Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog » Medical School Admissions http://blog.accepted.com Admissions consulting and application advice Fri, 22 Aug 2014 20:57:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Admissions consulting and application advice Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no Admissions consulting and application advice Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog » Medical School Admissions http://blog.accepted.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://blog.accepted.com/category/medical-school-admissions/ Reflections on Getting Accepted to Medical School http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/21/reflections-on-getting-accepted-to-medical-school/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/21/reflections-on-getting-accepted-to-medical-school/#respond Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:48:38 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=25052 ]]> Are You Trying to Navigate the Med School Application Process?  In general, all the cliche tips you’ve heard are true: get good grades, you need an ‘acceptable’ MCAT, definitely get patient experience, and you’ll likely need some extracurriculars. All of these things about this pseudo check-list are true, it’s just a matter of figuring out a strategy to execute it. It’s also important to take a 10,000 feet look at the process of trying to get into medical school: you just want to get in, but medical schools are looking for people who can add to their program.

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

Finding a Mentor

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

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

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

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

Gain some marketable skills

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

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

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

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

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

Know how the admissions process works

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A better option…

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

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

You know yourself best…

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

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

Great Advice on All Things MCAT!

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Related Resources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Residency Applications: How to Match - Register Now!

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

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

Save my spot!

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

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

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

The following are required in the Secondary Application:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WUSOM Application Timeline:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Residency Applications: How to Match

Details:

Date: Tuesday, August 19, 2013

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

Save my spot!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Relevant Links:

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

Related Shows:

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

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

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

The task looks harder than it is.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources:

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

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

Share your dedication to helping others through leadership and education.

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

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

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

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

The following are required in the Secondary Application:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

George Washington SMHS Application Timeline:

AMCAS Application Due     December 1, 2014

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

School Begins                         Early August, 2015

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

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

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

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Interview with a Duke University School of Medicine MD/PhD Student http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/11/duke-med-md-phd-student-interview/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/08/11/duke-med-md-phd-student-interview/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 16:14:16 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24640 ]]> Check out more med student interviews!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Rui Dai…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accepted.com

 

Related Resources: 

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

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

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

During the webinar, you will learn:

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

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

Save my spot!

Accepted.com

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

Sit down, think, and start writing!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5ffgeneric

Accepted.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Be succinct.

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

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

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

MCAT2015: Are you excited?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Register for the webinar now!

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

Watch the Secondary Essay Strategies Webinar!

Accepted.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

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

Related Shows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers, and good luck,

J

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

Accepted.com

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

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

GetMedSchoolLowStats

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

See you soon!

Save My Spot!

Accepted.com

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

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

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

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

A successful essay structure usually looks like this:

1. Lead or hook

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

2. Thesis

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

3. Body

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

4. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

 • It’s free!

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

 • It’s fun!

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

 • You earn points and win prizes.

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

 • You earn points for charity.

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

 • There’s a language lab.

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

 • There are additional resources.

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

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

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

Accepted.com

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

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

GetMedSchoolLowStats

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

Mark your calendars!

Date: July 30, 2014

Time: 5:00 PM PT/8:00 PM ET

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

Save My Spot!

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

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

Michigan State University College of Human Medicine 2015 Essay Questions:

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

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

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

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

The following essays are required in the Secondary Application:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Application Timeline:

AMCAS Application Due  - November 1, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to listen to the show!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

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

Related Shows:

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

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GetMedSchoolLowStats

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

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

Save My Spot!

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Work Hard and Stay Positive: Interview with a 2nd Year Med Student http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/21/med-school-interview-with-ryan-matthews/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/21/med-school-interview-with-ryan-matthews/#respond Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:43:13 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24301 ]]> Click here for more med school student interviews!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Ryan Matthews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accepted: Can you share some advice to incoming first year students, to help make their adjustment to med school easier? What do you wish you would’ve known before you started school?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accepted: Can you tell us about your podcast?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toledo 2015 Secondary Application Essay Questions:

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

The following essays are requested in the Secondary Application:

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

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

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

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

UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences Application Timeline:

AMCAS Application Due                November 1, 2014

Secondary Application                   December 31, 2014

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

Interviews Conducted                     September 2014 to April 2015

School Begins                                  August 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The purpose of the AMCAS essay is to…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Save Your Spot!

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Who Should Write Your AMCAS Essays? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/08/who-should-write-your-amcas-essays/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/08/who-should-write-your-amcas-essays/#respond Tue, 08 Jul 2014 14:38:00 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24104 ]]> Learn how to creating a winning AMCAS essay! Click here to download your complete copy of Ace the AMCAS!

Don’t needlessly air your dirty laundry.

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

The obvious answer here is that YOU should (and if anyone else does for you, then you can expect to be found out and rejected). But there’s a bigger question here – Which YOU will be writing your essay?

I’d like to present two important principles here:

Principle #1: To Thine Own Self Be True

One of the purposes of the AMCAS essay is to provide a snapshot – a quick and accurate introduction – of yourself to the med school admissions board. If the application were to ask you to attach a photo, you wouldn’t include a picture of someone else, and I hope that you wouldn’t Photoshop or alter your photo to create an image of who you WISH you were, rather than of who you actually ARE.

Your essays should serve that same purpose. The stories that you tell in your AMCAS essay should be authentic and honest so that the YOU in your essay would be recognizable to anyone who actually knows you.

Principle #2: Put Your Best Foot Forward

While you want to be as authentic as possible, you also want to be sure that you’re not a) offering too much personal or private information and b) dwelling on your weaknesses. Yes, you want to portray your true self (Principle #1), but you don’t want to needlessly air your dirty laundry. Nobody wants to read about your most recent breakup or how devastated you were when you woke up with a huge zit on the day of your high school prom. Furthermore, if you have difficulty juggling tasks or following directions, don’t be “too honest” and rant and complain about how you have so much trouble getting things done. Of course you should never ever EVER lie, but you also don’t need to volunteer irrelevant or inappropriate information or details that will make you look unqualified.

