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Expert Medical School Admission Consulting and Post-Bac Program Admission Consulting

Personal Competencies in Medical School Admission

Medical school admissions personnel have identified core competencies that are necessary to be a successful medical student and physician. The competencies are grouped into four categories: interpersonal, intrapersonal, thinking/reasoning, and science. The 15 competencies that are considered essential are:

1. Service orientation

2. Social skills

3. Cultural competence

4. Teamwork

5. Oral communication

6. Ethical responsibility to self and others

7. Reliability and dependability

8. Resilience and adaptability

9. Capacity for improvement

10. Critical thinking

11. Quantitative reasoning

12. Scientific inquiry

13. Written communication

14. Living systems

15. Human behavior

An article in Academic Medicine explores how competencies can be assessed. Over the last five or so years, I have noticed a shift in secondary applications and the questions they ask. More prompts/questions are focused on digging into the competencies; schools want evidence that applicants are aware of and have honed these competencies in preparation for a career in medicine. Premed students should be aware of these competencies; it can be constructive to keep a journal or log of experiences and reflect on how these experiences have helped sharpen the competencies. Applicants can then use their reflections in secondary application essays.

–Liza Thompson, Expert Medical School Admissions Consulting

First posted in 2015 and updated in 2022

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