Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog » Medical School Admissions http://blog.accepted.com Admissions consulting and application advice Sun, 26 Apr 2015 12:53:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2 Experiences That Count For Medical School Reapplicants http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/23/experiences-that-count-for-medical-school-reapplicants-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/23/experiences-that-count-for-medical-school-reapplicants-2/#respond Thu, 23 Apr 2015 15:32:59 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30257 In the final section of our Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success series, we’ll discuss how reapplicants should improve, and then present, their experiences. One last factor that can seriously hurt your chances is a lack of substantive, ongoing experiences. Medical schools want students who are passionate and committed – to the world around them […]

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Do your experiences speak to your commitment to medicine? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reserve your spot for the webinar!

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

Related Resources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about consulting?

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

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

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

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

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

Accepted: What are your top 3 admissions tips?

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

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

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

Related Resources:

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

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

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Make sure your personal statement is polished and flawless.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Resources:

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

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

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Read more reapplying to medical tips

There is no magic formula for MCAT success.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download Medical School Reapplicant Tips for Succcess

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

Related Resources:

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

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

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

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

00:01:10 – Introducing Jim van Rhee.

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

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

00:06:03 – What do PAs actually do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to listen to the show!

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

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

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com

Related Links:

Yale Physician Assistant Program
Yale PA Online

Related  Shows:

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

Leave a Review for Admissions Straight Talk:

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

Download your free guide 10 Tips for PA Program Acceptance!

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

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Watch the webinar Get Accepted to Medical School with Low Stats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download Medical School Reapplicant Tips for Succcess

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

Related Resources:

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to listen to the show!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

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

Leave a Review for Admissions Straight Talk:

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

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

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Stand out.

Make sure to show how you are interesting or different

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Resources:

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

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

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Advice for non-traditional medical school applicants

Is older better?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download Medical School Reapplicant Tips for Succcess Alicia McNease Nimonkar

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

Related Resources:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Interview with DO Student Dr. Diva: Do What Makes You Happy! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/06/interview-with-do-student-dr-diva-do-what-makes-you-happy/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/04/06/interview-with-do-student-dr-diva-do-what-makes-you-happy/#respond Mon, 06 Apr 2015 16:25:27 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29893 This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing our anonymous blogger, Student Dr. Diva… Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what […]

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Click here for more medical student interviews!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing our anonymous blogger, Student Dr. Diva…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can follow Student Dr. Diva’s med school adventure by checking out her blog, Student Dr. Diva, or by following her on Twitter (@StudentDrDiva). Thank you Student Dr. Diva sharing your story with us!

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

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

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

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

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

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Want more tips? Click here

Discover where you went wrong then reapply with confidence.

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

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

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

• Did you answer the particular questions asked?

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

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

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

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

• Did you return the secondaries in a timely manner?

• Were your secondaries free of typos and grammatical errors?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• How many medical schools did you select?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Resources:

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

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

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

Want to know more, right?

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

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

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

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

00:10:58 – How BankMobile came to be.

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

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

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

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

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

Related Links:

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

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• Entrepreneurship at UCLA Anderson
• Which Schools are Good for PE/VC and VC-Backed Entrepreneurship

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

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

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

Register for the webinar!

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

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

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

Click here to reserve your spot for the webinar!

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

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

Click here for Med 101

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

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

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A Med Student/Foodie Extraordinaire at Baylor College of Medicine http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/30/a-med-studentfoodie-extraordinaire-at-baylor-college-of-medicine/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/30/a-med-studentfoodie-extraordinaire-at-baylor-college-of-medicine/#respond Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:26:51 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29828 This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Natalie Uy… Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Natali - MED IV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can follow Natalie’s med school adventure by checking out her blog, Obsessive Cooking Disorder. Thank you Natalie for sharing your story with us!

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

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

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

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

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Check out our med 101 page for more info

Being a minority can be a major advantage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

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

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

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

View the webinar!

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

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

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Click here to read the full series.

Did your application portray you the way you intended?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Were there any typos or grammatical errors?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download Medical School Reapplicant Tips for Succcess

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

 

Related Resources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Related Resources: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download your free guide 10 Tips for PA Program Acceptance!

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Related Resources:

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

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Interview with Eniola: Medical Resident, Novelist, Child of God http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/23/interview-with-eniola-medical-resident-novelist-child-of-god/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/23/interview-with-eniola-medical-resident-novelist-child-of-god/#respond Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:44:16 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29696 This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Eniola Prentice… Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accepted: Where are you doing your residency?

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

Accepted: Why did you choose that program?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eniola:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Avoid the 5 fatal flaws to your residency personal statement

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Related Resources:

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

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

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Click here for residency essay tips

You didn’t match. Now what?

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

But what’s next if you didn’t match?

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

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

• Do you want to do a year of research?

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

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

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

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

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

Rebecca Blustein

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

Related Resources:

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

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

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

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

 

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

Click here to reserve your spot for the webinar!

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

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Time to reevaluate your commitment to being a doctor.

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

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

But what if all you’ve received are rejections?

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

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

Next Step

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

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

Evaluate Your Application

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Related Resources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Links:

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

Related Shows:

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

Avoid the 5 fatal flaws to your residency personal statement

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Reminder: Actionable Postbac Tips Webinar on Wednesday! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/17/reminder-actionable-postbac-tips-webinar-tomorrow/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/17/reminder-actionable-postbac-tips-webinar-tomorrow/#respond Tue, 17 Mar 2015 18:17:42 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29056 If you haven’t yet registered for Wednesday’s webinar, 9 Keys to Postbac Acceptance in 2015, then please take a moment to do so now (it literally will take you a few seconds). The tips that you will learn in this webinar will be instrumental to helping you choose wisely and then apply successfully to the BEST […]

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If you haven’t yet registered for Wednesday’s webinar, 9 Keys to Postbac Acceptance in 2015, then please take a moment to do so now (it literally will take you a few seconds). The tips that you will learn in this webinar will be instrumental to helping you choose wisely and then apply successfully to the BEST postbac program for you.

Postbac CoverRemember, acceptance to a postbac program could make or break your future as a physician. Don’t miss out – this webinar is for you!

Details:
Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM PST/8:00 PM EST

Click Here to Save Your Spot! Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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3 Ways to Make Your Own Student Loan Luck http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/17/3-ways-to-make-your-own-student-loan-luck/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/17/3-ways-to-make-your-own-student-loan-luck/#respond Tue, 17 Mar 2015 15:47:38 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25942 “Diligence is the mother of good luck.”  – Benjamin Franklin If you’re one of the 37 million Americans with student loans, you know it’s going to take a lot more than a few four-leaf clovers to make your debt disappear. You wouldn’t rely on winning the lottery in order to pay your loans, would you?  […]

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Not sure how to fund your MBA? Listen to this podcast for pointers.

Luck can’t pay off student loans, but YOU can!

“Diligence is the mother of good luck.”  – Benjamin Franklin

If you’re one of the 37 million Americans with student loans, you know it’s going to take a lot more than a few four-leaf clovers to make your debt disappear. You wouldn’t rely on winning the lottery in order to pay your loans, would you?  Unfortunately, neglecting to understand the various loan repayment options can be just as foolish, because you may be missing out on opportunities to reduce or even eliminate your debt burden. Essentially, leaving your loans to chance could mean leaving money on the table.

Rather than wait around for good fortune to find you, take a proactive approach by seeing if one of these three options apply to you:

1.  Spend money to save money
. All education loans, whether federal or private, allow for penalty-free prepayment, which means that you can pay more than the monthly minimum or make extra payments without incurring a fee. Prepaying may sound painful, but the benefits can be huge. The more you do it, the sooner you’re done with your loans – and the less interest you spend over the life of the loan.

Let’s say you have a $100,000 student loan balance at a 6.8% interest rate and 10-year term. If you increased your monthly payment by just $100, you’d save about $5,600 in total interest and pay off your loans about a year early. Or perhaps you pay down an extra $2,000 per year using your annual bonus, saving yourself about $7,400 in interest and paying off your loans about 1.5 years early. Every borrower’s situation is different, but you can do the math on your own loans with a calculator like this.

One thing to note – prepaying is most effective when the extra cash is applied directly to your principal, rather than being earmarked for future payments.  It’s best to check with your loan servicer to see what their policy is before increasing or adding extra payments.

How to get lucky: Commit to increasing your monthly student loan payment each time you get a raise and/or putting a percentage of every bonus toward your loan balance.

2.  Recalibrate your rate
. One of the fastest ways to slash your student loan burden is to lower the interest rate on your loans, which can only be accomplished through the act of refinancing. In addition to reducing the amount of interest you pay on your loan over time, refinancing can allow you to make lower monthly payments or shorten your payment term (so that you can be done with your loans sooner).

Student loan refinancing is still a relatively new option, so many borrowers who could be eligible to refinance aren’t even aware the opportunity exists. Which is unfortunate, because the savings can be significant.  For example, the average SoFi borrower saves $9,400 when they refinance with us.*  In addition, some private lenders offer additional benefits to borrowers when they refinance, such as complimentary career coaching and entrepreneurial support.

How to get lucky: When shopping around for a refinance lender, be sure to compare interest rates as well as other potential benefits.

3.  Ask for forgiveness. What borrower hasn’t fantasized about winning the lottery and paying off their loans in one fell swoop?  Unfortunately, you’re more likely to get hit by an asteroid than win a seven figure jackpot. So what’s the next best thing? How about making your student loan balance magically disappear.

