Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog » Medical School Admissions http://blog.accepted.com Admissions consulting and application advice Fri, 31 Oct 2014 17:19:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Admissions consulting and application advice Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no Admissions consulting and application advice Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog » Medical School Admissions http://blog.accepted.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://blog.accepted.com/category/medical-school-admissions/ What Should You Wear to Your Med School Interview? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/29/what-should-you-wear-to-your-med-school-interview/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/29/what-should-you-wear-to-your-med-school-interview/#respond Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:49:36 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25922 ]]> Click here to download your complete copy of The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success!

What should I wear?

“What Should You Wear?” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success. To download the entire free special report, click here.

Now you know what to say. But what should you wear?

For the men, suits are most common. You want to dress neatly and professionally. Applicants should have their hair groomed and it is best to wear business style walking shoes.

Women, on the other hand, do not need to wear a suit but often do choose to. Some color is fine but make sure it’s in good taste – not overdone. Applicants should not wear a lot of make-up or jewelry and they should definitely wear shoes that are comfortable.

The key is to wear something you feel comfortable in and even more importantly, something you feel confident wearing. Be professional. Remember you have been selected based on your credentials on paper. The interview is your chance to present yourself personally. You want to look and act like a physician, someone that will be treating future patients.

Click here to download your complete copy of The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Interviewing with Impact: How to Make an Impression in Your Med School Interviews
• Common Myths about Medical School Interviews
• Introducing the MMI (Multiple Mini Interview)

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So what IS an MMI anyways? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/27/so-what-is-an-mmi-anyways/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/27/so-what-is-an-mmi-anyways/#respond Mon, 27 Oct 2014 16:55:02 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26337 ]]> Click here to reserve your spot at Multiple Mini Interview: Method or Madness?

Now’s your chance to learn the ins and outs of the mysterious Multiple Mini Interview, during TOMORROW’S webinar, Multiple Mini Interview: Method or Madness?

During the webinar you’ll learn the history of the MMI, as well as important tips for tackling questions at each interview station.

This isn’t your typical interview, so you won’t prepare for it in the typical way. Learn how to do it right tomorrow, October 28, 2014 at 5:00 PM PT/8:00 PM ET.

Registration link: Multiple Mini Interview: Method or Madness? (Registration is free, but required.)

Click here to save your spot!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

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How to Ace the MMI Interview http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/26/how-to-ace-the-mmi-interview/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/26/how-to-ace-the-mmi-interview/#respond Sun, 26 Oct 2014 17:12:59 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26206 ]]> Want more advice for nailing your Multiple Mini Interview?

View the other applicants as your future classmates (not your competitors!)

Since the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format can be difficult to prepare for, this post will give you four specific strategies for success.

There are four main types of stations: traditional interview questions, debate questions, collaborative activities, and fake scenarios with actors. To excel in this multi-faceted type of interview:

Before the Interview–Review your AMCAS Application.

To prepare for the traditional interview questions, reviewing your AMCAS application can help you remember all of the activities you have been involved in so that when you are asked a question about team work or meaningful clinical or volunteer experiences, you will be able to quickly recall the activities that would work best as examples. It’s easy for an interviewer to see if an applicant has not recently reviewed her AMCAS application or resume because she often uses the same job over and over again or forgets to represent the full range of her life experiences.

During the Interview:

1. Think out loud.

Remember that this interview format is all about thinking on your feet. When you are given a challenging situation, talk through it, whether it is a debate question, a team activity, or a fake scenario with an actor. Consider all possible options and solutions. Brainstorm. It takes time to come up with good ideas so don’t hesitate to throw out as many ideas as you can before you find the one that will work best for the situation at hand.

2. Ask questions.

Get curious. Often the best way to resolve an issue or to find a solution is to collect enough information to make an informed decision. Phrase your questions thoughtfully so that you will get the information that you need in the shortest amount of time possible. This strategy can be used for multiple stations. Often, finding out what the other person’s main objective or goal may be can provide a shortcut to a happy resolution and an A-1 answer.

 3. Share your life experiences.

Empathy is defined by our ability to understand and feel what others are going through. Some of the most difficult stations at the MMI may involve actors who are expressing strong emotions—anger, grief, and fear. Rather than being overwhelmed by these emotions, sometimes giving in to them—empathizing—can be the best strategy. Sharing a story about a similar experience that you have had can help to calm a person down more quickly than dispensing advice. Think of a time when you have been in distress. What were the things that other people did to help you manage the situation?

Rather than viewing the other applicants interviewing with you as competitors, see them as your future classmates. You may have a lot to laugh about in the fall, if you survive the MMI experience together.  While you can expect a challenging interview experience, with highs and lows, focus on doing your best.  Hopefully the strategies above will make it easier for you to accomplish this goal and to earn an acceptance!

MMI Webinar: Click Here to Save Your Spot!

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:

• Introducing the MMI (Multiple Mini Interview)
• Multiple Mini Interview: Method or Madness?
The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success

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Sample Questions to Ask Your Interviewer http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/22/sample-questions-to-ask-your-interviewer/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/22/sample-questions-to-ask-your-interviewer/#respond Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:17:09 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25920 ]]> Click here to download your free copy of  The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success!

Prepare Questions!

“Sample Questions to Ask Your Interviewer” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success. To download the entire free special report, click here

Since your goal should be to come up with questions that are specific to your situation, I can’t give you a list of must-ask questions without knowing who YOU are. But here are a few sample questions that you can review and tweak so that the questions are more appropriate for YOU:

If you are interviewing with med school alum or a second-year student, then you should ask questions about their experiences, for example:

• Who are/were some of your favorite professors? Favorite classes?

• What is/was a typical day like for you?

• Are there clubs or activities that you would recommend for someone interested in XYZ? What clubs are/were you involved in? How important do you think it is to be involved in extracurricular activities?

• If you could change anything about your experience at this program, what would it be?

You get the idea. You want to come up with questions that personalize you and that show you have an interest in your interviewer’s experience (if relevant).

Be specific, show that you’ve done your research, and most importantly, relax!

Click here to download your complete copy of The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

Interviewing with Impact: How to Make an Impression in Your Med School Interviews
• Multiple Mini Interview: Method or Madness?
• Common Myths about Medical School Interviews

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Introducing NEW Consulting CEO Rankings http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/22/introducing-new-consulting-ceo-rankings/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/22/introducing-new-consulting-ceo-rankings/#respond Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:54:45 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26115 ]]> FirmsconsultingCEORankingsFirmsconsulting just released new rankings that compare the performance of CEOs from six top consulting firms, McKinsey & Co., BCG, Bain & Co., Deloitte S&O, PwC Strategy& and Roland Berger. Each Sunday, the rankings will be republished based on new performance findings.

Here are some points to keep in mind:

1. How a CEO fares does not correlate to the prestige of the firm.

2. Feedback is collected directly from firm partners.

3. The real-time ranking updates allow Firmsconsulting to track weekly changes. For consulting firms, a yearly ranking would simply be outdated by the time it was published, taking into account data from a bygone era.

4. Based on a CEO’s past performance, Firmsconsulting believes one can infer from these ranking the likely future performance of a CEO.

You can view the real-time rankings and check out CEO profiles here.

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• How to Become a Management Consultant
• Consulting at Top MBA Programs
• MBA In Sight: Focus on Management Consulting

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Introducing the MMI (Multiple Mini Interview) http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/21/introducing-the-mmi-multiple-mini-interview/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/21/introducing-the-mmi-multiple-mini-interview/#respond Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:33:28 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26171 ]]> Want tips for acing your Multiple Mini Interviews?

Ready to create something out of spaghetti?

