Based on your goals and qualifications, you can now intelligently choose schools. Look at specialty rankings (U.S. News, BusinessWeek) for a quick start but don’t rely on them blindly. Go thoroughly through school websites. Read student blogs. Talk to current students and recent alumni.
Generate a list of schools that fall into one of the following three categories—reasonable reaches, on-pars, or safeties. It’s best to choose at least one school from each category, though some may want to apply to more (applying to six or seven total is about average).
Here’s a breakdown of these three categories:
• Reasonable reach – Acceptance to your reasonable reach is a bit of a stretch, but not impossible. A strong application could make your reasonable reach a reality.
• On-par – You have a solid chance of getting into your on-pars with a good application. Your scores and experiences make you a competitive candidate for these schools.
• Safety – You should have no trouble getting into the safety schools on your list. (Don’t be too cocky though; slacking off and turning in a half-filled-out application will get you dinged even at the schools in this category!)
When determining which schools fall into which categories you’ll need to keep in mind the following: How does your GPA and GMAT score measure up with the averages of your target school? Are your skills and experiences particularly well matched with your target school? Are your goals in line with one school more than another? Look at the class profile for accepted students to your target programs to see how you measure up. Would you fit in?
Once you can answer these questions, you will have generated a realistic list of schools to apply to—and the more realistic your list, the better your chances are of gaining acceptance to at least some of them, if not all.
Participating in an MBA fair is a great way to know if you are a good fit for your target schools. The MBA Tour will be holding events in the US during July, so register now to attend an event near you!
Like the advice you see in this post? Download Accepted’s special report, MBA Action Plan, for more practical tips on what you can do now to increase your chances of getting in to a top business school next year. (P.S. It’s free!)
Get ready to read about Heather who will be starting med school in a few months. Heather blogs at Pretty Strong Medicine where she writes about prepping for med school, getting in shape, and her weekend shenanigans. Thank you Heather for sharing your story with us!
Accepted: Let’s start with some basics: Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Which med school do you attend and what year are you?
Heather: I grew up in Cincinnati, OH all of my life until I moved to Bloomington, IN for college. I graduated for Indiana University in May 2012 (Go Hoosiers!) and then I moved back to Cincinnati for a gap year working as a nursing assistant and reapplying to medical school (CNA).
I majored in Biology while picking up minors in Chemistry, Political Science, and Psychology. If I could go back I would’ve majored in a non-science field. I love the sciences but I was always interested in the humanities. I would have loved to major in History, Political Science, or Economics. I also wish I would have gotten Business certificate which is an area that many doctors aren’t too savvy about.
I will be attending Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MU-COM) in Indianapolis, IN this fall as an incoming first year and a member of their inaugural class! I couldn’t be happier or more excited for this opportunity.
Accepted: How many med schools did you apply to? Why did you choose your MU-COM?
Heather: I am a reapplicant so my most recent experience was very different from my first time applying. The first time I applied was between my junior and senior year of college and I applied to about twelve schools and I sent secondaries back to eight. I applied to very poorly selected schools – many schools that were a long shot for me. I sat on the wait list or was rejected from all 12 schools.
This year I applied to fourteen schools, most of which were osteopathic medical schools. When I applied to medical school the first time, I only had a vague idea of what osteopathic medicine was so I only applied to one DO school. After I did more research on osteopathic medicine, I realized the philosophy and training (including osteopathic manipulative medicine) was something that I felt strongly about and something wanted to learn more about.
The most important factors for me when deciding on a school were location, curriculum, and rotation quality. I was accepted to two schools literally days apart in November, one of which was MU-COM. After much research and debating, I decided upon MU-COM and withdrew all my other applications.
I knew I wanted to be somewhere in the Midwest, preferably in a big city. Indianapolis is the perfect mix of big city life with a hometown feel along with being a life sciences hub with premier hospital systems and opportunities for research. Since I’m only about two hours away from my hometown, I’ll have a great support network close by as well as many friends from college in the area. Looking down the road, I would love to do my residency and practice medicine in Indiana or elsewhere in the Midwest.
MU-COM’s curriculum is something that really stuck out to me as it is systems-based instead of subject-based. In college I took a physiology class that was structured very much like a systems-based medical school class. I learned and retained more information from this style of learning than in any of my other classes so I knew this would be a great way for me to learn. I like that all the information is integrated and will be used repeatedly – this will make studying for boards much easier down the road.
