Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog » Medical School Admissions http://blog.accepted.com Admissions consulting and application advice Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:44:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Admissions consulting and application advice Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no Admissions consulting and application advice Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog » Medical School Admissions http://blog.accepted.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://blog.accepted.com/category/medical-school-admissions/ Crowd Funding His Way to Med School: Interview with Charles Lanman http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/15/crowd-funding-his-way-to-med-school-interview-with-charles-lanman/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/15/crowd-funding-his-way-to-med-school-interview-with-charles-lanman/#respond Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:43:45 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25579 ]]> Click here for more med school applicant interviews!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com 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 Charles Lanman.

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What’s your favorite flavor ice cream?

Charles: Thank you for taking the time to get to know me! My name is Charles Unger Lanman. I was born in Pensacola, FL and moved to Chattanooga, TN, where I was raised, when I was four years old. I attended Lookout Valley and Red Bank High School each for two years while living in Chattanooga. I then moved to Knoxville and attended the University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK) as a seventeen-year-old back in August 2006 (Go Vols!). I graduated summa cum laude May 2010 with a BS in Biochemistry. I am a brother and alumnus of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity and a former member of the Dance Marathon Executive Committee.

Though likely not the most popular opinion, I am an avid lover of Baskin Robbins’ bubblegum summertime flavor. It is delicious and makes for a fantastic milkshake – you should try it sometime!

Accepted: What have you been doing with your time since you graduated college?

Charles: Since graduation, I have been fortunate to be able to work and give back to both my family financially as a first-generation college graduate, as well as those who are impacted through volunteering efforts on the side. In four years since college, I have held positions at a couple of prominent biotech companies in Nashville and San Diego, and have volunteered with St. Jude, Habitat for Humanity, Nashville Rescue Mission, among others.

Most recently, I have been working full-time as a material science engineer (btechcorp.com) and have been selling re-purposed and re-furbished products on eBay (ebay.com/usr/lanman1422), giving back 25% of those proceeds to UNICEF.

On the volunteering front, I have recently been involved in a close friend’s fundraising campaign (MattRizor.org) as well as constantly trying to find new and innovative ways to give back to the community.

Accepted: What stage of the med school admissions process are you up to so far?

Charles: I have recently submitted secondary applications to multiple schools and now await the interview process!

Accepted: Do you have a dream school, your #1 choice? How did you go about choosing which schools to apply to?

Charles: That is an excellent question! In searching for schools that were aligned with both my credentials and personal mission, I utilized the AAMC’s MSAR e-book. I would highly recommend this investment for those who are deciding which schools best fit their credentials and goals in medicine.

As far as a favorite, I am looking forward to getting a more in-depth perspective on the schools that I am fortunate to receive an interview invitation and decide from there; as it stands right now, I am excited about multiple schools I have submitted applications to. It was very important to me that every school I planned on submitting an application to have a very strong alignment of both academic requirements and mission/vision/values. I wanted to ensure that I was not submitting applications to just any school, because I have been very blessed to receive a helping hand on some of the application fees through the crowd-funding campaign.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your Kickstarter/Rally campaign? How many of your donations have been from total strangers?

Charles: Absolutely. The Rally campaign was borne of an idea that followed shortly after I received my May 2014 MCAT score. I received a 29, and it was definitely not the 34 I worked so hard to achieve. Looking back, I now realize that this test score came as a blessing in disguise because it opened the door for me to move forward with this campaign. I felt strongly that I needed to apply early and broadly to have a chance with that MCAT score, but I also knew that after living paycheck-to-paycheck for nine months while studying, I had not saved the funds to do so.

So I began the Rally in early July, and posted a basic description of what the cost of applying to medical school is. I then went back to work not thinking much about it – initially.

By the end of day one, I remember three selfless supporters backing my cause and then thinking, “Wow, this may actually turn into something.” I am now at nearly 90 supporters, and 1/4 of the goal has been realized. It is truly phenomenal to think there are so many kind and selfless individuals who are willing to stand up and tell me “I believe in your skills as a future physician.” It is both humbling and motivating.

As for the proportion of strangers who have contributed, I would say it is about 10% right now, and I cannot be more thankful for everyone standing up for a kid from Chattanooga who has a dream to serve the less fortunate. I hope to make every supporter aware that their kindness will not be forgotten: I plan on providing updates of my progress throughout both the application/interview process as well as during the journey as a medical student and resident, so that every supporter may see just how much they have affected not just my life, but the lives of patients I will go on to serve.

Accepted: You’ve done the math — how much does it cost just to APPLY to med school?

Charles: The average applicant with, what I will call a “middle-of-the-road” GPA/MCAT of 3.6/30, is going to need to apply to upwards of 30 schools in order to receive a handful of interviews and hopefully that wonderful acceptance. I have run the numbers on this and with variable secondary application fees, it is hard to put an exact number on it, but $10,000 is a safe assumption.

In this calculation, I am assuming the AMCAS primary fees of $160 for the first school and $36 for every school thereafter, as well as the associated secondary fees for each school, ranging from $50-200 per school.

Also remember, for each interview, you are expected to cover your own travel expenses, so assuming just 5 interviews received out of 30 schools, we are looking at over $2,500 in travel costs alone. It is truly daunting when you are either a student without family support or a recent college graduate just trying to find their way in the real world!

I encourage all applicants to look for new and innovative ways to attempt to supplement these costs, and my line is always open if you need a helping hand in trying to find your own voice and message in a crowd-funding campaign. All of my contact information is provided on the Rally page (Rally.org/CharlesLanmanMD).

Accepted: I see you posted your AMCAS personal statement on your Rally page — nice job! Can you walk us through the writing process? Can you share a few tips with our readers? 

Charles: I appreciate your kind words about the essay. The most important factors, in telling your story through a personal statement, are to make it candid, conversational, and compelling. I did not mean for the alliteration, but now that I am explaining, I like the sound of it!

You want a story to be candid for the most obvious reasons, to be truthful and honest with the reader, but also writing candidly is very helpful in establishing your voice in the essay. A conversational essay reads better, it is generally more direct and to-the-point, and will not leave the reader with a migraine after reading through. Admissions teams must read through thousands of essays over the course of a single application cycle, so you cannot go wrong by writing a personal essay with nice flow and diction. Last but not least, make the essay compelling! I believe every applicant has a special set of abilities and everybody possesses a unique story or life experience that adds to the conversation. If this were not the case, they would not be seeking admission to probably the most competitive graduate program.

I encourage everyone to do some soul searching and find what lessons and moments in their lives stuck with them. Remember, our decision to pursue medical training is the result of an accumulation of choices, and each choice has an associated experience that we can draw from if we dig deep enough.

I hope those pointers helped those who may need it! Best of luck to everyone applying and let me know if I can be of assistance in any way.

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

You can stay up-to-date with Charles’s journey to med school by checking out his updates on his Rally page. Thank you Charles for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

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 bloggers@accepted.com.

Download a free Med School Secondary Essay Handbook for the tips you need to write successful secondariness!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Medical School Applicant Interviews
• Medical School Funding
Get Accepted to Medical School with Low Stats

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How to Deal with Deadlines http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/14/how-to-deal-with-deadlines/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/14/how-to-deal-with-deadlines/#respond Sun, 14 Sep 2014 17:07:10 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25510 ]]> Dealing with Deadlines

You don’t want to feel rushed and you don’t want to miss your deadline.

You don’t want to feel rushed (stress can lead to mistakes) and you don’t want to miss your deadline. So what can you do to stay on top of your game and submit your applications before the buzzer?

1. Set yourself a schedule and work backwards from your deadlines. Allow time for holidays, sleep, exercise, and of course work.

2. Focus first on the applications with the earliest deadlines. It wouldn’t make sense to work on the application with the further deadline first when you have a looming deadline for another application right around the corner!

3. Work on applications one at a time. Adapt essays from your first application, when possible, to later applications. However never merely paste in an essay because the question is similar. Customize it for this application and this program. Trying to write more than one application at once will only lead to confusion, not to mention unintentional overlapping of material – forgetting to change just one Harvard to Stanford shows a level of sloppiness that Stanford just won’t stand for!

4. If you fall behind, consider dropping/postponing an application to maintain quality overall. Pushing off an application to a subsequent round or the following year is better than submitting a subpar application.

Good luck!

Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own! Click here to download our free report!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application Essay & Personal Statements
Resourceful Essay Recycling
• The Biggest Application Essay Mistake [Video]

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Combined BS/MD Programs http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/14/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-combined-bsmd-programs-3/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/14/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-combined-bsmd-programs-3/#respond Sun, 14 Sep 2014 16:23:37 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25409 ]]> Click here to download your copy of Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program?

Admissions to many BS/MD programs is more competitive than even the most selective colleges.

“Advantages and Disadvantages of Combined BS/MD Programs” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program? To download the entire free special report, click here

If you are fully committed to the idea of pursuing a medical career, a combined program may seem like the best of both worlds. In one application process, you can assure yourself of your future medical career, eliminate uncertainty and stress during your undergraduate years, and, without completing a full medical school application process, potentially save yourself thousands of dollars in application costs.

With so many benefits, it is easy to see why the several dozen combined programs are so highly sought after. Admission to many of them is more competitive than even the most selective colleges, easily in the low single digits with extremely talented applicant pools. These programs also do not obligate you to attend medical school, but with such competitive applicant pools, it is easy to understand why universities do not want to waste resources on students who are not committed to a career in medicine.

If you have top notch high school credentials, including GPA, test scores, challenging curriculum, and a demonstrated interest (through volunteer service, research, and clinical shadowing), some of these programs might be a good fit for you.

However, for many other applicants, following the traditional route of pursuing a bachelor’s degree and completing your pre-medical requirements before applying to medical school makes more sense than attending a combined BS/MD program. Consider the following:

The additional few years of undergraduate education and life perspective can truly help you to determine which educational environment is best for you. Is there an area of the country that you prefer? Are you interested in serving a specific population? Some medical schools emphasize family practice while others focus more on scientific research and academic career preparation.

If you choose to pursue a combined program, be certain that you are doing so in an environment that suits you for its undergraduate experience. There is a chance you will find that medicine is not your calling. In some cases, the undergraduate requirements to maintain your medical school space are extremely tough. You are most likely to thrive in an environment that makes you happy.

Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program?

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

College Admissions 101
• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your College Application Essays
Interviews with Medical School Applicants

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Medical School Funding http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/11/medical-school-funding/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/11/medical-school-funding/#respond Thu, 11 Sep 2014 16:55:37 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25388 ]]> Learn how to navigate the med school maze! Click here to download your free guide!

It’s no secret that medical school is expensive!

It’s no secret that medical school is expensive! There are several types of funding to help you with the expense—for most people, loans are the primary source of support, but it’s also worth applying for grants and scholarships. If you demonstrate financial need, you can sometimes qualify for low-interest or no-interest loans from various sources, which can also be a help.

Here are some resources and advice for medical and pre-med students applying for scholarships and financial aid:

•  First, make sure you file your FAFSA every year, by your state’s deadline. (If you are not a US citizen or permanent resident, consult the financial aid office at your institution for the appropriate forms to demonstrate your financial need.)

• Carefully review the financial aid information for each school you’re interested in. The med school’s financial aid office website is an important resource. If you have questions, contact someone there, or ask a financial aid representative in person when you visit campus.

• Many medical schools offer scholarships. When you apply for admission, check to see whether your application will automatically be considered for any scholarships the school offers, or whether you need to submit any additional materials.

• Consult lists of scholarships, and search online. If you find awards that you are not eligible for yet, but will be in a year, bookmark them. Keep a file of funding opportunities.

• When looking for funding opportunities, think BROAD: you might find scholarships based on your hobbies, your community service, your religious involvement, minority status, work experience, etc. Some foundations fund scholarships for people with disabilities or illnesses, often covering the cost of equipment you may need for school. Local organizations often fund small scholarships for people from their hometowns. You get the idea– a little research can pay off!

Here are some helpful resources to guide you:

AAMC Grants & Awards

American Osteopathic Foundation Grants Awards

General Financial Aid Info for MD Programs

General Financial Aid Info for DO Programs

Medical Scholarships

DO Scholarships

Free searchable databases: scholarships.com; schoolsoup.com

Careful budgeting can also save you a lot. It can be very helpful to meet with a financial aid counselor at your school. Good luck!

Download your free special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!

Rebecca Blustein By , Accepted.com editor and former Student Affairs Officer at UCLA’s Scholarship Resource Center, and author of Financing Your Future: Winning Fellowships, Scholarships and Awards for Grad School. Rebecca will be happy to assist you with your grad school applications.

Related Resources:

• How to Write the Statement of Disadvantage
• Financial Aid and Health Insurance for International Students
• Ask the Experts: Medical School Admissions Q&A [Transcript/Recording]

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5 Personal Statement Tips for Residency Applicants http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/10/5-personal-statement-tips-for-residency-applicants-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/10/5-personal-statement-tips-for-residency-applicants-2/#respond Wed, 10 Sep 2014 16:41:34 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25313 ]]> Make sure you know the 5 fatal flaws of residency applications! Click here to learn more.

Proofread!

You want to write a residency personal statement that will get you noticed – and matched! – at your top choice residency program. Not sure how to turn your boring draft into an application best-seller? Follow these 5 tips:

1. Focus on what attracts you to this particular specialty. This isn’t the place to tell your full life story, or to rehash the story of why you decided to become a doctor. Instead, explain how you became interested in your specialty, and show you have the skills and personal qualities to succeed in the residency you’re seeking.

2. Be specific. Draw on concrete examples from your experiences to illustrate your points. Was there a particular experience during a rotation that made you realize this specialty was for you? Did you have an especially memorable interaction with a patient or a mentor? What skills have you developed that will help you succeed?

3.  …But don’t just put your CV into prose! Your residency personal statement is not the place to simply list accomplishments from your CV. (Let your CV do that job!) This is your opportunity to tell a coherent story about your experience and goals—a story that provides context for the rest of your application.

4. Be alert to your tone. You don’t want to sound arrogant (after all, your readers are considering you as a potential colleague). Describe your skills confidently, but be aware of the line between confidence and arrogance. For example, it can be very off-putting to a reader if you talk about how work was too easy for you (in a way that makes it sound like you think you’re more accomplished than everyone you worked with!) or if you claim to be the “best” or the “only.” Likewise, be careful of presenting your chosen specialty as the BEST one, or the only one a really smart or accomplished person would pursue– it’s the best choice for you! It’s a good idea to ask someone else to read your essay—ask them if you sound enthusiastic and confident, or if you’ve crossed the line into arrogance.

5. Proofread! Make sure you avoid careless mistakes. One way to catch errors: take a step back and then return to your essay after a short break. You’ll be more likely to see things that you might miss when you’re tired. Another tip: read your essay aloud. This forces you to slow down, and you’re more likely to catch awkward phrases, typos, etc. Your ear will pick up what your eye previously missed on the screen.

There you have it — your 5 ingredient recipe for residency application success! For more guidance on cooking up the perfect personal statement, please be in touch!

Download your free copy of 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid In Your Residency Personal Statements!

Rebecca Blustein By , Accepted.com editor and former Student Affairs Officer at UCLA’s Scholarship Resource Center, and author of Financing Your Future: Winning Fellowships, Scholarships and Awards for Grad School. Rebecca will be happy to assist you with your grad school applications.

 

Related Resources:

Residency Admissions 101
Residency Applications: How to Match
• 7 Don’t Do’s for Your Residency Personal Statement

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Med School Admissions Strategies for Different Groups http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/09/med-school-admissions-strategies-for-different-groups/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/09/med-school-admissions-strategies-for-different-groups/#respond Tue, 09 Sep 2014 16:27:13 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25115 ]]> For more tips for writing your essays, check out our Med essay tips pages!Your med school strategy is to make it successfully from one step to the next, up to the point where you’re invited for the interview and then accepted. Minorities have the same goal as everyone else, but because of their (sometimes unique) circumstances, they may have a slightly different focus.

During the pre-interview writing stages of your application, what you need to do is come up with the most compelling story that you can. You need to get the adcom’s attention. You need to let them know that even though you’re from a minority origin/background, you have what it takes to plough your way through med school!