The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) method was created in Canada. McMaster University published a research study in 2004 that examined using this new interview method to more accurately assess candidates for admission into medical school.  In their study, they found that the traditional interview format was not a reliable admissions tool because too often the interviewer was influencing the quality of the interview.  It’s expensive for students to fly to interviews—only to be interviewed by one or two people—who may or may not provide them with a fair interview or review for any number of factors.  By providing ten different stations, the McMaster MMI allowed students to interact with a wide range of evaluators.  The scores and feedback provided by a larger number of people served as a more accurate way to review the performance of applicants.  In the U.S., UCLA and UC Davis were the first medical schools to begin using this new interview format.  More and more schools are adopting this method.

The basic structure of the MMI in the U.S. includes:

An average of six to ten different stations.

A time limit at each station, as well as a time limit to prepare.

An evaluator to observe at each station.

Stations that may be held in an open area or small rooms.

The stations themselves are broken down into four main types of activities:

1. Traditional Interview Questions

Most schools will have a station or two with questions about why you want to go into medicine or what you have done to prepare yourself for a career in medicine. You can always expect to encounter these types of questions in any kind of interview.

2. Debate Questions

For this type of station, you will be given a topic and instructions on whether you will be arguing for or against the topic assigned. Often you will be given some time to prepare and a time limit to present your argument.  At the end, you will need to provide feedback on the other student’s response.

3. Team Activities

The types of team activities offered varies widely from campus to campus. Some schools have you draw a picture from verbal instructions only, other schools will have you work with another applicant to take turns building something with blocks and giving instructions. Or you will have to work as a team to create something together using blocks, nails or even spaghetti and marshmallows.

4. Actors and Fake Scenarios

The actors who participate in the stations will often present you with a fake situation in which you have to respond to their distress, anger, grief or other strong emotions. The evaluator wants to see how many strategies you have in relating to others and resolving conflicts of any nature.  These stations give you a chance to demonstrate how you think on your feet.

While it is difficult to know how to prepare for this type of interview, understanding why it is used and its basic structure will help you begin to strategize. This format will ensure that you are given a fair evaluation.  It’s designed to help them identify the strengths that you will bring to your medical training.

MMI Webinar CTA

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:

• Multiple Mini Interview: Method or Madness?
Interviewing with Impact: How to Make an Impression in Your Medical School Interviews
The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success

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Study More, Study Better: Advice from a 4th Year Med Student http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/20/study-more-study-better-advice-from-a-4th-year-med-student/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/20/study-more-study-better-advice-from-a-4th-year-med-student/#respond Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:52:58 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26161 ]]> 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 Evan Kuhl…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can follow Evan’s adventure by checking out his website, evankuhl.com. Thank you Evan 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.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

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

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3 Ways to Get in Shape for Your Multiple Mini Interview http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/20/3-ways-to-get-in-shape-for-your-multiple-mini-interview/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/20/3-ways-to-get-in-shape-for-your-multiple-mini-interview/#respond Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:52:20 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26157 ]]> Click here to reserve your spot at Multiple Mini Interview: Method or Madness?

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

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

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

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

Date: Tuesday, October 28, 2014

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

Registration link: Multiple Mini Interview: Method or Madness?

Click here to save your spot!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

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Typical Medical School Interview Questions http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/15/typical-medical-school-interview-questions/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/15/typical-medical-school-interview-questions/#respond Wed, 15 Oct 2014 17:10:20 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25918 ]]> Want more advice for acing your med school interviews?

Come to your interview prepared to show that you are a good fit for the program.

“Typical Interview Questions” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success. To download the entire free special report, click here

Enter interview day ready to share what you feel you can contribute to the entering class and why you are confident you are a good match for this particular program. You will have already spent loads of time looking inward at yourself and outward at your target program – so these points should be no-brainers by now.

The structure of the interview usually goes as follows: First there are initial questions to get to know you and help you relax; then the interviewer will move onto some standard questions; and then there will be some personal questions about your experiences and then some thought-provoking questions. You’ll find examples in each of these categories below.

Initial Questions to Help You Relax

A good interviewer will work hard to help you relax initially so that you have a conversation, rather than a cut and dry Q&A session. Typical questions in this category include:

• Tell me about your parents? Your siblings?

• How was your trip here? Is this your first trip to our city? What do you think of the weather?

• What are your favorite sports teams?

• What are your hobbies?

Standard Questions about Your Education and Your Interest in Med School

Then the interviewer will move on to some basic question about your interest in med school:

• Why do you want to go to medical school?

• Explain your transcript discrepancies from your undergraduate record.

• Share your most meaningful extracurricular activity.

• Describe a time when you were in a caring role.

• Describe your clinical exposure. Was there significant patient contact?

• What was your most rewarding volunteer position?

• Describe your research exposure? What it bench or clinical?

• Describe the activities you had during your gap year?

• Why did you enroll in a post-baccalaureate program?

Personal Questions

Then the mood may change as the interviewer turns towards some more personal questions in an effort to better get to know you. These may include:

• Have you ever experienced adversity? How did you respond?

• What qualities do you possess that make you confident you can be a physician?

• What are your strengths? Your weaknesses?

• What are you most proud of?

• Who has had the greatest impact on your life, helping you get to where you are today?

Thought-Provoking Questions

They’ll then want to pick your brain a bit with questions such as these:

• Interviewers often challenge applicants with an ethical question which may be related to any number of controversial areas such as: What are your views on [choose any of these controversial issues – abortion/right to life/assisted suicide/Medicare/DNR]?

• Where do you envision yourself ten years from now professionally?

• How do you envision the field of health care in ten years?

• Do you think the U.S. is moving to managed care? Is this best? Will physicians lose all autonomy?

In a nutshell, you can expect questions to help you relax and questions that may challenge you. You can also anticipate questions about you, about healthcare, and about matters that will allow you to show fit with this particular medical school.

Click here to download your complete copy of The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

How to Ace Your Medical School Interview
Multiple Mini Interview – Method or Madness?
Free Medical School Admissions Guides

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Getting Into Medical School: Advice from a Pro http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/15/getting-into-medical-school-advice-from-a-pro/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/15/getting-into-medical-school-advice-from-a-pro/#respond Wed, 15 Oct 2014 16:55:01 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26126 ]]> Click here for the full interview!Ever wanted to ask a medical school admissions officer what you need to know and do to get accepted to med school?

Listen to the recording of our conversation with Dr. Herman “Flash” Gordon, former chair of the University of Arizona College of Medicine Admissions Committee and Accepted’s newest consultant for invaluable advice about applying to med school.

00:03:43 – When reviewing an application, what is an adcom looking for?

00:06:35 – Advice for this year’s med school applicants who aren’t getting interview invites.

00:14:05 – Tips for the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed applicants planning to apply for the first time next summer.

00:16:22 – Latecomers: should they bother applying at the 11th hour or wait for next year?

00:19:21 – What sets the University of Arizona apart.

00:25:39 – How an MD/PhD application differs from an MD application.

00:27:07 – Background and tips for the Multiple Mini Interview (and yes, you should practice!).

00:35:17 – Teaching Critical Thinking Skills and Dr. Gordon’s app.

00:44:11 – Important advice for future doctors.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

• U of Arizona MMI    
Medical School Admissions 101
• Herman “Flash” Gordon’s Bio 
Free Webinar: Multiple Mini Interview – Method or Madness?

