Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog » Medical School Admissions http://blog.accepted.com Admissions consulting and application advice Fri, 03 Jul 2015 19:02:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Happy July 4th From Accepted! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/07/03/happy-july-4th-from-accepted/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/07/03/happy-july-4th-from-accepted/#respond Fri, 03 Jul 2015 19:02:24 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=32018 Tags: College Admissions, Grad School Admissions, Law School Admissions, MBA Admissions, Medical School Admissions

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Happy July 4th from Linda Abraham and the Accepted Team!Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Can You Apply To Med School With Low Stats? [On-Demand Webinar] http://blog.accepted.com/2015/07/02/can-you-apply-to-med-school-with-low-stats-on-demand-webinar/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/07/02/can-you-apply-to-med-school-with-low-stats-on-demand-webinar/#respond Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:32:32 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31636 The answer: YES! Now’s your chance to catch up on valuable information you may have missed during last week’s webinar, Get Accepted to Medical School with Low Stats. Med school applicants with low GPA and/or MCAT scores – you don’t want to miss this! Tags: low stats, Medical School Admissions, webinar

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The answer: YES!

Watch the webinar!Now’s your chance to catch up on valuable information you may have missed during last week’s webinar, Get Accepted to Medical School with Low Stats.

Med school applicants with low GPA and/or MCAT scores – you don’t want to miss this!

Watch the webinar! Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Accepted And Next Step Bring You: MCAT Diagnostic Test Review Session http://blog.accepted.com/2015/07/01/accepted-and-next-step-bring-you-mcat-diagnostic-test-review-session/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/07/01/accepted-and-next-step-bring-you-mcat-diagnostic-test-review-session/#respond Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:49:36 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=32000 Next Step Test Prep has invited Accepted’s Linda Abraham to present What Does the MCAT Reveal About You? as part of its free webinar for med school applicants! Join NSTP and Accepted for the MCAT Diagnostic Test Review Session, Thursday July 9th @ 8pm EST. The MCAT review part of the webinar will be presented […]

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Next Step Test Prep has invited Accepted’s Linda Abraham to present What Does the MCAT Reveal About You? as part of its free webinar for med school applicants! Join NSTP and Accepted for the MCAT Diagnostic Test Review Session, Thursday July 9th @ 8pm EST.

The MCAT review part of the webinar will be presented by Bryan Schnedeker from Next Step.  Bryan will review lessons learned from Next Step’s free MCAT diagnostic test, and Linda will provide an overview of the MCAT’s role in the med school admissions process.

Join the webinar and learn what the MCAT reveals about you!

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about the new MCAT and the med school application process! Register today.

Following the event, Next Step will raffle off two 5-packs of their full length MCAT practice tests, and attendees will also be entered into a grand prize drawing, where they’ll have a chance to win all 9 Next Step MCAT prep books, 5 practice tests, and a two hour session with Next Step’s National Director of MCAT Content.

Any other questions about the med school application process? Subscribe to our blog or check out our med school consulting services!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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The Doctor As Renaissance Man http://blog.accepted.com/2015/07/01/the-doctor-as-renaissance-man/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/07/01/the-doctor-as-renaissance-man/#respond Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:14:21 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=32033 Ajay Major is a fourth year medical student who has accomplished an amazing amount while pursuing a combined BS/MBA/MD program. Look at all those letters that will soon follow his name! Listen to the recording of our interview to be inspired by this current medical student who is also the founder and editor-in-chief of an […]

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Listen to the show!Ajay Major is a fourth year medical student who has accomplished an amazing amount while pursuing a combined BS/MBA/MD program. Look at all those letters that will soon follow his name!

Listen to the recording of our interview to be inspired by this current medical student who is also the founder and editor-in-chief of an online magazine for med school students, Medstro Medical Student Ambassador, and somehow juggles a host of other roles while preparing to apply to residency programs.

00:02:16 – Regrets about choosing the BS/MBA/MD path.

00:04:16 – The case for a non-brand name education.

00:06:35 – What Ajay likes most about medical school.

00:08:29 – Best tip for premeds: Step out of your comfort zone!

00:10:30 – Glimpse into the activities of an “entrepreneur, medical student activist, and aspiring physician-journalist.”

00:16:10 – The trick to having time for everything.

00:17:22 – In-Training: what it is and who writes it.

00:19:10 – How Medstro and In-Training differ from SDN.

00:23:51 – Last piece of advice for med students and premeds.

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

Related links:

Ajay’s website
In – Training
In-House
Medstro
BS/MBA/MD Student Interview with Ajay Major
• 
Getting Ready for Residency: IV with a Med Student on the Way to Mayo
Writing Secondary Essays that Get You Accepted [webinar]

Related Shows:

• Elliptical, Meet Med School: Interview with Andrea Tooley
• Overcoming The Odds: A Story Of Med School Inspiration
• Baylor College Of Medicine: A Holistic Approach To Admissions
• Attn Med Applicants: A Class Is Matriculated Every Single Year
• Medical School Admissions 2015-2016: A Dean’s Perspective

Leave a Review for Admissions Straight Talk:

Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes! Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!
Download your copy of "Navigating the Med School Maze" today!

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An Interview With Our Own: Alicia McNease Nimonkar http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/30/an-interview-with-our-own-alicia-mcnease-nimonkar/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/30/an-interview-with-our-own-alicia-mcnease-nimonkar/#respond Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:46:46 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31803 Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Alicia McNease Nimonkar. Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you […]

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Click here to view Alicia's bio!Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Alicia McNease Nimonkar.

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

Alicia: Since my dad served in the Air Force for thirty years, I grew up all over the U.S. Fascinated by other perspectives, I chose to study English Literature for my Bachelor’s Degree. I am currently completing a Master’s Degree in Composition and Rhetoric as well as Literature.