Underrepresented in Medicine

If you are from a group that is underrepresented in medicine and you struggled to make the decision to go into medicine, then you should definitely highlight those difficulties. The adcom wants to know the path you took to get to where you are.  Once you get to your secondaries and go through your activities, you’ll show more about how you put your thoughts into action, your life’s path to medicine.

Overrepresented Groups

If you are coming from an overrepresented group, you will need to do a better job mining your experiences and coming up with the ones that confirm your unique desire to go to medical school. The best thing you can do is start your writing and your strategizing by looking at all the different stories that you can potentially tell and then plucking out that you think are the most persuasive and the most impactful.  One other possible avenue for overrepresented groups is to apply to osteopathic medicine programs – you might have a better chance at something like that. They are a bit less competitive, and you might be able to tell your story in a way that emphasizes your life experience.

Final word: You are so much more than your numbers. Make sure the adcom see these other parts of who you are!

The advice in this post is based on a conversation we had in our recent webinar, Ask The Experts: Medical School Admissions Q&A with Cydney Foote and Alicia McNease Nimonkar. Check out the full transcript for more tips on applying to med school successfully!

Download a free Med School Secondary Essay Handbook for the tips you need to write successful secondariness!

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Med School Essays
• Writing About Overcoming Obstacles in Your Application Essays
Approaching the Diversity Essay Question

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Preparing to Reapply to Medical School: IV with MedSchoolApplicant http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/08/preparing-to-reapply-to-medical-school-iv-with-medschoolapplicant/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/08/preparing-to-reapply-to-medical-school-iv-with-medschoolapplicant/#respond Mon, 08 Sep 2014 16:22:50 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25119 ]]> Download your free special report: Medical School Reapplicant Advice - 6 Tips for Success

MedSchoolApplicant

This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at the med school application process. And now for a follow up interview with our anonymous video blogger, MedSchoolApplicant. (We first met MSA last year – you can read our first interview with her here.)

Accepted: Last we spoke, you were evaluating your med school dings and preparing to reapply. What stage of the application process are you now up to as a reapplicant?

MedSchoolApplicant: I have yet to actually reapply. After evaluating my application, I realized there were some things I needed to fix before submitting it a second time. Otherwise my application would look practically identical to my first one, which is something I want to avoid. As of right now, I’m taking a “break” to get those things in top shape.

Accepted: What would you say went wrong the first time around, and what steps are you taking this time to ensure your acceptance?

MedSchoolApplicant: Honestly, I think the biggest flaw in my application was my undergraduate GPA. It’s not terrible, but by medical school standards, it’s certainly not great. Since I cannot go back and retake those classes, I was advised to look into options for graduate school and that’s exactly what I’ve done. The goal is to focus and do really well so that my graduate GPA will show admissions committees that I am capable of handling the course load in medical school. I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in public health and it’s been really great! I am excited to combine the knowledge I am learning now with all that will come during medical school.

Accepted: How’s your vlogging going? Any new favorites that you want to share with us?

MedSchoolApplicant: I have a bit of a confession: I haven’t made a new video in about a year. AH! I know that’s terrible, but life has just been a bit crazy. With graduate school and some personal things, it’s been difficult. However, I have a list of ideas and I hope to be back in front of the camera very soon! Stay tuned!

Accepted: What else have you been up to in the last year?

MedSchoolApplicant: Since I have finished college, I actually work full time in clinical research. I feel fortunate to have been able to find a job in a relevant field. For the longest time I always viewed research as something that only happened in a lab, but I am finding that is not the case. My job requires me to manage patients enrolled on clinical trials, which can be very involved. It has given me tangible experience that will be invaluable as I move forward in the process of applying to medical school.

Accepted: Do you have any reapplication tips you can share with our readers?

MedSchoolApplicant: Reapplying can be tough for many reasons, but it’s important to keep perspective. Just because things did not work out exactly as you planned does not mean they will not work out at all. Some schools receive so many applications that it can be hard to make yours stand out from the crowd. Set yourself up for success by applying to more schools than you did the first time around.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid of criticism. The only way to improve your application is to really examine its flaws. Ask for advice from advisors, peers, or even friends and family. Take the MCAT again. Look into graduate school programs. If being a physician is truly what you want, be willing to go that extra mile to achieve your goals. You’ll be glad you did!

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

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 bloggers@accepted.com.

Thank you MedSchoolApplicant for sharing your story with us! Check out MedSchoolApplicant’s YouTube channel here and her Tumblr here.

Download your free special report: Medical School Reapplicant Advice - 6 Tips for Success

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

• Why Consider Participating in a Special Masters Program (SMP)?
Med School Applicant Interviews
Dealing with a Low MCAT Score or GPA

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So You Think You’d Like to Become a Doctor http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/07/so-you-think-youd-like-to-become-a-doctor-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/07/so-you-think-youd-like-to-become-a-doctor-2/#respond Sun, 07 Sep 2014 17:10:33 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25385 ]]> Download your complete copy of Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program? “So You Think You’d Like to Become a Doctor” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program? To download the entire free special report, click here.

If you’d like to become a doctor, you are like thousands of high school students as they begin their college search each year. Medicine is one of the relatively few careers that high school students have direct exposure to. For some students, this exposure comes from a parent or sibling who practices medicine; but for almost all students applying to college, they themselves have been to the doctor.

If you are a student who has met with academic success, has an interest in science, and has a desire to help others, then medicine probably seems like a natural fit for you. As you talk about it with others, the path seems more and more appropriate. It’s an easy answer to one of the tough questions that adults ask during this process: “What are you going to major in?” Your reply is simple and met with satisfaction: “I’m going to be pre-med.”

At many colleges, however, pre-med is not a major. It is a series of courses that students must take in order to sit for the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) and apply to medical school. Many of these classes dovetail with university requirements for a biology-related major, but at this point, you need not major in science to be a successful applicant to medical school.

If you are considering a pre-med path through college, your opportunities to explore start in high school. Spend time shadowing a physician. Gain bench research experience. Enroll in demanding science courses in your high school. Participate in health-related volunteer work. Each of these activities will further enhance your profile in the future and help you to understand and articulate your own desire to become a physician.

Coming up next in this series: Advantages and Disadvantages of Combined BS/MD Programs.

Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program?

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Identity, Community, and the World of Med School Admissions
Navigating the Med School Maze
How to Shadow a Doctor

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Applying to Medical School Late in the Application Cycle http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/03/applying-to-medical-school-late-in-the-application-cycle/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/03/applying-to-medical-school-late-in-the-application-cycle/#respond Wed, 03 Sep 2014 16:22:39 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24876 ]]> For more med school admissions advice, check out our Medical School Admissions 101 pages!

Is is too late?

If you are submitting your application in August or later, this can be considered applying late in the application cycle.  Often there are other circumstances that are influencing your decision to apply late—waiting on an MCAT score or deciding late in the process to apply in the current cycle.  If you find yourself in this position, there are some important things for you to consider:

• Cost of applying

It’s expensive to apply to medical school. When deciding to apply late, which can put you at a significant disadvantage, pause to consider your financial situation and whether it would be best to apply this cycle or next when you might have more time to save up for the primary and secondary application fees as well as cover the cost of travel for interviews. I recently spoke with a client who applied so late last application cycle that by the time he had submitted his AMCAS application and received secondary applications that the deadlines for secondary applications had passed at most schools. Some of the schools adjusted the secondary application deadlines for him, while others did not. Some schools are more forgiving of late applicants than others.

• Strategy

If applying late, it will be important to have a significant strength or two in support of your application. This could be a strong MCAT score, outstanding letters of recommendation and activities or a strong increasing trend in your science GPA upon graduation. If you don’t have one strong feature in your application profile, it may be best to take the time to create one or more and to apply early the next cycle. Also, school selection will be increasingly important. Applying to the schools that are more forgiving of lower scores and late applications can help. Working with a consultant or experienced advisor who can help you identify these schools will be even more important. Again, there are no guarantees so even if a school has selected a student who applied late in a previous cycle, there is no way to predict whether they will do it again in the future.

• Applying as a Disadvantaged Applicant

Some medical schools are more likely to accept applicants who apply as disadvantaged applicants later in the cycle.  Often, students who are from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds encounter more significant barriers in submitting an application to medical school.  This may be taken into consideration when the application is being evaluated.

If this information has not made you reconsider applying late, then the following approaches may help you gain an acceptance despite the date you have decided to submit your application:

1. Take the extra time needed to carefully evaluate your application.

Before clicking the “submit” button, look over your application to make sure you have provided all the information necessary to help you stand out as an applicant.

•Have you emphasized your strengths?

•Have you addressed any weaknesses in your application?

•Have you included all the information that you want the selection committee to know about you?

2. Make informed decisions when selecting schools late in the game

Not to add any pressure! Your school selection can make all the difference when applying late. Use Student Doctor Network to find out how late students were able to successfully apply and find out where they got in. Network at pre-health fairs. Working with a seasoned consultant and/or pre-med advisor can help.

3. Submit all secondary essays within two weeks

This strategy can help you maximize your chances of getting an interview.  Spend the extra time needed to write and submit excellent essays that fully represent you and will encourage the reader to want to interview you.

Hopefully these strategies will help you as you submit your applications this month and (cringe) next.  In the past, I have assisted students who have received acceptances when they’ve applied as late as August and September.  These students had compelling personal stories of overcoming significant obstacles in their lives.  It is more stressful to apply late.  I’m not going to lie to you.  I wish you all success as you complete the process!

Download this special report that will help you ace the AMCAS essay.

Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted.com advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs.

Related Resources:

How to Write the Statement of Disadvantage
Writing About Overcoming Obstacles in Your Application Essays
Navigate the Med School Maze, a free guide

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Admissions Offers to International Grad Students Increase 9% Since 2013 http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/02/admissions-offers-to-international-grad-students-increase-9-since-2013/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/02/admissions-offers-to-international-grad-students-increase-9-since-2013/#respond Tue, 02 Sep 2014 17:10:32 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25428 ]]> Will you be studying abroad? Click here for some important information!

9% increase in grad school offers to international students

For the fourth year in a row, the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) reported a 9% increase in graduate school offers to international students. Here are some highlights from the recent report (Findings from the 2014 CGS International Graduate Admissions Survey, Phase II: Final Applications and Initial Offers of Admission):

• There were fewer applications submitted by Chinese applicants in 2014 than in 2013, and no increase in acceptances, ending an eight-year streak of growth. Even with this decrease, Chinese students still make up the largest group of international representatives at U.S. graduate schools, at 37%.

• In India, there was an increase in the number of applications sent to U.S. graduate schools, and a 25% increase in initial admission offers. This follows a 27% increase the year before (2013).

• There was also an increase in offers to prospective students in Brazil (a 98% increase this year, after a 46% increase in 2013). Brazilian students still only make up 1% of the total number of offers to international students, even with this huge increase.

• Other regions with growth in offers of graduate school admission over the last year include Europe (2%), Africa (3%), Canada (4%), and the Middle East (9).

• Regions that experienced declines in offers include Mexico (-1%), Taiwan (-6%), and South Korea (-9%).

• The fields of study that saw the largest increase in initial offers of admission in 2014 were physical/earth sciences (13%), engineering (11%), “other” (7%), business (6%), social sciences/psychology (6%), life sciences (6%), arts/humanities (5%), and education (1%).

• Prospective international students received an increase in offers of admission in the following regions of the U.S. (from 2013-2014): the Midwest (12%), the West (9%), the South (9%), and the Northeast (8%).

According to Suzanne Ortega, CGS President, “American graduate schools continue to attract students from around the world. We should be excited about the fact that new growth is emerging from a host of different regions and nations. International students are important to the U.S. economy because our workforce will continue to face shortages of graduate-level talent over the next decade. To support our economic competitiveness, we should make it easier – for international graduates who wish to do so – to remain and work in the U.S. after completing their degrees.”

Click here for must-know info & advice for international students!

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

• Delivering STAR in an American Context
Get Your Game On, Prepping for Your Grad School Application 
Grad School Admissions 101

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Residency Personal Statement: 7 Don’t Do’s http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/02/7-residency-personal-statement-donts/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/02/7-residency-personal-statement-donts/#respond Tue, 02 Sep 2014 16:32:59 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25310 ]]>

Write with creativity, but don’t go overboard.

Your personal statement is your first and best opportunity to put a personal face to the scores and evaluations that each residency program receives. Like the AMCAS (or AACOMAS) essay you wrote to get into medical school, the residency essay needs to introduce you, demonstrate your interest, and convince the admissions committee that you have what it takes to succeed in their program. But there are some important differences in these essays. We’ll start by talking about what not to do in your residency personal statement.

1. Explain why you went into medicine. You’re already a doctor. You don’t need to rehash your entire story for the program director. (The exception to this rule is if the reason you entered medicine is the same reason you chose this specialty. In that case, you might be able to make a convincing argument for your unwavering commitment to the field.)

2. Give generic or superficial reasons for choosing this specialty. “Since playing Operation as a child, I have always wanted to be a surgeon.” Sure you want to explain when your interest piqued. But you’re better off doing this in a serious way, probably with an example from your medical school days, that shows that you’re serious and knowledgeable about this residency and what it entails.

3. Make the reader guess why you chose this specialty. Don’t cleverly hide your interest in the particular residency. Residency directors want to know from the very beginning why you chose this residency and why you’ll be good at it. This is not to say that your opening line should be “I want to be a dermatologist because…” but you should get this point across in the first paragraph – with a little creativity and finesse.

4. Use gimmicks to get attention. Writing your personal statement as a newspaper article, interview, or any other so-called “creative” format is a sure way to turn off a good portion of your audience. Residency committees want to see that you can communicate well in a professional setting. Write with originality and creativity, but don’t go overboard.

Note: The ERAS online application uses an ASCI format – boldface, italics, and unusual fonts aren’t allowed. You’ll have to use language to add emphasis, not special characters.

5. Send the same personal statement to every program. If a residency (or even a particular program) isn’t research-based, then you probably don’t want to go into too much detail about your senior thesis in neuroscience. And while your oncology essay may have a lot of related stories, if your interest is really GYN ONC, your chances of a match in an OB/GYN program will go up immeasurably if you can speak convincingly about your experiences with women’s care.

6. Use all the allotted space to answer every question the residency director might have. ERAS allows 28,000 characters (approximately 8 pages) for your personal statement, but residency directors do not want to read that much. Writing a tightly focused one-page essay that addresses the key points you want to convey is a much more effective way to make sure that you get that all-important interview – and a chance to answer questions in person.

7. Submit an application with typos or grammatical mistakes. Your entire application – not just your personal statement but also your CV, personal information, etc. – should be as polished as it can possibly be. Errors convey the impression that you aren’t taking this process seriously – and consequently, telling the program director that they shouldn’t take you seriously.

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Residency Personal Statements.

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

Residency Applications: How to Match, free on-demand webinar
• Residency Application Tip: Settling, and How To Avoid It
• The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D. Shares her Residency Application Experiences

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A Youtuber Living Her Dreams in Medical School [Interview] http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/01/med-school-interview-with-megan/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/01/med-school-interview-with-megan/#respond Mon, 01 Sep 2014 15:52:13 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24888 ]]> Med Student Megan

This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com 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 Megan…

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

Megan: My name is Megan. I am 21-year-old marathoner, Youtuber, and first year medical student. TheMeganRantsAbout is the name of my YouTube channel. Y’all should stop by sometime and see me live my dreams in medical school!

Accepted: Where are you in med school and what year? 

Megan: I attend a public allopathic medical school in the South and am an M1. This is truly the journey of a lifetime.

Accepted: What are you most looking forward to in med school?

Megan: I’m definitely a people person. Talking and working with others comes easily to me. I love to listen to others’ stories and tell some of my own. That’s probably why I’m looking forward to patient interactions the most in med school.

Accepted: Did you go straight from college to med school? What do you think the advantages are of going straight from college to med school? 

Megan: I am proud to say that I’m one of those crazy kids who went straight from college to medical school. At 21, I’m actually one of the youngest in my class.

The biggest advantage of going straight from college to medical school is that the applicable material you learned in undergrad is still fresh in your mind and easily accessible for med school courses.

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

Megan: Every premedical student struggles with the MCAT. It is a grueling test over almost everything you learn in undergrad that requires MONTHS of discipline and dedication. I ended up taking it twice. The first time I took the test, I actually thought I did quite well but was devastated to find out otherwise. The second time, I improved my score and ended up getting into my first choice school. Persistence pays off.