Related Shows:

Med School Application Process: From AMCAS to Decisions
• What You Need to Know about Med School Admissions
• What You Need to Know About Post-bac Programs
• MCAT Mania: How to Prepare
• A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

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

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/15/getting-into-medical-school-advice-from-a-pro/feed/ 0 podcast Ever wanted to ask a medical school admissions officer what you need to know and do to get accepted to med school? - Listen to the recording of our conversation with Dr. Herman “Flash” Gordon, former chair of the University of Arizona College of M... Ever wanted to ask a medical school admissions officer what you need to know and do to get accepted to med school? Listen to the recording of our conversation with Dr. Herman “Flash” Gordon, former chair of the University of Arizona College of Medicine Admissions Committee and Accepted’s newest consultant for invaluable advice about applying to med school. 00:03:43 – When reviewing an application, what is an adcom looking for? 00:06:35 – Advice for this year’s med school applicants who aren’t getting interview invites. 00:14:05 – Tips for the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed applicants planning to apply for the first time next summer. 00:16:22 – Latecomers: should they bother applying at the 11th hour or wait for next year? 00:19:21 – What sets the University of Arizona apart. 00:25:39 – How an MD/PhD application differs from an MD application. 00:27:07 – Background and tips for the Multiple Mini Interview (and yes, you should practice!). 00:35:17 – Teaching Critical Thinking Skills and Dr. Gordon’s app. 00:44:11 – Important advice for future doctors. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Related Links: • U of Arizona MMI     • Medical School Admissions 101 • Herman “Flash” Gordon's Bio  • Free Webinar: Multiple Mini Interview – Method or Madness? Related Shows: • Med School Application Process: From AMCAS to Decisions • What You Need to Know about Med School Admissions • What You Need to Know About Post-bac Programs • MCAT Mania: How to Prepare • A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk: Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 50:38
Why Your Resume Deserves Your Attention http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/13/why-your-resume-deserves-your-attention/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/13/why-your-resume-deserves-your-attention/#respond Mon, 13 Oct 2014 18:52:32 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26113 ]]> Many adcom readers will begin their review of an application by going over an applicant’s resume. That’s right – your resume isn’t just some quick document that’s there for show! It’s really your unique one-page introduction to the admissions board. This is not something you want to put on the back burner!

Download your copy of The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes!

In our newest special report, The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes, you’ll learn important tips and tricks for crafting an admissions resume that’s interesting, clear, and highly readable. A messy resume equals a messy applicant – not the first impression you want to make!

Download your free copy of The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes now and get started with the resume that will determine your future: acceptance to your top choice program!

Click here to download your guide!

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Practice Surgical Knots at Red Lights and More Advice from a Current Med Student http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/13/medical-school-student-interview-carlos-guzman/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/13/medical-school-student-interview-carlos-guzman/#respond Mon, 13 Oct 2014 16:46:02 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26078 ]]> Click here for more med school student interviews!

Carlos Guzman

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 Carlos Guzman…

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What is your favorite non-school book?

Carlos: Well, My name is Carlos Guzman. I was born in Guatemala and I came to the United States at the age of 9. I have lived in Los Angeles ever since. I went to UCLA and received my BS in Biochemistry in 2008.

I typically like reading stuff that is completely out of left field, such as Tricks of the Mind or Confessions of a Conjuror by Derren Brown. I tend to read books that have little structure or scientific content to balance out the medical texts I have to go through. It’s is nice to get your mind working in a completely different gear.

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

Carlos: I am currently finishing up my 4th year at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

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

Carlos: I love the fact that it balances multiple important facets of scholarship, including research and didactic rigor, with a healthy environment which allows us to grow in multiple ways, including the arts. For example, I played guitar in a small band with a few of my classmates, while others undertook photography, poetry, and travel.

I really like the program, and doubt that I would change anything. It is a place where learning is encouraged and self motivation is expected. I love that.

Accepted: What are some things you wish you had known as an incoming first year that would’ve made your adjustment to med school easier? How would you advise other incoming students?

Carlos: I really wish somebody would have told me how fast paced everything is! I understand that nobody is ever really prepared for the first year of medical school, but if I could go back, I would tell myself to brush up on my human biology and basic anatomy. I would have also looked into getting a job as a clinical scribe. Scribes learn how to write medical notes, which is one of the most tedious parts of medical school education, and one of the most useful skills to master.

Accepted: Did you go straight from college to med school? If not, what did you do in between?

Carlos: I did not. My path was a bit odd, as I did not get accepted after my first application. I went back to school, increased my GPA, and reapplied. In the interim, I taught MCAT OChem for the Princeton Review.

Accepted: Can you tell us about Pinfinity? How has your work there influenced your career decisions?

Carlos: My path into Pinfinity came in a rather serendipitous manner. I was contacted out of the blue by the CEO, Jeff Eakin, who was looking for self driven, motivated students who wanted to write medical content. Seeing as teaching and writing are both facets of my future career that I look forward to, I decided to get my feet wet as soon as possible.

This became not only a truly amazing learning experience, but also a way to overcome one of my remaining fears, namely business. I quickly became aware of my abilities as a leader and learned how to maximize my time and effort. I learned tidbits about what running a business is about, and I learned that there are many students out there who, like me, are eager to work, write, and help others.

We are currently making big moves regarding publishing study materials for medical school testing. One of the next big steps would be writing study materials for the new format MCAT. You wouldn’t happen to know a few medical students hungry to write and get published would you? (*NOTE: If this is you, contact Charles at carlos@pinfinity.co.)

I have learned to love the long term goals that come inherent to the world of business, and intend to make it a permanent part of my career as well.

Accepted: How do you juggle work and school?

Carlos: I think one of the key skills learned in medical school is time management. Once you start looking around, you will notice that there are a million little things throughout the day that just kill your work and productivity. Things like TV and Facebook are huge time suckers.

I told myself, “If I did anything as often as people check their friend’s status or watched TV, I’d be a millionaire!” So I started doing that. Instead of watching too much TV, I look up topics to write about or work on research. Instead of getting on Facebook, I fire off business emails or get some shadowing scheduled in! I read interesting topics while walking to and fro from places like the parking lot to the hospital or cafeteria.

Sitting at red lights is also a huge waste of time: Why not practice surgical knots on your steering wheel while you wait? Look for the time wasters and get rid of them!

Accepted: What are your top 3 med school admissions tips?

Carlos: 1) Be strong all around, meaning your life outside of medicine as well. Study hard to keep your grades up, sure, but love the rest of your life as well! Play an instrument? Show that you are passionate by playing shows or teaching others how to play! Like sports? Be a leader or coach little league! Don’t be the student who doesn’t care about anything other than school. Life balance is key! Remember that being a healthy, normal human being is one of the most important things in life!

2) Get into research ASAP. An applicant with some research experience will always shine! Even if you don’t get a publication, being able to talk about your research and the current literature intelligently will show the committee that you are ready to take into account one of the main facets of present day medicine: evidence based approaches to health.

3) Make sure that if you have any weak points in your application that kept you from getting accepted, you get them resolved in very tangible and obvious ways. Is your GPA weak? RETAKE that class that hurt you and SMASH it (happened to me!). Is your MCAT weak? Retake it and show them that you are great! DO NOT just assume that not getting accepted means that you have to change your career path. It just means you have to persevere!

Accepted: Did you have any shadowing experiences or work on any research projects before you applied to medical school?

Carlos: I was fortunate (and aggressive) enough to get both shadowing in clinics as well as research during the end of my high school years and throughout college. The opportunities are out there, and you have to be aggressive to get them! Don’t be afraid to ask, the worst thing that will happen is that they will say no. At that point you can move on and look elsewhere. Keep looking and you’ll eventually find something!

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

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

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

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

The Importance of Clinical Exposure
• A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes
How to Spend Your Gap Year Between College and Med School

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The Popularization of the Joint MD/MBA Degree http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/12/the-popularization-of-the-joint-mdmba-degree/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/12/the-popularization-of-the-joint-mdmba-degree/#respond Sun, 12 Oct 2014 17:10:11 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26076 ]]> Need medical school admissions advice?