My first book, The Definitive Guide to Premedical Postbaccalaureate Programs was published this year and is available on Amazon and the Accepted.com website. I teach yoga and quilting where I live in the Boston area.

Accepted: Congratulations on your new book! Can you tell us about it? Do you have any plans for future books?

Alicia: The book describes all the different types of postbac programs in existence and includes interviews with students who I helped gain acceptance into medical school as well as interviews with postbac program directors from around the country. I hope that it will serve as a resource for students who might otherwise give up on their dream of pursuing a medical education.

I have collaborated with the renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Loma K. Flowers, to write a book on emotional competence. The manuscript is currently under review. For my next project, I plan to write a book on secondary application essays to help students prepare for the application process in advance.

Accepted: Can you share 3 fun facts about yourself?

Alicia:

1.   I try to practice yoga and meditate almost every day.
2.  I have lived in Italy and Germany.
3.  I love to cook and just recently started making my own sushi.

Accepted: How does your experience as a yoga instructor contribute to your role as an admissions consultant?

Alicia: As a teacher, I am continually learning from my students how I can better support them. After receiving my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Certificate, I have started a 500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training with Natasha Rizopoulos and Barbara Benagh in Boston. I also recently completed Level 1 and Level 2 in Integrated Positional Therapy with Lee Albert, NMT.

In learning to assess body posture and language, I am able to provide clients with more in depth feedback during mock interviews about how they, often, hold their breath and their bodies. I hope to empower every student I work with to be more authentic and comfortable in the way they present themselves to selection committees – in writing and interviews.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your experience at UC Davis School of Medicine? How did that contribute to your career as an admissions consultant?

Alicia: Leading and serving on selection committees for over five years to select students for our postbac program provided me with a strong understanding of what factors help or hurt a student’s application. Supporting students through the entire application process from beginning to end brought me a lot of joy! I learned that with the right strategy and support my students were able to earn record high GPAs and the highest acceptance rates for any program like it in the State of California.

Accepted: What are your top 3 admissions tips?

Alicia:

1. It’s essential that you have an increasing trend in your GPA.

2. If possible, do not submit your application before you receive your MCAT score so that you can use that information to guide your strategy and school selection.

3. Be yourself. In all of your essays and interviews and allow the reader and interviewer to get to know you, for the best results.

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

See what our medical admissions services has to offer!Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• A Second Chance at Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs
• Med School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services
• How to Get the Most Out of Your Experience Working With A Medical School Consultant

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What You Need To Know About The New MCAT http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/28/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-mcat/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/28/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-mcat/#respond Sun, 28 Jun 2015 16:29:42 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31935 Beginning with test dates this spring, the MCAT changed to a new format. What do you need to know about the new MCAT? How is it scored? How is it different from the old version? Here are a few points: 1.  The new exam has 4 sections: •  Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems […]

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Visit our MCAT 101 page for all things MCAT

Difference #4: The new MCAT is LONGER.

Beginning with test dates this spring, the MCAT changed to a new format. What do you need to know about the new MCAT? How is it scored? How is it different from the old version? Here are a few points:

1.  The new exam has 4 sections:

•  Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems

•  Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems

•  Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior

•  Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.

2.  The newer version tests more material. It has been designed to integrate subjects and test your critical thinking skills, in order to test skills that are vital in med school.

3.  Along with the different exam structure comes a new scoring structure. Each section will be scored 118-132, for a total possible score of 528. The mean score for each section is expected to be 125, with an overall mean score of 500.

4.  The new exam is much longer than the old one: over 6 hours of testing time, and over 7 hours total.

5.  Score reports will include percentile ranks.

The AAMC expects about half of this year’s applicants to submit scores from the new exam, and that this number will grow in the coming years. (They will continue to report scores from the older exam through the 2019 application cycle.) However, some schools will stop accepting the old exam before that application cycle: check with the schools you are applying to if you want to apply with an old MCAT for the 2016-17 or later application cycles.

How can committees evaluate a pool that includes some applicants with scores from the old exam, some with scores from the new exam, and some who may have two separate scores (one old and one new)? Isn’t it like comparing apples and oranges?

A bit, and that’s why AAMC advises that med schools not try to compare one with the other, but rather evaluate each applicant’s score in the context of his/her application. Also, scores from the older exam will be understandable within the framework that they always have been, and scores from the new exam can be contextualized with the help of the percentile information.

Good luck on your MCAT!

Check out The New MCAT webinar now to learn how you can ace the exam!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success
MCAT Scores, MCAT Prep, and #MCAT2015 [Podcast]
• How the Adcom Views Multiple MCAT Scores

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4 Things To Do Before Submitting Your AMCAS Application http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/26/4-things-to-do-before-submitting-your-amcas-application-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/26/4-things-to-do-before-submitting-your-amcas-application-2/#respond Fri, 26 Jun 2015 15:54:48 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31898 While the AMCAS process is open for several months, it’s to your advantage to apply earlier rather than later, so that med schools can consider your application when they have more seats available to fill. With an ongoing process, how can you tell when your application is ready to submit? Here are four things we […]

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Watch our recent webinar "Create a Winning AMCAS Application"

Caution: You want 1-3 people to review your essay – not the entire world.

While the AMCAS process is open for several months, it’s to your advantage to apply earlier rather than later, so that med schools can consider your application when they have more seats available to fill. With an ongoing process, how can you tell when your application is ready to submit? Here are four things we advise that you do before you submit, to make sure that your app is in great shape:

1.  Check that your application paints an impressive, holistic, and accurate picture of you.

Each section of your application – your essays, your CV, all those boxes and fields, your letters of recommendation, your MCAT score – should provide a snapshot of who you are. Double check that all information is accurate, and that your snapshot presents you in the best light. The sections of your application should complement one another, similar to a puzzle, where each piece works together to create a complete, cohesive, unified picture.

