Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog » Medical School Admissions http://blog.accepted.com Admissions consulting and application advice Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:50:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 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/ Review of PreMD Tracker, a New App http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/17/review-of-premd-tracker-a-new-app/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/17/review-of-premd-tracker-a-new-app/#respond Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:32:20 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=22126 ]]> Check out the App!This app is fantastic! It allows students who are planning on applying to medical school to actively track their progress for their activities, academics and letters of recommendation. It could be used to help students stay motivated during the lengthy process of preparation.

At the top of the main page, there are three small icons: “General Info, Tips & Links, and PreMD CV.” The first two icons will help you get started by teaching you how to use the app and explaining how the percentages are calculated for the three main categories: Activities, Academics and Letters. The third icon generates an email that will allow you to send an excel spreadsheet with all of the information that you have entered into the app.

If you click on the first large icon, “Activities,” from the main menu, you can choose from “Medical, Community, Research, or Additional” to list each experience as you complete it, under these four categories. For each activity you enter, you can include the experience name, hours completed, start and end dates, organization name, contact title, phone number and email address. There is even space to include a description of the activity. Writing the description as you are participating in the activity would be helpful rather than waiting to write all fifteen activity descriptions at the same time for the AMCAS application! Not only can you keep track of all of your activities, but there are also “Tips & Links” with more information about how to make sure that you have completed enough of the different types of activities that medical schools like to see. They have created a useful way to capture each activity and to provide percentages of how much time you spend in each area to determine if you have reached the recommended number of hours. Keeping your eye on the big picture perspective of the combination of activities that you are participating in can give you an edge in the application process.

Under “Academics,” you can track your BCPM GPA and MCAT scores, by entering in each class that you have completed or MCAT score that you have received. Under “Tips & Links,” they have included updates on the new MCAT and useful FAQ’s with general information about coursework and selecting a major.

For the last option on the main menu, “Letters,” this section includes a list of the types of letters required to help you cover your bases. It allows you to list the name of the letter writer and to check off each letter of recommendation after you receive it. You receive a percentage for the total number of letters you have.

For those students who may be struggling academically or unsure of applying to medical school with a low GPA or MCAT score, the app could include information on postbac programs or a way to track a postbac GPA in the future. I guess that element is for PreMed Tracker 2.0

However, today’s version of the app is easy to use and can simplify the process of applying to medical school.

Check out PreMD Tracker here.

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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.

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A Non-Traditional Med School Applicant Gearing up For May http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/14/a-non-traditional-med-school-applicant-gearing-up-for-may/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/14/a-non-traditional-med-school-applicant-gearing-up-for-may/#respond Mon, 14 Apr 2014 14:35:27 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=22103 ]]> Download Ace the AMCAS Essay, a free special report that teaches you the who, what, why, and how of creating a winning AMCAS essay.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, introducing our anonymous blogger, “A.”…

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

A.: I have lived in California for almost my entire life. Though I have moved a few times, I have never left LA County and I actually attended UCLA as an undergraduate. I came into UCLA with a passion for working with children and an interest in Psychology, which led me to major in Psychobiology and minor in Applied Developmental Psychology. I worked my way through college and was involved in a few extracurriculars, my favorite being Campus Events where I helped put on advanced screenings of feature films.

My favorite flavor ice cream? That’s a tough one! I would have to say that during my time at UCLA, I converted from Rocky Road to Jamoca Almond Fudge – you just can’t beat that precious union of coffee and chocolate!

Accepted: What stage of the med school application process are you up to?

A.: Well, I recently took the MCAT and am currently preparing my list of schools. I am researching both MD and DO programs as well as a few post-bacc and special master’s programs and narrowing down my options. I am also beginning to draft up my personal statement and contact certain professors for letters of recommendation. So I guess I’m sort of just gearing up for when the application opens up on May 1st (which I just realized is less than a month away!).

Accepted: Would you describe yourself as a traditional or non-traditional med school applicant?

A.: A traditional medical school applicant is one who goes directly into medical school after undergraduate, right? So I guess I would describe myself as a non-traditional medical school applicant since I am taking at least two years off in between. And even more so because throughout my years in college, I entertained other career choices as well and was extremely close to pursuing a PhD in Developmental Psychology instead!

Accepted: What’s been the most challenging stage of this premed process so far? What steps have you taken to overcome that challenge?

A.: Oh, I would definitely say that my undergraduate years were the most challenging “stage” of the premed process thus far (yes, even more so than the MCAT!). You come into college being told to keep an open mind and therefore, I, personally, had a hard time coming to terms with what I really wanted.

Being a doctor was definitely up there as a career choice, but so was being a writer, a teacher, or a film industry professional.

I was so afraid of choosing a career path that I would later regret or be unhappy with, that although I took pre-med classes, I was hesitant in committing 100%. Therefore, my heart wasn’t really into it and more so, I felt inadequate compared to those students who you would typically label as “gunners”.

In such an academically competitive environment, my self-esteem definitely took a hit and I felt like there was no way I could succeed, so instead, I just tried to remain afloat. And because I threw myself into so many extracurriculars and tried to get the most out of my college experience, I never had a moment to step back and really consider what I was truly passionate about.

It wasn’t until I had graduated and traveled abroad for a bit that I had a moment to breathe. And that was when a sense of clarity set in – there is no other profession I would rather pursue and even if it takes years, I will become a doctor one day.

Accepted: Do you have a dream med school? Where do you hope to attend?

A.: Every day as I do a little more research, another really amazing school catches my eye and I think, “Wow, it would be great to go here!” So I guess to answer your question, I don’t have a dream medical school. Every school I apply to is a “dream medical school” and I would be honored to get just one acceptance.

That being said, I have been looking at a lot of DO schools lately – I absolutely love the philosophy behind osteopathic medicine – and would definitely be thrilled to attend a DO school in California such as Touro University or Western University of Health Sciences. Actually, any medical school in California would be the dream given the tuition prices!

Accepted: Your About A. page is so intriguing! Can you give us a few more hints about your identity?

A.: Well, here are some fun facts: my full name is 26 letters long, longer than Chrysanthemum, and the same length as the American alphabet. I don’t have a middle name, but the first part of my first name means infinity and the second part means music, so I like to think my first name means infinite music. But wait! There’s more – my last name literally translates to ‘Lion King’, which I think is appropriate, as I believe my Animagus would be a lion. Not enough information? Google “ENFJ” – it’s pretty spot on!

Accepted: You have about a year until you start med school. How many items on your Bucket List do you think you can knock off by then?

A.: Oh, I hope I can knock out at least ten by the end of this year! But you know, the best thing about bucket lists is that they are never-ending. The more you get out of your comfort zone and explore the world, the stronger the desire to see even more. I mean, we are human after all – we have this yearning for more. So I’m pretty sure that in a year, though I may be lucky to get a few items crossed off, my list will probably be even longer than it is now! And I’m always open to suggestions!

Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? Who is your target audience? What do you hope to gain from the blogging experience?

A.: I began my blog back in 2009, when I was a senior in high school and awaiting to hear back from colleges. I have always found comfort in writing down my thoughts and opinions and to be able to share them through a public forum was invigorating. Though I may not write consistently as some other bloggers, I find that when I do write, it is driven by an intrinsic need to share a momentous memory or event. Regardless of whether I am experiencing joy or hardship, writing allows me to clear my mind and think logically.

Yes, I am a pre-med student and I do hope to attend medical school one day. So I often write about what I encounter through this application process. And maybe when that time comes, my blog may shift its focus to include more stories from a medical perspective. However, there is more to me than simply being a pre-med student – I am a young woman, a musician, a writer, an explorer, an optimist, a hopeless romantic, and so much more. I come from a low-income, ethnic background and every day I learn something new.

Therefore, when you ask if I have a “target audience”, I would hope that my blog would cater to anyone who is simply going through this roller coaster ride known as life. As cheesy as that metaphor might be, I think it definitely illustrates the ups, downs, and transitions that everyone from adolescents to adults face today. As students, we may be taught exceptional material by renowned teachers and professors, but no one ever teaches you how to deal with the “in-betweens”. The curveballs that get thrown at you. What actually comes after “happily ever after”. I hope my blog conveys that sentiment – that there is confusion, struggle, and sometimes a little fear when figuring out what’s next. But with the downs, there are always ups, and that is the beauty of life.

I titled my blog Serendipity five years ago because it was such a lovely word and a great feel-good romantic comedy. I’ve held on to that title five years later, however, because I have noticed several events in my own life that seemed to be fortunate accidents. Life works in mysterious ways and what may seem ill fated at the time may actually be a blessing in disguise. So all in all, whoever my readers may be, my only wish is that they begin to see and perhaps appreciate serendipitous acts in their own lives.

You can read more about A.’s journey by checking out her blog, ser·en·dip·i·ty. Thank you A. 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.

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How to Write the Statement of Disadvantage http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/13/how-to-write-the-statement-of-disadvantage/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/13/how-to-write-the-statement-of-disadvantage/#comments Sun, 13 Apr 2014 14:43:14 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=22040 ]]> Download Free: A Second Chance at Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs

End on a high note.

If you have experienced any form of social, economic or educational disadvantage—at any time in your life—you can apply to medical school as a disadvantaged applicant.  To receive this designation means that you will need to complete an additional essay on the AMCAS application.  The character limit for this short essay is 1,325.  Examples of each of the three forms of disadvantage are listed below:

1. Social: Being treated differently due to ethnicity, language or religion.

2. Economic: Receiving any form of government aid or growing up in a single parent household on one income that is below the poverty threshold.

3. Educational: Overcoming a learning disability or attending low performing public schools.

It can be difficult to know what to include in the Statement of Disadvantage.  I recommend approaching it by using the following strategies:

• Create a timeline that includes any forms of social, economic or educational barriers that you experienced, from the beginning of your life through college.
•  State the facts, no need to express any emotions or to emphasize any details.
• End on a high note.

It’s important to remember that your application will be treated with the utmost respect and that you are heroic for overcoming obstacles that would have prevented most people from applying to medical school.  Congratulate yourself for making it to this point in your education!

It can be helpful to have another person review this essay to make sure that you have included all relevant information.  Be sure to include the details of the most significant obstacles that you have overcome to reach higher education.  The advantage of applying to medical school as a disadvantaged applicant is that most medical schools will not reject your application until it has been reviewed by at least one admissions officer.

If you’re unsure whether you should apply as a disadvantaged applicant or not, you are welcome to contact me for a free consultation.

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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.

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What if Your Child is Rejected from Medical School? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/11/what-if-your-child-is-rejected-from-medical-school/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/11/what-if-your-child-is-rejected-from-medical-school/#respond Fri, 11 Apr 2014 14:26:08 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=22075 ]]> Download your free copy of A Second Chance at Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs!

Each rejection from a medical school feels like a kick or a punch.

While we always hope for the best, sometimes life does not go as we expect.  If your child has received rejections from all of the medical schools that s/he has applied to, it may seem like the end of the world.  To help your future physician overcome this devastating experience, here are a few tips:

•  Give them some time

Our brains process rejection like physical injury.  Each rejection from a medical school feels like a kick or a punch.  Understanding the science behind rejection can help us to understand that what we’re feeling is normal and experienced by everyone in a similar situation.  Giving your pre-meds time to process the experience can be helpful.  Encourage them to be kind and gentle to themselves as they grieve this lost opportunity.

•  Be supportive

When they are ready to talk about their next move, encourage them to research alternative options.  There are lots of ways to turn a rejection into an acceptance.  When it’s time, you can help your premeds reevaluate their application or encourage them to seek the guidance of a professional consultant or mentor.  There are lots of options and lots of alternative paths to medical school!  Don’t hesitate to remind them of this fact.  Here are some alternative routes to consider:

1. Formal Postbac Programs

2. Informal postbac coursework

3. Special Master’s Programs

4. Working a year to gain clinical experience and then applying earlier or perhaps retaking the MCAT

•  Put it in perspective

It’s difficult to see the big picture when we’ve experienced a minor setback in our academic plan.  Remind your premeds that this will only be a hiccup in the timeline of their life, if they even remember it.  While it is a painful experience, they can develop the resilience to re-evaluate their application and reapply successfully the next time by addressing any weaknesses in their application.

While these tips may only help you manage the immediate crisis, if your premeds are reapplying to medical school, it will be critically important that they do make significant changes to their application the second time they apply.  Working with a medical school admissions consultant like those of us at Accepted.com can make a significant difference since many of us have spent years working in admissions and can provide lots of insight on the application process and the strategies required to be successful.

Download free: A Second Chance at Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs!

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.

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Applying to Medical School: Selecting Extracurricular Activities http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/09/applying-to-medical-school-selecting-extracurricular-activities/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/09/applying-to-medical-school-selecting-extracurricular-activities/#respond Wed, 09 Apr 2014 14:17:47 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21929 ]]> Download your free copy of Navigating the Med School Maze!

Look for activities that allow you to create more balance in your life.

When considering your long term goal of attending medical school, selecting extracurricular activities that will set your application apart can seem overwhelming.  This blog post will provide you with strategies for finding and selecting activities.  In choosing activities, it’s important to consider the following:

1. Do what you love.

It’s more interesting to see applicants who have a diverse variety of genuine interests rather than those who only participate in activities that will “look good” to medical schools.  If you are an artist, continue developing your skills as this may help you when you take anatomy or may result in you having the fine motor skills to perform surgeries.  You never know how your interests may guide the direction of your career in the future.

2. Look for activities that cover multiple areas.

It is important to have some leadership, clinical, and volunteer experience.  When looking at activities that you enjoy, be flexible and open to taking on roles that may combine more than one of these areas.  For example, some students volunteer at free clinics or health fairs; this combines volunteer and clinical work, as well as the possibility of leadership if they take on more responsibility with the organization over time.  The time they put into this activity benefits them three-fold.  Rather than running around and participating in three different activities, this is fantastic way to use their time to gain valuable life experience.

3. Manage your time, realistically.

Time is finite.  There are only 24 hours in a day so every choice we make (or don’t make) about how we spend it is important.  Look for activities that allow you to create more balance in your life.  Participating in inter-mural sports or exercising regularly can allow you to de-stress and also include teamwork in your activities section.  It may take some time to locate those activities that will relax you the most in the shortest amount of time possible, but you will be glad you did once you get into medical school and have less time to maintain the same level of balance.

While this advice sounds great in theory, you may be wondering how to apply it.  Start by making a list of the activities that you most enjoyed in the past.  Are there any that you would like to continue?  Are there any that also cover leadership, clinical, or volunteer work?  Here are some practical ways to find these activities:

•  Visit your pre-med advising office on campus.

Often, they will maintain a binder or list of activities that you can peruse for ideas.  Some schools even have a lottery for the most popular clinical activities in the area.

•  Search the web for a community service planning council or composite list of volunteer activities in the city or town where you live.

Some cities actually sell a directory of community services opportunities in the area, from working with children to assisting the elderly.  They often provide the most comprehensive perspective of what’s available and needed in your community.  Or you can stop by your local town hall or civic center to inquire in person.

•  Ask friends and family in the area.

Network by asking everyone that you know in the area about the activities you are interested in pursuing.  If you are new to the area, this can be a great strategy in establishing a strong network of support early in your education.

The more time that you spend deciding how you will use your time can ensure that you make the most of it.  Pursue your interests and continue to develop those skills that may benefit you in unexpected ways.  More outlets and support systems that you have in place will keep you grounded.  As you further your education, you can enrich your life as well as your AMCAS activities section by taking the time to make the conscious decision to participate in those activities that will bring you the greatest joy and nurture personal growth and development.

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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.

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Can I Use Humor In My Application Essays? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/08/can-i-use-humor-in-my-application-essays/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/08/can-i-use-humor-in-my-application-essays/#respond Tue, 08 Apr 2014 14:15:32 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=22027 ]]> Want to let your funny side show in your application essays? Here is what Linda Abraham has to say about humor in admissions:

For more application essay advice, download a free copy of our popular special report Five Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Personal Statement.

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The Story of an Aspiring Minority Doctor http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/07/the-story-of-an-aspiring-minority-doctor/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/07/the-story-of-an-aspiring-minority-doctor/#respond Mon, 07 Apr 2014 14:42:21 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21891 ]]> Download Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for SuccessThis 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, introducing Danielle Ward…

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 ice cream flavor?

Danielle: My name is Danielle Ward, and I was born in Germany. I grew up as an Army Brat, so I’m pretty much from everywhere! I graduated from Louisiana State University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry (minor in chemistry). I also received a Master of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Saint Joseph in 2013.

I pretty much love every flavor of ice cream, but butter pecan never gets old. Cold Stone Creamery’s “Birthday Cake Remix” also holds a special place in my heart.

Accepted: Where will you be starting med school in the fall? How would you say you’re a good fit for that program?

Danielle: I will be attending Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine – Georgia Campus. I believe that I am a good fit for the program because I have a very strong passion for learning, serving and helping others, and being a part of something greater than myself. I also really value the philosophy of osteopathic medicine, and I believe this program really fits my personality and will help me become the best possible physician that I know I am capable of being. Additionally, I love the south, so I am happy to be attending a school that allows me to be closer to family.

Accepted: What would you say was the most challenging aspect of the application process? How did you approach that challenge?

Danielle: For me, the most challenging part of the application process was overcoming both an extremely low undergraduate GPA and MCAT score. I had a great amount extracurricular activities, volunteering, clinical experiences, research, and work experience, but that means nothing to schools that screen based on numbers alone.

To approach my low undergraduate GPA, I enrolled in a hard science master’s degree program where I excelled. Some schools tend to weigh graduate courses or more advanced courses a lot more heavily, so I feel that this really helped me. I also spoke with admissions officers at a few schools and from their opinions, this was the best course of action for me to take.

I retook the MCAT four times, but was not able to obtain a high score despite studying extremely hard for the test. I think I may have burnt myself out in the process of studying, and this probably had a large effect on my performance. I was actually considering taking the test a fifth time right before I received my interview. I’m so glad that I no longer have to worry about it!

Accepted: Your blog focuses a lot on being a woman, a minority, and a single mom. How did those aspects of who you are play into your desire to be a doctor?

Danielle: I have wanted to be a physician since I was a young child, so I can’t say that any of the above mentioned aspects really played into this desire. After trying to find others like myself, I realized that I may be a bit of an anomaly going into the field of medicine, so I created my blog for those with similar circumstances to have something to relate to. The main focus of my blog is to document my journey, highlight minority women in medicine, and give helpful advice to pre-medical students.

Even though being a single mother has not influenced my desire to become a doctor, it does push me to work harder because I now have someone who looks up to me. I have to be the best role model for my child, and I can’t let her see me give up on my dreams. I want my child to know that with hard work and dedication, it is possible to achieve any goal.

Accepted: Related, how did those three things influence or affect the admissions process?

Danielle: Honestly, I do not think that being a woman or a minority had any influence on the admission process at all. I never mentioned being a minority in my medical school applications, and being a woman does not give anyone a heads up in admissions.

I do believe that managing to be a single mother while completing two degrees, working multiple jobs, and still being heavily involved in a variety of activities may have had the greatest influence. (Did I mention I was still able to graduate with my undergraduate class even after having a child sophomore year?) I believe it speaks volumes that I was able to accomplish so much all while raising a very small child. It shows that I am determined, efficient at managing my time, and able to make the best out of any given situation.

Accepted: Can you tell us a little about your daughter? How excited is she that her mom is going to be a doctor?

Danielle: My daughter is 7 years old and pretty awesome! She keeps me busy with all her various activities, but there’s never a dull moment when she’s around. She’s really excited that I am going to be a doctor, and makes it a point to tell anyone who will listen whenever we go somewhere! LOL She’s also ready for the move to Georgia so that she can spend more time with her cousins who are all around the same age as her. I’m definitely glad that I’ll be attending medical school with her being a lot older, because I can only imagine how hard it would be to do it all with an infant/toddler.

Accepted: What type of doctor do you want to be? (I know that may change a million times, but what’s your guess?)

Danielle: I’ve done quite a bit of shadowing, and I am definitely interested in becoming a surgeon. I know many students tend to change their minds along the way, so I am keeping my options open as to what type of surgery I would like to pursue. I absolutely love being in the OR though, and I like being able to see immediate results after the work is finished.