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

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

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How to Interpret the Med School Rankings http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/07/how-to-interpret-the-med-school-rankings/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/07/how-to-interpret-the-med-school-rankings/#respond Mon, 07 Jul 2014 14:14:34 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24024 ]]> For many, the first step towards choosing which med schools to apply to begins with an investigation into the published med school rankings. But do you really know what all those numbers and data mean? Do you really understand how you should be utilizing this information best? How much value should you place on the rankings? How can they really help YOU?

Answers to these questions (plus more) can be found in our new special report, Med School Rankings and Numbers: What You MUST Know, in which we’ll walk you through a detailed and down-to-earth analysis of the med school rankings.

Med Ranking Report Cover

Download your FREE copy of Med School Rankings and Numbers: What You MUST Know now!

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Are You an Older Pre-med? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/06/are-you-an-older-pre-med/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/06/are-you-an-older-pre-med/#respond Sun, 06 Jul 2014 15:02:01 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24076 ]]> In this short video, Linda Abraham shares the key to med school admissions for older applicants:

For more advice on applying as an older applicant, check out this article.

Have any questions about your medical school admissions profile? Just drop us a note in the comments section.

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Happy July 4th! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/04/happy-july-4th/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/04/happy-july-4th/#respond Fri, 04 Jul 2014 15:34:08 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24047 ]]> Happy July 4th from Linda Abraham and the Accetped Team!

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Insights, Advice and Experiences of a Non-Traditional Med Student http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/03/insights-advice-and-experiences-of-a-non-traditional-med-student/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/03/insights-advice-and-experiences-of-a-non-traditional-med-student/#respond Thu, 03 Jul 2014 14:43:45 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=24052 ]]> Click here to listen to the interview!Former songwriter, future doctor, Joshua Wienczkowski has a thing or two to say about the med school admissions process and the med school experience.

Listen to the recording of our entertaining and informative conversation for excellent advice and insights from a medical school insider.

00:02:56 – Joshua’s journey to Tennessee and medical school.

00:06:23 – Parallels between medicine & music (this is great).

00:08:38 – Benefits of being a non-traditional applicant.

00:14:16 – Why East Tennessee?

00:18:39 – Enjoying life in the process of getting into med school.

00:22:16 – ‘Its not as bad as everybody made it out to be’ and other surprises about medical school.

00:25:49 – Is gross anatomy gross?

00:29:56 – Interacting with patients as an M1.

00:41:08 – Advice for admitted med students.

00:43:25 – Tips for med school applicants.

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

Relevant Links:

• Journeys with Joshua
• Med School Blogger Interview: Joshua’s Journey 
 “I’m Pre-Med, and I’m Going to be a Surgeon” – How to Not be THAT Guy. 
Create a Compelling AMCAS Application, a webinar
• A Second Chance at Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs
• Ace Your AMCAS Essay
• Secondary Essay Strategies that Score Interviews, a webinar
• @mtnmedstudent on Twitter

Related Shows:

MCAT Mania: How to Prepare
• MCAT Scores, MCAT Prep, and MCAT2015
• What You Need to Know About Post-bac Programs
• A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes
• Med School Application Process: AMCAS, Secondaries, Interviews, Decisions & More!
• All About AMSA and the Premed Journey

Subscribe:

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

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

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/03/insights-advice-and-experiences-of-a-non-traditional-med-student/feed/ 0 Journeys with Joshua,podcast Former songwriter, future doctor, Joshua Wienczkowski has a thing or two to say about the med school admissions process and the med school experience. - Listen to the recording of our entertaining and informative conversation for excellent advice and ... Former songwriter, future doctor, Joshua Wienczkowski has a thing or two to say about the med school admissions process and the med school experience. Listen to the recording of our entertaining and informative conversation for excellent advice and insights from a medical school insider. 00:02:56 – Joshua’s journey to Tennessee and medical school. 00:06:23 – Parallels between medicine & music (this is great). 00:08:38 – Benefits of being a non-traditional applicant. 00:14:16 – Why East Tennessee? 00:18:39 – Enjoying life in the process of getting into med school. 00:22:16 – 'Its not as bad as everybody made it out to be' and other surprises about medical school. 00:25:49 – Is gross anatomy gross? 00:29:56 – Interacting with patients as an M1. 00:41:08 – Advice for admitted med students. 00:43:25 – Tips for med school applicants. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Relevant Links: • Journeys with Joshua • Med School Blogger Interview: Joshua’s Journey  • “I’m Pre-Med, and I’m Going to be a Surgeon” – How to Not be THAT Guy.  • Create a Compelling AMCAS Application, a webinar • A Second Chance at Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs • Ace Your AMCAS Essay • Secondary Essay Strategies that Score Interviews, a webinar • @mtnmedstudent on Twitter Related Shows: • MCAT Mania: How to Prepare • MCAT Scores, MCAT Prep, and MCAT2015 • What You Need to Know About Post-bac Programs • A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes • Med School Application Process: AMCAS, Secondaries, Interviews, Decisions & More! • All About AMSA and the Premed Journey Subscribe: Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 49:00
How To Ruin Your Child’s Med School Personal Statement in 5 Easy Steps http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/02/how-to-ruin-your-childs-med-school-personal-statement-in-5-easy-steps/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/07/02/how-to-ruin-your-childs-med-school-personal-statement-in-5-easy-steps/#respond Wed, 02 Jul 2014 14:44:08 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23977 ]]> Need some help creating a compelling med school application? Check out our med admissions services!

Don’t…compare your child’s essays to award-winning examples.

Considering how much time and energy is focused on the personal statement for medical school, it can be difficult to know how to support your pre-med in the writing stages of the application.  Since I’ve been speaking with lots of parents recently about personal statements, I would like to share what I’ve learned.

If you want to be a supportive pre-med parent, here are five things to make sure that you don’t do:

1. Be overly critical of early ideas or drafts

It takes time to brainstorm and outline this type of essay.  If you encourage your son or daughter to be overly critical of their own work at this early stage, you will basically arrest progress by making it very difficult for your child to trust the writing process. Essentially you will be obstructing the self-reflection and iterative drafting process that creates a good personal statement.