It sounds too good to be true, but this is the basic idea behind student loan forgiveness. Surprisingly, there are quite a few ways to get your loan slate wiped clean, but the most well-known one (and the one that applies to the most people) is the government’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. Under the program, borrowers who work full-time for a qualifying public service organization may be eligible to have federal loans forgiven after 10 years of on-time monthly payments.

Before you skim over this section and assume that PSLF won’t apply to you, consider this: The CFPB estimates that about one in four working Americans has a job that meets the definition of “public service”, and yet they believe a “substantial sum” is left on the table by borrowers who don’t take advantage. This may be because the definition is broader than what most people would expect – for example, soldiers, doctors at non-profit hospitals and public defenders are all examples of professions that may qualify a borrower for PSLF.

How to get lucky: Find out if you qualify for PSLF or other forgiveness programs by contacting your student loan servicer.  

*SoFi average borrower savings assumes 10-year student loan refinancing with a weighted average rate of 7.67% and a loan balance of $86,000, compared to SoFi’s median 10-year rates of 5.875% (with AutoPay).

This post is by Anna Wolf and originally appeared on the SoFi Blog. SoFi connects alumni borrowers and investors to refinance private and federal student loans.

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

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• SoFi: Alumni Funded Student Loans
Tips for Financing Your MBA
• PayScale: How Much You Can Earn, and How to Earn It

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U.S. News 2016 Best Medical Schools – Research & Primary Care http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/16/u-s-news-2016-best-medical-schools-research-primary-care/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/16/u-s-news-2016-best-medical-schools-research-primary-care/#respond Mon, 16 Mar 2015 17:18:35 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29595 U.S. News released its graduate school rankings Tuesday. 130 med schools and 26 schools of osteopathic medicine (all fully accredited) were surveyed in late 2014 and early 2015. Of these schools, 116 provided adequate data for creating these rankings. Let’s take a look at the top 25 med schools in research and primary care… 2016 […]

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U.S. News released its graduate school rankings Tuesday. 130 med schools and 26 schools of osteopathic medicine (all fully accredited) were surveyed in late 2014 and early 2015. Of these schools, 116 provided adequate data for creating these rankings.

Let’s take a look at the top 25 med schools in research and primary care…

2016 Best Med Schools – Research

Make sure you are using the rankings correctly!1. Harvard University

2. Stanford University

3. Johns Hopkins University (tie)

3.  UC San Francisco (tie)

5. UPenn Perelman

6. Washington University – St. Louis

7. Yale University

8. Columbia University (tie)

8. Duke University (tie)

10. Chicago Pritzker (tie)

10. Michigan – Ann arbor (tie)

10. University of Washington (tie)

13. UCLA Geffen

14. NYU (tie)

14. Vanderbilt University (tie)

16. University of Pittsburgh

17. UC San Diego

18. Cornell Weill

19. Northwestern Feinberg

20. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

21. Baylor College of Medicine

22. UNC Chapel Hill

23. Emory University

24. Case Western Reserve University

25. University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

2016 Best Med Schools – Primary Care

1. University of Washington

2. UNC Chapel Hill

3. UC San Francisco

4. University of Nebraska Medical Center

5. Oregon Health and Science University (tie)

5. Michigan – Ann Arbor (tie)

7. UCLA Geffen

8. University of Colorado

9. University of Wisconsin – Madison

10. University of Minnesota

11. Baylor College of Medicine

12. Harvard University (tie)

12. MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine (tie)

12. UMass Worcester (tie)

12. UPenn Perelman (tie)

16. University of Iowa – Carver

17. University of Alabama – Birmingham (tie)

17. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (tie)

19. UC Davis (tie)

19. UC San Diego (tie)

19. Chicago Pritzker (tie)

19. University of Hawaii – Manoa – Burns (tie)

19. University of Pittsburgh (tie)

19. Washington University – St. Louis (tie)

25. East Carolina University – Brody

You can read about U.S. News’ med school ranking methodology here.

For perspective on the significance of these rankings, please see “Medical School Rankings: What Are They Worth?

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

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• Navigating the Med School Maze
• Medical School Admissions 2015-2016: A Dean’s Perspective
• 5 Questions to Help You Decide Where To Apply To Medical School

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The Med School Journey of a “Professional Procrastinator” http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/16/the-med-school-journey-of-a-professional-procrastinator/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/16/the-med-school-journey-of-a-professional-procrastinator/#respond Mon, 16 Mar 2015 15:23:54 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29471 This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Kendra Williams… Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you […]

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Click here for more med student intervierwsThis interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Kendra Williams…

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What’s your favorite flavor ice cream?

Kendra: I’m from Hamlin, TX. I studied at McMurry University. I majored in BioMedical Science and minored in Biochemistry. My favorite flavor of ice cream is Vanilla Bluebell. I love to make coke floats!

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

Kendra: I am a first year medical student at UT Houston Medical School.

Accepted: What is your favorite thing about UT Houston so far? Which other med schools did you consider? Why did you choose UT Houston?

Kendra: I love the sense of community that we have at our school. Even though we are one of the biggest classes in the US, we are able to embody one another as family. Other than UT Houston, I considered UTMB in Galveston. I chose UT Houston because the things that I stated above, set them apart from other schools.

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

Kendra: I don’t think I would change anything! Some people have suggested a curriculum change, as we do use block scheduling, but in my opinion, when you come to medical school, you have to adapt to a certain system of study.

Accepted: In your blog you call yourself a professional procrastinator — how did you deal with this as a med school applicant and now as a busy medical student?

Kendra: Obviously it played out in my favor, but I told myself as an applicant, I would never do that again. Procrastinating so much caused me so much headache that definitely could be avoided. Because I’m so used to procrastinating but still being able to succeed and get tasks done in a concise and efficient manner, I thought that that would translate over into medical school. It didn’t. First semester, I had such a hard time with trying to learn how to manage time, learning what study method worked for me, and all the while trying to keep up with material. It was not fun at all and procrastination finally caught up with me.

Over Christmas break, I had to revamp how to approach studying, test-taking, and time management habits. I literally had to flip my life upside down to finally get it right.

Accepted: Can you talk about your experience with taking an MCAT test prep course?

Kendra: I used Kaplan as an online MCAT test prep course. I really didn’t know that much about it, but it was the only thing that I was ever advised to use. It didn’t work that well for me because I learn by actually sitting in a classroom and having structure to my studies. For others, it works great but for me it was a total waste because I knew before I paid all the money for it that online work didn’t work best for me.

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

Kendra: There is no way that you can 100% prepare for medical school but there are a few things that you can do that will make things a lot easier.

1. Learn what study habits work best for you.

When I came to medical school, I had no idea what worked best for me. I have since learned that pre-reading, as well as attending class, work best for me to reinforce and actually learn the material instead of just regurgitating information that has been thrown at me.

2. Make reading an integral part of your life.

There are some things that just don’t come to you as easy as they do for other people. When a professor decides to move on and you still don’t understand a concept, it is up to you to go back and read resources to make the material a little more familiar. You have to be able to read AND comprehend your material.

3. Learn to not get so down on yourself early.

This was one of my biggest problems in my first semester. I had a lot of trouble early on. Because people understood some information faster than I did, I automatically thought that I was behind. I was so used to doing great on everything in high school and college that it was a big shock that I didn’t make 90s and 100s on every, single thing. I became a little depressed and developed very heavy test anxiety (something that had never happened before). You have to realize when you come to medical school that you are part of a small group of people that are all the best of the best and the material is not always easy or fun. After I started having problems, everything went down from there because it was very hard for me to work at it. When I changed everything during winter break, I had to make an attitude change as well.

4. When you do get stressed out, find ways to de-stress!!

Whether it’s just taking a night off from studying to binge watch Netflix, having a glass of wine with friends, volunteering, or just sleeping in one day, you’ll be thankful for it in the end. I personally like to volunteer every now and again to remind myself of why I got into medicine in the first place. With everything in just Gross Anatomy & Biochemistry, it is very easy to lose sight of why you’re here.

Coming to medical school was a big change for me and it hasn’t always been easy, but these are some of the best years of your life so make the best of it and when you can, make it just a little bit easier.

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

Kendra: I graduated a semester early so I was able to have about 6 months off before the beginning of my entry year. During this time, I just spent time with family and worked to save a little bit of money before I had to completely stop working.

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

Kendra: The most challenging part about the application process is that it takes a long time to get everything together and it’s very easy to give up on that. I realized this early on so I tried to keep accounts of things like volunteer experience, methods in the laboratory I learned, and extracurricular activities. I sort of kept a written account so I wouldn’t have to try to recount years of information to compile on one application. It helped a ton!!

Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog and Twitter?

Kendra: Although, these are both my personal accounts, I use them to show the more humorous side of medical school and medicine as well as give some advice. I’m not the conventional med student so I like to show students aspiring to follow this pathway that everyone does not follow it the exact same way. I hope it is inspirational, motivational, and helpful to people and I’m always open to answer questions about the application process, medical school, and medical school life.

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

You can follow Kendra’s med school adventure by checking out her blog, Paging Student Dr. Kendra or by following her on Twitter (@studentdrkendra). Thank you Kendra for sharing your story with us!