2.  Recruit/hire someone to review your essays.

Your AMCAS essays and secondary essays aren’t done until another person (or other people) have looked them over. Have a friend, family member, or an experienced Accepted editor read through your essays, check for errors and inconsistencies, and offer constructive criticism. No, it’s not fun to have someone point out your mistakes, but your essays will be better because of it, and as a result, so will your chances of getting into your top choice med school. (Caution: You want 1-3 people to review your essay – not the entire world. This is definitely a case where too many cooks can spoil the soup—or, more precisely, confuse matters hopelessly.)

3.  Proof your entire application.

Applicants spend so much time proofing their essays (which is great) but often forget that they need to proof the rest of their application as well (not great). Proofread every component of your application – your personal statement, the boxes, the experienceseverything. Check for proper spelling and grammar and correct any errors. The entire application package should be neat and clean and error-free. Try reading your application aloud – it’s an excellent way to catch mistakes that your eyes may miss.

4.  Think about timing AND quality.

While it is important for medical school applicants to submit early in the process, it is better to send in the application a day or two later and present something that is polished and excellent, rather than submit a sloppy and rushed AMCAS app at the beginning of the process. So don’t procrastinate; there is no time to waste. At the same time, don’t compromise on quality in a rush to submit.

Once you’ve completed these four items then it’s time to confidently hit that “Submit” button!

Now, take another step: subscribe to our blog for helpful advice to guide you through your med school application journey!

Click here to view a recording of our "Create a Winning AMCAS Application!" webinarAccepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Ace the AMCAS Essay [Free Guide]
Med School, AMCAS & Personal Statement Consulting Services
• WHAT Should You Include in Your AMCAS Essay?

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Approaching The Diversity Essay Question http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/25/writing-the-diversity-essay/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/25/writing-the-diversity-essay/#respond Thu, 25 Jun 2015 16:27:04 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31871 Many applications now have a question, sometimes optional, geared to encouraging people with minority backgrounds or unusual educational or family histories to write about their background.  If you are an immigrant to the US, the child of immigrants or someone whose ethnicity is a minority in the US, you might find this question an interesting […]

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Learn How to Use Examples to Write an Exemplary Essay

Explain how your experiences built your character.

Many applications now have a question, sometimes optional, geared to encouraging people with minority backgrounds or unusual educational or family histories to write about their background.  If you are an immigrant to the US, the child of immigrants or someone whose ethnicity is a minority in the US, you might find this question an interesting one to show how your background will add to the mix of perspectives at the program you are applying to. If you are applying after having an unusual experience for applicants like joining the military, becoming part of a dance troupe, or caring for an elderly relative, you can use your experience to evoke the way in which you will bring diversity to campus.

Your family’s culture, situation and traditions, and the way they have helped you develop particular character and personality traits are of interest, as well unusual experiences that have shaped you. Perhaps you have grown up with a strong insistence on respecting elders, attending family events or learning your parents’ native language and culture. Perhaps you are close to grandparents and extended family who have taught you how teamwork can help everyone survive. Perhaps you have had to face and deal with difficulties that stem from your parents’ values being in conflict with those of your peers. Perhaps teachers have not always understood the elements of your culture or outside-of-school situation and how they pertain to your school performance. Perhaps you have suffered discrimination and formed your values and personality traits around your success in spite of the discrimination. Perhaps you have learned skills from a lifestyle that is outside the norm–living in foreign countries as the child of diplomats or contractors, performing professionally in theater, dance, music or sports, or communicating with a deaf sibling.

Understanding and explaining how your experience built your empathy for others, a strong will, and character is a good focus for the diversity question.

Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own!Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes [Free Guide]
Writing About Overcoming Obstacles in Your Application Essays [Short Video]
• How To Write About Overcoming Challenges Without Sounding Like A Whiner

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How Good A Predictor Is The MCAT? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/25/how-good-a-predictor-is-the-mcat/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/25/how-good-a-predictor-is-the-mcat/#respond Thu, 25 Jun 2015 15:49:59 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31847 According to a study in JAMA, students who took extra time on the MCAT (due to disability) were admitted to medical school at the same rate as other students, but later earned lower average scores on the USMLE Step Exams and took longer to graduate. Researchers looked at data from 1991-2015, and studied the MCAT […]

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Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for SuccessAccording to a study in JAMA, students who took extra time on the MCAT (due to disability) were admitted to medical school at the same rate as other students, but later earned lower average scores on the USMLE Step Exams and took longer to graduate.

Researchers looked at data from 1991-2015, and studied the MCAT information (and subsequent academic achievement) of applicants who received extra time on the exam, compared with those who took the standard time. They found that while admission rates were not significantly different between these two groups, students who used extra time on the MCAT had lower pass rates on their first attempt taking the USMLE exams (Step 1, 82% vs 94%; Step 2 CK, 86% vs 95%; Step 2 CS, 92% vs 97%). They also graduated at lower rates, and took longer to do so:  after 4 years, 67 percent vs 86 percent; 5 years, 82 percent vs 94 percent; 6 years, 85 percent vs 96 percent; 7 years, 88 percent vs 96 percent; and 8 years, 88 percent vs 97 percent.

Researchers suggest that the new MCAT, which provides more time per question, might help ensure that the exam functions as a more accurate predictor, by alleviating some people’s need to request extra time.

They also suggested that the gaps illuminated by the study indicate that medical schools could do a better job creating a supportive learning environment for students with disabilities.