Writing is a process.  There are stages that, if used, allow for the writing to develop and improve with time.

2. Rush the process

By making your premed frantic about an upcoming deadline, she may skip steps and end up with a sloppy draft that she feels the need to submit because of the pressure you are placing on her – and despite her own dissatisfaction with the result.  By identifying and managing your own anxiety for your child, you will be helping her to make better decisions.  You will also be setting a good example of controlling your own emotions without taking them out on other people.

Writing is really just one little decision after another.  If you are feeling rushed, you are less likely to use good judgment.

3. Second guess your child’s motivations or explanations

By making your son feel like you know him better than he knows himself, you will place him in the uncomfortable position of having to defend his views. That position will distract him from what he should be doing: expending energy on self-exploration and self-reflection or effectively presenting his views via his personal statement and experiences.

The writing required in the AMCAS application can provide a wonderful opportunity to learn more about oneself as a person. Give your son the space to explore and reflect his identity. He will not be able to show a confident face to the world if you destabilize his sense of identity.

4. Encourage your child to experiment

It can be disadvantageous to take a creative approach to writing personal statements.  I recently read a personal statement in which the student described a photo, but never revealed who the people in the picture were; needless to say, it was confusing and frustrating to read the essay.  It may become a great short story one day, but it took too much of the focus away from her as an applicant.  With writing personal statements, it is essential that your pre-med be the focus—not an experimental writing style.

5. Compare your child’s essays to award-winning examples

Lately, I have spoken to many parents about why their premed’s personal statement doesn’t look like all the examples they’ve been reading online and in books.  The reason for the difference is simple:  Everyone has a unique story to tell, and your child’s is (and should be) different from the samples.  It can be discouraging to read award-winning essays to your premed, especially when he is in the early stages of writing his own.  Give him the space to explore what he wants to say and how he wants to say it.

With true support, your premeds can create a compelling personal statement that provides insight into who they are and what kind of doctor they want to become.  Working with a consultant, like my colleagues and me at Accepted.com, can help your son or daughter find the right writing strategy.

With all my clients my goal is to help them create a statement that they will be proud to submit because it will be an authentic reflection of their character and personality.

And that’s exactly what the medical schools are looking for.

Download your free special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!
Alicia McNease Nimonkaris an Accepted.com advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs.

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Tips For Applicants With A Low MCAT Score (Part 2) http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/25/tips-for-applicants-with-a-low-mcat-score-part-2-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/25/tips-for-applicants-with-a-low-mcat-score-part-2-2/#respond Wed, 25 Jun 2014 14:22:17 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23639 ]]> Download your free copy of the special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!MCAT Preparation

The MCAT score is crucial to making it to the interview stage of the medical school application process. For those with low MCAT scores (26-29) who want to attend a US allopathic medical school, the only real option is retaking the exam.

When you determine that your MCAT is not competitive, you can either choose to  work harder and retake the MCATs, or consider alternative career paths. DMD, patent law, and PhD programs are just a few of the common alternative career options that allow you to remain in science.

If you are committed to obtaining a MD, then you should plan to retake the exam and make it your last retake. Although schools do not penalize applicants who take the MCAT two or three times, before taking the exam for a 3rd time it is key that you make the third sitting your final attempt; more attempts reflect poorly on your application.

Keep in mind that many students do not prepare enough for the MCATs, thinking that their coursework is sufficient preparation.This is a faulty assumption, especially for applicants who struggle on standardized tests. Applicants need to study hundreds of hours over several months to review and prepare for the test. Applicants should utilize preparatory courses, private tutors and varying prep approaches to succeed. Applicants need to have real discipline to do the necessary work — 40 hours a week for several months. It is also extremely important to take practice tests regularly (ideally weekly) in order to master not just the content but also the necessary test-taking skills to succeed under the additional test-day stress.

There are many different resources out there to help –no one resource is the best – you need to find the approach that works best for you. Kaplan, Princeton Review and Exam Crackers are the most commonly used with Exam Crackers providing a more problem-based approach.

A last piece of advice: do not take the test unless you are scoring (on practice tests) above the range that you feel you need for admission. The confidence you possess on test day knowing you were scoring a 33 on practice tests is a large part of the mind–game you must master to succeed. Hard work, discipline and true motivation are the necessary ingredients to MCAT success.

See Part 1 for advice about Options Without Retaking the Exam.

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

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Med School Webinar This Wednesday! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/23/med-school-webinar-this-wednesday/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/23/med-school-webinar-this-wednesday/#respond Mon, 23 Jun 2014 14:56:12 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23799 ]]> Quick reminder! This Wednesday, we’ll be hosting an important webinar, Secondary Essay Strategies that Score Interviews, in which med school admissions expert, Alicia McNease Nimonkar, will teach you how to transform your secondary essays into interview invitations.

The webinar is free, but registration is required. Showtime is at 5:00 PM PT/8:00 PM EST (that’s Wednesday, June 25th).

Register for the webinar now!

Don’t miss out! Register now: Secondary Essay Strategies that Score Interviews.

Save my spot!

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Shaping the Evolution of Humanity’s Health: Harvard Medical School Student IV http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/23/shaping-the-evolution-of-humanitys-health-harvard-medical-school-student-iv/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/23/shaping-the-evolution-of-humanitys-health-harvard-medical-school-student-iv/#respond Mon, 23 Jun 2014 14:12:50 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23454 ]]> Click here to read 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 Noor…

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Where are you in med school, and what year? Did you take time off between college and med school? If so, how did you spend your time? If not, what would you say the advantages are of jumping straight from undergrad to med school?

Noor: I was raised in the suburbs bordering Philadelphia and I attended Harvard College in 2007, thinking then that I might become an entomologist (i.e. insect scientist). To that end, I majored in Organismic & Evolutionary Biology, but with the guidance of my mother (an internist) and after two summers spent shadowing urologists, I started to remap my long-standing interests in structure, function, ecology, and diversity from insects on to humanity. I also minored in East Asian Studies, which exposed me to medical anthropology; this in turn broadened my interests from human (patho-)physiology alone to mental health and illness as well.

