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Adcom Advice #1 – Don't Lie

If there is one cardinal sin of applications, it is lying (false information, overexaggerate, half-truths)

Nothing gets your application thrown out faster than lying: about your qualifications, extracurricular activities, personal achievements. There are no benefits from lying on your medical school application. It is dishonest and unforgiveable in the eyes of adcoms. You gain nothing and risk everything. Typos and late submissions are bad, but lying is inexcusable.

Even with the dire consequences, each year, a small number of students take their chances and lie on their applications. Although only a few commit this crime, it is common enough that several applicants will be straight out rejected every cycle. A single lie will make adcoms doubt the rest of your application, even your honest achievements.

Fortunately, the majority of applicants send in honest applications, so if you are one of the few considering fabricating some part of your application, here are the Top 5 reasons Why you should not Lie on your Med School Apps.

  1. Adcoms can tell – Despite how cleverly crafted your application is, or how dumb you think adcom members are, we can tell when applicants are making things up. After going through hundreds of applications, we can detect when something is inconsistent. When we read a profile, we get a good “feel” for each applicant’s character and we can pick up when something doesn’t fit.
  2. Adcoms check – When we do find inconsistencies, we check. That’s why we ask for referrers and contacts. Furthermore, med schools will randomly call contact numbers as extra precaution. If you “are” a national award winner, a simple google search will tell us. The same goes with all other parts of your application. The power of modern day telecommunications is on our side.
  3. You need a big lie – If you are going to stretch the truth, you need a tall tale to make a difference. Exaggerating that you volunteered 4 hours a week, instead of 2 hours, won’t give your application any significant advantage. You would probably get the same score, but now, you run the risk of being caught and in turn, having your entire application discredited. If you want any competitive edge, you need to go big; captain of a varsity team, international volunteering, published papers. And with any big achievements, adcoms can tell if it’s consistent with your character and they will definitely check.
  4. Lowers Self Esteem – Lying does not significantly increase your chances. However, it will significantly increase your personal struggles. You will feel guilty about lying and paranoid that adcoms will find out. If you do get in from large exaggerations, you will be someone who had to cheat their way in and you will feel like an imposter.
  5. Integrity – Lastly, a large part of being a good doctor is integrity. Would you would want a dishonest doctor who takes unfair shortcuts to care for you and your family? If you do want to become a doctor, please be a good one. If you need to sacrifice your morals and identity to get into medical school, you should choose another profession.

Lying on your application is a fatal mistake. Do not pretend to be someone you are not. If you don’t have any significant leadership roles or scholarships, that’s ok. Adcoms understand that not every applicant will be a superstar. Every year they will admit dozens of less than perfect applicants. Your job is to present who you are in the best way possible. I will write more on how to do this in subsequent posts. But please, please, please, do not lie or overexaggerate. Don’t report false grades, MCAT scores, fake activities, etc. We (adcoms) want to know the real you. And more often than not, the people who are honest and sincere are the ones admitted.

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  1. […] So stop trying to be perfect with your medical school admissions. Realize that medical schools are looking more for people without any major flaws than the perfect applicant. A person with perfect grades, lots of extracurricular activities and awesome interview skills is still a bad applicant if they have something that doesn’t seem right, especially if they are unethical or lying. […]

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