Accepted: Can you share your top 3 med school application tips with our readers?

Megan: I always tell my viewers that their medical school application needs to tell a story about their life, passions, and (most importantly) why they have a heart for medicine. Other advice – submit your application early and dress to impress for interviews!

Accepted: Can you tell us about your YouTube channel? If our med school applicant readers were to watch just one of your videos, which would you want it to be?

Megan: I make videos for premed students on topics that no one seems to be talking about. Some of my most popular videos are “The MCAT: How to Study, My Experience and Advice,” “Retaking the MCAT: Should You? Advice and What I did Differently,” and “What I Wish I Had Known About Being Premed.” I wish I had someone to ask these questions to when I was in undergrad! My sincerest hope is that I do that for my viewers.

You can read more about Megan’s med school journey by checking out her YouTube channel, TheMeganRantsAbout. Thank you Megan for sharing your story with us!

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 bloggers@accepted.com.

Download your free special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

• General Advice for Med School Applicants
• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Med School Essays
• Med Applicant Blogger Interviews

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Make Your Perfect Match: Residency Admissions Video Link Here http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/31/make-your-perfect-match-residency-admissions-video-link-here/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/31/make-your-perfect-match-residency-admissions-video-link-here/#respond Sun, 31 Aug 2014 19:46:28 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25378 ]]> Want to match at your top choice residency program?

Residency Applications: How to Match - Register Now!

 

Boost your chances of getting the job done right by following the advice found in Residency Applications: How to Match – our newest webinar, now available for on-demand viewing!

During the webinar, you’ll learn:

• 6 fatal application blunders that can cost you your match.
• Advice on writing a persuasive, compelling personal statement.
• Tips on choose the right program for YOU.

…and more!

View Residency Applications: How to Match today – your future as a physician depends on it!

Watch the webinar

Accepted.com

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5 Questions to Help You Decide Where to Apply to Med School http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/28/5-questions-to-help-you-decide-where-to-apply-to-med-school/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/28/5-questions-to-help-you-decide-where-to-apply-to-med-school/#respond Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:04:13 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25105 ]]> For more med school admissions advice, download your free copy of Navigate the Med Maze!

How do you choose where to apply?

There are literally hundreds of medical schools in the U.S. to choose from – how do you choose where to apply? Ask yourself the following five questions – their answers will help you narrow down you school selection list and choose the ones that are best for YOU.

1. Should you go in-state?

This is a great place to start as state schools are often cheaper, not to mention easier to get into for residents.

2. Where do you stand competitively?

You need to know where you stand when compared to other applicants. While some aspects of your profile won’t be able to be measured objectively (your clinical experiences or unique background), others are simple facts that are easily comparable. Check out recent rankings to determine average MCAT scores and GPAs for entering classes at the schools on your list. Then narrow down accordingly.

3. What’s your area of interest?

If you have a strong interest in doing health policy, then you might want to look at somewhere like Georgetown in Washington, D.C. as it offers great access to different health policy resources. Look at different areas that interest you or that you have some background in and then select the schools that focus on that, whether it’s infectious disease or rural medicine or emergency medicine or whatever it is that you’re passionate about pursuing.

4. Who do you know?

If you are friends (or friends of friends) or colleagues with professors, doctors, students, or alumni who are connected with one of the programs on your list, then you should definitely talk to them about their experience – their likes and dislikes.

5. How are the vibes?

A school could look perfect on paper, but if you step foot on campus and get negative vibes, then the school may not be for you. A school’s culture – the atmosphere on campus, the way the classes are run, the professor/student exchanges, and the students themselves – can get lost in translation. Often first-hand experience is needed to truly get a feel for what the experience of med school will be like. While it may not be feasible to visit every school on your list, you should certainly visit as many as you can, and then fill in the gaps by attending info sessions/pre-med fairs, and connecting with students and alumni off-campus (as in #4 above).

The advice in this post is based on a conversation we had in our recent webinar, Ask The Experts: Medical School Admissions Q&A with Cydney Foote and Alicia McNease Nimonkar. Check out the full transcript for more tips on applying to med school successfully!

Download your free special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

Med School Rankings & Numbers: What You MUST Know, a free downloadable guide
• Applying to Medical School: Selecting Extracurricular Activities
• Identity, Community, and the World of Med School Admissions, a podcast interview

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Financial Aid and Health Insurance for International Students http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/28/financial-aid-and-health-insurance-for-international-students/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/28/financial-aid-and-health-insurance-for-international-students/#respond Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:17:16 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25295 ]]> Listen to the interview!If you are one of the adventurous souls planning on leaving your comfort zone to study abroad, we’d like to introduce you to a treasure trove of invaluable resources.

Listen to the recording of our conversation with Ross Mason, VP of Envisage International for important tips and information about international student loans, health insurance, and other topics that matter to you.

00:03:31 – Envisage: Helping international students.

00:06:02 – How Ross got involved and what’s changed in past decade plus.

00:10:08 – Advice for a US resident applying to school abroad.

00:14:00 – Advice for a non-US resident applying to school in the United States.

00:19:42 – Health insurance for a US student accepted to an international school.

00:22:48 – What a non-US resident accepted to an US school needs to know about health insurance.

00:24:43 – Finding insurance: where to turn.

00:25:51 – What else is out there for students going abroad?

00:28:00 – Top advice for an international student preparing to go to school out of the country.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

•  International Student Loan
•  Financial Aid for International Students in the USA
•  International Financial Aid Resources
•  IEFA: International Financial Aid and College Scholarship Search
•  International Student Insurance Plans (Country pages on the bottom right)
•  US School Insurance Requirements
•  International Student Insurance Explained
•  International Student & Study Abroad Resource Center
• International Students and the Individual Mandate Under PPACA
• The Affordable Care Act and J1 Participants in Non-Student Categories

Related Shows:

• Global Business Leadership at Wharton’s Lauder Institute
• Non-Academic Careers for PhDs: A Talk with Dr. Paula Chambers
• CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans
• Is a PhD a Good Idea?
• An Inside Look at INSEAD
• Leadership is King: Interview with IMD’s Lisa Piguet
• Interview with SoFi Co-Founder, Daniel Macklin

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes!     Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/28/financial-aid-and-health-insurance-for-international-students/feed/ 0 Financial Aid,international student,podcast If you are one of the adventurous souls planning on leaving your comfort zone to study abroad, we’d like to introduce you to a treasure trove of invaluable resources. - Listen to the recording of our conversation with Ross Mason, If you are one of the adventurous souls planning on leaving your comfort zone to study abroad, we’d like to introduce you to a treasure trove of invaluable resources. Listen to the recording of our conversation with Ross Mason, VP of Envisage International for important tips and information about international student loans, health insurance, and other topics that matter to you. 00:03:31 – Envisage: Helping international students. 00:06:02 – How Ross got involved and what’s changed in past decade plus. 00:10:08 – Advice for a US resident applying to school abroad. 00:14:00 – Advice for a non-US resident applying to school in the United States. 00:19:42 – Health insurance for a US student accepted to an international school. 00:22:48 – What a non-US resident accepted to an US school needs to know about health insurance. 00:24:43 – Finding insurance: where to turn. 00:25:51 – What else is out there for students going abroad? 00:28:00 – Top advice for an international student preparing to go to school out of the country. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Related Links: •  International Student Loan •  Financial Aid for International Students in the USA •  International Financial Aid Resources •  IEFA: International Financial Aid and College Scholarship Search •  International Student Insurance Plans (Country pages on the bottom right) •  US School Insurance Requirements •  International Student Insurance Explained •  International Student & Study Abroad Resource Center • International Students and the Individual Mandate Under PPACA • The Affordable Care Act and J1 Participants in Non-Student Categories Related Shows: • Global Business Leadership at Wharton’s Lauder Institute • Non-Academic Careers for PhDs: A Talk with Dr. Paula Chambers • CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans • Is a PhD a Good Idea? • An Inside Look at INSEAD • Leadership is King: Interview with IMD’s Lisa Piguet • Interview with SoFi Co-Founder, Daniel Macklin Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:       Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 34:11
Free Webinar Recording: Can You Apply to Med School with Low Stats? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/27/free-webinar-recording-can-you-apply-to-med-school-with-low-stats/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/27/free-webinar-recording-can-you-apply-to-med-school-with-low-stats/#respond Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:46:06 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24429 ]]> Now’s your chance to catch up on valuable information you may have missed during last week’s webinar, How to Get into Medical School with Low Stats. Med school applicants with low GPA and/or MCAT scores – you don’t want to miss this! 

GetMedSchoolLowStatsView How to Get into Medical School with Low Stats for free now!

Accepted.com

 

 

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Writing about Weaknesses in Your Med School Personal Statement http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/26/writing-about-weaknesses-in-your-med-school-personal-statement/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/26/writing-about-weaknesses-in-your-med-school-personal-statement/#respond Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:29:47 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25206 ]]> Got low stats? You can still get into med school!

Answer the questions about your admissions profile before they are asked.

When coming up for material for your personal statement, it’s important that you ask yourself the following: Are there any weaknesses, any holes in my information, any questionable data that somebody may question about my application?

You don’t want your admissions reader getting to the end of your application and then asking, “But why was his GPA so low?” or “How does she think she’s competitive with no extracurricular activities?” If you answer their questions before they’re asked, then you’ll position yourself as a much stronger and more confident candidate, despite your weaknesses.

How can you anticipate their questions?

Get a friend, family member, or admissions consultant (like those of us here at Accepted) to review your application and highlight any potential weaknesses. Sometimes, as the subject of the application, you may not see these blemishes – recruiting an outside critic may be just what you need to pinpoint flaws so you can see them, and address them.

Tackle the issue!

Now you need to take a step back and be critical yourself. Was there a quarter or semester that you got some poor grades? That would need to be explained. Was there a reason why you were too busy for an arm’s length list of extracurricular activities? Explain what went wrong, what obstacle you faced, and how you worked to overcome that challenge.   Addressing the improvements you made (boosting your GPA, retaking a class) is an excellent strategy for your personal statement. You really do want to emphasize the steps you took and the self-development and self-awareness that you gained as a result. Medical schools love to see that level of self-reflection in essays and that level of maturity.

Don’t Be Too Negative!           

Tread carefully! It’s a mistake to focus exclusively on perceived weaknesses. You want to give the admissions committee positive reasons to accept you. Again, why are you going to make a great doctor as opposed to merely what are the weaknesses in your profile that may keep you out? What are the stories that you can tell? What experiences have you had that will tell somebody not just that you can claim, but that will tell somebody, “Hey, you have the qualities, the personal traits that will make a great doctor.” Frame your weaknesses as stepping stones for increased strength. Don’t be defensive; be confident that you were able to face your challenges and overcome them.

The advice in this post is based on a conversation we had in our recent webinar, Ask The Experts: Medical School Admissions Q&A with Cydney Foote and Alicia McNease Nimonkar. Check out the full transcript for more tips on applying to med school successfully!

Learn how you can get accepted to med school even with a low MCAT or GPA!

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

Get Accepted to Medical School with Low Stats, an on-demand webinar
• Tips For Applicants With A Low MCAT Score
A Second Chance at Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs

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Applying, Waiting, & Lifelong Learning: IV with an Admitted Med Student http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/25/med-school-interview-with-future-doctor-dursteak/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/25/med-school-interview-with-future-doctor-dursteak/#respond Mon, 25 Aug 2014 17:47:59 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24871 ]]>
Dr. Dursteak

The [Future] Dr. Dursteak

This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com 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 Laysay (a.k.a. [Future] Doctor Dursteak)…

Accepted: First, some basics: Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What is your favorite book (fiction or non-fiction)?

Laysay: I am from a town south of Fort Worth called Burleson, Texas. I studied at a small liberal arts college in North Texas called Austin College where I got BAs in Biology and Psychology. I just recently graduated in 2014.

My absolute favorite book is the Perk of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I have never felt so connected to a character before as I do with the main character, Charlie. I first read Perks when I was a freshman in high school and I don’t believe I would have made it through those years had I not had someone to feel “infinite” with like I did with him.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? When did you start blogging? What have you gained from the experience? And what do you hope others will take away from it?

Laysay: My blog is primarily about the highs and lows of pursuing a career in medicine. I have been writing since the fourth grade (when I was taught creative thinking and critical reasoning skills in the Talented and Gifted program at my elementary school). I decided to start blogging when I was looking for a blog about the LIFE of a med student and not the “tips and tricks” of getting accepted. By writing for my blog, I have started reflecting more on the goals that I have for my future and the things that are important to me in my life.

By reading my blog and following me on my journey to become a physician, I hope that others can be reminded that there are so many other important and unspoken aspects of medicine that aren’t necessarily covered in premed and med school courses.

Accepted: Congrats on your acceptance to med school! Which program will you be attending? 

Laysay: Thank you! I am attending Texas A&M’s College of Medicine as the graduating class of 2018.

Accepted: How many med schools did you apply to? How did you choose Texas A&M’s program?

Laysay: I actually only applied to six of the nine medical schools in Texas. I was really hard on myself during my application cycle and gave up on secondary applications before I had completed the last three that I had to do because I didn’t think I was competitive enough to get in.

I ended up choosing to attend Texas A&M because it was the only place where I felt completely welcomed, accepted, and very much at home. Those were all things that I figured where exactly what I needed to have in medical school.

Accepted: What was the most challenging aspect of the admissions process? What steps did you take to overcome that challenge?

Laysay: The most challenging part of the admissions process was WAITING. Waiting for the application to open, waiting for transcripts to be sent, waiting for schools to review your application, waiting to hear back from schools, waiting for interviews, waiting outside the door of an actual interviewer.

Oh, it was painfully dreadful having to wait for everything!

The only way I was able to survive all of the waiting was by turning off my WiFi and the push notifications for my email during the day (when I was in my undergrad courses) so that I was not obsessively checking to see if I had anything from medical schools!

Accepted: Thank you so much for sharing your personal statement on your blog! Can you walk us through the process of writing this important essay?

Laysay: No problem. :) Yes, writing your personal statement is by far one of the most stressful things that you do when filling out med school applications. What I found beneficial was spending much time reflecting on the moments where I thought to myself, “Yes. There is absolutely nothing else that I want to do besides this [being a physician].” For me, it was the experiences that I had with a very influential physician that I shadowed in pediatrics. I would say to start with figuring out what made you excited to pursue medicine and open your personal statement with a specific story that will engage the readers and show a bit of your personality to them.

Everyone has different life experiences that make them want to become physicians – my best advice for writing your PS is to be personable, avoid clichés, and let as many people as you can read and re-read your paper before submitting it.

Accepted: Will you be heading straight to med school from college? What do you think the advantages and disadvantages are of going this route?

Laysay: I am a traditional student, meaning that I started med school the summer after I graduated from college. What’s interesting is that there are not as many traditional students as you might expect there to be in medical school. Many of my peers have been graduated from college for several years before they started medical school. Many of them have spent some time in the workforce, completing higher education in different fields, or starting a family.

I don’t think there is a specific set of advantages or disadvantages for being a traditional or nontraditional medical student. Everyone has different goals in their lives and mine just so happened to be to go straight into medical school (if I could get in). Some people take time off to travel or work in different fields. It all just depends on what you want to do with your life and what your specific goals are.

Accepted: When did you decide you wanted to go into medicine? What were some of the experiences you had that led to that moment?

Laysay: I decided I wanted to go into medicine when I was very young, but I deviated from that path until I started college. I wanted to be a zoologist, a marine biologist, an artist, an author, a psychologist, and everything in between. I have always loved science and people, and am a total dork because I have also always loved school. I decided that I wanted to go into medicine when I realized that not only to physicians help and teach people, but they are also lifelong learners. For me, that is the best of both worlds. :)

You can read more about [Future] Doctor Dursteak’s med school journey by checking out her blog, Doctor Dursteak. Thank you Laysay for sharing your story with us!

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 bloggers@accepted.com.

Download your free special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!