Accepted: Can you share your top three application tips with our readers?

Danielle:

1. Don’t Get Discouraged!

I was not accepted into medical school until my third application cycle. If you get rejected the first time, don’t be afraid to contact the schools and find out ways in which you can improve your application. Also, do not compare yourself to others around you. When the time is right for you, everything will fall into place. Quite a few of my peers from undergrad have already graduated from medical school and it can be pretty discouraging to not be right there with them. Luckily, I kept pushing and I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Just keep believing that you will reach your goals, and eventually you will.

2. Apply Early!

An early application can definitely make a difference in terms of getting an interview. By having all your materials ready to go when the application cycle opens, you will be able to receive and submit your secondary applications sooner. Having an interview date early in the application cycle also increases your chances of not being put on a waitlist. One month before the application opens, try to have your personal statement finished, letters of recommendation on hand, and a complete list of all your activities ready to go.

3. Enjoy the Journey!

Don’t get so caught up in trying to make a perfect application that you forget to have fun and enjoy yourself in the process. Take some time to do some of the things that you love and explore some new interests. Also, try not to rush the process. Once a physician, you will probably practice for 20-30 years, so don’t throw away some of the best years of your life. Work hard, but don’t forget to play hard as well.

You can read more about Danielle’s journey by checking out her blog, Aspiring Minority Doctor. Thank you Danielle 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.

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Get a GRIP on Team Questions http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/06/get-a-grip-on-team-questions/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/06/get-a-grip-on-team-questions/#respond Sun, 06 Apr 2014 14:39:52 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21917 ]]> Learn 4 tips for displaying teamwork in your application essays.

Remember that a tight GRIP = a tight team

I took away a lot of wonderful concepts, frameworks and strategies from my MBA education that led to a successful admission career. In fact, one of the most powerful lessons I learned at Michigan (now Ross) was how to lead and work effectively on teams.

Professor Noel Tichy, one of the gurus of Organizational Behavior and Leadership offered us a simple acronym that has stuck with me to this day: GRIP.  His theory was as follows:  if everyone on the team works toward a common goal that each individual fully understands and to which he/she commits; and everyone on the team understands and has the skills to carry out his/her roles and responsibilities; and everyone on the team shares information in a way that is productive; and the team has agreed to a process by which they will accomplish the goal, then the team will be effective.  In fact, our teams would periodically do a GRIP check to make certain that our GOALS, ROLES, INFORMATION and PROCESS would align to keep the projects moving forward.  When a team has only one GRIP element out of place, the team will be dysfunctional.

I use this framework with my clients when they need to describe their own teams’ successes or failures.  It helps them pinpoint what really happened to the team and not point fingers at an individual that may not have carried or had the skills to carry his/her weight because the “R” was out of alignment.  It helps them understand that by not having a process “P” in place, misunderstandings may occur.  It helps them understand the importance of working towards a common goal.  And it helps them understand the importance of transparent and effective communication “I”.

So when you are asked about teamwork, remember that a tight GRIP = a tight team and I will remember to thank Dr. Tichy for his wisdom and insight and for telling me to get a GRIP on my team.  Thank you Dr. Tichy.

Download our special report- Leadership in Admissions

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein By , an accomplished Accepted.com consultant/editor (since 2008) and entrepreneur. Natalie is a former MBA Admissions Dean and Director at Ross, Johnson, and Carey.

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Prepare to Submit Your AMCAS Application Early! [Short Video] http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/02/prepare-to-submit-your-application-application-early-short-video/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/02/prepare-to-submit-your-application-application-early-short-video/#respond Wed, 02 Apr 2014 14:52:34 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21961 ]]> Find out what you can do right now so you will be ready when the AMCAS application opens in June:

Learn the secret to create an AMCAS application that will get you accepted!

Accepted.com

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Study Skills: How to Improve your GPA to Become a More Competitive Med School Applicant http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/01/study-skills-how-to-improve-your-gpa-to-become-a-more-competitive-med-school-applicant/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/04/01/study-skills-how-to-improve-your-gpa-to-become-a-more-competitive-med-school-applicant/#respond Tue, 01 Apr 2014 14:16:58 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21790 ]]> Get Advice for Dealing with a Low MCAT or GPA

Who doesn’t want more free time?

As an aspiring doctor, you have a lot on your plate.  This blog post is designed to help you get the most out of your study time.  Being more efficient about how you study will save you time, help you improve your grades and allow you to establish the study skills that will see you through medical school.  These strategies can make a major difference!

Have you tried…

•  Reviewing notes as soon as you can?

To save yourself the time and effort required to “relearn” material, review notes from lecture as soon as you can—ideally within hours after class.  The sooner you review them, the more you will remember and the less time that you will have to spend later relearning information that you could simply be reinforcing.

•  Identifying your learning style?

Most people are auditory, kinesthetic or visual learners.  There are hundreds of free tests available online to help you identify your primary learning style(s).  Knowing how you learn best can help you save a lot of time—especially as you refine your approach.  As a visual learner, I know re-copying my notes, using different colors for different topics, and re-organizing material into flashcards, concept maps, or other visual formats will help me learn the information more quickly.  Different subjects will require flexibility in adapting your strategy.

•  Attending all office hours?

Some of the most effective study approaches that students have told me about were suggested to them by professors and TA’s.  Going to office hours can give you the chance to ask your instructors about the best way to study their subject material.  Since they are the experts in their subject, they would know!  Also, you can use this time to cover the material that you have questions about or that you have difficulty understanding.  If you feel like you already have it all covered, that means you’re not studying enough or familiar enough with the material to accurately “self-evaluate” your knowledge of it.  Back to the books!  Preparing these questions for your instructors on a weekly basis will help you better prepare for the exams.

•  Creating practice tests to identify gaps in your knowledge?

Current research in educational psychology suggests that the best way to prepare for exams is by using practice tests.  This allows you to simulate the method of evaluation being used to test your knowledge.  Also, creating practice exams with and for friends, forces you to think like the professor.  In examining the class material from this perspective, it may become easier for you to predict how and what you will be tested on.  Most importantly, you will be able to identify what you do and don’t know.  Focus your time and energy on learning the material that you don’t know.  It’s too easy and comfortable to focus on that which we do.

Hopefully, you’ve learned some new ways to approach studying.  Since we are all such unique learners, one method or approach will not work for everyone.  It’s important to test as many approaches as possible to figure out what works and what doesn’t.  The more time that you spend refining your study strategies can actually decrease the amount of time you actually spend studying.  Who doesn’t want more free time?

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

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.

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Hospitals are Like Airports: Interview with an Admitted Med Student http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/31/hospitals-are-like-airports-interview-with-an-admitted-med-student/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/31/hospitals-are-like-airports-interview-with-an-admitted-med-student/#respond Mon, 31 Mar 2014 11:18:30 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21612 ]]> Check out the rest of our Med School Applicant Blogger Interview Series!

“Some of my greatest risks have led to my greatest rewards”

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, introducing Alex Yu…

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?

Alex: I’m originally from Florence, Alabama and currently live in Memphis, Tennessee where I completed my undergraduate studies at Rhodes College. While I mainly studied and received my degree in biological sciences, our strong liberal arts background allowed me to explore many other interests such as fiction writing, poetry, painting, as well as Greek and Roman studies.

As to the question of my favorite non-school book, this is a bit hard to answer seeing that I really enjoyed much of what I read during my time at Rhodes. I do not have one single favorite novel or author, but I can say that I really enjoy southern literature. William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, and Flannery O’Connor are just a few of my favorite southern authors. I’m currently reading the newest novel by Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch, and look forward to reading George Saunders’ newest collection of short stories, Tenth of December.

Accepted: Where will you be attending medical school? Will you be going straight to med school from college, or did you have time off in-between? If there was time in-between, how did you spend that time?

Alex: After a long application season, I’ve decided that I will be attending ETSU Quillen College of Medicine, located in Johnson City, Tennessee. I will be moving from one corner of the state to the other, and it is definitely going to be a big change, but one that I am excited about!

I graduated last May, so I will not be starting directly out of undergrad. After an unsuccessful first cycle, I spent much of the summer after graduation preparing to reapply while also shadowing physicians and continuing work on a research project, a project that eventually brought me to Boston to present my work at the conjoint meeting of the International Federation of Fertility Societies and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Since then, I’ve been working at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in a biochemistry lab.

I am currently wrapping everything up since I will be moving in the coming weeks! I hope to spend the rest of the time I have before school starts finishing up the books I want to read, spending time with family, and maybe traveling a bit.

Accepted: What are you most and least looking forward to about starting medical school?

Alex: I think I am most looking forward to starting this new chapter in my life. I am essentially leaving behind the life I built for myself here in Memphis, and it’s a huge risk; however, I have often experienced that some of my greatest risks have led to my greatest rewards. Leaving home and choosing a college where none of my friends were going was a big risk for me after high school, but I was able to accomplish so much and meet so many amazing individuals during my time here, that I have never regretted that decision.

Just as with my experience in leaving for college, I feel that I will be really happy with my decision in choosing my medical school. In terms of what I am least looking forward to, I would have to say the workload. It is definitely going to take a while to jump back into the swing of things; however, I always like a challenge, and a challenge I shall receive!

Accepted: How many medical schools did you apply to? Do you have any tips for our readers on how to choose the right schools and the right number of schools to apply to?

Alex: I applied to six schools this year: four allopathic programs and two osteopathic programs. I think the most important thing to consider when applying is your state residency. Applying to out-of-state, state-funded programs can be futile unless you are highly competitive, and most programs will give you a fair warning if/when you receive a secondary application. You will be paying quite a bit of money when you initially submit your AMCAS, and you will need to evaluate whether or not it is worth it to pay the additional secondary fees. If you apply to private programs outside of your state, then you have just as good a chance as anyone else; however, you should keep in mind that some of the most applied to programs in the United States are private, and you will be competing with a much larger applicant pool. For osteopathic programs, most are private and state residency status will not matter, unless that particular program is state-funded.

My best advice is to make sure you do your research before adding schools to your tab. Evaluate yourself and your chances based on published entering class profiles, and make sure you only apply to schools you would be happy to attend.

As for how many to choose, I would say no less than four. There are some students who apply to ten or more and only get into one program or not at all. You will want to maximize your chances and potentially give yourself options should you be accepted to more than one program.

Accepted: Can you share a few more admissions tips with our readers?

Alex:

On the MCAT…

The MCAT was my greatest adversary throughout the entire application process. For some, standardized testing comes naturally and unfortunately I am not one of those people. I took a prep course and racked up over 75 hours of testing, and yet I still was not reaching a score I desired. I began to feel inadequate and hopeless that I would ever see my dreams come to fruition because of a single test. Do not let this test make you doubt yourself or your dreams. Everyone’s preparation is a little different for the MCAT, and you will have to figure out what works for you. The key is to never give up.

On Interviews…

When you are invited for an interview, remember this one thing: relax and be yourself. You have already proven yourself on paper and now they want to meet you in person. The main goal of the interview is to see whether or not you are a good fit for their program, as well as make sure you contain the personal qualities necessary for becoming physician. You will want to be as genuine and sincere as possible; therefore, try not to have everything you want to say rehearsed.

It is important to have a well-formulated answer to the famous “Why Medicine?” question, as this will most likely be a standard in every interview you attend. You will also want to have a general path to follow when asked, “So tell me a little bit about yourself?” This question is tough because you will question how much you should tell, and whether it should be about your accomplishments or you personally. I would suggest having a one to two minute answer that combines everything. My answer generally involved where I was from, a few details about how I grew up in a multicultural household, my favorite food, hobbies, and then I would wrap up with describing my current research projects and recent developments that were not on my application. This allows your interviewer a few areas from which to jump off.

Also, do not be afraid to talk about any personal hardships you may have overcome in the past. This can be a good area to display empathy towards others, which is an incredibly important trait to have as a physician.

On Distinguishing Yourself in Your Application…

The best way to distinguish yourself from other applicants simply comes down to being yourself, both in the interview and in your personal statement. Remember that the committee and the interviewers will have a copy of your application and all of your extra-curricular activities, so do not go on discussing details about those things in your personal statement or in your interview, unless of course you are asked about a particular experience. Take that time and that precious amount of characters to the story of you.

This sounds abstract and a bit difficult, and it is. The key is to leave an impression of uniqueness. Despite the fact that we all have the same general list of experiences, we are all unique in our own personal way, and we all interpret and respond to those experiences differently from anyone else. They will be looking for your voice in the crowd. All you have to do is let them hear it.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? Who is your target audience? How have you benefited from the blogging experience?

Alex: Of course! My blog is titled This Medical Life: A Journey in Healthcare. I have only had this blog for a few months, and it is a graduation from my previous blog which chronicled my pre-med journey and undergraduate years. I do not have a specific target audience. Obviously I will probably have a larger pre-medical/medical student viewer base, but I want to have content that applies to everyone.

The most attractive thing about healthcare to me is that it is a common part of the human experience. Hospitals are like airports in that you have so many different people from different walks of life in one building with a common goal. Everyone becomes connected and a part of each other’s stories, and I think there’s something uniquely special about that.

With This Medical Life, I want to explore these stories, and not just through my own personal experiences, but through other people’s experiences. I plan to do this in a variety of different mediums be it artwork, photography, poetry, fiction, or journalism. I want to create content that applies to everyone.

I do plan on providing advice and tips to pre-med students, but what I want readers to realize is that I am more than just my student archetype. I am a person outside of my profession and I want my content to reflect this. I feel that my blogging experience has really helped me find my voice and sort through my ideas about how I see healthcare and what type of physician I want to be. I find writing in general to be therapeutic because it allows me to put what I may be feeling at the moment on something tangible, something that can be manipulated, so that I can really grasp and come to terms with what might be bothering me on any given day. I think being able to think in this manner and sort through these ideas was very valuable when it came time to write my personal statement and attend interviews.

You can read more about Alex’s med school journey by checking out his blog, This Medical Life: A Journey in Healthcare. Thank you Alex 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 our special report: Navigate the Med School Maze

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CommonBond Offers New Refinancing Program for Grads http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/30/commonbond-offers-new-refinancing-program-for-grads/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/30/commonbond-offers-new-refinancing-program-for-grads/#respond Sun, 30 Mar 2014 21:20:23 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21746 ]]> CommonBond just released its new Grad Refinance Loan™, available to law school, med school, engineering, and b-school graduates.

With the new refinancing program, borrowers will receive:

•  Low fixed rates for 10- and 15-year loans.

•  A single monthly bill after the consolidation of multiple loans.

•  Personalized service from the CommonBond team.

Do you want to learn more about CommonBond and how they can help you pay for grad school? Check out our recent podcast, CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans, in which Wharton grads and co-founders of this student loan financing startup share excellent advice on how you can finance your education.

CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans

Accepted.com

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Sam Scott: A Third Year Med Student with a Mission http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/24/med-school-student-interview-with-sam-scott/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/24/med-school-student-interview-with-sam-scott/#respond Mon, 24 Mar 2014 14:32:50 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21475 ]]> Check out our Med School Admissions 101 Pages!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current med school students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at med school life and admissions. And now, introducing…Sam.

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

Sam: I’m originally from Atlanta, GA. We moved to Ohio when I was five, and have been trying to escape ever since. It’s the snow. I can’t handle the snow, or the cold. I went to Kent State University in Ohio, and studied biological chemistry. I regret not going for the straight chemistry degree. Biochemistry in undergrad is completely overrated.

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

Sam: I’m a third year student at an allopathic medical school in Northern Ohio. Only a year and half left!

Accepted: When applying to med school, what were some of your top criteria for choosing the best program for you? Can you walk us through that process?

Sam: As far as choosing the right program, I think the most important part in choosing is having a program choose you. Things don’t always work out the way you plan them or envision them. They didn’t for me, even though my application was very strong. Beyond that, it’s just about your preferences and what’s important to you. I’m at a school with a high level of camaraderie, supportive administration, and terrific teachers. Those are things I heard from students during tours, and I repeat them now as a member of the student body.

Accepted: Now that you’re well into your medical school studies, would you say that you chose the right program? What’s your favorite thing about your program? Least favorite?

Sam: I didn’t have much choice in choosing the program. I came to the one that chose me. I was living in Africa when I got the email and had to high tail it back at the end of my internship to get my white coat. Fortunately for me though, I am at a program that fits me very well. At this level of education the idea of having a student body that didn’t root for each other or was cliquey didn’t really appeal to me, which is why I love my school so much. I feel comfortable having a casual conversation with my peers, even the ones I rarely see and I’m an intense introvert.

My least favorite part, our pseudo pass/fail grading system. What the heck does “high pass” even mean? It’s just an annoyance.

Accepted: Did you go straight from college to med school or did you take off time in between? Going back even further, what about between high school and college? If you took of time, how did you spend that time? In either case, what would you say are the pros and cons of either path?

Sam: I had some unplanned time off between med school and college. What I did between the two was enough to write a book about, so I did. In Over My Head is in the editing stages now and will be published in the next couple months, to stay in the loop and subscribe to my email list on my website!

The short answer is that I looked for work, couldn’t find much and ended up having a series of fortunate events that landed me roles as a missions leader, youth pastor, chemist, and moving to Africa. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Unlike many of my peers, I had the chance to be sure that medicine was what I wanted to do. I had a chance to do other things and I am positive that there is no place I’d rather be. I had an extra year to decide what was important to me, which is paying massive dividends in medical school because I don’t have to wonder the questions “Do I really want to do this?” or “What if I did this instead?” Sure, I could be a year further in my medical education, and it was incredibly stressful to have to sit and wait, but I gained much more than I lost by waiting a year.

I went straight to college after high school. It was never really an option in our family. It was more of a where, than if question if you know what I mean. I didn’t escape undergrad debt free, but I did come out with very little compared to many of my peers because my parents were able to help with a lot of it. I realize that isn’t the situation for a lot of people and an education costs a lot of money, but there seems to be a pervasive notion out there that if you just do what you love the cost is always worth it. It’s a bit short sighted. Not many people get to do what they love for a career, and many people who look for the perfect job spend a fortune paying for the degree they think will bring their dreams true. Don’t lose track of your future chasing a pipe dream. Be realistic.

Accepted: Can you talk about what “life on a mission” is like and how studying medicine plays into it?

Sam: I’m also a blogger, and a soon-to-be-author. My first book, In Over My Head is set to publish here in a few months. Over the last eight years, I’ve stumbled my way through a number of mission trips and experiences and have become captivated by what it means to live with that sort of intentionality and purpose in my day-to-day life. Most people who have been on mission trips can relate to the feelings of satisfaction and reward of feeling like you’ve helped someone, but to live ‘on mission’ in everyday life is pretty different from a mission trip. It’s a lot less about cramming as much experience and work into a day as possible, and a lot more about showing up day after day after day working with people towards goals and being persistent when things aren’t easy. It requires a selfless attitude, a long term vision, a persistence to not give up, and being present in the situation around you. To borrow a phrase from Gary Haugen of the International Justice Mission, “The victims of injustice in our world do not need our spasms of passion; they need our long obedience in the same direction – our legs and lungs of endurance; and we need sturdy stores of joy.”

Accepted: What would you say are your top three tips for med school applicants?

Sam: 1. Be yourself. 2. Make sure you not only want to be a doctor, but that you also want to learn how to be a doctor. There’s a lot to learn, and it doesn’t come easy, or cheap. 3. Don’t be discouraged.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? Who is your target audience? How have you benefited from the blogging experience?

Sam: My blog is where I go to share experiences, thoughts and encouragement. Its target audience…I don’t know. I’m told I’m supposed to have one of those, but I don’t like that rule. I’ve been told by many different types of people that my writing resonates with them. I’ve definitely benefited from blogging though. It’s been challenging, and encouraging, like most memorable things.

You can read more about Sam’s med school journey by checking out his blog, i am sam scott: exploring what it means to live life On MissionThank you Sam 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.

Create a Compelling AMCAS Application Webinar

Accepted.com

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Don’t Forget to Register for Tomorrow’s AMCAS Workshop! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/24/dont-forget-to-register-for-tomorrows-amcas-workshop/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/24/dont-forget-to-register-for-tomorrows-amcas-workshop/#respond Mon, 24 Mar 2014 09:17:44 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21757 ]]> Grab your seat for an event that will make a huge impact on your AMCAS application’s success!