Download your copy of "Navigating the Med School Maze" today!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

Applying to Medical School with Low Stats: What You Need to Know
• Improve Your MCAT Score for Medical School Acceptance
How To Write The Statement Of Disadvantage

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Exclusive Low Stats Med Webinar Airing Live On Thursday! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/23/exclusive-low-stats-med-webinar-airing-live-on-thursday/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/23/exclusive-low-stats-med-webinar-airing-live-on-thursday/#respond Tue, 23 Jun 2015 17:43:35 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31632 Have you registered and marked your calendars for Thursday’s webinar, Get Accepted to Medical School with Low Stats? Be sure to reserve your spot by signing up ASAP (free) and get ready to learn how to boost your strengths so that the admissions committee won’t dwell on your weaknesses! Register here: Get Accepted to Medical […]

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Have you registered and marked your calendars for Thursday’s webinar, Get Accepted to Medical School with Low Stats?

Register for the webinar!

Be sure to reserve your spot by signing up ASAP (free) and get ready to learn how to boost your strengths so that the admissions committee won’t dwell on your weaknesses!

Register here: Get Accepted to Medical School with Low Stats

Time: This Thursday (That’s June 25th) at 5:00 PM PST/8:00 PM EST

Grab your spot! See you soon!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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An Interview With Our Own: Jessica Pishko http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/23/an-interview-with-our-own-jessica-pishko/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/23/an-interview-with-our-own-jessica-pishko/#respond Tue, 23 Jun 2015 16:06:21 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31799 Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Jessica Pishko. Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Where do you […]

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Read Jessica's Bio here!Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Jessica Pishko.

Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Where do you currently live?

Jessica: I went to Rice University in Houston, Texas for undergrad where I majored in English and French. I currently live in San Francisco with my family.

Accepted: Can you share 3 fun facts about yourself?

Jessica:

1. I used to be a yoga teacher (but haven’t taught in a few years).

2. I worked in the French department in college where one of my primary jobs was to open bottles of wine for faculty parties. So, I got very good at it and used to work at a few faculty parties as a bartender for extra money.

3. I have a two-year old daughter and a Chihuahua named Sammy.

Accepted: Do you hold any graduate degrees? 

Jessica: Yes, I have a JD from Harvard Law School and an MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University.

Accepted: Can you walk us through the jobs and experiences you had that led you to become an admissions consultant for Accepted? 

Jessica: Before I went back to school for my MFA, I worked as a recruiter – this was 2008, which was a terrible time to be recruiting. But, I did learn a lot about the legal job market and found that I enjoyed working with people. As an MFA student, I had the opportunity to work in Columbia’s writing center, where I helped all sorts of students with their writing, from admissions essays to final papers. Based on my work there, I was asked to become a writing consultant for Columbia’s Postbac Program and worked with students applying to medical school. I really enjoyed helping people achieve their dreams, as cheesy as that sounds, and am thrilled to be on the team at Accepted.

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about consulting?

Jessica: As someone who switched careers herself, I’m very sympathetic to the challenges of applying to school and getting accepted into the right program. I really like to help people who are working hard to achieve their goals and make their dream careers happen. That’s very satisfying for me, and I hope it’s equally satisfying for my clients!

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

Jessica: Law school, medical school and graduate school.

Accepted: What are your top 3 admissions tips?

Jessica:

1.  Try to see the application – including the personal statement and interview, if applicable – as an opportunity rather than a hurdle to overcome. I think that changing your attitude about the process helps to reduce anxiety.

2.  Be flexible and willing to change. It can be hard to take criticism or encounter a set-back, but if you are able to let go of your preset notions, it’s a lot easier to revise and improve your application and admissions strategy.

3.  Be yourself. Too often, I think applicants worry about what admissions committees want or try to “stand out” rather than write something that actually reflects who they are.

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

View our catalog of admission services! Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Get Your Game On: Prepping for Your Grad School Application
• Law School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services
• How to Get the Most Out of Your Experience Working With A Medical School Consultant

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Create A Winning AMCAS Application [Watch On Demand!] http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/22/free-amcas-workshop-available-online/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/22/free-amcas-workshop-available-online/#respond Mon, 22 Jun 2015 18:36:59 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30464 Now’s your chance to catch up on valuable information you may have missed during our recent med school admissions webinar, Create a Winning AMCAS Application. Med school applicants struggling with the AMCAS application – you won’t want to miss this! View Create a Winning AMCAS Application for free now! Tags: AMCAS, Medical School Admissions, webinar

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Watch Create a Winning AMCAS Application!

Now’s your chance to catch up on valuable information you may have missed during our recent med school admissions webinar, Create a Winning AMCAS Application.

Med school applicants struggling with the AMCAS application – you won’t want to miss this!

Watch the AMCAS webinar!

View Create a Winning AMCAS Application for free now!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Using Med School Admissions Stats Strategically http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/22/using-med-school-admissions-stats-strategically/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/22/using-med-school-admissions-stats-strategically/#respond Mon, 22 Jun 2015 16:13:40 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31727 As the new med school application cycle hits its stride, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by stats and rankings. For example, US News recently posted a list of the med schools that received the highest volume of applications in 2014. Here’s the list: (A couple of notes: RNP indicates that a school is […]

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As the new med school application cycle hits its stride, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by stats and rankings. For example, US News recently posted a list of the med schools that received the highest volume of applications in 2014.

Here’s the list:

Find out what the med school rankings really mean. [Free Download](A couple of notes: RNP indicates that a school is ranked in the bottom quarter of the US News rankings. Unranked schools were not considered for this listing. For more information, see the report. )

Now, a few things: by itself, the number of applications a school received—without any other information (such as the admission rate, the yield, the average GPA/MCAT of admitted students)—is not that helpful. You need to contextualize this data as part of the other information you have about each school.

