Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog » Medical School Admissions http://blog.accepted.com Admissions consulting and application advice Wed, 20 May 2015 15:38:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 U.S. News Most Selective Med Schools http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/19/u-s-news-most-selective-med-schools/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/19/u-s-news-most-selective-med-schools/#respond Tue, 19 May 2015 16:32:59 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30888 U.S. News has released its list of med schools with the smallest acceptance rates – the 10 schools on the list accepted an average of just 2.7 percent of their applicants. Here’s this year’s list: *RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one-fourth of all medical and osteopathic schools Need Help polishing your applications? […]

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U.S. News has released its list of med schools with the smallest acceptance rates – the 10 schools on the list accepted an average of just 2.7 percent of their applicants.

Here’s this year’s list:

10 Most Selective Med Schools
*RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one-fourth of all medical and osteopathic schools

Need Help polishing your applications?  Check out Accepted’s Medical School Application Services.  And may the odds be ever in your favor!

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

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• Get Accepted to Medical School in 2016
• Advice From A Med School Admissions Director
• US News Most Affordable Med Schools

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An Interview With Our Own: Dr. Sheryl Neuman http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/19/an-interview-with-our-own-dr-sheryl-neuman/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/19/an-interview-with-our-own-dr-sheryl-neuman/#respond Tue, 19 May 2015 16:02:08 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30885 Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Sheryl Neuman. Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you hold […]

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Learn more on how Sheryl can help you get into med school!Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Sheryl Neuman.

Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you hold any graduate degrees? Where do you currently live?

Sheryl: I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I studied Biology at UCLA and went to medical school there as well. I did an internal medicine residency at Cedars Sinai Medical Center followed by a combined General Medicine Fellowship/Preventive Medicine Residency at Cedars and at UCLA, which included getting an MPH at UCLA.

After my training, I worked at Cedars as the Associate Director and later the Director of the Employee Health Service. During that time I also headed the Med-Peds Residency program and was a faculty member in the Internal Medicine Department at Cedars.

Accepted: What’s your favorite book? 

Sheryl: Currently one of my favorite books is Einstein, by Walter Isaacson. I wish I had read this book during my year of physics in college. Isaacson’s talent as a writer got me much more excited about physics than my courses ever did!

Accepted: How have your experiences as a med school student, doctor, and admissions committee member contributed to your talent as an admissions consultant?

Sheryl: Having been through all aspects of the process, I know firsthand what is expected. There is nothing that beats personal experience. As a physician myself, I know what to look for in an applicant.

Accepted: Can you talk about the road that led you to becoming an admissions consultant for Accepted? 

Sheryl: I had not been doing clinical work for several years while raising my family, so when I was approached about the job, I thought it would be a great way to use my experience as a physician to help others applying to medical school. I found it to be very enjoyable.

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about consulting?

Sheryl: I really enjoy taking a so-so personal statement and helping my clients turn it into something special. Our finished product tells a good story and showcases the applicant in the best possible way. Knowing that the applicant has a much better chance of having their application stand out makes me feel good. I also like helping with interview prep, especially since I have been on both sides of the interview before.

Accepted: What are your top 3 admissions tips?

Sheryl:

1. Start early so that you can get your application in at the earliest possible date to maximize your chances of acceptance.

2. Spend the time to get your personal statement sounding crisp and clear, with an interesting opening and a good flow.

3. Take the time to practice interview questions so you will not be caught off guard during the interview.

Learn more about Sheryl and how she can help you get accepted!

View our med admission services catalog!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• Interviewing with Impact: How to Make an Impression in Your Medical School Interviews
• Med School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services
• Navigating the Med School Maze

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AMCAS Workshop This Wednesday! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/18/dont-forget-to-register-for-wednesdays-amcas-workshop/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/18/dont-forget-to-register-for-wednesdays-amcas-workshop/#respond Mon, 18 May 2015 16:33:13 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30462 Grab your seat for an event that will make a huge impact on your AMCAS application’s success! Create a Winning AMCAS Application will air live on Wednesday, May 20 at 5:00 PM PT / 8:00 PM ET. Register now to get one step closer to a stronger, more impressive, and more timely AMCAS application! See you […]

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Grab your seat for an event that will make a huge impact on your AMCAS application’s success!

Click here to register for the AMCAS webinar

Create a Winning AMCAS Application will air live on Wednesday, May 20 at 5:00 PM PT / 8:00 PM ET.

Register now to get one step closer to a stronger, more impressive, and more timely AMCAS application!

Register Now!

See you soon!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Third Time’s The Charm For This Med Student http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/18/3rd-year-med-student-finds-the-right-balance/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/18/3rd-year-med-student-finds-the-right-balance/#respond Mon, 18 May 2015 15:44:51 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30855 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 Jonathan Karademos… Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? […]

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Read more med student blogger iv's hereThis 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 Jonathan Karademos…

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

Jonathan: I am from Washington State and attended the University of Washington in Seattle.  I studied microbiology and graduated in 2008.  Two interesting things about me…hmm…lets see. While I blog now, I actually hated writing in college (I dreaded every paper I had to write).  Second, I have been stung by a jellyfish and still have the mark on my side.

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

Jonathan:  I am currently a third year student at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA.

Accepted: What is your favorite thing about Drexel U College of Medicine so far?

Jonathan:  My favorite thing was getting the opportunity as a student to be on the admissions committee.  Not only was I able to interview prospective applicants, I was able to provide my opinions during committee meetings that other committee members actually responded to.  It was really cool seeing the admission process and how applicants are really chosen (there is a lot of bad advice out there on how to get into medical school).

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?) How did that experience influence you?

Jonathan:  I actually took quite a long time off from school.  Almost 4 years.  During that time I held two jobs and tried to do many things to strengthen my application to medical school.

My primary job was as a researcher at the HIV Vaccine Trials Network in Seattle, WA.  I took care of three very expensive flow cytometer machines and analyzed blood samples from various HIV vaccine trials around the world.

My second job was as a host in a busy Jazz Club in Seattle.  While a lot of people may wonder how this helped me for medical school, it actually helped tremendously. This job solidified my skills in multitasking, thinking on my feet, and interacting with different personalities (some people were nice, some not so much).

The biggest thing the time off did was helping me to mature. Living in the “real world” is very different than going to school and comes with a new set of responsibilities and stressors that are not simply learned overnight. Learning how to adapt to the new situations has now helped me in the hospital where I initially felt lost but am now a lot more comfortable with whatever gets thrown at me.

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

Jonathan:  It took me three tries to get into medical school.  In retrospect I definitely was not ready for medical school on the first try, and it showed in my application.  The second try was tough.  I had retaken the MCAT, volunteered, shadowed, and really worked on my application, but it was not enough.

For my third application, I was absolutely determined to do anything I could to get in. To that effect, I went into shadowing overdrive. Within a period of about 6 months I was able to get over 100 hours of shadowing in various low-income clinics (while working 70 hours per week). When it came to applying again, the shadowing experience really helped shape my personal statement, which lead to an eventual acceptance to Drexel.

Accepted: How do you balance work/life as a med student?

Jonathan: This is the million-dollar question.  Honestly, I am still trying to find that balance.  During my first year I had the mentality that I was going to study harder and perform better than anyone else.  The problem was that I neglected the life balance aspect.  I did not work out as often as I used to and I neglected some of my hobbies. What ended up happening is that I did “satisfactory” on a lot of my courses during the first semester. When I realized that I needed to exercise more and continue my hobbies, things changed.  I was studying less but my grades were improving because I had more focused study sessions and I was a lot happier.

When my wife (then fiancée) moved to Philadelphia during my second year, I had to learn new balancing techniques.  One of the things I made a commitment on fairly early was a date night.  Usually on the same day each week (unless there was a test the next day) I would stop studying around 4pm and completely devote my attention toward my wife.  Since she is not in the medical field, this helped me get a break from medicine and recharge.

Third year is a little tougher to find the work/life balance.  There are multiple hospitals and multiple time commitments that it can be hard to find a good routine. However, I still try and do what I have been doing during the first two years: I find time to exercise and I still have my date nights with my wife once a week.

Medical school is a marathon that can be very rewarding or grueling depending on how you approach it.  If you can find and do things in school that make you happy, you will take away a lot of positive experiences.

Accepted: What are your top 3 tips for med school applicants?

Jonathan:  When you interview, do two things: be yourself and back up your responses with things you have done.  Part of the interviewer’s job is deciding if you are the right fit for a school.  If you are not yourself and get accepted, it is possible you could be miserable at that school.  In terms of backing up your responses, don’t say that you want to be a surgeon if you’ve only ever shadowed primary care physicians.  If you want to be a surgeon, make sure you have shadowed a surgeon and can explain why you like that field.

In the years before applying, shape your experiences for quality.  I’ve seen multiple applicants where they had 30 different things they did for a month at a time.  Sometimes they got in, sometimes they didn’t.  If that same person instead had 5 big experiences that lasted 4+ years each, then they probably got in because they could talk about how much those experiences shaped their character.  Quality over quantity!

Be prepared for rejection and don’t give up.  There are a lot of very talented people applying to medical school.  Sometimes you wont get into a school because of competition.  Other times it will be because they didn’t think you would fit in with their mission.  Keep trying to improve and admission committees will acknowledge perseverance when they see it. One of the best pieces of advice I received after getting rejected twice was that if it truly is your dream to become a physician, it is not a matter of if, but when.

You can read Jonathan’s blog at medicalstudentjourney.com.  Thank you Jonathan for sharing your story with us – we wish you the best of luck!

Download Medical School Reapplicant Tips for Succcess

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Related Resources:

• Navigating the Med School Maze
• Experiences That Count For Medical School Reapplicants
• Moving Forward After Medical School Rejection

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5 Questions To Help You Decide Where To Apply To Med School http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/17/5-questions-to-help-you-decide-where-to-apply-to-med-school-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/17/5-questions-to-help-you-decide-where-to-apply-to-med-school-2/#respond Sun, 17 May 2015 16:22:02 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30723 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 […]

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Will your application distinguish you from the tens of thousands of qualified med school applicants?

Know where you stand when compared to other applicants.

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).

Webinar: Create a Winning AMCAS Application!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Navigate the Med School Maze
How to Research Medical Schools
• Ask The Experts: Medical School Admissions Q&A

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5 Tips For Physician Assistant (PA) Program Acceptance http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/15/5-tips-for-physician-assistant-pa-program-acceptance/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/15/5-tips-for-physician-assistant-pa-program-acceptance/#respond Fri, 15 May 2015 16:07:15 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30682 Over the years, I’ve helped many students get accepted into Physician Assistant (PA) Programs across the country.  To apply to PA programs, you will use the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). To help you send in an application that effectively presents your qualifications, I’m including five tips below to ensure that you, too, will […]

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Click here to get all 10 tips for PA application success.

There is lots to do. Time to get organized!

Over the years, I’ve helped many students get accepted into Physician Assistant (PA) Programs across the country.  To apply to PA programs, you will use the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). To help you send in an application that effectively presents your qualifications, I’m including five tips below to ensure that you, too, will be successful in applying:

1. Review the CASPA Application BEFORE you apply as part of your preparation:  In order to strategize, it’s helpful to review all sections of the application so that you can make careful decisions about how you will approach each one and how you will set yourself apart as an applicant.  Create a to-do list with a timeline that is realistic for your schedule.

2. After identifying the programs that you want to apply to, check each individual program’s requirements because they vary:  Before you begin taking the prerequisite coursework, double check the websites for the schools where you are interested in applying. If you have already taken your coursework, confirm that you have met these requirements before submitting your application.

3. Make sure your recommenders meet the recommender requirements for the schools you are applying to and request the letters of recommendation early: Different schools will require different combinations of letters.  For example, if a program requires a letter from a PA on your behalf, do not apply to that school if you can’t find a PA to write a letter for you.  It’s worth taking the time to check what the letter requirements are because they could limit the number of schools you apply to.

4. Order a copy of your transcript and review before you order copies to be mailed to each program: It’s important to review a copy of your transcript for errors.  They happen.  Give yourself enough time to correct any errors, before you need to order copies to submit to CASPA.  The transcripts should be mailed four weeks before your deadline because it takes that same length of time for your application to be processed before it can be mailed to each individual program.

5. Begin working on your application essays early:  Since these essays represent you, take the time to make sure they offer a true reflection of your character.  Since it can seem overwhelming to decide what details to include or what to highlight about your background, working with a professional editor like me and my colleagues at accepted.com can give you a significant advantage.  I want my clients to be excited to submit their applications because they are so proud of the essays that they have written.

5 more tips coming soon!

Download your free guide 10 Tips for PA Program Acceptance!
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:

From Example to Exemplary
Exploring Yale’s Top-Rated Physician Assistance Program
• Medical School Admissions 2015-2016: A Dean’s Perspective

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5 Mistakes To Avoid In A Cover Letter http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/14/5-mistakes-to-avoid-in-a-cover-letter/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/14/5-mistakes-to-avoid-in-a-cover-letter/#respond Thu, 14 May 2015 15:55:35 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30704 You only have one chance to make a first impression. If the first impression you need to make is through a cover letter to a prospective employer, school admissions office, or internship sponsor, make sure it shines a light on your qualifications and displays your enthusiasm for the position or that seat in the class. […]

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Click here to download your quick admissions guide

Think of your cover letter as the appetizer for what you know will be a great meal.

You only have one chance to make a first impression. If the first impression you need to make is through a cover letter to a prospective employer, school admissions office, or internship sponsor, make sure it shines a light on your qualifications and displays your enthusiasm for the position or that seat in the class. Unfortunately, too many cover letters I see are dull as dust, containing only generalities or jargon and lacking confidence. These letters hurt your cause.

Here are 5 common mistakes in cover letters. Don’t make them in yours!

1. Sound as if you’re bored.

“I am writing in response to your opening for a marketing manager, listed on Job Site website.” This response is honest and to the point, but it also lacks a sense that you really want this gig. Better: “I am enthusiastically applying for the position of marketing manager for Best Company Ever. My experience as a top saleswoman for the last three years for an organic beauty supply is an ideal match for your needs.” Feel the energy of the second sentence? The reader will, too.

2. Don’t make any effort to get inside knowledge about the company or school, or explain why you want to attend their program/get hired by them. Also omit your most relevant experiences that should make them want to give careful consideration to your resume.

There could be a dozen different reasons why you’ve chosen to apply for this job or to attend this program. For example, if it’s a start-up, you’ll have more opportunity to perform multiple roles and gain a broader view of small businesses. In a larger company, you may have more chances for travel or longstanding career growth. Perhaps the company has innovated a technology, product type, or employee-friendly atmosphere that you strongly admire. Identify these things, as well as your most relevant experience/qualifications that match what they are looking for. Don’t go into too many details; keep it short. For example:

“My friend Bonnie V. told me how much she learned about digital media sales and marketing as a result of her internship with Best Company Ever last summer. My experience with the Streaming Live Network in building their salesforce over the last year will make me an ideal fit for your team.”

“As a future entrepreneur in green technology, I admire Live Green Now’s innovations in environmentally friendly plastics and am eager to learn more about these innovations from the inside. My master’s degree in Environmental Studies and research into new techniques for recycling plastics without water makes me a strong candidate for this position.”

3. Ignore the stated requirements for acceptance or position.

If a company says that knowledge of a particular software knowledge, skillset, or academic record is required for a position, don’t waste your time or theirs by submitting a letter if you don’t have it. If you feel you are still qualified, you had better have a compelling explanation and say so up front. Otherwise move on. Pay attention to what companies and schools say they are looking for. They mean it.

4. Sound needy or wishy-washy about getting a call back for an interview. 

A recent cover letter I edited – by someone whose professional experience spanned more than 20 years, numerous awards and 10 patents in his name – ended his letter like this: “If after reviewing my materials you believe that there is a match, please contact me.” This sentence is passive and sounds insecure, as if he doesn’t really expect them to call. And they probably wouldn’t.

I suggested he end the letter like this: “I look forward to the opportunity to meet you to discuss this position and how I can add value to Best Company Ever.” See how the simple change of writing in active voice (“I look forward. . . “) exudes confidence in his ability to demonstrate value.

5. Make them take the extra step of going back to you to get references.

This is one of the mistakes that drives me crazy every time I see it, which is often. Why in the world would you write “References available upon request” instead of providing the actual references in the letter, and/or the resume? List names, titles, phone numbers and emails. If a reference doesn’t have a title, put the person’s relationship to you so the caller will know in what context he or she is providing the recommendation.

Finally, keep the letter short – preferably only a half to three-quarters of a page. This is an appetizer only to get them to want to give your resume careful review, and then call you for the next step. Using active voice, specific facts about your qualifications and the reasons you like the company or school, will demonstrate you are not sending cover letters in a scattershot way, but in a thoughtful, carefully considered manner. And this should help you bring your job search to a swifter and happier conclusion.

Download your free copy of the Quick Guide to Admissions Resume now!