Register now!

Create a Compelling AMCAS Application will air live tomorrow (Tuesday, March 25) at 5:00 PM PT / 8:00 PM ET.

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

Reserve your spot for the "Create a Compelling AMCAS Application" webinar!

Accepted.com

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Don’t Miss the Chance to Register for Important AMCAS Webinar! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/23/dont-miss-the-chance-to-register-for-important-amcas-webinar/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/23/dont-miss-the-chance-to-register-for-important-amcas-webinar/#respond Sun, 23 Mar 2014 14:38:39 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21754 ]]> Register now!

Just a few days to go until our newest med school admissions webinar, Create a Compelling AMCAS Application.

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

The webinar will air on Tuesday, March 25th at 8:00 PM PST / 5:00 PM EST.

Reserve your spot for the "Create a Compelling AMCAS Application" webinar!

Accepted.com

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Oops! AMCAS Workshop for Med School Applicants – Take 2 http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/20/oops-amcas-workshop-for-med-school-applicants-take-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/20/oops-amcas-workshop-for-med-school-applicants-take-2/#respond Thu, 20 Mar 2014 22:40:58 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21736 ]]> Last week we announced the exciting news that we will be hosting Create a Compelling AMCAS Application, a free webinar to help med school applicants stand out from among the very intense competition.

Unfortunately, due to a technical error, the registrations were lost :( 

So… please take a quick moment to reregister so we can be sure to save you a spot!

Reserve your spot for the "Create a Compelling AMCAS Application" webinar!

In case you missed our original announcement, here are the details of the upcoming webinar:

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

Are you having trouble writing your personal statement and all the other short (but still important!) essays? Not sure how you’ll get it all done by the buzzer?

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

Register to join our free webinar "Create a Compelling AMCAS Application"!

The webinar will take place on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 5:00 PM PST / 8:00 PM EST.

Reserve your spot by registering for free now! 

Reserve your spot for the "Create a Compelling AMCAS Application" webinar!

See you on the 25th!

Accepted.com

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5 Million to Share: The 43North Competition http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/20/5-million-to-share-the-43north-competition/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/20/5-million-to-share-the-43north-competition/#respond Thu, 20 Mar 2014 17:48:23 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21705 ]]> Want to know more? Listen to the full episode!Do you have a great business idea but need 1 million dollars to get yourself started? Meet Peter Burakowski, Senior Marketing Manager at 43North.

Listen to the recording of our fascinating conversation with Peter to find out why 43North is going to give away $5 million dollars to eleven promising entrepreneurs and what you need to do if you want to be one of the winners.

00:01:43 – About 43North (and why you really want to win).

00:10:06 – Who can apply.

00:11:21 – Why retail and hospitality are excluded.

00:12:25 – The 43North application process.

00:14:30 – What are the judges looking for?

00:16:33 – Setting up shop in Buffalo.

00: 21:49 – How many applicants are vying for the gold?

00:23:37 – About the judges. (Will you be one of them?)

00:27:32 – Mentorship and community.

00:31:03 – A lot more than a t-shirt: what happens to the semi-finalists.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!

Admissions Straight Talk Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss a single episode! *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Relevant Links:

•  43North
•  Which Universities Contribute the Most to VC-Backed Entrepreneurship?
•  MBA Admissions Special Reports
•  Grad School Admissions Special Reports
•  Med School Admissions Special Reports
•  Law School Admissions Special Reports

Related Shows:

•  MBAs Across America: The Coolest HBS Internship
•  Which Schools are Good for PE/VC and VC-Backed Entrepreneurship
•  Business, Law and Beyond: An Interview with John Engelman
•  Dr. Douglas Stayman Shares the Scoop on Cornell Tech NYC
•  Jeff Reid on Entrepreneurship
•  CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/20/5-million-to-share-the-43north-competition/feed/ 0 entrepreneurship,podcast Do you have a great business idea but need 1 million dollars to get yourself started? Meet Peter Burakowski, Senior Marketing Manager at 43North. - Listen to the recording of our fascinating conversation with Peter to find out why 43North is going to ... Do you have a great business idea but need 1 million dollars to get yourself started? Meet Peter Burakowski, Senior Marketing Manager at 43North. Listen to the recording of our fascinating conversation with Peter to find out why 43North is going to give away $5 million dollars to eleven promising entrepreneurs and what you need to do if you want to be one of the winners. 00:01:43 – About 43North (and why you really want to win). 00:10:06 – Who can apply. 00:11:21 – Why retail and hospitality are excluded. 00:12:25 – The 43North application process. 00:14:30 – What are the judges looking for? 00:16:33 – Setting up shop in Buffalo. 00: 21:49 – How many applicants are vying for the gold? 00:23:37 – About the judges. (Will you be one of them?) 00:27:32 – Mentorship and community. 00:31:03 – A lot more than a t-shirt: what happens to the semi-finalists.  Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss a single episode! *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Relevant Links: •  43North •  Which Universities Contribute the Most to VC-Backed Entrepreneurship? •  MBA Admissions Special Reports •  Grad School Admissions Special Reports •  Med School Admissions Special Reports •  Law School Admissions Special Reports Related Shows: •  MBAs Across America: The Coolest HBS Internship •  Which Schools are Good for PE/VC and VC-Backed Entrepreneurship •  Business, Law and Beyond: An Interview with John Engelman •  Dr. Douglas Stayman Shares the Scoop on Cornell Tech NYC •  Jeff Reid on Entrepreneurship •  CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:       Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 35:53
How do I Decide Which Med Schools to Apply to? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/19/where-should-i-apply-to-medical-school-joshua/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/19/where-should-i-apply-to-medical-school-joshua/#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2014 18:13:56 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21486 ]]> Download your free copy of 'Navigate the Med School Maze'!

Joshua with friends on a hike in the mountains.

Journeys with Joshua: Joshua Wienczkowski walks us through med school at East Tennessee’s College of Medicine with his monthly blog updates. Get an inside look into med school down South and life as a student adcom member through the eyes of a former professional songwriter with a whole lot of clinical experience — thanks Joshua for sharing this journey with us!

Choosing to tackle medical school and working hard to become competitive is a huge accomplishment, but narrowing down what medical schools to apply to train at can be a little daunting. I’ll walk through some important questions and points to consider that I used to narrow down the 14 schools I applied to. With this year’s application season coming up in a few months, now would be a good time to start researching schools that maybe you haven’t been in close contact with. Below are some solid questions that will help eliminate a huge chunk of schools, and begin narrowing down your top choices, your “reach” schools, and “safe” schools. I would recommend using this part of the AAMC’s website that lists each state, their medical schools, and has links to each school as you answer the questions below. Remember, you are the consumer in education, so be empowered that you have choice in this process.

How important is location to you?
Yeah, Hawaii does sound awesome for medical school, but that’s a long way from home for most, and makes breaks a little harder. I usually advise pre-meds to look at places within driving distance of family (6-8 hours) or near a major airport that has reasonable flights back home. When I get a break (which are much shorter than undergrad), I usually want to see family and catch up with old friends. Lifestyle is so important, because when I have downtime, I love being in the Appalachian Mountains so I can hike, cliff jump off of waterfalls, and enjoy a beautiful 4 seasons. Do you want a big city or do you like the countryside? Pick places that can support your hobbies and lifestyle, because 4 years is a long time to be bored.

What state do you have residency?
You’ll be hard pressed to get accepted to a state school if you aren’t a resident of that state or have pretty outstanding scores. Private schools pay no attention to your residency status because they aren’t funded through state tax dollars (don’t worry, they make it up through your tuition). I always tell pre-meds to look hard at their state schools, because that’s where they have the highest chance of acceptance and it will be the most affordable option. Remember, medical education is so standardized that it really is the same everywhere, so look at the value of what you’re getting for the price you pay.

How competitive are you?
Be realistic with your numbers, and research average acceptance scores for schools you’re interested in, but also remember that these are averages. If you’re a couple points below their average MCAT or GPA, don’t worry, that means you’re still competitive for an interview, and can earn yourself a spot. So you got a 26? Maybe Harvard is out of reach, but your state school is still a viable option. Be honest with yourself, but don’t sell yourself short.

What was your impression of admissions and student body?
I called admissions of over 20 medical schools just to chat, and get a feel for the people and culture. I also met with several at medical school recruitment fairs, and was able to quickly eliminate a few, because frankly, I was rubbed the wrong way. First impressions say a lot, so use your gut, and how you feel when interacting with people that represent institutions. See if you can get in touch with some medical students – can you see yourself being mentored by these individuals? Do you like a big student body that you can get lost in or do you like a family environment?

I know you’ve been taught to be a pauper, begging at the doors of medical schools to just get an acceptance, but honestly, you have more control in this process than you think, so be strategic, and only pursue places you’d genuinely and realistically be interested in attending. Also, I recommend applying to around 10 schools, and if you need help financing the application process, the Fee Assistance Program through the AAMC is a great way to pay for 14 schools, and waives the secondary application fee at most institutions.

Good luck, and let me know if there are any questions I can answer for you. I attend the greatest medical school in the world, for some people, and I hope this has helped you begin to narrow down the same.

Download our special report: Navigate the Med School Maze

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Can You Get Accepted After Doing Something Stupid? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/16/can-you-get-accepted-after-doing-something-stupid/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/16/can-you-get-accepted-after-doing-something-stupid/#comments Sun, 16 Mar 2014 14:50:02 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21603 ]]> Check out our MBA Admissions 101 Pages!

Don’t try to hide a conviction.

The point of this article is not to tell you that you shouldn’t engage in disorderly conduct, petty theft, or other minor (or major) infractions (though you really shouldn’t…); what we want to discuss here is how you should overcome the obstacle of a criminal record when approached with the application question: “Have you ever been convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain.”

If you did something stupid, something deserving of a conviction or suspension, how do you prove to an admissions committee that you are worthy of their acceptance?

First, don’t try to hide a conviction. Clients often ask me if they really need to bring up their troubled past, and I tell them they do. Admissions committees (and the firms they hire) conduct background checks on applicants, and an unexplained discrepancy gives them an easy reason to reject your application or withdraw an offer of admission, so, when asked, own up to your behavior on your application.

Don’t make excuses. The biggest struggle I face when helping troubled clients is getting them to move past their tendency to justify their behavior: their writing tends to get overlong with explanations. Even very subtle self-serving statements can be read by an admissions committee as failure to take responsibility for your behavior, so leave out the excuses and directly address what you did.

Don’t go overboard addressing the infraction. The second biggest struggle I face is keeping clients from turning their applications into overblown mea culpas. A client once came to me having written two required essays and an optional essay all addressing a mistake from the past—too much! Often, a well-written response to an application’s “failure” essay question is enough.

Do show that you learned your lesson and that your past behavior won’t happen again. This step tends to be less of a struggle for clients, because usually they can show remorse, they can show the actions they took to atone for their behavior, and they can show how they matured from their experiences. Often such clients become heavily involved with their community, counseling others who tend toward their same behavior and managing to turn their failure into a success benefitting others.

Perfect execution of these suggestions certainly will increase your chances of admission, but they may not be enough to gain you acceptance to a top school. So avoid having to deal with this situation altogether: think twice and three times before you do something that you could regret for a very long time.

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

 

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An Admitted Med Student and Post-bac Grad Shares Her Story http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/16/med-school-applicant-interview-with-z/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/16/med-school-applicant-interview-with-z/#respond Sun, 16 Mar 2014 14:34:23 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21270 ]]> Check out our free report: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac ProgramsThis interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with med school applicant bloggers, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at the med school application process. And now, introducing…“Z.”

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 flavor ice cream?

Z: I’m originally from one of the Mountain States in the US (not to be confused with the Midwest!). Mountain States include Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Colorado. I concentrated in economics at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. My favorite ice cream flavor is probably Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your five year plan? Where are you now and where do you plan on being in five years from now?

Z: My basic five year plan is go to medical school, match into one of my top choice residencies as an M4, successfully graduate from medical school, and have a positive start to my intern/residency. Currently, I’m working in a lab while counting down the days until I can start medical school. Five years from now, I’d like to be back on the east coast as an intern/resident. I think I’d also like to get married at some point during that time and buy my first pet dog (French bulldog!) or maybe a Bengal kitten.

Accepted: We have lots of readers who are post baccalaureate applicants or who are thinking about applying to a postbac program. Can you share some application tips that you wish you’d known before applying?

Z: I made the mistake of applying to too many postbac programs, which was costly. I sort of freaked out when I was applying and was worried that I wouldn’t be accepted into any programs.

In the end, I ended up being accepted into all the programs (10) and went to the program in my hometown for financial reasons. I could have saved some money by applying to 3-4 programs. Note: I had a strong undergrad GPA and strong standardized test scores – so I think if one has a weaker undergrad GPA or test scores, then it might be smart to apply to several programs. But if I were to do it again, I would have applied to 3 programs, not 10.

Also, my biggest deciding factor for choosing a postbac program came down to finances and costs. I attended the program in my hometown because the tuition was very cheap and I was able to live at home (Thank you, Mom and Dad!).

I would highly encourage others to prioritize cost when selecting a postbac program (vs prestige) so that you can take out a reasonable student loan and not work while enrolled in school.

I know taking out student loans is scary. So a lot of people choose to work while attending the postbac program to reduce loans. However, I can say that all the people who were working while attending school in my program really struggled to do well in their classes and on the MCAT. (Same for a few friends who did postbacs at other institutions.) For that reason, most of them could not apply this season or did apply but did not receive any interview invitations. In that sense, I think deciding to work ended up being more costly than taking out a loan to cover costs. They have lost a year (time=money) and they will have to pay the application fees again, which can also add up. Of course, this is only my opinion!

Accepted: What would you say was the most challenging aspect of the medical school application process? What steps did you take to overcome that challenge?

Z: The most challenging aspect for me was the feeling that I was starting all over again and that I was “behind” compared to my undergrad classmates who had gone straight to medical school. In other words, doing the postbac program made me feel like I was starting undergrad all over again. In fact, some of the pre-med requirement classes are freshman level courses. It was really hard not to feel like I had wasted my undergrad years and to beat myself up over not “knowing my calling” sooner. However, when I actually started taking those classes and reflected on my “life experiences,” I realized that I had changed and grown a lot since my time as an undergraduate student (it’s been about 5 years now). When I realized that, I knew that I wasn’t truly starting over and I had benefited a lot from “wandering.”

The other challenging aspect was related to my personal romantic relationship. I started this process while in a long-distance (and relatively serious) relationship. However, when we started discussing our future together, it was clear that we had different goals (even though we’re both going to be in medicine) and different end locations. This is something that not a lot of people take into account (I didn’t) and it resulted in a lot of heartache. I’m still working on recovering, but I have been thinking about my upcoming new adventures and that has been helpful.

Accepted: Congrats on your multiple acceptances to med school! Can you talk about some of the factors that will go into your decision?

Z: Thank you! I feel very blessed to have a choice of where I attend. The two biggest factors that will go into my decision will be “fit” and “financial.” Having gone on multiple interviews, I learned how important fit will be for me in finding success as a medical school student. For me, “fit” includes school culture, who my classmates will be, the curriculum, the learning styles supported by the curriculum and lectures, opportunities to pursue my own personal interests, and location. I think “financial” is pretty self-explanatory. I will be balancing these two factors when making my final decision.

Accepted: Most med school applicants worry about how they’ll survive the financial element of med school – paying for tuition, getting scholarships, being in debt. Can you share your thoughts on the subject?

Z: I am definitely one of those med school applicants! The thought of going into a large amount of debt really makes me nervous. I have been reading a lot on surviving medical school financially, which I think everyone should do. I’ve been lucky that my parents are very financially savvy, so I have been leaning a bit on their wisdom.

I’m confident in my parents’ financial advice because my dad put himself through school (and received a Ph.D) without putting himself in any prolonged debt. My parents are currently debt free (and have been for quite a long time) and I believe it is because of their financial wisdom – I intend on following their footsteps.

So, based on my talks with them, we’ve agreed that I shouldn’t commit myself to any sort of career commitment scholarships (Army, Health Corps, etc). Instead, I’m planning on budgeting very carefully in advance, taking out just enough loans for tuition and living costs and necessities, saving money now for emergencies, eliminating any unnecessary spending (e.g. clothes), and dedicating a large portion of my wages as an intern/resident to paying off my medical school debt quickly (even though this will definitely be tough with the small resident income). So, I’ll probably be that medical student who wears the same outfit every other day. Don’t worry – I’m vigilant about my laundry and clean underwear!

Bottom line: With the exception of tuition and living costs in medical school, I think it’s good to stick with the rules, “Don’t spend more than you have” and “1 dollar spent today is 3 dollars lost later.”

Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? Who is your target audience? How have you benefited from the blogging experience?

Z: I started this blog to journal my transition into medical school, my time at medical school, and then my transition out of medical school. I wanted to do it in a five-year journal type format. However, I’ve shifted away from that a little and, so far, my blog has ended up becoming a mix of my daily life and advice for other pre-meds.

I didn’t really have a specific target audience in mind – although now, I think I’m working to write for others who are in a similar position as myself and I hope to share more information with them. I found information to be really important in being able to successfully complete an application cycle and want others to have the same information that I did.

Naturally, I am still very limited in my knowledge, but I want to share what I can. I’ve greatly benefited from just connecting with other pre-meds and being able to share the burden of going through this immense process. I really enjoy helping others. Having people reach out to me and thank me for my thoughts/advice is very rewarding. I also think that looking back every year on my journey (via my blog) will help me to be very mindful of each day and to appreciate the incredible opportunity that I have been given.

You can read more about Z’s med school journey by checking out her blog, 5 year journey: medical school version. Thank you Z 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 A Second Chance at Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs!

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New AMCAS Workshop for Med School Applicants! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/14/new-amcas-workshop-for-med-school-applicants-register-now/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/14/new-amcas-workshop-for-med-school-applicants-register-now/#respond Fri, 14 Mar 2014 14:35:34 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21638 ]]> Are you struggling to make your way through the various elements of the AMCAS application?

Are you having trouble writing your personal statement and all the other short (but still important!) essays? Not sure how you’ll get it all done by the buzzer?

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

Register to join our free webinar "Create a Compelling AMCAS Application"!

The webinar will take place on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 5:00 PM PST / 8:00 PM EST.

Reserve your spot by registering for free now! 

Reserve your spot for the "Create a Compelling AMCAS Application" webinar!

See you on the 25th!

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MCAT Mania: How to Prepare http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/13/mcat-mania-how-to-prepare/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/13/mcat-mania-how-to-prepare/#respond Thu, 13 Mar 2014 19:31:31 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21604 ]]> Listen to the full recording of the interview with Megan Galvin.The big MCAT change is coming right up. Whether you are rushing to take the test before MCAT2015 or you are concerned about taking the new 6-hour exam, our latest podcast interviewee has some great advice for you.

Listen to the recording of our conversation with Megan Galvin, the National Program Director for Examkrackers to learn more about prepping for the MCAT, the upcoming changes, and Examkrackers.

00:02:25 – MCAT prep timing. [Don’t set yourself up for failure!]

00:09:21 – Examkrackers’ distinctive approach.

00:17:43 – Class character.

00:20:10 – Classroom learning or self-study?

00:26:27 – Programs for non-traditional and postbac applicants.

00:33:22 – The MCAT is about to change in a big way. What are we in for?

00:42:24 – Is there any reason not to take the old test?

00:44:28 – Don’t prepare for the MCAT before you’ve taken your science prerequisites!

* The current MCAT will be accepted through 2017 for-applicants to entering Med School in 2018 (see here for more info).

Admissions Straight Talk Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss a single episode! And if you really want to make us smile, leave a 5-star rating.

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Relevant Links:

Examkrackers
• Navigating the Med School Mazetips to help you apply successfully to medical school.

 Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success
A Second Chance at Medical School: Applying to Postbac Programs
• AAMC
The MCAT2015 Exam for Students

Related Shows:

• All About AMSA and the Premed Journey
• What You Need to Know About Post-bac Programs
• A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes
• MCAT Tips and Strategy: An Interview with Don Osborne
• Med School Admissions with Cyd Foote
• Med School Application Process: AMCAS, Secondaries, Interviews, Decisions & More!