After graduating college in 2011, I worked for a year in bioinformatics at an HIV immunology lab at Harvard (also finding time to take care of myself again, read again, and travel to Tibet). The time spent on a non-academic calendar was invaluable. I share the sentiments that have been communicated to me by physicians in the past, and I want to pass them on now: taking at least one year outside of the academic world between college and medical school is a fantastic choice, and one that won’t be regretted. That time can be a unique excursion from an otherwise linear career trajectory, one that can provide new lenses and new intelligences for navigating medicine, the world, and oneself.

I began at Harvard Medical School in August 2012. During M1 and the following summer, I followed my new interests in mental health by working in Haiti as a student-researcher with Partners In Health to help develop a Creole-language suicide prevention tool. Right now, I’m a few weeks out from the end of M2 and the USMLE Step I, and I’m beginning my third-year (that’s right – no more summer breaks).

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about Harvard Medical School?

Noor: The people I have the privilege of learning from and learning with here – my peers and my mentors both – are so incredibly special to me. And amongst the incredible crowd, there are some unique gems who still stand out, and whom I feel I might never have had the chance to know were I not at Harvard. An example for me is Dr. Paul Farmer, whom I got to know through the M1 course, “Introduction to Social Medicine and Global Health,” and who has been a great teacher and friend to me in the United States and in Haiti.

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

Noor: Harvard Medical School, its affiliate hospitals, and the University overall both represent and define success in this society, and they serve as role models for many other institutions around the world. I am always happy when Harvard demonstrates leadership in serving the poor, sick, abused, and alone in our world. There are many students and faculty that are committed to this and other social accountability missions, and the more the better. Harvard’s increasing work with community engagement has been an area of growth that I’ve been happy to see coming along.

Accepted: You’ve been in Cambridge now for so long – do you think you’ll have trouble relocating for your residency? Or do you think you’ll try and stay local for as long as possible? Do you know yet what you want to specialize in?

Noor: The possibility of relocating from Cambridge is becoming harder to fathom each year as I set down more roots. For example, I’ve just begun my third year of medical school within Cambridge Health Alliance, the public health system of the city of Cambridge. This system is host to a longitudinal, integrated clerkship for twelve third-years at Harvard, known as the Harvard Medical School-Cambridge Integrated Clerkship – the rest of my class spends the year in traditional clerkships at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, or Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

For me, being in the Cambridge Integrated Clerkship has been really exciting so far and I value the opportunity to have continuity in my education. I can already imagine wanting to continue my training in this system…But I’m taking things one year at a time.

Regarding specialties, I’m still open to absolutely everything and I think this coming year is going to be one of the best of my life as I explore what’s out there – that said, potential choices that top my list thus far include psychiatry and internal medicine. Ultimately, I sought to do a longitudinal, integrated clerkship during my third-year because of the same criterion that I will apply when choosing my residency: the commitment to fostering excellence both clinically and interpersonally.

Accepted: Can you talk about your role with the Harvard Medical Student Review?

Noor: Within the HMSR, I’m officially a co-founder and the Executive Director. The bulk of my work has been in the formulation and implementation of approaches to streamline our development process, and I’ve also been heavily involved in the direct editing of submissions. (Oh, and writing too.) To be fair, though, a lot of roles and responsibilities in the Review overlapped and shifted throughout the early stages of the project in order to optimize individual contributions and maintain balance.

Learn more about HMSR in our first issue, and in NPR Boston’s health news blog.

Accepted: And what about the Community Health Council? What is that and how are you involved in that organization?

Noor: Community Health Council (CHC) is a global health NGO that I’ve helped build – but my HMSR cofounder Adam Frange is really the heart and soul of that operation. CHC works in impoverished areas of Peru and Haiti, entering into local partnerships to deliver free healthcare and psychosocial services, and to empower the development of sustainable healthcare provision capacity. The scale of our operations is currently limited to a select communities in each of those countries, but we are rapidly expanding our reach and impact. Some of the planning around this expansion falls under my duties as Chief Innovation Officer.

Learn more about CHC, our fundraising events, and upcoming volunteer opportunities (in the US and abroad) at our website.

Accepted: Is everyone at Harvard Medical School so focused on extracurriculars? Is that part of the culture? How do you have time to study, let alone breathe? (And I see you have a phlog too!)

Noor: I have always been pleasantly surprised by the diversity of backgrounds, skills, and pursuits amongst Harvard students, but I would say that robust attention to personal values and goals is a theme identifiable in many. Personally, for example, my engagements in HMSR and CHC reflect my responses to what I perceive to be critical needs in the world – that is, respectively, empowering student voice to shape the evolution of humanity’s health, and fighting against the consequences of apathy and greed that we see in the world’s poor (i.e. suffering, exploitation, and preventable death).

For me, becoming a good clinician who can serve his patients excellently is also a non-negotiable goal, so I have to study hard too. Period. There have been and will continue to be many long nights, and it seems like one thing or another (academics, self-care, relationships, research, personal mission, breathing) is temporarily being neglected at any given moment…but achieving better balance is also on my to-do list.

I think one of the most important ways that endeavors like HMSR can succeed is skillful cooperation. It takes a great deal of self-awareness, communication, adaptability, and luck to find, become a part of, and sustain a team that can work synergistically and produce results consistently. One of my HMSR co-founders, Adam Frange, lays out some pearls regarding this process in “Three Lessons in Global Health Management” in our first issue. He and my other HMSR co-founders, Jay Kumar and Omar Abudayyeh, have been phenomenal to work with, and their abilities to play off each other’s strengths and bolster each other’s weaknesses have made this work.