Judy Gruen

By , MBA admissions consultant since 1996 and author (with Linda Abraham) of MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

 

Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application Essay or Personal Statement
Ten Do’s and Don’ts for Your Resume 
Sample Resumes and Cover Letter

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Time Is Running Out To Register For Important AMCAS Webinar! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/12/time-is-running-out-to-register-for-important-amcas-webinar/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/12/time-is-running-out-to-register-for-important-amcas-webinar/#respond Tue, 12 May 2015 16:20:59 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30460 You have just a few more days until we go live with our newest med school admissions webinar, Create a Winning AMCAS Application. Please remember to register or you will not be able to access important advice that will guide you through AMCAS application process. The AMCAS application can be confusing and difficult – the […]

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You have just a few more days until we go live with our newest med school admissions webinar, Create a Winning AMCAS Application.

AMCAS webinar Pic

Please remember to register or you will not be able to access important advice that will guide you through AMCAS application process. The AMCAS application can be confusing and difficult – the tips presented in this webinar are guaranteed to help you approach the application more effectively and efficiently.

The webinar will air on Wednesday, May 20th at 8:00 PM PST / 5:00 PM EST.

Register Now!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Penn Med Student Makes A Difference By Facing Differences http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/11/penn-med-student-makes-a-difference-by-facing-differences/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/11/penn-med-student-makes-a-difference-by-facing-differences/#respond Mon, 11 May 2015 18:03:36 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30690 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 Dorothy Charles… Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as […]

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Click here to read more med student blogger 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 Dorothy Charles…

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Can you share 3 fun facts about yourself with us?

Dorothy: I was born and raised on Guam, moved to Oregon just before starting high school, and then attended Princeton University, where I majored in molecular biology and minored in neuroscience. As for three fun facts: 1) I have one younger sister, and everyone swears we’re twins. That, or they assume she’s the older one. 2) I managed to avoid pumping my own gas for 7 years because I moved from one state that doesn’t let you pump your own gas to the only other state that has the same restriction. It’s actually a bit embarrassing. 3) My fingers are hypermobile/double-jointed, and it usually creeps people (anatomy TA’s included!) out when I show them.

Accepted:   Where are you in med school? What year?

Dorothy:  I’m a first year at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about Penn Med so far? Why was this the best program for you? And if you could change anything about the program, what would it be?

Dorothy: If I had to choose just one thing, it would be the people, both students and physicians. I’ve made pretty great friends here–people whose passion to use medicine to enact social change inspires me and reminds me why I’ve chosen this career path and who also help me keep perspective and stay balanced, relaxed, and happy when things get stressful. I’ve also found some amazing physician mentors who’ve been really instrumental in supporting me as I explore my interests in health policy and advocacy and are just generally the kind of people that make me go, “How do I become you??”

I think clicking with the people in the program and making sure the school had the right vibe for me was one of the key factors in my choosing to link here. Apart from that, I really love that Penn Med is part of the larger University of Pennsylvania system because it gives me the opportunity for a lot more interdisciplinary learning and collaboration. When I first started out here, I was really interested in the MD/Master’s programs, which would give me the opportunity to get another degree from one of the other schools. I’m don’t think that’s the path for me right now, but I do appreciate that I still have that option and that, at the very least, it’s really easy to take courses in other departments.

As for changing the program, I think what I would like to see most is to see a greater emphasis placed on teaching the concept of privilege in our social medicine course because many of the topics we talk about like race, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status require that framework to inform our discussions.

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

Dorothy:  I think that med school culture makes it difficult for us to admit we need help, whether that be academic, mental, emotional, or otherwise, and that’s a real problem. So if you find yourself falling behind on work or struggling with anxiety or depression or something like that, don’t be afraid to admit it and use the resources available at your school or in your community to get help.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your unique path to med school?

Dorothy: During my sophomore and junior years of college, I participated in a pretty small summer program at Penn that gave me an option to link to the med school at the completion of the program, given that I met certain requirements. I was very blessed to have that opportunity, and I’m glad I was able to get to know the school, as well as Philly, through that before applying.

Accepted: What is intersectional feminism? What role does it play in your life as an individual and as a future physician?

Dorothy: Intersectional feminism is the idea that people’s experiences and the privilege they have in society will differ on the basis of their identities other than gender, particularly their race but also their socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, disability status, etc. Having that lens to view society and medicine has made me approach questions of equity from multiple points of view. I’m not only thinking about how the women I meet have inherently different experiences than men but also how a poor woman’s experience differs from a rich woman’s, or a woman of color’s vs. a white woman’s, or a lesbian’s vs. straight woman’s, etc. And then on top of that, I’m thinking about multiple identities at once and how those identities do or do not provide access to certain resources such as education, employment, housing, and health care, or may lead to direct harms, as is the case with police brutality toward people of color. As an individual, intersectional feminism has taught me to look at people more holistically and think about how societal structures have created and perpetuate inequities for anyone who isn’t a rich, able-bodied, white, cis-gender, heterosexual man. As a future physician, intersectional feminism, I think, will help me think of the sorts of challenges my patients will face living in an inequitable system–challenges that will essentially be assaults on their health–and will hopefully also allow me to think of and advocate for broader solutions, such as policy changes, to address those problems.

Accepted: Can you talk about your involvement with White Coats for Black Lives and your passion for social justice in general?

Dorothy: I was involved with coordinating the National White Coat Die-Ins that happened this past December, along with amazing students from UCSF, Mount Sinai, and of course, Penn. Nowadays, I serve on the National Working Group for White Coats for Black Lives with 8 other med students from across the country and continue to work with my classmates at the Penn chapter.

I started learning about social justice about halfway through college, and that gave me the framework for thinking about a lot of societal problems, but I wasn’t sure how to fit that in with a career in medicine. My passion for social justice stems from my desire to help people–it’s the same thing that drew me into medicine in the first place. I think the difference, though, is that the former more strongly emphasizes systemic change to help those who have been marginalized by a society that prioritizes some groups over others, some lives over others. In medicine, we are often taught to help the individual, and I think we sometimes lose sight of the broader societal structures that cause illness. So to some degree, medicine has become a vehicle for social justice to me. I think medicine is a powerful way to create social change, and knowing that I can do both now has been really motivating for me.

Accepted:  Can you tell us about your blog/Twitter/About.me page? Who is your target audience? What have you gained from your involvement in these various social media outlets? (And we’ll add whatever links you want to share.)

Dorothy:  I only recently started a blog, so there’s not much content up at the moment. (I’m hoping to start posting more regularly soon. We just got out of our toughest organ block yet, so I’ll have more time to write!) I tend to have a lot of conversations with my classmates about social justice, so my blog is essentially my processing those conversations in written form, but really anyone interested in medicine, health care, social justice, and/or feminism might enjoy reading it. At the moment, I’m a bit more active on Twitter, where I tweet mostly about medical education (#meded) and racial justice since it’s most on my mind. I’ve been able to connect with quite a few med students through social media (especially when we were organizing the die-ins on Facebook) as well as follow a bunch of social justice-minded physicians. It’s actually been inspiring to know that I’m going into a field with a lot of people who are passionate about both medicine and justice, and I’m really excited that so many of the friends I’m making through social media are going to be leaders in medicine.

You can read Dorothy’s blog at https://intersectionsinmedicine.wordpress.com/ and follow her on Twitter @dn_charles.  Thank you Dorothy for sharing your story with us – we wish you the best of luck! 

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Related Resources:

Navigate the Med School Maze
Tips for Applying to Medical School As a Disadvantaged Applicant
Medical Minority Applicant Registry: Who, How & Why?

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How To Research Medical Schools http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/10/how-to-research-medical-schools/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/10/how-to-research-medical-schools/#respond Sun, 10 May 2015 16:16:21 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30645 Considering that there are 141 allopathic medical schools in the U.S., deciding which schools to apply to can feel overwhelming, especially since selecting the right schools can make or break your chances of acceptance.  To help you navigate these options, I recommend that you consider the following areas when narrowing down your school selection: Geography: […]

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Click here to download our free guide on how to navigate the med school maze.

Do your research! There are a lot of factors at stake. 

Considering that there are 141 allopathic medical schools in the U.S., deciding which schools to apply to can feel overwhelming, especially since selecting the right schools can make or break your chances of acceptance.  To help you navigate these options, I recommend that you consider the following areas when narrowing down your school selection:

Geography:  Realistically, people excel at the schools where they have the most support.  Begin exploring the schools closest to you and family. Furthermore many medical schools prefer to accept in-state residents so you will also have a stronger chance of getting in at a school near you. Finally, keep in mind that for many programs in-state tuition is significantly less than out-of-state tuition.

Interests:  If you have years of research or clinical experience within a particular field or specialization, consider the schools that have funding and special training opportunities in your area of interest.  Even better, you can network with your mentors to reach out to. principal investigators or professors of medicine at these schools to find out more about their work and how you could get involved as a medical student.

Your qualifications:  After reviewing your GPA and MCAT scores, focus on the schools where your numbers fit into their averages.  You can apply to a couple of dream schools, but if you apply only to top tier medical schools when you do not have competitive numbers, you may receive only rejections.

The goal is acceptance to medical school, not bragging rights or trophy schools. It’s better to receive an acceptance from a lower tier program than a drawer full of rejections from schools that were out of your reach to begin with.  It’s all about strategy.

Special Programs: There are early acceptance programs that some medical schools offer, which you may want to consider, if you have competitive grades and know early in your education that you want to pursue a medical education.  For less competitive applicants, medical schools also offer conditional acceptance programs for students who do not have a strong academic background but who demonstrate potential; through this type of program, if you earn a certain GPA by a specified date, you can gain full acceptance into their school.  Check out all of the programs offered by the medical schools you are interested in.  They are worthy of your consideration because they offer valuable support in multiple areas and serve as clear pathways into medicine, at different points in the process.

In conducting your research, rely on:

• Books, like mine, The Definitive Guide to Premedical Postbaccalaureate Programs and the AAMC’s Medical School Admissions Requirement (MSAR) Handbook

• Medical school websites

• Networking through pre-med clubs and health organizations

• Attending premed fairs

• Visiting medical schools campuses

• Participating in conferences, internships and/or shadowing affiliated with medical schools

The sooner you begin exploring the options, the more knowledgeable you will be about these schools.  As you learn more, you will develop definite opinions about what you do and don’t like.  Talk to medical students and find a mentor or counselor to help guide you through the process.  It’s a long complicated dance before you find the campus where you will thrive.  The more specific your criteria, the more likely you will be to identify the med school that is right for you.

Webinar: Create a Winning AMCAS Application!

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:

Navigate the Med School Maze
Boost your GPA for Med School Acceptance
7 Reasons Why Medical School Applicants Are Rejected

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Magoosh Guide To The TOEFL eBook http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/08/magoosh-guide-to-the-toefl-ebook/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/08/magoosh-guide-to-the-toefl-ebook/#respond Fri, 08 May 2015 16:21:15 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30184 Feeling overwhelmed by the TOEFL test? Don’t know where to start? Or have you taken the test 5 times before and just need a quick refresher before you take it for (hopefully!) the last time? Either way, it can be tough to find quality resources that provide everything you need to know for the test […]

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Click here for help on your TOEFLFeeling overwhelmed by the TOEFL test? Don’t know where to start? Or have you taken the test 5 times before and just need a quick refresher before you take it for (hopefully!) the last time?

Either way, it can be tough to find quality resources that provide everything you need to know for the test while also being easy to understand. But that’s where our friends at Magoosh TOEFL come in!

They’ve put together this new (and free!) TOEFL iBT eBook to help you prepare for and succeed on your TOEFL test! So no need to spend hours browsing the web for TOEFL practice questions, test strategies or problem explanations–you can find all these resources and lots more in the Magoosh TOEFL eBook.

Go ahead and get to studying–and of course, good luck on your test!

Click here to download your TOEFL iBT eBook!

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5 Ways To Start Your Med School Personal Statement http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/07/5-way-to-start-your-med-school-personal-statement/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/07/5-way-to-start-your-med-school-personal-statement/#respond Thu, 07 May 2015 15:55:06 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30631 Writing your personal statement can be daunting, and the hardest part is getting started. Here are five ways to start writing. 1. Remember your audience. Admissions officers spend generally five minutes or less on your personal statement and read about 40 to 50 essays a day. Your essay needs to grab their attention and stand […]

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Create a personal statement that grabs the adcom’s attention and keeps it until the end.

Writing your personal statement can be daunting, and the hardest part is getting started. Here are five ways to start writing.

1. Remember your audience. Admissions officers spend generally five minutes or less on your personal statement and read about 40 to 50 essays a day. Your essay needs to grab their attention and stand out immediately.

2. Show your ability to succeed. Admission officers are looking for people that will be successful med students and doctors. Show them right away that you are a good fit for the program and the profession.

3. Show your motivation. Most people applying to medical school want to go, but not all of them can articulate why. Explain to the admissions committee why you want to go to medical school, not just the fact that you want to go.

4. Focus on “soft skills.” Admissions officers are looking for empathy, compassion, sincerity, and people skills. These are not readily apparent from grades and scores, so emphasize those attributes in your essay.

5. Be truthful and personal. Admissions officers read so many essays that they can immediately detect when someone is being insincere or is writing from a template. You need the essay to reflect who you are. Really. Remember, everyone else is already taken.

If you follow these tips, you will be able to write a med school personal statement that shines. For more, be sure to check out my webinar The 5-Step Guide to Successful Medical School Personal Statements.

Webinar: Create a Winning AMCAS Application!

JessicaPishkoJessica Pishko graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She spent two years guiding students through the medical school application process at Columbia’s PostBacc Program and teaches writing at all levels.

Related Resources:

Ace The AMCAS Essay
5 Things to Avoid in Your Med School Personal Statement
Must-Read Books for Pre-Meds

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Overcoming The Odds: A Story Of Med School Inspiration http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/06/overcoming-the-odds-a-story-of-med-school-inspiration/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/06/overcoming-the-odds-a-story-of-med-school-inspiration/#respond Wed, 06 May 2015 17:54:35 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30621 Think a low MCAT score means medical school is out of the picture? Not for Student Dr. Diva. Listen to our conversation with the pink and glitter-loving tomboy with determination and resilience that is nothing short of awe-inspiring. If you are a pre-med, current student, graduate, or even none of the above, you won’t want […]

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Listen to our conversation with Student Dr. Diva!Think a low MCAT score means medical school is out of the picture? Not for Student Dr. Diva.

Listen to our conversation with the pink and glitter-loving tomboy with determination and resilience that is nothing short of awe-inspiring. If you are a pre-med, current student, graduate, or even none of the above, you won’t want to miss this interview.

00:01:57 – Everything happens for a reason: Dr. Diva’s introduction to osteopathic medicine.

00:04:53 – The Rural Health Initiative Program.

00:07:37 – Challenges faced by physicians in rural medicine.

00:09:00 – The secret of getting into med school with a 19 MCAT score!

00:10:30 – Overcoming a series of painful tragedies and obstacles to become a successful med student.

00:16:54 – The best thing about medical school.

00:19:19 – Finding time for life.

00:20:49 – What the future holds for Dr. Diva.

00:21:46 – What the diva doesn’t like about med school.

00:23:28 – Do what makes you happy! [Even if it isn’t medical research! Really.]

Click here to listen to the show!*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

Student Doctor Diva Blog
@studentdrdiva on Twitter
Ineedamarteney on Instagram
Interview with DO Student Dr. Diva: Do What Makes You Happy!

Related Shows:

Elliptical, Meet Med School: Interview with Andrea Tooley
Insights, Advice and Experiences of a Non-Traditional Med Student
An Inside Look at the Medical School Journey
Medical School Admissions 2015-2016: A Dean’s Perspective
Getting Into Medical School: Advice from a Pro
MCAT Scores, MCAT Prep, and #MCAT2015

 Webinar: Create a Winning AMCAS Application!

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Where Should I Apply To Med School? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/05/where-should-i-apply-to-med-school-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/05/where-should-i-apply-to-med-school-2/#respond Tue, 05 May 2015 16:06:47 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30529 Selecting medical schools that you will apply to can include some of the most important and strategic decisions you’ll have to make during the application process. These decisions will directly impact your chances of gaining an acceptance. Start by deciding realistically how many schools that you can reasonably afford to apply to—taking into consideration the […]

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Selecting medical schools that you will apply to can include some of the most important and strategic decisions you’ll have to make during the application process. These decisions will directly impact your chances of gaining an acceptance. Start by deciding realistically how many schools that you can reasonably afford to apply to—taking into consideration the following costs:

MCAT, if you haven’t already taken it

• Primary application, fee per school

• Secondary applications, price varies according to school

• Funds needed to travel to interviews (flights, taxi or bus services, hotels and meals)

It can cost thousands of dollars to cover one application cycle, not to mention your time and energy throughout this yearlong process. If you qualify, you may want to consider applying to the Fee Assistance Program (FAP) that is offered through the AAMC to assist students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds by offering a reduced price for the MCAT and waiving the application fees to 15 medical schools. Most of the schools will also waive the secondary application fee, if you apply with FAP. In the past, some medical schools also provided financial assistance to students for travel to their school, but this has become less common. It would require students to ask for this assistance, if they would otherwise be unable to attend the interview.

After determining the number of schools that you will apply to, give yourself some time to research schools. I recommend taking the following criteria into consideration:

1. Where would you like to practice medicine?

Some medical schools offer special programs to students who want to practice in specific regions or work with a particular patient population. If you can narrow your options using these two criteria, this winnowing process may help you locate programs that offer special training or specialties connected to these choices. If you don’t yet have a specific focus within medicine, being aware of your flexibility can help you choose programs with a broader spectrum of training. Also, having a personal connection to a location can help your application.