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

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

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

Navigate the Med School Maze, a free guide
Your MCAT Score and GPA
Work Hard and Stay Positive: Interview with a 2nd Year Med Student

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The Woman’s Guide To Dress For Med School Interview Success http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/15/womans-guide-dress-med-school-interview-success/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/15/womans-guide-dress-med-school-interview-success/#comments Sun, 15 Mar 2015 15:40:09 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29419 In a medical school interview, a first impression is often the only impression you get to make.  With just a handshake your aim is to come across as professional, confident, and trustworthy.  After all the hard work you have put in to your pre-med journey, this is your moment to shine as the outstanding applicant […]

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Be fully prepared for your interview

Aim for an outfit that is both professional and comfortable.

In a medical school interview, a first impression is often the only impression you get to make.  With just a handshake your aim is to come across as professional, confident, and trustworthy.  After all the hard work you have put in to your pre-med journey, this is your moment to shine as the outstanding applicant you are.  Follow these simple steps to not only make the best impression, but to feel confident on your interview day.

In an interview situation, it is important that your interviewer get a sense of who you are from you, not from your clothes.  Even if you are not trying to make a statement, your top knot and hoop earrings might be more memorable than your three years of research or volunteer work.  If your attire raises an eyebrow, your interviewer could spend the rest of the short interview distracted by your appearance and not get a sense of the true you.

To dress for success, we have broken down the interview outfit from head to toe. But first, let’s start with the key piece, the suit.

Suits – Business suits come in a myriad of colors and styles.  For a medical school interview, chose a classic cut in black, navy blue, or gray.  Skirt suits and pant suits are both acceptable, so pick whichever makes you feel most comfortable.  Make sure to remove all tags, stickers, and pins before your interview.  Cut the loose stitching inside pockets or along a skirt slit before you leave the house.  If you are wearing an older suit, get it professionally cleaned and steamed.  Don’t forget a quick run of the lint roller before you leave!

Shirts – Nothing low cut.  Go for a simple oxford button up, or a nice blouse that does not wrinkle too easily.  Stay away from loud patterns or colors.  Remember that the men will be wearing shirts and ties with their suits, so you want to look just as professional as they do.

Always, always, always tuck your shirt in.

Belts – For men, belts are a necessity.  But for women, you can take them or leave them.  If you have a nice belt you like to wear with your suit, go for it.  Otherwise, an unbelted look is fine.

Skirts – If you are going to wear a skirt suit, sit down and make sure the skirt does not ride up too high.  Do not wear a skirt that is too tight.  And, always wear panty hose.

Pants – Get your pants hemmed to fit the heels you wear most.  Make sure to iron your pants or have them pressed before you wear them.

Shoes – Closed toe, low heel is the way to go.  Too high a heel and you will be uncomfortable all day.  Open toe and you risk looking unprofessional.

Bag – A medium size purse that will fit your portfolio folder (with extra copies of your resume and application) and any papers or handouts you receive that day.

Makeup – Simple simple simple.  If you wear concealer or powder, go lightly.  A little blush looks nice.  Mascara helps you look awake.  Avoid heavy eyeliner.  If you want to use eye shadow, pick neutral colors and go lightly.  If you chose lipstick or lip-gloss, pick subtle colors.

Jewelry – Small stud earrings, nothing dangling.  Small chain necklaces or a single strand of pearls. It is okay to wear a necklace with a religious symbol like a cross, but make sure it is understated.  Bracelets can be distracting if they make noise when you move.  You will most likely be wearing long sleeves, so you probably don’t need a bracelet.

Hair – Make sure your hair is neat.  You can always stick a brush in your purse and run it through your hair a few times before your interview.   If you chose to wear it up in a pony, bun, or half-up, make sure it is secure and not falling out.  Keep your hair out of your face and try not to touch it during an interview.

If you follow this list of do’s and don’ts, you will surely be dressed for success.  

DON’T:

1. Don’t be trendy- you are not interviewing with Vogue and now is not the time to channel your inner fashionista.

2. Along the trendy lines, don’t try any fancy new hairstyles.  Keep it simply down, half up, or in a low bun or ponytail.  A simple headband can work as well.

3. Don’t wear anything with big logos.  It is distracting and labels you as much as it labels the clothing item.

4. Don’t wear open toe shoes.  You do not want your interviewer gazing down at your hot pink toe nail polish.  Keep it conservative and wear closed toed shoes.

– Another shoe tip: Aim for a 1-2 inch heel.  On some interviews, you will be doing a lot of walking and if you come in with 5 inch Louboutins, you will be left in the dust.

5. Don’t wear anything too short.  Practice sitting down if you opt to wear a skirt.  Aim for it to hit just above the knee when sitting.  If it is higher than that, skip it.

6. Don’t wear anything too low cut or revealing.  Practice bending over and make sure your shirt does not gape open.  What if you drop your pen?

7. Don’t be messy or sloppy (obviously).

DO:

1. Do wear clothes that fit.  Find a tailor you like and have them hem pants and sleeves.

2. Do keep your clothes wrinkle free.  If you are traveling, use the hotel iron or hang your clothes in the bathroom to stream when you take a shower.

3. Do wear pantyhose.  Especially if you wear a skirt.  Black tights are fine too.

4. Do wear makeup.  Studies have shown that a small amount of makeup makes you come across as more professional.  Just keep it neutral and simple.  No sparkles and no red lip.

5. Do wear simple jewelry.  Small stud earrings and small necklaces can compliment a professional look.  A single strand of pearls always looks classy.

After all that, what is the most important thing to wear to a medical school interview?  A smile.  A big smile and eye contact are more memorable than any fancy suit.  

InterviewingWithImpactRecording

Andrea Tooley, MD is a resident physician in Ophthalmology at Mayo Clinic.  She graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine in 2014.  Andrea shares stories from her days in medical school and residency, healthy recipes, and workouts on her blog, AndreaTooley.com.  
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success, a free guide
How to Ace Your Medical School Interview,  a free webinar
• The Men’s Guide to Dress for Medical School Success

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7 Reasons Medical School Applicants are Rejected http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/12/7-reasons-medical-school-applicants-are-rejected/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/12/7-reasons-medical-school-applicants-are-rejected/#respond Thu, 12 Mar 2015 16:07:31 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29537 Each medical school receives thousands of applications every year and most schools have less than a hundred spots available. With ten years of experience in medical school admissions, I have seen several patterns emerge in rejected applications. In learning from these applicants’ mistakes—what not to do—you can put together a stronger application. The most common […]

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Click here for the five fatal flaws to avoid

Before you reapply, analyze where you went wrong

Each medical school receives thousands of applications every year and most schools have less than a hundred spots available. With ten years of experience in medical school admissions, I have seen several patterns emerge in rejected applications. In learning from these applicants’ mistakes—what not to do—you can put together a stronger application.

The most common mistakes I have seen include:

Low GPA with a decreasing trend: In some cases, it would be better to complete postbaccalaureate coursework before submitting the application. Having a decreasing trend with a borderline GPA is an easy way to earn a rejection. It is essential to apply with an increasing trend in your GPA.

• Low MCAT: If you do not have a high GPA to compensate for a low MCAT score, it may be best to retake the MCAT before applying. I don’t recommend applying before you receive your score because it can help you decide which schools to apply to. A MCAT score below a 24 can be considered dangerously low.

Weak Letters of Recommendation: Submitting old letters of recommendation (letters that are a year or older) or not submitting strong letters can substantially hurt your application. These letters are quoted and discussed at great length during selection committee meetings. They matter. Take the time to attend office hours and to form strong bonds with your mentors so that you can rest confident that you will have strong letters to support your application.

ON THE APPLICATION:

• Incorrect information: By accidentally listing the wrong country of your birth or wrong state for permanent residence, you can cause your application to be red flagged or to be automatically rejected by schools that only interview or accept residents. Double check all of the contact information, personal details and family information to make sure that it is correct. A simple but easy place to make a major mistake!

• Not Using Every Space Available: Many applicants do not list everything that they have done or do not use all 15 activity descriptions. Use every character allowed and complete each description requested, even if it is optional. Demonstrating that you have put the time and effort into the application to help them gain a stronger idea of who you are as an individual will make all the difference.

• Misrepresenting Your Activities: Don’t lie about what you haven’t done. If you do not have significant clinical, volunteer, leadership or research experience, sign up for some immediately! The strongest applications have a balance of activities that represent all three or four of these categories. (Research is optional for many medical schools.) Using an app, like MDTracker, can be helpful in keeping a big picture perspective of the distribution of your activities.

• Sloppy Primary and Secondary Essays: The essays that raise more questions than they provide answers often confuse and frustrate their readers. If your essay is challenging to read, most application reviewers will not read it all the way through. Take the time to create outlines and thoughtfully approach your writing. You can use these essays as a rare opportunity in your life for deep assessment and reflection. The more you know about yourself and how you approach life, the more gracefully you will be able to transition into medical school to take on the responsibilities of a healer.

• Weak Interview: Taking the time to submit an excellent application that earns you an interview, but neglecting to prepare for the interview with mocks can seriously jeopardize your spot in the entering class! Mock interviews can help you develop the skills required to give a strong interview. Most people struggle with public speaking and interviewing. The difference between those who interview well and those who do not is practice.

While it may be impossible to avoid all of these issues, you can navigate them more gracefully by adapting a strategy that will highlight your strengths so that your weakness will not be viewed so harshly. Working with a professional consultant or editor can make a dramatic difference. I wish you all success!

