Study More, Study Better: Advice from a 4th Year Med Student

Click here for more med school student interviews!This interview is the latest in an blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Evan Kuhl…

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?

Evan: I’m from Louisville, KY and went to Bellarmine University for undergrad, where I received a BA in biology with a chemistry minor. Bellarmine is unique in that they offer an undergraduate gross anatomy course which does an excellent job in preparing students for medical school gross anatomy courses. The Bellarmine University biology department works hard to make sure students going on to medical school are very well prepared, and I found many of my undergraduate books to be the same ones recommended for my medical school courses.

Accepted: What year are you at University of Louisville School of Medicine?

Evan: I’m currently a fourth year med student.

Accepted: What is your favorite thing about your program? And if you could change one thing about the program, what would it be?

Evan: My favorite part of Louisville is the people. The faculty, administration, and support staff are always great to work with. It’s not uncommon for faculty to roam the library to answer questions, stay late to explain a concept, and provide detailed study guides for complex material.

During my first two years of med school my biggest complaint was our study space; the building had not been renovated in many years, but they have actually just finished renovating the entire school with more modern lecture halls, really nice group study rooms and a new student lounge.

Accepted: Can you share some advice to incoming first year students, to help make their adjustment to med school easier? What do you wish you would have known at that point in time?

Evan: My biggest piece of advice is to start off studying more than you think you need to. After the first test, re-evaluate your study habits and decide what is working best.

At the same time, make sure you still have time for non-med school activities; running, hobbies, etc. You’ll study better if you’re able to keep up with your normal stress-relieving activities.

I wish someone had stressed to me the importance of learning the material by understanding, not just memorizing. If you learn material through understanding the process/pathway/ physiology, you’re more likely to remember it for later tests, such as Step 1 and Step 2. Everything you learn in your first two years you will need later, so take the time to learn it well the first time.

Accepted: How important do you think pre-med clinical experience is? What sorts of clinical experiences did you have before med school and how did they contribute to your decision to attend med school?

Evan: Pre-med clinical experiences are extremely important to me. As an undergrad student, I worked in EMS and in a local ER as a tech. I spent a lot of time working with care providers and providing care directly. Although I had already decided I wanted to attend med school, this type of work definitely solidified that decision. Anyone thinking about attending med school needs to have more than just a few hours of shadowing before really deciding to pursue medicine.

When it came time first and second year to learn basic exam techniques, interview skills, and practice basic patient interactions I was far ahead of the game. This carried over into third and ever fourth year, as I was much more at ease working with patients and staff. I also had hands-on shadowing experience which made me much more comfortable placing IVs, suturing wounds, and other simple tasks that can help streamline patient care and make more time for teaching.

Accepted: Did you go straight from college to med school? Or did you take time off?

Evan: I did go straight from college into medical school at an allopathic program. Looking at how competitive many residencies are becoming (with increasing numbers of competitive international and osteopathic students applying) I would recommend trying to not have any lapses in your education timeline.

Although having a year off to backpack through Europe sounds attractive, I would probably try to fit it in your summer before.

If you do find yourself stuck with a year off between application cycles, I would recommend getting some research or work experience, or finding a masters program that could help fill your resume.

Accepted: Looking back, what was the most challenging aspect of the med school admissions process? How did you approach that challenge and overcome it?

Evan: Neither of my parents are physicians, and I had little to no interaction with the medical community before med school, so just learning how to apply and what was expected of a applicant was the hardest part. I spent a lot of time online during my freshman year of college trying to figure out how to become a competitive candidate.

For me, it was important to layout the next three years into a plan, with goals along the way. I made sure I had all the required classes, research, and community projects I felt were important. Even before you are close to the admissions deadline, be sure to take a step back and evaluate yourself from an outside perspective.

Be sure to reach out to your professors as well, they usually have a keen since of what you should be doing.

Accepted: Do you have any other advice for our med school applicant readers?

Evan: Don’t forget to live. Medical school may be a major part of how you define yourself, but don’t forget about your family, friends, and the rest of the real world. You’ll be working hard and spending most of your time between books and wards, but it’s important to find a balance. I’ve found it’s easier to study and do well when I find time to go for a bike ride or not skip that family gathering.

For one-on-one guidance on your med school applications, please see our catalog of med school admissions services.

You can follow Evan’s adventure by checking out his website, Thank you Evan for sharing your story with us!

Do you want to be featured in’s blog, Accepted Admissions Blog? If you want to share your med school journey with the world (or at least with our readers), email us at

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Related Resources:

Insights, Advice and Experiences of a Non-Traditional Med Student [Podcast Interview]
• Medical School Interviews: Preparing for the Big Day
• 5 Questions to Help You Decide Where to Apply to Med School

What Does “At The Very Center of Business” Mean for CBS Applicants?

Want to learn the secret to getting accepted to Columbia Business School?Episode 1 in our Big Brand Theory series for MBA applicants: Columbia Business School’s motto.

Columbia Business School Essay 2 asks you to watch a short video entitled, “The Center” and then use it to answer the question, “How will you take advantage of being ‘at the very center of business’?” The video and the essay question are Columbia’s attempts to regain its brand and market share.

Over the years, Columbia strayed from its core strength: its geographic location and the access that the school offers its students. As a reaction to New York’s financial industry shrinkage and then, a drop in applications, they began pitching teams, clusters, and close-knit communities. I’m sorry, but those words do not even begin to describe Columbia.