2. Where can you claim residency?

Using the MSAR, you can identify how many in-state and out-of-state residents any given medical school will accept. When selecting schools, it is important to take this calculation into consideration. Depending on the state where you are from, you may have a higher chance of gaining acceptance at a local medical school.

3. What are your areas of interest?

If you have lots of research experience and want to continue to conduct research during medical school, there are some medical schools with more opportunities in this area than others. On the other hand, if you have little to no research experience, there are also programs out there that do not consider research a requirement. Knowing which schools place importance on certain activities can help you decide, based on your personal background, where to apply. Often, reading the school’s website, talking to outreach officers, current students and your pre-health advisor can help you identify what is important to their program.

The advantages of talking with your pre-med advisor or consultant, like those of us at Accepted.com, include accessing our knowledge of the schools and years of experience in assisting students in gaining admission to programs across the country. Helping you select the schools that will match your interests and value your background and experience is our area of expertise. The more time that you spend now in selecting the right schools will improve your application strategy and help you achieve your professional goals.

Webinar: Create a Winning AMCAS Application!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:

Navigate the Med School Maze
Improve your MCAT Score for Med School Acceptance
US News Most Affordable Med Schools

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Save 10% on Med School Application Help! Limited Time Offer! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/04/save-10-on-med-school-application-help-limited-time-offer-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/04/save-10-on-med-school-application-help-limited-time-offer-2/#respond Mon, 04 May 2015 16:22:37 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30392 AMCAS releases its 2016 application this Tuesday, May 5th, which means…it’s time to get to work! We’d like to give you an incentive to get cracking on those apps here and now, by offering you 10% off on all med school admissions services! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to get top-of-the-line editing and consulting […]

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AMCAS releases its 2016 application this Tuesday, May 5th, which means…it’s time to get to work! We’d like to give you an incentive to get cracking on those apps here and now, by offering you 10% off on all med school admissions services!

Sale-Med-School-Admissions-Consulting-EditingDon’t miss out on this opportunity to get top-of-the-line editing and consulting at a discounted rate!

Now who’s ready to tackle those applications?! Let’s do it!

View catalog of med school services!*Coupon may not be combined with other offers and may not be used on rush services.

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Meet An Underrepresented, Highly Motivated MD/MPH Student http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/04/meet-an-underrepresented-highly-motivated-mdmph-student/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/04/meet-an-underrepresented-highly-motivated-mdmph-student/#respond Mon, 04 May 2015 15:50:58 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30493 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 Alexa Mieses… Accepted:  We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as […]

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Click here for more Med student blogger 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 Alexa Mieses…

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 non-school book?

Alexa: I was born and raised in Queens, New York. I attended public school throughout life including the prestigious Bronx High School of Science. I graduated from the City College of New York, magna cum laude, with a B.S. in Biology, minor study in Psychology. Apart from my hard core science courses, I also took a lot classes in English Language Arts, and studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. When I am not studying, I enjoy reading non-fiction books. But my favorite author is Brett Easton Ellis. He writes wonderfully complex and provocative fiction that makes you question reality and the human condition.

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

Alexa: I am in the joint MD/MPH program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. I am currently a third-year student and will graduate in 2016.

Accepted:  What is your favorite thing about Icahn School of Medicine so far?

Alexa: I have really enjoyed the flexibility of the curriculum. As a pre-clinical student in years one and two, I was able to skip lecture and either study on my own or watch the lectures online. This allowed me to attend my MPH classes in the evening without being exhausted, and participate in extracurricular activities, like mentoring, which are very meaningful to me. I think the school emphasizes adult learning and allows each student to learn how he or she learns best (which may not include hours of lecture each day).

Accepted: Can you tell us a bit about your interest in Public Health, and how you plan to integrate that into your work as a physician?

Alexa: As a child, I witnessed health disparities in my neighborhood, which drew me to medicine in the first place. It wasn’t until undergraduate school when I became a member and then President of the Minority Association of Premedical Students that I actually learned the term “health disparities.” I became determined to make a difference in society and saw medicine as my tool to do so. Also in college, I completed a public policy internship with Gay Men’s Health Crisis, an HIV/AIDS advocacy organization, and I discovered the impact an MPH could have on my education and career.

I plan to become a family medicine physician and will incorporate public health research and leadership roles in advocacy to influence health beyond the confines of an exam room. I will continue to work with underserved populations similar to my own in an effort to ameliorate health disparities.

Accepted: You’ve blogged about diversity in the medical field (or the lack thereof). Do you have specific advice for underrepresented students?

Alexa: Be yourself, not what you think people want you to be. You don’t need to prove yourself to others but you must work hard in order to learn to be the best physician you can be for your patients. We need underrepresented minorities in all fields of medicine so don’t be afraid to follow your passion, even if it is not primary care. Seek out mentorship and get to know your colleagues in order to develop a professional network.

Accepted: You’ve written a book for aspiring med students about the application process. What inspired you to undertake that project?

Alexa: I have worked with an organization called Mentoring in Medicine for over seven years. MIM serves underrepresented minority students interested in the health professions. I started as a program participant but then became a mentor to younger students. I spend a lot of my free time mentoring underrepresented minority students in an effort to eliminate the racial disparity that exists in medical education. Back in 2013, MIM happened to host a “write your book in 30 days” challenge, and I decided to participate in order to mentor students on a larger scale. I wrote and published a medical school admissions guide in just thirty days and through the book, have been able to provide mentorship on a national scale.

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 when you were starting out?

Alexa: First year is all about adjusting to medical school and figuring out how to be successful. That is not to say the information you learn in first year is not important, but I promise that you will see the important stuff over and over again throughout medical school. Focus on learning how to be successful during the first year so that you can hit the ground running in second and third year, when you are actually providing care to patients. I wish someone told me that before because I think I spent too much time feeling anxious about whether or not I was mastering the material presented to me rather than learning to actually master it. Eventually everything came together just fine but I wish someone would have given me that advice sooner!

Accepted: What are your top 3 tips for med school applicants?

Alexa:

1. Spend a lot of time on your personal statement–it really matters! Also, proofread your entire application over and over… then proofread it again.

2. Stay organized in order to keep track of primary and secondary application deadlines, fees, interview dates and acceptances (or rejections) from each school to which you apply.

3. Be yourself during the interview and don’t be afraid to talk about your accomplishments.

You can read Alexa’s blog at http://alexamieses.com. Thank you Alexa for sharing your story with us – we wish you best of luck.

Webinar: Create a Winning AMCAS Application!Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

Ace the AMCAS Essay
• Medical School Admissions 2015-2016: A Dean’s Perspective
• The Experiences Section: How to Choose

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New AMCAS Workshop for Med School Applicants – Register Now! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/03/new-amcas-workshop-for-med-school-applicants-register-now-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/03/new-amcas-workshop-for-med-school-applicants-register-now-2/#respond Sun, 03 May 2015 21:21:24 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30447 Are you struggling to make your way through the various elements of the AMCAS application? Are you having trouble writing your personal statement and all the other short (but still important!) essays? Not sure how you’ll get it all done by the buzzer? Tune in to next week’s presentation, Create a Winning AMCAS Application, to […]

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Are you struggling to make your way through the various elements of the AMCAS application?

Are you having trouble writing your personal statement and all the other short (but still important!) essays?

Not sure how you’ll get it all done by the buzzer?

Register for the webinar now!

Tune in to next week’s presentation, Create a Winning AMCAS Application, to hear professional advice that will pave the way for a less-stress, no-mess AMCAS application season and increase your chances of getting in.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 5:00 PM PST / 8:00 PM EST.

Register Now!

See you next week!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Your Online Presence And Medical School Admissions http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/03/your-online-presence-and-medical-school-admissions/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/03/your-online-presence-and-medical-school-admissions/#respond Sun, 03 May 2015 16:13:37 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30427 Can your online presence affect the way an adcom will see you? According to many admissions professionals, the answer is yes. The AAMC factsheet on social media cites Scott M. Rodgers, M.D., associate dean for medical student affairs at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, who says that “Every student should assume that admissions committees DO look […]

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Ace the Amcas! Download your free guide now

Make sure that little birdie doesn’t hurt your chances.

Can your online presence affect the way an adcom will see you?

According to many admissions professionals, the answer is yes. The AAMC factsheet on social media cites Scott M. Rodgers, M.D., associate dean for medical student affairs at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, who says that “Every student should assume that admissions committees DO look up applicants online and sometimes come across information about people that can either hurt or help a candidate.”

How to make sure that your online presence doesn’t hurt your chances?

• Do web searches to see what is out there under your name. Some might be positive, some might be troubling, and some might not even be about you (but relate to someone with the same or a similar name)

• Be careful of your privacy settings on social networks. Approve tags from friends (so that a regrettable photo doesn’t end up public on someone else’s wall)

• Keep your own activity clean.

AAMC provides some other straightforward, good advice: always log out of public/shared computers, and keep your passwords private.

Webinar: Create a Winning AMCAS Application!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Med School Essays
• 5 Ways to Create, Clean Up, & Optimize Your Online Presence before Submitting Your Apps
Navigate the Med School Maze

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Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad MCAT? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/01/whos-afraid-of-the-big-bad-mcat/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/01/whos-afraid-of-the-big-bad-mcat/#respond Fri, 01 May 2015 16:35:38 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=28480 Well YOU certainly won’t be once you’ve viewed our recent webinar, The Results Are In: Analyzing Your MCAT Diagnostic Exam. You’ll significantly sharpen your competitive edge once you’ve heard what our Next Step Test Prep guest, Bryan Schnedeker, has to say about understanding, prepping, and acing the MCAT. Learn how to conquer your MCAT fears […]

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Click here to register for the webinar!Well YOU certainly won’t be once you’ve viewed our recent webinar, The Results Are In: Analyzing Your MCAT Diagnostic Exam. You’ll significantly sharpen your competitive edge once you’ve heard what our Next Step Test Prep guest, Bryan Schnedeker, has to say about understanding, prepping, and acing the MCAT.

Learn how to conquer your MCAT fears by viewing the recording of The Results Are In: Analyzing Your MCAT Diagnostic Exam now!

Watch the webinar

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Jon Medved And OurCrowd: The Remarkable Story Of An Entrepreneur http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/29/jon-medved-and-ourcrowd-the-remarkable-story-of-an-entrepreneur/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/29/jon-medved-and-ourcrowd-the-remarkable-story-of-an-entrepreneur/#respond Wed, 29 Apr 2015 17:57:22 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30381 Time flies. The Admissions Straight Talk podcast has hit the 100-episode mark! And in honor of our big milestone we invited a  most exciting guest yet. Want to know what one of the most prominent entrepreneurs of our times has to say about leadership, graduate education, and bodysurfing? For all this and more, listen to […]

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Listen to our conversation with Jon Medved!Time flies. The Admissions Straight Talk podcast has hit the 100-episode mark! And in honor of our big milestone we invited a  most exciting guest yet.

Want to know what one of the most prominent entrepreneurs of our times has to say about leadership, graduate education, and bodysurfing?

For all this and more, listen to the recording of our interview with Jon Medved – CEO and founder of Our Crowd, venture capitalist, and serial entrepreneur.

00:03:43 – Jon’s solution to having too many shoeboxes: The world’s largest equity crowdfunding platform.

00:08:14 – What really matters to a VC when choosing a company to invest in.

00:10:17 – How a history major made it to the top of the business world with no formal business education.

00:14:09 – Qualities that young professionals need to cultivate. (Is luck quality?)

00:21:08 – Graduate education vs. common sense.

00:22:33 – Exciting new partnership between Wharton’s Social Impact Initiative and OurCrowd.

00:24:02 – A preview of the future of business and the world.

00:27:11 – Why Jon loves his job. (Who helps more people, Jon or Linda? Linda says “Jon.”)

00:28:28 – Entrepreneurs: Here is the best piece of advice you are going to get!

Want to leave us a Happy 100th message? We’d love to hear from you!

Click here to listen to the show!*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com

Related Links:

Our Crowd
OurCrowd Partners with Wharton Students to Launch Impact Investing Platform
• Wharton Essay Tips
Jon Medved, OurCrowd CEO, Interviewed (Video)

Relevant shows:

The Stanford MSx Program for Experienced Leaders
Which Schools are Good for PE/VC and VC-Backed Entrepreneurship
• Entrepreneurship at UCLA Anderson
Jeff Reid on Entrepreneurship
• Business, Law and Beyond: An Interview with John Engelman

MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips - Download your free copy!

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Must-Read Books for Pre-Meds http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/29/must-read-books-for-pre-meds/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/29/must-read-books-for-pre-meds/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 17:25:46 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30348 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 […]

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Read more about Joshua's med school journey.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!

I’m in my second year of medical school now, about to take my boards in June, and start in the clinics in July. Needless to say, I’ve survived thus far! In the process leading up to applying to medical school, and also while I’ve been in it the past 2 years, I’ve read a lot of medically-related books for personal and professional development. I’ve come up with a list of must-reads because they’ll not only expose you to more aspects of medicine, but many will help reaffirm your motivations for medicine. They’ll also help you be introspective to figure out if becoming a physician really is for you, and in the process, will help write your essays and application with depth and character.

1. Hot Lights, Cold Steel: Life, Death and Sleepless Nights in a Surgeon’s First Years is my absolute number one read. Dr. Michael Collins grew up in a big Catholic family in Chicago, played hockey at Notre Dame, then broke concrete and worked with his back for a few years before he found medicine was his calling. An honest, raw, and real look into residency training, Collins does an amazing job writing with passion and humanity about what it’s like to be an Orthopedic Surgery resident at one of the best institutions in the world, The Mayo Clinic.

2. Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab by Dr. Christine Montross is an incredibly insightful read on the humanities learned from spending a semester with “Eve.” As a former English and poetry professor, Montross has a gift of placing you in her grimy gloves as she discovers more about Eve, but even more about herself in the process. This book did a great job preparing me mentally for maneuvering the complex emotions that come with intimately learning your donor and first patient.

3. Atul Gawande is one of my favorite authors, and has penned some amazing reads that span from what goes wrong in the operating room with Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science to how our healthcare system got to its current state and some potential solutions for success as practicing medicine in the future with Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance. Also, look at how he improved outcomes in surgical practice in The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, and more recently, his in-depth thoughts on death and dying with Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. Dr. Gawande has always brought fresh perspective on how I view myself and my role in the future of medicine.

4. Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder has definitely been an influence on my desire to serve those with less than myself. Dr. Farmer is an interesting character who splits his time between teaching at Harvard, and working to build and maintain a healthcare system in Haiti and many other third world countries. Kidder follows Farmer and spends an inordinate amount of time traipsing the globe together, documenting what it means to be selfless in all one does, and shows unabashedly how one physician can impact the lives of thousands upon thousands. Kidder also wrote an incredibly compelling book, Strength in What Remains, where he tells the story of Deo, a medical student forced to flee his own country during the civil war between the Hutus and Tutsis in Burundi, eventually finding himself impoverished in America. Both are must-read biographies that will help you define if and why medicine is right for you.

5. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Dr. Siddharth Mukherjee is exactly what it sounds like – a documented history of where cancer began, how treatment was discovered, and the leaps and bounds we’ve made in the past century. This book was such a fascinating read, because it helped paint the melded picture of medicine that is truly an amalgam of healing, teaching, politics, science, and pure chance that sometimes, we simply cannot control.

Some other notable reads I would strongly recommend:

Genius on the Edge by Dr. Gerald Imber shows the foundation of surgery and residency training as we know it, yet was created by a man who was profoundly addicted to morphine, cocaine, and an insatiable drive for perfection. Really cool history read.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is a cool dichotomy between the impoverished family of the former Henrietta Lacks and the profound empire that her immortal cervical cancer cells, HeLa cells, have created. Bound to stir ethical debate and discussion, you’ll learn more about your own beliefs you didn’t know you had in the process.

The DOs: Osteopathic Medicine in America by Norman Gevitz is a really cool read if you’re potentially interested in pursuing Osteopathic instead of Allopathic Medicine. It documents how Osteopathic Medicine began in the Civil War from a field surgeon, and how this facet of medicine has evolved over the years into a prominent philosophy.

If you’re getting ready to apply this year, reading will help immensely with both the introspection needed to write a successful application, but also shift your mind away from all the sciences and towards proper sentence structure – something I’m sure you haven’t thought about in a long time! Even if you’re not applying this year, these books will show you that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel! Keep working hard, and as always, feel free to reach out with any questions.  Good luck!

Joshua A. Wienczkowski
MD Candidate 2017

Download your free special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Parents of Pre-Med Students: How To Help
• Medical School Application Strategy: MD vs. DO Programs
• Advice From A Med School Admissions Director [Podcast]

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Record Year For Residency Match http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/28/record-year-for-residency-match/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/28/record-year-for-residency-match/#respond Tue, 28 Apr 2015 16:32:46 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30330 This year’s Residency Match was once again the largest ever, according to NRMP data. Here are the highlights: • In the 2015 Match, 41,334 total registrants competed for 30,212 spots. Both the number of applicants and the number of available residencies were up this year, to new all-time highs. • US allopathic seniors achieved a match […]

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What should you do if you didn't match? This year’s Residency Match was once again the largest ever, according to NRMP data.