Med Reapplicant Guide

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

Related Resources:

• A Second Chance to Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs
• Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success
• Boost your GPA for Med School Acceptance

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Three Topics to Discuss in Waitlist Letters http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/12/three-topics-discuss-waitlist-letters/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/12/three-topics-discuss-waitlist-letters/#respond Thu, 12 Mar 2015 15:44:35 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29324 If you are on a waitlist, Linda Abraham has something to tell you: Related Resources: • College Applicants: Waitlisted or Rejected? • Help! I’ve Been Waitlisted! • How to Write Waitlist Update Letters Tags: College Admissions, College Video Tips, Grad School Admissions, Grad Video Tips, Law School Admissions, Law Video Tips, MBA Admissions, MBA Video Tips, […]

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If you are on a waitlist, Linda Abraham has something to tell you:

Get off that waitlist! Listen how Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• College Applicants: Waitlisted or Rejected?
Help! I’ve Been Waitlisted!
How to Write Waitlist Update Letters

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Researching Postbac Programs http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/10/researching-postbac-programs/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/10/researching-postbac-programs/#respond Tue, 10 Mar 2015 16:35:17 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29364 Some postbac programs have their own websites and application systems.  Other programs may be harder to find since they are small programs connected to a medical school, or they may be conditional acceptance programs that operate by invitation only. There are several ways to approach the task of finding programs that may interest you: • The […]

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Learn more about Postbac programs

The perfect postbac program may be hard to find.

Some postbac programs have their own websites and application systems.  Other programs may be harder to find since they are small programs connected to a medical school, or they may be conditional acceptance programs that operate by invitation only.

There are several ways to approach the task of finding programs that may interest you:

• The Definitive Guide to Premedical Postbaccalaureate Programs – Start with the published literature on the topic!  For this book, I researched all of the premedical programs available in the U.S.  The index of the book includes a comprehensive list of all of the programs that exist.  Inside the book, there are interviews with programs directors and students who have successfully matriculated into medical school after completing a postbac program.  The book is now available on accepted.com and amazon.com.

• AAMC Postbac Database: – On the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) website they actually have a search database dedicated solely to listing the website and contact information for the postbac programs that register with them.  The benefit of this database is that it has the contact information for program directors and coordinators.  The only problem with using this site is that sometimes the information is no longer current or active.

• AACOM Information Book – The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) Information Book includes information each year on the postbac programs available to pursue this field.  Most of the programs listed are SMP’s (special master degree programs).  If you know that you want to become a DO, I recommend focusing on applying to these programs to become a more competitive applicant. *Note: If you need to improve your undergraduate GPA a SMP will not improve your undergraduate GPA since it calculates into your graduate GPA.*

• Student Doctor Network Forums  Since users create anonymous screen names, using this site is similar to attending a Halloween party in that things can get out of hand when there is no accountability.  However, at times, you can glean useful information about postbac programs and the application process here.  If you have specific questions, you can create a conversation and hope that you receive some serious and useful responses.

• Individual school websites  If you live near a particular school and want to find out if they have a postbac program, check out the school’s website and/or contact their pre-health advisors.  They should be able to help you locate the nearest postbac programs.  Or if you’d like to take informal postbac coursework, you can enroll as a second bacc student on their campus and take classes on your own.  If possible, work with an advisor or consultant to make sure that you’re taking the right classes and course combinations!

• Premed Clubs and Conferences – Get connected to the premed club in your area, even if you have already graduated.  Attend all conferences at the local medical schools.  Networking with faculty, medical students and other premed students will help you locate more resources and programs. Many students matriculating into medical school have completed some form of postbaccalaureate coursework these days. Talking to them about their academic backgrounds can guide you in the right direction.

Hopefully, these strategies will help you find the program you are looking for.  Often, it’s a matter of leaving no stone unturned and considering every possible resource.  It’s difficult to ask for help, but doing so may lead you directly to what you are seeking – and save you tons of time.

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

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

Related Resources:

A Second Chance to Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs
Admissions Straight Talk: All Things Postbac
Who Needs a Postbac Program and Who Doesn’t

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4 Ways to Show How You’ll Contribute in the Future http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/06/4-ways-show-youll-contribute-future/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/06/4-ways-show-youll-contribute-future/#respond Fri, 06 Mar 2015 17:33:41 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29350 Schools want to see that the applicants will actively participate in and contribute to their student bodies and alumni communities, not to mention the greater community and society. Yet grandiose, declarative statements and promises to be a superlative do-gooder are unpersuasive. So how is an applicant to show what he or she will do in […]

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Click here to learn how to demonstrate leadership in your application

Will your past allow the adcom a peak into your future?

Schools want to see that the applicants will actively participate in and contribute to their student bodies and alumni communities, not to mention the greater community and society. Yet grandiose, declarative statements and promises to be a superlative do-gooder are unpersuasive.

So how is an applicant to show what he or she will do in the future? Point to the past. Most admission committees are firm believers that past behavior reveals abilities and interests and is a good predictor of the future.

Here are four tips to help you relay the message that you plan on achieving greatness by contributing to your school/community/world-at-large, by highlighting your impressive past.

1. Share the story of past achievements and quantify if possible the impact you had. – By showing how you’ve already contributed, you demonstrate that you have the initiative, people skills, and organizational talent to make an impact in the future.

2. Discuss skills you’ve developed that will aid to future contributions. – You can show the adcoms that you’re prepared to give back by proving that you’ve got the skills and the tools needed. Use evidence to support your skill development by talking about how you’ve worked to build your skill set, i.e. by taking a course or through work experience, etc. Analyze your success and failures (when asked for the latter) to reveal that you are a thinking, growing, dynamic individual. And when asked about failures or setbacks, discuss what you learned from the tough times. Demonstrate a growth mindset.

3. Show how your skills are transferable. – To contribute to your classmates or school, you’ll need to show how your unique talents or experiences can be shared with your classmates, professors, or work colleagues. Talk about how your skills, understanding, and ethics can impact those around you.

4. Mention how your target school will help. – Now the adcom readers know that you’ve got skills and that you’re ready to share them. Next, you need to reinforce the idea that their school is THE PLACE to accelerate your upward trajectory.

A good essay on your contributions will cover each of the above topics – what you’ve done in the past, how you’ve developed your skills, how you plan on sharing that knowledge, and how your target school will help you effect change. Remember, the past reveals much about the future, so share the story of what you’ve done and how you’ve reached this point and you’ll be well on your way to proving that you’ve got what it takes to contribute in the future.

The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes: Get your free copy!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Leadership in Admissions
How to Prove Character Traits in Essays
Does Extracurricular Equal Extra Credit?

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Are You Ready to Nail the MCAT Test? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/05/ready-nail-mcat-test-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/05/ready-nail-mcat-test-2/#respond Thu, 05 Mar 2015 16:21:49 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29336 Register for our second presentation of The Results Are In: Analyzing Your MCAT Diagnostic Exam for actionable, confidence-boosting MCAT strategies that will provide you with an outstanding MCAT game plan! (We’ll provide instructions for registering for the test after you register for the webinar so you can sign up for both right away.) There will be new […]

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Register for our second presentation of The Results Are In: Analyzing Your MCAT Diagnostic Exam for actionable, confidence-boosting MCAT strategies that will provide you with an outstanding MCAT game plan! (We’ll provide instructions for registering for the test after you register for the webinar so you can sign up for both right away.)

Click here to register for the webinar!

There will be new MCAT problems discussed, so even if you attended the last webinar, it will be worthwhile to drop by for this one as well.

Click here to reserve your spot for the webinar!

Details:

Date: March 24, 2015

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

Extras: During the webinar, two more lucky attendees will win a set of Next Step strategy and practice MCAT books or a three-practice test bundle for the 2015 MCAT. Don’t miss out!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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An Inside Look at the Medical School Journey http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/04/inside-look-medical-school-journey/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/04/inside-look-medical-school-journey/#respond Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:16:10 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29316 If you are in med school now, or will be one day, there is someone we’d like you to meet. Listen to the full recording of our talk with Dr. Andrew Colucci – BU’s School of Medicine grad, radiology resident, teaching fellow at Harvard Medical School, and an Accepted medical school admissions consultant – for […]

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Listen to the podcast!If you are in med school now, or will be one day, there is someone we’d like you to meet.

Listen to the full recording of our talk with Dr. Andrew Colucci – BU’s School of Medicine grad, radiology resident, teaching fellow at Harvard Medical School, and an Accepted medical school admissions consultant – for an inside look at med school and the med school admissions process.

00:01:19 – Featured Applicant Question: What should I do while waiting to hear answers from the medical schools I applied to?

00:04:09 – Introducing Dr. Colucci.

00:04:43 – The most difficult aspect of the med school admissions process. (And some solutions.)

00:09:46 – How many medical schools it makes sense to apply to.

00:11:47 – Personal statement, experiences section, personal comments section…  Which experiences should go where?

00:13:22 – The biggest surprise in store for M1s.

00:15:05 – A word about the Boston University School of Medicine and what makes it unique.

00:16:42 – The view of med school education from Google Earth.

00:19:22 – A transitional year between medical school and residency: what and why.

00:21:27 – Interview advice for preparing and day-of.

00:24:32 – Advice for M3s thinking about next year’s Residency Match.

00:26:51 – Drew’s med school experience and accidental stumble into radiation.

00:29:25 – How does a med student drinking from the fire-hose have time to seek out the clinical opportunities?