While I do not have first-hand accounts of what rotations will be like from other students, I do know that MU-COM has a great plan for rotations. They have already signed agreements with premier hospitals in Indiana and the community support is tremendous! Unlike many DO programs, the clinical sites are all in Indiana – so there’s no traveling across the country although away rotations are encouraged.
Accepted: What are you most looking forward to at MU-COM? Least looking forward to?
Heather: I am very excited to start at MU-COM and I am looking forward to a lot of aspects of school. I can’t wait to be in Indianapolis and to be a member of the inaugural class at Marian. There is the tremendous amount of excitement and support for the school from the community, local physicians, hospitals, and more. Indiana is in desperate need of another medical school (IU is the only other one) so there is a very welcoming atmosphere.
Meeting my fellow classmates and attending my white coat ceremony will be the highlight of my year!
The only negative is that attending a new school is a bit of a risk. There are no older medical students to share information with our class. Instead of receiving second year mentor, we receive a physician mentor at our white coat ceremony which may prove to be more valuable in the long run! We are the “guinea pigs” but you wouldn’t realize MU-COM is a first year school based on the strong community support, amazing faculty, and the innovative curriculum, among other things.
Accepted: Did you go straight from college to med school? Do you think that is the ideal situation?
Heather: I took a year off between college and medical school and I’m definitely glad I did! When I knew I needed to take a gap year, I focused on improving two areas of my application: my MCAT and my clinical experience. I ended up improving my MCAT from a 26Q to a 30T. I did more shadowing and I also decided to take a two week class to become a certified nursing assistant.
While working as a nurse assistant, I was able to interact with a variety of patients on a daily basis. Every day I learned something new because I spent more time with each patient than anyone else on the healthcare team.
Doing this type of work reinforced for me why I want to be a physician. I often felt helpless because I was very limited in what I was able to do for my patients. I know now more than ever that I want to be the head of the healthcare team. I want to make the final decisions with the patient and have the most control over helping the individual reach optimum health.
Taking a year off wasn’t all positive. I’m a year behind my friends that went to medical school this year (hopefully I can learn from their experiences!) and I moved back home which was a hard adjustment.
Overall taking a year off was the best decision for me and I highly recommend it if there are areas of your application that need work. Don’t waste your resources by applying before you are ready.
Accepted: Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
Heather: In 10 years I will be fresh out of residency and just starting my career. Creating balance in my life is really important to me. I want to be a successful physician but I also want to be a wife and a mother. Right now my interests lie in OB/Gyn and Emergency Medicine which are two very demanding specialties and not necessarily very family friendly. I hope to join a well-established, supportive group practice that will allow me to make time for family and well as be an excellent physician for my patients. I think if you are doing your very best to care for all aspects of your patients lives and creating balance in your own life, everything else will fall into place!
As far as where I want to practice, I definitely want to stay somewhere in the Midwest. Working with underserved populations is very important to me as well as I am very interested in issues like poverty, rural medicine, and public health. I would love to work both in the city and in rural areas because these populations often have the same problems like access to affordable, quality healthcare which I think all people should have.
Accepted: Can you tell us a little about your blog? What sort of topics do you write about?
Heather: My blog is called Pretty Strong Medicine and I just started writing a little over a month ago so it’s still growing and evolving. I started my blog with the purpose of staying in touch with my family and friends while I’m away at medical school. I also wanted to have something to look back on down the road that documented my experiences in order to see how my views and preferences change over time.
Since I do not start medical school until August, I’m also using my blog to document my journey of getting healthier in all aspects of my life. I share my weight loss goals, clean eating recipes, workouts, inspiration, and more with a wonderful community of bloggers.
My blog is a great way to stay accountable to my goals and document my progress.
The blog is a creative outlet for me to develop my writing skills which suffered a lot since the only writing I did in college was for lab reports and analytical papers. In addition to medical school and getting healthy, I sprinkle in random things from my life – my weekend shenanigans, traveling, my life goals, medical articles, etc. In the future I plan on doing some vlogging, DIY, product reviews, and medical school advice. Really, I’m just a normal twenty-something girl who is about to embark on a new adventure!