Hospitals staffed by physician CEOs outperformed those that did not employ medical leadership.

A recent The Atlantic article talks about the rise of the combined MD/MBA degree and increased demand for doctors with both degrees. Previously, MBAs held leadership positions in hospital administration, and MDs filled the middle management positions – now, with the dual degree, the lead position can be filled by someone with business and clinical acumen. According to the Atlantic article, those hospitals staffed by physician CEOs outperformed those that did not employ medical leadership. With the Affordable Care Act and the implementation of other healthcare initiatives, doctors are seeing a greater need to understand the business of healthcare. Healthcare consultants and managers of healthcare startups are also popular positions for MD/MBA degree holders.

In the last decade, it’s become increasingly common that doctors pursue additional degrees (PhD, MPH, MA, etc.), in part because of the growing complaint that med school curriculums haven’t changed much since the early 20th century. More and more students feel they need to supplement their med school education with additional schooling. In fact, 20 years ago there were only six joint MD/MBA programs, compared to 65 programs today. At UC Irvine, 20% of med students are also pursuing an MBA.

Another study indicates that an understanding of business may actually help physicians in the exam room as well – a strong sense of leadership and finely tuned critical thinking can help a doctor solve medical problems, particularly in primary care, a field that may be on the rise among MD/MBAs. According to the Atlantic piece, “The field allows doctors to be creative while serving a high-need medical population, and to tackle preventive care rather than band-aid solutions.”

These five-year programs enable students to pursue both degrees, paying a lot less for their MBA than they would if it were not part of a combined program. These programs also sort out timing issues that a person earning two separate degrees would inevitably encounter if not in a dual program. The breakdown usually goes as follows – three years of med school followed by one year of business school followed by a fifth year that combines the two disciplines (clinical rotations with business training).

The Atlantic article is fairly long and goes into much more depth. I recommend reading it if you are seriously considering an MD/MBA.

leadership in admissions

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Related Resources:

• Business and Science Meet: Insights of an IMD Grad and Former Medical Doctor
Healthcare Management at Wharton and at Large
Medical School Admissions 101

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Medical School Interviews: Preparing for the Big Day http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/08/medical-school-interviews-preparing-for-the-big-day/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/08/medical-school-interviews-preparing-for-the-big-day/#respond Wed, 08 Oct 2014 16:51:15 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25914 ]]> Click here to download the complete report!“Preparing for the Big Day” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success. To download the entire free special report, click here

When should you start prepping for your interview? As soon as you get that invite! So let’s jump right in…

Below you’ll find 9 tips to help you become perfectly prepared for your interview:

1. Stay informed.

It’s important that you know what’s going on in the world of medicine. Stay abreast of issues by reading medical blogs and journals, and take the time to speak to doctors or researchers whom you may encounter during work or volunteer hours. Reading or speaking about current medical issues will help you develop your own opinions.

Your interviewer will be impressed with your up-to-date knowledge, as well as the fact that you’ve sat and thought about your personal views on the issues.

2. Read interview feedback.

Having some idea of what to expect on the big day will enable you to think in advance about how to answer common questions. The Student Doctor Network offers med school applicants excellent interview feedback that will help you prepare for your interviews and build confidence.

3. Study the school’s website.

In order to express your unique fit with your target program, you’ll need to know as much as possible about the program’s mission, teaching methods, student body and faculty, research initiatives, and resident/fellowship placements. The website is the best place to start to find this information, but you should also reach out to current students and alumni to obtain “insider” information on the details of the program.

Individualized preparation for each and every school you interview at is very important. Spend time reviewing the curriculum, the school’s mission, the facilities, the hospitals you will be completing your clinical rotations at, available community opportunities – everything that defines the institution.

Also look at what the school is known for – does it have an international or public health focus, a strong mission of treating the underserved and/or the underinsured, an emphasis on primary care, or a strong research component to education? Try to figure out why you are a good match for this particular school so you can honestly state why you want to go there.

4. Review your application, especially your AMCAS and secondary essays.

Your interviewer will likely ask you some basic questions on information you provided in your application and essays. It’s been months since you completed your application and you don’t want to draw a blank on the easy stuff, so read up on the basics so you’re familiar with all your experiences, including important dates, awards, relevant coursework, etc.

If you performed research, especially if it was a few years ago, make sure you know the science of the project, what your part in the project was, and where the project is today.

5. Consider how you’ve changed.

Think about what has changed since your AMCAS and secondary application submission so that you know what other information you want to make sure you share with your interviewer. Include anything that may have changed in your application, such as your plans for the current year, a recent publication etc., so you can update your interviewer if necessary.

6. Anticipate typical questions and prepare answers.

There are many standard questions that are asked by all medical schools. You should prepare your answers in advance so that under the stressful interview circumstances you are still able to maintain your focus and speak confidently. (I’ll share a list of sample questions in an upcoming post in this series.)

7. Prepare questions to ask.

An interview is a two-way street. Your interviewer will ask you questions and listen to your answers, and then will turn the asking over to you. When your interviewer says, “Do you have any questions?” you don’t want to shut the interview down by saying, “Nope, I’m set.” Instead, keep the conversation going by taking the reins of the interview into your hands and asking some questions of your own – but don’t just ask a question simply for the sake of asking one. Ask one that is relevant to your background, one that shows your serious interest in the school and your knowledge of the institution.

Two important tips:

1) Don’t ask a question that can be answered easily by looking online; and 2) make sure your questions are specific to your unique situation.

You’ll find a list of sample questions on page 9 of this special report.

8. Reflect on death.

End-of-life issues may make you uncomfortable, but it’s important that you’re able to respond to a question on the subject seriously and with dignity. Questions like, “How will you handle losing a patient?” or “How do you feel about euthanasia or a patient’s right to die?” should not be approached lightly. Your interviewer will want to see that you’ve thought about these tough ethical and emotional questions and that you know where you stand.

9. Finalize travel plans.

Make your travel plans in advance so there is minimal stress around the actual interview. Do not go stand-by on a flight at the last minute.

Additionally, you should make sure you arrive well in advance of your scheduled interview time. Most schools offer a day-long interview schedule; therefore it is recommended that you arrive the evening before so you can get settled and relax. Thoughtful planning safeguards against delays that could directly or indirectly affect your performance on interview day.

Click here to download your complete copy of  The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

How to Ace Your Medical School Interview (free webinar)
• Common Myths about Medical School Interviews
• How to Show that YOU Want to be a Doctor

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Give Yourself Every Opportunity for Success: IV with a Med Resident http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/06/give-yourself-every-opportunity-for-success-iv-with-a-med-resident/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/06/give-yourself-every-opportunity-for-success-iv-with-a-med-resident/#respond Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:39:54 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25970 ]]> Click here to read more med school student interviews!

Elena Welt

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 Elena Welt…

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 ice cream flavor?

Elena: I’m originally from NJ, and went out to St. Louis to go to Wash U for undergrad. I was pre-med, but I was actually an English major. I’ve always loved to read and write, and I knew science would take up the majority of my future, so I wanted to get in as much reading for pleasure as I could before med school took over my life! I also had a minor in Spanish, and spent a semester in Seville, Spain which was so much fun, and definitely the best way to learn a language.

My favorite ice cream flavor is anything that has caramel in it! Salted caramel, dulce de leche, any of those. Yum. Although I don’t discriminate – there’s no ice cream I wouldn’t eat.

Accepted: Where did you attend med school? What was your favorite thing about the program?