Here are the highlights:

• In the 2015 Match, 41,334 total registrants competed for 30,212 spots. Both the number of applicants and the number of available residencies were up this year, to new all-time highs.

• US allopathic seniors achieved a match rate of 93.9%, and 51% matched at their top choice program.

• 18,025 US allopathic seniors applied, an all-time high.

• US osteopathic students and graduates applied at a higher rate this year– 2,949 applicants, an increase of more than 200 over last year. They achieved their highest match rate ever, 79.3%.

• Match rates were virtually unchanged for IMGs, while the rate fell slightly for previous graduates of US allopathic schools.

• An all-time high of 1,035 couples participated in the Match, 110 more than last year, with a 94.8 percent match rate.

• Half of the 600-plus new first-year positions were in the primary care specialties of Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics.

For more information, see the NRMP Press Release.

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Related Resources:

What if I Didn’t Match?
A Residency Admissions Tip for Third-Year Medical Students
Elliptical, Meet Med School: Interview with Andrea Tooley

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Writer, Designer, And MS1 At The Icahn School Of Medicine http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/27/writer-designer-and-ms1-at-the-icahn-school-of-medicine/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/27/writer-designer-and-ms1-at-the-icahn-school-of-medicine/#respond Mon, 27 Apr 2015 15:22:37 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30187 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 Amy Yao… Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as […]

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Click here to read more Medical School Student InterviewsThis 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 Amy Yao…

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Can you share 3 fun facts about yourself?

Amy: I grew up in California and upstate New York, and was a biology major at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. Three fun facts about me: (1) I backpacked alone through Europe for six weeks the summer before med school, (2) I ran my first half marathon (the NYC Half) last weekend, and (3) I can eat two Chipotle burritos in one sitting.

Accepted: Where are you in med school? What year?

Amy: I’m currently an MS1 at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in NYC.

Accepted: What is your favorite thing about Icahn School of Med so far? If you could change one thing about the program, what would it be?

Amy: The word most used to describe Sinai students is happy – and honestly, I’ve never been happier in my life. Sinai has an incredible community feeling to it that makes everyone feel immediately at home. The school has a very progressive approach to medical education, and we’re able to tailor our learning any way we like. Our first two years are all pass/fail, all lectures are recorded, and Sinai’s location is absolutely unmatched – we sit on the border of the Upper East Side and East Harlem, home to two of the most distinct patient populations in New York City.

It’s hard to think of anything I’d like to change! Structures (what we call Anatomy) is the first class we take, and it’s this wonderful, crazy nine-week whirlwind of the whole class trying to drink from the same fire hose. If I could, I’d add an extra few days of Anatomy lab to the end of first year, just to see how far we’ve come since our first day with a scalpel.

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

Amy: I wish someone had told me this when I started: it’s best to take all advice (even this!) with a large grain of salt. Everyone is going to offer you tips on studying, work-life balance, how early you should start prepping for Step 1, which interest groups to join, etc. Give yourself time to take it all in, try out different learning styles, and discover what motivates and helps you. Even within the same institution, everyone has a different experience with med school. Take advantage of the freedom of first year and learn more about yourself.

Accepted: Can you tell us about all of your writing and graphic design experience?

Amy: I write for the Huffington Post and the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) Aspiring Docs feature, and was the resident interior design blogger for College Fashion during undergrad. I’m still a little amazed that people read my work – mostly I treat it as productive procrastination. I’ve also contributed to a few creative nonfiction journals and was Editor-in-Chief of my college newspaper.

Design-wise, I started a small business in late high school called Amy Yao Design that I’ve managed to keep up through college and med school so far, designing for academic institutions and nonprofit organizations. My main focus is publication design, and it’s my favorite way to de-stress – making something beautiful is the best way to begin or end a day.

Accepted: With all of that talent and experience, why did you decide to pursue a career in medicine rather than in writing or design?

Amy: Writing and design are both tough and creative jobs, but a career in either of them translates into spending a lot of time alone. I chose medicine because I love the daily challenge and the focus on people – on really being able to leave a lasting impact on someone and to learn every day from them.

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

Amy: I decided to graduate a year early from college, so I took the MCAT and submitted my application the summer after my second year while I was on campus working on my senior thesis. Condensing everything into a few months was difficult, but the hardest part was realizing how much more there was to do. Researching each school and writing what seemed like endless secondaries (while working in the lab all day!) was way more work than I had anticipated, and I initially didn’t budget my time well.

Eventually I buckled down and outlined each week with a list of realistic goals, which solved the logistical mess, helped with writer’s block, and even gave me time to take impromptu road trips with friends.

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

Amy: Recruit as many trusted friends as you can to proofread your application. If you think a part of your personal statement sounds pretentious or silly, it probably is. Avoid getting sucked into paranoid SDN threads. Eat your vegetables. It’s a long road, but it’s a wonderful one – be fully present for every moment of it.

You can read Amy’s writing at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amy-yao/ and check out her projects at http://amyyaodesign.com/. Thank you Amy for sharing your story with us—we wish you the best of luck!
Download your free special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

Ace the AMCAS
• Medical School Admissions 2015-2016: A Dean’s Perspective
Interview with DO Student Dr. Diva: Do What Makes You Happy!

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Essential AMCAS Personal Statement Tips [This Tuesday!] http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/26/essential-amcas-personal-statement-tips/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/26/essential-amcas-personal-statement-tips/#respond Sun, 26 Apr 2015 16:15:06 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29878 Seeking expert tips on how to write a clear and compelling AMCAS personal statement? Don’t miss Tuesday’s webinar, The 5-Step Guide to Successful Medical School Personal Statements, during which you’ll learn the essential steps you absolutely need to take to make sure that your personal statement is interesting and well-written and that it concisely explains […]

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Seeking expert tips on how to write a clear and compelling AMCAS personal statement?

Don’t miss Tuesday’s webinar, The 5-Step Guide to Successful Medical School Personal Statements, during which you’ll learn the essential steps you absolutely need to take to make sure that your personal statement is interesting and well-written and that it concisely explains to the adcom why you’re a perfect match for their program.

Register for the webinar!This event is going to be way too good to miss.

Mark your calendar: The webinar will air live on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 5:00 PM PST/8:00 PM EST.

We’ll also have time for a Q&A at the end.

Reserve Your Spot!Register for The 5-Step Guide to Successful Medical School Personal Statements now to make sure you get a spot!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Experiences That Count For Medical School Reapplicants http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/23/experiences-that-count-for-medical-school-reapplicants-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/23/experiences-that-count-for-medical-school-reapplicants-2/#respond Thu, 23 Apr 2015 15:32:59 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30257 In the final section of our Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success series, we’ll discuss how reapplicants should improve, and then present, their experiences. One last factor that can seriously hurt your chances is a lack of substantive, ongoing experiences. Medical schools want students who are passionate and committed – to the world around them […]

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Click here for our med school admissions 101 page

Do your experiences speak to your commitment to medicine?

In the final section of our Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success series, we’ll discuss how reapplicants should improve, and then present, their experiences.

One last factor that can seriously hurt your chances is a lack of substantive, ongoing experiences.

Medical schools want students who are passionate and committed – to the world around them as well as to medicine. The AAMC says,

“Most volunteer experiences are valuable and will provide you with well-rounded experiences. Just make sure you have at least one solid health care-related experience, in addition to your non-medical volunteer work, so that your experiences speak to your commitment to medicine.”

It’s hard to convince an admissions committee that you want to pursue a medical career if you haven’t spent time in a clinical environment. Shadowing can give you a peek into that world, and it is a wonderful way to learn about the different specialties. But to demonstrate the kind of ongoing, substantive involvement that will make an impact, you’ll need to go further.

If you’ve identified your clinical exposure as a problem area, the American Medical Student Association’s Pre-medical Access to Clinical Experience (PACE) guide is a valuable starting point.

• Volunteer at your local hospital or free clinic. Some positions won’t offer much patient contact, but some involve providing patients with pre-exam instructions, entertaining sick children, and escorting patients to various areas. Areas like Surgical Recovery Units and Emergency Departments often allow chances for patient interaction. See what’s on offer.

• Work as a Certified Nursing Assistant with a nursing home or home care program. Training takes 6-12 weeks, after which you can help in patient support roles.

• Train and work as an Emergency Medical Technician on campus or in your community.

• Join the staff at a summer camp for children with disabilities or chronic illness. Listings like Summer Camp Staff can put you in touch.

• Intern or volunteer with your county health department. Many opportunities will put you in touch with physicians and public health experts, as well as affected populations.

• See if your hospital offers a Hospital Elder Life Program. They’re often seeking volunteers to work with their elderly patients, as are hospices and nursing homes.

• Find overseas opportunities. Programs like Gap Medics can help organize placements. Before seeking an overseas position, however, take a look at the AAMC’s guidelines.

Gaining substantive, ongoing clinical experience can be challenging, since anything significant requires a medical license. And like improving your GPA, this isn’t something that you can fix quickly. Hopefully any volunteer activities begun before your last application are ongoing – in that case, you’re in good shape to reapply with a stronger application. But it’s important not to rush this step – reapplying before you’ve had time to develop solid experiences in this area could lead you right back to the start.

As you prepare for your reapplication, try to stay optimistic. What you’ve been through hasn’t been easy, but it should have been a learning experience. Now wiser and more qualified, you stand a much better chance at getting into medical school.

Thanks for joining us on our adventure through the med school reapplication process. Please be in touch if you have any questions — we’re here to help YOU get Accepted!

Download your free copy of 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Med School Application Essays!

Cydney Foote By , Accepted consultant and author of Write Your Way to Medical School, who has helped future physicians craft winning applications since 2001.

Related Resources:

A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes
Moving Forward After Medical School Rejection
5 Tips for Aspiring Pre-Med Researchers

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An Interview With Our Own: Dr. Rebecca Blustein http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/21/an-interview-with-our-own-dr-rebecca-blustein/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/21/an-interview-with-our-own-dr-rebecca-blustein/#respond Tue, 21 Apr 2015 17:55:40 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29919 Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. First up is…Dr. Rebecca Blustein. Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you […]

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 Learn more about Rebecca Blustein and how she can help you get accepted!

Rebecca and Alex Trebek. Rebecca was a contestant on Jeopardy in March 2012. She came in second place!

Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. First up is…Dr. Rebecca Blustein.

Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you hold any graduate degrees?

Rebecca: I earned my BA at UCLA (with a double major in English and Comparative Literature). After that, I went to Ireland for my MA in Old and Middle Irish. Then I returned to UCLA for my PhD in Comparative Lit. I’m a California native – I grew up in Oakland and now live in Los Angeles with my husband and two cats.

Accepted: What’s your favorite non-school/non-work book?

Rebecca: Hmm…that’s tough – there are too many to choose! I read almost constantly. (My Kindle is my insomnia buddy!) For light reading, I like mystery novels. To cheer me up if I’m having a bad day, PG Wodehouse is unbeatable. (I have a shelf full of his books.) And every once in a while I come across a book I think is so good I flip right back to the beginning and read it again as soon as I finish it. (Most recently: Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies.)

Accepted: How have your travels around the world influenced you as a writer?

Rebecca: In addition to living in Ireland for a year, I spent a summer in Russia and a month in Israel, and backpacked around Europe. I think that studying languages made me a better writer, and traveling made me a sharper observer.

Accepted: Can you talk about the road that led you to becoming an admissions consultant for Accepted? What jobs and experiences led you to this point?

Rebecca: During grad school, I took a job working as a counselor at the scholarship office on campus. That work – leading workshops, coaching students on their personal statements, helping them find funding for school, etc. – made me realize I really love working one-on-one with students to help them improve their writing and achieve their goals.

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about consulting?

Rebecca: I enjoy working with people who are really excited about their plans for grad school – and it makes me happy to be able to help them through the process.

Accepted: How did funding applications become one of your specialties?

Rebecca: I worked at UCLA’s Scholarship Resource Center for four years before joining Accepted. I also successfully applied for various types of funding myself – so I know, first of all, what goes into the process, and second of all, what a big difference scholarships can make. With tuition rates what they are – across all disciplines and at all levels of study – scholarships are a great way of lowering loan debts and increasing access.

Accepted: What sorts of applicants do you mostly work with?

Rebecca: Master’s and PhD, across all fields. I also often work with medical and dental school applicants.

Accepted: What are your top 3 admissions tips?

Rebecca: Research your options. Plan ahead. And stay organized.

Learn more about Rebecca and how she can help you get accepted!

Download our free guide: GET YOUR GAME ON: Preparing for Your Grad School ApplicationAccepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

Graduate School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services
Med School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services
Plotting Your Way to a PhD: 6 Topics in PhD Admissions, a free admissions guide by Dr. Rebecca Blustein

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5 Things to Avoid in Your Med School Personal Statement http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/20/5-things-to-avoid-in-your-med-school-personal-statement/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/20/5-things-to-avoid-in-your-med-school-personal-statement/#respond Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:52:15 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29863 1. Don’t write a resume in prose. Medical schools don’t want to see a list of every accomplishment or award. They want specific details and stories that give them an idea of who you are and what kind of physician you will be. 2. Don’t use clichéd language. The admissions committee reads so many personal […]

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Be sure to click here and register for the webinar!

Make sure your personal statement is polished and flawless.

1. Don’t write a resume in prose. Medical schools don’t want to see a list of every accomplishment or award. They want specific details and stories that give them an idea of who you are and what kind of physician you will be.

2. Don’t use clichéd language. The admissions committee reads so many personal statements that cliché language will mark you as someone who didn’t put enough original thought into your personal statement.

3. Don’t talk too much about other people. It can be tempting to talk about mentors or other doctors, but the personal statement needs to focus on you.

4. Don’t make excuses. If you have low grades, don’t over-explain or make too many excuses for your performance. Just admit your mistake and point to other evidence that you know how to perform academically.

5. Don’t be sloppy. Grammar and spelling errors are the sign of someone who doesn’t take the process seriously. Don’t give the admissions committee a reason to put your essay in the “no” pile because you didn’t take the time to proofread.

If you avoid these common mistakes, you will be able to write a med school personal statement that shines.

Webinar: Create a Winning AMCAS Application!

JessicaPishkoJessica Pishko graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She spent two years guiding students through the medical school application process at Columbia’s PostBacc Program and teaches writing at all levels. 

Related Resources:

Ace the AMCAS Essay
7 Reasons Why Medical School Applicants Are Rejected
An Inside Look at The Medical School Journey

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Improve Your MCAT Score for Medical School Acceptance http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/16/improve-your-mcat-score-for-medical-school-acceptance-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/16/improve-your-mcat-score-for-medical-school-acceptance-2/#respond Thu, 16 Apr 2015 15:39:54 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29630 In the next section of our Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success, we’ll move from increasing your GPA to improving your MCAT score. Fortunately, it’s easier to tackle a poor MCAT score than a poor GPA. While you should not retake the exam too many times (don’t bother retaking if you’ve scored above a 32), a better-prepared […]

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Read more reapplying to medical tips

There is no magic formula for MCAT success.

In the next section of our Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success, we’ll move from increasing your GPA to improving your MCAT score.

Fortunately, it’s easier to tackle a poor MCAT score than a poor GPA. While you should not retake the exam too many times (don’t bother retaking if you’ve scored above a 32), a better-prepared second or possibly third attempt has always been a sound strategy. While it still is, as yet there is little known about the 2015 MCAT and there is a risk that your score could decrease. As more resources become available, the following information will be more helpful.

Many people find that studying independently or with a group of friends works well. Reviewing your old class notes and introductory tests provides the most solid basis for your test preparation. Scrutinizing old tests remains one of the best ways to identify the areas where you’re weak. And, as Baylor College of Medicine recommends, practice the test questions “until they come out of your ears.”

There are numerous resources available for self-study. The AAMC should be both your first and last stop. Focusing on their practice tests, both at the start of your study and again in the weeks leading up to the exam, can put you in the right frame of mind. Alongside the AAMC guides, the Princeton Review comes highly recommended for studying the physical section, while Examkrackers tops the list for both the verbal reasoning and biological sections. For some people, professional test prep services can give their MCAT preparation a jump start. Taking an MCAT prep class doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a good score – you get out of them what you put in – but they can help by providing structure and keeping test-takers focused and on track. They can also really force you to tackle head-on those areas you’d rather avoid.

Whichever method you prefer, your goals in preparing for the MCAT should be to:

1. Understand why you got each wrong answer. If you understand the material, you may be having issues with the format of the question, and this is something you need to straighten out before test day.

2. Be able to choose right answers even when you don’t know the material. It’s unlikely that you can answer every question, but a keen test taker can read clues in the question that help narrow down the possible answers.

3. Finish every question in your timed practice tests with at least five minutes to spare.

And it’s a good idea not only to focus on what you’re studying but how you’re studying. Your university most likely has a wealth of information on study habits, like these helpful handouts from Princeton University, while sites like Lifehacker collect information about topics such as managing stress and establishing routines. Better time management and more effective study habits will help you not just on this exam but in your later studies.

