”


“I wish I had truly understood how taxing and demanding med school can be at times but there is no way of fully comprehending what you have gotten yourself into until you are in it. Then again, it is probably better for you not to know going into it. Even with all of the struggles, it has been absolutely worth it. If you want to be stretched every single day and shaped into a more reflective person, then this is definitely for you.”


“I know it has been said many times, but remember that there is no single or correct path. Don't try to emulate anyone else in an attempt to 'game' the admissions process. Be true to yourself and have confidence that you'll end up where you belong.”


“Think about portraying yourself holistically. Not just grades, but who you are and what makes you excited, passionate, motivated. Include things about specific experiences that have changed who you are or have grown you in character.”


#50 Try to enjoy the process as much as possible and meet students from different programs! I am still in touch with some students at different medical schools that I met during interview days and Second Look Weekends. I wish I had been even more proactive about meeting students from different schools to make more friends in medical schools across the country.

“Make your application about who you are, not just medical/academic aspects of your life. One of the ‘most meaningful’ on my AMCAS app was my hobby.”


“Practice interviewing and take it seriously. It is a skill that improves with practice. If you're a non-traditional student and took time off, prepare to hit the ground running the first few months. Studying skills can atrophy over time.”


“I ALWAYS knew what I was going to be asked in my interviews: 'So, you were a music major. What happened?' What happened was I realized I actually wanted to do medicine about 5 seconds before applying for graduation. Oops?”


“There are so many ways that Michigan Med has been a good match for me. For one the opportunities are endless. I've been able to find great student orgs and research mentors to pursue areas that I'm interested in. Second, the faculty and staff are amazing. Everyone is incredibly helpful and more than willing to go out of their way to provide assistance. And finally (and perhaps most important), my classmates. Michigan Med has an amazing collaborative culture amongst its students both inside and out of academics. There's a great balance of working hard in school while still having a life outside of it.”


“The school and admin truly care about our well-being and are receptive to feedback about the curriculum, activities, etc. I love my classmates and enjoy interacting with faculty. The atmosphere is collaborative and supportive - we all truly want to help each other succeed!”


“Talk to as many current medical students as you can when you're interviewing to get a sense of what life is like, both in and out of the classroom.”


“Start your personal statement early and realize that it will likely take many drafts to get it right. You may have to tear it apart and rework it many times, but accepting this and allowing time for this will save you lots of stress. I underestimated this process and spent a lot of time feeling discouraged, but just realize that this is okay and normal, and it is worth taking the time to write a good one.”


“Physicians you've worked with are probably the best resource for advice. I feel that getting into medical school for many of us is as much luck as skill, as such, apply broadly.”


“I didn't use any books or resources for my application, but I did have a dedicated advisor who read through my essays and provided constructive criticism to shape them into the best representation of myself.”


#60 I appreciate the community at Michigan, full of inspiring and friendly people who are pursuing their passions for health care in so many different ways - whether through running the Student-Run Free Clinic, crafting healthcare policy briefs, working with asylum seekers, reaching out to younger students, or just refusing to leave their creative interests at the door.


“It has been a wonderful, fulfilling, incredible place to learn medicine. I feel so supported here, and have been fortunate to work with talented and compassionate people. Even though Michigan is not my home, it has become my community.”


“The admissions committee really pulls together a interesting and diversely experienced group of students that have a lot of knowledge to offer.”


“As someone hoping to match in general surgery, the surgery faculty at Michigan have been incredible in terms of teaching and career counseling. Michigan does not have the typical intimidating culture that so many surgery programs are famous for. The faculty here are excited to see you succeed and are willing to go to bat for you to make sure it happens.”


“Michigan Med is full of mentors and peers who challenge me to push myself. There is a strong culture of fellowship and camaraderie.”


“The vibe of the school and the ‘gut feeling’ you get about a place are more important than its prestige. Only apply to places where you'll be happy.”


“Submit your secondaries ASAP! I knew this but didn't think it was that important...it is. Don't spend so much time making sure your secondary essays are absolutely perfect before you submit--make sure you get them in within two weeks of receiving the prompts.”


“Don't apply to 30 different schools! I did and ended up wasting lots of money on the primary applications because I got so overwhelmed by the secondaries. I think I only ended up turning in about 15 secondary applications.”


“Ann Arbor has been a great place for me to raise my family, and Michigan Med's curriculum both provides me the flexibility I need to allow for great work/life balance and rigorous enough to shape me into the clinician I want to be.”


“Michigan Medicine is a community of people passionate about exploring their own ideas and supporting the growth of ambitious, curious students. Michigan Medicine has been a good fit for me as they helped me see past limits and barriers to learning, professional development, and research.”


#70 The people are friendly and, though certainly driven to succeed in this setting, nonetheless explore a wide range of other interests outside of the classroom and wards. I myself enjoy many things outside of medicine so I appreciate having this in common.