Oh, and my phlog (photography blog)! It’s something I love to put time into when I get the chance – creating images is a really cherished way for me to interact with the world, and displaying images online allows me to enliven that interaction in a social context. I haven’t done much lately (especially since HIPAA rules out most of the potential subject matter in my daily environments), but I anticipate returning to it often throughout my life. You can visit now though at www.noorb.org!

Accepted: Do you have any tips for our med school applicants who are applying to Harvard?

Noor: Approach your application process critically, and attend to finding your fit. It’s relatively easy to perceive the incredible characteristics of Harvard and other top-tier schools of medicine (e.g., funding, facilities, Nobel laureates, etc.), but seeing only these things may leave one with an incomplete picture. Every medical school encompasses a landscape of cultures and attitudes relating to student education, care provision, un(der)served populations, and so forth. When searching for your fit, try to learn the general layout of this invisible terrain and determine if you would be able to thrive while feeling your way through it over four years.

How can you learn this? Use the rare opportunity you have while interviewing to directly compare the messages from students and administration between schools. Ask faculty and trainees who trained elsewhere to compare their settings. Note what features of itself each school most celebrates. Reflect on how you are treated and made to feel on your visits. This last point is really key. Some schools made me feel wanted and nurtured during all my communications and visits, and I have heard from peers how this atmosphere was never forsaken in those schools’ environments throughout the training process. At the same time, some of the highest-ranked schools may not as readily portray some of the nuances that applicants in their private hearts may be wondering.

To answer this question specifically about Harvard, and also to speak to the issue of ‘culture’ that you raised earlier, I would say first and foremost that biomedical research and publication are highly valued here. Harvard is a premier research institution that has long-served as a leader in the creation of new knowledge and technologies, across disciplines. Concordantly, exposure to different ways of working with knowledge masterfully (e.g., teaching students and patients, reforming practice, cultivating humanism, etc.) may not be as apparent. That said, one can forge paths in those directions (and really any others) at Harvard with the right levels of initiative and persistence, and developing the ability to do so is critical to success here.

(The material presented reflects the opinions of the interviewee (Noor Beckwith) alone, and do NOT represent the positions of Harvard Medical School, Partners In Health, Cambridge Health Alliance, or any other entities named.)

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

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New MCAT vs Old MCAT [Infographic] http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/20/new-mcat-vs-old-mcat-infographic/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/20/new-mcat-vs-old-mcat-infographic/#respond Fri, 20 Jun 2014 14:26:42 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23814 ]]> Thanks to our friends at BenchPrep for this excellent summary of the changes you’ll see in #MCAT2015:

MCAT2015

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

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Where MedEd & Leadership Meet: An Inside Look at AMSA http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/19/where-meded-leadership-meet-an-inside-look-at-amsa/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/19/where-meded-leadership-meet-an-inside-look-at-amsa/#respond Thu, 19 Jun 2014 14:06:56 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23762 ]]> Click here to listen to the full interview!If you are on the road to med school, you’ve probably heard of AMSA, the American Medical Student Association – the largest independent association of doctors-to-be in the USA.

Listen to the recording of our conversation with Britani Kessler, National President of AMSA, for more information about what the organization does, and how you can get involved.

00:03:02 – Not because ‘My dad is a doctor’: Britani’s journey to her MD

00:04:54 – Why the osteopathic route?

00:07:26  – ‘Premed student, come to an AMSA meeting’ – The beginning of Britani’s AMSA journey.

00:10:20 – Britani’s goals as National President of AMSA.

00:14:38 – AMSA’s advocacy work.

00:18:55 – Who decides what AMSA stands for?

00:20:21 – The National Convention: What it is and who its for.

00:23:27 – Big meded changes of the future.

00:27:21 – Advice for future M.D.s and D.O.s.

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

Relevant Links:

Ace Your AMCAS Essay
• 
American Medical Students Association (AMSA)
 Navigating the Med School Mazetips to help you apply successfully to medical school.
Med School Without the MCAT
• FlexMed

Related Shows:

• All About AMSA and the Premed Journey
• MCAT Scores, MCAT Prep, and MCAT2015
• What You Need to Know About Post-bac Programs
• A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes
• Med School Application Process: AMCAS, Secondaries, Interviews, Decisions & More!
• What You Need to Know About Med School Admissions

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

How can you show the adcom that you will be a leader in the future? Click here to find out!

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/19/where-meded-leadership-meet-an-inside-look-at-amsa/feed/ 0 AMSA,leadership If you are on the road to med school, you’ve probably heard of AMSA, the American Medical Student Association – the largest independent association of doctors-to-be in the USA. - Listen to the recording of our conversation with Britani Kessler, If you are on the road to med school, you’ve probably heard of AMSA, the American Medical Student Association – the largest independent association of doctors-to-be in the USA. Listen to the recording of our conversation with Britani Kessler, National President of AMSA, for more information about what the organization does, and how you can get involved. 00:03:02 – Not because ‘My dad is a doctor’: Britani’s journey to her MD 00:04:54 – Why the osteopathic route? 00:07:26  – ‘Premed student, come to an AMSA meeting’ – The beginning of Britani’s AMSA journey. 00:10:20 – Britani’s goals as National President of AMSA. 00:14:38 – AMSA’s advocacy work. 00:18:55 – Who decides what AMSA stands for? 00:20:21 – The National Convention: What it is and who its for. 00:23:27 – Big meded changes of the future. 00:27:21 – Advice for future M.D.s and D.O.s. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Relevant Links: • Ace Your AMCAS Essay • American Medical Students Association (AMSA) • Navigating the Med School Maze, tips to help you apply successfully to medical school. • Med School Without the MCAT • FlexMed Related Shows: • All About AMSA and the Premed Journey • MCAT Scores, MCAT Prep, and MCAT2015 • What You Need to Know About Post-bac Programs • A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes • Med School Application Process: AMCAS, Secondaries, Interviews, Decisions & More! • What You Need to Know About Med School Admissions Subscribe: Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no
Reflections on Being 25% an MD http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/18/reflections-on-being-25-an-md/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/18/reflections-on-being-25-an-md/#respond Wed, 18 Jun 2014 14:46:49 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23636 ]]> Check out the full Journeys with Joshua series!