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Related Resources

Med School Applicant Interview Series
• Medical School Secondary Essay Handbook: School Specific Tips for Top Programs
• Med School Rankings & Numbers: What You Must Know

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Reflections on Getting Accepted to Medical School http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/21/reflections-on-getting-accepted-to-medical-school/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/21/reflections-on-getting-accepted-to-medical-school/#respond Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:48:38 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25052 ]]> Are You Trying to Navigate the Med School Application Process?  In general, all the cliche tips you’ve heard are true: get good grades, you need an ‘acceptable’ MCAT, definitely get patient experience, and you’ll likely need some extracurriculars. All of these things about this pseudo check-list are true, it’s just a matter of figuring out a strategy to execute it. It’s also important to take a 10,000 feet look at the process of trying to get into medical school: you just want to get in, but medical schools are looking for people who can add to their program.

1.    Find a mentor as soon as possible, it’s never too late.
2.   Go at your own pace (grades, scheduling and taking the MCAT, and extracurricular activity).
3.   Gain marketable skills during your undergrad.
4.   Have the right attitude.
5.   Understand how the admissions process works overall and for the specific programs you’re applying to.

Finding a Mentor

Finding a mentor is easier for some more than others. If you already have connections, then it’s a rather straight forward process since all you need to do is reach out to who you already know. This mentor doesn’t have necessarily have to be a medical doctor, they should just know or be willing to get to know the difficulties you’ll face. Statistically speaking, since you’re in college you’ll probably have more access to a PhD professor than a MD or DO, it’s okay to start there. My mentor was my old physiology professor, I later worked on several projects with this individual. Because my mentor was an active researcher in electrophysiology it allowed for me to gain marketable skills and later find a job after graduation in the office of research at my old university. This made it easier for me to develop a set of traits and experience that may come of value to my matriculating class. I think people put too much emphasis on finding a physician mentor, while it’s great to have a physician as one, it’s important not to neglect your other resources. If you don’t know where to start, try checking out your universities “Office of Undergraduate Research” (or something analogous to it) as they typically specialize in aligning undergraduates with research mentors. I highly suggest research mentors because of the amount of depth and involvement that will be required for both you and your mentor — the deeper your involvement the easier it is to argue to medical schools just how you’d add to their program. Research certainly isn’t required (for most programs), but it’s a lot easier to explain what you did if you were part of a research team than say passively shadowing a physician. A good mentor will know your personality traits (the good and the bad) and will be able to work with you, helping you to become your own person and not necessarily a miniature version of them. Another trait of a good mentor is that they’ll often push you further when you’re all but ready to give up, not to torture you but because they know you’re capable of it.

Go at your own pace, don’t rush into failure

It’s easy to get sucked up into following another’s pace. Don’t be afraid to slow down, and be sure to get help when you need it — rushing to apply when you’re not ready, or trying to plow through the organic chemistry series isn’t the best strategy if things aren’t going your way (unless you’re applying for DO remember that your retakes at best are averaged together with the old scores). You have to be flexible about your abilities at the moment and pragmatic about what you can accomplish. That’s not to say you can’t get past the MCAT, but maybe trying to rush to take it so you can apply isn’t the best strategy. I’ve seen a lot of friends lose their chance to apply to medical school because they tried to sprint through the requirements or stack up too many extracurriculars concurrently. Take your time, this is your life, one or two years won’t really make a big difference in the long-run; take on challenges at a pace you can handle, you need not emulate anyone else or follow other premeds “suggested timeline.” Really, the only timeline you need to worry about is applying early during your application season, everything before that should be a personal journey. For myself, I didn’t go straight into the university I actually found myself working for years and considered dropping out of college completely because I had a career going at a young age. I later decided to go back, and went to a university and graduated in 5 years with a major, minor, and research under my belt. I took my time, and found my own path, with the help from mentors and several friends, and I ignored people whenever they questioned my timeline. Realize that a lot of people who you think are “rocking it” and will “surely get in” won’t, part of this is probably because of rushing and doing badly or burning out while doing well.

This also means that it’s better to do several things exceptionally than to do 100-mediocre things. In my old lab we used to host premeds who were ‘interested’ in research, but it soon became obvious where their heart was when they’d stop showing up once they got what they wanted, wouldn’t finish their assignments, or would put minimal effort into what they considered to be “scut work”. At that point, for example in lab, you’re probably unnoticeably sabotaging the lab. So, keep in mind that if you’re involved in activities you may be hurting more than helping by participating. If you hurt the organization more than help then don’t expect either a transformative experience or a letter of recommendation. So, if you can’t commit, and things are going too fast for your pace, slow down and figure out your priorities and only commit to things that you can help.

Gain some marketable skills

I wasn’t sure if I’d get into medical school, so I was terrified to graduate without any marketable skills. In other words, try to “specialize” in college. Unfortunately, not everyone will have an appreciation for your pipetting prowess or that you took labs like the thousands of others — so don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you’re a premed you’re automatically skilled because you’ve titrated a few times (some people get their PhD on titrations). If you get into research, it’s rather straightforward, you’d likely gain skills because you’d have to grow more proficient than the average premed because the success of your lab is riding on it. If you’re not a research orientated person, learning how to start service orientated clubs for example is an excellent skill, as is learning how to fundraise. What helped me in this process was to keep a resume and a CV, this way I was always objective when it came to “why” I was doing something. This also makes writing your applications for medical school dramatically easier, as you already understand your motivation and your objectives. Most premeds have a problem filling out the AMCAS application, though if you’re used to applying for jobs (jobs that require a degree) then  it’s not an extraordinary process.

Have the right attitude — once you think of it as “scut work” all is lost

“Scut work” is a amorphous phrase, one person’s ‘scut work’ is another’s dedicated career. You may feel wiping out vomit and feces is below you, but besides the lessons in humility it’s also a lesson in relativity and often a lesson in team work. You may wonder what mopping the floor with disinfectant has to do with you becoming a physician. Well, in that case a lot, because you’re helping to prevent MRSA infections in the hospital, lessening the load of the staff etc. You may feel washing lab ware  is beneath you, after all you just shadowed a neurosurgeon on Friday, but I’ve seen months of data lost (plus the lives of mice wasted) because premeds thought rinsing out the soap at the bottom of our glassware wasn’t important enough of a task for them. Yes, shadowing the surgeon was probably conceptually cooler, but how much did you really do besides observe? Often, it’s really the “scut work” that is where you can have the most impact. Besides, if you can’t wash glassware, or pipette properly, why would you be given harder tasks that you seem to not able to handle?

Once you start seeing things as “scut work” you’ve probably already missed the lesson, and the lesson is typically team work. Yes, I’ve gotten coffee for my lab mates and professor, but at the same time my lab mates and professor have brought me food and coffee because they knew I couldn’t leave my work space until dusk.

At the end of the day, hypothetically if you didn’t get into medical school and you abhorred your extracurriculars, than you probably weren’t doing it for the right reasons.

Know how the admissions process works

There’s a ton of advice floating around, some of it is legit, most of it is garbage. There’s a certain website, who’s name I won’t mention, that is ripe full of useless or misleading advice. Some advice you’ll get will be bad because people are ignorant of the process because they’ve personally have never went through it, but they’ll consider themselves self appointed experts because they’ve read enough anecdotes. Instead, go with people with admission experience and keep up with the latest AAMC news, and of course your specific programs’ guidelines and advice. The AAMC isn’t an evil agency as some would make it out to be; they’re rather invested in making sure you have the best shot possible at getting in — though, you wouldn’t know it by how some people act about the process of applying to medical school. Applying to medical school isn’t necessarily a mysterious process, but it sure will be if you didn’t do your own homework. Make sure not to be pulled into 20 different directions, stick to a few good sources (including the crown jewel aka the AAMC website), and don’t dilute your efforts too much by taking disparate advice from others. — even those who’ve applied many years ago are likely out of touch with what is required or expected of you currently, so it’s very important that you secure your future by doing your own background research. In the end, if you don’t get in no one will be accountable or more affected than you.

And lastly, it’s okay to be pragmatic, but don’t give up hope because of a bad grade or MCAT score. For the most part, courses and the MCAT can be retaken. Sure, it’s ideal to get past them with flying colors, but life doesn’t work that way usually. A test of your commitment is not only getting past these things, but learning how to do what it takes to get past them. This may mean you can’t apply to all Ivy Leagues, or that you’ll have to make a few detours. But, one C (or even D) won’t exile you from medicine, nor will a bad MCAT score — nor does it imply that you couldn’t survive medical school. You might find yourself taking a few detours, but in the end if you’re satisfied than that’s all that matters. Getting into medical school isn’t that transformative, but the journey to get there is, and if your endgame is just to get in without trying to better yourself then it’ll make applying just that much harder.

Are you misusing the med school rankings? Click here to find out!

About the AuthorI’m a non traditional first year medical student at BUSM who was originally planning to obtain a PhD. Growing up, I often struggled in school because I was usually absent because of constant hospitalizations, and I never expected to go into college never mind medicine. Though, later in college I learned how to excel in the sciences and became a department recommended organic chemistry, biochemistry, general chemistry, and human physiology tutor. During college I was also involved in numerous electrophysiology projects where I studied principally muscle chloride channels under my research mentor. Towards the end of my college career volunteering at a children’s impatient oncology center as a science instructor helped to solidify my decision to apply to medical school. To better serve my community I later served the underserved as a academic advisor and tutor within correctional institutions in hopes to reduce inmate recidivism in my local community. Around the same time, I became a contributing writer where I wrote health and fitness. While applying to medical school I became a member and Ethical Compliance Associate for both the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Animal Care and Use Committee. Currently, as medical student I write as a hobby and will never turn down a beer or wine tasting opportunity (maybe except around exams), play guitar, socialize, and dabble in art. 

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Can You Submit Your AMCAS Application BEFORE Retaking the MCAT? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/19/can-you-submit-your-amcas-application-before-retaking-the-mcat/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/19/can-you-submit-your-amcas-application-before-retaking-the-mcat/#respond Tue, 19 Aug 2014 17:03:07 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24684 ]]> Check out our Med School Admissions 101 Pages!

You don’t want your application relegated to the bottom of the stack.

It’s risky to apply to med school before taking or retaking the MCAT for a few reasons:

1. Applying to med school is expensive and time intensive. It would be a shame to put in all that effort and then bomb the test and risk rejection. When you submit your application without an MCAT score, your application remains pending until your scores are submitted. There’s no taking back your application if your scores aren’t what you’d like them to be.

2. Not only does it make the application process more stressful – knowing that you’ve submitted but that your application is still incomplete – but it makes the MCAT exam itself more stressful as well, and for some applicants, this stress could negatively impact their score.

3. Finally, it may not be the best idea to go this route because some schools won’t look at an application until the MCAT score has been submitted. So if they see “MCAT score pending” on an application, it’ll go to the bottom of the stack until it’s ready to be reviewed in full.

A better option…

I recommend taking the MCAT, getting your score, and then applying early in the next cycle, rather than going through the stress of submitting an application with an unknown MCAT score and then taking the test under pressure, knowing that the results will be used and weighed heavily, regardless of how you performed.

If, however, you do decide to apply to med school before you’ve taken the exam, then I recommend the following: Apply only to schools with less competitive programs, those that you think you have a good chance of getting into with, say, the lowest score you think you may get. You can always go back and add more schools later. This way, at least you’ve gotten your application verified on the AMCAS side. Worst case scenario – you don’t score well and have to wait and apply again next year. Not the end of the world.

You know yourself best…

The final word on this is that you know yourself best. If you think you can apply before taking the MCAT without the stress killing you and knowing that if you bomb the exam, you’ll bomb your chances of admission – then go for it. There’s always next year. And some people are fine embracing that attitude.

The advice in this post is based on a conversation we had in our recent webinar, Ask The Experts: Medical School Admissions Q&A with Cydney Foote and Alicia McNease Nimonkar. Check out the full transcript for more tips on applying to med school successfully!

Great Advice on All Things MCAT!

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Related Resources:

• How to Get into Medical School with Low Stats, a free webinar
• MCAT Mania: How to Prepare
Tips For Applicants With A Low MCAT Score (Part 1)

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Gap Years, Blogging, and Applying to Med School: IV with Derin http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/18/gap-years-blogging-and-applying-to-med-school-iv-with-derin/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/18/gap-years-blogging-and-applying-to-med-school-iv-with-derin/#respond Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:51:31 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24847 ]]> Click here for more interviews with med school applicant bloggers!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com 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 Derin…

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?

Derin: Hey readers! My name is Aderinola but most people know me as Derin. I am originally from Lagos, Nigeria but I moved to the U.S. when I was l0 years old. I moved around a bit but the longest place I have lived in the U.S. is now Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I went to the University of Pennsylvania here in Philadelphia and was a double major in Sociology of Health & Medicine and African Studies. I also minored in Biology to supplement my pre-med requisites. I loved the education I received, being able to combine my love of medicine with the social sciences and humanities.

Accepted: How have you been spending your time since graduating college (other than applying to med school)? Why did you decide to take a gap year, rather than jump directly from college to medical school?

Derin: I have been working as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Perelman School of Medicine – University of Pennsylvania. I love the work I do! I work mostly with qualitative data, so it’s essentially utilizing qualitative and mixed methods methodology to solve clinical research questions.

I remember when I decided to take a gap year. It was the summer going into my junior year and I had just received my physics grade. I was very disappointed at my performance. At the same time, I realized it had been difficult trying to succeed in physics and working many hours at my summer job. My self-esteem felt shot and I concluded that I needed to reduce my workload. So instead of taking organic chemistry the first semester of my junior year, I decided to take only social science/ humanities courses for that semester and focus my energy on my two majors. At that point, I also started thinking about having a real world experience. I decided I wanted to have some professional work experience before plunging right into medicine. Most of the positions I was interested in required at least a two year commitment, so I decided  I would have a two year gap.

Accepted: I see you submitted your AMCAS application just a few hours after the system opened for submissions. Can you talk about how you managed to be so prepared and why you felt it was important to submit early?

Derin: Well, I literally started working on my application the first day it opened up – May 1st. Step one was actually logging in. The next day I started filling in the biographical information and my work and activities. Surprising the work and activities section took a lot longer than I thought because I had been involved in so much during undergrad! I utilized my resume/CV to fill out this particular section, along with past journals and written reflections. At UPenn, there is a process pre-health applicants have to go through to obtain a committee letter; the process also helps in getting some materials for AMCAS ready. I had a rough draft of my work and activities section ready to go because of this.

By the middle of May, I started working on my personal statement and actively editing and rewriting. I had a very rough outline that I had started a few months ago and I built my personal statement off that. I also had some awesome mentors and friends help me by reading and critiquing my essay.

I wanted my personal statement to be an accurate representation of both my writing abilities and my journey to med school. It was a juggling act trying to get my application ready and working full-time. However, when it comes to deadlines and applications, I am a very organized individual. By June 3rd, I was ready to submit my application.

Accepted: What would you say has been the most challenging aspect of the med school admissions process so far? How did you approach that challenge and overcome it?

Derin: The most challenging part is trying not to stress out and think of the worst scenario. To tackle this, I surround myself with positive people and read a lot of success stories. I also exercise a lot and do obstacle races like the Spartan race to remind myself that no challenge is too big, it CAN be conquered. In addition, I write in my journal to ease the anxiety and talk to my friends who have also been on this journey. I wrote a post on my blog called “Strategies for Managing the Stress of the Application Process” where I list some other tactics I utilize. Check it out!

Accepted: Where are you applying to med school? Do you have a top choice program?

Derin: I am applying to schools in the east coast and a few in the midwest and south. Each of these schools have their own specific strengths. I spent a great deal of time researching my schools well in advance and had 12 of the schools on my list since May 2013. The qualities these schools have in common are emphasis on research, commitment to the underserved/ local community, and working with diverse population. I could see myself at any of these schools, and well my top choice program, is one that enables me to thrive. I am looking forward to finding that out during my interview process.

Accepted: Do you have any idea at this early stage what sort of medicine you want to practice?

Derin: Yes! I am very interested in Obstetrics and Gynecology. I got interested in this while doing a winter internship in Peru and shadowing an OB/Gyn doctor. Prior to that I had no exposure to the specialty, but that experience sparked my interest and I looked into the field. All of a sudden, it seemed like I was meeting female Ob/Gyns everywhere I went! All my medical mentors right now are Ob/Gyn doctors. One is currently practicing, two started their residency and the fourth is in her final year, so it’s pretty cool seeing their different stages. I will add that, I did not go looking specifically for mentors who are Ob/Gyns; I believe this was just God setting me up, divine intervention really.