Elena: I came back to NJ for medical school – I went to New Jersey Medical School, which is now part of Rutgers. (It’s the one in Newark. There’s another Rutgers medical school called Robert Wood Johnson that’s located in New Brunswick.) I loved training there, and I think the best part of the medical school is the amazing clinical experiences you get early on. It was also nice to be so close to my family – there’s nothing like your mom cooking you a home-made meal when you’re stressed about studying! The patient population in Newark can sometimes be challenging to work with, but it can also be extremely rewarding.

Accepted: Congrats on matching at your top choice residency program! What was it that drew you to Georgetown and to internal medicine?

Elena: I was one of those people who loved every single rotation in third year and I would probably be happy in most residencies. But it did feel like my personality meshed best with the internal medicine doctors. I’ve always been more of a “thinker” and internal medicine leaves a lot of space for thinking. It also felt like a non-choice, because there are so many ways you can point your career after training in internal medicine. So I have more choices to make ahead of me!

I wanted to be on the east coast for residency and in a city so that it would be fairly easy to travel home for a weekend and that there would be enough to do when I had a day off. DC fits the bill perfectly – it’s a very accessible city which I like. I loved Georgetown because the people I met on my interview day were wonderful, and the program just had a very educational feel about it. You can tell that the interns and residents work hard (probably harder than at some other programs), but that education and well-being is still emphasized. A few months in, I can vouch that what I felt on my interview day is absolutely true! I feel well-supported and that I’m getting great training.

Accepted: As someone who has applied to college, med school, and a top residency program successfully, you must have some tips to share! What would you say are your top med school and/or residency tips?

Elena: I think the biggest tip I have is to be pro-active! Schools and programs want to know that you are interested. Call, send letters, stop by (if it’s close). There are so many candidates at every step and everyone tends to blend together – countless people have volunteered at their local clinic and met an inspiring patient, you know? So if you can find some way for the program director (or probably more importantly, the administrative assistant or coordinator) to remember your name, that can only help you. Of course, it’s a fine line between being assertive and being annoying. Don’t send a singing telegram!

Along the same lines, get everything done EARLY. Do. Not. Procrastinate. Have your application in on DAY ONE (day two? already too late!). You want the people reading your application to be fresh and not burned out, and you want them to know how responsible and on-top-of-your-game you are. There’s no reason not to be the very first application in. You have to give yourself every opportunity for success that you can – don’t create roadblocks or challenges for yourself; there are already enough of them out there to overcome!

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

Elena: Waiting was the hardest part! Once you send in your application, you can help yourself by calling programs, sending thank you notes, and scheduling interviews as they come. Same thing after interviews, but once your rank list is submitted, it’s out of your hands! Keep busy, and enjoy that free time as much as you can, knowing that you’ve done all you can.

Accepted: How did you spend your time between graduating med school and starting residency?

Elena: I traveled for the last month of medical school. I went to Tanzania and worked in a hospital for two weeks, and then spent another week and a half climbing Kilimanjaro and exploring the country a little. (I went through the program Work the World, and I highly recommend them!) It was an amazing, although expensive, experience, and a great way to end the year. It was very cool to see how medicine is practiced in another country, and getting to do a 6-day hike in the cold rain was umm, well…it was an experience for sure. (I guess my advice there would be go to a country that is not in its rainy season.) But once I got back, it was a whirlwind. Graduation, moving to a new city, getting all my paperwork done for residency – it keeps you busy! I made spending time with family and friends as much of a priority as I could.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? Who is your target audience? What have you gained from the blogging experience and what do you hope others take away from your writing?

Elena: This is probably the hardest question to answer because I don’t think I ever had a clear-cut agenda with my blog. When I studied abroad in college, I loved sending emails home to everyone updating them on what I was doing, and I got great feedback about how enjoyable the emails were to read. So originally I just thought it would be a fun way to keep people updated on what I was doing. Even though I wasn’t far away, med school was a new experience, and I wanted my friends and family to understand what I was going through. Writing has always been an outlet for me, and trying to find the humor in some of the absurdities and frustrations of medical school helped to keep things in perspective. It was just an added bonus that it spread to people outside my social circle!

I hope that people going through medical school who read my blog can know that they are not alone in the journey, and all of the struggles that they are facing are things that all medical students go through. I also hope that it’s an enjoyable read, as my goal was really to entertain more than anything else! I decided not to continue blogging through residency, but I’m trying to record my experiences as they come, and I certainly hope that writing continues to play a role in my future.

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

You can read more about Elena’s med school journey by checking out her blog, a med student walks into a bar…. Thank you Elena 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.

Residency 5 Fatal Flaws

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Related Resources:

• Residency Applications: How to Match
• 5 Personal Statement Tips for Residency Applicants
• Residency Application Tip: Settling, and How To Avoid It

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5 Tips to Find a Satisfying Career http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/03/5-tips-to-find-a-satisfying-career/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/03/5-tips-to-find-a-satisfying-career/#respond Fri, 03 Oct 2014 16:44:38 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25955 ]]> Get the details about "How to Ditch Your Dead End Job and Find a Career You Love!"

Don’t get stuck in a career you really don’t like!

Work becomes such a big part of your life after college that it is really important to find a career you will be happy in. Don’t just jump into the first job that comes your way after graduation. No matter what anyone else says, you really have to look within yourself and decide what is going to make you happy and what you are going to enjoy doing for the rest of your life.

The truth is that you will be more successful when you are happy at work. So here are five tips to find a satisfying career:

1) Do what you want to do instead of what you feel like you should do.

It’s so easy to just go along that path of what you should do. You can save yourself so much time and trouble if you just start with what you want to do. The career you started in doesn’t necessarily have to be the career you end with. There is freedom in your career and you don’t have to stick with one career. You can be so many things. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.

2) Do one small task daily that helps you get closer to your big goal.

If you do something daily on your way to your big goal, totally amazing things will start happening. Wake up earlier or schedule 30 minutes every evening to work on your passion. And don’t forget that the best investment you can make is always in yourself. Take a course or find a coach. It’s always worth it.

3) Learn more about yourself.

Once you recognize what your personal values are, it will feel like everything just comes into place so much more quickly as far as choosing a career that magnifies who you are. As you start to know your personality, motivations and interests more, you will learn what is important to you in the career that you pick. Then you can start searching for a career that will meet your personal and professional needs.

4)  Get clear about what you want.

If you don’t know what you want, you will probably just take the first job that comes your way. This can have bad consequences leading to becoming stuck in a career that you don’t really like. Instead, get clear on what it is you want so that you can job search more effectively. Dream up your ideal workday and create a vision board that you look at everyday to remind you of your career goals and dreams.

5) Ask for help.

It’s OK to ask for help. One of the best and easiest ways to gain experience is by asking others. There are so many people out there in the world who are simply waiting to help you, and all you have to do is ask.  It’s OK to seek out mentors, and it’s OK to boldly ask people for career guidance and insights. You have to be grabby. Don’t wait for opportunities to happen to you.

Take this opportunity now to decide what you want to achieve and start taking action to make your ideal career happen.

Anna Runyan is the creator of the “Love Your Career Formula.” She has an upcoming free online workshop on October 9th, 2014 called, “How to Ditch Your Dead End Job and Find a Career You Love.” If you want Anna’s proven step-by-step system to find a fulfilling career, grab your spot here!

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Welcome to the Family! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/02/introducing-med-consultant-drew-colucci/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/02/introducing-med-consultant-drew-colucci/#respond Thu, 02 Oct 2014 19:52:32 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=26003 ]]> Drew ColucciWe’d like to introduce you to Drew Colucci, the newest member of Accepted’s wonderful staff of consultants!

Dr. Colucci graduated from Boston University School of Medicine in 2012 and is current a senior resident in Diagnostic Radiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He teaches third and fourth year Harvard Medical School students about radiology and diagnostic imaging, and serves as a pre-med mentor for the Boston College EagleDocs program.