So, how have I changed in one year of medical school in pursuit of my MD?

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

I just finished my first year of medical school here in Tennessee, but summer started rolling in along the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains about a month or two ago. After being locked up in a gross anatomy lab, learning about the human body inside and out, studying for days on end, and establishing friendships and memories that will last a lifetime, I’m left with a lot more questions than answers. What happens when things go awry in someone’s health? How will I help the ill as a future physician? What kind of physician will I be? What will patients refer to me as in light of my phonetic-nightmare of a last name?

There’s something surreal about self-discovery in the medical education process that lends itself to unfolding like the magnolias beginning to bloom. In medical school, we’re constantly being evaluated through exams, papers, small group discussions, involvement in our communities, and by mentors. Just to get here, we’ve jumped through more hoops than a circus clown in their entire career. So, through its nature, we in-turn begin to evaluate and re-evaluate ourselves to assess where and how we’ve changed. My mom was a nurse for all of her working career, and has always said, “the person that leaves medical school has evolved and changed a great deal from the one that entered.” So, how have I changed in one year of medical school in pursuit of my MD?

I’m really glad you asked that question, because now is the first time I’ve had the actual time to evaluate and reflect on the topic in quite some time. I think it’s best if I tell a patient story and show how I felt and reacted in that large, machine-filled ICU room versus how I imagine I would have a year ago. To preface, all details and names have been altered to maintain the anonymity of my patients, but the story itself remains intact. I am a co-investigator on sepsis, so patients are often extremely ill by the time they reach me.

“Hi, Mr. Dempsey, my name is Joshua Wienczkowski. I’m a medical student here, and I was paged about your wife, Holly. I work on sepsis, and I’m hoping I can have some answers for you. Do you mind if we sit down and talk?” I watched him wring his camo hat with calloused hands, both dirty from days in the field, as the ventilator faithfully and rhythmically breathed for his wife beside us. Bleep bleep bleep bleep, her heart still tachycardic from the systemic bacterial infection souring her body. John’s hand reached behind his head, rubbing his leathered neck, perhaps in hopes of some comfort, “she’s been diabetic her whole life, and about 3 days ago, she broke a fever real bad and was all slurrin’ her words. I knew I…” beep beep beep, his phone alarm incessantly rang. “Now’s usually when I give her the meds ‘fore supper. I’d never seen her so bad, so I brought her in yesterday, and they got all kinda tubes in her…” John went on to tell me about their three kids at home, as he choked back the thought of raising them without Holly, his wife of 12 years. I asked about work and heard how incredibly tight money is at home. He’s been doing his best and working hard, but sometimes life isn’t always fair.

I gently asked John if he wouldn’t mind me examining his wife, because it might tell me more, “you do what you have to, doc, I just ‘preciate you spending the time,” he said. The aftermath of a lifetime with type II diabetes had caught up with Holly, and her severe obesity, likely caused by the disease, only contributed to risk for infections – in this case, a urinary tract infection that just wouldn’t clear, and spread like wildfire. I listened to her heart, hoping I wouldn’t hear a murmur, evidence that her tricuspid valve (all the blood from your body passes this as it goes from veins to the right atrium, past the tricuspid valve, and into the right ventricle before entering the pulmonary artery and lungs) was consumed by the invading bacteria. The forceful breaths of the ventilator hissed into my stethoscope as I listened intently while scanning her arms for track marks. Unfortunately, IV drug use is a major problem in our area, and many of my septic patients have succumbed to this anchor. They’re good people that haven’t done anything to deserve this… They waited too long because they couldn’t afford proper treatment and now she needs a new heart valve, if she survives. Couldn’t this have been prevented?

            “John, I’ll pull some blood, look it over real good, and come back first thing in the mornin’ to tell you what I find, and what I think it means for your wife.”

A year ago, I don’t think I would have known the first thing about how to interact with John while his wife lay next to us on a ventilator. I’m willing to bet I would have been like a deer in headlights when I stepped into that room. Machines whirring with someone on a bed who is there, but isn’t at the same time can be overwhelming at first. A year ago, I didn’t know how to listen to him, his story, or her heart and lungs. I didn’t fully understand the implications of disease, socioeconomic status, and how tightly these two are correlated with poor overall health. Sadly, I would have likely thought Holly had gotten herself into her poor state of health, because I didn’t fully grasp how life circumstances undeniably impact health. A year ago, I didn’t know how to ask John questions in just the right way, offer support, and create the vulnerable environment that needs to exist for patients to trust sharing their darkest life details and fears. Mr. Dempsey told me they’ve never touched drugs when I asked, and I trusted him, but I’ve learned this year how much I don’t trust what drugs do to people. He was telling the truth.

In a year, and 25% done with my MD, I’ve somehow changed in an intangible way that’s still a student, still undeniably me, but beginning my personal evolution in embodying what I feel it means to be a physician. With each John and Holly I meet, a slightly evolved me steps out of that patient room.

Download your free special report: Navigate the Med School Maze!
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Tips For Applicants With A Low MCAT Score (Part 1) http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/17/tips-for-applicants-with-a-low-mcat-score-part-1-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/17/tips-for-applicants-with-a-low-mcat-score-part-1-2/#respond Tue, 17 Jun 2014 14:43:01 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23638 ]]> Need tips for writing your med school application essays? Click here!

Present yourself in the best light by stressing your other credentials.

Options Without Retaking the Exam

All medical school applicants (or any other professional school applicant) must assess their credentials realistically in order to present themselves best during the application process. Since applicants are evaluated based on specific academic (undergraduate and graduate GPA and MCAT scores) and non-academic (research and clinical exposures, leadership skills, mentoring experiences) criteria as well as on personal attributes such as compassion, discipline, motivation, and work ethic, you must acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses.

Unfortunately, most medical schools do weigh the academic credentials heavily, in particular the MCAT score because strong MCAT scores have been correlated with success on the USMLE.There are very few, if any, medical schools that do not require the MCATs.