If you identified test anxiety as one of your obstacles, then you have to address this before tackling the MCAT a second (or third) time. Exercise, breathing techniques and yoga can help alleviate stress for some people; other test-takers might benefit from addressing learning disorders and engaging in psychotherapy, as the Mayo Clinic suggests. College counseling centers, like the University of Washington’s, even offer biofeedback training as an option to combat test anxiety. And putting the books away and relaxing the day before seems to be a pretty standard ingredient for success. But only you can know what works best for you.

So how will you know when you’re ready to retake the MCAT? Again, this is a question that only you can answer, based on your performance in practice tests and your confidence levels. But try to sign up for an early exam so you can get your application to AMCAS in June. By counting backwards from your test date, you’ll be able to determine how much time you have to study, and what arrangements you’ll need to make to be as prepared as you possibly can be. (Some people consider studying for the MCAT a full-time job. This is great if it helps you get in the mindset of intense study, but try to maintain a good work-life balance or you’ll be miserable. If you manage your time well, you’ll also be able to eat healthy meals, exercise, pursue some semblance of a social life, and even sleep!)

In the end, there is no magic formula that guarantees MCAT success. Nonetheless, knowing yourself, including your study habits and needs, will go a long way toward building your confidence.

Next we’ll look at ways your experiences section can be strengthened. If you’d like to know more about formulating a study schedule and sticking to it, our Accepted.com editors would be happy to help

Download Medical School Reapplicant Tips for Succcess

Cydney Foote By , Accepted consultant and author of Write Your Way to Medical School, who has helped future physicians craft winning applications since 2001.

Related Resources:

How to Get Into Medical School with Low Stats
• Advice from A Med School Admissions Director
Presenting yourself to Medical Schools: Your Primary Application

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Exploring Yale’s Top-Rated Physician Assistant Program http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/15/yales-pa-program-and-its-new-online-option/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/15/yales-pa-program-and-its-new-online-option/#respond Wed, 15 Apr 2015 19:15:29 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30090 One of the fastest growing fields in the country is that of physician assistants. The need for PAs is growing by a torrid 38%. Check out the recording of our interview with Jim van Rhee, Director of Yale University’s Physician Assistant Program, to learn about Yale’s PA program. 00:01:10 – Introducing Jim van Rhee. 00:02:41 […]

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Click here to listen to the recording.One of the fastest growing fields in the country is that of physician assistants. The need for PAs is growing by a torrid 38%.

Check out the recording of our interview with Jim van Rhee, Director of Yale University’s Physician Assistant Program, to learn about Yale’s PA program.

00:01:10 – Introducing Jim van Rhee.

00:02:41 – The million dollar question: What made Jim attend PA school?

00:04:11 – An overview of the Yale PA program.

00:06:03 – What do PAs actually do?

00:07:22 – There is a 3% acceptance rate at the Yale PA program. How do you get in?

00:08:45 – About the new online (blended) program Yale hopes to launch.

00:14:30 – Why Yale sees the need for an online program.

00:16:25 – Comparing the traditional and blended programs: Full Time vs PT, admissions requirements, and class size.

00:19:42 – The importance of research for PAs.

00:22:38 – The best thing for future PA applicants to do right now.

00:26:58  – A last piece of advice for a college student hoping to become a PA.

Click here to listen to the show!

Shortly after this podcast was recorded, it was revealed that the online PA program did not receive the accreditation it was seeking since the accrediting body viewed the new program not as a class extension, but as an entirely new program. Yale will now need to apply for both accreditation for a new program as well as state licensing.  For more details, please see:

Yale Medical School’s Request to Expand Campus Program Online Is Denied
Online PA Program Proposal Rejected

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com

Related Links:

Yale Physician Assistant Program
Yale PA Online

Related  Shows:

A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes
Where MedEd & Leadership Meet: An Inside Look at AMSA
Medical School Admissions 2015-2016: A Dean’s Perspective

Leave a Review for Admissions Straight Talk:

Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes! Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

Download your free guide 10 Tips for PA Program Acceptance!

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Boost your GPA for Medical School Acceptance http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/09/boost-your-gpa-for-medical-school-acceptance/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/09/boost-your-gpa-for-medical-school-acceptance/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 16:14:16 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29628 In our last Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success segment, we talked about how to best present yourself in your secondaries and interviews. Today we’ll move forward and discuss ways to boost your GPA, another important feature of your med school application profile. Feeling a bit fragile after these first sections? That’s to be expected – […]

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Watch the webinar Get Accepted to Medical School with Low Stats

A low GPA is probably the hardest area to improve. But it can be done.

In our last Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success segment, we talked about how to best present yourself in your secondaries and interviews. Today we’ll move forward and discuss ways to boost your GPA, another important feature of your med school application profile.

Feeling a bit fragile after these first sections? That’s to be expected – you’ve just gone undergone a pretty brutal review of your life. But the admissions committee is scrutinizing submissions with the same critical eye. Anticipating the problems so you can correct them is critical for success in your next attempt. And to start out, let’s look at how you can “fix” a poor GPA.

A low GPA is probably the hardest area to improve. This makes sense – it was years in the making, and can’t be undone without time. It can take about a year in advanced level science courses to bump a high 2.x GPA over 3.0. The lower your GPA, and the more classes you’ve taken, the longer it will take to reflect improvements in your academic record.

Fortunately, whether your GPA is just a bit off the mark or well below the competitive level, there are steps you can take.

Apply to an international medical school. Pursuing a medical degree abroad might be a viable option for you. The required GPA is often lower than the U.S. average and in some programs, the MCAT is not required. Courses are often taught by U.S. academic physicians with clinical rotations in the U.S. But if you do decide to attend an international medical school, realize that you will have to contend with many different challenges – from language barriers to culture shock – that could affect your studies.

Probably the biggest challenge for international medical graduates is securing a residency program after completing medical school. Only 50.9% of IMGs match to PGY1 programs, although the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates reports a consistent increase in this number over the past decade. I’ve worked with many successful IMGs over this same time period. What sets them apart is that they make up for any lack in their initial qualifications by working harder than the average medical student. They’re heavily involved in university activities, community healthcare initiatives, and international competitions. And significantly, they’re the ones who can express the advantages of their non-US medical education, including resourcefulness and the deep grounding in diagnoses that comes from doing without modern diagnostic equipment.

If you’re interested in an international program, do your research. Some Caribbean programs such as Ross UniversitySt. George’s University, and the American University of the Caribbean have consistently high placement rates. Israeli programs like Sackler and Ben-Gurion have partnerships with American programs; likewise, the University of Queensland has an attractive option for U.S. students. And Ireland’s Atlantic Bridge program, although quite competitive, is flexible in its approach to the GPAs of qualified American and Canadian students.

Apply to a DO program. If your application is competitive but you just didn’t make the cut, consider an osteopathic medical program. Because there are fewer applicants, you might have a better chance. Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs) focus on integrating the whole person into the healthcare process, which makes them especially strong in family practice, general internal medicine, and pediatrics. They are fully licensed physicians; they train in the same residency programs, take the same national board exams, and sit for the identical USMLE exams that the MD students do. Your chance of securing a residency might be less – in the 2014 residency match, 77.7% of DOs matched compared to 94.4% of US senior MDs  but the steady rise in DO matches suggests that any stigma against osteopathic physicians is changing.

The good news for borderline candidates is that DO schools have lower GPAs and MCAT requirements: The mean GPA for the 2014 entering class was 3.43, while the mean MCAT score was 26 (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine). There are a number of programs worth exploring: West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, Lincoln Memorial (Harrogate, TN), Nova Southeastern (Ft. Lauderdale), Touro (Vallejo, CA, Lake Erie (Erie, PA) and Western University (Pomona) all have strong programs that are less competitive. West Virginia, for instance, had the lowest reported average GPA (3.4) of all medical schools and an average MCAT score of 25. However, 55% of their graduates matched at their top residency program.

If you care more about being a doctor than the letters after your name, the DO route is definitely something to think about. However, getting into one of these programs is still going to require a strong GPA. So what can you do if your grades are lower?

Boost your GPA with post-baccalaureate classes. This is a popular route, especially for applicants who did well on the MCAT but need some help with their GPA. Retaking science classes can show you’ve mastered the material, but a better strategy is to take advanced classes and do well. If you have any doubt about your ability to get an A, then this is probably not the best path for you.

The quality of the institution offering the courses is important – community college won’t cut it. The best option is to see if your own alma mater will allow you to take additional courses; often this can be done at a reduced cost. If this doesn’t work out, Syracuse University has a very useful list of programs that offer post-bac courses in the sciences.

Improve your GPA with a science-based master’s program. This is another preferred route for would-be reapplicants, because it provides opportunities for more independent, self-directed research and demonstrates scientific acumen. It can be especially useful if you don’t have a research background already. Keep in mind though that you need to excel in your coursework and that you will have to finish the entire program; making below-average grades or dropping out before the program ends will do you more harm than good when you reapply to med school.

Master’s programs aren’t right for everybody – you might not want to commit to a multi-year program, or you might not be confident about your academic performance. Or you might not have the minimum GPA required for admittance in the first place. In that case:

Prove your potential in a special master’s program (SMPs). These programs, usually a year long, are often associated with a medical school. Students are immersed in a rigorous science-based curriculum almost identical to what they will face in medical school; often, they are even taking classes or being graded alongside first year med students. Success in these courses can show the admissions committee that you’re ready for medical training, which means that once you’re accepted into a SMP, the odds are very good you’ll eventually get into medical school.

Several programs cater to the lower end of the GPA/MCAT spectrum:

East Virginia Medical School M.S. in Biomedical Sciences: In the past five years, 90% of students have been accepted to med school after completion of EVMS’ program. The program runs for two semesters; the majority of courses are taught by faculty in the medical school. They require at least a 2.75 GPA and a 27 on your MCAT. They recommend applying by April, but applications are accepted through May.

• The Virginia Commonwealth University: Pre-Medical Basic Health Certificate Program: Graduates completing the program with a 3.5 GPA/28 MCAT are guaranteed an interview at VCU School of Medicine. They require a 3.0 GPA and 25 MCAT for admission, and applications are accepted until July 1st.

• Drexel’s Medical Science Program (MSP): The year-long MSP offers graduate-level biological science coursework, formal MCAT preparation, community outreach, and undergraduate review courses in chemistry, physics, and organic chemistry. A 3.0 GPA and either a 17 on the MCAT or 70th percentile on the GRE is required for entry to the program. Success in the program guarantees admission to Drexel’s Masters of Biological Science or the IMS course.

• Drexel’s Interdepartmental Medical Science (IMS) Program: Students spend 18 months in first-year medical school classes. Successful completion of their coursework enables them to continue on for another year to earn the MS of Medical Science. They are also guaranteed an interview at the Drexel School of Medicine. Applications are accepted year-round; a 3.0 GPA and an MCAT score of 27 or better is required.

Because SMPs have a reputation as a more certain path to medical school, they can be quite competitive. If you are still determined to be a physician but don’t have the GPA to get into a program, there’s one more route available.

GPA bump followed by an SMP. This method is a bit circuitous, but it does work. First, you need to get your GPA up – a year of good grades in upper-level science courses might be enough to get you up to a 3.0. At that point, you can apply to an SMP with strong links to a medical school. This will take you a minimum two years, which might not seem appealing at this point. However, look upon it as a way to build your confidence and shore up the science and study skills that will enable you to excel in medical school.

Boosting your GPA is likely to test your resolve to be a doctor. The next year(s) won’t be quick or easy, and you may question whether the effort is even worth it. You might find it’s not, and that is fine – there are many other worthwhile careers you can pursue. But if you keep your eyes on the prize, then in all likelihood you’ll be wearing a white coat someday.

Next, we’ll look at some of the other concrete steps you can take to improve your profile – and your chances of succeeding in medical school. Still have questions? Contact Accepted.com to see how our admissions consultants can help you.

Download Medical School Reapplicant Tips for Succcess

Cydney Foote By , Accepted consultant and author of Write Your Way to Medical School, who has helped future physicians craft winning applications since 2001.

Related Resources:

• How to Get into Medical School with Low Stats , a free webinar
• Applying to Medical School with Low Stats: What You Need to Know, a free guide
• Study Skills: How to Improve your GPA to Become a More Competitive Med School Applicant

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Advice From A Med School Admissions Director http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/08/advice-from-a-med-school-admissions-director/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/08/advice-from-a-med-school-admissions-director/#respond Wed, 08 Apr 2015 16:25:35 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30028 One of the most popular Admissions Straight Talk episodes this year was our interview with med school admissions expert, Jennifer Welch. Jennifer Welch is Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at SUNY Upstate Medical University, and a med school admissions director and dean for over twenty years. For MCAT, application and interview advice from an med […]

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Jennifer Welch, SUNY UpstateOne of the most popular Admissions Straight Talk episodes this year was our interview with med school admissions expert, Jennifer Welch.

Jennifer Welch is Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at SUNY Upstate Medical University, and a med school admissions director and dean for over twenty years.

For MCAT, application and interview advice from an med school admissions insider, check out the recording now!

Click here to listen to the show!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

• SUNY Upstate Medical School Admissions
5-Step Guide to Successful Medical School Personal Statements
• Navigating the Med School Maze
 A Second Chance at Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs
• Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success
Elliptical, Meet Med School: Interview with Andrea Tooley
• An Inside Look at the Medical School Journey

Leave a Review for Admissions Straight Talk:

Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes! Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

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5 Pointers for a Stand-out Med School Personal Statement http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/08/5-pointers-for-a-stand-out-med-school-personal-statement/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/08/5-pointers-for-a-stand-out-med-school-personal-statement/#respond Wed, 08 Apr 2015 16:05:39 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29861 1. Honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. In order for your personal statement to work for you, you need to think about what qualities you want to highlight. Do you need to emphasize your clinical work? Do you have outstanding research experience? Before you start writing, step back and catalog what the admissions committee will […]

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Stand out.

Make sure to show how you are interesting or different

1. Honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. In order for your personal statement to work for you, you need to think about what qualities you want to highlight. Do you need to emphasize your clinical work? Do you have outstanding research experience? Before you start writing, step back and catalog what the admissions committee will see when they look at your application, and what you want to make sure they know that may not be immediately apparent.

2. Be specific. Most people applying to med school have the same basic profile. In order to stand out, you need to show how you are interesting or different. Give specific instances of how you have displayed the qualities like empathy and teamwork.

3. Give the admissions committee reasons to admit you. Emphasize the positive in your personal statement and try not to over-explain things like bad grades – it sounds like an excuse. Instead show that you were able to turn things around.

4. Get outside advice. It’s helpful to have someone else read your draft and give you honest feedback. Remember: personal statements require a lot of revising.

5. Be picky. Don’t submit a personal statement with grammatical errors or sloppy writing. It makes the reader think that you don’t care about medical school.

If you follow these tips, you will be able to write a med school personal statement that shines.

Webinar: Create a Winning AMCAS Application!

JessicaPishkoJessica Pishko graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She spent two years guiding students through the medical school application process at Columbia’s PostBacc Program and teaches writing at all levels. 

Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Med School Essay
Your MCAT Score and GPA
• 10 Tips for Med School Applicants

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Applying to Medical School as an Older Applicant http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/07/applying-to-medical-school-as-an-older-applicant/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/07/applying-to-medical-school-as-an-older-applicant/#respond Tue, 07 Apr 2015 16:21:21 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29866 The average age for medical students has been steadily increasing over the years for several reasons.  Medical schools cannot legally discriminate against applicants based on age. Often, applicants with more life experience make the best medical students as they are already established in their identity, maturity levels and career goals.  As nontraditional students with additional […]

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Advice for non-traditional medical school applicants

Is older better?

The average age for medical students has been steadily increasing over the years for several reasons.  Medical schools cannot legally discriminate against applicants based on age. Often, applicants with more life experience make the best medical students as they are already established in their identity, maturity levels and career goals.  As nontraditional students with additional life experience, they can also bring enormous insight into the field of medicine through the professional expertise and career development they gained before beginning their medical educations.

Older applicants have the advantage mentioned above; however, to be strong candidates for medical school, here are a few pitfalls to avoid:

Applying with coursework that is seven years or older: The coursework that is required to apply to medical school is changing dramatically.  You’ll want to double check the requirements at the schools where you are applying. If you have completed most of your prerequisites or science coursework more than seven years ago, enroll and take classes to demonstrate that you are ready to enter back into school.  Make sure you earn all A’s in your current coursework!

Using expired MCAT scores: There are some medical schools now that will only accept MCAT scores that are two years old or less.  If you haven’t taken the MCAT in recent years, you will need to retake it.  The majority of schools will accept scores that were taken three years ago or less.  A MCAT score expires after three years.  Choose a test prep program and register for a date!

Including weak activities: Many applicants don’t realize how much they have accomplished over the years.  For example, if you are a parent, you can include your leadership role as a cub scout/girl scout leader.  It’s easy to second guess the strength of your activities when you have been busy with family and your career.  Start by updating your resume/CV. List any awards or accomplishments.  Take the time to recall and research everything that you have done— list everything.  If you don’t have the space to include everything on your application, contact us at accepted.com so that we can advise you on how to make sure that all your activities are strategically placed and well represented.