Dr. Colucci would love to help you tell your story to the med school or residency admissions boards – he’s been through the system and knows what works!

Welcome to the Accepted family, Drew!

CheckOutDrewsProfile

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Your One Stop Shop for Medical School Interview Tips http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/01/your-one-stop-shop-for-medical-school-interview-tips/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/10/01/your-one-stop-shop-for-medical-school-interview-tips/#respond Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:49:19 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25973 ]]> Download your copy of The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview SuccessMed school applicants – this one’s for you!

We’ve taken the best of the best of our med school interview blog posts, updated them, and wrapped them up all together in a concise special report. You can now read all the tips you need in one spot…and for free!

Check out our newest special report, The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success, for expert advice on what you can do before, during, and after your med school interviews to secure your spot in next year’s entering med school class!

Click here to download your guide!

Download The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success now!

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Medical School Applicant: Make an Impact at Your Interview! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/29/medical-school-applicant-make-an-impact-at-your-interview/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/29/medical-school-applicant-make-an-impact-at-your-interview/#respond Mon, 29 Sep 2014 17:36:17 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25887 ]]> You just got invited to interview at your top choice med school…now what??

Learn how to interview with impact when you attend our upcoming webinar, this Tuesday, September 30th, at 5:00 PM PT / 8:00 PM ET!

Medical School Interview Webinar

Interviewing with Impact: How to Make an Impression in Your Medical School Interviews will teach you key strategies for before, during, and after your interview, including what to wear, what to ask, and how NOT to blow your chances of interview success!

Reserve your spot for Interviewing with Impact: How to Make an Impression in Your Medical School Interviews now!

Click here to reserve your spot!

P.S. It’s free!

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Common Myths about Medical School Interviews http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/29/common-myths-about-medical-school-interviews/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/29/common-myths-about-medical-school-interviews/#respond Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:39:37 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25822 ]]> Learn How to Prep for and Ace Your Medical School Interview! [Free Webinar!]Congratulations if you have received an invitation to interview! You have won the attention of an adcom in submitting essays that have persuaded them to interview you.  In reaching this step in the application process, you will have a new set of challenges to prepare for in order to receive an acceptance.  To help you prepare, I will dispel some of the most common myths.

Myth #1: The Permanent Record

All of us have made mistakes at some point in our lives. In an application process, no concept is more intimidating than the possible threat of an unforgiving “permanent record” that will reveal all of our biggest mistakes. Luckily, there is no such thing as a “permanent record.”  When you attend an interview, you should be prepared to discuss anything you’ve included in primary and secondary applications.  Any information provided in those essays is fair game for discussion.

While a “permanent record” does not exist, there is a criminal record—this includes any misdemeanors or felonies. These have to be disclosed in the primary application and can prevent your application from serious consideration depending on the number and nature of offenses.

Myth #2: The Interviewer is Omnipotent

You may be worried that the interviewer will know everything about you and your application. This is not the case. Often the interviewer will not have time to read your application in detail before meeting you. It’s best to approach each interview as if it is “blind,” meaning that they do not know anything about you. You should introduce yourself and discuss your activities clearly and with careful explanation so that they can easily understand the nature of your experiences and the timeline of events.  If you leave out information or skip details because you assume that they already know this about you, you may be hurting yourself.  Start at the beginning and don’t assume anything.

Myth #3: Clothes Make the Man (or Woman)

While this medieval adage holds true in most circumstances, it’s best to avoid overdressing or under-dressing for your interview. There has been a lot of research on the psychology of clothing.  What you wear matters but be careful not to overdo it.  Wearing Gucci sunglasses or carrying a Brahman bag will not win you any extra points!  In fact, if you make these accessories the focus of your interview, it will provide insight on what you consider important. While you may talk about how much you enjoyed volunteering that summer in Guatemala, your designer style make contradict your statements. Dress simply and professionally. You should be the focus of the interview.

Myth #4: You Are Powerless

Most people believe that the interviewer is the person in charge in an interview. However, you decide what you share about yourself and what the interviewer takes away from the experience. You are actually the most powerful person in the room.  Ultimately, the way you present yourself and the information you choose to focus on will determine whether you are offered an acceptance or not.

In dispelling the common myths about interviews, I hope that you are able to see how much power you actually have in the medical school interview process. Your preparation will be critical to your success.  It’s necessary for you to practice taking on this level of responsibility in representing yourself.  While it is tempting to give your power away by believing that the interviewer has all the answers and control, you now know this isn’t the case.  Hopefully this information will empower you to focus all of your energy on your preparation. Start by scheduling a mock interview!

Click here to download your complete copy of The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success!

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:

• Interviewing with Impact: How to Make an Impression in Your Medical School Interviews
• The 5 Most Important Tips for Your Medical School Interview
Medical School Admissions 101

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Hey You – Yeah, You with the Medical School Interview Invite… http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/27/hey-you-yeah-you-with-the-medical-school-interview-invite/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/27/hey-you-yeah-you-with-the-medical-school-interview-invite/#respond Sun, 28 Sep 2014 03:32:19 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25818 ]]> Unless your wife is about to go into labor (or is already IN labor), then you should not under ANY circumstance answer your phone, or even leave your ringer on, during your medical school interview. Seem obvious to you? Then you’re one step ahead of med school applicants who let their phones ring and then wonder why they didn’t get accepted!

Medical School Interview Webinar

Learn additional interview do’s and don’ts during Tuesday’s webinar, Interviewing with Impact: How to Make an Impression in Your Medical School Interviews. You still haven’t signed up? Well it’s not too late (but it’s getting there) – reserve your spot now to get one step closer to putting those precious initials after your name.

The details:

Date: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Time: 10:00 AM PST/1:00 PM EST (See what time that is for you by clicking here.)

Click here to reserve your spot!

Registration link: Interviewing with Impact: How to Make an Impression in Your Medical School Interviews (Registration is free, but required.)

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

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The 5 Most Important Tips for Your Medical School Interview http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/24/5-important-medical-school-interview-tips/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/24/5-important-medical-school-interview-tips/#respond Wed, 24 Sep 2014 17:33:37 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25834 ]]> Free Webinar: Learn How to Prep for and Ace Your Medical School Interview! - click here to learn more!

You don’t want to draw a blank on the easy stuff.

Looking for med school interview secrets? You’ve come to the right place. Read on to discover the 5 most important tips for acing your medical school interview.

1. Stay informed. It’s important that you know what’s going on in the world of medicine. Stay abreast of issues by reading medical blogs and journals, and take the time to speak to doctors or researchers whom you may encounter during work or volunteer hours. Reading or speaking about current medical issues will help you develop your own opinions. Your interviewer will be impressed with your up-to-date knowledge, as well as the fact that you’ve sat and thought about your personal views on the issues.

2. Read interview feedback. Having some idea of what to expect on the big day will enable you to think in advance about how to answer common questions. The Student Doctor Network offers med school applicants excellent interview feedback that will help you prepare for your interviews and build confidence.

3. Study the school’s website. In order to express your unique fit with your target program, you’ll need to know as much as possible about the program’s mission, teaching methods, student body and faculty, research initiatives, and resident/fellowship placements. The website is the best place to start to find this information, but you should also reach out to current students and alumni to obtain “insider” information on the details of the program.

4. Review your application, especially your AMCAS and secondary essays. Your interviewer will likely ask you some basic questions on information you provided in your application and essays. You don’t want to draw a blank on the easy stuff, so read up on the basics so you’re familiar with all your experiences, including important dates, awards, relevant coursework, etc.