If your MCAT score is a borderline (26-29), and you choose not to retake the exam, you can try to present yourself in the best light by stressing your other attributes and credentials and taking extra coursework that illustrates your strong academic background. Some schools will accept students with MCATs in this range if the student is extremely strong academically, realizing that sometimes standardized tests are not always the best representation of a students’ aptitude. Some schools will be able to look beyond the MCAT score to see your other attributes.The truth, however, is many medical schools will just screen you based solely on your MCAT number.

Alternative options include applying to Caribbean and foreign medical schools or pursuing osteopathic medicine; their applicant MCAT scores are sometimes lower than allopathic schools. If you are committed to attending an allopathic medical school here in the United States, then you must retake the MCATs and somehow manage to earn a competitive score.

See Part 2 for advice for Applicants Who Need to Retake the MCAT.

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

Accepted.com

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Reapplying, Time Off, and Multiple Acceptances: Med Student IV http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/16/med-school-interview-with-allie/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/16/med-school-interview-with-allie/#respond Mon, 16 Jun 2014 14:26:54 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=22897 ]]> Click here for 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 the med school application process. And now, introducing Allie…

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

Allie: I am from a very small town in Indiana. I earned my BS in Biochemistry with a minor in Honors Research from Indiana University, and a Master of Arts in Bioethics and Medical Humanities from the University of Louisville.

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

Allie: I am a first year medical student at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

Accepted: Did you go straight from college to med school, or take time off in between? What do you think the advantages are of taking time off?

Allie: After college, I worked for a pharmaceutical company and attended graduate school in a subject area that interested me. After graduating with my Master’s, I got married, worked in two research labs for two years, continued to take science classes that interested me, volunteered with hospice, and traveled.

Taking time off may not be the best option for everyone, but I’m glad I had that time to get a firm foundation in my marriage and grow personally and professionally before entering medical school. During grad school, I found a passion for pediatric ethics that has given me a slightly different direction for my long-term career plans and interests which are very different from what I thought I wanted the first time I applied to medical school.

Accepted: What sort of doctor do you want to be? 

Allie: I’ve always wanted to be a pediatrician – I love the excitement that children exude, and their resilience is astounding. During graduate school, my focus was on pediatric bioethics, which led to a project on enhancing the use of bioethics committees for complex cases in the NICU. Because of that experience, my long-term goal is to become a neonatologist. The science behind the etiologies of congenital disorders fascinates me, and I love communicating with families.

In dealing with bioethics, there is a lot of time spent in discussing end-of-life care, which especially triggered my interest when it occurs at the beginning of life. I found that I was skilled in communicating in difficult situations with families, and I found that I could make a tangible difference there.

I’d love to work in an academic setting where I could teach while seeing patients and conducting research. I am also participating in my school’s Global Health Distinction Track, where I hope to work on projects investigating underserved women’s access to prenatal care and involving pediatric ethics.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your upcoming summer program? (I also see you’re expecting your first baby this summer – congrats!)

Allie: I have accepted a position in the Pediatric Externship Program that is presented by my school’s Department of Pediatrics for the upcoming summer. In this program, we are matched to a unit in our children’s hospital for one month, and we are expected to take H&P’s, present patients during rounds, and function as part of the medical team. We also get a small stipend and a pediatrics textbook. I am definitely looking forward to working in a hands-on environment and improving my clinical skills and knowledge!

Yes, I am! Thank you! Our baby girl is due in mid-summer, so for the month of July I plan on learning how to be a new mom while working on my research project for the Global Health Distinction Track. I plan on thoroughly enjoying this “last summer” between MS1 and MS2.

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

Allie: My first application cycle was not successful. Reapplying came with its own set of challenges: even though I was familiar with the process, I now had to deal with my own feelings of inadequacy and ineptitude. My confidence was rattled. I was second-guessing every step of the process, from my personal statement to my interview answers to which schools I considered. The self-doubt was the most grueling part of the process, even after I was offered acceptances.

Another challenge that I did not expect was deciding among schools. I realized I was so fortunate to be in that predicament (especially after being unsuccessful previously) but now I had my husband to consider as well. What school was the best fit for me? What school was best for his job prospects? Where would both of us be happiest? The decision was a lot more complicated than I had thought it would be, especially because each school had a variety of things that I wanted in a medical education. In the end, we would up at the school closest to home and that has been a great decision.

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

Allie: I started my blog just over two years ago as an outlet for writing. Since I was working and no longer a full-time student writing 30-page papers every week, I craved the creative outlet. One of my passions is helping others to achieve, I thought that maybe my story could help others who may be in the same position – unsure what to do about my passion for medicine but having an unsuccessful application cycle. I thought it was important to share not only my successes but also my failures and my missteps. Even though I’ve been successful, it wasn’t seamless – I wanted to share the truth about the struggle.

My target audience has primarily been other premed students, but I also write about my travels and (mis)adventures, to share a bit more of my life besides the student aspect. I’ve met some great people through my blog, and I’ve had several reach out to me to say that my story gives them hope, which is great since that was my goal!

You can read more about Allie’s journey by checking out his blog, Paging Dr. Allie. Thank you Allie for sharing your story with us!

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

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Meaningful Experiences For Medical School Applicants http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/13/meaningful-experiences-for-medical-school-applicants-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/13/meaningful-experiences-for-medical-school-applicants-2/#comments Fri, 13 Jun 2014 15:46:34 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=21896 ]]> Don’t be afraid to spell out the connection between your experience and your future career in medicine.

Don’t be afraid to spell out the connection between your experience and your future career in medicine.

“From volunteering on help lines, I became a better listener.”

“Joining the college debate team enhanced my ability to organize and present a case clearly.”

“Despite communication barriers, I made strong personal connections with my host family while studying in Costa Rica.”

I’ve done all these things. It’s obvious that they’re meaningful, right?

Well, not really. Sure, I’m showing where my skills came from, and that’s a start. But without any context, I’m not explaining why these skills are important. Significant. Special. Meaningful.