Subscribe:

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

Download our special report: Navigate the Med School Maze

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/13/mcat-mania-how-to-prepare/feed/ 0 MCAT,podcast The big MCAT change is coming right up. Whether you are rushing to take the test before MCAT2015 or you are concerned about taking the new 6-hour exam, our latest podcast interviewee has some great advice for you. - The big MCAT change is coming right up. Whether you are rushing to take the test before MCAT2015 or you are concerned about taking the new 6-hour exam, our latest podcast interviewee has some great advice for you. Listen to the recording of our conversation with Megan Galvin, the National Program Director for Examkrackers to learn more about prepping for the MCAT, the upcoming changes, and Examkrackers. 00:02:25 – MCAT prep timing. [Don’t set yourself up for failure!] 00:09:21 – Examkrackers’ distinctive approach. 00:17:43 – Class character. 00:20:10 – Classroom learning or self-study? 00:26:27 – Programs for non-traditional and postbac applicants. 00:33:22 – The MCAT is about to change in a big way. What are we in for? 00:42:24 – Is there any reason not to take the old test? 00:44:28 – Don’t prepare for the MCAT before you’ve taken your science prerequisites! * The current MCAT will be accepted through 2017 for-applicants to entering Med School in 2018 (see here for more info).  Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss a single episode! And if you really want to make us smile, leave a 5-star rating. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Relevant Links: • Examkrackers • Navigating the Med School Maze, tips to help you apply successfully to medical school. • Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success • A Second Chance at Medical School: Applying to Postbac Programs • AAMC • The MCAT2015 Exam for Students Related Shows: • All About AMSA and the Premed Journey • What You Need to Know About Post-bac Programs • A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes • MCAT Tips and Strategy: An Interview with Don Osborne • Med School Admissions with Cyd Foote • Med School Application Process: AMCAS, Secondaries, Interviews, Decisions & More! Subscribe:       Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 51:43
Pew Study Shows Grad Degrees Pay Off! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/12/pew-study-shows-grad-degrees-pay-off/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/12/pew-study-shows-grad-degrees-pay-off/#respond Wed, 12 Mar 2014 17:59:16 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21534 ]]> Learn how to evaluate your profile, skills, and experiences to determine if, when, and where you should apply to graduate school.

A graduate education can be a fantastic investment, or burdensome expense.

According to a Pew study, earnings of college grads with no further education have increased 13% since 1984, while earnings of those with advanced degrees have risen 23% in that same time period. For those with professional and doctorate degrees, the numbers jump even higher, to 34%.

This data, however, doesn’t take into account the following two things: 1) These increases don’t reflect the unemployment rate – that is, they only show a pay increase for those graduates who have found work; 2) They don’t take household income into consideration – the higher the socioeconomic status, the greater the chance is that marriage and childbearing has been delayed (i.e. fewer dependents) and the greater the chance for greater gains.

Let’s take a look at monthly household income for a moment: The median adjusted monthly household income of college graduates has gone up $1,300 since 1984. For households headed by someone with an advanced degree, that inflation-adjusted amount is $1,500, and for those with professional or doctorate degrees, it’s skyrocketed to $3,400. For those who have not completed a bachelor’s degree, monthly household income has decreased since 1984.

Here are two additional points:

•   The study doesn’t show that higher education has caused financial gain, just the association between the two.

•   Since 1984, the percentage of college grads who’ve gone on to complete an advanced degree has only gone up 1% (from 26% in 1984 to 27% in 2009). This amount is statistically insignificant and goes against the belief that a weak economy pushes people into higher education.

My Thoughts

While I’m always glad to see evidence that a graduate education pays off, I’m concerned about two omissions in this report.

1. This research doesn’t reflect the increased cost of graduate education since 1984.

2. By talking in terms of averages and aggregates, this research doesn’t reflect the uneven benefits of graduate and professional education. The STEM fields in general are booming. The job market for humanities and law grads has basically crashed.

Before plunking down those tuition dollars or even starting the application process, it behooves you to pursue your dreams with an eye on the top and bottom line and a few of the lines in between. What is your education going to cost you? What are the likely financial benefits?

A graduate education can be a fantastic investment, or burdensome expense. Do the homework and research necessary before spending your hard earned cash or assuming thousands of dollars in debt. You want to arrive on campus with confidence that the return on your tuition dollar and time will be more fantastic than the cost.

Download your free copy of GET YOUR GAME ON: Preparing for Your Grad School Application

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

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For Parents of Pre-meds, How to Help During MCAT Preparation http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/12/for-parents-of-pre-meds-how-to-help-during-mcat-preparation/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/12/for-parents-of-pre-meds-how-to-help-during-mcat-preparation/#respond Wed, 12 Mar 2014 14:24:18 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21441 ]]> Check out our MCAT 101 Page!

Read electronically every day.

The MCAT terrifies most students.  Rightly so; it’s a grueling exam that requires enormous dedication while preparing for it.  Naturally, your child will require a lot of support during this process.  After spending years assisting students in achieving high scores, I recommend the following methods of providing assistance:

• If possible, encourage your premed to focus only on preparing for and taking the MCAT.

In my experience, students who tried to take classes while studying for the MCAT hurt either their GPA or their MCAT score, or in worse case scenarios—both.  Supporting your premeds financially and giving them the time to study can increase their score substantially.  Give them the permission and means to study exclusively for this exam.

• Assist your child in selecting a test prep program.

Students do better who have guidance from experts or expert testing systems.  Take some time to help your son or daughter choose a program or combination of resources that will work for them, based on their individual needs.

• Recommend that they evaluate their progress on a regular basis.

Taking full, timed practice exams under similar conditions provided at the testing centers will allow your premeds to maintain control over their study approach and become comfortable with the testing environment.  If they are scoring higher in Bio than Verbal, this information should guide their focus. (They should then study more Verbal.) Often, it’s scary to study what we don’t know or don’t understand, but identifying these gaps and attacking them is the best path forward.  This information often inspires discipline.

• Read electronically every day.

It is well-documented that people read more slowly on a computer screen.  By reading electronically for at least an hour a day,  your premeds can dramatically improve their reading speed. Encourage them to do so. This increased speed will directly translate into their ability to earn a higher score since they can complete more questions in less time.

• Eat well to improve focus.

Eating a diet high in protein and low in sugar that creates less spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels can actually improve our ability to focus.  On such a lengthy exam, eating well during test preparation and in the days leading up to the exam as well as during the exam itself can be critical.  We perform better when we eat well.  Just ask any Olympians or coaches about their diet!

• Maintain a sleep routine.

Most students have learned to cram before exams during college.  This is a terrible way to study.  Research proves that a significant lack of sleep is similar to trying to function under the influence of alcohol.  I have heard countless stories of students testing new sleep medication the night before the actual MCAT and having to struggle to stay awake during the exam or not getting any sleep.  Ideally, encourage your premed to maintain a regular study schedule and to avoid cramming.  Even taking a few days off before the exam to rest can be a good idea for some students to let the information settle.

 Check on car maintenance.

Another common issue that is easy to avoid is car trouble the morning of the MCAT.  If you can, make sure that your son or daughter has a vehicle in good condition to make it to the test.  Even better, driving with them to the test center a week before the exam to test the route could also be helpful.  It’s the basics that trip most people up because they are too busy studying to think about the practical issues of getting to the exam and taking good care of themselves in the process.  Even simply reminding them of these things can help prevent a disaster!

• Encourage but don’t insist or pester.

Your premed children are adults.  They need your support – not meddling, pressure, or conflict. With all the above suggestions, don’t nag or over-do it.

As the parent of highly motivated premeds, these are some practical ways that you can assist them in preparing for the MCAT.  It may be frustrating at times to see them under so much pressure, but you can help by simply being there for them and continuing to cheer them on.  Every minute counts before this exam!  When they do receive their scores, let them approach you when they are ready to discuss them and their next steps.

For expert assistance other than test prep, you are always welcome to contact the experienced professionals at Accepted.com for help!

Check out our podcast interview: MCAT Tips and Strategy with Don Osborne for the answers to your MCAT questions!

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.

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2015 Best Medical Schools by U.S. News http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/11/2015-best-medical-schools-by-u-s-news/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/11/2015-best-medical-schools-by-u-s-news/#respond Tue, 11 Mar 2014 21:01:47 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21571 ]]> Ready to see how U.S. News ranked the best medical schools in the U.S.? Here we go!

Check out our Medical School Admissions 101 pages.2015 Best Medical Schools for Research

1. Harvard
2. Stanford
3. Johns Hopkins
4. UC San Francisco
4. UPenn Perelman
6. Washington University (St. Louis)
7. Yale
8. Columbia
8. Duke
10. University of Washington

2015 Best Medical Schools for Primary Care

1. University of Washington
2. UNC  Chapel Hill
3. Oregon Health and Science University
4. UC San Francisco
5. UMass Worcester
6. University of Minnesota
6. University of Nebraska Medical Center
8. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
9. Michigan state University College of Osteopathic Medicine
9. University of Wisconsin – Madison
11. Harvard

Download our special report: Navigate the Med School Maze

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How to Show that YOU Want to be a Doctor http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/09/how-to-show-that-you-want-to-be-a-doctor/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/09/how-to-show-that-you-want-to-be-a-doctor/#respond Sun, 09 Mar 2014 21:36:16 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21536 ]]> “My mom is a doctor, my dad is a doctor. How can I prove to the med school admissions committees that I really want to be a doctor?”

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

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For Parents of Pre-meds, How Much Help Is Too Much Help? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/05/for-parents-of-pre-meds-how-much-help-is-too-much-help/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/05/for-parents-of-pre-meds-how-much-help-is-too-much-help/#respond Wed, 05 Mar 2014 16:06:08 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21356 ]]> An Accepted admissions consultant can guide your child through the process.

Respect Boundaries: Your children are adults now.

It can be nerve-wracking to know how to help your son or daughter during their application process to medical school.  It’s time-intensive and expensive to apply.  Reading or citing statistics about the competitiveness of the application process doesn’t help.  Frequenting pre-med forums can foment phobia. With the right guidance and a little perspective, however, you and your pre-med can survive—even thrive.

Here are a few ideas to help your child thrive while applying:

•  Use all resources available.

Encourage your children to visit their pre-med advisor on a regular basis, especially while they are applying.  Most college campuses also have a writing center or learning skills center that provides free assistance with academic or application essays, though they have a time limit per student.  For further or more personalized assistance, working with consultants like those of us at Accepted.com can provide an additional edge.  Talk with your son or daughter about what resources and support they will need while applying.

• Network with other parents or professionals in the health sciences.

Attending pre-med fairs or conferences can provide valuable information to students and parents.  Most of these events are geared towards pre-med students, but parents are often welcome.  Connect with other parents of pre-meds so that you can support each other through the process.  Reach out to anyone you know who is a medical student, doctor or any other kind of healthcare professional.  They may even be willing to allow your son or daughter to shadow them or their colleagues.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help or reach out to other people for support.

•  Maintain your routine

While the application process can increase anxiety, it’s important to stick to your routine.  By setting this example, your pre-med will find it easier to maintain balance, even while applying.  Exercise regularly.  Keep the weekends fun and light.  Decide on a time every day to check personal emails, and don’t babysit your mailbox.  Focusing on what is important in your life at the present moment will help you avoid worrying about what is going to happen in the future.  There will be time to respond when you know what to respond to.

•  Respect boundaries.

As the application season progresses and anxiety is rising, avoid bringing up the topic of medical school admissions or calling medical schools on your son or daughter’s behalf.  Most children are thrilled to share good news with their parents—once they get it.  To prevent unnecessary stress, allow your son or daughter to be the person who gives you regular progress updates. (Rejoice! No need to nag.) Your children are adults now. And giving them the space that adults deserve will enhance their sense of self-responsibility and independence, not to mention your relationship with them.   Applications can become a painful topic for them and bringing it up before exams or while they are focused on other goals can derail their progress in those other activities.  You can even have an open and honest conversation with them early in the application process about how they would like to manage the topic.  Whatever you agree to do, honor your word.

•  Stay positive.

Simply being available to your son or daughter when they need to talk will be important.  By staying positive about their options and chances, you will be able to help decrease their stress levels.  There may be times in the application process that students need this additional level of overwhelmingly upbeat self-affirmation.

• Put it in Perspective

In my experience as a post-bac program director, I have known so many students who have applied to medical school unsuccessfully but who used that experience to help mold themselves into stronger applicants who later earned an acceptance.

Allow your son or daughter time to process the experience, independently.  When  appropriate, help them to put the process and the outcome in perspective.  Applying to medical school demonstrates a high level of commitment to others and the pursuit of academic achievement.  There are harder things to do than apply to medical school! And there are even worse events in life than rejection from medical school. Don’t allow them to lose sight of what is truly important .

Using these suggestions can help you navigate the stress of your pre-med’s application process.  As you demonstrate your coping skills and strategies, they will follow your example and learn how to deal effectively with the stresses and challenges of life.  Ultimately, these skills will help them get into medical school as well as to excel.

However, if despite these suggestions, your child is struggling with the process or has been rejected, and you want to help your child but aren’t quite sure how to do so, please feel free to review our services and contact us. The other Accepted consultants and I are happy to guide your child through the medical school admission process. In addition to accessing the expertise of med school admission professionals, turning to us can reduce the tension between you and your adult child. We’re here to help.

An Accepted admissions consultant can guide your child through the daunting medical school application process.
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.

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Excited for the Challenge: Interview with an MSU CHM Accepted Student http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/04/excited-for-the-challenge-interview-with-an-msu-chm-accepted-student/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/04/excited-for-the-challenge-interview-with-an-msu-chm-accepted-student/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 15:44:14 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21454 ]]> Schlager_EmmaWe’d like to introduce you to Emma Schlager who will be beginning med school at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in the fall. Thank you Emma for offering valuable med school application advice and for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck! 

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 flavor ice cream?

Emma: Hi there! I was born and raised in the metropolitan Detroit area. In college, I studied psychology at Michigan State University. I graduated from Michigan State in 2013 with a Bachelors of Science degree.

I really love ice cream and I don’t discriminate against any ice cream flavors, except for maybe butter pecan (what the heck is up with that stuff anyway?). For all intents and purposes, I will go with vanilla as my favorite flavor.

Accepted: Congrats on your med school acceptance! Where will you be starting med school in the fall? What do you think makes you a good fit for that program?

Emma: Thank you very much! It is a dream come true. I will be starting med school at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (MSU CHM) in the fall. I knew I was a good fit for MSU CHM because the values and mission of the school parallel my own personal values and goals as a future physician.

MSU CHM prides themselves on being a community-based medical school that serves primarily underserved areas. My decision to pursue a medical career was brought about by a feeling of ethical responsibility, so I love that I will be trained in communities that really need the medical attention.

Like MSU CHM, my service orientation is my main motivator. In college, I spent many hours volunteering at the local hospice residence. I’ve always enjoyed serving my communities as a volunteer.

On the other hand, I also hope to get involved with research in med school, and MSU CHM is a fantastic school for allowing me to do that because of their abundant research opportunities. I have no doubt that MSU CHM will mold me into the compassionate, respectable, and competent physician that I aspire to be.

Accepted: How would you describe your med school application experience?

Emma: Reflecting on the journey now is almost surreal to me because I still can’t believe that I got off that roller coaster of emotion unscathed and with a successful story to tell. It was the highest and lowest I have ever been in my life. The words that I think best describes my experience are long, strenuous, messy, and exhilarating.

First, I started studying for the MCAT in January 2013 and was not done studying for that beast of an exam until September 2013, as I had to take it twice to reach the score that I needed. I studied for the MCAT while also working for a 4.0 GPA in my last two semesters of college, so I spent roughly 9-12 hours a day studying for 8 continuous months. This is what I meant by long and strenuous.

Next, nothing will make you feel more inadequate than applying to med school. After hearing from many different sources over the years that only a small percentage of total applicants get accepted, it is very hard for any pre-med to feel certain that they will get accepted. For somebody like me, with above-average but not exceptional grades and test scores, I was very unsure about my chances of getting in. I was constantly thinking about how the extra classes I took, the time spent studying, and the ridiculous amount of money spent could all be for nothing. My self-confidence was at an all-time low. There were a few instances where I felt completely defeated, exhausted, and depressed. I wasn’t kidding when I said it was messy.

Once I was done with the application, the test, and the essays, all I could do was wait. To my complete joy, the interviews began rolling in. This was the most accomplished I had ever felt in my life. I enjoyed traveling around the state for various interviews. The most memorable interview was at the MSU CHM campus in Grand Rapids. My mother took the trip with me and we stayed at the Holiday Inn downtown. I knew I would love to spend the next 4 years of my life studying medicine in a city so vibrant and electrifying. When I received my acceptance letter, I sat and sobbed. Then, I danced. Exhilarating, indeed.

Accepted: Can you tell us about the Pre-Psychiatry Association you started in college?

Emma: When I first started college at MSU, I wanted to get involved on campus as much as possible in order to meet others with the same interests as myself. I noticed that although there were many clubs for pre-med students and many clubs for psychology majors, there were none that were specifically geared towards psychology majors interested in the medical field. I decided to start my own student organization and I named it the Pre-Psychiatry Association (PPA).

The PPA was very successful. We did a lot of volunteering for the community and also fun activities such as tailgates and holiday parties. We even took a group trip together for spring break one year! Founding a student-run organization was so valuable to me. Not only did I learn about leadership and professionalism, but I also gained relationships through the PPA that I will cherish for the rest of my life. The faculty adviser for the club, Dr. Shafer, became my mentor, who helped me navigate through the pre-med journey and wrote me a very valuable recommendation. Also, if I hadn’t formed the group, I would have never met some of my best friends from college. For example, I will be watching the Event Planner of the inaugural executive board of the PPA, Angela, get married in Punta Cana in June. I will be taking that trip with the initial Treasurer of the PPA, Mark (love you guys!). The club was definitely the coolest thing I did in college and I am so proud of it.

Accepted: How important would you say it is to visit your target med school?

Emma: In my opinion, it is extremely important to have a target med school in mind as early as possible in the pre-med journey. Medical school applicants should have an idea of what medical school they want to attend before applying, because medical schools are always looking for a certain type of “fit” for their school.

Visiting the school, having extensive background knowledge about the school’s history, and doing activities that makes you the perfect applicant for that school makes you stand out to the admissions directors and shows them that you are serious about attending their school.

Like I have said already, I had MSU CHM in mind from the beginning of my pre-med journey. I attended many events at CHM, such as touring the school with my club, meeting the admissions directors, and having panels of medical students do Q&A sessions with my club at meetings.

I certainly believe that visiting your target school gives you an advantage when it comes to applying. If the admissions directors know your name when they see your application, they are more likely to pay close attention to it. The last thing any med school applicant should do is ‘shoot in the dark’ when it comes to picking what schools to apply to. It is better to apply to 5 schools that you are a good fit for, then 25 schools that you really don’t stand out to.

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

Emma: First, I think the most important tip for anyone applying to medical school is to get your application in as early as possible. This really does make a difference! Everything on your application should be completed by the first day that AMCAS applications are allowed to be submitted. Start drafting your personal statement months before you apply, even if you just sit in front of your computer and ramble about your experiences for a few days. Your chances of getting accepted decrease exponentially the longer you wait to submit your application.

Next, I think it is important to stay as positive as possible while applying to med school, despite the daunting statistics and the odds seeming to be against you. If I could go back and tell myself to calm down and believe in myself, I would. I was so worried about getting into medical school that my quality of life decreased. Just remember, a couple bad grades will not keep you from being accepted. Also, do not worry about what other people say! I was told by many people who had never even applied to med school that I would not get in because I hadn’t done any shadowing or because I didn’t major in biology. Do not believe everything you hear! Major in what you want, fill your activities section with whatever extracurriculars interest you, and just focus on what makes you a unique and qualified candidate for med school.

