Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog » Medical School Admissions http://blog.accepted.com Admissions consulting and application advice Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:41:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 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/ 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!

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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!

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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

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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.

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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

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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:
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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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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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The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D. Shares her Residency Application Experiences http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/09/the-mrs-the-mommy-the-m-d-shares-her-residency-application-experiences/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/09/the-mrs-the-mommy-the-m-d-shares-her-residency-application-experiences/#respond Mon, 09 Jun 2014 14:03:53 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23168 ]]>

Mrs., Mommy, and now…MD!

This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at the med school application process. And now for a follow up interview with Jasmine Johnson who just completed her last year of med school and who will be starting her residency this summer. (We first met Jasmine last year – you can read our first interview with her here.)

Accepted: Congratulations on your upcoming graduation from medical school! How do you feel to be saying goodbye to your studies and putting on your white coat?

Jasmine: Thank you so much! To say that I am elated doesn’t even scratch the surface as to how happy and thankful I am to finally graduate. It is bittersweet for sure because I have made some wonderful friends in medical school and soon we will all be parting ways, but there is so much excitement and anticipation as this next chapter unfolds!

The amazing thing about medicine is that it is always changing, so if I want to continue to be the best doctor I can be, I will always be a “student” in my field. That being said, I am excited to trade the all-night study sessions with overnight calls and busy nights on the labor and delivery floor. I’m so ready to be a real doctor!

Accepted: Where did you match? Where will you be doing your residency?

Jasmine: I matched into the obstetrics and gynecology program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Go Tarheels! (Disclaimer: I will always be a Wolverine, and sometimes even a Hoosier…haha.)

Accepted: At what point in the last four years did you know that that’s the type of medicine you wanted to practice?

Jasmine: I knew that I would enjoy women’s health after the experience of having my son in college; however, I did not fully decide to pursue OBGYN until after completing the rotation during the spring of third year. I had a gut feeling that I would fall in love with the field as soon as I got the chance to fully experience it, and I did!

Everyone is going to try and “sell” you their specialty when you are on the wards. Your Attending physicians all love what they do (or they wouldn’t have chosen it). So, the biggest decision that you will make during your clerkship years is “Do I want surgery vs. no surgery?” I think that that decision helps you to narrow down fields a lot. I really enjoyed the majority of my clerkships, and I loved outpatient clinic medicine, but I also loved the unique experience of being in the OR, so OBGYN was a great fit. There is so much variety and it is a lot of fun!

Accepted: Can you tell us about your residency application experience? What would you say was your greatest challenge and what steps did you take to overcome that challenge?

Jasmine: Sure, the residency application is an online service (ERAS) that encompasses all the programs in the country – it reminded me of the common application for college. It is composed of your USMLE transcript, medical school transcript, CV, personal statement, and letters of recommendation. The fee scale is correlated to how many programs you decide to send your application to. In mid-September, the application is open for the programs to view applicants, and within a week or two, you start getting emails inviting you to interview. It is all very exciting and moves very fast!

The biggest challenge I faced during the process was choosing to continue to breastfeed during interviews. I actually ended up bringing my kids along with me for all but two of the interviews (I went on 11 total). My youngest child was 3-6 months old during the whole span of interviewing. The interview days were long, usually beginning around 8 or 9AM and ending between 1 or 2PM, which really wasn’t much longer than my days on the medicine wards right before interviewing began, so my body was prepared. Overall, things went well and I was able to successful continue breastfeeding, but it took so much planning – making sure we were staying in hotels with in-room fridges, packing adequate pumping supplies, making sure my chest looked “modest” in interview attire, etc. Oh, and I now know the protocol for transporting breast milk on an airplane, if anyone is interested…haha.

Accepted: Do you have any other residency application tips for our readers?

Jasmine: During third year, if you have an attending physician that you spent a great deal of time with or someone that gave you an excellent evaluation, ask them right away for a recommendation! Most programs do not require that all of your letters come from your field, so even if you don’t know what you are going into yet, it doesn’t hurt to ask. This also gives your letter writers plenty of time to put it on their calendar; you do not want your application to be incomplete while you are waiting on letters to come in.

During the interviews, try and relax! I loved my interview season experience. Although the traveling every weekend for three months straight got exhausting, it was so fun to get out of Indianapolis and meet new people. My interviewers were all very personable and I genuinely felt like they wanted to get to know me as a person – beyond my Step scores and resume – so take a deep breath, and let your light shine!

Finally, this was advice that was given to me as well; write hand written thank you notes to all of your interviewers. Honestly, I don’t know if they even read them, but in a world of email, hand-written notes are such a lost art. I think the fact that you took the time to write one, makes you stand out.

Accepted: What was it like spending your last year of med school pregnant and then with a newborn? How did you get anything done??

Jasmine: It was a much easier experience than I imagined it would be. Unfortunately, my surgery block was the last block of third year, so being on my feet all day at 6 months pregnant probably wasn’t the best in hindsight, but baby and I did fine!

Having a newborn during fourth year was ideal because our schedule is much more flexible – we only have three required clerkships and the remainder can be whichever electives we choose. I was able to find great independent study-type electives or electives that only required 1-3 days on campus per week, which was an awesome transition for me and the new baby.

The last half of fourth year has been even better because the majority of my rotations have great hours and no weekend commitments, so in addition to spending more time with my family, we have gotten to visit our extended family and friends! Fourth year = bliss.

Accepted: Do you have any tips for women who are thinking about going to med school and starting a family?

Jasmine: I remember when I started medical school thinking that I would be the only mom in the group, so not true! There are more parents in medical school than you think, and thankfully, as a result, curriculums have become user-friendly for this “non-traditional” demographic. If you plan to start a family during medical school, communicate with your student affairs office and talk to other parents at your school. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel and use all of your resources!