CBS is just like New York: historical, large, gritty, and filled with surprises. It doesn’t coddle its students, and its students don’t expect to be coddled. They are smart, resourceful, and assertive.

So what does it mean to be at the very center of business? Well, you have the usual suspects: access to corporate world headquarters, brown bags with executives, subway rides to everything. But I ask you, where else can you have an accidental meeting at a cultural event with the Morgan Stanley’s CEO, James Gorman, or award winning entertainer and entrepreneur Dr. Dre?

Columbia wants its students to embrace New York and at the same time not allow the abundance of everything to intimidate them.  Years ago, I watched a Columbia Business School PowerPoint presentation. The closing slide displayed a world map. The Columbia campus was superimposed on a big red apple that spread over half the Atlantic Ocean and an arrow pointing to the apple as the “Center of the World.” I keep that image in my mind as I offer my clients my best rendition of the song, New York, New York, “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere” (High kicks and all. Fortunately they can’t see me when I do it)

As a former admissions dean and director, I would expect to see an answer to that essay that would enable me to identify (and admit) people who thrive in the hustle bustle of New York.  I would want my applicants to capture the energy of the city that never sleeps. At the same time, I would filter out students who would be intimidated by New York. I would want my students to love their NYC experience: rats, roaches and all.

And now I need an consultant to help me edit this blog down to 250 words or less. (Look for next week’s episode of the Big Brand Theory: Kellogg – Are you Growth Minded?)

Discover the Secret to Acceptance at Columbia Business School! Click here to register for the free webinar!

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein By , who when she’s not listening to old Frank Sinatra songs about New York, consults with clients and reminisces about her Admission Director days.


Related Resources:

• Columbia Business School 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
How to Get Accepted to Columbia Business School
• Columbia Business School Hosts AIGAC!

3 Ways to Get in Shape for Your Multiple Mini Interview

Click here to reserve your spot at Multiple Mini Interview: Method or Madness?

Your Multiple Mini Interview is coming up. Are you prepared? Here are three things you can do NOW to ensure totally MMI fitness:

1. Learn the ropes. Once you understand how an MMI works, you’ll be a lot more confident walking in. While you can’t know every question in advance, you can certainly familiarize yourself with the interview concepts covered, significantly increasing your readiness.

2. Rest up. Like a triathlete (which is not so unlike an MMI interviewee), you’ll need to do lots of prep, but the night before the interview/race, you need to take it easy. Relax and get a good night’s sleep. Exhausted competitors don’t generally fare well!

3. Register for our new webinar! Sign up for Multiple Mini Interview: Method or Madness? to learn additional secrets to beating the MMI! See details below.

Date: Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Time: 5:00 PM PST/8:00 PM EST

Registration link: Multiple Mini Interview: Method or Madness?

Click here to save your spot! Helping You Write Your Best

Princeton Approves Grading Policy Changes

Looking for college admissions tips?

Will Princeton’s application volume go up?

Last week Princeton faculty approved changes to their undergraduate grading policy, including the removal of “numerical targets and replacing them with grading standards developed and articulated by each department.” The committee concluded that the previous system (adopted in 2004) is a large contributor to psychological stress, making students “feel as though they are competing for a limited resource of A grades.”

New policies will emphasis “quality of feedback” rather than numerical grades. The previous faculty committee on grading will be dissolved, and a new committee – the Council on Teaching and Learning – will advance this new focus. The committee believes that these changes won’t negatively impact competitiveness of Princeton students when it comes to post-college education.

The recommendation proposes that at the beginning of each year, the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing will “review the grading history for each department and program, and the dean of the college would continue to report to the faculty on the grading record of the previous academic year.”

(Source: “Princeton faculty approves changes to grading policy” by Princeton Office of Communications)

My Prediction

The grading policy policy adopted in 2004 reflected concern among Princeton faculty about grade inflation. I predict that the new policy will exacerbate grade inflation at Princeton while reducing student “stress.” It may just also increase Princeton’s application volume and yield by removing the perception that Princeton students suffer from a more rigorous grading scale and are at a “disadvantage” when applying to graduate schools because their grades may be a tad lower.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your College Application Essays
• Common Application Supplemental Essay Tips
• U.S. News 2015 Best Colleges

2 Reasons Why You Love Columbia that You SHOULDN’T Share in Your App (and 2 that You SHOULD)

Register for our live webinar: Get Accepted to Columbia Business School!

Let’s face it, even if Columbia weren’t smack in the middle of NYC, it would still be an amazing business school, so you need to make sure that when you explain why CBS is the school of you, you don’t focus exclusively on the city, but include attractive aspects of the school itself.

2 Reasons You Should Keep to Yourself:

1. You love the underground world of tunnels and subways.

2. Sony Theater has the world’s longest free-standing escalator, and it’s only 11 minutes from CBS.

2 Reasons You Could Share:

1. You’re excited about the access and opportunities Columbia provides because it is at the center of an international business hub. And you can give specific examples of how you intend to take advantage of that accessibility.

2. You love the cultural richness that Columbia pulls from its central location in NYC – from Nobel Prize winning professors to unique consulting projects to clubs relating to the arts.

Listen, the fact that Columbia is in NYC is a perk – a huge perk – but remember, you’re applying to the school, not to the city!

Want more tips about how to apply successfully to Columbia Business School? Register for our upcoming webinar, Get Accepted to Columbia Business School, which will air live on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM PST/1:00 PM EST. Spaces are limited – grab yours now!

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