“Michigan has been the perfect fit for me because the school really emphasizes the importance of personal health and well-being in addition to doing well in your studies. Medical school can be very difficult at times and it is important to make sure you remain balanced. I can't imagine a better environment to train in!”


“I feel like my classmates are fantastic from diverse backgrounds and have helped me grow in ways i did not anticipate.”


“The Michigan Med education is excellent, but the thing that stands out to me here is the people. The administration, faculty, staff, and students cultivate a culture of openness, collaboration, and support that I could never have imagined finding at a medical school. Having gone through a couple of health and family issues during my M1 year, I am so grateful for the support that I've felt from all corners of this school. It's something I'm convinced I couldn't have found anywhere else.”


“The supportive atmosphere created by my peers and the administrative staff has helped me to balance life as a non-traditional medical student and parent.”


“Michigan has been incredible. They really emphasize balance and student wellness while still offering a very competitive curriculum. They are also very responsive to student input and feedback. Overall, I don't know if there is a better program for students with families.”


“My classmates are AWESOME!! It is amazing how much I enjoy being here, and largely because of the people around me. Go Blue!”


“The students and faculty are impressively talented, kind, and motivational. The administration is very supportive of personal difficulties.”


“The atmosphere is so collaborative, everyone is willing to help each other succeed, which makes it a great place to grow and learn.”


“I have really appreciated the flexible testing, the plethora of extracurricular opportunities, the supportive administration, and my fellow students, who are both inspiring and easy to get along with!”


#80 Michigan Med cares about me as a student and a human. I was in a long distance marriage and Michigan Med has gone above and beyond to be understanding about any unique needs I had. I found that if I communicated my needs in advance, they were more than willing to work with me.

“I like the lack of pretension and quiet competence of the doctors here. I also love all of the clinical exposure I got during my M1 year. They allow you to learn by doing here.”


“My dream school: it values education, creativity, teamwork, and independence. I can't say enough about the positive culture here.”


“I have the flexibility to be involved with myriad activities that are personally enriching, while also learning from a demanding and rigorous curriculum.”


“It’s fast-paced and I learn something new each day.”


“Michigan Med has seemingly limitless opportunities in whatever you want to pursue, excellent mentorship, and challenging work while still allowing time to breathe.”


“Michigan Medicine is indisputably one of the premier institutions for medical education, research, and clinical care in the world. This place is a great match for anyone aspiring to be a doctor because you will inevitably be challenged and pushed out of your comfort zone.”


“Michigan Med is a place that is committed to the pursuit of excellence in medical training while maintaining personal wellness and balance. I feel fortunate every day that I am training to be a physician under the direction of outstanding faculty, in a place that supports me as a whole person, and that I am part of class in which every person contributes something unique and valuable.”


“Our class is amazing. Everyone here is so passionate about their various interests within medicine but ALSO is a total blast to be around and I feel little to no competition, only building each other up.”


“I love the supportive administration and classmates. Michigan Med is a fun, hardworking community and I've had a blast learning here as well as doing fun things like the Smoker and Biorhythms dance show.”


#90 I have amazing classmates, incredible clinical instruction, and the flexibility to pursue my personal interests in medicine.” 

“I've had the best time of my life here, met awesome people and teachers, and don't think anywhere else out there would have been a better match.”


“I couldn't imagine a better school: fellow students are great and, by and large, residents and attendings are awesome. You'll have a great clinical experience!”


“The geographic location has been great, I love the convenience and activity of Ann Arbor. And the environment at Michigan Med has been much more casual than I assume other places are, which fits me.”


“I love it here - faculty and administration are incredibly responsive to student needs and supportive in matters academic and otherwise. I feel like this is a place where I can do anything I want (within reason, obviously) as long as I'm willing to put in the effort to make it happen.”


“Don't just list experiences that made you want to become a doctor--tell why they inspired you to become a physician, and what you learned from them that will make you a better physician in the future.”


“Turn in those applications as soon as humanly possible! Do a great job on the secondary essays, but not such a great job that it takes you weeks to turn them in.”


“Passion + Problem = Niche. Find a problem that exists in health care/medicine and try to figure out how to use your skills/interests to start addressing that problem. It can be small at first, but always remember 'doing' is better than 'talking'.”


“Michigan Medicine has an excellent social media presence that advertises what research, activities, and advances in care are taking place right here and now. The medical school also has great resources to give you insight into what life as a student is like, from Instagram accounts to twitter info and Facebook pages. Even if you're not a big social media user, I would check them out!”


“Rather than the ranking, consider the 'gut feeling' you get at a school when you interview there. I liked Ann Arbor because I got a warm fuzzy feeling from everyone I interacted with while I was there for an interview.”


#100 I've had a fantastic time at Michigan Med. This school really encourages students to be active contributors to their own education. Here, I feel like my opinions and ideas matter. I chose Michigan because I felt an incredibly strong sense of community and school pride from the moment I set foot on campus.