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

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

Thank you Jasmine for sharing your story with us! You can read more about Jasmine’s med school adventure by checking out her blog, The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D.

Learn how you can get accepted to med school even with a low MCAT or GPA!
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Deciding to Retake the MCAT Exam http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/08/deciding-to-retake-the-mcat-exam/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/08/deciding-to-retake-the-mcat-exam/#respond Sun, 08 Jun 2014 15:20:14 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23496 ]]> Check out our MCAT 101 page for advice for applicants with low MCAT scores.

You’re smart enough to conquer this beast, but you have to really want it.

In the event that things don’t go quite as planned, and you decide you’d like to try the MCAT again, it’s always a good idea to have some sort of strategy to work from until the next exam. Part of this time must be spent introspectively analyzing your performance and prior preparation methods and success, and only you will be capable of doing so. Below we take a look at some other tactics that may help you attain the score you’re looking for on the next go round.

Getting Advice on Your MCAT Score

First and foremost, upon receiving an unsatisfactory MCAT score, go talk to people about it. Talk to professors, friends, advisers – anyone you think might have valuable insight and input to offer. Seeking outside opinions on the best prep methods and resources can often yield a wealth of information and ideas that never made it onto your radar, including some that might work better for you this time. These people, if they are candid, can also help determine whether you should retake the test at all, depending on your scores and your academic standing.

Then take the best of that advice to heart, and start working, remembering to pace yourself. As onerous as it may feel, beginning this process shortly after you receive your less than stellar scores will best allow you to learn the necessary information, take plenty of practice tests, and still not be too overwhelmed (hopefully).

Taking Science Courses, and More Paths to Success

If you’re still in college, take some extra courses related to biology, chemistry or physics (I’ll leave advice on math to someone more qualified, since mathematics and I parted ways rather roughly after calculus II). This will provide an additional knowledge base, much of which will reinforce concepts you have already seen in introductory courses. It will also allow you to demonstrate your interest level and scientific proficiency, which may tip the scales if admissions directors are on the fence. Such efforts won’t matter much without at least a decent MCAT score, but they’re likely to help if it’s a close call.

Likewise, if you’ve already graduated from college by this time, definitely consider a post-baccalaureate or masters degree in the sciences, which will offer many of the same benefits as taking extra classes during your undergraduate years. Admissions committees always like to see that someone is willing to pursue the dream of medical school through rigorous graduate education, and you’ll certainly learn a lot more too, which never hurts. Plus, you’ll have your first degree that you can legitimately put behind your name, if you so desire.

Finally, if you’d really like to go the extra mile to prove your commitment regardless of average test scores, it can often be helpful to work in a lab or do any sort of official research during the time between tests. If you can find clinically relevant work, all the better. This will not only enhance your knowledge and know how, but a good relationship with the head of the lab can sometimes go a long way in persuading the powers that be that you are indeed worthy. A friend of mine successfully used this strategy to earn himself a spot in a dermatology residency, one of the harder residencies to get. And while that was for residency placement and this is for the MCAT, the principle and potential effect are very much the same.

There are undoubtedly many other great ways to improve your MCAT scores and hence your chances of getting into medical school. That’s but one reason you should seek out the help of others, as suggested above; they will likely be able to help you at least as much as I can. If you’ve gotten this far in your education, there’s a very good chance you’re smart enough to conquer this beast, but you have to really want it. Following some of this advice, and that from outside sources, may help prove to yourself and others that this is indeed the case.

Download our special report: Navigate the Med School Maze

BenchPrepBenchPrep is a personalized learning platform offering interactive courses for standardized tests and professional certifications.

This article originally appeared on the BenchPrep blog.

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Med School Kicks Off: Ten Tips to Get You Through The Season http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/06/med-school-kicks-off-ten-tips-to-get-you-through-the-season/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/06/med-school-kicks-off-ten-tips-to-get-you-through-the-season/#respond Fri, 06 Jun 2014 14:31:15 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23425 ]]> Download Ace the AMCAS Essay, a free special report that teaches you the who, what, why, and how of creating a winning AMCAS essay.

Keep your eye on the goal!

Medical school hopefuls are getting to work on those applications. This can be an awfully hectic time as you try to stay on top of everything. Here are ten tips to help you hit the ground running:

1) Get cozy with the AMCAS/AACOMAS.

These two services (the acronyms stand for the American Medical Colleges Application Service and the Association of American Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service) are the primary gateways for future physicians. (The Texas medical schools have their own application service.) You might already be registered for the AMCAS if you’ve taken the MCAT or applied for fee assistance; if not, you should register immediately.

You’ll spend lots of time on these websites this year – whether inputting your primary application, adding programs for submissions, or checking the status of your applications – so take some time now to register and explore them. In particular, look at their guidelines for completing your applications:

AMCAS information and AMCAS application guide
AACOMAS instructions

2) Get ready to spend a lot of money.

Applying for medical school is really expensive – and each program added to your list brings with it a hefty price tag. But don’t let the costs unfairly limit your choices. The AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program and the AACOM’s Fee Waiver were designed to defer costs of the applications and the MCAT. You need to be approved before you submit, or you won’t be reimbursed.

3) Decide where to apply.

One of the big decisions you need to make is how many program to apply to. The average applicant submits applications to 14 programs; some submit fewer, while many submit 30 or more. If your GPA and MCAT are above average, then you’re safe targeting a small number schools, but if in doubt, spread your chances out.