For example, if all you know about Drexel is that it received 14,648 applications, that’s not a lot to go on. If you can add to that the information that 622 applicants were admitted (a rate of about 4.25 %), you immediately know much more. Of those 622 admitted applicants, 260 enrolled. The median GPA of admitted students was 3.59, and median MCAT was 31. Now you have a fuller picture, and you can start to evaluate whether your own scores might make you a competitive applicant.

With this in mind, here are a few tips for how to use stats strategically in your application process:

1. Be realistic about where you are competitive and apply accordingly.

2. Apply to a lot of schools— around 15-20 is reasonable (and more if you’re applying to schools where your scores are less competitive). Medical school is hard to get into!

3. Think carefully about stats and their implications. On its own, application volume doesn’t tell you very much. But when you add information about acceptance rates, yields, and the scores of admitted students, you have more to go on.

Are you misusing the med school rankings? Click here to find out!Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• U.S. News 2016 Best Medical Schools – Research & Primary Care 
• Numbers Aren’t Everything When You Choose Your Med Schools
• Where Should I Apply To Med School?

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How To Write The Statement Of Disadvantage http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/21/how-to-write-the-statement-of-disadvantage-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/21/how-to-write-the-statement-of-disadvantage-2/#respond Sun, 21 Jun 2015 15:47:26 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31715 If you have experienced any form of social, economic or educational disadvantage—at any time in your life—you can apply to medical school as a disadvantaged applicant.  To receive this designation means that you will need to complete an additional essay on the AMCAS application.  The character limit for this short essay is 1,325.  Examples of […]

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You are heroic for overcoming obstacles that would have prevented most people from applying to medical school.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Resources:

Create a Winning AMCAS Application! [Webinar]
AMCAS Application Packages 
• WHAT Should You Include in Your AMCAS Essay?

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Tips For Applicants With A Low MCAT Score (Part 2) http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/19/tips-for-applicants-with-low-mcat-scores-part-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/19/tips-for-applicants-with-low-mcat-scores-part-2/#respond Fri, 19 Jun 2015 15:39:27 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31586 The MCAT score is crucial to making it to the interview stage of the medical school application process. For those with low MCAT scores 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 […]

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Click here to download our "Navigate the Med School Maze" guide now!The MCAT score is crucial to making it to the interview stage of the medical school application process. For those with low MCAT scores 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.

Applying to Medical School with Low Stats CTAAccepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

The Results Are In: Analyzing Your MCAT Diagnostic Exam [Webinar]
• Improve Your MCAT Score for Medical School Acceptance
• Boost your GPA for Medical School Acceptance

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Get Accepted To Med School With Low Stats! [Webinar] http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/18/get-accepted-to-med-school-with-low-stats-webinar/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/18/get-accepted-to-med-school-with-low-stats-webinar/#respond Thu, 18 Jun 2015 17:44:12 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31628 Don’t forget to register for our upcoming webinar, Get Accepted to 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. During the webinar, Alicia McNease Nimokar, senior advisor at Accepted.com, will provide loads of advice […]

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Don’t forget to register for our upcoming webinar, Get Accepted to 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.

Register for our live webinar: Get Accepted to Medical School with Low Stats!

During the webinar, Alicia McNease Nimokar, senior advisor at Accepted.com, will provide loads of advice on how to get accepted to medical school despite those low numbers.

Mark your calendars!

Date: Thursday, June 25, 2015

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

Get Accepted to Medical School with Low Stats (Registration is free, but required.)

grab-your-spotAccepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Promoting Financial Health For Doctors http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/17/promoting-financial-health-for-doctors/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/17/promoting-financial-health-for-doctors/#respond Wed, 17 Jun 2015 17:09:42 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31607 “All doctors are rich.” “Doctors don’t know anything about money.” If you are a doctor (or will be one day), you’ve probably heard all sorts of myths about doctors and finance. Enter Dr. James Dahle, the White Coat Investor and your “colleague in the physician’s lounge who can tell you how the world really works.” […]

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Listen to the show!“All doctors are rich.” “Doctors don’t know anything about money.”

If you are a doctor (or will be one day), you’ve probably heard all sorts of myths about doctors and finance.

Enter Dr. James Dahle, the White Coat Investor and your “colleague in the physician’s lounge who can tell you how the world really works.”

Listen to the recording of our talk with Dr. Dahle to hear his views on successful financial strategy for doctors and future doctors.

00:03:09 – Why Jim joined the military and became an emergency medicine doctor.

00:06:36 – Sick of getting ripped off: How the White Coat Investor site got started.

00:10:29 – The bad financial experience that broke this camel’s back.

00:11:36 – Income vs. wealth and how to make yourself wealthy.

00:12:48 – Advice for premeds: Get accepted to medical school.

00:14:49 – Featured Applicant Question: Should I attend the med school I was accepted to or pursue a Masters and reapply to my dream school next year?

00:17:11 – The best financial move for medical school students.

00:19:32 – Important steps that residents can take to shape their financial futures.

00:21:25 – The optimal time to become financially literate.

00:24:47 – Set yourself up for financial success, but do work that you’d do for free.

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

Related Links:

whitecoatinvestor.com
Medical School Admissions 101
Residency Admissions 101

Related Shows:

• Everything You Wanted to Know About MD/MBA Programs
Baylor College Of Medicine: A Holistic Approach To Admissions
• Attn Med Applicants: A Class Is Matriculated Every Single Year 
• Elliptical, Meet Med School: Interview with Andrea Tooley
• Medical School Admissions 2015-2016: A Dean’s Perspective

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

Download your free Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes!