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

Related Resources:

Drew’s Bio
9 Keys to Postbac Acceptance in 2015
Navigating the Med School Maze
Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success
A Second Chance at Medical School: The A-Z of  Applying to Postbac Programs
The Definitive Guide to Pre-Medical Postbaccalaureate Programs

 Related Shows:

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

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Who Needs a Postbac Program and Who Doesn’t http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/03/needs-postbac-program-doesnt/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/03/needs-postbac-program-doesnt/#respond Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:17:43 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29142 There are several critical areas of the application that you as an applicant have the power to improve.  If you want to become a more competitive applicant to medical school, there are many different types of postbac programs that can help you.  It’s simply a matter of determining where you need support and identifying the […]

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Want more postbac info? Listen to this podcast!

Which Postbac route will lead you to your med school acceptance?

There are several critical areas of the application that you as an applicant have the power to improve.  If you want to become a more competitive applicant to medical school, there are many different types of postbac programs that can help you.  It’s simply a matter of determining where you need support and identifying the types of programs that will enable you to move forward in your education.

1. Low GPA – If you have a GPA that is below a 3.0, you may consider single focus postbac programs that will allow you to take a full course load of upper division science courses.  These programs often have an academic advisor who will help you select classes and determine the strongest course combinations.  Some programs even have test banks.  The main focus of these programs is improving your GPA.

2. Low GPA and Weak Activities – When reviewing your CV/resume, how many activities do you have listed?  Have you covered the critical areas of:

• Clinical experience

• Community Service

Leadership

• Research (optional for most medical schools)

If you do not have any long term activities or have not covered the critical areas mentioned above, then dual focus programs may be a way for you to improve your GPA while strengthening the activities section of your application.  Some of these programs have established volunteer or research programs.  You will not have to waste any time submitting applications or looking for experience in these areas once you are accepted into their program.  They will help you get impressive experience, often while providing academic support in your coursework.  Multi-tasking in a program like this can prove to selection committees that you are indeed ready to take on the responsibilities of medical school.

3. Low GPA and Low MCAT (below a 25) – If you need to improve these areas, a multi-focus program could be your best option.  They often offer a summer program or support in preparing for the MCAT.  Many of these programs encourage students to focus only on academics during the school year but encourage participation in volunteer work or research during the breaks and may even offer direct connections to opportunities on their undergraduate and/or medical school campus.  They provide the most comprehensive support in all areas of the application—before and during the process of applying.

If you are having issues in the area of the MCAT, activities or application essays, there is no need to apply to postbac programs.

Most people have difficulty taking the MCAT when they are working full time, involved in other activities and/or taking classes.  Use a test prep program and clear your schedule.  If you need to bolster your activities, look for meaningful activities that you can put a lot of time into to demonstrate your interest and improve your total number of hours.  For assistance with application materials or essays, consider working with professional editors and consultants like those of us at accepted.com to submit exceptional applications.

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

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

Related Resources:

• A Second Chance at Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs
• Admissions Straight Talk: All Things Postbac
• Five Tips to Help You Get Accepted into a Postbac Program

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Can You Keep a Secret? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/02/can-keep-secret/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/02/can-keep-secret/#respond Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:28:16 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29051 Tune in for our upcoming webinar to get the keys that will unlock the secrets to postbac admissions success. During the webinar, 9 Keys to Postbac Acceptance in 2015, Accepted consultant Alicia McNease Nimonkar will discuss… • How a postbaccalaureate program can launch your medical career. • Tips for identifying and selecting the best postbac […]

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Postbac CoverTune in for our upcoming webinar to get the keys that will unlock the secrets to postbac admissions success.

During the webinar, 9 Keys to Postbac Acceptance in 2015, Accepted consultant Alicia McNease Nimonkar will discuss…

• How a postbaccalaureate program can launch your medical career.

• Tips for identifying and selecting the best postbac program for you.

• Advice on how to strengthen your candidacy and submit a solid postbac application.

Alicia will also leave time at the end of the webinar to answer your questions.

The webinar will air live on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 5:00 PM PST/8:00 PM EST. Register now to reserve your spot!

Click Here to Save Your Spot!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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3 Tips for Parents of Grad School Applicants http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/01/3-tips-parents-grad-school-applicants/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/03/01/3-tips-parents-grad-school-applicants/#respond Sun, 01 Mar 2015 17:22:41 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=28344 I’ve been working in graduate admissions for almost 20 years so I have witnessed this trend firsthand: Parents are playing a much larger role in the application process these days than they used to. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – parents can provide a lot of much-needed support (financial, practical, emotional) for their kids […]

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Make sure your child’s in the driver’s seat

I’ve been working in graduate admissions for almost 20 years so I have witnessed this trend firsthand: Parents are playing a much larger role in the application process these days than they used to.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – parents can provide a lot of much-needed support (financial, practical, emotional) for their kids during the admissions process; but I cringe when I see parents overstepping their bounds, attempting to control their children’s actions and outcomes.

How much involvement is TOO MUCH involvement for parents of applicants? Check out these 3 tips:

• Make Sure Your Child’s in the Driver’s Seat. – When you take the lead in the admissions process, you’re essentially telling your child: “I don’t think you have what it takes to manage this process yourself.” And what you’re telling the school is: “My kid isn’t competent or ambitious enough to apply to school himself.” You can help your child apply, surely, but make sure that’s what you’re doing – helping them, and not the other way around.

• Your Child’s Voice Should be the Sole Voice of this Operation. – All communication with the school should be between your child – not you, the parent – and the school. Likewise, the voice your child uses to write her application essays should be her voice – and not yours. And it should go without saying that this advice relates to interviews as well. Help, guide, coach, and edit, but please never speak for your child.

• Help Your Child Deal with Disappointment. – Be it a rejection or a poor score, a parent needs to understand the role they play here. First, your child is the one experiencing this distress, not you. By showing your disappointment, you will only make your child feel worse, not to mention potentially preventing your child from continuing to move forward. Instead, allow your child time to express disappointment, provide the appropriate amount of comfort (you know your child best), and then encourage your child to persevere.  Suggest that your applicant explore alternatives and examine the factors he or she can change to improve the outcome in the future. Play the role of the motivational coach; don’t play the blame game.

Not sure you can effectively guide your child through the grad school admissions process (in a balanced, non-pushy way of course)? Browse our catalog of services to access professional guidance today!

Get Your Game On: Free Special Report

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

Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid on Your Grad School Statement of Purpose
• The Biggest Application Essay Mistake
•  Admissions Tip: BE YOURSELF!

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Moving Forward After Medical School Rejection http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/26/move-forward-receiving-rejections-med-schools/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/26/move-forward-receiving-rejections-med-schools/#respond Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:45:21 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29037 It is devastating to receive a rejection.  We actually experience physical pain.  The same parts of the brain that are activated when we are kicked or punched light up when we experience rejection.  Given the very real physical and emotional pain of rejection, as anyone who has been through it before can attest, there are […]

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Don’t let that rejection letter crumple your dreams of becoming a doctor!

It is devastating to receive a rejection.  We actually experience physical pain.  The same parts of the brain that are activated when we are kicked or punched light up when we experience rejection.  Given the very real physical and emotional pain of rejection, as anyone who has been through it before can attest, there are some steps that you can take to come out of the experience with greater insight and a stronger strategy:

1. Recognize that everyone experiences rejection in the same way. You are not alone. Thousands of people are rejected from medical school every year. We all experience rejection the same way. What differentiates us is how each person reacts to it. Repressing your feelings or avoiding addressing the impact can have the most negative consequences. Using the experience to observe your emotions and learn from them can be powerful and constructive. You can gain valuable insight on what you need to do to process the feelings in actively deciding to move forward, when you are ready.

2. Take some time to grieve. Be gentle with yourself. Take some personal time by taking a break or participating in the activities that will allow you to engage in some self reflection.  By learning what works for you, in the future, you can more quickly recover from similar set-backs because they are inevitable in life. For some people, a meditation retreat will allow them to recharge and for others a mission trip to another country will help them refocus. For some, maybe all you’ll need is a good walk followed by a cup of tea.

Consider all the options and the level of introspection that will suit your preferences. Try one and then another, until you find what works best for you. Essentially, you are grieving the loss of an opportunity. You may experience the full spectrum of emotions that are associated with the grieving process. It can be useful to ask for help or even consider professional counseling if you are getting stuck in any one particular stage.

3. Decide what is important to you. After you’ve had time to grieve—the amount of time required will vary from person to person—you can sit down and journal or make a list of your goals.  After reassessing what is important to you, you can let go of any of the negative emotions attached to the experience of rejection and actively decide to move on—taking with you any useful information that you learned about yourself and the process of applying. Enormous wisdom can be gained from these kinds of destabilizing events. You get the chance to consciously rebuild by integrating the experience into your identity and deciding the best way to move forward.

4. Select a strategy in moving forward. You have lots and lots of options, if you allow yourself to be open to the myriad of possibilities that exist. Be strategic and thorough in your examination of the pathways open to you. Talk to other people about your experience and ask about theirs. Do not leave any stone unturned. If the experience only makes you more determined to go into medicine, get feedback on your application. Talk to pre-health advisors. Contact professional admissions consultants; we here at Accepted are available to help you. Critically evaluate your application and how to improve as much as you can before reapplying. Or if you are not ready to reapply, begin exploring the multitude of careers in healthcare that do not require a medical degree or take a gap year or two. You have the power to mediate your experience and to make it as exciting as you want it to be!