Do you want to be featured in Accepted.com’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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accepted.com ~ Helping You Write Your Best
The GRE experts at Magoosh have just released the Ultimate GRE Guide, which is a great resource for anyone starting to study for the GRE. It answers every question an aspiring graduate student might have, from the very basic (“What is the GRE?”) to the advanced (“How do you get a perfect score?”). It organizes a lot of the information from the Magoosh blog, and points you to other sites (especially to http://ets.org/gre!) that may offer more help. Best of all, it’s free! Think of it as a crash course to the GRE—once you finish learning all of the basics of the exam, you’ll have more time to focus on scoring well. Enjoy!
This post was written by our friends at Magoosh.
Which MBA program is best for you? Well, that depends…who are YOU? To choose the best MBA programs, you’ll need to do some deep introspection and some thorough school research. You’ll need to think about WHO you are, WHERE you are, and WHAT your destination is, and then map your way to MBA admissions success.
Linda Abraham’s upcoming webinar, Destination MBA: Get Directions, will teach you how to narrow down your application choices to b-schools that fulfill your needs and supports your goals.
The webinar will air live on Thursday, June 27th, at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. The 1-hour webinar is free, but spaces are limited, so act now!
Are you a team leader? Are you committed to sustainable enterprise? Are you seeking resources and intellectual capital needed to shape both business and government? Are you a motivated, goal-oriented, innovative individual? UNC Kenan-Flagler adcoms are interested in seeing your multidimensional personality traits and capabilities. Your challenge: Prove that your goals mesh with the school’s goals and that your talents will contribute to the program’s collaborative nature.
My tips are in blue below.
We have three required essays and two optional essays. The essays for the 2013-2014 application season are:
1. What are the 2 or 3 strengths or characteristics that have driven your career success thus far? What are the other strengths that you would like to leverage in the future? (500 words maximum)
Rather than list Strength 1, Strength 2, and Strength 3, I recommend you start with one brief story that illustrates 2-3 of your strengths and shows you as a contributor and doer. Then analyze how those traits have contributed to your career success. Remember to describe your accomplishment in terms of impact and to quantify as much as possible.
Weave into your essay the response to the second questions — a trait that you would like to take advantage of in the future — into your conclusion.
2. Please describe your short and long term goals post-MBA. Explain how: your professional experience has shaped these goals; why this career option appeals to you; and how you arrived at the decision that now is the time and the MBA is the appropriate degree. (500 words maximum)
What do you see yourself doing immediately upon graduation and what would you like to do ten years from now? Describe why this path attracts you. What experiences have convinced you to pursue it? Why do you need an MBA, especially one with UNC’s approach to business education, to proceed down your chosen path. For more tips on writing about post-MBA goals, please see MBA Goals 101.
3. What personal qualities or life experiences distinguish you from other applicants? How do these qualities or experiences equip you to contribute to UNC Kenan-Flagler? (500 words maximum)
Everyone has a story. What’s yours? What makes you tick? What would you like the admissions committee to know about you — you the human being, the individual? What hobbies and experiences will differentiate you from the IT guy, consultant, real estate developer, or banker that the adcom just read about? How will your perspective contribute to the classroom and community at Kenan-Flagler?
4. (Optional) If your standardized test scores are low, or if you have not had coursework in core business subjects (calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), please tell us how you plan to prepare yourself for the quantitative rigor of the MBA curriculum. (300 words maximum)
This is pretty straightforward. Just answer it. You may also want to highlight professional preparation that you have already had in quantitative areas.
Essay Five (Optional)
Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? (300 words maximum)
My favorite: The optional essay. A gift allowing you to give the adcom one more reason to admit you.
|Application Due||Decisions Released|
|Round 1 (EA)||Oct 18, 2013||Dec 13, 2013|
|Round 2||Dec 9, 2013||Feb 3, 2014|
|Round 3||Jan 13, 2014||Mar 17, 2014|
|Round 4||Mar 14, 2014||Apr 28, 2014|
This article is sponsored by PaGaLGuY. PaGalGuy is India’s largest network of MBA aspirants with 700,000 unique visitors per month. 80% of all GMAT takers in India use PaGaLGuY to network with schools and alumni for their application process, research, essays, VISA tips, etc. PaGaLGuY has been continuously solving one of the major challenges faced by a lot of B-schools outside India -to consistently reach-out to Indian GMAT takers/applicants who may be a good fit for their programs.