Stanford Advice to Emory premeds

Emory undergrads were privileged to hear Mr. Greg Vaughn, Assistant Director of Admissions at Stanford Medical School talk to them about what Stanford was looking for in a premed applicant.  A standing room only crowd kept Mr. Vaughn for at least three hours, as he explained, took answers, fielded questions and provided information.  There are several applicants to Stanford in this year’s Emory applicants, and we hope they were all present.  Also present were many freshmen and sophomores, and Mr. Vaughn was especially welcoming to these early starters.


What DOES Stanford look for?  I particularly liked the very first slide in Mr. Vaughn’s deck, “What We Value”. The answer is “Scholarly Endeavors, Clinical Experiences, Service.”  In the next few slides Mr. Vaughn talked about how the application should bring out evidence of “originality and creativity” in academic and non academic activities. I also heard the theme of “Deep involvement in research and scholarly activities”.  If you are considering applying to Stanford, not only should you have research on your resume, but you should also be prepared to talk about your research project, its impact on you and your academic career.

On Leadership, Mr, Vaughn shared with us a model of a Leadership Ladder, from involvement to advocacy to legacy.  You start by attending a prehealth club for example, move to become the president, then become an active advocate for the cause, and leave a legacy behind that persists after your departure.  For many in the audience the concept of “distance travelled” must have been reassuring; Mr. Vaughn noted wisely that when looking at applicants, Stanford considers where applicants started in their freshman year and where their academic journey took them.  It is the distance travelled that is meaningful – not a list of activities.

Of course, most important, an applicant should be able to articulate what they hope to get out of a Stanford education, because like everyone else, Stanford is looking for the perfect “fit”.  Learn about the curriculum.  Learn about what makes this school of medicine distinct and different.  Learn about yourself and know what you seek in your graduate professional experience.  And be able to articulate that!

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About Preetha Ram

I am an educator (Dean for PreHealth and Science Education at Emory), social entrepreneur (Cofounder of OpenStudy, a global study group to connect learners) and visionary (let's build a classroom for the world to study together). A chemist by training (Yale), I like to solve problems by building bridges at the edges and interstices of disciplinary boundaries.

Posted on October 16, 2010, in Pre-Health, Science Education. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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