Download Medical School Reapplicant Tips for Succcess

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

Related Resources:

• Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success
Help, I Was Rejected by All the Medical Schools I Applied To!
• The Dreaded Med School Rejection: What now?

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4 Things Your Medical School Application Needs to Reveal http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/24/4-things-medical-school-application-needs-reveal/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/24/4-things-medical-school-application-needs-reveal/#respond Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:15:16 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=28769 Your med school application is your sales pitch. If after reading your app, the adcom isn’t interested in hearing more from you, then you haven’t done an adequate job selling yourself. There are FOUR things you need to reveal in your application if you want to convince the admissions committee that you’re worth investing in. […]

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Will your application grab the adcom’s attention?

Your med school application is your sales pitch. If after reading your app, the adcom isn’t interested in hearing more from you, then you haven’t done an adequate job selling yourself.

There are FOUR things you need to reveal in your application if you want to convince the admissions committee that you’re worth investing in.

Your medical school application MUST:

1. Show you can do the work: High test scores, a solid transcript, and a good sampling of clinical work/research will prove to the adcom that you’ve got the brains and the know-how to succeed.

2. Share mission of the school: You must show your commitment to diversity, to working in undeserved communities, to holistic healing, to osteopathy, etc. – if your target school focuses on any of the above (or other areas), then it would do your application good to indicate that those factors are important to you as well.

3. Will make a good physician: Your letters of recommendation will come into play here. You need strong voices to vouch for your abilities and passion to become a physician. The more experience you have in the field here, the better.

4. Will contribute to your school community and medical profession: A foundation of admissions is the belief that “Past behavior predicts future behavior.” Schools want to admit students who will be active participants in their community, and alumni who will make them proud. Show that you have been active in the past and that you have revealed the qualities medical schools value to persuade them you have what they seek.

If you’ve been involved in extracurriculars, contributed to your school or local community, and/or volunteered, then you’ll want to include this information in your application. Similarly, if you’ve participated in important medical research and can show that you’re passionate about continuing to contribute to medical advancements, then this should be explained in your app as well.

If your pitch is weak in even ONE of the above four areas, then it’s likely that the adcom readers will turn you down and move on to the next applicant on their list.

Do you need help strengthening your pitch? Check out our medical school admissions services here.
Download your free copy of 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Med School Application Essays!
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• Med School Rankings & Numbers: What You Must Know
5 Reasons Why Med Applicants Should Volunteer
Med School Student Interviews

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Narrative Medicine, Medical Humanities & Spiritual Care [Admitted Student IV] http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/23/narrative-medicine-medical-humanities-spiritual-care-admitted-student-iv/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/23/narrative-medicine-medical-humanities-spiritual-care-admitted-student-iv/#respond Mon, 23 Feb 2015 17:16:56 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29007 This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Vaidehi Mujumdar… Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you […]

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Vaidehi Mujumdar (Photo credit: Hebah Khan – hebankhan.com)

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

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

Vaidehi: I’m currently living in New York City, but I was born in India, moved to Southern California at age three and then moved to Northern Virginia, where I spent most of my childhood. I graduated from Dartmouth College in 2013 with a double major in Biology and Anthropology modified with Ethics.

I love/hate this question because I have a long list of books and quotes I keep in a notebook to share with people. Just to list some titles I really love: Arundhati Roy’s God of Small Things; The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver; The Red Tent by Anita Diamant; Level 4: Virus Hunters of the CDC by husband and wife virus hunters Joseph B. McCormick and Susan Fisher-Hoch; The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman; and Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. Recently, I have loved reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah and Atul Gawande’s newest book, Being Mortal.

Accepted: Congratulations on your multiple acceptances to med school! Where will you be attending this Fall?

Vaidehi: I am actually still deciding between a few schools and it’s actually a lot harder than I thought it would be to make a decision. I think going to re-visit weekends and getting a better sense of the community, location, and fit will be really important for me. I am grateful that I have until April to figure it out and some part of me knows that it will end up being one of those decisions that starts with a large pro/con list but then ends up being made based on “feeling” – where I feel I can be successful and happy to pursue interdisciplinary interests in medicine.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your experience at the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN)? What do you do there? How will this experience play into your future as a physician?

Vaidehi: Dartmouth has a Post-Graduate Fellowship Program for students interested in working in the non-profit sector. My fellowship was at an organization called HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, an organization that provides compassionate spiritual care to healthcare organizations and individuals through research, education, and clinical services. Spiritual care is interesting in that it is not religion or specific to a denomination. We all need spiritual care as patients and as healthcare providers to make meaning of lived experiences.

One of my main responsibilities at HCCN was to co-managing two hospital pilot programs based in Harlem and Queens. These programs utilized chaplains in providing spiritual care interventions to reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions for Medicare patients 65+. There was a lot of great quantitative and ethnographic data gathered from this study and I know the model we used can be built upon in the future. I really believe that integrating chaplains in the healthcare team can help improve patient outcomes. Having seen the difference chaplain and spiritual care has on patient satisfaction and health outcomes, I know I will be mindful as a physician in utilizing spiritual care as a possible tool a health care organization can provide for a patient.

Accepted: Why did you decide to take this time off after graduating college? Do you think you made the right decision?

Vaidehi: I grappled a lot in college if I was going to take time off and actually decided to do it so that I could double major, go abroad to do my anthropology thesis research, and actually also devote time to write a thesis. I absolutely believe I made the right decision. Initially, my plans to take a gap year(s) was very practical and had to do with timing in my undergraduate studies, taking the MCAT, and wanting to do all of those things well.

However, at the end of my first gap year, I realized how important it was for personal growth and just being able to have the time to explore myself, my passion for writing and journalism, and working full-time in one of the craziest city’s I have ever lived in. I really believe having this time will make me a better student in medical school.

I found on the interview trail that the people who were a couple years out of undergraduate were usually the ones who had a story to tell and an enthusiasm for getting back into school. I also feel like managing work-life balance and priorities is extremely important and it’s not something that I really considered so much in undergrad. If I could back and tell my younger self circa my sophomore year of college when I was struggling with how I could fit in everything I wanted to do academically and personally, I would definitely say, “Stop stressing about fitting it all in a set number of years just because that’s what you expected the plan to be.” Plans change. Flexibility and adaptability are important, and taking the time during gap years to enrich yourself is invaluable.

Through my 2 gap years, I have had the opportunity to pursue journalism and writing in New York City as well as health advocacy work and I feel like I have a better grasp of what I want to do in the medical field as a physician.

What MCAT Score Will Get You Into Med School?Accepted: Can you talk about your interest in medical humanities and spiritual care research? 

Vaidehi: My interest in the medical humanities I believe really started my junior/senior year of college when I wrote a thesis in socio-cultural anthropology and ramped up a lot during my gaps years when I started freelance writing for several platforms focused on self-care, trauma, women’s health in minority communities, and exploring narrative medicine.

I believe the medical humanities and spiritual care provide us with a holistic look at both individual and population levels that can help in creating effective solutions. For example, I am interested in conducting research on chronic endocrine and reproductive diseases in women. Narrative medicine as a subset of the medical humanities allows me to gather illness stories told by women about their lived experiences with these chronic problems. To me, medicine is about stories and through my experiences working in this realm, I have also realized how powerful stories are to healing.

On the other hand, spiritual care research, through the use of mindfulness based stress reduction, can help me provide data on if these techniques are useful in improving overall well-being and health. Along with allopathic medical training and an interest and understanding of medical humanities and spiritual care, I believe I am better equipped to be a physician who practices patient-centered care.

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

Vaidehi: The most challenging part of this process is keeping a positive attitude through what is a long process. At first, the process seems like a bunch of steps that if you do correctly, you’ll be fine. So you do the pre-reqs, the MCAT prep, the application writing, filling out secondaries, the interviewing, and then you wait. And for someone who works on patience everyday, waiting was my biggest challenge and you can drive yourself bonkers if you keep focusing on dates, interviews, and who’s doing what.

At some point you just have to let go and say you put everything you could out there in the best way you could and now the rest is not in your hands. Giving up that control will surprise you and it will definitely help with the waiting process.

The other challenging aspect of the process for me was coming up with a school list. Now almost done with the process, I have to say it is really important to come up with a list that is thoughtful and broad. I picked a range of schools based on statistics, but also focused on fit depending on their strengths/weakness. I believe it made a big difference in when and how many interviews I received.

Accepted: Do you have any additional tips for our med school applicants?

Vaidehi: Apply early. Everyone says this, but you have no idea how much of difference it makes when you’ve interviewed early in the cycle and have acceptances in the Fall. It sets you up for a less stressful cycle and the ability to relax as much as you can while waiting to hear back from other places.

Have multiple people read your personal statement and even some of the secondary essays that you may reuse for schools. It’s really important to get different viewpoints, while also remembering that at the end of the day it’s your story. I went through many drafts of my statement and through the revising process I was able to see how others reading my ideas were understanding and reacting to them. That’s important because admissions committees are made up of different people and therefore you want to create a personal narrative, while making it accessible and clear for anyone to read. Anyone reading your essay(s) without reading anything else in your application should know who you are, what experiences have brought you to choosing medicine, and why you are a good fit for this profession. I can’t stress how important I feel the personal narrative and the writing you do for your AMCAS and secondaries is in setting you apart from all the other qualified applicants.