Submitting old letters of recommendation: Selection committee members actually get angry when they see old letters of recommendation.  All of your letters of recommendation should be dated within the year that you are applying.  Anything over a year will actually hurt your application—may even lead to a rejection.  Take the time to meet up with letter writers and to give them a page of highlights with bullet points so that they will know what to update on your letter —make it as easy as possible for them to write you an outstanding letter.

You can even ask them, “Can you write me a strong letter of recommendation?”  If they seem uncertain, ask someone who knows you better or take the time to build those relationships. Allow your professors, supervisors and mentors a chance to get to know you on a deeper level by attending office hours, offering to help or requesting their advice on a frequent basis.

Reusing old essays: This strategy can also be dangerous because you may misrepresent yourself. Rewrite all of your essays.  If you applied years ago, chances are that you have changed dramatically.   It can also be refreshing to take a step back and look at your life in the context of reflective writing. What have you learned over the years?  How have your life goals changed?  Whom do you aspire to be?  You are always welcome to contact me or another Accepted consultant to help you create an outline for your personal statement as well as to support you through the process of creating drafts.  Writing about yourself is often the most challenging topic to cover.

With ten years of experience in medical school admissions, these are the most common mistakes that I’ve seen older premeds make.  At the medical school where I worked, every year we received an application from the same person.  He had applied every year for almost 15 years.  Nothing ever changed in his application.  It was so surprising to see his name, again and again.  If he’d taken the time to build a stronger application the second or third time that he applied, he may already have been a practicing doctor for all of those years.

Avoid easy mistakes and improve as much as you can in your application.  For more guidance, contact us.  I wish you all success!

Download Medical School Reapplicant Tips for Succcess 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:

Ace The AMCAS Essay
The 5 Step Guide to Successful Medical School Personal Statements
Your MCAT Score and GPA

 

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Prepare for the TOEFL With This Infographic! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/07/prepare-for-the-toefl-with-this-infographic/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/07/prepare-for-the-toefl-with-this-infographic/#respond Tue, 07 Apr 2015 15:04:02 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29808 There’s a lot to be tense about when it comes to the TOEFL speaking section–you’ll need to show your comfort level with the English language while speaking clearly into a microphone while surrounded by other test-takers who are also speaking into their microphones, and all of this done under a time crunch. That’s enough to […]

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Don't be afraid of the TOEFL.  Check out this infographic and get prepared!There’s a lot to be tense about when it comes to the TOEFL speaking section–you’ll need to show your comfort level with the English language while speaking clearly into a microphone while surrounded by other test-takers who are also speaking into their microphones, and all of this done under a time crunch. That’s enough to make even the most sophisticated test-taker break out in a sweat!

However, all is not lost. There is a lot you can do to practice and improve on this section of the test. And as a first step, you can study this handy TOEFL Speaking infographic that our friends at Magoosh TOEFL put together! It’s complete with info on the structure of the test, useful strategies to keep in mind, and helpful tips to make this section more manageable.

 So take a look at the infographic below and get confident about your TOEFL speaking skills!
Magoosh TOEFL Speaking Infographic
Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own!
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• All Things Test Prep: The Test Prep Guru Speaks
• What is a Good TOEFL Score?
• Studying For GRE Verbal and the TOEFL at the Same Time

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Interview with DO Student Dr. Diva: Do What Makes You Happy! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/06/interview-with-do-student-dr-diva-do-what-makes-you-happy/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/06/interview-with-do-student-dr-diva-do-what-makes-you-happy/#respond Mon, 06 Apr 2015 16:25:27 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29893 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 our anonymous blogger, Student Dr. Diva… Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what […]

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Click here for more medical 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 our anonymous blogger, Student Dr. Diva…

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Can you share two interesting facts about yourself?

Student Dr. Diva: I’m from a small town in WV of about 2,000 residents. I was a biology major and psychology minor at a small Division II school in WV. Two interesting facts about me: I own a Great Dane and I’m the oldest of 5 girls.

Accepted: Where are you in med school? What year?

Student Dr. Diva: I’m a first year at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Accepted: So, you’re a med student and a diva — how do these two things come together? Will you be a very dramatic doctor?

Student Dr. Diva: Honestly I’m just a girly medical student who is obsessed with the color pink and glitter. I guess you could say I’m somewhat dramatic.

Don’t be confused though, I’ve completed a Tough Mudder, ran track all 4 years of undergrad, and played volleyball and basketball as well as gymnastics from the time I was 3 years old until college. So, I’m kind of a tomboy too.

Accepted: Why did you choose an osteopathic program? How is your med school the best fit for you?

Student Dr. Diva: I chose an osteopathic program because of the osteopaths that I shadowed. Not only could they prescribe medications, give treatments, etc., but some could heal with their hands!

A patient came in with complications from a hip replacement. She saw multiple M.D.s and all they did was give her pain medications that she did not want. She finally saw a DO, and he did manipulations on her and she was healed just like that! I knew then that I wanted to impact and influence patients in such a way and more so than just writing prescriptions.

OMT has interested me from the beginning. I had no idea how a physician could impact a patient in so many ways just by manipulating the human body and how it’s all connected!

This medical school is the perfect fit for me because it is in my home state only three hours from home. It has state-of-the-art facilities, a top-notch anatomy lab with ventilation systems and over 50 cadavers, one of the best OPP labs in the country, and has a class size of about 214. I’m extremely happy with my decision to go here. I’ve met lifelong friends here, gotten to truly know myself here, and am about a quarter of the way to my final goal of becoming a physician!

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

Student Dr. Diva: I would change our curriculum to PASS/FAIL instead of the letter grades we get now. It’s extremely frustrating and annoying still getting letter grades when most medical schools are pass/fail because honestly in the end, that’s all that matters anyway. You’re not gonna remember that 90.15 you got in a course. It adds so much stress and if you ever get a C on an exam or what have you, it’s still passing, but you feel like a failure and sometimes it can be disheartening if you let it get to you.

Accepted: How many med schools had you applied to? Can you offer our readers some advice on how to choose the best programs to apply to, and then how to choose the best program to accept?

Student Dr. Diva: I only applied to 3, all in-state. I think they should all tour and get a feel for the school, student life, talk to the students that go there. If they’re unhappy and wish they had gone elsewhere – that’s a red flag! The students will be honest about the curriculum, life, etc., while the admissions can sometimes only offer the positives. You should choose where you can see yourself excelling – whether it’s in your home state or 5,000 miles away.

Also, what programs do you want to go into? Do those schools have a great expectancy and do well in the match in those specialties? What is their percentage of students that pass the boards the first time? That’s a great thing to keep in mind – you don’t want to go to a school in which less than 70% of students pass Step 1: another red flag.

Don’t let anyone pressure you in your decision of choosing or the program choosing you; not even your friends, family, boyfriend, etc. They can influence you, yes, but in the end, it will be you attending, sitting in lectures, studying in the library, putting in all of the hours…not them.

Accepted: Do you have any other med school admissions tips?

Student Dr. Diva: You don’t have to major in biology or chemistry, get a 4.0, score a 40 on the MCAT, go on mission trips, or save the world to get into medical school. Sure, it’s difficult to get in – everyone will agree with that or else everyone would try to do it!

I get so many questions of students giving me their stats saying they’re not good enough when they are actually fine! DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. PERIOD. If you want to major in English, so be it! If you don’t want to volunteer, and want to instruct people on kayak trips, do it! If you want to have adventures, go! BE UNIQUE, BE DIFFERENT! Medical schools are getting harder to get into and they do not want the typical pre-med anymore as it seems. They want standouts that they can remember when they sift through thousands of applications, but it is on you as to how you will stand out!

Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog and Twitter? Who is your target audience? What have you gained from the blogging/tweeting experience?

Student Dr. Diva: I started my Twitter around three years ago as a pre-med. I used to be Pre-med Princess. I loved twitter, loved being a pre-med, and as you can tell, I was girly. I never saw medical students with bedazzled school supplies, sequin backpacks, cheetah blouses, the works – so I thought I’d be the first! I even wear my cheetah blouse with my black dress pants to clinic currently! I tweeted medical jokes, typical pre-med problems, and thoughts and advice I had throughout my entire pre-med experience. I followed a lot of med students and doctors that would shout me out also.

I got accepted to med school and changed my name to Med School Queen. Now I tweet about my medical student problems, solutions, tips and advice on being a medical student, etc. I started the blog recently, probably about 2 years ago. I only have a few blog posts, I don’t blog that often but when I do I make sure they’re worth it. I love the fact that so many people around the world view it!

I’m also now on Instagram: StudentDrDiva – I had this a while ago as medschoolqueen but deleted it and made a new one. Speaking of that, I got sick of my old name as medschoolqueen, I actually recently changed it over Christmas break. I just wanted something new! I didn’t really like medschoolqueen anyway, I’m no queen of anything haha! I love getting called student doctor in the clinic and I’m just a diva at heart with my pink stethoscope so I just decided to change it to Student Dr. Diva.

My target audience for social media are pre-meds, medical students, residents, fellows, doctors, nurses, pre-vet, pre-dental, pre-PA, pre-pharm, basically all science students in general. A lot of random people follow me though I’m not sure why!

I’ve gained SO much from the social media experience. I’ve met wonderful people, made awesome connections, got to have so many opportunities and be a part of activities I’d never get to participate in without my account. I am truly honored and blessed to have so many people follow me and believe in me, and my whole purpose is to influence others in a positive light on achieving their dreams and let them know that it’s all possible and to never give up! I don’t think my life in medical school would be the same without those accounts and all the great people I’ve met and have helped me get to where I am today!

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

You can follow Student Dr. Diva’s med school adventure by checking out her blog, Student Dr. Diva, or by following her on Twitter (@StudentDrDiva). Thank you Student Dr. Diva 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: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Med School Essays
• Where Should I Apply to Medical School
Medical School Admissions: MD vs. Do Programs

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Presenting Yourself to Medical Schools: Other Communications http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/02/presenting-yourself-to-medical-schools-other-communications-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/02/presenting-yourself-to-medical-schools-other-communications-2/#respond Thu, 02 Apr 2015 16:13:10 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29626 In the last part of our Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success series we discussed the importance of assessing your dinged application, especially your personal statement. Today we’ll talk about other opportunities for you to shine – not through the personal statement, but through secondary essays and interviews. With the multi-staged admissions process, applicants can make […]

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Want more tips? Click here

Discover where you went wrong then reapply with confidence.

In the last part of our Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success series we discussed the importance of assessing your dinged application, especially your personal statement. Today we’ll talk about other opportunities for you to shine – not through the personal statement, but through secondary essays and interviews.

With the multi-staged admissions process, applicants can make an impact at each step – or be weeded out. Your assessment continues by looking at other ways you communicated with the admissions committee, and whether or not they helped you past the next hurdle.

Secondaries: Your secondary essays go beyond the initial introduction and flesh out your application. The questions asked will generally give you a good indication of what the program values. In your review, you need to determine how well the information you provided demonstrates your fit with the values and offerings at that particular program.

• Did you answer the particular questions asked?

• Did your secondary essays offer a new or deeper look at your activities rather than regurgitating your personal statement? Viewed alongside your initial application, do they create a consistent but broader profile or is there a significant divergence from what was presented before?

• Did you research each school to see what made it unique? Did you bring this information into your answers, even if it was not specifically asked?

• If you recycled secondary essays from another program, did you tailor it to fit the new program? And did you make sure to use the right school name?

• Did you integrate their particular strengths and offerings into your skill set and interests?

• Did you return the secondaries in a timely manner?

• Were your secondaries free of typos and grammatical errors?

If you can answer “yes” to these questions, your secondary essays are probably not the source of your rejection. But if you aren’t confident of your answers, this is an area that you should note for your reapplication. Another sign of a problem is being invited to fill out a secondary essay, but not being invited to interview. This is a natural “weeding out” that happens throughout the season, but it indicates that your secondary essays need more punch to move to the next stage.

Interviews: If you were invited to interview at a number of schools, but didn’t receive any acceptances, it’s a pretty good signal that your interview skills need a polish.

• Do you think you practiced enough? Were you comfortable talking about yourself?

• Were you exceptionally nervous at the interview or did you feel at ease? If you were nervous, was it your first interview? If not, was there anything in particular that triggered your nervousness?

• Could you speak credibly about each program and did you know what made each one unique? Were you able to explain why you wanted to attend each program?

• If you had a multiple mini-interview, were you prepared for the format?

• Were there any questions that stumped you? Did you address these either in your thank you notes or in later communications with the program?

If you didn’t get any interviews, you should examine the issues in the sections above – you’re likely to find clues that explain your rejection there.

Finally, there are two remaining issues that have can significantly affect your application success:

Timing: Applying late might not be the only concern in your application, but your chance of admission declines as the season goes on. Those who start the process early tend to have much better results.

• Did you register with the AAMC and/or the AACOM in May and submit your application in June?

• Did you line up your recommenders early? Did you follow up to make sure they sent their recommendations in a timely manner?

• Did you take the MCAT early? Were your scores available when you submitted?

• Did you return your secondary essays in a timely manner?

• After an interview, did you send promptly thank you notes expressing your interest?

Answering “no” to any of these questions could signal a problem. Although some extremely competitive applicants do manage to secure acceptances late in the season, many more are “held,” wait-listed, or just rejected. Those who do apply later must face a larger applicant pool competing for fewer interview slots and, in many cases, fewer seats in medical school.

School Choices: It should go without saying that you need to make sure you meet each program’s admission requirements. But there are other issues to examine:

• How many medical schools did you select?

• Did you choose a spread of schools, including programs both above and below where you think you might be competitive?

• Were your state’s medical schools included in your list?

• Above all, did you consider your fit at these programs or did you just choose schools out of the blue?

The average med school applicant submits applications to 15 programs. Some submit fewer applications – if, for instance, they will only consider a particular geographic area – while some submit 30+. Highly competitive applicants can target fewer schools, but if your profile is less competitive, the number of schools should be higher.

How do you know where you’re competitive? Your basic stats are a good indication. Being within 2-3 points of a program’s mean indicates that you are a strong contender for that program – in other words, if a school’s mean GPA is 3.5, a 3.2 GPA with a strong MCAT score can be competitive. While it’s fine to deviate with a few “reach” schools, these should not make up the majority of your choices.

Also take a look at the percentage of applications accepted. Oklahoma State University accepts one in every 5 applications; Mayo and GWU accept one in 50. If all your chosen schools have a low acceptance rate, your profile will have to be much better than average.

Beyond your chosen program’s requirements, it’s also important to look at their admission preferences. Did you choose a lot of public programs in other states? Many state schools accept only a handful of out-of-state applicants. (And if your state’s medical schools aren’t on your list, this is a serious omission.)

Finally, take a good, hard look at your list of schools. Do you know something about each of them? Are these places you’d really like to attend? If you’ve completed the secondaries for each school and still can’t answer “yes” to these questions, that is a problem – one you can rectify when you reapply.

By now, you should have a pretty good idea of any missteps in your application. Unfortunately, addressing them is rarely a fast process. Often it takes years. Many people, fearing the time is ticking away, get impatient and reapply before they’re ready. Nine out of ten times, this backfires.

Instead, reapply when you are at your strongest. This will take time, but now that you have a good idea of where you went wrong, you’ll be able to focus your energies, enhance your profile, and ultimately submit a successful application.

In the next post, I’ll show you how to enhance your profile. If you want to improve your chances even more, take advantage of Accepted.com’s application review service to get a tailored assessment of your strengths and weaknesses.

Download Medical School Reapplicant Tips for Succcess
Cydney Foote By , Accepted consultant and author of Write Your Way to Medical School, who has helped future physicians craft winning applications since 2001.

Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your AMCAS and Secondary Essays
• What I Look for When I Interview a Candidate for Medical School
Secondary Strategy: Why Do You Want To Go Here?

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A Wharton Grad Rids the World of Bank Fees http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/01/a-wharton-grad-rids-the-world-of-bank-fees/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/01/a-wharton-grad-rids-the-world-of-bank-fees/#respond Wed, 01 Apr 2015 22:38:31 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29958 BankMobile is bank with a vision, ATMs everywhere, no fees, and no branches. Want to know more, right? For the full scoop, listen to the entire recording of our conversation with Luvleen Sidhu, Wharton alum and Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at the mobile-only, fee-free bank for Millennials. 00:01:40 – Introducing Luvleen Sidhu and the […]

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Listen to the recording!BankMobile is bank with a vision, ATMs everywhere, no fees, and no branches.

Want to know more, right?

For the full scoop, listen to the entire recording of our conversation with Luvleen Sidhu, Wharton alum and Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at the mobile-only, fee-free bank for Millennials.

00:01:40 – Introducing Luvleen Sidhu and the many benefits of BankMobile.

00:07:05 – BankMobile is planning to become the “Uber of banking.” True or False?

00:09:09 – Up and coming at BankMobile: The “Can I Buy” feature.

00:10:58 – How BankMobile came to be.

00:13:40 – Did you really learn anything in b-school?

00:17:55 – What Luvleen wishes she knew before b-school: The application process doesn’t end after you are admitted!

00:20:19 – The best and worst about Wharton.

00:26:41 – Advice for Wharton applicants and future entrepreneurs.