Lastly, before applying to medical school, be sure that you truly want to spend the rest of your life as a doctor. Some of the best advice I ever got was to consider whether I would be happy being any kind of doctor and not just a psychiatrist. Since then I’ve realized that I actually have many different interests in the field of medicine besides psychiatry, and now I really love the idea of specializing in pathology, specifically dermatopathology. In sum, my last tip is that if you’re going into medicine for a specific specialty (such as surgery), make sure you wouldn’t mind doing something other than that, too (such as family medicine). Your interests will change completely from the day you begin college to the day you finish med school and this is too big of an investment to end up in a profession that you are unhappy with.

Accepted: How do you plan on spending your summer before med school starts?

Emma: Right now, I am currently in the midst of a gap year which has consisted of finishing up the pre-med requirements at a local college while also working full-time at a restaurant to pay down some of my smaller debts from undergrad.

In the summer, I plan to do some shadowing at a dermatologist’s office in the metro Detroit area, continue working full-time, and also take some time for vacation.

The pre-med journey and med school application process were only my first steps on the long road to becoming a doctor, but I am so excited and ready for the challenges ahead. Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you, and wish me 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 our special report: Navigate the Med School Maze
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“Where Should I Apply to Med School?” http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/02/where-should-i-apply-to-med-school/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/03/02/where-should-i-apply-to-med-school/#respond Sun, 02 Mar 2014 15:37:58 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21428 ]]> Check out 'Navigating the Med School Maze' a free special report!Selecting medical schools that you will apply to can include some of the most important and strategic decisions you’ll have to make during the application process. These decisions will directly impact your chances of gaining an acceptance. Start by deciding realistically how many schools that you can reasonably afford to apply to—taking into consideration the following costs:

MCAT, if you haven’t already taken it
• Primary application, fee per school
• Secondary applications, price varies according to school
• Funds needed to travel to interviews (flights, taxi or bus services, hotels and meals)

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

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

1. Where would you like to practice medicine?

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

2. Where can you claim residency?

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

3. What are your areas of interest?

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

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

In my next blog post for this series on selecting medical schools, I will cover how your academic statistics should influence your school choices.

Create a Compelling AMCAS Application Webinar

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

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Waitlisted! What Now? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/27/waitlisted-what-now/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/27/waitlisted-what-now/#respond Thu, 27 Feb 2014 19:08:02 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21411 ]]> Listen to the full recording of 'Waitlisted! Now What?'So, you’ve been waitlisted and you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry. You can choose to do either, neither or both, but then it is time to figure out what to do next.

Listen to the recording of our latest podcast episode to hear Linda Abraham’s six tips for waitlisted applicants. Make sure you know what to do (and what not to do!) to ensure that you are the candidate on the very top of that waitlist.

00:01:28 – Devastated about your waitlisted status? Don’t give up!

00:02:16 – Don’t be an independent thinker please.

00:03:43 – Self-evaluate and take action.

00:04:24 – Spread the good word (even if it doesn’t relate to your weaknesses).

00:05:44 – Schools like applicants who are interested in attending their program!

00:06:13 – Don’t spam the adcom.

00:06:48 – How a waitlist letter should begin and what it should include.

00:07:33 – Addressing your weaknesses without sounding weak.

Admissions Straight Talk Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss a single show!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Relevant Links:

•  MBA Waitlist Advice 101
•  Med School Waitlist Advice 101
•  Grad School Waitlist Advice 101
•  College Waitlist Advice 101 
•  The Nine Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make on an MBA Waitlistan ebook
•  The Nine Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make on a Med School Waitlistan ebook
•  The Nine Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make on a Law School Waitlist, an ebook

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/2014/02/27/waitlisted-what-now/feed/ 0 MBA Waitlist,podcast,Wait List,weakness So, you’ve been waitlisted and you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry. You can choose to do either, neither or both, but then it is time to figure out what to do next. - Listen to the recording of our latest podcast episode to hear Linda Abrahamâ... So, you’ve been waitlisted and you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry. You can choose to do either, neither or both, but then it is time to figure out what to do next. Listen to the recording of our latest podcast episode to hear Linda Abraham’s six tips for waitlisted applicants. Make sure you know what to do (and what not to do!) to ensure that you are the candidate on the very top of that waitlist. 00:01:28 – Devastated about your waitlisted status? Don’t give up! 00:02:16 – Don’t be an independent thinker please. 00:03:43 – Self-evaluate and take action. 00:04:24 – Spread the good word (even if it doesn’t relate to your weaknesses). 00:05:44 – Schools like applicants who are interested in attending their program! 00:06:13 – Don’t spam the adcom. 00:06:48 – How a waitlist letter should begin and what it should include. 00:07:33 – Addressing your weaknesses without sounding weak.  Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss a single show! *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Relevant Links: •  MBA Waitlist Advice 101 •  Med School Waitlist Advice 101 •  Grad School Waitlist Advice 101 •  College Waitlist Advice 101  •  The Nine Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make on an MBA Waitlist, an ebook •  The Nine Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make on a Med School Waitlist, an ebook •  The Nine Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make on a Law School Waitlist, an ebook Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:       Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 12:34
Why Consider Participating in a Special Masters Program (SMP)? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/26/why-consider-participating-in-a-special-masters-program-smp/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/26/why-consider-participating-in-a-special-masters-program-smp/#respond Wed, 26 Feb 2014 15:55:55 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21382 ]]> Check out our free report 'The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs'

10 ways an SMP can help you become a more competitive med school applicant

In researching the topic of Special Masters Programs (SMP’s), I was able to locate over 75 different programs across the nation.  These programs are broken down into two main categories, one-year and two-year programs.  The one-year programs offer a strong science foundation while the two-year programs include a research project and thesis and/or a literature review.  Some of the programs are located on graduate school campuses while others are offered through medical schools.  At programs affiliated with medical schools, students take classes with the medical students.  The advantage of this arrangement is that the credit you earn towards your Master’s Degree may also be used to satisfy your medical school requirements.

Any coursework that you complete as part of a SMP will be calculated separately on your AMCAS application, as part of your graduate coursework GPA.  If it is your undergraduate GPA that needs improvement, additional postbaccalaureate coursework may be a better option for you than a SMP.  For students with strong undergraduate science GPA’s, SMP’s can be a fantastic way to set your application apart for the following reasons.

Overall, SMP’s allow you to:

• Gain additional science coursework.

•  Access valuable resources and mentors.

•  Demonstrate that you can excel at the graduate level.

•  Allow you to gain expertise in the area of your interest that may inform and guide your long-term career goals.

•  Provide you with a Master’s Degree, an additional credential.

•  Help you network with other students, medical students, researchers, professors, and other experts in their field.  A strong professional network can lead to limitless opportunities.

•  Give you the opportunity to request current letters of recommendation from graduate or medical school faculty.

•  May assist you in learning to conduct an independent research project at a university, hospital, or medical center.

•  May let you demonstrate and establish your expertise through poster presentations, abstracts and journal publications.

•  Provide valuable life experience and confidence that will directly enhance your ability to guide patients towards the best resources and most current information available.

An SMP can help you become a more competitive applicant to medical school on a number of levels.  It can set your application apart through GPA and the guidance and endorsement of a mentor. Furthermore, it  informs the direction of your career and provides resources and learning opportunities that will result in a year or two of intense professional and self-development.

Download 'A Second Chance at Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs'!

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.

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Two Ways to Reveal Leadership in Your Applications http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/25/two-ways-to-reveal-leadership-in-your-applications/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/25/two-ways-to-reveal-leadership-in-your-applications/#respond Tue, 25 Feb 2014 16:12:26 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21367 ]]> Leadership is one of the of the most valued attributes in admissions. In this short video, Linda Abraham discusses two main ways you can show the adcom that you are a leader.

For more tips on revealing leadership in your applications, check out:

•  Leadership in Admissions, a free special report.

•  4 Ways to Show How You’ll Contribute in the Future

•  What Should I Write About? Making a Difference

•  MBA Admissions A-Z: L is for Leadership

Accepted.com

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Otto Shill: Second Year Med Student and Entrepreneur at Heart http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/25/otto-shill-second-year-med-student-and-entrepreneur-at-heart/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/25/otto-shill-second-year-med-student-and-entrepreneur-at-heart/#respond Tue, 25 Feb 2014 15:42:39 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21246 ]]> Check out our Medical School Admissions 101 Pages!Get ready to read about Otto Shill, a student at the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM) who is passionate about medicine (obviously), marketing, volunteering, and spending time with his wife and kids. Read on to hear about Otto’s med school adventure and for details about an upcoming pre-med conference he’s running through AZCOM’s Student Osteopathic Medical Association. Thanks Otto for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

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?

Otto: I grew up in Mesa, AZ, but I applied to medical school from Salt Lake City, UT. I studied Management at Brigham Young University with an emphasis in Marketing.

My favorite non-school book is The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. His lecture helped inspire me to reach for my dreams and pursue a second career in medicine. Clayton Christensen’s series of books on disruptive innovation come in a close second.

Accepted: What is your favorite thing about the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM)? Least favorite thing?

Otto: I am nearing the end of my second year in medical school. I love learning about the human body, and how it works. I think AZCOM does an amazing job of helping us learn important concepts and integrate them across disciplines. With rotations only a few months away, I am confident that I will be prepared to contribute as a member of the health care team. Plus, my classmates are all out to help each other. Everyone is “gunning” to get ahead, but we’re all trying to take our classmates with us. We share study aides, notes from meetings with professors, and tutor each other.

Least favorite? I spend time with my family every day, but I wish I had more time with my sweet wife and two beautiful children.

Accepted: As a second year med student, can you share some advice to incoming med students? What are some things you wish you would have known before you began your medical studies?

Otto: This is the hardest thing you will ever do, and that’s a good thing. Before coming to medical school, I had stalled in my personal growth. The challenges of medical school have pushed me beyond my self-imposed limits and opened a world of possibility. Freeing yourself from the limits that tell you what you are capable of positions you to impact the world beyond the exam room. Today’s healthcare environment yearns for leaders who can go far beyond what we have already tried in search of disruptive innovation.

The end of each semester signifies the point in time where you should be able to integrate the concepts covered in class into an overall approach to problem solving (not a time to purge everything you crammed in). Medical students are critical thinkers, and doctors even more so (no, the patients don’t read the textbook to know what their symptoms are supposed to be!).

So many exams on our way to medical school (I’m looking at you MCAT) were about understanding the mechanics and strategy of the test or professor. Now, exams are an important way to measure your progress toward saving lives. Everything you learn, even if it isn’t directly related to your specialty of choice, prepares you to take decisive action to the benefit of your patients.

Accepted: Can you talk about the connection between your interest in marketing and your passion for medicine? How do you see these two areas coming together in your future?

Otto: Of course, every patient encounter leans on my marketing background since patient compliance holds equal importance to an effective treatment plan.

I am an entrepreneur at heart. After graduating from the Marriott School of Management, I joined a technology startup company to gain first-hand experience with building a company from the ground up. Though I worked for the marketing department, I gained broad experience with and exposure to market research, product development, management strategy, and many other core components of a successful business. I collaborated with and spent time learning from our engineers, sales team, and senior management.

As I grow in medicine, I am constantly evaluating processes, delivery models, tools, and other components of healthcare to determine how to use my experience to deliver disruptive approaches and technology to the industry. In my opinion, the time is right for the birth of a new approach to healthcare. In combination with my medical degree, I hope to leverage my professional experience to develop solutions that will define the healthcare environment for my children and grandchildren.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your role as president of the AZCOM chapter of the Student Osteopathic Medical Association? What sorts of activities do you do?

Otto: The Student Osteopathic Medical Association plays a key role in the professional development and community involvement of student physicians. SOMA activities complement the classroom experience by exposing students to the less-scientific side of medicine.

For example, SOMA AZCOM is sponsoring a Pre-Med conference March 7-8, 2014, in conjunction with Midwestern University, AT Still University, and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine to help pre-med students from across the country learn why they should become a physician and how to do it. We have planned two days packed with opportunities for prospective students to interact with practicing physicians, medical school deans, and admissions officers representing 15 Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.

Adrienne White-Faines, MPH, Executive Director and CEO of the American Osteopathic Association will be our keynote speaker at the event. Her remarks will be complemented by Robert Orenstein, DO, Editor in Chief for the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association and Division Chair of Infectious Disease at Mayo Clinic Arizona; and by Connie Mariano, MD, President of the Center for Executive Medicine and former physician to 3 sitting US Presidents. The deans from the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine and the AT Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona will offer additional perspective on choosing Osteopathic Medicine as a career.

One unique thing about our event is that high school students, parents, significant others, and spouses are invited to attend. Pursuing a career in medicine isn’t something you can do alone. You need a strong support network when you embark on this journey. The more they know, the better they can support you!

The MWU/ATSU Pre-Med Conference Presented by SOMA is the premiere opportunity for prospective students to understand Osteopathic Medicine and get excited about a future career as physicians. Students have registered to attend from all over the country: New York, Michigan, Utah, California and more. We hope you will be able to join us too. Visit www.midwestern.edu/azpremed  for more information or to register or see the conference program flier here: http://www.midwestern.edu/Documents/MWU_ATSU%20Pre-Med%20Conference%202014%20Final.pdf.

Accepted: What are some highlights of your volunteer history? What role does volunteering play in your life?

Otto: Every dream I have realized is an achievement I share with friends, family, mentors and others who have supported me along the way. Giving my time to improve opportunities for others is an important component of true success.

Volunteering as a medical interpreter gave me a chance to get directly involved in healthcare before medical school. Working with people who didn’t speak the same language as their physician showed me the importance of clear and effective communication between patient and doctor.

Living in Mexico as a missionary for two years also helped me develop a lot of respect for people with different cultures and empathy for people from abroad living in the US. We have much to learn from others if we will look past the artificial and cultural barriers.

Accepted: Can you share your top 3 medical school application tips?

Otto: (1) Be yourself. Everyone says it. Everyone means it. No one believes it. Admissions committees don’t want to admit the perfect student, they really do want to get to know and admit you.

(2) Write a lot. Between personal statements and responses to different secondary application questions I wrote more than one hundred essays while applying to medical school. Working through so many different versions helped me understand myself and refine my reasons for applying to medical school.

(3) Start early, but don’t give up even if you’re behind. I applied late in the cycle and was accepted on my first try. The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese! :)

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.

Check out our podcast interview: MCAT Tips and Strategy with Don Osborne

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Review of BenchPrep’s Online Test Prep Site http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/20/review-of-benchpreps-online-test-prep-site/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/20/review-of-benchpreps-online-test-prep-site/#respond Thu, 20 Feb 2014 19:34:41 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21045 ]]> Check out BenchPrep!I just logged into the BenchPrep test prep website and am welcomed with their greeting of “Gain an unfair advantage on test day”; I like this – a test prep site with an edge! Let’s continue exploring…

After you sign in and choose your test (see list below), you’ll then choose your target test date. The program then generates a study plan of week-by-week tasks that you’ll need to complete to achieve your optimal preparedness for your chosen exam. Each task has a timeframe next to it, indicating the expected amount of time the exercise should take – a nice touch.

As you move through the little icons on the left side of the screen, you’ll encounter some nice features – games (mainly flashcard games – pretty simple and straightforward), practice tests, discussion boards, study groups, and others. Another organizational feature is the table of contents icon which, when you click on it, gives you a very clear outline of your study plan with links to other parts of the site.

There is also a BenchPrep mobile app (Android and iPhone), making this program excellent for test-preppers on-the-go!

One thing I’d like to see more of on this site are videos. There is certainly no shortage of written prep resources here – there are loads of practice tests and explanations and tips, which of course are extremely important. For some people, this may be exactly what they’re looking for, but others – those auditory/visual types – the absence of video will be noticed.

Tests (a sampling):

ACT • GMAT • PMP Exam
• AP Exam • GRE • Police Officer Exam
• CFA Level I Exam                       . • LSAT • Postal Exam
• CLEP • MCAT • Praxis Test
• EMT • Nursing School Entrance Exams        . • SAT
• FRM • PCAT
• Firefighter Exam • PE Exam

Features:

• Ask-a-tutor, and receive an answer within 24 hours
•  Bookmarking and highlighting features
•  Ratings/tracking of your confidence level (so you can go back to review those weak areas)
•  Games
•  Practice tests
•  Discussion boards
•  Study groups

Head to BenchPrep now to check out these features on your own!

MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips

Accepted.com

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Personal Statement Fatal Flaw #1: Lack of Substance http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/19/personal-statement-fatal-flaw-1-lack-of-substance-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/19/personal-statement-fatal-flaw-1-lack-of-substance-2/#respond Wed, 19 Feb 2014 16:12:53 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21236 ]]> Click here to learn how to avoid the other 4 personal statement fatal flaws.Writing about nothing tends to bore, like a trite sitcom or movie with no plot. They lack substance and so will your essay if it isn’t based on:

• Substantive self-reflection.

• Use of specifics, examples, and anecdotes.

• Willingness to reveal your thought processes and feelings.

So start your writing process with self-knowledge. You don’t have to search the internet or a large library. Start with your experiences and your dreams. Search your head and your heart. That is where the substance of a good personal statement is stored.

Then use anecdotes, specifics, and examples to reveal what’s in your heart and show that your dreams are grounded in experience. Good examples can bring your essays to life and engage the reader.

At the same time, recognize that essays with only examples and anecdotes don’t reveal your thought processes and consequently are also superficial. Make sure you balance your stories with insight and analysis.

Avoid Fatal Flaw #1: Bring your essays to life with self-reflection and astute use of examples balanced by analysis.

This tip is an excerpt from Five Fatal Flaws: Eliminate the 5 Most Common Flaws in your Application Essays and Personal Statements. To view the entire free special report, please click here.

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application Essay or Personal Statement

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A ‘Lucky Second Year’ Med Student and Blogger Shares her Journey http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/18/a-lucky-second-year-med-student-and-blogger-shares-her-journey/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/18/a-lucky-second-year-med-student-and-blogger-shares-her-journey/#respond Tue, 18 Feb 2014 15:55:39 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21052 ]]> Check out our Medical School Student Blogger interview series. Get ready to read about “A Hopeful Doc,” an anonymous second-year med student who shares her med school adventure, as well as tidbits about her love of French, physical activity, and moving her “fidgety fingers.” Enjoy our interview below, as well as A HopeFul Doc’s fun blog, HopefulDoc.com. Thanks A Hopeful Doc for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

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

A Hopeful Doc: I hail from the Midwest and studied biology pre-med at a small private college. As for favorites, Count of Monte Cristo would be my lazy summer pick. A Moveable Feast by Hemingway appeared on my “Must Read” list before studying abroad in France. His short stories are about his days in Paris and remind me a bit of modern day blog posts. I also think every med student would benefit from reading some Atul Gwande.

Accepted: Where are you in med school? What year? What is your favorite thing about your program? Least favorite thing?

A Hopeful Doc: My medical school happens to be in the Midwest as well. I am a lucky second year – lucky because I don’t have any clinical responsibilities beyond studying and second because I passed the first year, that awkward pseudo-adolescent adjustment year.

I ended up at an allopathic program. During my application process, I filled out forms for DO and MD programs. At the time, my dream school was Feinberg because they had this community garden research project at the time…but other schools called back, some even offered seats. I freaked out, in a good way, and ended up choosing an in-state school.

Despite how cheesy this sounds, the people are my favorite part. We have one of the largest class sizes compared to other medical schools yet exist within a smaller city. I get to rub shoulders with a diverse group while sharing the Midwest love.

Since most of our professors have taught for ten/twenty years, they contribute to the sense of community as well. They invest inside and outside school. They genuinely concern themselves with our health and future plans as much as they do our minds.

My least favorite part would be the lack of video lectures. I work as an AV tech loading the audio lectures online. How nice would it be to hear and see that talk on thoracic anatomy!?

Accepted: In your “About Me” section on your blog, you say you’re passionate about a million things – can you give us some examples?

A Hopeful Doc: Anything that requires my legs to run or bike or swim or dance. I recently started training for triathlons. Inspiring others to move also makes me really happy. So I volunteer at a pediatric exercise and nutrition program as well as do research on patient perspectives. My fidgety fingers play piano, garden, cook, bake healthy, bead earrings, knit, thrift.

Accepted: Looking back on the med school application process (if you can remember that long ago!), what would you say was your greatest challenge? What did you do to overcome that challenge?

