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The following is a guest post by Dr. Caroline Cusak, MD. She grew up in a family of physicians and each of her siblings is now a doctor as well! Applying to medical school from a family of doctors can be tricky; you want to convince the admissions committee that you know about medicine, yet are applying to medical school not because of pressure from your parents! Dr. Cusak shares her insight on applying here!
I grew up in a medical family. Both of my parents and my older brother are physicians and my twin sister applied to medical school along with me. Many other medical school applicants find themselves in similar positions and wonder if it is something that they should bring up during the application process.
In my opinion: Of course growing up in a medical household is something you should feel comfortable talking about! It is part of what made you who you are today and likely has a large role in why you are applying to medical school. It also lets the admissions committee know that you understand the struggles of life as a physician and you know what you are getting yourself into. You have likely spent many holidays without a family member while they were busy caring for their patients. Maybe you have seen the distress that comes when a long time patient of theirs passes away. Perhaps you have seen their patients greet them on the street and express their gratitude. Stories like this are great to write in your personal statement or mention in an interview.
While being from a medical family is something to be proud of, it is also important to be able to explain your independent attraction to medicine.
It is not enough to say: “I want to be able to help people like my parents did.” You need to be able to explain why you are applying to medical school instead of other areas of health care. Hopefully you had an open mind about o
ther fields and can explain why they were not the right fit for you. Maybe you can explain that during your time shadowing in the hospital, you gained experience watching multidisciplinary teams treat patients. You can explain why being a physician is different from these other areas and how physicians face unique challenges in their daily practice. Perhaps you even explored other career opportunities outside of health care before deciding on medicine. Don’t be afraid to talk about this. It shows the committee that you took your own journey for a career seriously and decided on medicine for yourself. The admissions committee will want to see that you didn’t decide on medicine just because it is a family business. They want to see a personal story of how it is the right fit for you.
Keep these tips in mind and you will be on the road to success, just like your family member!