I know people say this a lot, but be yourself at interviews. Be professional, but don’t try to fit yourself into what you think the interviewer wants or what you think the school is looking for. Wield your differences, because we all have them, as positives and use them to connect with your interviewer. The school has already read your AMCAS and believes that you have portrayed yourself effectively in your written communication to them. The interview is all about making an authentic human connection, which is not only important for medical school but in that long journey of pursuing medicine.

Early on in the cycle, I went to an interview where I took what I later thought was a pretty controversial stance on a topic I had experience with through work and research. After the interview, I mentally kicked myself, thinking I had ruined my chances. I was later not only accepted to that school, but my interviewer wrote me a note saying, “We need more people like you in medicine to talk about the issues we shy away from.” That was one of the biggest affirmation I got from a physician and in a process that often fills you with doubt. I know that particular interview experience helped me act more confidently and stay as true to myself as I could for future interviews

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

You can follow Vaidehi’s adventure by checking out her blog, http://vaidehimujumdar.weebly.com/ and/or following her on Twitter (@VeeMuj). Thank you Vaidehi 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 free Med School Secondary Essay Handbook for the tips you need to write successful secondariness!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success
Choosing the Perfect Medical School: Multiple Acceptances a Reality
Who Should Take a Gap Year

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The AAMC Fee Assistance Program: How & Who Should Apply http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/19/aamc-fee-assistance-program-apply/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/19/aamc-fee-assistance-program-apply/#respond Thu, 19 Feb 2015 16:55:35 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=28646 Applying to med school isn’t cheap (see our breakdown of costs here), and the AAMC understands that not all applicants will be able to cover these costs. AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program was created with the conviction that application fees shouldn’t prevent serious aspiring doctors from pursuing their dreams because of financial obstacles. Let’s take a […]

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Application fees shouldn’t prevent aspiring doctors from pursuing their dreams.

Applying to med school isn’t cheap (see our breakdown of costs here), and the AAMC understands that not all applicants will be able to cover these costs.

AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program was created with the conviction that application fees shouldn’t prevent serious aspiring doctors from pursuing their dreams because of financial obstacles.

Let’s take a look at some of the program details…

Subscribing to the Fee Assistance Program

To apply for financial assistance, applicants must fill out the Fee Assistance Program application BEFORE they register for the MCAT, submit the AMCAS application, and subscribe to Pivio.

Note: The award from this program MAY NOT be used retroactively. If applicants already paid for certain application components, they will not be reimbursed.

You can use the application guide to help you with your Fee Assistance Program application.

You will receive an answer from AAMC within 15 business days after submitting your application.

Fee Assistance Program Eligibility

To be eligible for assistance from the AAMC, you must:

• Be a United States citizen, U.S. National, a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the U.S (“Green Card” holder), or have been granted refugee/asylum or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status by the U.S. government.

• Have a reported household income 300% or less than the 2014 national poverty level for the equivalent family size.

• Submit parental financial information and supporting tax documentation.

• Not have already been awarded fee assistance five times (the lifetime maximum).

 Note: Awards expire December 31st of the calendar year after you were granted assistance (for example, if your application is approved January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015, then your fee assistance will expire on December 31, 2016). If you reapply for benefits the following year, your current award will expire as soon as you’re new award is granted.

2015 Fee Assistance Program Benefits

MCAT benefits you will receive include:

• Reduced registration fees from $300 to $115 in MCAT testing year 2015 (for exams taken through December 31, 2016).

• Copies of The Official Guide to the MCAT® (MCAT2015) Exam and other official MCAT practice products ($125 value).

• Up to $500 towards the psycho-educational or medical evaluation (sometimes required for your MCAT accommodations application).

Medical school admission benefits include:

• Free access to the Medical School Admission Requirements website through December 31, 2016.

• Waiver of AMCAS application fees (for one application with up to 15 med schools). Must be submitted by December 31, 2016.

Pivio benefits include:

• $25 yearly subscription to Pivio for up to two years ($100 value).

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

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• The New MCAT: What’s Hype, What’s Real and What You Can Do Today
• How Much Does Applying to Med School Cost?
How to Write the Statement of Disadvantage

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An Anthropologist, Theologian and Runner at Med School http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/16/anthropologist-theologian-runner-med-school/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/16/anthropologist-theologian-runner-med-school/#respond Mon, 16 Feb 2015 17:07:20 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=28813 This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Joshua Niforatos… Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you […]

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Want to read more med student interviews? Click here!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Joshua Niforatos…

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

Joshua: I’m originally from the suburbs of Chicago where I was born and raised. In grade school and throughout high school, I wanted to study archaeology in the Southwest and Latin/South America. Two aspects of the archaeological record fascinate me: (1) how ancient cultures interpreted the night sky, and (2) how people in antiquity conceptualized diseases. So, the best place to study Southwestern and Latin/South American archaeology is University of New Mexico, and that’s where I decided to go to for undergraduate studies.

I became a bit disenchanted with the necessary, though onerous, politics of archaeological excavation, and decided to focus on cultural anthropology, biology, and humanities. After studying cultural anthropology for a bit, I once again became disenchanted by what seemed to be the chronicling aspect of suffering rather than the amelioration of suffering within the discipline.

To make a long story very short, it was around this time period that I decided to pursue medicine. I graduated with a B.A. in anthropology (Ethnology/Linguistics), and then decided to stick around for two more years and earn another B.A. (biology major, chemistry minor).

During my second B.A., I realized I lacked a coherent philosophical system by which to base my desire to engage in social justice. One thing led to another, and I found myself at Boston University School of Theology where I studied anthropology, ritual, and theologies of liberation. I earned a Master of Theological Studies from Boston University.

Accepted: What year are you at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine? 

Joshua: I’m currently a first year at CCLCM, and I’ve been in the program for about 7 months now.

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

Joshua: I really like having no tests/exams and no grades, not even pass/fail. Yep, you read that correctly! But more importantly, I appreciate the family-like atmosphere of the program. On interview day, Dr. Franco, Associate Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs, was showing us some of the classrooms and I was very impressed by the fact that every student we passed she knew (1) their names, (2) where they went to college, (3) what field of medicine they want to pursue, and (4) what research they’re interested in. How cool is that!?

Also, the faculty at CCLCM and Cleveland Clinic are incredibly kind. There are almost too many opportunities for research and shadowing at CCLCM and the Cleveland Clinic!

If I could change one thing about the program I would probably rely less on Medical Physiology by Boron and Boulpaep as our primary normal physiology textbook during first year. It is a bit too dense, and it’s sometimes difficult to know what is really necessary from the reading.

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

Joshua: In terms of coursework, I think it’s really helpful to have some physiology and biochemistry in your repertoire before starting medical school. But to be completely honest, medical school is not conceptually difficult; it’s not like quantum mechanics or theoretical math. The concepts in medicine, so far, are pretty basic, but there’s a LOT of concepts. It’s the volume of information that makes medical school challenging.

Other than that, take courses that you enjoy during college so that you don’t feel burnt out by the time you start medical school. And make sure that you do nothing but relax during the summer before you start class!

Accepted: Can you talk more about your unique route to med school? What inspired you to pursue a degree in medicine after completing your Master’s in Theological Studies? 

Joshua: I’m interested in health advocacy and social justice, and you don’t learn enough about these topics as a science major or medical student. You just don’t. There’s too much literature out there to read, too many seminars, lectures, and conferences to attend, and too many on-the-ground experiences to “experience” in order to understand the unique perspectives of those who are marginalized in society.

Medical/cultural anthropology gave me the theory by which to understand how ideologies and social structures become embodied as sickness, and theology gave me the ability to both hear and understand the voices of those who are marginalized in society. All of these readings became concrete when I did a 1.5 year public health project working with immigrants at risk for Type II diabetes.

Ultimately, I’ll probably get another master’s degree (a 1 year degree), either in medical anthropology or advanced theology since I need more formal education in LGBTQIA, feminist, black, and womanist studies.

Anyway, I wanted to pursue medicine before completing my Master in Theological Studies. I took the MCAT before I started seminary. Theology and medicine go hand-in-hand: physicians are healers of the body, while seminarians are healers of society and the soul.

Accepted: Do you have any foresight into the residency application process? What do you plan on specializing in?

Joshua: The residency process is about 3-4 years away for me right now since the CCLCM curriculum takes 5 years, so I cannot really comment on this. Currently, I’m interested in infectious disease medicine or psychiatry, but that might change in the future. Infectious disease medicine interests me from a public health standpoint, and psychiatry interests me from an anthropological standpoint.

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

Joshua: The most challenging aspect of the medical school admissions process is waiting to hear back. After you submit your primary and secondary applications, it’s a waiting game. If you get an interview, it can often be weeks to months before you hear back. Waiting is difficult, and patience is something I need to continually work on. I’ll be honest: I’m not someone to emulate when it comes to advice concerning how to practice patience. I made sure I was extremely busy during the 6-7 months of waiting, so between graduate school, working a part-time job, running, and working on my master’s thesis, there wasn’t a lot of free time to worry about acceptances or rejections. Though I’d imagine my housemates in Boston would beg to differ. ☺

Accepted: Can you tell us about Vagabond Running?

Joshua: I started Vagabond Running Blog in 2012 as way for me to write on a passion of mine. I started running frequently when I moved to New Mexico, and I primarily ran in the Sandia Mountains of New Mexico. I am really fascinated by the biomechanics of running, as well as the running shoe market. So, I decided to start blogging about running! I was sponsored by the outdoor company Merrell summer 2012 to represent them at the Outdoor Nation 2012 Summit in Boston, and since then companies ranging from The North Face and Arc’teryx to Mizuno and Skechers periodically send me running shoes and gear to review for my blog. We’ll see how long I keep the blog going, but it’s been a great outlet so far. My most popular post, interestingly enough, is How Running Improved My MCAT Score. Pre-meds, check it out!