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

Derin: Plan ahead, stay organized, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. One thing that I have learned along the way is that “The well laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Sometimes you can’t sweat the small stuff. What may seem like a down fall or rejection is just a redirection. Pick your head up and plunge ahead! Taking this gap year for instance, has been the best redirection I could have ever imagined. Another example: I was initially supposed to do a fellowship abroad after I graduated college, however due to funding, it got cancelled. I was crushed and the next day began frantically applying to jobs, that’s when I actually stumbled on my current job. It was the best redirection! I have attained a certain level of maturity, explored my interests and grown so much in just a short while.

Also, don’t let procrastination get the best of you!

In addition, don’t be afraid to go at your own pace! Some things just can’t be rushed.

Lastly, ask for help if you need it! I wish I had talked to more upperclassmen while in undergrad, or had some strong mentorship. I didn’t do that. I made silly mistakes like not researching my professors before I took the class and not asking upperclassmen what they did to succeed in the class. I’ve realized now that no man is an island and you just have to open your mouth and ask. And even if one person isn’t willing to help, ask the next person.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? When did you start blogging? What have you gained from the blogging experience?

Derin: I’ve been blogging since 2011. My last two blogs were travel blogs, one on my trip to South Africa and one on my internship in Peru. I love blogging and recounting my experience for the sake of posterity. I started “Curve Balls and Med School” because I envisioned my gap years as being a critical stage in my life that I’d want to record and look back on. I also knew a few undergrads on this path and I wanted to be a source of inspiration. Of course, there was the initial fear of failure so even though I started the blog in July 2013 right after I graduated, it was anonymous until a few months ago. I wanted to demystify the med school application process and I felt there would be more credibility by being open.

From blogging, I’ve learned that no one’s journey is the same, everyone has their own curve balls and that’s what makes it so unique. I feature current med students and it’s interesting learning about their journey to med school. It’s also been really cool to see how encouraging and receptive people have been to my blog. I felt a little vulnerable at first – there is a very real possibility for failure and people are following my journey knowing fully well I am not in med school – yet. At the same time, I live by faith and I walk by faith, so I know God is in control. Blogging has been a humbling experience, and that’s why I adopted this quote by my favorite author Maya Angelou: “When you learn, teach, when you get give.”

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

 

You can read more about Derin’s med school journey by checking out her blog, Curve Balls and Med School. Thank you Derin for sharing your story with us!

Download your free special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!

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 bloggers@accepted.com.

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Learn How to Match: Live Webinar on Tues! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/17/learn-how-to-match-live-webinar-on-tues/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/17/learn-how-to-match-live-webinar-on-tues/#respond Sun, 17 Aug 2014 17:46:46 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24816 ]]> Reminder: Our residency webinar will air on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 5:00 Pm PT/8:00 PM ET.

Residency Applications: How to Match - Register Now!

Valuable tips on choosing the right program, optimizing your personal statement, setting a timeline, and avoiding detrimental (yet very common) mistakes await you! Don’t miss it!

Spots are limited, so sign up now to reserve your spot: Residency Applications: How to Match

Save my spot!

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Washington University (St. Louis) Medical School 2015 Secondary Application Essay Tips http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/15/washington-university-st-louis-medical-school-2015-secondary-application-essay-tips/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/15/washington-university-st-louis-medical-school-2015-secondary-application-essay-tips/#respond Fri, 15 Aug 2014 16:20:02 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24773 ]]> Get the rest of our school-specific secondary application tips!In the top ten ranking for research, WUSOM provides exciting opportunities for medical students to participate in research at the basic science or clinical levels. They are looking for students with strong ties to their communities—with excellent communication skills, a dedication to service, and well-rounded interests. The secondary application requests three essays.

Washington University (St. Louis) 2015 Secondary Application Essay Questions:

• Three essays are requested: two essays with a 3,000-character limit and one essay with a 1,800-character limit.
Applicants should use single line spacing and 12 point size font.
• Responses should be constructed strategically to highlight an applicant’s strengths.

The following are required in the Secondary Application:

1. Describe a time or situation where you have been unsuccessful or failed.  (maximum 3000 characters including spaces)

The best responses to this type of question will demonstrate resilience.  It will be important to select an event or commitment that you clearly did not perform well on but one in which you did not give up.  Choose something that you had to repeat or improve and demonstrate how, through hard work, you were able to succeed.  For example, you could use your first teaching experience.  For most people, the first time you have to teach a class or group, it does not go well but we learn from that first experience and improve.  Focus the bulk of the essay on how you improved and on outcomes.  End on a high note.    

2. Do you have unique experiences or obstacles that you have overcome that were not covered in your application about which you would like to inform our Admissions Committee? (maximum 3000 characters including spaces)

Given this institution’s dedication to community service, I recommend sharing the details of any long-term volunteer work that you have not discussed in your personal statement.  What was your role?  How did you help the community?  What was your connection to this group of people?  Staying true to the prompt, have you overcome any significant challenges in your life to be successful?  Learning a new language or finding resources to reach your goals can be good examples.  Think broadly of your life experiences—were there difficulties in your life that you have overcome which other people may see as obstacles?     

3. If you have already completed your education, if your college or graduate education was interrupted, or if you do not plan to be a full-time student during the current year, describe in chronological order your activities during the time(s) when you were not enrolled as a full-time student. (maximum 1800 characters including spaces)

Using an updated copy of your resume or CV, be comprehensive in your response.  Capture the diversity of your activities and interests.  Include all work experiences or volunteer activities.  Review a copy of your transcript to be sure that you have covered all significant gaps in your education.  If there were increases or decreases in your GPA before or after these breaks, explain.    

WUSOM Application Timeline:

AMCAS Application Due December 1, 2014
Secondary Application *December 31, 2014 (Strong recommendation: Submit within two weeks after receipt.)
Interviews Conducted October 2014 to March 2015
Rolling Admissions November 2014 to April 15, 2015
School Begins August 11, 2015

If you would like professional guidance with your Washington University School of Medicine application materials, please consider using Accepted’s Medical School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for the WUSOM application materials.

Check out the rest of our school-specific secondary essay tips!

Alicia Nimonkar is an Accepted.com advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs. Explore Accepted.com’s services to see how Alicia can help you achieve your professional dreams in healthcare.

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Reminder: Residency Webinar to Help You Match http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/14/reminder-residency-webinar-to-help-you-match/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/14/reminder-residency-webinar-to-help-you-match/#respond Thu, 14 Aug 2014 17:52:58 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24762 ]]> Just a reminder about next week’s upcoming residency webinar, Residency Applications: How to Match.

Find out how to avoid common application mistakes and learn how to write personal statements that will get you noticed!

Residency Applications: How to Match

Details:

Date: Tuesday, August 19, 2013

Time: 5:00 PM PST/8:00 PM EST/5:00 PM GMT (click link for time in your time zone)

Save my spot!

Grab your spot (free) for Residency Applications: How to Match!

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Identity, Community, and the World of Med School Admissions http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/14/identity-community-and-the-world-of-med-school-admissions/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/14/identity-community-and-the-world-of-med-school-admissions/#respond Thu, 14 Aug 2014 16:12:00 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24746 ]]> Click here to listen to the conversation! Meet the doctor who is on a mission to spread the word that med school admission is an attainable goal (and he’ll help you get accepted, too).

Listen to the recording of our conversation with Dr. Ryan Gray, founder of The Medical School Headquarters for some great advice and an insider’s perspective on the world of med school admissions.

00:02:18 – Ryan’s journey from dissecting cats to Flight Surgeon in the United States Air Force (what is that?).

00:07:52 – Making med school admissions less intimidating: The Medical School Headquarters.

00:10:02 – The Medical School HQ Academy and the case for identity.

00:19:53 – Should you apply to med school in Aug or wait for next year?

00:26:28 – Secondary applications: an important opportunity.

00:29:16 – Tips for med school interviews and MMIs.

00:34:16 – The very big difference between med and residency admissions.

00:37:51 – Tips for matching – and not matching.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Relevant Links:

• Medical School Headquarters
• The Medical School Headquarters Podcast
 Ryan’s Interview with Dr. Norma Wagoner
Create a Compelling AMCAS Application, a webinar
• Secondary Essay Strategies that Score Interviewsa webinar

Related Shows:

• Med School Application Process: AMCAS, Secondaries, Interviews, Decisions & More!
• What You Need to Know About Med School Admissions
• MCAT Mania: How to Prepare
• MCAT Scores, MCAT Prep, and #MCAT2015
• All About AMSA and the Premed Journey
• Insights, Advice and Experiences of a Non-Traditional Med Student

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Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes! Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

Are you misusing the med school rankings? Click here to find out!

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/14/identity-community-and-the-world-of-med-school-admissions/feed/ 0 podcast Meet the doctor who is on a mission to spread the word that med school admission is an attainable goal (and he’ll help you get accepted, too). - Listen to the recording of our conversation with Dr. Ryan Gray, Meet the doctor who is on a mission to spread the word that med school admission is an attainable goal (and he’ll help you get accepted, too). Listen to the recording of our conversation with Dr. Ryan Gray, founder of The Medical School Headquarters for some great advice and an insider’s perspective on the world of med school admissions. 00:02:18 – Ryan’s journey from dissecting cats to Flight Surgeon in the United States Air Force (what is that?). 00:07:52 – Making med school admissions less intimidating: The Medical School Headquarters. 00:10:02 – The Medical School HQ Academy and the case for identity. 00:19:53 – Should you apply to med school in Aug or wait for next year? 00:26:28 – Secondary applications: an important opportunity. 00:29:16 – Tips for med school interviews and MMIs. 00:34:16 – The very big difference between med and residency admissions. 00:37:51 – Tips for matching – and not matching. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Relevant Links: • Medical School Headquarters • The Medical School Headquarters Podcast • Ryan's Interview with Dr. Norma Wagoner • Create a Compelling AMCAS Application, a webinar • Secondary Essay Strategies that Score Interviews, a webinar Related Shows: • Med School Application Process: AMCAS, Secondaries, Interviews, Decisions & More! • What You Need to Know About Med School Admissions • MCAT Mania: How to Prepare • MCAT Scores, MCAT Prep, and #MCAT2015 • All About AMSA and the Premed Journey • Insights, Advice and Experiences of a Non-Traditional Med Student Subscribe: Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 42:28
3 Tips for Writing Successful Secondary Essays http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/13/3-secondary-essay-tips-for-success/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/13/3-secondary-essay-tips-for-success/#respond Wed, 13 Aug 2014 16:58:48 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24682 ]]> Secondaries with Sizzle

The task looks harder than it is.

If you sent your AMCAS application off promptly in June, you’re now working your way through secondary application essays. Here are some suggestions to help you with a task that looks harder than it is.

First, recycle. You will find considerable repetition among the questions posed by your schools, so feel free to reuse essays in whole or in part whenever it’s appropriate to do so.

Second, read the questions very carefully! Be sure that your answers, whether recycled or new, respond to the questions asked. Don’t try to push your own agenda. Don’t recycle essays that don’t fit the question. There may be points you want to make and experiences or aspects of your record you want to emphasize, but you must answer the questions as written. Be alert for questions which limit you to matters not covered elsewhere in the application and don’t go back over old ground. When the question relates to activities, don’t include information about jobs or research projects. If you haven’t had much extracurricular involvement, “fudging” an answer is the least desirable way to improve that area of your application.

Third (and somewhat related to the second point), think long and hard before writing an optional” essay. Unless the question invites you to expand on one or more items you addressed in another part of the application, assume that the admissions committee is looking for new information. If the question is, “Is there anything else you think we should know about you?” understand that the emphasis is on “else.”

Finally, don’t use this open-ended sort of question as an opportunity to discuss one or more grades which could have been better. The goal of every essay you write should be to make you a more attractive candidate.

Click here to view our free webinar: Secondary Essays That Score Interviews

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Related Resources:

• Medical School Secondary Essay Handbook: School Specific Tips for Top Programs
• Secondary Strategy: Why Do You Want To Go Here?
Optional Essays: When and How to Write Them

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George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences 2015 Secondary Application Essay Tips http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/12/george-washington-school-of-medicine-and-health-sciences-2015-secondary-application-essay-tips/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/12/george-washington-school-of-medicine-and-health-sciences-2015-secondary-application-essay-tips/#respond Tue, 12 Aug 2014 18:11:51 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24670 ]]> Check out the rest of our school-specific secondary essay tips!

Share your dedication to helping others through leadership and education.

The curriculum and goals of George Washington SMHS center on its ability to graduate “Physician Citizens.” Since the school is located in the most powerful city in the U.S., Washington D.C., GW emphasizes the opportunities to treat the area’s diverse communities. It is essential to have years of service, either clinical or nonclinical, with diverse populations and to have a demonstrated record of long-term leadership experience.

In addition you need to know about GW’s educational approach. It is initiating a brand new curriculum in Fall 2014 that incorporates more technology, independent study time, active learning models and clinical exposure. It also offers a Track System that allows students to gain special training in the following areas: Community/Urban Health, Emergency Management, Global Health, Health Policy, Integrative Medicine, Medical Education Leadership, Medical Humanities and Research. The Track System will influence the direction of a students’ education throughout their four years at George Washington SMHS.    

George Washington 2015 School of Medicine and Health Sciences Essay Questions:

  • Four essays total requested: two essays with 750-character limits, one essay with a 1,000-character limit and one essay with a 2,000-character limit.
  • Applicants should use single line spacing and 12 point size font.
  • Responses should be constructed strategically to highlight an applicant’s strengths.

The following are required in the Secondary Application:

1. Please provide the Admissions Committee with a brief summary of your activities, academics, employment or other occupations to account for full-time activity (approx. 30-40 hours/week) for the 2014-2015 application cycle, or from the point of application through matriculation in 2015. (750 characters)

The best way to approach this type of question is to create a list of the commitments you have made for the next year. Only include those activities that you have already started or plan to definitely complete. It will not be helpful to list things that you end up not participating in because you could be asked about them in an interview and it will not help your application if you have to explain why you are not completing the activities you listed on the secondary. Ideally, you will be able to bring an updated CV or resume to the interview with the new experiences you have completed listed.  

2. What is your most significant achievement outside the classroom? (750 characters)

What they are really asking you is, “what is important to you in your life?” They want to understand your maturity level and priorities. Based on the fact that they emphasize leadership, community service and a commitment to life-long learning, you can select an achievement that 1) you are truly proud of and that 2) allows you to share your dedication to helping others through leadership and/or education. It’s essential to be authentic so do select something that is important to you. Situations that reveal creative leadership will be most effective.

3. What makes you a unique individual? What challenges have you faced? How will these factors help you contribute to the diversity of the student body at GW? (1000 characters)

In responding to this essay prompt, it will be important for you to select a challenge that you have overcome that will allow you to demonstrate by showing, rather than telling, how you are a “unique individual.” For example, if you came up with a unique way to approach an issue that provided a successful resolution for everyone involved, this would be an effective choice.

Creating an outline will help you ensure that you have selected a subject that will cover all three questions in the prompt. In identifying what was unique about your approach to the challenge, you will be answering the third question listed. Many different challenges would work well for this essay, just be sure to select one that highlights your approach to problem solving.

4. What is your specific interest in the MD Program at GW? What opportunities would you take advantage of as a student here? Why? (2000 characters)

Do your research for this question. There are lots of wonderful special programs at GW. Create a list as you read through their website. After you’ve read through all of their webpages, rank your list in the order of importance to you. Create an outline based on these rankings. Again, it’s essential to be authentic in your response and to demonstrate how you have used similar opportunities in the past. It’s even more helpful if you have visited the school or spoken with representatives or students.

George Washington SMHS Application Timeline:

AMCAS Application Due     December 1, 2014

Secondary Application        *January 1, 2014 (Strong recommendation: Submit within two weeks after receipt.)

School Begins                         Early August, 2015

If you would like professional guidance with your George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences application materials, please consider using Accepted’s Medical School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for the GWSMHS application materials.

Check out the rest of our school-specific secondary essay tips!

Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted.com advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs.