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For Parents: How To Help Your Premeds In Waitlist Limbo http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/17/for-parents-how-to-help-your-premeds-in-waitlist-limbo/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/17/for-parents-how-to-help-your-premeds-in-waitlist-limbo/#respond Wed, 17 Jun 2015 16:12:15 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31618 It’s happened.  You and your premeds’ worst fears are coming true.  They have not received an acceptance to medical school—only waiting list notifications—and it’s getting late in the cycle.  You are both getting more and more anxious. Having a decade of experience in this field, I recommend that you, as a parent, take the following […]

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"Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success" Download your guide today!

Allow them the time to grieve, but encourage them “to get back on the horse.”

It’s happened.  You and your premeds’ worst fears are coming true.  They have not received an acceptance to medical school—only waiting list notifications—and it’s getting late in the cycle.  You are both getting more and more anxious. Having a decade of experience in this field, I recommend that you, as a parent, take the following action:

1. Gain some perspective. This is not your application.  You have a lifetime of experience with which to help your premeds see the bigger picture.  The most important thing that you can do is to help them gain a sense of perspective. Worst case scenario, even if they get rejected this cycle, it is not the end of the world—even though it might feel like it.  Things could always be worse.  And they are for many people out there who will never be able to access higher education to even be on the path to pursuing a medical degree.  Think about engaging in volunteer work and helping others to have a stronger frame of reference from which to examine the situation, especially during this time.

2. Be encouraging. The way that you react to this situation will influence how your premeds do.  Stay active.  Exercise.  Keep busy.  Your example will help them to do the same.  If you ask them everyday about the status of their application, it could drive you and them crazy.  Focus on the positive and they will, too.

3. Help them strategize. If you want to do something to help, you can research their options and/or gift them an hour of editing/advising time with a consultant like me who routinely helps students at all stages of the process get into medical school.  They can use the time to talk about their options, postbac programs or SMP’s, or they can use the time to create an outline for a letter of interest with edits on their drafts.  These letters can remind the school of their interest and possibly even move them up the waiting list.

4. Teach them resilience. Even if they do receive a rejection, this situation is an opportunity to increase their resilience.  Allow them the time to grieve the lost opportunity, but when they’re ready, encourage them “to get back on the horse.”  Reapplicants who improve as much as they can on their applications demonstrate enormous resilience in simply having the courage to reapply.

When things do not go as planned, we are given the opportunity to demonstrate character.  Even after such a disappointing experience as receiving a rejection from medical school, we can encourage our premed students to learn from the experience. They can use the reapplication to improve their strategy and to fine tune their approach.

Give your premed the space to grow from the experience.  And when in doubt, call an expert—we’d love to help.

Download Medical School Reapplicant Tips for Succcess

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

Related Resources:

• Parents of Pre-Med Students: How Much Help is Too Much Help?
• 7 Reasons Medical School Applicants are Rejected
• A Second Chance to Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs

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Tips For Applicants With A Low MCAT Score (Part 1) http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/16/tips-for-med-applicants-with-a-low-mcat-score/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/16/tips-for-med-applicants-with-a-low-mcat-score/#respond Tue, 16 Jun 2015 16:11:13 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31465 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) […]

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How can you get into medical school with low stats? Register for our webinar and find out!

Many schools will screen you based solely on your MCAT score.

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, 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.

Applying to Medical School with Low Stats CTAAccepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success
• Numbers Aren’t Everything When You Choose Your Med Schools
Applying to Medical School With Low Stats: What You Need to Know

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An Interview With Our Own: Natalie Grinblatt Epstein http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/16/an-interview-with-our-own-natalie-grinblatt-epstein/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/16/an-interview-with-our-own-natalie-grinblatt-epstein/#respond Tue, 16 Jun 2015 15:50:09 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31580 Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Natalie Grinblatt Epstein. Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you […]

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View Natalie's bio page!Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Natalie Grinblatt Epstein.

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

Natalie: I’m a first generation immigrant who grew up in suburban Detroit surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins (we have a large family) that didn’t speak English, so I picked up Yiddish, French, and a little Hebrew along the way. My parents felt travel and community service were both extremely important to our upbringing and by the time I was 18, I put in over 1000 hours of community service for organizations ranging from the American Cancer Association to UNICEF. We also traveled to 20 different countries before I began university (that count is closer to 80 now).

I attended the University of Michigan and my closest friends and I lived in the same dorm, so we created our own sorority without having to go through pledging. We are best friends to this day.

I waived out of a lot of courses through AP and university testing, so I actually started as a sophomore, but decided to use that to explore the sciences, the arts and a lot of literature. I was active in theater groups, political action groups and I was lucky enough to be assigned on a research project that changed my world. I studied the Elizabethan period in depth and dropped pre-med having fallen in love with Shakespeare instead of Jonas Salk.

Theater enabled me to be fearless, but it didn’t lead to post-BA careers, so after spending two years in retail, I returned to Ann Arbor for my MBA.

Accepted: Can you walk us through the jobs and experiences that led you to become an admissions consultant for Accepted?

Natalie: I initially pursued the MBA for a career in CPG, but again, a research project turned my world upside down and my marketing professor/mentor suggested I implement my research at Michigan. I thought I would stay for a year, I stayed for 11. Understanding that I needed to diversify my resume, I was offered and accepted the role of Admissions Director at Cornell.

My first day was memorable: I walked in from orientation and 75% of my staff had resigned (I hadn’t even started yet), I negotiated to move Financial Aid under my charge, I discovered 10,000 “inquiries” that were still being hand entered and then automated the system. That year we broke all prior records despite being short staffed, and I created a team that I knew could navigate the most rigorous rapids.