Click here to listen to the show!*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com

Related Links:

• Bankmobile
• BankMobile Aims to Become the Uber of Banking
• Wharton 2015 MBA Questions, Deadlines, Tips
Get Accepted to The Wharton School

Related Shows:

• CommonBond: How Two Wharton Grads Revolutionized Student Loans
• The Wharton Executive MBA Program: An Insider’s View
• Entrepreneurship at Stanford GSB: Carlypso Drives Down the Startup St.
• Making International Student Loans a Prime Investment
• An HBS Entrepreneur Promoting Career Flexibility
• Entrepreneurship at UCLA Anderson
• Which Schools are Good for PE/VC and VC-Backed Entrepreneurship

Get Accepted to Wharton

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Future Physicians – Get Your Personal Statement Advice HERE! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/01/future-physicians-get-your-personal-statement-advice-here/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/01/future-physicians-get-your-personal-statement-advice-here/#respond Wed, 01 Apr 2015 18:46:52 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29869 The personal statement is an opportunity for you to show the ad com who you are and what kind of physician you will be. It is not a resume, a list of your failings, or a biography, but rather an opportunity for you to show medical schools what value you will add to their class, […]

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The personal statement is an opportunity for you to show the ad com who you are and what kind of physician you will be. It is not a resume, a list of your failings, or a biography, but rather an opportunity for you to show medical schools what value you will add to their class, school, and the world of medicine.

If you’re seeking step-by-step guidance to get you through the AMCAS personal statement efficiently and successfully, then you won’t want to miss our upcoming webinar, 5-Step Guide to Successful Medical School Personal Statements.

Register for the webinar!

The webinar will air live on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 5:00 PM PST/8:00 PM EST and will be presented by one of Accepted’s top consultants, Jessica Pishko, who will teach you the key steps you MUST complete to compose a winning AMCAS application.

The webinar is free but you need to reserve your spot in advance!

Register now for 5-Step Guide to Successful Medical School Personal Statements!

Click here to reserve your spot for the webinar!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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US News Most Affordable Med Schools http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/31/us-news-most-affordable-med-schools/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/31/us-news-most-affordable-med-schools/#respond Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:32:49 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29771 US News and World Report has released its list of the most affordable private medical schools, based on current data for tuition and fees. Here are their top 10: (* RNP stands for “Rank Not Provided.” U.S. News does not publish the rank of schools in the bottom quarter of its top 100 med schools.) Note: […]

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US News and World Report has released its list of the most affordable private medical schools, based on current data for tuition and fees. Here are their top 10:

Click here for Med 101

(* RNP stands for “Rank Not Provided.” U.S. News does not publish the rank of schools in the bottom quarter of its top 100 med schools.)

Note: Even though Baylor College of Medicine, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine are private schools, they offer discounted tuition for in-state students – the numbers listed above are the out-of-state rates.

As you look at this table, keep in mind a few factors:

1.  When you are choosing where to apply, the marginal difference in cost is what you are going to need to weigh as you decide both where to apply, and if you get multiple acceptances, where to accept.

2.  The figures above are annual tuitions for the current (2014-15) year. Tuition has this habit of going up every year, and most people complete medical school in four years.

3.  Also keep in mind other costs, like the cost of living in a particular part of the country.

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

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Navigating the Med School Maze
U.S. News 2016 Best Medical Schools – Research & Primary Care
• 5 Questions to Help You Decide Where To Apply To Medical School

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A Med Student/Foodie Extraordinaire at Baylor College of Medicine http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/30/a-med-studentfoodie-extraordinaire-at-baylor-college-of-medicine/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/30/a-med-studentfoodie-extraordinaire-at-baylor-college-of-medicine/#respond Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:26:51 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29828 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 Natalie Uy… Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as […]

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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 Natalie Uy…

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

Natalie: Howdy! I was born in New York but grew up most of my life in San Antonio, Texas. I went to Stanford University in California (the best college ever in my humble opinion) where I got a dual degree with a BS in Biology and a BA in Art Practice, graduating in the c/o 2012.

Accepted: Where are you currently in med school? What year?

Natalie: I am currently a 3rd year at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Accepted: If you could change one thing about med school, what would it be?

Natalie: There isn’t really anything that I’d change honestly. I really like how my medical education has been structured – here we have 1.5 years of pre-clinics and 2.5 years of clinical rotations.

My least favorite part is studying for boards. I know it’s a rite of passage, but Step 1 is something I’d rather not endure again!

Accepted: What’s been your favorite rotation so far? Do you think this is what you’ll eventually specialize in? 

Natalie: It’s been surprisingly hard to say. I started off with psychiatry thinking I wouldn’t like it, but it was a great experience. My first clinical experience as a young MS2 was interviewing a psychotic patient in the county hospital ER – nothing teaches you the DSMV criteria for schizophrenia better than the patient himself. Similarly, I thought I wouldn’t like surgery but seriously considered it after I had particularly exceptional teachers in vascular and ENT.

I’ve decided to go into Internal Medicine – not because of my specific rotation per se, but because of what I felt was the best fit for me. I think when choosing a specialty it’s important to look at the specialty itself and filter out biases like the hospitals, the attendings, the residents, etc. I knew I needed a lot of interaction with patients and decided to stay with the cerebral side of medicine. I liked the variety of diseases in IM and although I enjoyed a pediatrics a lot, I liked being able to directly converse with my adult patients. I also knew I want to have a family in the future and be involved with raising my kids, so it was also a flexible choice. I will probably further subspecialize in IM, but exactly when remains to be seen.

Accepted: Did you go straight from college to med school? How would you advise others who are deciding between taking a gap year or not?

Natalie: Although many people from Stanford take a gap year, I went straight. I knew exactly what I wanted to do – be a doctor! – so I was ready to start medical school, and I don’t regret not having a gap year.

Taking a gap year is always a personal decision of course. My friends who took gap years did it because they were burnt out from school or wanted to strengthen their applications with research or boost their GPA or have other life experiences first. I don’t know anyone who regretted taking a gap year, so I don’t think it’s ever a bad idea. The only thing to consider is that the longer you wait, the harder it may be in getting back into the habit of classes and exams, as some of my older classmates were 5-10 years out from college.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your food blog? Is there any connection to your passion for medicine in your blog? Can you direct us to your three favorite posts?

Natalie: Oh yes – to take time off from studying, I run a food blog called Obsessive Cooking Disorder (fondly known as OCD). I started it just prior to medical school to document recipes I tried and liked, but it’s definitely grown; all the photography and writing is done by me. The art of food photography – styling to make the food look amazing is always a fun artistic challenge. I’ll write about a variety of topics – history and tips on a particular food, funny conversations with friends and family, and often, stories on my medical journal.

It’s also nice because I can share with other fellow students what life is like – good days and bad – as well as document how I felt on a given rotation. Medical school goes by in a flash, and I want to remember every moment of it – from preclinicals and clinics to studying for boards to Match Day!

Natali - MED IV

Here are a few recipes about my medical journey.
• Crostini
• Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte)
• Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia
• Cinnamon Craisin Walnut Sourdough
• All American Brownies
Mocha Cupcakes with Kahlua Buttercream

Accepted: How have you shared your love of food with your patients / the Medical Center/ the Houston community?

Natalie: I’ve been able to channel my culinary skills with patients as one of the leaders for CHEF (Choosing Healthy, Eating Fresh), our student organization promoting wellness and nutrition. We run an amazing unique cooking elective where trained chefs teach our medical students how to cook (we cook 3 course meals right at Baylor over the course of a semester) and started a Farmer’s Market co-op for the medical center. We also do hands-on cooking classes with adolescents at Texas Children’s Hospital Bariatric program and Rice University’s PAIR refugee program at local high schools. We’ve have cooking demonstrations at numerous community health fairs and wellness races, which people always love.

I’ve been lucky to be incredibly involved with both the student and the greater community through cooking – I love writing up new recipes and educating patients on healthy options! No matter what the age, race/culture, or location of your patients, everyone loves to eat, so it’s a great bond.

Accepted: Looking back at the med school admissions process, what would you say was your greatest challenge? What steps did you take to overcome that challenge? 

Natalie: The most difficult part was doing everything while I was currently a college student. Because I didn’t take a gap year, I didn’t have as much time to get things like research publications on my resume or study as much for my MCAT. I had to study for my MCAT in the midst of applying for research grants, getting my honors thesis proposal ready, and taking an enormous load of courses because of my dual degree (I completed 5 years of courses in 4 years). Time management was definitely key, but it prepared me very well for medical school.

Accepted: Do you have any tips for incoming first year students? What do you wish you would’ve known before starting med school to make your transition easier?

Natalie: The most difficult part of adjusting to med school is realizing that not only is everyone incredibly smart, everyone is also so hard working. Don’t stress if you’re not in the top of your class anymore – just strive to be the best doctor you can be. I encourage people not to see fellow medical students as competition, but as future colleagues and co-workers. After all, you’d want to refer your grandmother to the best doctors in the future – your classmates!

Definitely the most important thing is to have a work-life balance. I make a point to exercise daily, cook/bake with my blog and make artwork. Also remember to have fun and socialize – I could not have made it without my significant other, friends, and family. Medicine is a journey, not a destination!

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

You can follow Natalie’s med school adventure by checking out her blog, Obsessive Cooking Disorder. Thank you Natalie 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 copy of 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Med School Application Essays!
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Navigating the Med School Maze
• Insights of an M3 at the UNC School of Medicine
Residency Admissions: What if I Didn’t Match

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Medical Minority Applicant Registry: Who, How, & Why? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/29/medical-minority-applicant-registry-who-how-why/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/29/medical-minority-applicant-registry-who-how-why/#respond Sun, 29 Mar 2015 16:01:39 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29793 AAMC’s Medical Minority Applicant Registry (Med-MAR) is specifically designed to improve admissions opportunities for students from groups underrepresented in the medical field or who have an economically disadvantaged background. Who: Med-MAR is for U.S. citizens or Permanent Resident Visa holders who identify as economically disadvantaged or who come from the following historically underrepresented ethnic or […]

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Check out our med 101 page for more info

Being a minority can be a major advantage.

AAMC’s Medical Minority Applicant Registry (Med-MAR) is specifically designed to improve admissions opportunities for students from groups underrepresented in the medical field or who have an economically disadvantaged background.

Who: Med-MAR is for U.S. citizens or Permanent Resident Visa holders who identify as economically disadvantaged or who come from the following historically underrepresented ethnic or racial groups in medicine: African-American/Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

How: Such applicants may opt into the Med-MAR program by either accepting or rejecting participation during MCAT registration.

Why: Med schools use the registry to help them find applicants that will enrich the diversity of their student body. Disclaimer from the AAMC website: “Med-MAR serves only as a means of identifying and communicating the availability of applicants from groups who self-identify as underrepresented in medicine and/or as economically disadvantaged. No attempt is made by Med-MAR to advise students where to apply or to influence any admissions decisions.”

Note: Participating in AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program (FAP) does not automatically put applicants on the Med-MAR registry.

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

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

How to Write the Statement of Disadvantage
• The Story of an Aspiring Minority Doctor
The AAMC Fee Assistance Program: How & Who Should Apply

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We Found Your Keys… http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/27/we-found-your-keys/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/27/we-found-your-keys/#respond Fri, 27 Mar 2015 16:32:24 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29061 …that is, the keys that will help you unlock the secrets to postbac application success! Once you view the recording of 9 Keys to Postbac Acceptance in 2015, you’ll significantly improve your chances of choosing the right postbac program, identifying the best recommenders, and applying successfully to the postbac program that will launch your future […]

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…that is, the keys that will help you unlock the secrets to postbac application success! Once you view the recording of 9 Keys to Postbac Acceptance in 2015, you’ll significantly improve your chances of choosing the right postbac program, identifying the best recommenders, and applying successfully to the postbac program that will launch your future as a physician.

View the webinar!

You’ve got questions; we’ve got answers. Discover the keys to admission when you view 9 Keys to Postbac Acceptance in 2015 now!

View the download!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Presenting Yourself to Medical Schools: Your Primary Application http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/26/presenting-yourself-to-medical-schools-your-primary-application-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/26/presenting-yourself-to-medical-schools-your-primary-application-2/#respond Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:49:12 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29385 In Part 1 of our Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success series we talked about taking a step back and reevaluating your desire to go to med school, as well as your qualifications and skill. Today we’ll move on to assessing your application to determine what went wrong. The second part of your assessment […]

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Click here to read the full series.

Did your application portray you the way you intended?

In Part 1 of our Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success series we talked about taking a step back and reevaluating your desire to go to med school, as well as your qualifications and skill. Today we’ll move on to assessing your application to determine what went wrong.

The second part of your assessment will examine how you presented yourself to the admissions committees. Keep in mind that these aspects of your application are necessarily subjective – there are often no right or wrong answers – but they should be subjected to the same rigorous critique as the previous section. Unlike your MCAT scores or grades, however, applicants have a lot of control over the elements in this section. Did you take full advantage of this to show yourself in the best light? This question is especially relevant when we look at the written portion of your application.

I find the accuracy of an assessment improves when it’s distinct from the remedies. This kind of critical review is not for the faint of heart. Chances are, you poured your hopes and dreams into your application the first time around. Figuring out where you went wrong is painful. For this reason, we’re not going to examine how to address your weaknesses just yet. That will come in future sections. For now, let’s focus on how the admissions committee saw you, based on your interactions.

Personal Statement: There’s no doubt that personal statements are highly subjective – what works for one reader might not work for the next. Nonetheless, it’s important to ask whether, in your honest opinion, you’ve presented the strongest possible personal statement.

• Was it enjoyable and interesting to read? If you were reading this about another person, would they come across strong? Would this be someone you might want as your physician?

• Did your essay begin with a strong lead paragraph that inspired the reader to continue?

• Did it tell a compelling story and describe your experiences instead of just listing what you’d done? Did you support claims about your abilities with anecdotal evidence?

• Did the essay focus on you rather than your projects or mentors?

• Did your stories demonstrate the key qualities desired in medical students: commitment, compassion, leadership, curiosity, critical thinking, maturity, etc.?

• Were there any typos or grammatical errors?

• Did you have anyone else review it for content and style before submission?

Whether you’re a first-rate candidate or a borderline student, your personal statement will make an impression on the med school admissions committee. If you can’t answer “yes” to all the above questions, that impression might not be the one you want.

Experiences: The experiences you choose to include in this section must reflect that you are a multi-dimensional person – one with the passion, curiosity, and integrity to excel in medical school. The experiences section is your chance to include any aspects of your background where you made an impact and showed your commitment.

• Did the activities you described reflect a breadth of activities and intellectual pursuits?

• Did you focus on your responsibilities rather than just describing the experience?

• Did you identify what impact you had on each organization/project?

• Did you identify why each experience affected your commitment to enter medicine?

• How did you justify the choice of your most meaningful experiences? Were your longer essays personal and authentic?

• When writing about the experiences in your primary essay, did you provide additional details rather than repeating information?

The AMCAS application only allows 700 characters to describe each activity, while the AACOM allows 750 characters. Cramming relevant, compelling information into these shorter essays can be awfully challenging. In your review, you need to examine whether you made each character count.

Letters of Recommendation: Although not technically how you represent yourself, recommendation letters are an extremely important part of the application process and your challenge is to find faculty members who can write a compelling letter.

• Did you select recommenders who know you well, preferably beyond the classroom?

• Did your chosen recommenders represent different areas of your life to reflect your diverse pursuits?

• Did you supply them with your CV or a list of activities so they have a better idea of your pursuits?

• Did you advise them of any areas that you specifically wanted them to address to balance the rest of your application?

• If you were asked to write your own recommendation, did you do so in a timely manner so they would have time for edits?

• Did you provide each recommender with clear instructions about submitting them to either the AMCAS Letters service or for the AACOM?

You might be feeling a bit fragile after such a critical review. If so, you’re doing it right. This exercise demands that you be ruthless and identify every potential flaw. Your ego might not like it, but you will when you have a clear roadmap to address your weaknesses.

Next post looks at the next hurdles in the admissions process, and how well you cleared them.

If you feel like you need another pair of eyes on your application, take advantage of Accepted.com’s review service to get a tailored assessment of your strengths and weaknesses.

Download Medical School Reapplicant Tips for Succcess

Cydney Foote By , Accepted consultant and author of Write Your Way to Medical School, who has helped future physicians craft winning applications since 2001.

 

Related Resources:

• Applying to Medical School with Low Stats: What You Need to Know
Med School Kicks Off: Ten Tips to Get You Through The Season
• Get Accepted to Medical School in 2016, a free webinar

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March Madness and Story Time http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/25/march-madness-and-story-time/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/25/march-madness-and-story-time/#respond Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:38:36 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29749 Is your bracket busted yet? (Probably.) One of the things that draws even casual sports fans to March Madness is the storylines—the last-minute excitement, the players’ personal stories, the upsets, the Cinderella runs deep into the tournament. And during the tournament, absolutely everything becomes a story. As I write, one of the top stories on […]

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Can your application tell a story?Is your bracket busted yet? (Probably.)

One of the things that draws even casual sports fans to March Madness is the storylines—the last-minute excitement, the players’ personal stories, the upsets, the Cinderella runs deep into the tournament.

And during the tournament, absolutely everything becomes a story. As I write, one of the top stories on Yahoo Sports is about the chair that GA State coach Ron Hunter fell out of in excitement when his son hit a game winning shot. Yes—the chair, which is now a treasured object of superstitious reverence. Of course! But another great story (and one of the enduring images of this year’s tournament, even after GA State was eliminated in the next round).