To help in your decision, be sure to look at each program’s admission requirements. You can find program demographic information on their websites or compiled together in US News & World Report (but be sure to take such rankings with a grain of salt).

4) Register for the MCAT.

If you haven’t yet, get onto the MCAT – spring/summer dates are in high demand. And if you require any accommodations, be sure to get your request in early.

And if you’re waiting on the MCAT to submit your application, don’t! Submit everything else for validation as early as possible; it will make the process go much more quickly once your scores are reported.

5) Apply early.

Schools set their own deadlines, and some of them might seem far away. But it’s always advised to apply early – June 10th is the opening date this year – primarily because there is less competition early in the season. Also keep in mind that the data you submit to the AMCAS and the AACOMAS has to be verified before it’s even forwarded to the med schools. This takes about six weeks during peak season – more if there’s a problem – so figure that time into your schedule.

6) Sort out your recommendation letters.

Hopefully you’ve already contacted the people who you’d like to write letters of evaluation. If not, think about who can write about your suitability for medical school – and supply them with an up-to-date CV along with any requests about areas to cover.

On the AMCAS, you can have up to ten letters (and pick the schools to which you want each one sent) and they can be submitted at any time. If a recommendation arrives after your application has been verified, it’s sent immediately to your selection of medical schools.

7) Start completing secondary essays.

After June 28th (the first date that AMCAS sends applications to medical school), you’ll be able to begin submitting secondaries. Many come automatically for the programs you select; others are sent by invitation after your application is reviewed. Heed the “apply early” rule here too – some programs have tight turnarounds and you don’t want to miss a deadline or get bogged down with a lot of new essays.

8) Prep for interviews.

If you applied early in the season, you should start getting interview invitations by late August, and September/November is usually the peak of interview season. If you haven’t heard anything by then, you might consider adding more programs to your school list.

Getting your first interview invitation is exciting, but it can also be nerve-wracking. They do get easier with practice, which is why I always recommend you start answering questions in the car, in the shower, while washing dishes, wherever you are. Just be sure you do that practice before, not during, the interview itself.

9) Start worrying, if you need to.

What happens if January rolls around and you haven’t heard anything – no interviews, no invited secondaries, just the silent treatment? Chances are you’ll need to start thinking about reapplying. However, there’s still one tactic at your disposal. Sending an appeal letter to the dean of a medical school where you have a real connection can win you an interview or additional review of your application. This should not be done indiscriminately – you need to be able to demonstrate a meaningful connection – but it can work.

10) Carry on carrying on.

Don’t put your life on hold while you apply for medical school. Keep doing the things you love doing, whether they be sport or volunteer work or community activities. Not only will you be a lot happier and a lot less anxious about the whole admissions process, but you’ll also have something to share if and when you get those coveted interviews.

If you’re applying to start medical school in 2015, this next year could change your life forever. Get started right and stay on top of things, and you’ll be able to make sure it’s an enjoyable as well as a momentous year.

Download our special report: Navigate the Med School Maze

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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Residency Applicants – Avoid these Fatal Flaws! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/03/residency-applicants-avoid-these-fatal-flaws/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/03/residency-applicants-avoid-these-fatal-flaws/#respond Tue, 03 Jun 2014 14:12:34 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23136 ]]> You want to complete your residency personal statements smoothly, efficiently, and successfully. You want the entire experience to be a smashing success, not one laden with pitfalls and obstacles.

Learn how to avoid the five most fatal residency personal statement flaws when you download our newest special report, 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Residency Personal Statement.

Click here to download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Residency Personal Statement!

If you don’t know the  five things you should NEVER do when writing a personal statement, then stop whatever you are doing and download your free copy of 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid right now!

Discover the 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid!

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Getting Ready for Residency: IV with a Med Student on the Way to Mayo http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/02/getting-ready-for-residency-iv-with-a-med-student-on-the-way-to-mayo/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/06/02/getting-ready-for-residency-iv-with-a-med-student-on-the-way-to-mayo/#respond Mon, 02 Jun 2014 14:21:23 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=22966 ]]> Enjoyed this interview? Click here to read more!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at the med school application process. And now for a follow up interview with Andrea Wenzel who just completed her last year of med school and who will be starting her residency in June. (We first met Andrea last year – you can read our first interview with her here.)

Accepted: How does year 4 of med school compare to year 3? 

Andrea: Fourth year is so different from third year! I really loved third year because it was the first time I actually felt like I was almost a doctor. I felt like I really contributed to the care of my patients and I was part of the team.

Fourth year is a huge change from third year because at my school, we only have three required electives. The majority of the year is spent applying for residency and traveling for interviews. I took a few electives along with my three required clerkships, but most of the year was spent doing things outside of the hospital or clinic.

Accepted: Congrats on your recent match! When do you start your residency and where and what will you be doing?

Andrea: Thank you! I matched into ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Opthalmology has a required preliminary medicine or transitional year, which I will be completing at Mayo as well. Everything starts mid-June, so I’m getting ready to move and start my life in Minnesota!

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

Andrea: The residency application process is long and tiring! First, you have to fill out the application which takes weeks of writing out all your activities, editing your personal statement, reading and re-reading your application to make sure it’s perfect. Then, you have to make sure all your letters of recommendation are in which can be challenging. I had to hunt down a professor to get my letter in on time!

After everything is submitted, you just wait for interviews invitations to come. That waiting period is excruciating!! Finally, you spend 2-3 months interviewing all over the country. The interviews are exhausting because most last all day and you have to be “on” all the time. You have to prepare to answer all kinds of questions, ask questions about each program, appear excited, and interested, it is such a blast, but also draining! I loved the entire process. There were days when I was filled with anxiety, but I just kept reminding myself that I was a strong applicant and everything would work out.