5. Reflect on death. End-of-life issues may make you uncomfortable, but it’s important that you’re able to respond to a question on the subject seriously and with dignity. Questions like, “How will you handle losing a patient?” or “How do you feel about euthanasia or a patient’s right to die?” should not be approached lightly. Your interviewer will want to see that you’ve thought about these tough ethical and emotional questions and that you know where you stand.

Good luck!

Click here to watch the recording of Interview with Impact: How to Make an Impression in Your Medical School Interviews!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

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Going Beyond “Because I Want to Help People” http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/23/going-beyond-because-i-want-to-help-people/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/23/going-beyond-because-i-want-to-help-people/#respond Tue, 23 Sep 2014 16:13:39 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25814 ]]> Trust us – your interviewer has already heard the “Because I want to help people” answer. In fact, she’s probably heard it so many times, that if she hears it again, she’ll start to tune out. Learn how to answer questions uniquely – in a way that truly expresses who you are and how you’re different from the throngs of other applicants.

Register for the Medical School Interview Webinar!

Learn succinct tips on how to stand out during your med school interview during our upcoming webinar, Interviewing with Impact: How to Make an Impression in Your Medical School Interviews, a MUST-ATTEND event for anyone who wishes to WOW the med school adcom with a blow-them-away interview.

Date: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Time: 10:00 AM PST/1:00 PM EST (See what time that is for you by clicking here.)

Click here to reserve your spot!

Registration is required (and free). Reserve your spot for Interviewing with Impact: How to Make an Impression in Your Medical School Interviews now!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

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Writing About Your Experiences Abroad http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/22/writing-about-your-experiences-abroad/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/22/writing-about-your-experiences-abroad/#respond Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:25:17 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25755 ]]>
Learn how to use sample essays to create exemplary essays of your own! [Free Downloadable Guide]

Ensure that your study abroad experience serves a role other than window-dressing.

You’ve done it – you studied, worked, or volunteered abroad and now you want to include part of this in your personal statement. Maybe you want to show that you’ve experienced a different culture or that you’ve managed to go outside of your comfort zone. Maybe you’ve had interesting experiences – met people, climbed mountains, or lived without air-conditioning. Or maybe you had the opportunity to help people who genuinely needed it.

But, at this point, you’ve also realized that many other applicants have similar experiences, and you are right. While the experience may have been transformative for you, requiring you to learn how to operate without your usual safety net in a foreign environment, you need to ensure that your study abroad experience serves a role in your essay as something other than window-dressing.

There’s an Onion article which jokes that someone’s short work experience in Africa allowed her to post a better Facebook photo, and, without the proper analysis, descriptions of abroad experiences can feel the same way in an admissions essay. Often, I read essays with lush descriptions of exotic scenery and people who speak different languages, yet you the writer – the most important person – stays the same. Without showing admissions committees why a study abroad experience was transformative, these types of stories simply blend together and give the impression that you were there simply to add another notch to your resume.

So, what should you do? Studying abroad can be a pivotal moment in your personal journey, but a personal statement needs to explain exactly why. If, indeed, gaining experience with other cultures was important to you at that stage, what exactly did you learn? It can’t be enough to just give a story about someone you met while traveling, you have to explain why that person changed you. An admissions committee member once told me that it mattered less what an applicant’s experience was, what mattered was how she talked about it. Even the most seemingly dull experience can be transformative to someone who is really paying attention.

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

Jessica PishkoCheck out Jessica Pishko's bio! 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:

• Two Ways to Reveal Leadership in Your Applications
What is Passion in Admissions?
7 Signs an Experience Belongs in Your Application Essay

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Harvard’s School of Public Health Receives $350 Million Gift from Hong Kong Group http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/21/harvards-school-of-public-health-receives-350-million-gift-from-hong-kong-group/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/21/harvards-school-of-public-health-receives-350-million-gift-from-hong-kong-group/#respond Sun, 21 Sep 2014 17:01:52 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25712 ]]> Applying to med school? Download your free copy of Navigate the Med School Maze!On Monday, Harvard announced the largest gift in its history, $350 million to the School of Public Health from the Morningside Foundation, a Hong Kong group run by two Hong Kong brothers, Ronnie and Gerald Chan. The school will be renamed for T. H. Chan, the brothers’ father. (Gerald Chan earned degrees from the School of Public Health in the 1970s – a master’s in medical radiological physics and a doctorate in radiation biology.)

This will be the seventh largest donation ever made to an American institution of higher education.

According to Harvard officials, this gift will be used in the following four areas: pandemics (like cancer and obesity); failing health systems; poverty and humanitarian crises; and harmful environments (like pollution or violence). The Ebola outbreak, for example, would hit three of four areas – it’s a pandemic that relates to poverty and highlights a significant health system problem.

Harvard’s president, Drew Gilpin Faust, says that the gift will give students more financial aid and enable the school to expand its programs. “It’s always been, as the whole field always is, under-resourced,” she said. “It’s overwhelmingly dependent on money from federal grants that are under threat….We’re all realizing how important public health is as we become more global and diseases are shared across boundaries.”

For more info, please check out http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2014/09/largest-gift-to-harvard/.

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

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Med School Secondary Essay Handbook: School Specific Tips
Medical School Admissions 101
• Shaping the Evolution of Humanity’s Health: Harvard Medical School Student IV

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Hints for Admission to Combined BS/MD Programs http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/21/hints-for-admission-to-combined-bsmd-programs-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/21/hints-for-admission-to-combined-bsmd-programs-2/#respond Sun, 21 Sep 2014 16:27:19 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25411 ]]> Click here to download your full copy of Are You Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program?

Outstanding grades are a must.

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

If you are planning to apply to combined BS/MD programs, early planning is essential. These programs vary in their admission requirements and developing the extracurricular resume that will make you a competitive candidate will take advance planning.

• Consider your math and science curriculum. Outstanding grades are a must, as is a commitment to maintaining them in college. Your grades, however should come from many of the more challenging course offerings in your high school. Many BS/MD programs will look carefully at your entire curriculum, but also pay extra attention to your math and science preparation.

• Plan for Standardized Testing. The test requirements for these programs also vary. Some will require SAT II exams, and might specify which ones. As you consider your long-range plans, it is best to take the SAT II exams while the material is fresh in your mind. Are you taking chemistry in school this year? If so, think about taking the chemistry SAT II next spring. For the most selective of the combined programs, successful applicants are presenting excellent test scores as well as grades. If you need time to prepare for the SAT or ACT, then allow for it and research your test prep options.

• Focus on research or health related experiences. Your exposure to the health care field is paramount in confirming your commitment to the field of medicine. Volunteer experience and physician shadowing are two ways that you can gain experience in a health care setting. Scientific research will give you the tools you need as a medical student to understand the changes in the field of medicine. While many science fair projects will guide you through the scientific method, a more complex, longer term project under the mentorship of a local college professor will offer more exposure to the type of scientific study you will undertake in medical school.

If you think these combined and/or accelerated programs interest you, begin planning as early as possible and keep an open mind regarding all of your undergraduate and graduate school options.

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

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

• How to Select Extracurriculars that will Set Your Medical School App Apart
How to Get the Most out of Shadowing a Doctor
• GMAT, GRE, SAT, and All Things Test Prep

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What NOT to Write in Your Medical School Secondary Application Essays http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/17/what-not-to-write-in-your-medical-school-secondary-application-essays/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/17/what-not-to-write-in-your-medical-school-secondary-application-essays/#respond Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:23:57 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25476 ]]> Getting stressed about application deadlines? Don't let the quality of your work suffer! [Click here for tips]Since the number of secondary applications that you receive can be overwhelming, you may be tempted to take a few shortcuts.  Some shortcuts are warranted while others are just too risky to consider using.  To ensure that you are one of the “lucky” few who receive a medical school interview, avoid the following egregious errors:

1. Cutting and Pasting material from other essays and submitting with the wrong school name.

Almost every secondary application will have a question about why you want to attend their medical school. It may be tempting to cut and paste this essay response over and over again. However, the best essays that respond to this type of question include specific details about the school that you have researched and therefore pertain only to that particular campus. Also, it may be obvious if you provide a generic response that you are recycling it—or worse, if you forget to change the school name before submitting it—you may forfeit an interview. It’s such an easy mistake to prevent by proofreading each application carefully before submission. Having another person review it may be the best way to prevent errors that you may have difficulty seeing yourself.