Stories make the game more exciting by giving us a personal connection to it. That’s how we tend to relate to the world around us. And I think it’s a useful thing to remember when you’re writing application essays: stories matter.

Your personal experiences add depth and interest to your application essays, helping you stand out and illustrating the qualities and goals you’re explaining. As you prepare to write, think about the stories you want to tell. It can be helpful to do some prewriting—think through some of the experiences you want to write about and what you learned from them, as well as how they relate to what you want to do in the future. This will give you some good material to draw on in your essay(s).

And…Go Bruins! (If they’re eliminated by the time you read this—better luck next year.)

Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own!

 

Rebecca BlusteinBy Dr. Rebecca BlusteinAccepted.com consultant since 2008, former Student Affairs Officer at UCLA’s Scholarship Resource Center, and author of the ebook, Financing Your Future: Winning Fellowships, Scholarships and Awards for Grad School. Dr. Blustein, who earned her Ph.D. at UCLA, assists our clients applying to MS, MA, and Ph.D. programs. She is happy to assist you with your grad school applications.

Related Resources: 

• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application Essays
• Telling Your Story in Your Application Essay
• MBA Application Essays: All You Need is a Story

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Yale to Offer New Online Master of Medical Science Degree http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/24/yale-to-offer-new-online-master-of-medical-science-degree/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/24/yale-to-offer-new-online-master-of-medical-science-degree/#respond Tue, 24 Mar 2015 16:15:52 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29663 There’s big news in the Ivy League-online world: Yale University is creating a new online master of medical science degree for physician assistants, reports a recent Wall Street Journal article. Yale’s program for aspiring PAs has been around for decades, but each class only has room for about 40 students a year, with more than […]

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Get Your Game On: Prepping for your Grad School Application.  Download here!

Your classroom at Yale may be the one you are in right now.

There’s big news in the Ivy League-online world: Yale University is creating a new online master of medical science degree for physician assistants, reports a recent Wall Street Journal article.

Yale’s program for aspiring PAs has been around for decades, but each class only has room for about 40 students a year, with more than 1000 applicants vying for those spots. With the introduction of the web-based course, there’s potential to accept up to 360 students (across the on-campus and web versions of the degree program). Next January, for the first online class, there will only be 12 students, but that number is expected to grow over the course of the next five years.

The price of the on-campus and online programs will be the same. Currently the 28-month course costs $83,162. The majority of the course work for online students will be done via live, interactive online classes; students will also visit various clinical field sites, participate in clinical rotations (students will be placed at medical facilities near them), and meet on-campus at Yale three times.

Download your free guide 10 Tips for PA Program Acceptance!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

Five Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Statement of Purpose
• Is it Worth it for Women to Become Doctors?
The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes

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Interview with Eniola: Medical Resident, Novelist, Child of God http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/23/interview-with-eniola-medical-resident-novelist-child-of-god/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/23/interview-with-eniola-medical-resident-novelist-child-of-god/#respond Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:44:16 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29696 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 Eniola Prentice… Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you […]

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click here for more medical 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 Eniola Prentice…

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

Eniola: I am originally from Nigeria and moved to the States when I was 17. I went to the University of Illinois at Chicago.

I hate answering the question about who I am. The answer usually depends on the time of the day and my mood. I do know a few things about my life. I am sure of the following. I know I am a child of God. I know I want God to use my life as He pleases to help others through my novel. I finished my novel still when I was in the fourth year of medical school. I started writing it in my third year of school. It was definitely one of the most challenging times of my life but I believe God brought out the best in me and connected me with people that are my lifelong friends. It is based on my experiences, friendships and connections in med school. I also used some of my own painful and joyful life experiences. I feel that writing still allowed me to be vulnerable. It’s a lesson I am still learning, allowing myself to be open and let other young women learn from my experiences.

Accepted: Where did you go to med school? What was your favorite thing about that school? And if you could change one thing about the program, what would it be?

Eniola: I went to Howard University in Washington DC. My favorite thing about Howard was the camaraderie and the family atmosphere. I truly had a group of friends that truly supported and loved one another. A lot of my book is based on my true life experiences with my groups of friends. We called ourselves the 210 group because we always studied in room 210. LOL. We still call ourselves that. I would probably change how struggling students were handled.

Accepted: Where are you doing your residency?

Eniola: I am doing my residency in INOVA Fairfax hospital in Virginia.

Accepted: Why did you choose that program?

Eniola: I choose it because of proximity and familiarity. Washington was just 45 minutes away and I had quite a support system nearby. I think that’s one thing that no one really gives you advice on when choosing a residency. Everyone wants to go to the most competitive program or the big name program but fails to realize that residency is demanding. The days can get dark and very lonely. You want to at least enjoy the people you are working with or have a trusted group of friends/family to vent to.

Accepted: Does your family still live in Nigeria? Do you plan on returning home once you’ve completed your studies?

Eniola: Most of my family is here. I don’t think returning to settle down is in my future. However you never know where God leads you.

Accepted: How does religion play into your passion to be a physician?

Eniola: It played a big part in my early years of deciding to study medicine. It took holding on to my faith in God and believing what He said rather than how my situation looked or what I felt or what everyone was telling. Everyone told me no but God told me yes. I listened to God and I am where I am today. Now my Christian religion pushes me to be an excellent resident, and then physician. I always remember the word of God that says “I should do my works to please God and not men.”

Accepted: What are your top 3 tips for residency applicants?

Eniola:

1. Location, location, location. Until you apply you don’t realize how big a factor this is. Then you realize that most of the big city programs have the most applicants and are most competitive. You should research any potential residency interview location keeping in mind that the location will be your home for the next few years and potentially more if you choose fellowship.

2. Ask the residents currently in the program what life is really like. Email them. Notice everything. Does the residency program allow you to talk to a few select residents or you talked to all. Do the residents look genuinely happy? Observe, observe, observe.

3. Support system. Yes you are going to this big name program but will it be a place everyone puts you down instead of building you up? Do they put a spot light on your weakness. It gets very hard in residency and if you don’t have that support system it makes a difficult situation unbearable. I think in medical school and with the competition of residency, you lose sight of the most important things. Find a residency that will encourage you to grow past your weakness and find a support group there. Pray for one. It’s so important.

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

You can follow Eniola’s residency adventure by checking out her blog, Eniola Prentice: Apprentice of God, Half baked Medical doctor, Aspiring Writer. Thank you Eniola 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.

Avoid the 5 fatal flaws to your residency personal statement

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• Residency Applications: How to Match
• Your Residency Match Application: Start to Finish
• An Inside Look at the Medical School Journey

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Residency Admissions: What if I Didn’t Match http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/23/residency-admissions-what-if-i-didnt-match-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/23/residency-admissions-what-if-i-didnt-match-2/#respond Mon, 23 Mar 2015 15:42:42 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29677 Participation in the residency match process has risen steadily for the last several years, with record high application rates in each of the last few years [nrmp.org]. But what’s next if you didn’t match? Think about why you may not have matched, so you can strengthen your candidacy. Did you apply to too few programs? […]

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Click here for residency essay tips

You didn’t match. Now what?

Participation in the residency match process has risen steadily for the last several years, with record high application rates in each of the last few years [nrmp.org].

But what’s next if you didn’t match?

Think about why you may not have matched, so you can strengthen your candidacy. Did you apply to too few programs? To the wrong programs? Were there gaps or weaknesses in your application? Do an honest assessment of your candidacy.

Next, think about what you might want to do in the coming year:

• Do you want to do a year of research?

• Is delaying med school graduation an option? (This would allow you to pursue more rotations and reapply during next year’s Match. The viability of this option depends on your school.)

• You could register with the AAMC’s “find a resident” service to search for available positions.

• Are you interested in pursuing a different degree, such as an MPH or MBA, and then reapplying for the Match when you finish?

Whatever you decide, don’t be discouraged—and good luck!

An experienced consultant can help you make your residency application shine.   Find out more about how we can help you. >>

Rebecca Blustein

By Dr. Rebecca BlusteinAccepted.com consultant since 2008, former Student Affairs Officer at UCLA’s Scholarship Resource Center, and author of the ebook, Financing Your Future: Winning Fellowships, Scholarships and Awards for Grad School. Dr. Blustein, who earned her Ph.D. at UCLA, assists our clients applying to MS, MA, and Ph.D. programs. She is happy to assist you with your grad school applications.

Related Resources:

• Elliptical, Meet Med School: Interview with Andrea Tooley
What Med School Applicants Need to Know About Residency Match
• 4 Must-Haves in Residency Personal Statements

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Reminder: MCAT Prep Webinar on Tues! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/22/reminder-mcat-prep-webinar-on-tues/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/22/reminder-mcat-prep-webinar-on-tues/#respond Sun, 22 Mar 2015 22:15:34 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29558 Attention future MCAT test-takers. Don’t forget to reserve your spot for our upcoming webinar, The Results Are In: Analyzing Your MCAT Diagnostic Exam!   Get tips on how to approach and complete MCAT problems, review actual questions from Next Step Test Prep’s diagnostic exam, and more. Tags: Medical School Admissions

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Attention future MCAT test-takers. Don’t forget to reserve your spot for our upcoming webinar, The Results Are In: Analyzing Your MCAT Diagnostic Exam!

MCAT Diagnostic Exam Webinar: Tuesday, March 24 2015 at 5:00 PM PST/8:00 PM EST

 

Get tips on how to approach and complete MCAT problems, review actual questions from Next Step Test Prep’s diagnostic exam, and more.

Click here to reserve your spot for the webinar!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Reapplying to Med School: Evaluating Your Medical School Profile http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/19/reapplying-to-med-school-evaluating-your-medical-school-profile/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/19/reapplying-to-med-school-evaluating-your-medical-school-profile/#respond Thu, 19 Mar 2015 16:39:32 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29434 This is the first blog post in our series, Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success.  Hopefully by now, you have your acceptance in hand and are gearing up for Fall. If so, then congratulations and good luck! But what if all you’ve received are rejections? To start with, know you’re not alone. Last year, […]

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Time to reevaluate your commitment to being a doctor.

This is the first blog post in our series, Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success

Hopefully by now, you have your acceptance in hand and are gearing up for Fall. If so, then congratulations and good luck!

But what if all you’ve received are rejections?

To start with, know you’re not alone. Last year, only 20,343 applicants made the cut, out of 49480 applicants – that’s about 41%. And although the number of available allopathic places has increased slightly, it hasn’t matched the pace of applications, which have steadily increased since 2011.

So what’s your next step, now that you won’t be starting med school?

Next Step

Use this time to reevaluate your commitment to being a doctor. The ache of rejection might cloud your immediate judgment, but do your best to project yourself into the future. Do you still envision yourself as a doctor? Have any of your reasons for pursuing medicine changed? If so, then how? Are there other paths that appeal to you – do you think you could find happiness and fulfillment in another profession?

For many people, the process of applying for medical school is the first time they have critically examined their desire to be a doctor. Sometimes the answer is surprising. There’s no shame in deciding that medicine might not be right for you – there is a myriad of other options, either in healthcare or other fields. But it is vital that you know whether getting rejected is merely a setback or a watershed.

Evaluate Your Application

Assuming that your commitment remains strong, it’s time to take a good, hard look at your application. It would be misleading to say this process is an easy one. But what I’d like to do, in this guide, is break it down into manageable parts that will help you identify your weaknesses and strengthen your next application. In future sections, we’ll look at how your profile appeared to the admissions committee and the concrete steps you can take to address your weaknesses. But first, we’ll take a look at your fundamental profile and see how it stacks up against successful applicants.

Academic record and GPA: Is your GPA competitive? Does your transcript reflect a breadth of interests (humanities, social science and foreign language classes as well as sciences)? And if you had difficulties, were they early in your college career – did your grades show an upward trend?

Time and again, medical schools say that students should not be obsessed with perfect grades. This statement is hard to swallow when applicants’ GPAs keep rising. In 2014, the mean GPA for applicants was 3.55; for matriculants, it was 3.69. Of course, not everyone who got in had these grades – there’s always a range above and below. However, it does suggest that the applicant pool is getting more competitive. If your GPA doesn’t fall within .2-.3 points, you should consider ways to improve your grades.

Mistakes linger and it’s hard to fix your GPA after the fact, but there are some concrete steps you can take – more on that in the third chapter.

MCAT: In 2014, the mean MCAT score for all allopathic applicants was 28.6; for matriculants, it was 31.4. Obviously there is a spread of scores on both sides of these numbers, but if you’re more than a couple of points below, this could be a problem in your profile.

If you scored lower than expected, you should also assess what went wrong. Were you unprepared for the questions that were asked? Did any particular areas give you trouble? If so, you should question your study practices and take additional steps to prepare. On the other hand, if you scored significantly higher on practice tests or ran out of time, it could signal test anxiety – a not-uncommon affliction. It’s not unusual to be nervous the first time you sit the exam, it’s an unusual situation after all, but if you feel that your nervousness was extreme and impaired your performance, it’s likely to be something you should address.

Keep in mind that a good MCAT score can help mitigate a lower GPA, and vice versa, but a significant discrepancy between the two can signal a problem. A 33 with a 3.5 is better than a 25 with a 4.0 or a 37 with a 2.8.

Clinical experience: Medical schools look for a working knowledge of the health professions as demonstrated through volunteering or shadowing. Too many applicants present an impressive list of accomplishments, but lack any serious engagement in the healthcare field. You’ve got to demonstrate that you understand the realities of the profession, that you are service-minded, and that you’re committed to practicing medicine.

But all positions are not equal. Commitment and quality, exhibited through substantive, longer term experiences, hold more value than a series of short-term shadowing opportunities. At least two substantive experiences are recommended to demonstrate commitment and interest. If you have less, this is definitely an area that you can improve.

Research experience: Some medical schools value research more than others; clinical volunteer work and community service are enough for others. But as the applicant pool grows more selective, research has gone from being a way to distinguish applicants to a more basic part of a well-rounded application. If you left this section blank on the AMCAS, it’s worth revisiting, perhaps through a master’s degree.

Leadership and public service: As important as grades are, the successful med school candidate needs to balance good grades with leadership and service positions outside the classroom. The range of acceptable activities is endless, so it’s important to seek out something that you enjoy. Together, these experiences demonstrate a commitment to serving others and an appreciation of human connections – one that ultimately reflects the human dimension of medicine.

Medical schools have always been competitive, but as they become ever more selective, it’s critical that you present the strongest application you can. Honestly assessing your application is your first step to improving your chances next year.

Next up: a look at the second part of your application – how you present your experiences to the admissions committee.
MedReapplicantGuide

Cydney Foote By , Accepted consultant and author of Write Your Way to Medical School, who has helped future physicians craft winning applications since 2001.

 

Related Resources:

• A Second Chance at Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs
7 Reasons Medical School Applicants are Rejected
Preparing to Reapply to Medical School: IV with MedSchoolApplicant

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Elliptical, Meet Med School: Interview with Andrea Tooley http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/18/elliptical-meet-med-school-interview-with-andrea-tooley/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/18/elliptical-meet-med-school-interview-with-andrea-tooley/#respond Wed, 18 Mar 2015 15:42:30 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29639 It’s not easy being a med school applicant. Or a med student. Or a resident. Meet a woman who manages to pull it off in style. Andrea Tooley is an Ophthalmology resident at the Mayo Clinic, avid blogger and youtuber, and a fitness and nutrition buff. And she sleeps. Want some inspiration? Listen to the […]

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Click here to listen to our talk with Andrea Tooley!It’s not easy being a med school applicant. Or a med student. Or a resident. Meet a woman who manages to pull it off in style.

Andrea Tooley is an Ophthalmology resident at the Mayo Clinic, avid blogger and youtuber, and a fitness and nutrition buff. And she sleeps.

Want some inspiration? Listen to the recording of our great conversation with Andrea and find out the secret of her med school success.

00:02:04 – What motivated a busy med student to start a blog and youtube channel.

00:03:52 – A scientist’s view of the plethora of contradictory health and nutrition trends.

00:05:52 – Andrea’s advice for applicants at the beginning of the application journey. [Music to Linda’s ears!]

00:07:57 – Maintaining perspective and energy during the daunting med admissions process.

00:09:10 – Early Decision: who should apply ED and who should not.

00:11:52 – The best and worst things about med school.

00:14:24 – How was a student so committed to ophthalmology able to be open-minded about the future?

00:17:04 – Take it from a busy person: how to fit it all in (and sleep, too!).

00:21:19 – Handling the very serious challenge med school poses to a relationship.

00:24:40 – 23 residency interview offers! How did she manage that?

Click here to listen to the show!*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

• A Doctor in the House AKA www.andreatooley.com
• Andrea’s YouTube Channel
• Med School Blogger Interview: Andrea’s Journey
• Getting Ready for Residency: IV with a Med Student on the Way to Mayo

Related Shows:

• An Inside Look at the Medical School Journey
• All Things Postbac
• Medical School Admissions 2015-2016: A Dean’s Perspective
• Getting Into Medical School: Advice from a Pro
• MCAT Scores, MCAT Prep, and #MCAT2015

Avoid the 5 fatal flaws to your residency personal statement

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