On September 24, 2013 U.S. News & World Report ran an article titled 5 Questions Medical School Applicants Are Afraid to Ask. The five questions include:
- Am I aiming too high to get into your school?
- Will a minor misdemeanor or alcohol infraction hurt my chances of acceptance?
- What are your school’s weaknesses?
- Do admissions teams look at sources of social media?
- What are my chances if I have to reapply?
Those questions regarding misdemeanors and social media are ones students should pay attention to not only when applying to medical school, but even later, when looking for a job.
So will a minor misdemeanor or alcohol infraction hurt a student’s chances of being accepted? That depends on the infraction, the school’s policies and clinical site policies. The recommendation set forth in the article is that students should be honest about their past, as medical schools generally run criminal background checks on applicants. The answer ends with, “Why apply there if past actions will screen you out?” This good advice echoes what we have recommended in an earlier blog – honesty is the best policy. Tell the truth and don’t try to cover things up. Lying about something in one’s past that is discovered later can result in being dismissed from the program, or later, losing a job and/or license.
A second issue students may need to address is that of their presence on social media. According to the article, some colleges may look at social media sites. It recommends students clean up what they can. This is good advice, and we can take this even farther. Potential employers may also check these sites. An unprofessional image can result in not getting a job offer. As stated in the article, “Professionalism is a very serious piece of the selection process.” And professionalism is what you want to portray not only when applying to medical school, but also when looking for a job.