Generally, when applying to a highly selective college or a BS/MD program you do not want to look like everybody else. You want to stand out in some way. Maybe you have significantly more volunteering that the typical student. One of my students raised tens of thousands of dollars for health care related charities by playing the violin. Or maybe your research background is very strong. Several of my students have been ISEF finalists in more than one year. Or maybe you have significant leadership qualifications. I have worked with a number of Boy Scout Eagle Scouts over the years.
Do those types of achievements catch the eye of the admissions officers? You bet they do.
But sometimes, you want to look like everybody else.
A typical BS/MD student will have good grades in certain classes and good test scores. They will have volunteering experience in a health care setting, doctor shadowing and some research experience. From that standpoint it is good to look like everyone else because they are some of the expected standards.
The key to being a successful BS/MD applicant is to have all of the required background experiences but still stand out in a crowd because something in your background goes beyond the typical requirements.
So, how are you going to stand out?
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