A Hopeful Doc: Quite ironic for a blogger, writing my personal statement was my biggest challenge. I needed to stand out but not too rudely, to look like I saved the world but have so much more growing up to do, and to make myself sound like the first person to have thought of doctorly attributes like compassion and resilience. Sprinkle in my shadowing experience. Add my years of work as a surgical orderly.

I was frustrated – shouldn’t I want medical school enough to know why?

So I figured if God had brought me through physics and calculus and the MCAT, He might help me with my essay. I asked for guidance. And pretty soon, lots of helpful books and websites came my way. But my family and hospital family served as my greatest assets. Draft by draft, I made something comprehendible, genuine, hopeful.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? When and why did you start blogging?

A Hopeful Doc: My blog serves as half-encouragement for readers and the other half for myself. School is hard – to gloss over that would trivialize our efforts. Dwelling on the difficulties gets plain discouraging. And to not process anything is detrimental. So I reflect via writing. From the feedback of other bloggers, tweeters, and classmates, I’ve realized I’m not the only one riding the struggle bus. In fact, some days, we push that bus uphill then drive back down.

I began this blog back in the fall of 2011. I was leaving the country to realize my childhood dream of learning French in France…and I thought my mom might want to know that her daughter was still alive. So I wrote about getting lost and finding pretty places. You can still find those posts buried under med school ones!

Accepted: Can you recommend a nice coffee shop on or around campus that you recommend for studying or meeting up with friends?

A Hopeful Doc: Confession: I live with coffee addicts but drink tea. Lots of med students, myself and my quizzing study buddy included, camp out in an adorable, organic coffee shop. So I guess I recommend supporting local businesses!

Download our 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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The Dreaded Med School Rejection: What Now? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/13/the-dreaded-med-school-rejection-what-now/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/13/the-dreaded-med-school-rejection-what-now/#respond Thu, 13 Feb 2014 20:07:49 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21105 ]]> Check out our tips for reapplying to med school. Journeys with Joshua: Joshua Wienczkowski walks us through med school at East Tennessee’s College of Medicine with his monthly blog updates. Get an inside look into med school down South through the eyes of a former professional songwriter with a whole lot of clinical experience — thanks Joshua for sharing this journey with us!

Update: Congrats to Joshua on his new position as student adcom member at ETSU Quillen College of Medicine — we know that with his admissions insight, he’ll be a great addition to the team!

“Dear Incredibly Hard Working Pre-Med and Hopeful Doctor,

Our admissions committee has met, and we regret to inform you that you were not selected as a student for our entering class. There were many qualified blah blah blah…”

Ouch.

I worked hard

I shadowed.

I volunteered.

My GPA was great!

I gave everything I had for that stupid MCAT.

What do I tell my parents?

What do I do now?

How you handle rejection says a great deal about your character, but getting turned down from your dream of becoming a doctor can hit hard to even the sturdiest of leaders. So, what should you do in the event of getting a rejection letter from all the schools you applied to? Aside from drinking the beer(s) I hope you have open, keep reading, and I’ll walk you through my plans B, C, D, and everything I laid out in the event I didn’t get accepted to medical school.

VERY first thing to-do is contact admissions at every school that turned you down, and see if an admissions counselor will walk you through their decision to not select you. Tell them you want honesty, so you can work hard at becoming competitive for their institution. Take notes, cross-reference, and find common holes in your application. Was it GPA? MCAT? Shadowing? Letters? Just not ready? Maybe they wanted to see more upper division sciences? Personal statement? Interview? You really need to dig, and have a few mentors go through your application with you to find the weak points that hindered you.

What I’ll do next is walk through scenarios, and offer solutions that I had planned out in the event they were the weak areas. Also, to clarify, I only applied to MD schools.

Shaky Numbers

MCAT and GPA are baselines that every school uses for initial cuts. The hard numbers are that an MCAT below 24 (at least 8 in every section) generally won’t be looked at for MD schools. I know everyone says get a 30, but realistically, you can get accepted with less. If MCAT was the issue, I’m inclined to tell you to reassess why you didn’t achieve the numbers you are capable of attaining. Taking a prep course does not guarantee a certain score, just like simply going to medical school doesn’t make a good doctor. Why did you not achieve your potential? Skim through new study materials. Research all of the available resources. Find the best fit for your learning style, and stick to it. If you’re a black and white, quick and simple person (like me), Exam Krackers is perfect. If you like longer explanations and want to know the “why” behind things, Kaplan or Princeton Review are killer for you.

A GPA less than 3.2 will not get you into medical school. So you blew your GPA in the first few years of college? No one can blame you for this, but if you couldn’t show an upward trend, I think it’s time to consider a Post-Bacc. or a 1 year Master’s to show you can handle the course load. If the admissions counselor at your top choice strongly urges you to think about a Post-Bacc. or 1 year Master’s at their institution, take that as a great omen they like you, and want to see you reach your full potential. It can sometimes be akin to a “conditional acceptance,” but make sure you’ve communicated with the program extensively.

Not so Shadowy Shadowing

A common issue I’ve seen is lack of shadowing, because shadowing shows your interest in medicine, and ensures you understand what you’re dedicating the rest of your life to. The only solution here is to cold call, network, and find an opportunity to shadow more. Many hospitals offer summer programs for Pre-Meds to essentially shadow/intern at their hospital for a summer or extended period of time. If you can’t obtain long-standing shadowing, working at a hospital where you have patient contact and care is often a great way to increase exposure to the field.

Anything that contributes to your exposure to medicine is perfect. An admissions counselor at my school that helped me a great deal once said to me, “if you love fishing, why aren’t you out on the lake right now? If you love patient care, why aren’t you in a hospital every chance you get?”

Interview Blues

There are often times that the person represented in an application doesn’t quite shine through as the person a medical school meets on interview day. It’s a stressful day, and can often hinder your ability to truly represent yourself and the incredibly qualified individual you’ve worked to become. If the interview is what made an admissions committee say no, there are three reasons for this:

1. They just didn’t feel like you were a fit for their school and community. Don’t take it personal in any way. Just like a first date, sometimes the fit isn’t quite right.

2. Maybe you choked. It happens to even the greatest of athletes in the final seconds of a game when everything relies on one last play at the very last inches. Pick yourself back up, practice harder, and find out why you weren’t able to be yourself on the big day.

3. The person in the application was not who they met on interview day. If someone else
writes your application (yes, I’ve seen this happen, and been offered interesting things to pen med school applications), it’s no wonder the application and you were two different people!

Regardless, find out why your interview was the reason, address the reasons, get back on that damn horse, and try again.

So, what if I haven’t addressed an issue for why you didn’t get into medical school?

Sometimes admissions are vague. Sometimes there is no concrete answer. This is frustrating. I implore you to take the feedback you’ve been given, and consider why you chose to pursue medical school. Was it to help people? That’s cool, but you can help people in so many facets.WHY do you want to help people? And WHY as a physician? Why not as a Physician Assistant? What about Physical Therapy? Why not Pharmacy? Don’t give up, by any means, but this timeframe should be a solid gut check that allows you to stand firmly on your statement, beliefs, and reasons for why you absolutely believe you should become a physician.

My backup plans were to call every school that said no, find out exactly why they said no, cross-reference the results, and find common themes. In the meantime, I was going to study even harder for the MCAT, and retake it to blow it out of the water. I was going to apply to every hospital around town and work in any position they would give me, which would allow access to physicians that I could shadow and gain more knowledge from as well as letters. My plan was to call every professional admissions company, like Accepted, and find someone there I felt could empower me, and help me craft my application and interview skills into something unstoppable. I even researched every admissions company, their success rates, and budgeted accordingly (ironically, look who I’m writing for).

Be ruthless.

Be dedicated.

You WILL get into medical school.

If you have specific questions, or just want to chat through your application in hopes of gaining some insight as to what the next step might be, feel free to reach out to me or anyone else at Accepted.

Good luck! You’ll make a damn good doctor, I’m sure of it.

Joshua

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

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An Emergency Medicine Resident’s Journey to Med School (and the Armed Forces!) http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/11/an-emergency-medicine-residents-journey-to-med-school-and-the-armed-forces/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/11/an-emergency-medicine-residents-journey-to-med-school-and-the-armed-forces/#respond Tue, 11 Feb 2014 16:04:47 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=20966 ]]> Like this interview? We've got more for you!We’d like to introduce you to Emily Fleming, an emergency medicine resident at Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium. Learn all about Emily’s fascinating med school adventure by reading our interview below, as well as Emily’s blog, The Doctors Fleming. Thank you for sharing your story with us Emily! 

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?

Emily: My family moved around a lot growing up, so I don’t really have a hometown, per se, but the state we spent the most time in was Florida. I went to Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL for undergrad, and took a painfully predictable path to medical school by studying Biology and Chemistry.

Fortunately, I got to be a part of an Honors program and was able to use a Great Books curriculum to study liberal arts. This allowed me to stretch the right side of my brain in a way that the sciences didn’t really permit, which made up for me not majoring in something more creatively stimulating like Philosophy or Communications.

Somehow through it all, I managed to get into medical school, despite my university being a half mile from the beach.

And I’d have to say my favorite ice cream flavor is either rainbow sherbet or cookie dough, depending on how rich I want my dessert to be.

Accepted: Where did you go to med school? What was your favorite thing about that program? Least favorite thing?

Emily: I went to Midwestern University’s Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. I loved that the program was affiliated with so many different hospitals in the Chicago metropolitan area. It allowed me to experience so many different patient populations and practice environments.

My least favorite thing about the program was the weekly exams, though in hindsight, it was nice to constantly be tested on the topics presented, and it gave you a really good idea of how well you were performing as the semester progressed.

Accepted: Where are you doing your residency?

Emily: I’m currently in my third and final year of Emergency Medicine Residency at the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium in San Antonio, Texas.

Accepted: Do you plan on staying in San Antonio when you’re done with this phase of your practice?

Emily: Hopefully the Air Force will let me continue on as a Staff Physician here at the San Antonio Military Medical Center. My husband is a resident in a 4-year Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation program here in San Antonio, and has one more year of training. With a baby on the way, we’re really hoping to be able to stay together in the same town.

Accepted: Can you talk about your career path – choosing to go into emergency medicine and serving in the armed forces?

Emily: Emergency Medicine has always been the reason I went to medical school. I tried hard to follow all the advice I got heading into medical school and keep an open mind about choosing a specialty, but in the end, it was always Emergency Medicine that captivated my interest.

I’m well-suited for the field, as an adrenaline junkie with a short attention span and a modicum of interest in every field of medicine. Choosing to go into the military was a bit more uncharacteristic for me. I was initially motivated to pursue the Health Professions Scholarship Program more as a means to pay for medical school than out of a vested interest in serving my country. But the sacrifice of military service seemed like a price I was willing to pay for the financial freedom the scholarship provided.

I still feel that way to a large degree, but there are aspects of military service that I wish I had more carefully considered prior to joining up. I am honored to wear the uniform and feel privileged to be able to provide excellent medical care to our country’s heroes. That said, it is undeniably challenging to be faced with the certainty that I will deploy to a war zone, leaving behind a baby and a husband that need me.

Accepted: Congratulations on your future baby! With that and working in the ER, you must be exhausted! How do you manage?

Emily: Thank you! We’re very excited about our babe on the way. I have been incredibly fortunate with this pregnancy so far, and only felt exhausted for a few weeks in the first trimester. Now, with the exception of my ever-expanding waistline, I feel pretty much like myself. Though I do have to be more conscientious about stopping to eat and drink while on shift; if I don’t, I pay for it miserably. My body isn’t quite as resilient these days, given the extra baby body it is having to support.

All in all, I anticipate that residency will have prepared me well for the sleep deprivation that comes with having a newborn. Check back with me in a few months. (;

Accepted: Looking back on the med school application process (if you can remember that long ago!), what would you say was your  greatest challenge? What did you do to overcome that challenge?

Emily: My biggest challenge in applying for medical school was failing to get in. I had known since I was 16 years old that I wanted to be a doctor, and I believed wholeheartedly that it was my calling. I took the MCAT late in the year (it was only offered in April and August at that point – no idea how they do it now), and sent off my applications without knowing my score.

Much to my embarrassment, I had grossly overestimated my ability to do well on that exam, and had sent my applications in to schools that I didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of getting into. So I watched painfully as the seventeen rejection letters rolled in, doubting myself and whether I was truly cut out for this. But anyone who knows me knows I am not easily deterred.

I took a prep course and took the MCAT again the following April, then sent out my applications again – this time knowing my score, and choosing schools that were more realistic. It was painful to experience rejection and failure, but the involuntary year “off” I took ended up being one of the best years I’ve had yet. I got a job as a Tech in an Emergency Department, learned a ton and gained great exposure to medicine and trauma. I built incredible friendships and mentor relationships at work that I still maintain, and got to live with some of my best friends in the meantime.

The second time around, I sent out thirteen applications and got two interview requests…and a single acceptance. But one is all it takes. Now I’m a licensed – and almost Board Eligible – Emergency Physician, who was selected as Chief Resident in my program. There was a time I wondered if I’d ever get here, but traveling this journey has made me thankful for the struggles and challenges I’ve overcome.

Accepted: Can you share some residency application tips with our readers?

Emily: Applying for residency is a lot more like a job interview than applying for medical school. Programs look for personalities that are going to be a good fit with their existing residents and attendings; it’s important to like the people that you’re slaving away next to at 2:00 in the morning. The sentiment goes both ways. Pay attention to the residents at the programs you’re applying to: would you want to hang out with them? Can you see yourself working well with them? It’s of the utmost importance to be yourself. If you’re a good fit, everyone in the room will know.

By this stage of the game, senior residents and Attending Physicians have very finely tuned abilities to detect bullshit; if you’re pretending to be someone you’re not, they’ll be able to tell.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? When and why did you start blogging?

Emily: Oh the blog. I started blogging during a string of not-particularly-time-intensive rotations during my third year of med school as a way for me to keep in touch with my friends back home, who all had blogs as well. Call it an extension of Facebook, social media, etc, if you will. Now blogging has become more of a form of catharsis. It’s been helpful to go through the process of filtering my thoughts and emotions about my life – experiences, travels, patient encounters, having a baby, losing my dad – in a way that is palatable to the internet at large. The writing has become a creative outlet for me.

Arguably, I could gain the same benefit from the writing by confining it to a journal, but the relationships I’ve built through blogging – both on the internet and in real life – have made the sharing worthwhile. Blogging is not for everyone, to be sure. There is an element of narcissism that one must come to terms with when willfully displaying their lives on the internet. But when strangers email me about how something I’ve written has helped them or encouraged them in some way, it makes the world feel a little more small and cozy. And I like that.

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: Medical School Reapplicant Advice - 6 Tips for Success

Accepted.com

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AAMC Schedules Last-Minute MCAT Time Slots http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/07/aamc-schedules-last-minute-mcat-time-slots/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/07/aamc-schedules-last-minute-mcat-time-slots/#respond Fri, 07 Feb 2014 15:57:38 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=20999 ]]> Listen to this excellent interview to learn more about the MCAT.A Kaplan news release reports that AAMC will be scheduling additional testing dates in October and November of 2014 as a last-minute chance for pre-meds to take the exam before the planned 2015 test changes. This is the first time in recent history that the exam will be offered that late in the fall, but testers decided to open the new dates to meet the demand of anxious test takers who wish to test before the new exam hits. According to a recent survey, 55% of pre-meds believe they would be unprepared for the new material that will be tested in the 2015 exam (including sociology, psychology, and college-level biochemistry).

66% of pre-meds surveyed believe that the 2015 exam will be more difficult than the current one, compared to 8% who believe the exam will be easier. (18% think the test difficulty will remain about the same, while 11% are unsure.)

Changes in the 2015 MCAT include:

• New subject material – sociology, psychology, and college-level biochemistry (as mentioned above).
• A longer test – 261 question instead of the current 144.
• Additional skills tested – research design, graphical analysis, and data interpretation will be tested in addition to the current MCAT skills tested (critical thinking and content knowledge).

“This unprecedented addition of MCAT test dates in the fall is great news for pre-med students concerned about not being able to take the exam before it changes. In the past, many students have been forced to travel out of state to take the MCAT because of a lack of local seats,” said Kaplan Test Prep’s executive director of pre-med programs, Aaron Lemon-Strauss. “We encourage students to reserve their MCAT testing spot as soon as they know when they want to take the test. This will give them one less thing to worry about as they navigate the medical school admissions process. Knowing exactly when Test Day is will provide students with even more focus as they prepare for the exam.”

See the Kaplan news release for more details.

Check out our podcast interview: MCAT Tips and Strategy with Don Osborne for the answers to your MCAT questions!

Accepted.com

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All About AMSA and the Premed Journey http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/06/all-about-amsa-and-the-premed-journey/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/06/all-about-amsa-and-the-premed-journey/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 16:10:46 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=20989 ]]> Listen to the full interview now!Introducing Rachel Glassford, MPH candidate, AMSA Premedical Trustee, and Pathways Intern for the Dept of Health and Human Services.

Listen to the full recording of the show for low down on AMSA’s fabulous work and how this organization can help you on your path to med school.

00:01:45 – Rachel’s MPH and premed journey.

00:04:46 – Pathways Intern for the Office of Rural Health Policy.

00:06:15 – Representing physicians-in-training and improving the nation’s healthcare system: How does AMSA do it?

00:11:24 – Inspiration at the AMSA convention.

00:14:29 – Gaining a realistic understanding of the field before applying to med school.

00:17:13 – What AMSA offers med school students. And what Rachel is busy with.

00:18:27 – Advice for an MPH candidate.

00:19:59 – A word for premeds: Enjoy! (And if you aren’t, reassess.)

Up for a trip to New Orleans? AMSA is offering an extension of the AMSA Convention early bird rate for Admissions Straight Talk listeners!! Just use coupon code NOLAEARLY when you register here. (Hurry! Online registration closes on Monday, February 17th.)

Admissions Straight Talk Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss a single episode!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Relevant Links:

American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
• Navigating the Med School Mazetips to help you apply successfully to medical school.

Related Shows:

• What You Need to Know About Post-bac Programs
• A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes
• Med School Admissions with Cyd Foote
• Med School Application Process: AMCAS, Secondaries, Interviews, Decisions & More!

Subscribe:

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

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/06/all-about-amsa-and-the-premed-journey/feed/ 2 podcast Introducing Rachel Glassford, MPH candidate, AMSA Premedical Trustee, and Pathways Intern for the Dept of Health and Human Services. - Listen to the full recording of the show for low down on AMSA’s fabulous work and how this organization can help y... Introducing Rachel Glassford, MPH candidate, AMSA Premedical Trustee, and Pathways Intern for the Dept of Health and Human Services. Listen to the full recording of the show for low down on AMSA’s fabulous work and how this organization can help you on your path to med school. 00:01:45 – Rachel’s MPH and premed journey. 00:04:46 – Pathways Intern for the Office of Rural Health Policy. 00:06:15 – Representing physicians-in-training and improving the nation’s healthcare system: How does AMSA do it? 00:11:24 – Inspiration at the AMSA convention. 00:14:29 – Gaining a realistic understanding of the field before applying to med school. 00:17:13 – What AMSA offers med school students. And what Rachel is busy with. 00:18:27 – Advice for an MPH candidate. 00:19:59 – A word for premeds: Enjoy! (And if you aren’t, reassess.) Up for a trip to New Orleans? AMSA is offering an extension of the AMSA Convention early bird rate for Admissions Straight Talk listeners!! Just use coupon code NOLAEARLY when you register here. (Hurry! Online registration closes on Monday, February 17th.)  Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss a single episode! *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Relevant Links: • American Medical Student Association (AMSA) • Navigating the Med School Maze, tips to help you apply successfully to medical school. Related Shows: • What You Need to Know About Post-bac Programs • A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes • Med School Admissions with Cyd Foote • Med School Application Process: AMCAS, Secondaries, Interviews, Decisions & More! Subscribe:       Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 27:56
BS/MBA/MD Student Interview with Ajay Major http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/05/bsmbamd-student-interview-with-ajay-major/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/02/05/bsmbamd-student-interview-with-ajay-major/#respond Wed, 05 Feb 2014 18:27:05 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=20959 ]]> Check out the rest of our med school student interviews!Get ready to read about Ajay Major, a student in an eight-year combined BS/MBA/MD program at Union Graduate College and Albany Medical College. You can read more about Ajay and his ambitious educational and career goals on his websites MajorAjay.com and in-Training. Thank you Ajay for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck! 