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

You can follow Joshua’s adventure by checking out his blog, Vagabond Running. Thank you Joshua 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.

Click here to read Med School admissions Q & A

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• Navigating the Med School Maze
Get Accepted to Medical School in 2016, a free webinar.
Medical School Student Interviews

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How Much Does Applying to Med School Cost? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/15/much-applying-med-school-cost/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/15/much-applying-med-school-cost/#respond Sun, 15 Feb 2015 16:22:55 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=28828 Before you even think about the $100,000+ of actually attending medical school, you’ll need to start pricing out the costs of applying to med school. Let’s take a look at how much the different application components cost: 1. MCAT exam – Expect to pay $275 to cover the basic MCAT registration fee and the cost […]

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Applying to medical school? Check out our Medical School Admissions 101 pages!

TIme to start pricing out the costs of applying to med school.

Before you even think about the $100,000+ of actually attending medical school, you’ll need to start pricing out the costs of applying to med school. Let’s take a look at how much the different application components cost:

1. MCAT exam – Expect to pay $275 to cover the basic MCAT registration fee and the cost of distributing your score to the med schools on your list. Be aware: Additional fees will be charged if you register late, change your registration details, or if you are taking the test at an international test site. (See payment details on the MCAT website.)

2. Primary application – To use the AMCAS primary application (which is what most med schools require), you’ll need to cough up $160 for the first school you apply to and $36 for each subsequent school. (If the med schools you’re applying to don’t accept the AMCAS app, you’ll need to pay their individual application fees.)

3. Secondary application – Most med schools require a secondary application. This will run you anywhere from $25 to $100 each. Applicants may apply to AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program – if you qualify, the secondary application fee may be waived.

4. College registrar services – This will vary based on where you went to college, as some schools charge a fee for transmitting your transcript and/or letter of recommendation, and some don’t. Check with your school for details.

Other expenses – Other expenses may include MCAT study materials, MCAT courses, travel for med school interviews, and admissions consulting and application services (you can talk to us more about that!).

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

Related Resources:

• Med School Rankings & Numbers: What You Must Know
• Medical School Funding
• Your MCAT Score and GPA

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Introducing Accepted! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/13/introducing-accepted/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/13/introducing-accepted/#respond Fri, 13 Feb 2015 17:40:06 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=28867 The Accepted team is super excited to welcome all of our new blog readers! For those of you who don’t know much about Accepted, here is a little bit about who we are and what we do best: We look forward to getting to know you better too – so keep up the great conversations in […]

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The Accepted team is super excited to welcome all of our new blog readers!

For those of you who don’t know much about Accepted, here is a little bit about who we are and what we do best:

We look forward to getting to know you better too – so keep up the great conversations in the comments section.

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Medical School Profile http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/12/5-easy-ways-improve-medical-school-profile/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/12/5-easy-ways-improve-medical-school-profile/#respond Thu, 12 Feb 2015 17:16:40 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=28771 Are you planning to apply to med school this cycle? Below are a few easy things you can start doing now.  1. Volunteer! Med schools are definitely looking for students who will take advantage of the resources available to give back to their communities. Look for opportunities where you can spend a sustained amount of […]

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Check out our free medical school resources!

Schools are looking for people with an upward trend in their grades.

Are you planning to apply to med school this cycle? Below are a few easy things you can start doing now. 

1. Volunteer! Med schools are definitely looking for students who will take advantage of the resources available to give back to their communities. Look for opportunities where you can spend a sustained amount of time with people and have a measurable impact. This is an important part of the AMCAS application.

2. Don’t give up on your grades. Even if you have made some mistakes early in your college career, schools are looking for people with an upward trend. Those grades still matter! You can always point out to the admissions committee that you took care to address and improve on your academic weaknesses.

3. Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. A great deal of the med school application process requires you to think about where you are strong and where you can improve. Take a look at the AMCAS application and begin cataloguing your accomplishments.

4. Reach out to people who will be good recommenders. The best letters of recommendation come from people who know you well. Take some time to get to know your professors who teach classes where you are excelling. Ask them about their current research. Spend some time getting to know them and letting them get to know you.

5. Do your research. Start researching schools, their requirements and profiles. Reach out to current and former students and speak with them. Get a good idea of what schools are the best fit for you.

The earlier you can start preparing, the better. Once the whirlwind of MCAT and applications season begins, you’ll be glad that you took some time to take stock of your profile ahead of time.

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

Related Resources:

• Get Accepted to Medical School in 2016, a free webinar
• Pre-Med Summer Undergraduate Research Programs
• Medical School Admissions 2015-2016: A Dean’s Perspective

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4 Things Your MCAT Score Says About You http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/11/4-things-mcat-score-says/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/11/4-things-mcat-score-says/#respond Wed, 11 Feb 2015 19:28:04 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=28762 Why are standardized tests so important? Do they really reflect your abilities or capabilities? According to most medical school admissions committees, the answer is a resounding YES. How you perform on your MCAT says a lot about how you’ll perform in med school, in subsequent exams, and then later on as a medical professional. Here […]

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Click here for more info on the MCAT

The higher your MCAT score, the greater chance you have of finishing med school “on time.”

Why are standardized tests so important? Do they really reflect your abilities or capabilities? According to most medical school admissions committees, the answer is a resounding YES. How you perform on your MCAT says a lot about how you’ll perform in med school, in subsequent exams, and then later on as a medical professional.

Here are FOUR things your MCAT score can predict:

1. Grades in medical school.

The MCAT tests skills that you will use in med school. If you do well on the MCAT, then it shows you have what it takes to excel in med school. And if you don’t do well on the exam…well…you do the math….

2. Scores on STEP exams.

As you know, there are many steps and milestones before finally being able to practice medicine. Not only do you need to make the grade at school, but you need to pass your USMLE STEP exams. Research shows that those who do well on the MCAT are more likely to pass their STEP exams.

3. Likelihood of graduation in 4-5 years.

You don’t want med school to drag on forever. It won’t bode well when it comes to applying for residencies, fellowships, and jobs, nor will it fare well for your self-esteem. The higher your MCAT score, the greater chance you have of finishing med school “on time.”

4. Ability to pass licensing exams on first try.

The last thing that your MCAT score can predict is your ability to pass your licensing exam on your first try. When you’ve made it this far, you don’t want to push off practicing medicine any longer than you need to. Schools want their doctors to succeed out in the field as soon as possible; the higher your MCAT, the greater chances are that you’ll make your alma mater proud!

Check out our podcast interview: MCAT Tips and Strategy with Don Osborne for the answers to your MCAT questions!
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• How to Get into Medical School with Low Stats
• Improve Your MCAT Score for Medical School Acceptance
• How to Succeed on Your MCAT Test Day

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Valentine’s Day, Economics, and Stanford GSB http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/11/valentines-day-economics-stanford-gsb/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/02/11/valentines-day-economics-stanford-gsb/#respond Wed, 11 Feb 2015 18:22:33 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=28838 The Valentine’s Day episode of Admissions Straight Talk — the perfect opportunity to invite… an economist to be our guest on the show. Listen to the full recording of our enlightening conversation with Dr. Paul Oyer, Professor of Economics, at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Dr. Oyer and Linda discuss the common thread between dating, […]

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Listen to our interview with Dr. Paul Oyer!The Valentine’s Day episode of Admissions Straight Talk — the perfect opportunity to invite… an economist to be our guest on the show.

Listen to the full recording of our enlightening conversation with Dr. Paul Oyer, Professor of Economics, at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Dr. Oyer and Linda discuss the common thread between dating, economics, and admissions. Spot-on, right?

00:02:12 – Featured Applicant Question: Do I need to explain my low GPA to the adcom?

00:06:18 – Why Dr. Oyer wrote Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Economics I Learned from Online Dating.

00:11:04 – The limits of economics in explaining online dating.

00:15:49 – How offline dating is like an economic market too. (Yup, economists take the fun out of everything.)

00:17:42 – Signaling: Why education is a waste, but still serves a purpose. How virtual roses signify credibility. And what the college/grad school admissions process has to do with signaling.

00:32:06 – The parallels between economics and dating – Wonderful, but not surprising.

00:33:47 – An interesting aspect of the law and MBA student internship-to-job-offer ratios.

00:38:20 – A Stanford GSB professor’s reflection on the defining characteristic of students at that b-school.

00:40:51 – How Dr. Oyer’s books have changed his teaching.

00:43:36 – What MBA students need to know before they start school.

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

Related Links:

• Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Economics I Learned from Online Dating
Roadside MBA: Back Road Lessons for Entrepreneurs, Executives and Small Business Owners 
• How to Be a Better Valentine, Through Economics
• Stanford GSB Zone
• Stanford GSB 2015 MBA Questions, Deadlines, Tips
• Get Accepted to Stanford GSB, a free webinar

Related Shows:

• A B-School Professor on Main Street, USA
• The Stanford MSx Program for Experienced Leaders
• MBA Project Search: Matchmaking for MBAs and Businesses
• Entrepreneurship at Stanford GSB: Carlypso Drives Down the Startup St.

Leave a Review for Admissions Straight Talk:

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

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