Accepted: In all four years of med school, what would you say was your favorite class or rotation?

Andrea: That’s such a hard question! During my second year I took a class called, “Introduction to Clinical Medicine” which was a year-long, 20 credit hour class. The class covered every topic in medicine from cardiology, OBGYN, and pediatrics, to psychiatry, pulmonology and nephrology. It was intense! But I felt like that class really prepared me for third year. I learned so much and really loved it. Also, all our professors for that class were MDs which made it enjoyable.

During third year, I honestly loved all my rotations. I think my two favorites were neurology and surgery. During those two clerkships, I really felt like I was contributing to the care of my patients which made me love coming in every day. I felt like I was a valuable member of the team.

Accepted: If you could offer incoming med students ONE piece of advice what would it be?

Andrea: One piece of advice that has helped me is to remember to be grateful. There are so many times in medical school that we all get burnt out and feel bitter about studying and missing out on other parts of life. But in reality, we are so blessed to be able to study medicine. We don’t have to spend our days working out in a field to provide for our family. We get to spend our days in a comfortable library learning how to care for the sick – that is amazing. Whenever I feel discouraged I just try to remember how lucky I am!

Accepted: In non-med school news, what’s been going on with you?? How are the food and fitness aspects of your life going? Any new health tips you can share with us?

Andrea: My non-med school life is great! I am getting married in May and I’m super excited about that. Health and fitness have also been wonderful! I’m currently doing a 30 day yoga challenge that requires me to go to 30 hot yoga classes in 30 days. I’m on day 17 and I love it! I already feel stronger than I did a few weeks ago.

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

Thank you Andrea for sharing your story with us! You can read more about Andrea’s med school adventure by checking out her blog, A Doctor in the House: Food, Fitness, and a Splash of Science.

Learn how to compose a personal statement that will land you with the residency match of your dreams!

 

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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Three Steps to Starting Your Medical School Personal Statement http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/29/three-steps-to-starting-your-medical-school-personal-statement/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/29/three-steps-to-starting-your-medical-school-personal-statement/#respond Thu, 29 May 2014 14:16:19 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23313 ]]> Click here to Learn the 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Med School Essays!

Don’t know where to start? Breathe. Really. Deep.

So, you’re facing the blank page–mostly likely your computer screen, with a cursor flashing expectantly.  You think it shouldn’t be that hard to write a personal statement.  Yet you’ve already gotten up for a second cup of coffee, clicked around the internet, and tinkered with a new gadget for your computer.

What’s getting in the way?  Well, for one thing, this essay is personal!  Little in most of our academic careers prepares us to write about ourselves in a revealing manner.  In freshman composition we learn about modes of discourse and maybe the format for a term paper.  All through the undergraduate years we explore the lofty world of ideas and learn to analyze and make arguments and develop critical thinking skills.  Write a paper on monoclonal antibodies as therapeutic agents?  An opinion piece on the need for reform in the U.S. health care system?  No problem. Our left-brain muscles are incredibly well-developed.

But the personal statement requires that we reveal to others the private world of our hopes, dreams, and individual experiences.  For most of us, that feels risky.  It goes against everything we’ve been taught about excising ourselves and our personal biases from our work.  It also requires using language differently.  To talk about our lives in a way that engages our reader, we must turn inward rather than outward.  We must be honest in our expression of who we are while weaving a story that captures the best of who we are.  It is time to flex our right-brain muscles, and most of us are out of practice.

It’s no wonder we don’t know where to start.

 • Tip #1:  Breathe.  Really. Deep, slow breaths will help you relax.  Most of us hold our breath when we’re stressed, and that can exacerbate anxiety and interrupt our creative flow. 

• Tip #2:  Be gentle with yourself.  Writing a personal essay is a new experience, and it will likely take many drafts before you have one you’re satisfied with.  This is normal.

 • Tip #3:  Begin at the beginning.  Before you start writing, you’ll want to brainstorm to generate the raw data (personal qualities, life experiences, accomplishments) upon which you will build your essay.  A prewriting question to consider:  What do you have to contribute that is uniquely you?

Med 5 flaws

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How to Interpret Medical School Rankings http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/28/how-to-interpret-medical-school-rankings/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/28/how-to-interpret-medical-school-rankings/#respond Wed, 28 May 2014 20:23:30 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23277 ]]> Check out the rest of Joshua's awesome guest posts!

Going to medical school with a best friend (who doesn’t want that!)

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! 

We’ve all seen the US News report that comes out every year with a list of the top medical schools, and think man, it’d be pretty freaking awesome to be at the top medical school in the country. Who doesn’t want to be the best, right? What I’ll walk through next is how to understand what those rankings actually mean, how to interpret them, and begin to further narrow down your top choices for medical education. Before we move on, check out the US News report of this year’s top medical schools.

So, what goes into actually ranking a medical school? What makes Harvard numero uno almost every year, followed by Hopkins, U Penn, Wash U, etc.? Well, according to the Huffington Post, “Schools [are] ranked according to student selectivity, faculty-to-student ratio, research activity and the proportion of graduates entering specific primary-care programs. Quality [is] measured in terms of peer assessment and the opinion of residency directors.” Let’s break this down:

 • Student selectivityadmissions rate, which means the lower, the better. Big name schools have no shortage of applications, because let’s face it, we both read the headlines and said hell yeah I should go to the number one medical school! That increase in applications results in a need for higher MCAT, GPA, etc for admissions.