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What is your favorite non-school book?

Ajay: I’m originally from Valparaiso, Indiana, a quaint city about an hour east of Chicago and the hometown of popcorn pioneer Orville Redenbacher.

From Valparaiso High School, I was accepted to the Leadership in Medicine Program at Union College in Schenectady, New York, an eight-year combined BS/MBA/MD program with Union Graduate College and Albany Medical College. At Union, I studied chemistry and Spanish and served as the editor-in-chief of the college newspaper, the Concordiensis, for two years.

My favorite non-school books right now are The Night’s Dawn Trilogy, an epic space opera by Peter F. Hamilton.

Accepted: What year are you up to in your eight-year program?

Ajay: I’m currently a second-year medical student at Albany Medical College in Albany, New York, just a half-hour away from Union.

I completed my MBA in 2013.

Accepted: Why did you choose Albany Medical College? How would you say you’re a good fit for that program?

Ajay: I chose the Leadership in Medicine Program because all three of the institutions, including Albany Med, are small, tight-knit academic communities in which I feel right at home. Having faculty who are involved and interested in your educational journey makes them all the more accessible, and as someone who is pursuing an additional career on top of clinical medicine, it feels good to have that dedicated support.

All three institutions also integrate the humanities into their curricula and celebrate co-curricular involvement, both of which I felt would be important for my education as an aspiring physician.

Accepted: What is your “additional” career?

Ajay: I am an aspiring physician-journalist who is interested in using the media to train medical students and physicians to be better advocates for their patients and for the profession of medicine.

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

Ajay: I would have liked a gap year built into the Leadership in Medicine Program to more fully pursue business and leadership-related projects. Although heading straight from undergrad to medical school made the academic transition much less jarring, it didn’t leave time to explore the immense realm of health care management to put some of the skills I learned during my MBA training to work. Fortunately, founding my own publication, in-Training, during the summer before medical school was a good outlet for that expertise.

Accepted: Most people who go to med school want to be a doctor – plain and simple. Your website states that you aspire to be a physician-journalist and activist. Can you tell us more about your career goals?

Ajay: Physicians are front-line eyewitnesses to many of society’s faults and are in a unique position to treat those issues on an individual and a public level. When physicians-in-training actively engage each other through the media, they build a stronger sense of community and become better equipped patient advocates, both of which enable them to develop long-term solutions to the social problems that ail our patients.

The skills of writing, reading, speaking, and critical analysis that are the foundation for participating in the media are also skills that are necessary for engaging policy makers and educating the public. These skills are also integral for effective and humanistic patient care.

As such, I believe media participation should be integrated into medical education and medical schools should encourage students to advocate for their patients on the public stage. For example, my personal advocacy interests are in human rights, health systems reform and unrepresented groups in medicine, and I use my skills as a journalist to advocate on behalf of vulnerable groups and encourage medical students to become engaged activists.

And, most of all, I want to be a clinician – helping people through clinical science is why I chose to become a physician. Effective patient advocacy requires clinical practice. To address the ailments of society, you must be exposed to the ailments of your patients. You must hear your patients’ stories before you can advocate on their behalf.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your school’s career services department? How helpful has Albany been in helping you plot the points towards a future career?

Ajay: In my time at Albany Med, I’ve discovered that the faculty readily encourages participation in arenas of medical education that are outside of the box, whether those pursuits are career-oriented or for personal development, and are supportive financially and academically of those pursuits. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve approached the administration with an idea and they have welcomed the interest and challenged me to develop it into something better and more refined. Being supported, but being allowed the freedom to be creative – and the freedom to fail – are what make Albany Medical College an incredible place to develop a career in all aspects of medicine.

Accepted: Looking back at the application process, what would you say were your three greatest challenges and how would you advise current applicants who are faced with those same (or similar) challenges?

Ajay: As a nontraditional student in medicine, my medical school application process began as a senior in high school. My greatest challenge was deciding to commit myself to an eight-year path towards becoming a physician while also pursuing an MBA. In retrospect, it is one of the best decisions I have made for my career, but I admit there were times I wondered if I should have pursued the traditional route.

Questioning yourself about your career path is healthy, as it allows you to dig deep and truly understand why medicine the right choice for you. Make sure you consult with advisors and professors who you trust if you have any questions or concerns.

Accepted: Can you tell us more about your website? When did you start blogging? What do you hope to gain from the experience?

Ajay: My colleague Aleena Paul and I founded in-Training, the online magazine for medical students, in April 2012 when we discovered that there weren’t any online publications dedicated to the medical student experience. With in-Training, we hope to cultivate a community of medical student writers talking about the important issues in medical education and health care that will guide our future careers as physicians.

Accepted: Can you offer three tips for our applicants who are considering applying to a program such as yours?

Ajay: For students who are interested in combined-degree programs in medicine, do some soul-searching and decide if medicine is truly the route for you, as well as if the combined-degree route is the path you want to follow towards medicine. Remember that there are many ways to become a physician. Combined-degree programs are designed to engage you in some additional work on top of your premedical studies–business, service, research, depending on the program. Don’t enter a combined-degree program just to get a pass into medical school–be sure you are committed to your additional studies and understand how they will enhance you future career.

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 mbabloggers@accepted.com.

Download our special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!

Accepted.com

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How to Write Waitlist Update Letters http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/31/how-to-write-waitlist-update-letters-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/31/how-to-write-waitlist-update-letters-2/#comments Fri, 31 Jan 2014 16:23:38 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=20363 ]]>
You are so close to acceptance, but still not quite there! Get the guidance you need to get that offer of admission.

Continue fighting for that acceptance!

The application process is not over for waitlisted applicants. You’ve still got a chance of getting into your dream school, so now’s not the time to slack off, and it’s certainly not the time to give up. Continue fighting for that acceptance!

Your waitlist updates (you write those) and letters of support (other people write these) should focus on three areas:

1) Your growing list of qualifications. You want to prove to the adcoms that while you were a responsible, accomplished, impressive candidate before, now you are even more so. Discuss recent initiatives you’ve taken—in the workplace and in your community—and developments or advances you’ve made in your career or academics.

2) Steps you’ve taken to ameliorate shortcomings. Figure out what weaknesses were revealed in your application and/or interview and work to improve them. Be able to discuss specific changes you’ve made in your life—education and career—that make you a stronger candidate.

3) How you fit with the school. You were born to attend this school and this school was created just for you. Your fit is as perfect as a cozy glove on a cold hand.

Waitlist Update Writing Step-By-Step:

1) Begin your letter by briefly thanking the school for considering your application. Don’t talk about your disappointment; instead focus on how the school’s philosophy and approach fit your educational goals.

2) Discuss your recent accomplishments. Choose achievements that you did not address in your application and try and tie them back to key themes in your essays. These could include a recent promotion, freshly minted A’s, a new leadership role in a project or organization, a recent volunteer experience, initiatives you’ve taken in your department, business, or club, additional work responsibilities, etc.

3) Talk about the measures you’ve taken to ameliorate your weaknesses, if necessary. Focus on the action you’ve taken rather than on the actual shortcoming. For example, if you have/had weak communication skills, discuss how you enrolled in Toastmasters and how the experience has influenced and inspired you.

4) If you are sure that upon acceptance you would attend, inform the school of your commitment.

Above all, stay positive as your letter will reflect your attitude. Adcoms do not want to read a bitter and angry letter, nor will they want that writer in their classrooms.

A couple of caveats:

• Don’t waste your reader’s time by repeating material already in your application.

• Don’t write if the school states explicitly that it doesn’t want to hear from you.

Help! I'm on the waitlist!

For more information on how to transform your waitlist status into an acceptance, check out one of Accepted’s popular waitlist ebooks:

• The Nine Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make on an MBA Waitlist

• The Nine Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make on a Med School Waitlist

• The Nine Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make on a Law School Waitlist

Accepted.com

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Med School, Life, and Fashion: an Interview with Franziska http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/29/med-school-life-and-fashion-an-interview-with-franziska/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/29/med-school-life-and-fashion-an-interview-with-franziska/#respond Wed, 29 Jan 2014 15:50:48 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=20788 ]]> Check out Med School Admissions 101 for advice on every step of the med school admissions process!Get ready to read about Franziska, a student at a Midwestern osteopathic med school who blogs about life, school, and fashion on her blog, Franish. Thank you Franziska for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck! 

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

Franziska: I was born in Germany, but moved to the US when I was 5. I grew up in a small, rural Wisconsin town, and eventually moved to Madison to go to the University of Wisconsin for undergrad.

Accepted: Where are you in med school? What year are you? (If you’d like to keep your school private, can you please give us some clues?)

Franziska: I’m a first year medical student attending an osteopathic medical school in the Midwest…near a great lake!

Accepted: Now that your first semester of med school is behind you, can you offer a few tips to our readers who will be starting med school next year? What are some things you learned after surviving your first semester that you wish you’d known before?

Franziska: If possible, take an anatomy course. In our curriculum, we started the school year with 12 weeks of anatomy. It was very overwhelming, coming in with no anatomy experience.

I would also make sure you take some time off before you start! I quit my job 6 weeks before school started and traveled and slept in and enjoyed summer. It was awesome!

Accepted: Your blog suggests that you’re quite the fashionista! Can you tell us about your school’s dress code and how you deal?

Franziska: My school has a relatively strict dress code – the men have to wear a shirt and tie, and the women have to be dressed in similar “professional” clothing. I came from working in a laboratory for two years, where I was required to have full length pants and closed toed shoes, so coming to school where I just have to dress a bit nicer was great!

I have some go-to pieces for days I don’t want to put a lot of effort in (especially on test days, black pants and a sweater is about as complicated as it gets), but I still try to find a way to have fun while being professionally dressed.

Accepted: What’s your favorite class so far?

Franziska: I really enjoyed embryology – it’s crazy how we develop from a little flat bundle of cells and how our body parts contort to form the organs we have now. I was also surprised by how much I liked microbiology – those bugs can be so tricky (and smart!).

Accepted: Looking back at the med school application process, what would you say was your greatest challenge? How did you work to overcome that challenge?

Franziska: I found it really challenging to keep myself motivated to answer secondary after secondary essays. I tried to keep myself motivated by setting goals and then rewarding myself – 3 essays done? Time to go outside for an afternoon and enjoy summer instead of sitting at my computer some more. Plus, in the end, you have to remind yourself that you’re doing this for your future, and that should be motivation enough!

Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? Who is your target audience? How have you benefited from the blogging experience?

Franziska: I started my blog almost two years ago. I was working for a pharmaceutical development company, and was feeling a bit bored as all of my friends had moved away and my then boyfriend was in the middle of his second year of medical school. It was just something I got to have fun with and make friends online who had similar interests.

Since then, it has evolved to not only talking about what I wear, but also about how I budget my money, how I prepared for my school’s dress code, and just how medical school is going as a whole.

My audience is for the majority women like myself – women who want to dress nice while staying within their budget. Blogging has been wonderful because it allowed me to “take” all of my friends with me when I moved away for school. I also have had some financial benefits, which has helped me slowly pay off all of the medical school application debt I accumulated!

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.

Check out our podcast interview: MCAT Tips and Strategy with Don Osborne for the answers to your MCAT questions!

Accepted.com

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A Non-Traditional Med Applicant’s Journey to Multiple Acceptances http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/21/a-non-traditional-med-applicants-journey-to-multiple-acceptances/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/21/a-non-traditional-med-applicants-journey-to-multiple-acceptances/#comments Tue, 21 Jan 2014 16:22:16 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=20467 ]]> Check out what other medical school applicants have to say. We’d like to introduce you to “D,” a future doctor who has just been accepted into a number of med schools and has a big decision ahead of him: where to attend!  Read our interview below to hear all about the challenges and triumphs of a non-traditional med school applicant, and don’t forget to check out D’s blog for more stories and tips – Doctor Or Bust. Thanks D, and best of luck to you!

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What is your favorite non-school book?

D: I grew up in Southern California, and like a typical Californian I’ve moved around a lot, but I’ve mostly stayed in Los Angeles County. I’m one of fourteen, second to youngest, I come from a large family of mixed lineage. Also, I didn’t grow up with most of my brothers and sisters as I was born out of wedlock. I attended California Polytechnic University of Pomona where I obtained my bachelors of science in Exercise Physiology and a minor in Human Physiology. My favorite non school related reads are just about anything from Bertrand Russell; my favorite book by him at the moment is “The Problems of Philosophy.” Overall, I prefer reading famous essays or opinions as I find them to be more entertaining — I’m not really into fictional reading.

Accepted: Congrats on your med school admit! Where did you get accepted and when do you start?

D: Thank you! I was accepted into four programs: Cooper Rowan, East Virginia Medical School, Oakland Beaumont, and Loyola Stritch. I am awaiting a response from Boston University early next month. While I’m overjoyed to gain acceptances, no one really prepares you for one of the hardest parts: selecting where you will develop into a physician and live for the next probable decade.

When I was compiling my school list I only applied to programs I could envision myself fitting in, while this was great when I got accepted, it was terrible when it came time to choose. At the time I was choosing programs it was important to me that the program I felt focused on service and collegiality. I’m still awaiting to hear back from my top pick; I’d probably go there if accepted.

I wanted to select a program that could make me the best patient advocate and supply me with the most worldly experience. I have previous research experience, so I also wanted to go to an institution where clinical research was strongly encouraged.

Finally, I wanted to relocate and try something new, so I’m pretty certain that I will find myself living near the eastern seaboard around this time next year.

Accepted: In your blog, you describe yourself as a nontraditional premed applicant. Can you elaborate on that please?

D: When I finished high school I was accepted into a university, but I was discouraged from attending by my parents who wanted me to attend a community college as I didn’t qualify for financial aid. So my tuition came out of my pocket I got a job and hit the labor force for several years while sampling courses. Eventually, I decided to focus on school again and transferred to the university I was originally accepted into out of high school ironically.

I had an exciting opportunity to do electrophysiology research, where I studied ion channels. The research and the scholarships I received had me focused on PhD programs. I didn’t want to limit my options, so I also took the premed requirements concurrently. But, I never thought I’d apply for MD programs, until one day I just felt pretty useless when a family member and friend passed away a month apart. After that I withdrew my applications for graduate school and took the MCAT squeezed in some volunteering and hit the AMCAS applications hard. It all worked out in the end with the acceptances, but it really felt like a huge gamble at the time.

Accepted: Looking back at the med school application process, what would you say were your three greatest challenges and how would you advise current applicants who are faced with those same (or similar) challenges?

D: I’d say the top three challenges for me were: the MCAT (self studied), secondary essays, and lack of support from some people in my personal network.

My advice for premeds who have to self study is they find a study package that works for them; once I found my study package and stayed with it my practice scores steadily increased. However, self studying isn’t for everyone, there’s no shame in taking a prep course if you can afford it.

For secondaries my only advice is to have research about each school already completed before you receive secondaries. At first there is a drought where you receive no secondaries, then there’s a deluge, so it’s hard to find time to finish everything if you didn’t prepare beforehand. Personally, I paid for the MSAR (you must get the MSAR full edition) and made a spreadsheet about the pros and cons and random details several months before secondaries, so I just referred to my sheets to save me time while writing essays. If you don’t buy the MSAR you’re doing yourself a big disservice.

And about the last point, you’re bound to have some friends and family who can’t understand your sacrifices and may even doubt you while being a premed. I’ve had some flat out tell me I should give up. Always be true to yourself, and make sure to build a good support network of like-minded friends and mentors who understand your lifestyle and the hurdles you’ll certainly face as you chase the medical degree.

Accepted: Can you tell us more about your blog? When did you start blogging? What do you hope to gain from the experience?

D: I just started my blog sometime in October or so this year (2013). It’s a blog that is intended to share my experience as a nontraditional premed, now MD candidate, and into the future as a resident. But when I started the blog the goals weren’t so lofty, initially I was just using it to write some tutorials for a few premeds who asked for advice on Twitter. To my surprise one day my page counter told me other people actually read my blog too, so I decided to try to make it as a resource.

When I was trying to figure out how to apply to medical school I felt pretty lost, so I hoped this site would serve as a foundation for others like me who drift into medicine.

My only hope was that someone would feel my blog was useful and inspire at least one person, fortunately I have received a few messages here and there from premeds who’ve reached out to share their personal experiences with me — it really brightens my day.

D kindly informed us that she’ll be attending Boston University Medical School. Here was our follow up question:

Accepted: Why did you choose BU Medical School? What are you most looking forward to?

D: When you apply to medical school you never really imagine that one of the hardest parts will be selecting from a program if you have more than one acceptance. This is obviously a better problem to have compared to the alternative. However, as premeds I think I was used to being told “what to do” for so long it was a curious feeling to finally get to decide what I “want to do.”

At the end of the day, it’s all about finding which school will be your home for at least the next four years, or as some schools call it “finding your fit.” The funny thing is when I applied to Boston University (BU) it felt like a long-shot, so when I received an interview I was sure they’d made a mistake and would withdraw my invitation sooner or later – I preemptively snatched up the first interview I could afford.

My first time ever being in Boston was for my interview, I found the campus and the city breathtaking. I was lucky to find a great host, an incredibly busy and knowledgeable M3 currently enrolled at BU. He gave me a treasure trove of information that was useful for my interview, this was my first active demonstration of the collegiality I yearned for in a medical school.

My interviewer and I connected during our session, we actually just about ran out of time during my interview, I even saw myself contacting her later as a possible research mentor after my interview was done. The dean of admissions was also very charismatic and down to earth, and I felt like we weren’t being pressured or rushed into the most important decision of our lives. I still remember the feeling I got when the dean was giving us our farewell speech, it felt as if he were speaking directly to me. I felt this medical program would help me fulfill my primary concerns as a MD candidate: gaining the tools so I can become excellent physician and patient advocate while staying grounded. I suppose, through the course of my interview day I slowly started to imagine myself walking the halls and growing as an individual there.

After returning from my interview I had to wait several months to hear back from Boston, in the meantime I received my share of acceptances and rejections from other programs. By the time the BU decision date was looming I had already been accepted into four schools, however knowing this didn’t assuage my fears of rejection from BU. I soon realized how emotionally invested I was, and how much it meant to me to be accepted because I had found my “fit”. So, when I received a phone call regarding my acceptance I was ecstatic to hear the feeling was mutual.

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 mbabloggers@accepted.com.

Get the tips you need to travel down the long and windy road to med school admissions success.
Accepted.com

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How to Succeed on Your MCAT Test Day http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/20/how-to-succeed-on-your-mcat-test-day/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/20/how-to-succeed-on-your-mcat-test-day/#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2014 16:27:36 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=20678 ]]> Check out our Med School Admissions 101 Pages!

Being confident on test day is highly beneficial.

The lengthy practice tests and lonely evenings devoted to review guides are behind you. The exam is in mere hours, and physics formulas are mingling with biology facts in the back of your mind. Students often dedicate months to studying for the MCAT, but they give little to no thought to the details of the test day itself. Unfortunately, AAMC does not award points for proper study technique – only your performance on test day counts.

There are a wealth of strategies and tips to consider when approaching your testing experience. This is an integral component of your study process. Do not simply assume that it will proceed as you imagine it to. Given the time you have invested in the MCAT, you will understandably wish to do everything you can to ensure your success.

Breathe

Yes, this is an exam that will play a significant role in determining the outcome of much of your professional life. Recognizing this is both frightening and nerve-wracking. Yet, unlike MCAT-related trivia, knowing that fact won’t aid you in achieving your goal score. Set aside the far-reaching implications of the next several hours, as this will likely only cause your focus to slip. Remember that you can always take the MCAT again if things truly go awry.

Before you begin the test, settle into the testing station. Stretch in your chair and relax. Allow your nerves to run their course and your heart rate to slow. Become excited for the opportunity before you, concentrating on the possible positive outcomes rather than the negative ones. Then, once comfortable, press the enter key and start. Repeat this procedure before each section and do not worry over the test timer; it will not begin until you officially start the section.