I worked my way up at Michigan from Assistant Director, to Associate Director and finally Director managing not only admissions, but also students services, student affairs, events, marketing (now each of those has separate departments, but I was a one woman shop under the guidance of amazing mentors). I created my own roles at both Michigan and Cornell. They trusted me to make the school better, and I used intra and inter university relationships to do so. I created recruiting teams out of multiple schools to share costs and also data. It worked well for all schools who are now solidly placed in the top 15. Moreover, I volunteered for GMAC (the Graduate Management Admissions Council) for 9 years in order to strengthen those relationships. At Cornell, no one thought it possible to work together with the Fundraising offices at other schools to pipeline students. I institutionalized this at Cornell and again, it works well for all parties involved.

I loved Michigan and Cornell, but on a snowy day in Ithaca, I received a call from Arizona State University. My best friend lived in Phoenix, and I was missing the sunshine. I accomplished a lot at Cornell and felt like it was time for a move. So I did.

Soon after moving to Phoenix, I met the man who became my husband. He sent me a business plan before our first official date. I wasn’t sure if he wanted to date me or hire me. He did both. We launched a business together and then tied the knot. I became a mother instantly to two wonderful boys (my stepsons) and a technology venture.

We sold the business two years later, and I missed higher education, so I called Linda Abraham and asked her if she needed another consultant. I knew Linda because she was running chats for us that benefitted Cornell and Accepted.com, and I really enjoyed working with her. I knew she was sharp and I always want to surround myself with brilliant and positive people and Linda certainly fits that definition. I’ve been with Accepted.com ever since that phone call in 2008 and I enjoy being on the other side of the table helping clients understand the inner workings of admissions. Transparency helps everyone, and my knowledge has been a powerful tool for my clients. I also brought on two of my former admissions colleagues and have been conducting some business development for Accepted.com when I have time.

Accepted: What is your favorite book?

Natalie: My favorite readings are Shakespeare’s canon. I still love to read the history plays. Currently, I’m reading The Swerve, by Stephen Greenblatt (no relation), but this Harvard professor writes eloquently and I’m learning a lot about how once lost classical literature was found again and created the entire Renaissance movement.

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about consulting?

Natalie: My favorite thing about consulting is helping others make their dreams come true. I find it so gratifying to hear, “I’ve been accepted and I couldn’t have done it without you.” It’s a great boost to my ego, but more importantly, I love to see my clients blossom and grow. Education is vital to growth and if I can help clients gain the education they deserve, I feel I’ve accomplished my vision for the future.

In terms of the nuts and bolts, I love brainstorming ideas with my clients and preparing them for interviews. I believe I have the greatest impact in helping my clients shape their stories both in their application and in person.

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

Natalie: Given my business school background, I work mostly with MBAs and EMBAs, but I also work with high school students (because I did work with undergraduates at Michigan), PhDs (because I did work with the PhDs at Cornell), MF or MFEs (because I had experience reviewing those candidates files as well) and MPH or EMPH because they are similar to MBA candidates and I have a personal interest and read a lot about healthcare. I also work with a variety of dual degree candidates because I’ve had that experience as well.

Accepted: What are your top 3 admissions tips?

Natalie:

1. Keep it simple (many clients want to cram everything into an essay and it doesn’t work).

2. Show your multi-dimensionality. For example, I love Columbia Business School’s question, “What would your cluster be surprised to learn about you?” Surprise them. Many clients think this is business only, but as an admissions director, I loved reading about other things that motivated my candidates: athletics, cooking, unique travel; musical instruments; standup comedy (Twitter’s CEO, a fellow Michigan graduate, spent many years as a standup comic). Don’t be a one trick pony.

3. Use relationships you have to put in a good word for you (not too many or that becomes desperate, but a shout out coming from a faculty member, student or alum will gain the attention of the admissions director).

4. I know you asked for three, but I have 5 suggestions: Seek the help you need (consulting, tutoring, editing, proof-reading, resume-writing, interview rehearsals).

5. Finally, don’t wait until the last minute. Applying to school takes time, introspection, and a realistic outlook. Cast the net widely and you will land softly and in the right place for you.

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

See how Accepted can help you succeed!Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

MBA Interview Prep: How to Ace Your Interviews [Free Guide]
• MBA Admissions Consulting and Editing Services
MBA Admissions According to an Expert [Podcast]

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TMDSAS Personal Characteristics Essay: What Do They Want? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/15/tmdsas-personal-characteristics-essay-what-do-they-want/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/15/tmdsas-personal-characteristics-essay-what-do-they-want/#respond Mon, 15 Jun 2015 15:50:23 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31555 The Accepted editors recently had a productive discussion about the Personal Characteristics Essay from this year’s TMDSAS application. Here’s the prompt: Learning from others is enhanced in educational settings that include individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Please describe your personal characteristics (background, talents, skills, etc.) or experiences that would add to the educational experience […]

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An experience doesn’t need to be earth-shattering. You don’t need to have cured cancer or climbed Everest. What it needs to be is meaningful. That means that you’ve thought through what this experience means to you, how it has prepared you for the environment you’ll encounter in med school, and how your unique/diverse perspective will help you contribute.

An experience is something that is meaningful. You don’t need to have cured cancer or climbed Everest.

The Accepted editors recently had a productive discussion about the Personal Characteristics Essay from this year’s TMDSAS application. Here’s the prompt:

Learning from others is enhanced in educational settings that include individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Please describe your personal characteristics (background, talents, skills, etc.) or experiences that would add to the educational experience of others.

Is this primarily a diversity question? A question about your unique educational experiences? A combination?

Here’s what Dr. Herman (Flash) Gordon, one of our expert med school consultants, had to say:

“As a med school educator, and former chair of admissions, I see this as a purposeful question.  Medical education is changing from the old didactic style to peer-peer education (a subset of “interactive learning”).  Typical models are case-based instruction, team learning, and pair-share.  For this to be most effective, there needs to be something to learn from your peers.  In general, the more diverse your peers, the more you will learn.