 • Faculty-to-student ratio – the bigger the name, the more post-docs, faculty, fellows, etc. there are. This false sense of inflation should be ignored, because what are the odds the post-doc working on the prime temperature to feed one footed purple raptors is actually going to be involved in your education? Having that many faculty available, however, could also mean more opportunities for you if you’re interested in research. The only time you should be concerned is if this ratio is really low.

 • Research activity – this simply looks at “how much research money from the NIH and NSF institution X has.” This will likely have no impact on your education, but if you’re considering MD/PhD or are interested in becoming a physician scientist, this factor may play into your decision tree. As a first year medical student (almost second year!) and co-investigator in clinical research on sepsis at a small school, I’ll be the first to tell you there will be more opportunities than you know what to do with, wherever you go. Truth be told, I’d rather be the “big fish in a little pond” than vice-versa, but to each their own.

 • Graduates entering primary care – if you’re really interested in primary care, I would look carefully at these studies, because they don’t include who’s continuing onto fellowship. Most specialties require you to enter a primary care residency (family, internal med, peds, OB) first, so I don’t think these numbers are necessarily valid in evaluating a school. You’ll know what a school’s mission is simply by reading their mission statement and looking at the match list of graduating classes by specialty (available on all medical school websites).

 • Peer assessment and opinion of residency directors – this, honestly, would be my absolute number one to look to as far as evaluating a medical school as an applicant. What do current students have to say about the school? What do residency directors (your future employers) have to say? Hearing straight from the horse’s mouth what someone has to say about their own community and how they are viewed by their superiors says a lot about the integrity and strength of a program.

Truth be told, unless you have some killer credentials, I wouldn’t get too wrapped up in going to the best medical school in the country, because as one of the admissions counselors at my school, and a close friend says, “Joshua, you go to the absolute best medical school in the entire country – for some people.” Sometimes, the best doesn’t mean all of the research money in the world, exorbitant entrance requirements, and one footed purple raptor feeders. Sometimes, it means having a community you call family that will support and help you achieve your greatest potential through the incredible gift that medical education can be. I may be biased, but Harvard ain’t got nothin’ on the smaller medical school I call home, and I’m willing to bet my patients would tell you the same.

Best of luck!

Download our special report: Navigate the Med School Maze

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Med Applicants, You Can Still Save $$$! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/27/med-applicants-you-can-still-save/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/27/med-applicants-you-can-still-save/#respond Tue, 27 May 2014 14:10:45 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23228 ]]> Click here to check out our med school admissions services!

Just a few days left to save!

As the wonderful month of May comes to an end, so does our amazing med school admissions services sale. Get your 10% savings while you still can!

Details:

Take 10% off all non-rush med school application services (not to be combined with other offers).
• Use promo code MAY10 at checkout.
• Sale ends on Saturday, May 31st at midnight (Pacific Time).

Click here to View Catalog of Med School Admissions Services!

Have questions? Contact us! We’re here to help!

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From Hospitality to Medicine: IV with Med Student Carter Duggan http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/26/med-school-interview-with-carter-duggan/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/26/med-school-interview-with-carter-duggan/#respond Mon, 26 May 2014 14:02:18 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=22869 ]]> Applying to med school? Download your free copy of Ace Your AMCAS Essay! This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at the med school application process. And now, introducing Carter Duggan…

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

Carter: I’m just about to finish my first year of med school at Indiana University School of Medicine. I chose IUSM because I was born and raised here, so this is home to me. In-state tuition never hurts. One thing that most people know about me is that I love to cook. When I was going off to college I thought I wanted to own my own restaurant so I went to Purdue University and got a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Accepted: That’s an interesting jump from hospitality to medicine! Can you talk about why you decided to attend med school?

Carter: This is a question I get a lot but unfortunately it’s the one that I am the worst at answering. It wasn’t that I stopped loving restaurants and cooking and then needed a fallback. Let’s be honest, med school isn’t something you do when you don’t know what else to do. The best explanation that I have is that it was something I had to do. I feel completely compelled to become a doctor but have a terrible time articulating why. I think in my case this is a classic example of “the heart wants what the heart wants.”

Accepted: Now as you’re nearing the end of your first year of med school, can you look back and think of anything you wish you would’ve known before starting med school? How would you advise incoming first year students?

Carter: Knowing what I know now, I wish I would have been a little more adventurous and energetic before coming to med school. People will tell you to have fun before school starts, and not to worry about studying and trying to get ahead. They’re absolutely right. I wish I would have taken their advice a little more seriously. I think it’s important that you try to do a few things that will be really difficult to do during your medical training like taking a big trip, if that’s what you like. You’ll be glad that you did.

As for when you actually start med school, again this goes back to having fun. It’s actually easier than you think to get into a routine of studying all day every day. But there’s a lot of evidence now that shows this is actually detrimental to your education. If you aren’t finding some time to eat right, sleep, exercise, have fun, etc. all those extra hours in the library are actually wasted.

St. Louis recently underwent a substantial curriculum change where students spent less time in class, were required to take a class on depression, and had to participate in extracurriculars. The results were astonishing. Not only did depression rates drop, board scores actually significantly improved.

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

Carter: I love that IUSM is split between nine different campuses for the pre-clinical years. Each center has a different style of teaching, and students have the opportunity to go where they will learn the best. I picked West Lafayette, because classes are in a lecture format and the class sizes are really small (21 MS1s). Other campuses have different class sizes and they vary their teaching styles between traditional lecture, block, team-based learning, and problem-based learning.

The one downfall I see is that we don’t actually get to meet and interact with a large fraction of our class for the first two years. But we all have the opportunity to go to the main center in Indianapolis for third and fourth year if we choose, so that gives us the chance to make more connections.

