Applying to medical school in the present day is not something to be taken lightly. Creating a strong application package is critical for getting into med school. Competition is tough. Students need to find ways they stand out and include activities that will interest an admissions committee the most. As you prepare to put your best self forward, avoid these 10 mistakes.

1.Sports Accomplishments

While participating in sports is good for your health, touting at as an advantage likely won’t help your application. Volunteer hours are much stronger than physical activity in terms of your medical school application. Impress the admissions committee with your experience helping others.

2. Foreign Mission Trip

Traveling abroad to help others is compassionate and demonstrates humanity. However, a mission trip alone won’t cut it for volunteer activity in your application. Others may have years worth of experience. One trip may look like a wish for travel not serving others.

3. Poorly Described Research Experiences

Be careful when describing your role in research projects. The committee won’t be impressed by washing beakers and keeping the labs clean. These tasks are fine, but describe the project from a scientific perspective.

4. Letters of Evaluation Written by Family or Friends

 Avoid this in particular. A recommendation letter from someone close to you makes it look as though you can’t find anyone else.

5. Vague Letters of Recommendation

An effective recommendation letter is detailed; the author knows who the recipient is and has a relationship. Ask yourself who knows you well and seek letters from them.

6. Defensive Essays Institutional Action

You may have to disclose criminal, conduct or academic infractions. You need to do so but also show remorse. Don’t be defensive. Show that you understand what you did was wrong.

7. Essays on Difficult Family Relationships

our medical application isn’t the appropriate place to describe a family situation. If it’s necessary to be part of your application, don’t be defensive—show compassion.

8. Essays That Are Overly Critical or Judgmental

 Physicians need to listen and consider others’ perspectives on whether or not they have a differing opinion. Make sure your personal essay is not judgmental nor harsh.

9. Requests For Special Treatment

If you have requested special treatment in the past, make sure to have a reason, and it needs to be good. The school perceives its requirements as important. If your reason is dishonest, it will leave a negative impression.

10. Unexplained Gaps in Academic Record

Gaps in an academic record do happen, and many come from a personal situation that is difficult to share. If you’re not truthful and detailed, the admission committee members are left to imagine something that may be worse.

If you are currently enrolled in medical school or have already graduated and are looking for a clinical rotation in the U.S., look no further. AMO offers rotations across the U.S. in more than 40 medical specialties. Apply today!