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Interview with a Duke University School of Medicine MD/PhD Student http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/11/duke-med-md-phd-student-interview/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/11/duke-med-md-phd-student-interview/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 16:14:16 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24640 ]]> Check out more med student interviews!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com 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 Rui Dai…

Accepted: First, some basics: Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What is your favorite flavor ice cream?

Rui: I call Cleveland, Ohio home, but I was born in Kunming, China and spent some of my childhood in Germany before moving to Cleveland at age 10. I went to elementary school, middle school, and high school in Cleveland. It’s the place I know best and I’m a fierce defender of the great city.

I went to Duke for undergrad and majored in neuroscience. I liked it so much that I decided to stay for grad school!

My favorite ice cream flavor is dark chocolate. The darker the better.

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

Rui: I just started my 2nd year at Duke Med, but unlike most medical schools that start their clinical year in 3rd year, clinical year starts at the beginning of 2nd year at Duke. So I’m headed to the wards in a couple weeks, with radiology as my first rotation. Kind of nervous, but super excited!

Accepted: What is your favorite thing about med school so far — med school in general and Duke in particular? 

Rui: I love interacting with patients and taking part in procedures. In the spring of first year at Duke, you can go into clinic as part of Spring Clinic and basically act like a medical personnel. I was able to interview patients on my own and even write notes for the attending doctor to review. I love that there are so many teaching opportunities, for students to just learn. I was able to meet so many different patients and put a face to all the knowledge that we were learning in the classroom. Everyone in the hospital is so friendly. Even scrub nurses, who have to keep a tight rein on the operating room so the procedure proceeds with order and nothing is contaminated, will help you learn everything you need to know, and remind you if you’re about to make a typical med student mistake.

Accepted: If you could change one thing about the program, what would it be? 

Rui: I think Duke really takes to heart a quote by William Osler, who laid the foundation for modern medicine, that “To study the phenomena of disease without books is to sail an uncharted sea, while to study books without patients is not to go to sea at all.” Duke’s aim is for us to be humanist doctors, who will treat patients as a whole, and not just the disease. Our responsibility is to the patients and their wellbeing. And to do that, the Duke curriculum makes sure that we are never too far from the hospital, physically and mentally. This can sometimes take a toll on the basic science material that we are supposed to learn in the first 2 years of medical school for the first step of the licensing exam.

I’m sure in 20 years, the basic science material that we’re learning in the classroom will only peripherally matter to the patients that we are treating, and some of which will certainly be out of date, but as a student right now it can sometimes be hard to consume all the information in only 1 year. However, there seems to be a trend of medical schools adopting the Duke Model, so there must be something that’s going well with this system. Right?

Accepted: Can you share some advice to incoming first year students, to help make their adjustment to med school easier?

Rui: My number one advice, as numerous other people have told before I started medical school, would certainly be: don’t stress. Things will happen in their own time. Cramming that biochem book before school begins can certainly seems like the right thing to do, but take time to enjoy your summer. It will most likely be one of your last. You will have very little time to do so once everything else starts: residency, fellowship, and establishing a career. Take time and relax at home. Go backpacking in Europe. Spend every single moment you can soaking up the sun at the beach!

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

Rui: I went directly from college to medical school, but there are certainly times when I wished that I had taken a gap year. Senior year of college, while interviewing every other weekend, was absolutely brutal.

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

Rui: The interview was definitely the most challenging part. Though I enjoy hanging out with friends and meeting people, I am an introvert and need time alone to myself to recuperate. I used to leave Wednesday or Thursday for a 2 day interview, because I was applying for MD/PhD programs, come back on the weekend and just not leave my room until I had to go to class.

Accepted: Can you talk more about your decision to pursue an MD/PhD? What are your long-term goals? What is the structure/timeline of the program?

Rui: I’ve always loved research. My mother is a neuroscientist at Case Western Research University and ever since I was in kindergarten, I’ve spent time sitting in labs with her and my father, poking around here and there. I love the lab environment and I ultimately want to run my own lab in the future. I enjoy the intellectual stimulation when discussing science and the idea that there is a limitless possibilities of what we could discover with the tools we could cook up.

At the same time, I am personally committed to finding a therapeutic cure to help patients. I want my research to be as intimately tied to patients as it is possible. I enjoy the clinic, listening to patients, and meet individuals from all walks of life that I would never had the opportunity to otherwise.

The MD/PhD program allows me to combine the two aspects of science and medicine together. The program is 8 years in total and is structured starting with 2 years of medical school, followed by 4-5 years of PhD, and 2 years of medical school. At Duke, this structure is slightly different, because research is also incorporated into the medical school curriculum, so there is only 1 more year of medical school after finishing the PhD.

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

Rui: Medicine is a marathon and not a sprint. Depending on what you ultimately end up doing, you will most likely be working till your late 60s, if not 70s or 80s. Be sure to love what you’re doing. Medicine is an amazing career, and there’s nothing else I could imagine myself doing, but physician burnout is no secret. The work is hard, the pay does not reflect the time nor the effort required (especially during residency), and not all patients appreciate how much you care. Take care of yourself. Medicine requires many sacrifices, but be sure you don’t sacrifice too much before you realize it’s too late.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your writing for VOICES?

Rui: VOICES is a student-run bi-annual literary magazine for the medical community to express themselves. We have an open policy of no restrictions on the form or format of the submission. Even if it can’t be physically published, we will still accept a photograph of it. The magazine website has pdf and html links to all the published magazines.

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

You can read more about Rui’s med school journey by checking out some of her articles here. Thank you Rui for sharing your story with us!

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 bloggers@accepted.com.

Download your free special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!

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Related Resources: 

• Medicine and Engineering: an MD/PhD Student Interview
School-Specific Secondary Application Essay Tips
Journey’s with Joshua: an Inside Look at Med School

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Must-See Residency Tips Webinar: Next Week! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/10/must-see-residency-tips-webinar-next-week/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/10/must-see-residency-tips-webinar-next-week/#respond Sun, 10 Aug 2014 20:35:50 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24627 ]]> Residency applicants – listen up! We’re hosting an important webinar, Residency Applications: How to Match, that will walk you through the residency application process, next week on Tuesday, August 19th, at 5:00 PM PST/8:00 PM EST.

Residency Applicants: How to Match! Click here to register for the webinar.

During the webinar, you will learn:

• How to choose the BEST program for you.
• 6 common mistakes that trip up most applicants.
• Advice on how to write a memorable, persuasive personal statement.

Match right! Reserve your spot here: Residency Applications: How to Match (P.S. The webinar is free!)

Save my spot!

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6 Tips for Getting Started on Your Application Essays http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/10/6-tips-for-getting-started-on-your-application-essays-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/10/6-tips-for-getting-started-on-your-application-essays-2/#comments Sun, 10 Aug 2014 16:35:11 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24494 ]]> Sit down, think, and start writing!

Sit down, think, and start writing!

Sometimes the hardest part of writing a personal statement or application essay for college or grad school is finding the discipline to sit down and focus. Often, once you accomplish that, the ideas begin to form and the words begin to flow. The following 6 tips will help motivate you to start writing, and then to continue writing until you’ve got some solid material for a compelling essay.

1. Words beget more words. Here’s an important concept to think about when it comes to getting started – one word leads to another. Once you BEGIN writing, your brain will begin to generate ideas that will inspire you to CONTINUE writing. So even if you don’t think you have anything to say, just sit down and write whatever comes to mind. Set a timer for 10 minutes and don’t stop writing until the timer dings. I guarantee that when the buzzer goes off, SOME idea will have surfaced.

2. Write now, edit later. Do NOT get bogged down in the editorial details of your essay during the early writing stages. Now is the time to simply get your ideas out on paper (or computer screen). Write as you think – in fragments, in run-on sentences, or in vivid descriptions of images as they pass before your mind’s eye. Work on making them sound good later on.

3. Use details. During the brainstorming phase of your writing, as well as later on when you’re clarifying your work, you’re going to want to include details that will engage your reader. Think about what attracts someone to a good book – is it boring summaries and abstractions, or a few descriptions of people and places or specific dialog?

4. Include meaning. Description is key, but if you don’t internalize (and then show that you’ve internalized) the MEANING of the scene you’ve described, then the adcoms won’t care much about it. What do your experiences say about YOU?

5. Prove impact. Now that you’ve expressed what your experiences say about your qualifications or characteristics, it’s time to explain how those traits and strengths will contribute to your class. You’ve proven that you are a leader; how do you plan on using those skills?

6. Have faith.
 Maybe you’ve hit a wall and feel like you’ll never spin your ideas into a coherent essay. Have faith – the writing process takes time. Take a break and then return to your computer with a clear mind and a positive attitude to begin the brainstorming process from scratch.

Now, sit down, think, and start writing! Good luck!

5ffgeneric

Accepted.com

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The Top 3 Factors Applicants Overlook in Their Applications http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/07/the-top-3-factors-applicants-overlook-in-their-applications/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/07/the-top-3-factors-applicants-overlook-in-their-applications/#respond Thu, 07 Aug 2014 17:03:48 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24571 ]]> The #1 top factor that trips up med applicants the most is definitely TIME.

Time: the #1 top factor that trips up med applicants.

Note to medical school applicants: be sure to set aside some extra time for these time-consuming factors that you simply may not have considered:

1. Application time. The #1 top factor that trips up med applicants the most is definitely TIME. Applicants just don’t seem to realize (at least not early on) how much time is required to complete each step of the admissions process. Significant time is needed to write strong, persuasive personal statement and to complete the activity descriptions and the most meaningful essays. Then there’s the time needed to work on secondary applications; applicants are often overwhelmed by the number of secondaries they receive and how quickly they need to return them (usually within two weeks of receiving the secondary invitation).

2. Interview time.
Once your AMCAS application and secondaries are complete, applicants generally seem to think that they’re done. But if you think interviewing isn’t a time commitment, then think again! Don’t forget to factor in travel time and interview prep time, not to mention the time that goes into each individual interview.

3. A new writing style.
Writing your personal statement and secondary essays requires a very different style of writing than anything that you’ve probably done before. These are not policy papers or research papers, but personal stories, narratives. Don’t underestimate the importance of this change in style – an essay that reads like a research paper will do nothing to draw the reader in and convince him that you’re an intriguing character worth getting to know better. You need to spend a great deal of time thinking about your experiences as stories and then figuring out how to relate those stories in the most compelling way possible.

The advice in this post is based on a conversation we had in our recent webinar, Ask The Experts: Medical School Admissions Q&A with Cydney Foote and Alicia McNease Nimonkar. Check out the full transcript for more tips on applying to med school successfully!

Download your free special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!
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5 Effective Techniques to Improve Your Writing http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/05/5-effective-techniques-to-improve-your-writing-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/05/5-effective-techniques-to-improve-your-writing-2/#respond Tue, 05 Aug 2014 20:46:53 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24121 ]]> Learn how to creating a winning AMCAS essay! Click here to download your complete copy of Ace the AMCAS!

“I think out of the box” isn’t the most creative way of saying I’m creative.

“5 Effective Techniques to Improve Your Writing” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, Ace the AMCAS Essay. To download the entire free special report, click here.

So far in this series we’ve talked about the WHO, WHY, WHAT, and HOW of creating an exemplary AMCAS essay. Now we’re going to offer some bonus tips that will help elevate your essay so it’s not just covering the right material in the correct order, but it’s actually written WELL.

1. Use active, lively, vivid verbs. You can “go” somewhere, or you can “meander,” “wander,” “race,” “rush,” etc. Variety enhances your verbiage!

2. Use metaphors and images to enliven your writing. This will help your reader jump into your experience.

3. Avoid clichés. Saying that you “think out of the box” isn’t really the most creative way of stating that you are creative. It’s just too overused.

4. Use suspense and irony. These elements show depth to your writing and to your personality.

5. Be succinct.

Download this special report that will help you ace the AMCAS essay.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com 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.

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Three Reasons to Be Excited about the 2015 MCAT Test Change http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/04/three-reasons-to-be-excited-about-the-2015-mcat-test-change/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/04/three-reasons-to-be-excited-about-the-2015-mcat-test-change/#respond Mon, 04 Aug 2014 17:07:34 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24496 ]]> Click here for MCAT tips and advice!

MCAT2015: Are you excited?

Guest post by Bryan Schnedeker, the National MCAT Director at Next Step Test Preparation.

Change is a scary thing. So understandably, when the AAMC announced sweeping new changes to the MCAT, many were apprehensive. After all, the new test is nearly twice as long and will include subjects that have never before been on the MCAT – psychology, sociology, and biochemistry.

These are not just random changes however.  They are designed to benefit you as a pre-med student and a future doctor.  Here are three reasons to be excited about the upcoming MCAT change.

One: The new MCAT will better prepare you for med school.

Preparing for this new MCAT will go a long way towards preparing you for the experiences you’ll have in med school. On the old exam, it was common to get physics passages that were about entirely abstract situations with no connection to either real physics, or certainly not to medical science.

I used to routinely joke with my students, “Don’t worry, no patient will ever present to the clinic with an inflamed velocity vector.”

Two: The new MCAT understands you as a pre-med student.

The new MCAT will align much more with the experiences of pre-med students. The overwhelming majority of pre-med students major in biology or a closely related field. While the new exam will still have physics, chemistry, and organic chemistry, it will present those topics in the context of biology or biological systems. For example, it may still include the general chemistry classic, “acid-base titrations”, but instead of giving the students a descriptive passage about an experiment in a test tube, the test will discuss the acid-base buffer system in the blood. That will allow students to still apply what they learned during freshman chemistry, but also pull in ideas from physiology. Making connections to biology topics will help ensure that students are rewarded for cross-disciplinary thinking and will make them more comfortable by dealing with content in a more familiar context.

Three: the new MCAT will shake up the test prep landscape.

Prior to 2015, the test hadn’t significantly changed since 1991. This means that a few large players arose over two decades and developed a stranglehold on the MCAT. Students used to be confronted with the feeling that their only option for high quality test prep were expensive books or a prep course.

Today, the AAMC is in the middle of an ambitious project to shake up that situation. They are partnering with Khan Academy to develop a robust free program that will let any student prepare thoroughly for the new exam. While there will still be a need for more robust MCAT preparation services, students will have a great free option when preparing for the MCAT.

All in all, this is an exciting (and a little scary!) time to be a pre-med. You’ll be facing a test that has been designed specifically for a future doctor.  The MCAT has always been a challenging test, now it is just changing a bit.  So have you thought about when you’re going to take your MCAT?  Regardless of what version you take have you thought about how you’re going to prepare?

Download your free special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!

Bryan Schnedeker is the National MCAT Director at Next Step Test Preparation, a company that specializes in 1-on-1 tutoring for the MCAT.  Bryan has taught the MCAT for over a decade and has scored a 44 on the test himself. 

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FYI: Secondary Essay Strategies Webinar Viewable Online! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/03/fyi-secondary-essay-strategies-webinar-viewable-online/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/03/fyi-secondary-essay-strategies-webinar-viewable-online/#respond Sun, 03 Aug 2014 16:16:59 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23802 ]]> Med school applicants: You can now review last week’s webinar, Secondary Essay Strategies that Score Interviews on our site for free. Don’t miss the valuable advice from this webinar – you MUST optimize your secondary essays if you want to move forward in the med school admissions game. Your interview invites depend on this information! View Secondary Essay Strategies that Score Interviews today!

Register for the webinar now!

Still have questions? Browse our catalog of medical school admissions services or contact us for more information!

Watch the Secondary Essay Strategies Webinar!

Accepted.com

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Career Direction: It’s Ok to Love Your Job! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/31/career-direction-its-ok-to-love-your-job/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/31/career-direction-its-ok-to-love-your-job/#respond Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:12:46 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24502 ]]> Click here to listen to the show!Don’t want to wake up at age 45 wondering why you’ve wasted your life pursuing an uninspiring and meaningless career?

Listen to the recording of our conversation with expert career coach, Akiba Smith-Francis, for essential advice on choosing a career path and laying the foundations for long-term fulfillment and success at work.

00:02:27 – Akiba’s journey from brand management to career coaching.

00:04:34 – The anatomy of bad advice (and some good advice to counter it).

00:16:53 – Tips for finding meaningful and enjoyable work.

00:22:57 – I want to follow my passion… but it has no market value. What should I do?

00:25:45 – How to get off the treadmill – even if you’ve been running since pre-school.

00:30:49 – Good networking: what it is and how to do it.