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? And if you went straight from college to med school, then when did you take premed courses, since you studied hospitality and not premed?

Carter: My route was a little more torturous. I decided to go to med school about two months before I was set to graduate. I had to spend a fifth year taking all the prerequisites. At the end of that year I took the MCAT, applied, and was accepted. I still had to wait the additional year to matriculate. During that year I worked full time as a scribe in the emergency room. It was probably the best job I have ever had and helped prepare me for med school better than anything else. All pre-meds should look into scribing if they have a chance. There are a number of companies out there that offer this position such as Scribe America and PhysAssist[To learn more about being a scribe, please see “A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes.”]

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

Carter: For me one of the hardest parts was accepting that I couldn’t do everything. There is a tendency to want to be in 8 clubs, have 4.0 GPA, score a 38 on the MCAT, publish 12 papers, and spend every holiday volunteering in underserved parts of the world. But there are only so many hours in the day, and you can’t do everything. I think your main focuses should be on your GPA and MCAT. Beyond that, pick two to four things that you really like doing and do them well. Interview committees don’t care so much about what you do, but that you do things that you’re passionate about and you do them well. For example, I don’t have any experience with research, but I don’t think that hurt me during the application process because I had other activities that showed that I was dedicated, hard-working, and passionate.

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

Carter: The most important lesson I’ve learned throughout my entire education is, “Don’t be an a$$%*&@.” Getting in and staying in med school is a long, hard process. You are going to need a lot of help along the way. Most people are willing to help genuinely nice people, but very few will go out of their way for you if you act like your better than everyone else. This is overall just a great lesson for life.

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

Carter: I started writing as a way to vent about the hardships of med school. It was almost therapy of sorts. It has slowly evolved as a medium for me to share my experiences, but to also give advice to those that are in a similar position that I am.

Going forward this summer, I plan on revamping my site to offer more “how-to” guides on various aspects of being a successful med student. There are so many things that that aren’t covered during our formal education but are just important. How to dress professionally for clinic. How to craft an appropriate CV. Proper etiquette for an interview dinner. These things matter but you won’t find them in any text books. For me, it’s a constant evolution. While I’m writing mostly to med students, I would love to reach anyone that could potentially benefit. Pre-meds. Vet or law students. Just about anyone.

You can read more about Carter’s journey by checking out his blog, This is Med School. Thank you Carter 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 this special report that will help you ace the AMCAS essay.

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10 U.S. Med Schools with the Lowest Price Tags http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/25/10-u-s-med-schools-with-the-lowest-price-tags/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/25/10-u-s-med-schools-with-the-lowest-price-tags/#respond Sun, 25 May 2014 14:42:23 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23268 ]]> U.S. News reports on the ten least expensive private med schools in the U.S. They are as follows:

Check out our Medical School Admissions 101 pages for excellent med school admissions advice!

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

Note: Baylor College of Medicine, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine are all private schools that offer lower in-state tuitions – the ones listed above are the out-of-state rates.

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

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

2. The figures above are annual tuitions for last year. Tuition has this habit of going up every year, and most people complete medical school in four years.

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

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

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MCAT Scores, MCAT Prep, and MCAT2015 http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/22/mcat-scores-mcat-prep-and-mcat2015/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/22/mcat-scores-mcat-prep-and-mcat2015/#respond Thu, 22 May 2014 14:14:05 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23216 ]]> Click here to listen to the full recording of our interview with Alec Lee!Are you panicking about the impending MCAT changes? Trying to figure out a prep strategy? Wondering how to best position yourself for MCAT success?

Meet the guy with the answers to your MCAT questions.

Listen to the recording of our interview with M Prep co-founder Alec Lee for the scoop on MCAT2015, test prep, and what his completely online program can do for you.

00:03:01 – Kenya Ceramic Products  and how Alec ended up in Kenya.

00:05:47 – Text books are just not too much fun: The birth of M Prep.

00:07:40 – M Prep’s (incredible) products and distinct approach.

00:16:56 – No resources for a student struggling with one area — here’s why.

00:22:11 – Strategy for non-traditional applicants who’ve been out of class for a while.

00:25:22 – Who scores better on the MCAT?

00:26:55 – How much time to invest in MCAT prep.

00:28:50 – The role of sheer practice in MCAT success.

00:31:17 – Motivating applicants.

00:33:11 – MCAT2015: What applicants have to look forward to.

00:39:41 – Who should rush to take the old MCAT? (Just about everybody!)

00:43:14 – Important advice for applicants.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

• M Prep/MCAT Question of the Day
Create a Compelling AMCAS Application

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

Related Shows:

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

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

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

 