2. Writing about the same activity for each essay response.

Since most secondary essays have multiple questions, it’s important to be strategic in selecting the content for each response.  Make sure that you cover a wide variety of leadership, community service and clinical experiences in the essays so that you do not find yourself writing about one example or activity over and over again—especially within one secondary.  To avoid this kind of repetition, print a copy of your updated CV or resume and a copy of your AMCAS application activities and review the list.  You will have lots of options right in front of you!

3. Focusing on events or experiences in high school.

Unless an essay specifically requests that you include information about your early life, I don’t recommend focusing on that time period. If you are asked a general question about the most stressful event in your life or a meaningful clinical experience, often, it would be best to cover material from college and after. There are some exceptions—like the serious illness or death of a loved one—but very few. If you focus on high school as being a defining moment in your personal history, the application reviewers may question your maturity level. Ideally, you will have encountered many challenges that culminated in periods of significant personal development during college and after. Keep track of the areas you tend to focus on in the timeline of your life.

4. Going off topic or not answering the prompt.

This is one of the worst mistakes to make because it can be the most time intensive to correct.  Also, it would immediately disqualify you for an interview since you wouldn’t be providing the adcom with the information that they are requesting.  This type of error often occurs from either cutting and pasting material from other essays or completing essays at the last minute.  If you are rushing through your essays, it may be better to slow down and take more breaks to stay focused and on topic.  The best way to avoid this problem is to create outlines for each essay prompt.  A carefully planned and constructed essay will actually take less time to write and you will end up with a better final product.

While these approaches can have the most damaging results on the medical school application process, they are easy to avoid.  Using the simple strategies provided above, you can significantly increase your chances of receiving a medical school interview. Remember to take your time and do your best.

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid

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:

Secondary Strategy: Why Do You Want To Go Here?
• Medical School Secondary Essay Handbook: School Specific Tips for Top Programs
7 Signs an Experience Belongs in Your Application Essay

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Crowd Funding His Way to Med School: Interview with Charles Lanman http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/15/crowd-funding-his-way-to-med-school-interview-with-charles-lanman/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/09/15/crowd-funding-his-way-to-med-school-interview-with-charles-lanman/#respond Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:43:45 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25579 ]]> Click here for more med school applicant interviews!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Charles Lanman.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck!

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

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

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

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

It’s no secret that medical school is expensive!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some helpful resources to guide you:

AAMC Grants & Awards

American Osteopathic Foundation Grants Awards

General Financial Aid Info for MD Programs

General Financial Aid Info for DO Programs

Medical Scholarships

DO Scholarships

Free searchable databases: scholarships.com; schoolsoup.com

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

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

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

Related Resources:

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

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

Proofread!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Related Resources:

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

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

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

Underrepresented in Medicine

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

Overrepresented Groups

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

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

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

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

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

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

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

MedSchoolApplicant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

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

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

Is is too late?

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

• Cost of applying

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

• Strategy

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

• Applying as a Disadvantaged Applicant

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

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

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

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

•Have you emphasized your strengths?

•Have you addressed any weaknesses in your application?

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

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

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

3. Submit all secondary essays within two weeks

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

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

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

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

Related Resources:

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

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

9% increase in grad school offers to international students

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

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

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

Write with creativity, but don’t go overboard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Residency Personal Statements.

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

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

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

This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Megan…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

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

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

Residency Applications: How to Match - Register Now!

 

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

During the webinar, you’ll learn:

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

…and more!

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

Watch the webinar

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

How do you choose where to apply?

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

1. Should you go in-state?

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

2. Where do you stand competitively?

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

3. What’s your area of interest?

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

4. Who do you know?

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

5. How are the vibes?

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

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

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

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

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

Related Shows:

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

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

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

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/28/financial-aid-and-health-insurance-for-international-students/feed/ 1 Financial Aid,international student,podcast If you are one of the adventurous souls planning on leaving your comfort zone to study abroad, we’d like to introduce you to a treasure trove of invaluable resources. - Listen to the recording of our conversation with Ross Mason, If you are one of the adventurous souls planning on leaving your comfort zone to study abroad, we’d like to introduce you to a treasure trove of invaluable resources. Listen to the recording of our conversation with Ross Mason, VP of Envisage International for important tips and information about international student loans, health insurance, and other topics that matter to you. 00:03:31 – Envisage: Helping international students. 00:06:02 – How Ross got involved and what’s changed in past decade plus. 00:10:08 – Advice for a US resident applying to school abroad. 00:14:00 – Advice for a non-US resident applying to school in the United States. 00:19:42 – Health insurance for a US student accepted to an international school. 00:22:48 – What a non-US resident accepted to an US school needs to know about health insurance. 00:24:43 – Finding insurance: where to turn. 00:25:51 – What else is out there for students going abroad? 00:28:00 – Top advice for an international student preparing to go to school out of the country. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Related Links: •  International Student Loan •  Financial Aid for International Students in the USA •  International Financial Aid Resources •  IEFA: International Financial Aid and College Scholarship Search •  International Student Insurance Plans (Country pages on the bottom right) •  US School Insurance Requirements •  International Student Insurance Explained •  International Student & Study Abroad Resource Center • International Students and the Individual Mandate Under PPACA • The Affordable Care Act and J1 Participants in Non-Student Categories Related Shows: • Global Business Leadership at Wharton’s Lauder Institute • Non-Academic Careers for PhDs: A Talk with Dr. Paula Chambers • CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans • Is a PhD a Good Idea? • An Inside Look at INSEAD • Leadership is King: Interview with IMD’s Lisa Piguet • Interview with SoFi Co-Founder, Daniel Macklin Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:       Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 34:11
Free Webinar Recording: Can You Apply to Med School with Low Stats? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/27/free-webinar-recording-can-you-apply-to-med-school-with-low-stats/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/27/free-webinar-recording-can-you-apply-to-med-school-with-low-stats/#respond Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:46:06 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24429 ]]> Now’s your chance to catch up on valuable information you may have missed during last week’s webinar, How to Get into Medical School with Low Stats. Med school applicants with low GPA and/or MCAT scores – you don’t want to miss this! 

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

Accepted.com

 

 

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

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

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

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

How can you anticipate their questions?

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

Tackle the issue!

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

Don’t Be Too Negative!           

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

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

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

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

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

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

The [Future] Dr. Dursteak

This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Laysay (a.k.a. [Future] Doctor Dursteak)…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources

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

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

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

Finding a Mentor

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

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

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

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

Gain some marketable skills

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

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

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

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

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

Know how the admissions process works

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A better option…

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

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

You know yourself best…

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

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

Great Advice on All Things MCAT!

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Related Resources:

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

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Gap Years, Blogging, and Applying to Med School: IV with Derin http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/18/gap-years-blogging-and-applying-to-med-school-iv-with-derin/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/18/gap-years-blogging-and-applying-to-med-school-iv-with-derin/#respond Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:51:31 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24847 ]]> Click here for more interviews with med school applicant bloggers!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Derin…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Residency Applications: How to Match - Register Now!

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

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

Save my spot!

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

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

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

The following are required in the Secondary Application:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WUSOM Application Timeline:

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

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

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

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

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