I’ve written previously about using your goals, values and personal qualities to make your experiences meaningful. Let’s take a closer look:

1) Goals: One way an experience becomes meaningful is when you can show how those skills helped you achieve a goal. For me, all of these skills – better listening, organizing and presenting arguments, and making connections with others – are meaningful because I always knew I wanted to work in a writing profession. Connecting with a client, listening to their stories and helping them present their “case” in a compelling way are critical to my success as an admissions context.

Your goal might be to captain the tennis team because you’re following in your older sister’s tradition. The skills you gained to get to this position are not as important as why you wanted to get there in the first place. Conversely, you might never have felt strong or athletic as a child, so running in your first marathon (or even 5K race) put a smile on your face. The resilience and time management that went into this achievement are important, but they’re means to the end result: crossing that finish line.

2) Values: Self-reflection on your values and beliefs reveals that you have a strong awareness of who you are, which is always important when you’re making a life-changing decision about your future. Sometimes an activity is meaningful because it challenges you to adjust your personal values or beliefs. Working with an international student association might expose you for the first time to people with different belief systems, forcing you to question and modify what you had previously believed to be true.

On the other hand, sometimes an experience is meaningful because it challenges you to stick to your values. Maybe you withstood pressure to drink alcohol while still coordinating successful campus events. Maybe you were tempted to overlook a friend’s cheating while you were a TA. Used effectively, a defense of your moral principles can make an ordinary event quite meaningful.

3) Personal qualities: Again, self-reflection is required to write about who you really are, but identifying your personal qualities and showing how they have become your strengths can make an outstanding story for your meaningful experiences. Your shyness might be overcome by a role in the school play, or it might help you empathize with the child in the pediatric ward who keeps to himself. Playing the “class clown,” which got you into trouble all through school, might turn out to be the thing that enabled you to connect with elderly residents at a hospice.

Finally, don’t be afraid to spell out the connection between your experience and your future career in medicine. The people reading your application shouldn’t have to do that themselves – and you don’t want to risk that they won’t. Emphasizing that your goals, values and personal traits all support your future role as a physician will make that important link in the reader’s mind.

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

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

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Medical School Admissions Navigation Tips: Is My Profile Competitive? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/11/medical-school-admissions-navigation-tips-is-my-profile-competitive/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/11/medical-school-admissions-navigation-tips-is-my-profile-competitive/#respond Wed, 11 Jun 2014 14:29:21 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23433 ]]> Need advice navigating the med school maze? Click here!

Tips for 2015 med school applicants

Whew! You’re in the midst of applying to medical school, and it’s time to write your AMCAS and non-AMCAS personal statements. But first, before you start filling in the boxes on that medical school application, stop. Take a deep breath. Let’s assess your status: You have your GPA. You studied for and took the MCAT. You’ve volunteered and perhaps researched a topic of interest. Hopefully you have even carved out time for your own recreational interests. Now you are about to begin the last stage:

 • Completing the medical school applications
 • Writing your personal statements
 • Drafting and submitting secondary essays
 • Interviewing

This is the only part of the admissions process that you still have any influence over. You can’t change your competition, and you can’t change what you’ve done to date, but you can make sure that what you submit in the future is your best.

Many students hoping to go to medical school wonder when the right time is to apply. Well, the answer is simple – the right time to apply is when your credentials are competitive.

Having competitive credentials is critical to being offered an interview. Each applicant is considered as a package. Credentials considered in this package include your “numbers” (your GPA undergraduate/post-bac/graduate GPA and your MCAT score), your letters of recommendation and your experiences. Not every applicant will have superb credentials in each of these fields but overall the general guidelines are:

• MCAT of 30 or higher
• GPA of 3.5 or higher (including BCPM)
• Strong Extracurriculars that show long term commitment
        • Service – in the general community and/or medical field
        • Leadership position(s)
        • Clinical exposure (shadowing, volunteering in hospital or medical facility)
        • Research exposure (basic science and/or clinical research, some bench work recommended)
        • Mentoring (TA, tutor, organizations like Big Brother/Big Sister, camp or sports counselor )
• Minimum of 3 Strong Letters of Recommendations
         • Hard science Prof (1 or 2),
         • Extracurricular (service, leadership, mentoring or sports)
         • Medically relevant (volunteerism, clinical or basic science research, shadowing)
• Strong personal statement that shows the admissions committee who you really are – remember you are not just a number!

After realistically assessing your credentials you should make the best choice about applying this year or waiting a year. Waiting a year and improving your credentials by enrolling in a postbac program, completing extra coursework, working in clinical medicine, gaining basic science bench experience, or retaking the MCATs might be the best way for you to succeed in gaining entrance to medical school. Sometimes waiting a year and applying early next year, with all your credentials in order, is the best decision you can make.

Download our special report: Navigate the Med School Maze

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Secondary Secrets to Success! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/10/secondary-secrets-to-success/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/10/secondary-secrets-to-success/#respond Wed, 11 Jun 2014 02:04:36 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23560 ]]> Compelling secondary essays are a MUST if you’re going to win the attention of the med school adcom and convince them to send you an interview invitation. We know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to secondary success, and would like to share those strategies with you during our upcoming webinar, Secondary Essay Strategies that Score Interviews on Wednesday, June 25th at 5:00 PM PT/8:00 PM EST (see what time that is for you by clicking here).

Register for the webinar now!

The FREE webinar will be hosted by Accepted.com admissions expert, Alicia McNease Nimonkar.

Don’t you want to score that coveted med school interview? Register here: Secondary Essay Strategies that Score Interviews.

Save my spot!

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What is Accepted? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/10/what-is-accepted/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/10/what-is-accepted/#respond Tue, 10 Jun 2014 14:12:05 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23547 ]]> So, what does Accepted actually do? Here is the short answer:

For more information about how we can help you get accepted, drop us an email at onlinesupport@accepted.com, explore our About Us section to get to know our expert admissions consultants, and check out our A-Z admissions services.

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