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/22/mcat-scores-mcat-prep-and-mcat2015/feed/ 0 MCAT,podcast Are you panicking about the impending MCAT changes? Trying to figure out a prep strategy? Wondering how to best position yourself for MCAT success? - Meet the guy with the answers to your MCAT questions. - Are you panicking about the impending MCAT changes? Trying to figure out a prep strategy? Wondering how to best position yourself for MCAT success? Meet the guy with the answers to your MCAT questions. Listen to the recording of our interview with M Prep co-founder Alec Lee for the scoop on MCAT2015, test prep, and what his completely online program can do for you. 00:03:01 – Kenya Ceramic Products  and how Alec ended up in Kenya. 00:05:47 – Text books are just not too much fun: The birth of M Prep. 00:07:40 – M Prep’s (incredible) products and distinct approach. 00:16:56 – No resources for a student struggling with one area -- here’s why. 00:22:11 – Strategy for non-traditional applicants who’ve been out of class for a while. 00:25:22 – Who scores better on the MCAT? 00:26:55 – How much time to invest in MCAT prep. 00:28:50 – The role of sheer practice in MCAT success. 00:31:17 – Motivating applicants. 00:33:11 – MCAT2015: What applicants have to look forward to. 00:39:41 – Who should rush to take the old MCAT? (Just about everybody!) 00:43:14 – Important advice for applicants. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Related Links: • M Prep/MCAT Question of the Day • Create a Compelling AMCAS Application • Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success • A Second Chance at Medical School: Applying to Postbac Programs • The MCAT2015 Exam for Students Related Shows: • MCAT Mania: How to Prepare • All About AMSA and the Premed Journey  • What You Need to Know About Post-bac Programs  • A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes  • Med School Application Process: AMCAS, Secondaries, Interviews, Decisions & More!  • What You Need to Know About Med School Admissions  Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:         Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 47:28
Help, I Was Rejected by All the Med Schools I Applied To! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/20/help-i-was-rejected-by-all-the-med-schools-i-applied-to/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/20/help-i-was-rejected-by-all-the-med-schools-i-applied-to/#respond Tue, 20 May 2014 17:08:31 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23165 ]]> My 2 minute answer to the question I hear every application season: “I was rejected by every single medical school I applied to. What can I change?”

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

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Premeds: Grab Your Spot in Tuesday’s Webinar! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/19/premeds-grab-your-spot-in-tuesdays-webinar/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/19/premeds-grab-your-spot-in-tuesdays-webinar/#respond Mon, 19 May 2014 14:49:33 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23127 ]]> Save your spot at the med admissions Q&A!Time’s running out for you to reserve your spot in Tuesday’s open Q&A session, Ask the Experts: Medical School Admissions Q&A!

Last minute details:

When? Tuesday, May 20, 2014 @ 5:00 PM PT / 8:00 PM EST

What? Live panel discussion featuring admissions experts answering YOUR medical school admissions questions!

How? Register here: Ask the Experts: Medical School Admissions Q&A

See you on there!

Save my Spot!

Accepted.com

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Interview with Leslie, Psych Resident and Global Activist (Among Other Things) http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/19/interview-with-leslie-psych-resident-and-global-activist-among-other-things/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/19/interview-with-leslie-psych-resident-and-global-activist-among-other-things/#respond Mon, 19 May 2014 14:11:56 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=22865 ]]> Check out more med school student blogger interviews!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at the med school and residency application process. And now, introducing Leslie Nwoke…

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

Leslie: Hello Accepted.com readers! My name is Leslie Nwoke. I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. I’m happily married to my husband of 4 years and have a 15 month old scrumptious son.

I attended Spelman College in Atlanta, GA for college, where I majored in Biology/PreMed. After graduating from college, I went to George Washington University where I earned my Masters in Public Health (M.P.H) with a concentration in Global Health Promotion. I can honestly say those two years in graduate school changed my life and solidified the direction I wanted to take in my career.

Favorite book? That’s a tough one, because I’m an avid reader of a lot of great literature – but I’d have to say its Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It’s a powerful book telling a fictional story during the real Biafran Civil War in Nigeria. It was one of those books that had me thinking about the characters days after finishing the book.

Accepted: Where did you go to med school? What were your criteria for choosing the best med program for you?

Leslie: I started out at St. Matthews University School of Medicine and later transferred to Ross University School of Medicine. My time in medical school was honestly a very unique season in my life. When else in your life can you say you lived on an island while attending medical school…and eating curry chicken and esovitch fish almost daily? LOL

What was important for me in choosing my medical school was choosing an institution that placed priority on teaching students, where students were happy, where students matched at locations/programs I liked, and a place that offered rotations where I had family (to decrease housing costs). I really enjoyed my time at St. Matthews – It set a great foundation of good study ethic needed to succeed in medicine and provided an environment where I could learn without intimidation. My transfer to RossU for my last two years of medical school provided an equally satisfying experience.

Accepted: Where are you doing your residency?

Leslie: I am entering my PGY-2 year as a psychiatry resident at Morehouse School of Medicine.

Accepted: Can you share your top 3 residency tips with our readers?

Leslie:

 a) Don’t try to study before coming into residency!

One of the main questions I get from people applying to residency programs is “What should I read before I start in July?” Although I will never discourage studying, I would highly encourage enjoying the free time you have before residency. Residency has a steep learning curve and you WILL learn what you have to learn. The time before intern year is special – spend time with friends, travel, and sleep!

b) Work like a resident with a medical student curiosity.

The transition to intern year brings a lot of expectations, especially in terms of the responsibility level you have with patients. Commit yourself to the process – throw yourself into patient care, but don’t ever feel like you’ve passed a stage where you can’t ask questions, even seemingly silly ones.

You’ll be surprised that residents around you don’t know the answer and your boldness to ask questions helps you and your patient.

c) Learn to automate your learning style.

Residency is busy and limits the time you once had to read textbooks and review lectures. Most of your learning will have to be on the go. Keep a little notebook in your white coat where you can jot down “pearls” of knowledge while on the wards. Download the USMLE app so you can answer questions on your down time. Listen to medical podcasts on your commute to stay abreast of current events in your field.

Accepted: As someone who is passionate about work and family (not to mention global activism!), you must be encountering quite a juggling act. How have you been managing the life/work/study balance?

Leslie: Whew! Plenty of late nights and coffee! Just kidding…maybe… :-)

So, I’m married with an almost 2 year old and prioritize time with them above everything. I leave work at the hospital. When I’m home, that time belongs to them. That being said, I also have to get creative about how I carry out my other responsibilities. We’re blessed to have family a few minutes’ drive away, so my husband and I have the luxury to have the munchkin stay with family if I’m on call or need to complete a few tasks. Sometimes, I try to wake up earlier than my family to respond to emails or other projects. For my nonprofit initiative, I have a great team that shares the workload. It’s not perfect, but I’m learning and shifting as intern year goes on.