00:36:02 – Are all graduate school leadership development programs created equal?

00:39:51 – Advice for a young person figuring out a career path.
Listen to the full conversation to learn more!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

• Services Section
• Akiba Smith-Francis on LinkedIn 
• 
Stepping Off the Path

Related Shows:

The Consortium: Diversifying B-School and Corporate Management
• Forte Helps Women in Business Thrive: Interview with Elissa Sangster 
• Interview with Anna Runyan of Classy Career Girl 
• Goal Setting, Job Searching, and Sweet Careers 
• From Luxury Marketing to Entrepreneurship: A Talk with Daria Burke
• Non-Academic Careers for PhDs: A Talk with Dr. Paula Chambers 

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/31/career-direction-its-ok-to-love-your-job/feed/ 0 career changers,career goals,podcast Don’t want to wake up at age 45 wondering why you’ve wasted your life pursuing an uninspiring and meaningless career? - Listen to the recording of our conversation with expert career coach, Akiba Smith-Francis, Don’t want to wake up at age 45 wondering why you’ve wasted your life pursuing an uninspiring and meaningless career? Listen to the recording of our conversation with expert career coach, Akiba Smith-Francis, for essential advice on choosing a career path and laying the foundations for long-term fulfillment and success at work. 00:02:27 – Akiba’s journey from brand management to career coaching. 00:04:34 – The anatomy of bad advice (and some good advice to counter it). 00:16:53 – Tips for finding meaningful and enjoyable work. 00:22:57 – I want to follow my passion… but it has no market value. What should I do? 00:25:45 – How to get off the treadmill – even if you’ve been running since pre-school. 00:30:49 – Good networking: what it is and how to do it. 00:36:02 – Are all graduate school leadership development programs created equal? 00:39:51 – Advice for a young person figuring out a career path. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Related Links: • Services Section • Akiba Smith-Francis on LinkedIn  • Stepping Off the Path Related Shows: • The Consortium: Diversifying B-School and Corporate Management • Forte Helps Women in Business Thrive: Interview with Elissa Sangster  • Interview with Anna Runyan of Classy Career Girl  • Goal Setting, Job Searching, and Sweet Careers  • From Luxury Marketing to Entrepreneurship: A Talk with Daria Burke • Non-Academic Careers for PhDs: A Talk with Dr. Paula Chambers  Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:       Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 45:23
To Research or Not to Research is Thy Pre-Med Question http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/31/to-research-or-not-to-research-is-thy-pre-med-question/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/31/to-research-or-not-to-research-is-thy-pre-med-question/#respond Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:41:46 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24491 ]]> Journeys with JoshuaCheck out more posts from Journeys with Joshua!: Joshua Wienczkowski walks us through med school at East Tennessee’s College of Medicine with his monthly blog updates. Get an inside look into med school down South and life as a student adcom member through the eyes of a former professional songwriter with a whole lot of clinical experience — thanks Joshua for sharing this journey with us!  

So, just how important is research as a pre-med? How does one secure a spot in a lab with a great mentor? Can research help an applicant get into medical school? I’ll walk through the steps of why doing scientific research during your undergrad is important, how it can help you, and why it helps make you a well-rounded pre-medical student.

A little bit of my research background will help you understand my perspective, and how I feel it’s helped me through my first year of medical school as well as continued to stay in a lab and clinic while in medical school. During my Genetics course, I was also shadowing in Pediatric Oncology; the two went hand in hand, leaving me with tons of questions for my professor after class. We built a great relationship by the end of the semester and when I asked him if he needed anyone in his lab, I was thrilled when he chose me. After working together for two years on molecular evolution and mitogenomics, he not only served as an amazing teacher, but an incredible mentor and close friend that helped in the process of me applying and getting accepted to medical school. He even taught me to brew beer! During the last year of my undergrad, I also began working on a pediatric tumor with the physician I shadowed during Genetics and all through undergrad. This physician also became an amazing mentor that helped me in ways I can’t even begin to express. It takes a village to get someone to medical school, and mine was in my corner, rooting and supporting the whole way. Now that I’m a second year medical student, I also have a year of countless hours under my belt spent with critically ill patients because of my research in sepsis as a co-investigator on a clinical study. Yet again, I’ve gained wonderful mentors who have partnered next to me to aid in the process of helping me become a physician.

Doing research as a pre-med is incredibly important as a pre-med because of the following reasons:

1. You need a mentor. Regardless of what you want to do in life, there are two things that influence you more than anything else in the world: the books you read, and the people that surround you. Having a mentor who has helped other students achieve their own professional and personal dreams is a great way to make sure you have someone that can support and encourage you in ways your friends and family can’t. It’s also really nice to have a professor on hand to help explain and physically draw out things that just aren’t clicking in heavier science courses. I would strongly recommend approaching professors who you’ve enjoyed having, and your performance was strong in their course.

2. Medicine is a lot of science. Yeah, pre-med is filled with a lot of sciences, and many of those have labs associated with them. But how much do you really learn from those labs? Did you do PCR and know the molecular biology that was going on? Or did you just pipette the buffer, primers, DNA, nucleotides, water, and polymerase into the tube, press play, and then ran a gel? Research forces you to apply the knowledge and concepts you’ve learned, and apply them in real-time, especially when trouble-shooting experiments gone wrong. Trust me, they go wrong… Doing research teaches you to walk through what your hands are doing macroscopically through the biology and chemistry of what you’re doing microscopically.

3. Showing dedication is a powerful attribute. Doing research does take up additional hours, and yes, it can be frustrating to juggle everything while trying to get into medical school. However, proving to medical schools that you are capable of handling a tough course load while doing research, shadowing, and maintaining a leadership position within your community lets admissions know that you have dedication, will-power and self-motivation. These three characteristics on a proven track record say, “hey, this person can do it, they will do it, now let’s interview them and find out if they should do it.”

I’m not here to tell you that doing research will get you into medical school, but I am saying from personal experience that it has only brought good into my life, both professionally and personally. Through all of this, I’ve also learned that becoming a physician-scientist is a strong interest of mine, and clinical research is exciting and incredibly rewarding. Without having been trained during my own pre-med years by great mentors, I wouldn’t have had the skills or wherewithal coming into medical school to begin research, which has provided me a unique opportunity to contribute to medicine, science, and most importantly, my current and future patients. Who knows, maybe your research in undergrad will prepare you to work next to me in the fight to stop sepsis dead in its tracks before another 100,000 people in the US die from it in the next year.

Cheers, and good luck,

J

Download your free special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!

Accepted.com

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Get Into Medical School with Low Stats Webinar Airs Live on Wed! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/29/get-into-medical-school-with-low-stats-webinar-airs-live-on-wed/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/29/get-into-medical-school-with-low-stats-webinar-airs-live-on-wed/#respond Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:05:16 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24427 ]]> Join us live this Wednesday (July 30, 2014) at 5:00 PM PST/8:00 PM EST. for a free webinar, How to Get into Medical School with Low Stats.

Register ASAP (free) and get ready to learn how to boost your strengths so that the admissions committee won’t dwell on your weaknesses!

GetMedSchoolLowStats

Register here: How to Get into Medical School with Low Stats

See you soon!

Save My Spot!

Accepted.com

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How Should You Structure Your Essays? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/29/how-should-you-structure-your-essays/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/29/how-should-you-structure-your-essays/#respond Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:36:33 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24117 ]]> Learn how to creating a winning AMCAS essay! Click here to download your complete copy of Ace the AMCAS!

The conclusion shouldn’t parrot what you introduced earlier in the essay.

“How Should You Structure Your Essays?” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, Ace the AMCAS Essay. To download the entire free special report, click here.

In this series we’re not going to talk about the actual writing and editing (we’ll save those technical elements for another time), but we are going to suggest HOW to structure your essay. After you choose your topic (that is, the stories/experiences that we talked about in our post WHAT Should You Include in Your AMCAS Essay?), you will need to sit down and make an outline that highlights the structure that your essay will take.

A successful essay structure usually looks like this:

1. Lead or hook

As a personal interest piece (see our post Why Do We Have Personal Statements?), you want your reader to read your essay out of interest, not obligation. The best way to do this is to draw your reader in with some captivating, spellbinding opening. “Hi, my name is…” or “I was born in…” or “I want to be a doctor because…” certainly won’t cut it! Stay away from the common and ordinary. Start with a catchy anecdote, question, bit of dialogue, or description that you think will capture your reader’s attention. Put your reader in the middle of whatever story you plan to tell.

2. Thesis

You thesis acts as the core idea of essay. While a successful essay doesn’t necessarily need to spell out a main topic (for example, you don’t need to say “the purpose of this essay is…”), it should somehow be present in your essay – both as a guiding light to make sure that you don’t get lost in your writing and ramble on about a million different topics, and so that your reader remains focused and attentive to the point that you’re trying to convey.

3. Body

The body of your essay is the longest section. In the body you’ll present evidence (specifics that add interest and credibility to your essay and distinguish you from your competition) to support your thesis. In this section of your AMCAS essay, you’ll want to order your points (and sub-points if you have them) either chronologically, logically, or thematically. You should always put your most interesting points earlier in the essay.

4. Conclusion

Your essay’s conclusion should restate your main idea or theme. You shouldn’t parrot what you introduced earlier in the essay, but you should find a way to include it and also relate an implication or two, for example, why this theme or story is important or revealing. Also, if you asked a question at the beginning of your essay, make sure you’ve answered it by the end.

Download this special report that will help you ace the AMCAS essay.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com 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.

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Incentivized Learning: A Review of DrSmarts http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/28/incentivized-learning-a-review-of-drsmarts/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/28/incentivized-learning-a-review-of-drsmarts/#respond Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:47:29 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24446 ]]> DrSmartsLogoI just had a great time playing around (and learning) on the DrSmarts website, a test prep site for pre-med, med school, and veterinary school applicants and students. There are a number of features that I’d like to highlight here:

 • It’s free!

I mentioned this first because I think this will really be a draw for students. Lots of programs make you pay lots of money to access their resources. This one doesn’t – DrSmarts is an entirely free educational resource to help students reinforce what they are learning in the class room as well as to help review materials in advance of exams. And while it may not have some of the feature that the paid sites have (like tutors and practice exams), it certainly has enough features to provide a complete (not to mention fun – I’ll talk about this next) learning experience.

 • It’s fun!

One of my favorite features was the Brain Teasers section of the site. I found it slightly annoying that I couldn’t go from one question straight to the next (I had to go back to the dashboard in between questions), but otherwise, hands down, this was the most enjoyable part of the site.

 • You earn points and win prizes.

Each time you answer a question correctly (like in the daily quiz section or the daily poll – both great features, by the way – or for referring someone to the site), you accrue points (called “eDivs”) to your account balance. At the end of each week, the students with the most points earned will get rewards for their meritocracy. And monthly, DrSmarts will give out more meaningful scholarships to the top point earners. This is why the company calls itself “the first incentivized learning community.” One of the basic tenets of the site is “Learn to Earn.”

 • You earn points for charity.

For each quiz question answered correctly, DrSmarts will donate money on behalf of the students to their pre-selected charity or association. The other basic tenet of the site is “Learn to Give.”

 • There’s a language lab.

This seems slightly out of place among all the science-focused work going on here, but I welcomed it with open arms! It looks like an incredible opportunity to strengthen your language skills. Powered by Mango.

 • There are additional resources.

There are loads of practice materials – quizzes, e-books you can leaf through, and info about upcoming exams. And it’s all free! (Yes, mentioning that again.)

This is definitely a site worth checking out! See it here – https://drsmarts.smartsed.com/

Download your free special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!

Accepted.com

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Got Low Stats? Learn How You Can Get Accepted to Med School! [Webinar] http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/25/got-low-stats-learn-how-you-can-get-accepted-to-med-school-webinar/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/25/got-low-stats-learn-how-you-can-get-accepted-to-med-school-webinar/#respond Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:27:36 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24425 ]]> Don’t forget to register for our upcoming webinar, How to Get into Medical School with Low Stats.

Remember – this is a MUST-attend webinar for anyone applying to med school (or thinking about applying) with a less-than-desirable GPA or MCAT score.

GetMedSchoolLowStats

During the webinar, Alicia McNease Nimokar, senior advisor at Accepted.com, will provide loads of advice on how to position oneself for admissions success, despite those low numbers.

Mark your calendars!

Date: July 30, 2014

Time: 5:00 PM PT/8:00 PM ET

Registration link: How to Get into Medical School with Low Stats (Registration is free, but required.)

Save My Spot!

Accepted.com

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Michigan State University College of Human Medicine 2015 Secondary Application Essay Tips http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/24/michigan-state-university-college-of-human-medicine-2015-secondary-application-essay-tips/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/24/michigan-state-university-college-of-human-medicine-2015-secondary-application-essay-tips/#respond Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:43:08 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24415 ]]> Check out the rest of our secondary application essay tips!According to a 2010 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, this school is ranked #6 out of 141 U.S. medical schools for meeting its social mission to educate doctors who are underrepresented in medicine and who will work in underserved communities.  They have six different campuses spread across the state of Michigan so students receive exposure to diverse patient populations, with their headquarters located in Grand Rapids.  Their brand new, state-of-the-art facilities were competed in 2010.

When drafting your responses to their secondary questions it’s important to review the school’s mission statement: “Michigan State University College of Human Medicine is committed to educating exemplary physicians and scholars, discovering and disseminating new knowledge, and providing service at home and abroad. We enhance our communities by providing outstanding primary and specialty care, promoting the dignity and inclusion of all people, and responding to the needs of the medically underserved.”  Since the three short essay questions required in their secondary application are general in nature, what experiences or characteristics can you identify in your life or yourself that align with the schools values?

Michigan State University College of Human Medicine 2015 Essay Questions:

• Three short essays are required with a limit of 350 words.

• Six optional short essays are requested for students interested in the special programs that they offer with word limits of 350.

• Applicants should use single line spacing and 12 point size font.

• Responses should be constructed strategically to highlight an applicant’s strengths.

The following essays are required in the Secondary Application:

1. Discuss a time when you stepped out of your comfort zone. What were the challenges? What did you learn? (350 word limit)

There are many possible ways to approach this response.  Using an experience that covers your exploration of a new language and culture or an example in which you worked with a new group of people as a team or a familiar group of people on a new goal would work, as well.  Choose an experience that allowed you to develop and grow as a person that had a clearly positive outcome.  Journaling may be a helpful way to locate the best example from your life to use.         

2. Describe a personally rewarding experience. What did you learn about yourself through this experience? You are permitted to use an experience included in your AMCAS application, as long as you didn’t go into great detail in your AMCAS application (including personal statement and experiences) or in Essay One, or you discuss a different aspect of the experience. (350 word limit)

The adcom wants to determine what you value by what you find rewarding in your life.  It’s important to be authentic.  I recommend choosing something that is truly fulfilling for you but that also will demonstrate how well you will fit in with the culture of service created at MSUCHM.  A response that focuses on any form of service that you have most enjoyed will fit this response nicely.  Alternatively, any personal achievements that you have worked towards may also work—as long as they benefited more than one person.

3. If you could present yourself to the Committee on Admissions, what would you want to make sure they knew about you? (350 word limit)

For such an open-ended question, I recommend that you review your AMCAS application in detail to see if there is anything that you didn’t cover.  Other important topics to consider discussing may have occurred before college or after you submitted your AMCAS application that you can share with the adcom.  It’s important to take the time and effort to respond to this question as thoughtfully as possible.  If you’re really struggling for a topic, consider any hobbies or talents outside of school that will help you maintain your balance and focus in medical school.    

Application Timeline:

AMCAS Application Due  – November 1, 2014

Secondary Application Due – November 30, 2014       (*Submit within two weeks after receipt.)

If you would like professional guidance with your Michigan State University College of Human Medicine application materials, please consider using Accepted’s Medical School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for MSUCHM’s application materials.

Check out the rest of our school-specific secondary essay tips!

Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted.com advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs.

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Meet the Guy Who Passed 60 out of 61 Case Interviews (You Can Too!) http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/24/meet-the-guy-who-passed-60-out-of-61-case-interviews-you-can-too/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/24/meet-the-guy-who-passed-60-out-of-61-case-interviews-you-can-too/#respond Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:07:02 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24405 ]]> No time like the present to revisit one of our most popular admissions episodes of all time!

