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Why Medicine? Here are 50 questions to strengthen your response



Everyone pursuing a career in medicine has been asked the big, fear-striking question: “Why

Medicine?.” Sometimes you get asked on the spot, with little time to give a full response.

Usually the quick go-to response is some combination of having a passion of helping others with

a love of science. Having a basic response makes your reasoning appear fairly common and

unappealing because it does not help you stand out, especially in medical school applications

and interviews. However, each individual’s reasoning is more complex and honed towards their

personal experiences. There are many influences, experiences, and other factors that impact

one’s decision to pursue a career in medicine. Here are some questions to ask yourself to

strengthen your reasoning and help you develop your personal statement:


1. Do you like helping people? Why do you like helping people and why choose medicine

rather than other professions that help people (i.e. social worker, police officer, lawyer,

etc.)?


2. Why are you committing to the long and difficult journey of becoming a healthcare

professional? (Consider 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of medical school, 3-6 years of

residency depending on specialty, optional fellowship)


3. Why do you choose a certain health profession over others? (e.g. physician over physician assistant, physician over nurse, etc.)


4. What specifically do you like about medicine?


5. How has your family been an influence on your decision to pursue medicine?


6. Do you have any family members that are health professionals? How has it impacted

your decision to pursue medicine?


7. Have you, a family member, or a friend had an illness that impacted your decision to

pursue medicine?


8. How has your personality has impacted your decision to pursue medicine?


9. Are you an introvert or extrovert? How has this impacted your decision to choose

medicine?


10. What specific life events led you to choose medicine?


11. Do you work? If so, do you believe that your work has influenced you to choose a path in

medicine?


12. Is there anything that motivates you to learn more about medicine?


13. How have your major(s)/minor(s) impacted your decision to pursue medicine?


14. What classes have you taken that you have really enjoyed? How have they influenced

your decision to pursue medicine?


15. What classes did you not perform so well in? Do you believe those classes impacted

your decision to pursue medicine?


16. Have you received any honors or awards? How have they influenced your decision to

pursue medicine?


17. Have you had any volunteering experiences that have influenced your decision to

pursue medicine?


18. What are your hobbies? How have they have influenced your decision to pursue

medicine?


19. Do you play sports? If yes, how has it impacted your decision to pursue medicine? Are

there any team dynamics that have further influenced your decision?


20. Have you or do you plan to perform research? How has it or how do you believe it will

impact your decision to pursue medicine?


21. Do you have any publications? Why do you prefer to choose a career in medicine or a

combination of medicine and research instead of just committing to research?


22. Have you been in the military or participated in any military-like programs? If yes, how

has it impacted your decision to pursue medicine?


23. Did you participate in any pre-health professional programs? If yes, how have they

influenced your decision to pursue medicine?


24. Do you have any leadership positions that have influenced your decision to pursue

medicine?


25. Have you taken or do you plan to take a gap year? How has it or how do you believe it

will impact your decision to pursue medicine?


26. Do you have any post-baccalaureate coursework? How has it impacted your decision to

pursue medicine?


27. Have you applied to medical school before? If so, what has influenced you to reapply?


28. Have you studied abroad? If yes, how has it impacted your decision to pursue medicine?


29. How have your shadowing experiences, if any, influenced your decision to pursue

medicine?


30. Where did you grow up? Do you believe the environment you grew up in impacted your

decision to pursue medicine?


31. How has your socioeconomic status impacted your decision to pursue medicine?


32. Have you lived in a medically underserved community? If yes, how has it impacted your

decision to pursue medicine?


33. Do you consider yourself to be disadvantaged? How have you been overcoming this

adversity and how has it influenced your decision to pursue medicine?


34. Are you an immigrant? How has it impacted your decision to pursue medicine? How is

your journey unique compared to others?


35. Are you a first-generation student? How has it impacted your decision to pursue

medicine?


36. Has the law influenced your decision to pursue medicine? Have you been in legal

trouble that has impacted your decision?


37. What are your weaknesses that you believe impact your decision to pursue medicine?

How do you combat your weaknesses?


38. What are your strengths that you believe impact your decision to pursue medicine? How

do they strengthen you?


39. Are there any experiences that have shown you that you are prepared to become a

health professional?


40. Do you yourself believe that you are qualified to be a healthcare professional? How so?


41. Has medicine ever failed you or someone close to you? If yes, how has it impacted your

decision to pursue medicine?


42. How have controversial issues in medicine impacted your decision to pursue medicine?


43. Do you have any interest in global health or rural health? If yes, why is it important to

you?


44. Do you travel? How has seeing differences in culture, work, and medicine impacted

your decision to pursue medicine?


45. Are there any specialties that you are interested in? How have those interests influenced

your decision to pursue medicine?


46. Do you believe you are more prepared than others to pursue a path in medicine? How

so?


47. Do you have any analogies that you compare yourself to in your journey into medicine?

What are they?


48. How have supportive people in your life impacted your decision to pursue

medicine?


49. Have you witnessed medical care in different settings, such as different cities, countries,

etc.? How have they impacted your decision to pursue medicine?


50. Is there anything that you want to change or implement when you are a healthcare

professional? What are they and why do you want to change or implement them?



Some of these questions may not apply to you - and that’s okay! These are questions that target

different aspects, traits, and timelines that some may disregard, but may actually help them

develop a more unique reasoning to how and why medicine is the path for them. Your reasoning

should be based on how you gravitated towards the field of medicine and what aspects of your

life drew you into the field. Take time to think about each question, write your answers down,

and reflect on them while crafting your personal statement.


Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week,


Joy Wong

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