Accepted: Can you tell us about The Ruby Project?

Leslie: Yes! Ruby Project is my 2nd baby. :) It’s a nonprofit I started with a close friend of mine that provides trauma support for young girls through annual summer retreats. Our Ruby girls, 12-18 year olds, are mainly recruited from social services and foster care programs in California. Our 3-day retreats involve one-on-one peer counseling, dance and drama therapy, and teen health workshops. We are entering our 3rd year and expanding to older girls and to new cities. Check us out at www.ruby-project.org!

Accepted: Long term, how do you plan on combining your degrees with your mission of social justice?

Leslie: I love this question…this is the stuff that makes my heart beat. So I’m interested in doing this in a couple of ways: a) Consulting with international aid groups to create strategies on scaling up their mental health policy b) working to build up psychosocial rehab programs for marginalized groups like child soldiers or sex trafficking victims.

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

Leslie: So, I’m a new blogger. My blog is DivaDocSpeaks.com! Please check it out. :) It is my space online to share about the intersection of my life as a wife, new mom, and new resident who’s also really into non-medicine endeavors. You can also follow me on Twitter @DivaDocSpeaks and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DivaDocSpeaks.

You can read more about Leslie’s journey by checking out her blog, Diva Doc Speaks. Thank you Leslie for sharing your story with us!

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

Download our special report: Navigate the Med School Maze

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Open Q&A Featuring YOUR Med Admissions Questions [Free]! http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/18/open-qa-featuring-your-med-admissions-questions-free/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/18/open-qa-featuring-your-med-admissions-questions-free/#respond Sun, 18 May 2014 14:32:48 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23087 ]]> Save your spot for the Med School Admissions Q&A!In case you missed them, here are the details for our upcoming med school webinar, Ask the Experts: Medical School Admissions Q&A.

Date: Tuesday, May 20, 2014

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

Topic: YOUR medical school admissions questions!

Looking forward to hearing excellent questions and sharing important med school admissions advice!

Register for Ask the Experts: Medical School Admissions Q&A now!

Click here to save your spot!

Accepted.com

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Which Graduate Schools Should You Apply To? http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/15/which-graduate-schools-should-you-apply-to/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/15/which-graduate-schools-should-you-apply-to/#respond Thu, 15 May 2014 14:27:44 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23038 ]]> Click here to listen to the show!Listen to the recording of Linda Abraham’s latest podcast to learn the 4-step formula for a successful graduate school application process.

00:01:17 – The secret to acceptance: applying to the right schools.

00:04:54 – Begin with the end in mind: determining your post-degree professional goal.

00:16:02 – How to analyze your goals.

00:17:02 – Researching schools: what to look for and how to find it.

00:25:47 – Evaluating your qualifications: what schools want to see.

00:33:13 – Where it all comes together: choosing the right schools to apply to.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

• That GMAT Score: Implications for Your MBA Application
• Ask the Experts: Medical School Admissions Q&A
• The Secret to MBA Acceptance
• Where Does Wall St. Hire: U.S. B-Schools Sending Grads into Financial Services
• Consulting at Top MBA Programs
• Top MBA Programs for Entrepreneurs

Related Shows:

• Dr. Douglas Stayman Shares the Scoop on Cornell Tech NYC 
• Med School Application Process: AMCAS, Secondaries, Interviews, Decisions & More!
• Non-Academic Careers for PhDs: A Talk with Dr. Paula Chambers
• How to Edit Your Application Essays

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

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

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

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http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/15/which-graduate-schools-should-you-apply-to/feed/ 0 podcast Listen to the recording of Linda Abraham’s latest podcast to learn the 4-step formula for a successful graduate school application process. 00:01:17 – The secret to acceptance: applying to the right schools. Listen to the recording of Linda Abraham’s latest podcast to learn the 4-step formula for a successful graduate school application process. 00:01:17 – The secret to acceptance: applying to the right schools. 00:04:54 – Begin with the end in mind: determining your post-degree professional goal. 00:16:02 – How to analyze your goals. 00:17:02 – Researching schools: what to look for and how to find it. 00:25:47 – Evaluating your qualifications: what schools want to see. 00:33:13 – Where it all comes together: choosing the right schools to apply to. *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com. Related Links: • That GMAT Score: Implications for Your MBA Application • Ask the Experts: Medical School Admissions Q&A • The Secret to MBA Acceptance • Where Does Wall St. Hire: U.S. B-Schools Sending Grads into Financial Services • Consulting at Top MBA Programs • Top MBA Programs for Entrepreneurs Related Shows: • Dr. Douglas Stayman Shares the Scoop on Cornell Tech NYC  • Med School Application Process: AMCAS, Secondaries, Interviews, Decisions & More! • Non-Academic Careers for PhDs: A Talk with Dr. Paula Chambers • How to Edit Your Application Essays Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:       Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog no 38:18
Writing About Overcoming Obstacles in Your Application Essays http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/14/writing-about-overcoming-obstacles-in-your-application-essays/ http://blog.accepted.com/2014/05/14/writing-about-overcoming-obstacles-in-your-application-essays/#respond Wed, 14 May 2014 19:18:27 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=23029 ]]> What does the adcom actually want to know about the challenges you’ve overcome? In this short video, Linda Abraham shares the answer to this often-asked question:

Do you have questions about addressing obstacles you’ve overcome in your application essays? Leave a comment below and we would love to help you out.

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