If you missed it the first time around, stop whatever you are doing and listen to our interview with Victor Cheng, former consultant and interviewer at McKinsey and author of Case Interview Secrets.

Click here to listen to the show!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

• MBA In Sight: Focus on Management Consulting, Accepted’s free guide to b-schools for management consultant wannabes. 
• Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng
• 
Case Interview.com 
• Which B-Schools Send Grads Into Consulting?

Related Shows:

• How to Become a Management Consultant
• An Inside Look at INSEAD
• The Facts about Financial Services

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

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Are you a future management consultant? Learn how to research & identify the best MBA programs to apply to!

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/24/meet-the-guy-who-passed-60-out-of-61-case-interviews-you-can-too/feed/ 0 Management Consulting,podcast No time like the present to revisit one of our most popular admissions episodes of all time! - If you missed it the first time around, stop whatever you are doing and listen to our interview with Victor Cheng, No time like the present to revisit one of our most popular admissions episodes of all time! If you missed it the first time around, stop whatever you are doing and listen to our interview with Victor Cheng, former consultant and interviewer at McKinsey and author of Case Interview Secrets. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Related Links: • MBA In Sight: Focus on Management Consulting, Accepted’s free guide to b-schools for management consultant wannabes.  • Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng • Case Interview.com  • Which B-Schools Send Grads Into Consulting? Related Shows: • How to Become a Management Consultant • An Inside Look at INSEAD • The Facts about Financial Services Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:       Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 34:26
WHAT Should You Include in Your AMCAS Essay? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/22/what-should-you-include-in-your-amcas-essay/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/22/what-should-you-include-in-your-amcas-essay/#respond Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:34:42 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24111 ]]> Learn how to creating a winning AMCAS essay! Click here to download your complete copy of Ace the AMCAS!

But what if you haven’t discovered a cure for cancer while a freshman?

“WHAT Should You Include in Your AMCAS Essay?” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, Ace the AMCAS Essay. To download the entire free special report, click here.

As I discussed in the first post of this series, your AMCAS essay serves as your introduction to the med school admissions board. In this way, your essay much more resembles a human interest story than it resembles a report. As a “science person,” you may be more familiar with factual, data-driven, analytical writing, with reports that are based on facts, figures, and statistics. In your application, all of this data will be included in your score reports and your resume…not in your essay.

Your AMCAS essay, your own personal human interest story, needs to be anecdotal and emotional. This is your opportunity to reveal your passion, your humor, your drive, and, in short, your unique personality. Remember, the admissions members reading your essays are human beings. Their job is to wade through a mountain of boring, trite, monotonous essays in search of that compelling gem of a story – the one that you’re going to write.

For that gem to gel, you will need to choose meaningful experiences that show your strength of character, integrity, individuality, and most importantly, your non-academic qualifications and motivation for pursuing medical school and a career as a physician.

Which would be a more interesting essay – one in which you speak generally about how you volunteered in a volunteer setting, or one in which you talk specifically about your experience working in Uganda with Doctors without Borders? Obviously the latter – an experience shared only by a handful, if any, of your competitors, will stand out more than an essay in which you talk about a vague experience that every other applicant shares.

But what if you haven’t worked in Uganda or climbed Mt. Everest or discovered a cure for cancer while a freshman? What if your most notable achievements are a little more pedestrian? Specifics and stories will still make them stand out. Furthermore if you include in your essays, your distinctive motivations, take-aways, and insights from those critical events that are important enough to you to include in your AMCAS essay, you will have a killer essay.

When you choose your essay topic, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Will this topic authentically introduce me to the reader?

2. Is this topic distinctive, or is it just going to come across as one more essay about how a grandparent’s illness directed the author at the age of 10 to medicine?

3. Does this essay reflect positively on my fitness for a career as a physician?

Download this special report that will help you ace the AMCAS essay.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com 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.

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Are You a Med School Applicant with Low Stats? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/21/are-you-a-med-school-applicant-with-low-stats/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/21/are-you-a-med-school-applicant-with-low-stats/#respond Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:03:35 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24361 ]]> Applying to med school and worried your stats are too low? Not sure if your numbers will make the cut?

In our upcoming webinar, How to Get into Medical School with Low Stats, you’ll learn tips and strategies for putting together an application that focuses on your strength rather than your weakness – one that convinces the selection committee that you’ve got what it takes to excel in medical school and as a physician!

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Join us live on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 5:00 PM PST/8:00 PM EST (click here to see what time that is in your time zone).

Registration is required (and free). Reserve your spot for How to Get into Medical School with Low Stats now!

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Work Hard and Stay Positive: Interview with a 2nd Year Med Student http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/21/med-school-interview-with-ryan-matthews/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/21/med-school-interview-with-ryan-matthews/#respond Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:43:13 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24301 ]]> Click here for more med school student interviews!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com 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 Ryan Matthews

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

Ryan: I was born and raised in Indiana, other than a couple years I spent in Georgia when I was around 7-8 years old. I am happily married and have a 9 month old baby girl. We also have 2 dogs, 1 guinea pig, and 3 aquariums. As you might be able to tell, our family loves animals.

My time as an undergraduate student was somewhat atypical. I started off studying biology and psychology at Indiana University, but during my sophomore year decided to transfer to a smaller school. It wasn’t that I didn’t love IU, but I wanted a smaller, more personal learning environment. As a result, I transferred to University of Indianapolis where most classes were 20 students or less and I even had one class with only 8 people. It was there that I decided to major in biology and chemistry, but I’d already taken so much psychology that I received a completed a minor in it as well.

Accepted: Where do you attend medical school? What year are you in?

Ryan: I attend medical school at Indiana University School of Medicine and am currently entering my 2nd year.

Accepted: How did you choose which the best program was for you? 

Ryan: Since I’ve spent most of my life in Indiana, going to IUSM was always my preferred program. I also got married before even applying to medical school so it was easier for my wife’s career to stay near home as well. Add in the fact that we had my baby girl during my first semester of school, and it’s a real blessing that we are close to home where family is able to help us out.

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’ve known before you started school?

Ryan: The biggest adjustment in my opinion is time management. You have to be really disciplined about studying, which might seem obvious, but it does take some extra effort. I hear most incoming medical students admit they’re nervous about the workload and although it is challenging, it isn’t overbearing as long as you’re disciplined. I recommend a to-do list and a calendar. Personally, I use apps on my phone to keep track of everything I’m involved in and wouldn’t be able to function without them. That being said, there is still plenty of time in medical school to do things you love and take part in extracurriculars. It’s all about time management!

Accepted: Did you go straight from college to med school? Or did you take time off? If you took time off, how did you spend your time?

Ryan: I took 1 year off between undergrad and medical school, which allowed me to work as a biochemist and store up some money. More importantly, I used the time to take things easy and enjoy being with my wife. We got married 1 month after I graduated, so I was able to spend over a year with her without the stresses of medical school on my shoulders.

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

Ryan: Easily the most challenging aspect of medical school admissions for me was “the waiting game.” It seems like all you do is submit something and then wait a few months for an answer, and unfortunately, I’m a very impatient person. I don’t even like waiting in line at restaurants or the movie theater so waiting for something that would determine my future was definitely not ideal. However, time actually went pretty quickly when I focused on enjoying my time away from school.

Thus, my biggest advice for applicants is to try and stay busy doing things you enjoy. All the years of putting in the hard work for your application are over and everyone needs a break once in a while. Use the application processing time (as well as the summer before 1st year) to enjoy life!

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

Ryan: Here are a few tips off the top of my head:

1) Work hard and stay positive! This may seem pretty obvious, but trust me when I say that most people are way more capable than they even realize.

2) Apply as early as possible. I was actually a late applicant, and it doesn’t seem like a big deal until you see other people posting online about their acceptances. Do yourself a favor and apply as early as possible.

3) Like I said before, really cherish the time before you start medical school. Yes, you still have a life in school, but your extra time is substantially limited in comparison.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your podcast?

Ryan: I drive a lot to/from school, so I listen to podcasts all the time. I’d always been on the lookout for audio materials that I could use for studying on the go, but couldn’t ever find anything that fit my needs. This sparked the idea of publishing my own podcast, and as they say, the rest is history.

Since I’d already started my blog, I used it as a platform to start “Medical Minded Podcast.” My goal was to create something that other students could use to further their own education, and in doing so, compiling the podcast material would serve as an additional study method for me. I’ve been a little busier than I expected this summer, so I admit I’ve been slacking on uploading new episodes. However, I encourage everyone to check it out and promise I’ll upload more in the near future.

You can read more about Ryan’s med school journey by checking out his blog, Medical Minded, and his podcast. Thank you Ryan for sharing your story with us!

Do you want to be featured on the Accepted Admissions Blog? If you want to share your med school journey with the world (or at least with our readers), email us at bloggers@accepted.com.

Download your free special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!
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3 Personal Statement Tips for Non-Traditional Med School Applicants http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/20/3-personal-statement-tips-for-non-traditional-med-school-applicants/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/20/3-personal-statement-tips-for-non-traditional-med-school-applicants/#respond Sun, 20 Jul 2014 14:52:55 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24226 ]]> Q&AAre you a non-traditional med school applicant? How should you approach the personal statement?

Use these 3 tips to help you navigate the med school application personal statement – non-trad style!

1. Look at the app holistically. Don’t launch into your life story before thinking about how your application should look as a whole. Yes – where you’ve been is essential to understanding how you’ve gotten to where you are, especially for the non-traditional applicant; but you will have other places (like your secondary essays and your interview) to delve into your personal history. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t talk history, but your personal statement isn’t where you should cram in your entire memoir. In short, offer a glimpse, not a saga. For non-traditional applicants, it is extremely important to capitalize on the experiences that you have had in your life. You don’t need to tell your entire life story but what you need to do is capture their attention so that you will then be invited for the interview later on.

2. Anticipate the selection committee’s questions about weaknesses.
What you should write about will be different for every applicant because the best essays, especially those in the AMCAS application, anticipate the questions the selection committee may have about you (and their questions often will be about your weaknesses). It’s your job to anticipate those questions and to address them directly in your personal statement – this will give you the strongest, most strategic approach in addressing any weaknesses that you may have. It’s also really important to show your potentials for medical school and the transferrable skills that you bring to it.

3. Answer this:
“What would make you a great doctor?” instead of this: “Why do you want to be a doctor?” I spoke with a client earlier this week and his essay was very theoretical. It was about why he thought he wanted to go to medical school. He was very sincere, very honest and you could tell there was a lot there, but the application is asking for the experiences that you’ve had and the things that have really confirmed the decision for you. That’s what’s going to help people see your real potential and how well you’ll succeed in medical school and in the profession.

The advice in this post is based on a conversation we had in our recent webinar, Ask The Experts: Medical School Admissions Q&A with Cydney Foote and Alicia McNease Nimonkar. Check out the full transcript for more tips on applying to med school successfully!

Learn how you can get accepted to med school even with a low MCAT or GPA!

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University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences Secondary Application Essay Tips http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/16/university-of-toledo-college-of-medicine-and-life-sciences-secondary-application-essay-tips/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/16/university-of-toledo-college-of-medicine-and-life-sciences-secondary-application-essay-tips/#respond Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:36:13 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24189 ]]> Click here for more school-specific secondary essay tips!UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences offers an education that emphasizes the importance of treating patients as individuals and incorporating the latest research available in their training.  After the first year, students have the opportunity to participate in paid summer research positions.  Students complete clerkships during their third and fourth years with the option of serving patients abroad in the fourth year.  For more details about their program and campus, you can see the College of Medicine Viewbook, here.

Toledo 2015 Secondary Application Essay Questions:

 • Two essays are requested, no limit required.
 • Applicants should use single line spacing and 10 or 12 point size font.
 • Responses should be constructed strategically to highlight all of an applicant’s strengths.

The following essays are requested in the Secondary Application:

1. Briefly discuss any extenuating circumstances which you feel are pertinent to your application (poor grades, course withdrawals, etc). (No Limit)

To respond effectively to this essay prompt, examine your AMCAS application from an outsider’s perspective.  In reviewing your grades and activities, is there anything that needs to be explained?  Is there anything confusing?  Or is there something that might not be obvious to the reader without providing some emphasis, for example, on the number of hours that you worked per week while attending school full time?  You can explain any reasons for why your application may be less competitive.  State the facts to create the right tone.  

2. The University of Toledo College of Medicine is committed to excellence in education which prepares graduates to deliver quality health care. Developing cultural competence is an important goal in our curriculum. Cultural competence is defined as an awareness, understanding and ability to use specific methods to deal effectively with cultural issues and its role in health and health care. Please discuss a life experience in which you feel you demonstrated cultural competence. (No limit)

I recommend selecting an example in which you played an active role in alleviating language or cultural barriers.  In this essay, you can highlight the interpersonal communication skills that you have and any additional languages that you speak.  Effective examples would include translating for people who don’t speak the same language or communicating religious or cultural differences that could cause confusion for others.  For example, a student from a Hmong or Laotian background who understands this community’s lack of trust for Western Medicine could describe how to s/he successfully helped organize and host free health clinics through a church in the community to provide health check-ups.  There are many different examples that would fit well for this essay question.  The key will be selecting one that demonstrates your level of awareness and sensitivity to others.         

UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences Application Timeline:

AMCAS Application Due                November 1, 2014

Secondary Application                   December 31, 2014

(*Strong recommendation: Submit within two weeks after receipt.)

Interviews Conducted                     September 2014 to April 2015

School Begins                                  August 2015

If you would like professional guidance with your University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences application materials, please consider using Accepted’s Medical School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for the UTCMLS application materials.

Learn how you can get accepted to med school even with a low MCAT or GPA!
Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted.com advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs.

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The Biggest Application Essay Mistake [Video] http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/15/the-biggest-application-essay-mistake-video/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/15/the-biggest-application-essay-mistake-video/#respond Tue, 15 Jul 2014 19:54:20 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24261 ]]> What is the very worst thing you could possibly do in your application essays? Watch Linda’s answer and add your own comments below:

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Why Do We Have Personal Statements? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/15/why-do-we-have-personal-statements-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/15/why-do-we-have-personal-statements-2/#respond Tue, 15 Jul 2014 16:52:54 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24108 ]]> Learn how to creating a winning AMCAS essay! Click here to download your complete copy of Ace the AMCAS!

Your AMCAS essay will provide a window into who you are…

“Why Do We Have Personal Statements?” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, Ace the AMCAS Essay. To download the entire free special report, click here.

Do the essays in your med school applications serve as mere padding for the rest of your application? Or do they have some higher purpose?

I’d like to propose three important reasons WHY the med schools request essays in addition to the all the stats and data that you provide in other sections of your application.

The purpose of the AMCAS essay is to…

 1. Provide a window into who you are. Not just into your grades and scores and impressive awards and experiences, but into the real you. Your AMCAS essay gives you an opportunity for the admissions community to meet you beyond the hard facts. This is your chance to introduce yourself.

2. Add insight and value to your application. Your AMCAS essay will allow you to delve deeper into specific experiences and to discuss your motivation and the lessons you learned. Be careful not to merely repeat info found on other parts of your application; instead, build and add to it with an insightful essay.

3. Demonstrate writing ability. Strong writing skills are indicative of strong communication skills, which are critical in the medical world. Let the adcom readers see that you know how to get your point across.

To sum up, your essays shouldn’t pad your application with meaningless filler material, but should serve as a different kind of PAD – Provide a window, Add value, and Demonstrate writing skills. Include these elements in your AMCAS essay, and you’ll be one step closer to creating a captivating piece of writing and capturing a spot in your dream med school!

Download this special report that will help you ace the AMCAS essay.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com 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.

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Secondaries Webinar is Back Due to Popular Demand! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/09/secondaries-webinar-is-back-due-to-popular-demand/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/09/secondaries-webinar-is-back-due-to-popular-demand/#respond Wed, 09 Jul 2014 21:36:14 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24156 ]]> Did you miss our Secondary Essay Strategies that Score Interviews webinar? Fear not! We will be hosting the webinar once again on Monday, July 14.

Click here to find out more & register for the webinar!

You need to know how to craft secondary essays that will make you stand out from the crowd – and we want to tell you how to do just that. Join us live on Monday to learn the secrets of successful secondaries!

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