Simulate a test day beforehand

You’ve completed hundreds of tasks in your life that at one point in time, you were nervous about. Take driving, for instance. Your first time behind the steering wheel was surely an adventure, but as you gradually gained more experience, it became second nature. The MCAT is no different, except that you do not have as many opportunities to practice. If you simply arrive on test day without knowing what to expect, you will not perform nearly as well as you would have with well-honed practice.

AAMC publishes several past MCAT examinations that you can utilize as practice tests. While much of your study will involve content review and practice problems, plan to complete several full-length mock examinations as well. Most importantly, simulate the test day. No calculator, no cell phone, no extended breaks, and no eating or drinking while sitting for the examination! Read the rules online about what you can and cannot do in the Testing Center and follow those precisely. Complete the test at the same time as your scheduled MCAT and practice your pre-test morning routine. All of this will ensure you are familiar with the experience before jumping into it on the actual test day.

Be confident

You devoted weeks, perhaps months, to studying. You isolated your weaknesses, you sharpened your strengths, and you spent hours reviewing commonly tested MCAT content. Take pride in your preparation – you deserve praise for the dedication you’ve given. Being confident on test day is highly beneficial, especially on a test like the MCAT that stretches the limits of your knowledge. Adhere to your first instincts; trust your study experience.

This likely isn’t the first assessment you’ve faced in your educational career. Rely on what you know about yourself and your test-taking habits in order to calmly move forward. After all, the MCAT is just another test.

Download our FREE special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!

Jeff Epstein is a professional MCAT tutor and contributing writer for Varsity Tutors. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Molecular Biology from Princeton University.

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CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/16/commonbonds-story-a-revolution-in-student-loans/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/16/commonbonds-story-a-revolution-in-student-loans/#respond Thu, 16 Jan 2014 16:13:43 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=20648 ]]> Listen to the full recording of our conversation with Michael and David.

The CommonBond co-founders (L to R: Michael Taormina, CFO; Jessup Shean, Advisor; David Klein, CEO)

Welcome to the glorious world of applications, admissions, and…well, student loans.

CommonBond to the rescue! Meet David Klein and Michael Taormina, Wharton grads and co-founders of this very exciting student loan financing startup.

Listen to the full recording of the show to learn about CommonBond, student loans in general and some excellent advice on financing your education.

00:02:45 – Inspiration at Wharton (or ‘Wow, tuition is high!’).

00:05:04 – The three S’s that make CommonBond unique.

00:09:10 – Beyond funding: community, mentorship, and support at CommonBond.

00:13:00 – Is there a 100 million dollar upgrade coming up?

00:14:02 – Flat rates for all. (Even lawyers!?)

00:17:28 – A guided tour of the loan application process.

00:22:52 – Refinance candidates vs. in-school candidates.

00:24:06 – CommonBond’s goals for 2014.

00:25:40 – What about international students?

00:28:42 – Financial advice for applicants and future applicants.

00:37:18 – A personal question: What motivated 2 guys with successful careers go to b-school?

00:43:17 – Some very concrete tips for getting into business school.

Admissions Straight Talk Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss any segments! Stay in the admissions know.

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Relevant Links:

•  CommonBond
•  MBA Budget Calculator
•  MBA Special Reports
•  Law School Special Reports
•  Pre-Med Special Reports
•  Grad School Special Reports

Related Shows:

•  Interview with SoFi Co-Founder, Daniel Macklin
•  Global Business Leadership at Wharton’s Lauder Institute
•  Which Schools are Good for PE/VC and VC-Backed Entrepreneurship
•  Business, Law and Beyond: An Interview with John Engelman
•  Healthcare Management at Wharton and at Large

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/2014/01/16/commonbonds-story-a-revolution-in-student-loans/feed/ 0 entrepreneurship,podcast,Wharton Welcome to the glorious world of applications, admissions, and…well, student loans. - CommonBond to the rescue! Meet David Klein and Michael Taormina, Wharton grads and co-founders of this very exciting student loan financing startup. - Welcome to the glorious world of applications, admissions, and…well, student loans. CommonBond to the rescue! Meet David Klein and Michael Taormina, Wharton grads and co-founders of this very exciting student loan financing startup. Listen to the full recording of the show to learn about CommonBond, student loans in general and some excellent advice on financing your education. 00:02:45 – Inspiration at Wharton (or ‘Wow, tuition is high!’). 00:05:04 – The three S’s that make CommonBond unique. 00:09:10 – Beyond funding: community, mentorship, and support at CommonBond. 00:13:00 – Is there a 100 million dollar upgrade coming up? 00:14:02 – Flat rates for all. (Even lawyers!?) 00:17:28 – A guided tour of the loan application process. 00:22:52 – Refinance candidates vs. in-school candidates. 00:24:06 – CommonBond’s goals for 2014. 00:25:40 – What about international students? 00:28:42 – Financial advice for applicants and future applicants. 00:37:18 – A personal question: What motivated 2 guys with successful careers go to b-school? 00:43:17 – Some very concrete tips for getting into business school.  Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss any segments! Stay in the admissions know. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Relevant Links: •  CommonBond •  MBA Budget Calculator •  MBA Special Reports •  Law School Special Reports •  Pre-Med Special Reports •  Grad School Special Reports Related Shows: •  Interview with SoFi Co-Founder, Daniel Macklin •  Global Business Leadership at Wharton’s Lauder Institute •  Which Schools are Good for PE/VC and VC-Backed Entrepreneurship •  Business, Law and Beyond: An Interview with John Engelman •  Healthcare Management at Wharton and at Large Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:       Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no
4 Tips for Writing about Last Minute Extracurricular Activities http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/14/4-tips-for-writing-about-last-minute-extracurricular-activities/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/14/4-tips-for-writing-about-last-minute-extracurricular-activities/#respond Tue, 14 Jan 2014 19:31:46 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=20636 ]]> Learn how to demonstrate leadership in your admissions essays!

It’s possible that you’ve been involved in extracurricular activities without even realizing it.

You want to write about all your fantastic non-school and non-work endeavors so that you really stand out from your competition, but when you start to think about it…you draw a blank. There must be SOMETHING you can show for how you use your free time, but what?

Have you found yourself in a last minute lurch looking for extracurricular activities? Note the following:

1. Better Late than Never.

If you don’t have any extracurricular activities to speak of, then I suggest you find something interesting to do and start NOW. You may ask: “Isn’t it better to try and bypass the subject of extracurriculars entirely rather than highlight the fact that I’ve only gotten involved in an activity for the sake of my application? Won’t that seem phony?” While involvement in an extracurricular activity for just a few months is less impressive than long-term participation, it’s still better than presenting no participation at all. You can keep kicking yourself, over and over again, wishing that you had thought of this earlier and gotten involved in some activity years ago, but now’s not the time to harp on regrets; now is the time to act. Get out there and do something.

2. Even Short-Term Involvement Can Transform You.

Participation in a non-school and non-work activities, even if just for a limited period of time, will elevate your flat, one-dimensional admissions profile into something more vibrant, colorful, and interesting. Now’s your chance to transform yourself from a pile of grades and scores into a real, live human being – one who pursues his or her interests and passions outside of the work and school arenas.

3. Your Application Efforts May be Delayed or Extended.

Another reason why you should jump right into an extracurricular activity, even though you may feel like it’s too last minute, is because you don’t know for certain the outcome of your application effort. You may, for one reason or another, decide to push off applying until the next year; you may get waitlisted; you may get dinged from all your top choice schools and decide to reapply next year – whatever the case may be, this could be the beginning of what turns out to be an entire year of extracurricular involvement.

4. Hobbies are Good for YOU!

Forget for a minute that you’re applying to school (if that’s possible) and think about what’s actually good for you. It’s not healthy to site at work for 18+ hours a day only to go home and crash on the couch because you’re too tired to make it to bed. Forget the application process – you should find something to do non-work (and non-school and non-other-obligations) related because it will enrich your life and make you a happier person.

Also, it’s possible that you’ve been involved in extracurricular activities without even realizing it. Mine your experiences to uncover unique experiences that could be considered “extracurricular.” You don’t need clear-cut activities like “Acted as president of the chess club” or “Volunteered in local soup kitchen”; consider non-traditional or non-altruistic activities, like singing in a choir, participating in a weekly fiction writing circle with friends, helping your hyperactive triplet cousin do homework catch-up once a week since forever ago.

These are all completely valid ways of breaking from work, and it won’t be hard to illustrate your passions and interests in these activities, not to mention the leadership skills your developed and the other ways in which you grew and learned from them.

Take home message: It’s NEVER too late to get involved in some meaningful, interesting, and fun extracurricular activity!

Learn everything you need to know about how to tackle the tricky leadership questions that the adcoms love to throw into applications and interviews.

Accepted.com

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Overcoming a Low GPA: IV with an Accepted Med School Applicant http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/13/overcoming-a-low-gpa-iv-with-an-accepted-med-school-applicant/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/13/overcoming-a-low-gpa-iv-with-an-accepted-med-school-applicant/#respond Mon, 13 Jan 2014 20:59:36 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=20474 ]]> Click here for more interviews with medical school applicants.We’d like to introduce you to Joshua Elliot, a future doctor who has already been accepted into some of his top choice medical schools and is still waiting to hear back from others. Read our interview below for some amazing med school application advice… from someone who clearly knows what he’s talking about! Thanks Joshua, and best of luck to you!

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

Joshua: I am from Long Island, and I was a physical education major at a local community college before transferring to Cornell University, where I studied physiology. I would have to say that my favorite ‘non-school’ book is “The Internet is a Playground” by David Thorne. To be fair, it is not really a book as much as it is an anthology of an Australian graphic designer’s tyrannical email exchanges with bill collectors, building superintendents, co-workers. Here’s my favorite piece from the book: http://www.27bslash6.com/overdue.html.

Accepted: What would you say were your top three challenges while applying to med school? How did you approach and overcome those challenges?

Joshua: I would say that the greatest challenges I faced were having completed the majority of my medical school pre-requisite coursework at community college. Regrettably, when I graduated high school the money simply was not there to attend a 4 year university, and I migrated from physical education to biology over the course of two years; in order to transfer into a bachelor’s program in biology, I had to complete these kinds of courses.

Another major challenge was a downward trend in my GPA – Cornell University is a very competitive institution, but thankfully I was able to stay afloat. Collectively, the community college coursework and a downward trend in grades did not bode well for my medical school application, but after working for a few years in a neuroscience laboratory, I returned to school to earn a M.S. in Physiology. I currently have a 3.85 GPA in my graduate program, and I am entering my final semester in a few weeks. I think the jump from ~3.3 GPA in college to a 3.85 GPA in graduate school is really what salvaged my application. However, this was a traditional (2 year) M.S. program and not a so-called “special masters program” or S.M.P., so I would only encourage people to enter this kind of program if grades weren’t the only outstanding part of their application; the extra time I had by doing this over two years allowed me to  get more research and clinical experience, as well as more involvement with student government and on-campus extracurriculars. The SMP programs are more like a first year of medical school, so there is little if any time for this in such programs.

Another thing I did that I feel was a smart move, was keeping in touch with my undergraduate professors over the years. I graduated college in 2010, and I knew it would be some time before I submitted my medical school applications. So, I kept in touch with my professors to “maintain my network,” so that they were up-to-date on my research experiences and how I was preparing for medical school. I feel a lot of people are not mindful to maintain their correspondence, and I don’t think it is reasonable to expect someone to provide you a recommendation after not touching base with them for 3 years. So for anyone reading this that plans to take some time “off” before applying to medical school – keep in touch with your professors!

Accepted: How many schools did you apply to?

Joshua: With my GPA and MCAT, I was encouraged to “apply broadly.” I submitted my AMCAS application to about 50 schools, and I completed the secondary application for 38 of those schools. Hindsight is always 20-20, and I still haven’t heard from about 20 schools I have applied to, but I received 2 acceptances in the month of October, so perhaps I applied too broadly. Still, better safe than sorry.

My advice to someone applying this broadly: begin preparing your application in January-February of the year you will be applying – begin asking professors and physicians for recommendation letters, have people look at your personal statement, start writing your descriptions for extracurricular activities – get your application in on the very first day AMCAS opens, as early as possible. Not only will this get your application in early for processing, but you’ll begin receiving your secondary applications in the early summer, and you can get all of the applications submitted before school begins for the Fall. I was really happy I was able to devote my time entirely to essay writing, instead of having to balance it with studying during the semester.

Accepted: Where and when will you be starting medical school? What attracted you to your chosen program? What are you most looking forward to?

Joshua: At this point in the year, the frontrunner school (best medical school to which I have been accepted) is University of Miami (one of my top 10 personal choices!). I have not yet committed to any one medical school, and I am waiting to hear back from a few schools regarding either an interview invitation or acceptance.

I spent a considerable amount of money applying to medical school, and I feel the most responsible approach is to first learn what all of my options are before deciding.

That being said, however, I fell in love with University of Miami, and with the exception of some family/location biases (Chicago and New York)  I am very much leaning towards moving to Miami in June :).

For now though, I am happy to share “Why Miami?”: The clinical education at Miami is seemingly unparalleled, and this is reflected immensely in their match list – I am particularly interested in internal medicine, and  UMiami graduates match to many of the country’s very best I.M. residency programs ever year, such as Johns Hopkins Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Additionally, UMiami has incredible opportunities for service-learning, such as weekly Free Clinic involvement and monthly health fairs in underserved communities in Miami, so I’d be excited to be able to not only hone my developing clinical skills in real world settings, but also to be able to use my talents to reach out and help others before I’ve earned my M.D.!

Finally, there are tremendous programs in regenerative medicine at University of Miami Medical Center, from the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis to the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute. My graduate research is in the area of novel stem cell populations for use in cardiac regeneration, and I would love to be able to continue this work in medical school – University of Miami offers a unique vantage point for me to do this.

Accepted: Can you share some interview tips with us?

Joshua: Gentlemen: comb your hair! I was blown away at how unkept some of the people at my interviews looked. You should not wear brown shoes with a blue suit, and you should wear DRESS SOCKS, not white athletic socks with dress shoes. You are not necessarily being judged by your sense of style, but at the same time, you don’t want to give your interviewer anything that will leave a “funny taste” of you, so-to-speak. Also, no fragrances.

As for the actual interview, depending on if your interview is close file or open file, 20 minutes long or an hour long, I would have some prepared comments to the big questions like “Why medicine?” or “Why our school?”; specifically, have a brief comment prepared in case you are pressed for time, but if the interview is more lax, just go into it with a sense of some key points you’d like to address for these kinds of questions, and let the conversation unfold organically. Be aware of your posture and what you are doing with your hands – body language is key. Make direct eye contact!

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: Medical School Reapplicant Advice - 6 Tips for Success

Accepted.com

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What You Need to Know About Post-bac Programs http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/09/what-you-need-to-know-about-postbac-programs/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/09/what-you-need-to-know-about-postbac-programs/#respond Thu, 09 Jan 2014 16:21:40 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=20589 ]]> Listen to our conversation with Dr. Barry Rothman!Career changers and academic enhancers on the way to med school: Meet Dr. Barry Rothman, a leader in the field of post-bac education, SFSU Professor of Biology, Director of Post-Bac Programs, Director of SFSU’s Health Professionals Advising Committee, Director of the Pre-Health Professions Certificate Program, and Director of the SFSU U of Pacific Dental Post-bac Program (wow!).

Listen to the full recording of our interview for excellent insights into post-bac education and admissions from the post-bac guru.

00:03:21 – The journey from snail nervous system research to post-baccalaureate education.

00:08:57 – The support group model: The SFSU post-bac program.

00:15:33 – Post-bac programs for career changers.

00:18:30 – Post-bac programs for academic enhancers.

00:21:50 – When is it time to actually apply to med school? (And a word about tug-of-war with parents.)

00:24:51 – The advantages of a formal post-bac program.

00:29:00 – Post-bac programs come in many flavors: how to figure out which is best for you.

00:33:10 – Is there a future for post-bac education online?

00:36:07 – Advice for career changers.

00:37:57 – “I study so hard, but my friends get As and I get Bs!” Sound familiar?

00:47:36 – Plan on applying to med school in June? The fastest way to medical school is slowly. A good pace can = good results.

Admissions Straight Talk Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss any segments! Stay in the admissions know.

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Relevant Links:

• A Second Chance at Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs
• Navigating the Med School Mazetips to help you apply successfully to medical school.
• Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success

Health Professions @SFSU with info about different post-bac options.
Dr. Barry Rothman’s Bio
The Student Doctor Network
AAMC Post-Bac Resources Page

Related Shows:

• A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes
• MCAT Tips and Strategy: An Interview with Don Osborne
• Med School Admissions with Cyd Foote
• Med School Application Process: AMCAS, Secondaries, Interviews, Decisions & More!

Subscribe:

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

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/09/what-you-need-to-know-about-postbac-programs/feed/ 0 podcast,Post-bac Career changers and academic enhancers on the way to med school: Meet Dr. Barry Rothman, a leader in the field of post-bac education, SFSU Professor of Biology, Director of Post-Bac Programs, Director of SFSU’s Health Professionals Advising Committee, Career changers and academic enhancers on the way to med school: Meet Dr. Barry Rothman, a leader in the field of post-bac education, SFSU Professor of Biology, Director of Post-Bac Programs, Director of SFSU’s Health Professionals Advising Committee, Director of the Pre-Health Professions Certificate Program, and Director of the SFSU U of Pacific Dental Post-bac Program (wow!). Listen to the full recording of our interview for excellent insights into post-bac education and admissions from the post-bac guru. 00:03:21 – The journey from snail nervous system research to post-baccalaureate education. 00:08:57 – The support group model: The SFSU post-bac program. 00:15:33 – Post-bac programs for career changers. 00:18:30 – Post-bac programs for academic enhancers. 00:21:50 – When is it time to actually apply to med school? (And a word about tug-of-war with parents.) 00:24:51 – The advantages of a formal post-bac program. 00:29:00 – Post-bac programs come in many flavors: how to figure out which is best for you. 00:33:10 – Is there a future for post-bac education online? 00:36:07 – Advice for career changers. 00:37:57 – “I study so hard, but my friends get As and I get Bs!” Sound familiar? 00:47:36 – Plan on applying to med school in June? The fastest way to medical school is slowly. A good pace can = good results.  Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss any segments! Stay in the admissions know. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Relevant Links: • A Second Chance at Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs • Navigating the Med School Maze, tips to help you apply successfully to medical school. • Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success • Health Professions @SFSU with info about different post-bac options. • Dr. Barry Rothman's Bio • The Student Doctor Network • AAMC Post-Bac Resources Page Related Shows: • A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes • MCAT Tips and Strategy: An Interview with Don Osborne • Med School Admissions with Cyd Foote • Med School Application Process: AMCAS, Secondaries, Interviews, Decisions & More! Subscribe:       Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 54:34
Interview Tip: Prepare Questions http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/09/interview-tip-prepare-questions-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/01/09/interview-tip-prepare-questions-2/#respond Thu, 09 Jan 2014 15:48:19 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=20343 ]]> Learn how to use sample essays to create exemplary essays of your own!

An interview is a two-way street.

Usually when applicants prepare for their admissions interviews, they spend their time trying to figure out what questions will be asked and how they can best answer them. This is important and a good idea. But it’s not the only step to prepping for an admissions interview.

An interview is a two-way street.

Your interviewer will ask you questions and listen 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” but want to keep the flow of the conversation going by taking the reins of the interview into your hands and asking some questions of your own.

There are two things you can do before your interview to help you come up with intelligent questions:

1) Familiarize yourself with the program’s website and other literature. Never ask a question that can be answered easily online.

2) Review your application. Your questions should be specific to your unique situation – your skills, interests, and goals. Questions about the faculty or clubs, for example, should relate to your own education, career, and goals.

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:

• How difficult is it to enroll in a popular class like XYZ? (Insert a class that appeals to you. Not a required course.)

• Do recruiters from XYZ (a company or a particular field that interests you) visit the school? How do students get interviews with recruiters?

• Are business plan competitions (or something else that’s relevant to you) open to all students, or are there certain requirements to qualify?

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

• Who 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 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!

Good luck and let us know how we can further help you prepare for your interviews!

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