“So I see this prompt as trying to elicit how well the candidate will fit into the new model of med ed.  It would be good for applicants to describe experience with such educational models and to reflect on what they got out of the experience, as well as what they were able to contribute to others.”

In other words: this is both a diversity essay and something more than that—it’s asking you to think through the ways that your unique background and experiences will help you contribute to an evolving peer-peer education model. Being able to discuss previous experiences in a meaningful way will help you here.

A diversity essay, like any personal essay, can be anxiety-producing for applicants: some people get caught up in telling the stories they think the committee wants to hear (but not putting their own, unique imprint on them), or block their own writing process by convincing themselves that they don’t have an experience worth sharing.

Another member of our med team, Dr. Rebecca Blustein, shared her advice: “It’s worth remembering that your experience doesn’t need to be earth-shattering. You don’t need to have cured cancer or climbed Everest. What it needs to be is meaningful. That means that you’ve thought through what this experience means to you, how it has prepared you for the environment you’ll encounter in med school, and how your unique/diverse perspective will help you contribute.”

As always, if you need help with essay strategy, our experts would be happy to speak with you!

See our catalog of medical services!Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Ace the AMCAS Essay, a free guide
• Meaningful Experiences For Medical School Applicants
Get Accepted to Medical School with Low Stats, a free webinar

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I’m About to Make Your Day… http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/14/im-about-to-make-your-day-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/14/im-about-to-make-your-day-2/#respond Sun, 14 Jun 2015 16:24:39 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31493 …by giving my essay a catchy opening line that doesn’t turn you away or bore you to tears. See, I could have started this tip post with “Today I am going to tell you how to create a compelling essay opening,” but you probably would have skipped over something as drab as that. How about […]

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Download Your Free Guide to Crafting a Killer Admissions Resume

Does your opening line catch the reader’s attention?

…by giving my essay a catchy opening line that doesn’t turn you away or bore you to tears.

See, I could have started this tip post with “Today I am going to tell you how to create a compelling essay opening,” but you probably would have skipped over something as drab as that. How about these?

It is the art of philosophical car washing that got me thinking about pursuing an MBA.

or

There are numerous ways to make a banana split cry.

…now THOSE are essays or personal statements I’d like to read!

Yes, you want an engaging opening for your admissions essay or personal statement, but you also want to make sure to avoid anything obvious or chock full of clichés.

A good essay opening is one that:

• …sets the tone. A serious essay should be introduced by a serious opening line. If an intro sentence makes you chuckle, on the other hand, then you can assume the essay itself it humorous as well.

• …raises intrigue. Your essay’s opening line should encourage questioning or engender curiosity. Like for our first example above, “What is philosophical car washing?” or “What is the art form of this activity like?” or, as per our second example above, “Huh?” And that’s okay too!

• …surprising, shocking, or suspenseful. Causing your reader to flinch, raise an eyebrow in surprise, jump with shock, or furrow her forehead from suspense is a good thing. That reader will want to read on.

Grab your readers’ attention so they will read your essay because they want to and not because they have to.

NOTE: If you can’t think of a catchy opening, but know what you plan on writing, feel free to write your essay first and add a catchy hook at the beginning of the essay once you’re done, or sometime along the way.

Download your free Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes! Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application
• From Example to Exemplary – A Free Guide
• Writing The MBA Application Essay

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Houston Anesthesiologist Rockets Through Residency http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/14/interview-with-rishi-kumar-md/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/14/interview-with-rishi-kumar-md/#respond Sun, 14 Jun 2015 16:18:24 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31513 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 Rishi Kumar… Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as […]

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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 Rishi Kumar…

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Where did you go for med school? What are some of your hobbies?

Rishi: Howdy! I’m a Texan through and through having lived in Houston for practically my whole life. I finished high school a year early and decided to utilize a scholarship at Houston Baptist University to complete a double major in Chemistry and Biochemistry Molecular Biology over three years. I took a year off to teach MCAT courses and ultimately attended my dream medical school – Baylor College of Medicine.

I see myself as a stereotypical nerd who enjoys computer games, programming, and absolutely anything tech-related! I also enjoy watching/playing basketball and investing in the stock market.

Accepted: Where are you completing your residency, and what stage are you at? What specialty?

Rishi: I’m about to begin my third year of anesthesiology residency at Baylor College of Medicine in the Texas Medical Center. Afterwards, I plan to pursue either one or two fellowships in cardiovascular anesthesia +/- critical care medicine.

Accepted: What attracted you to anesthesiology?

Rishi: The biggest draw about anesthesiology is having the ability to apply advanced physiology and pharmacology to every anesthetic I perform. Additionally, anesthesiologists can perform a myriad of procedures. For example, I had a recent call shift where I placed an arterial line, performed a emergent endotracheal intubation in the ICU, came back to the pre-op area and did femoral and sciatic peripheral nerve blocks, placed several intravenous lines using ultrasound, performed an epidural anesthetic, and ultimately placed a central venous catheter. It’s a field which requires quick thinking in critical situations and finesse with procedures.

Another aspect which I’ve come to appreciate is that 100% of my attention is focused on the patient in front of me. I don’t have 20 patients to round on. I don’t spend eight hours talking about the diagnosis and treatment (a la internal medicine rounds). Instead, I’m the one immediately diagnosing problems, administering medications, and making adjustments to keep patients safe under the physiologic stress of surgery.

Finally, my colleagues are incredibly bright and laid back! Residency is tough, but it’s a little easier to tolerate when the people around you are amiable.

Accepted: What have been some of the challenging and rewarding aspects of your residency training so far?

Rishi: The most challenging aspect of residency was easily the steep learning curve in the first month of anesthesia – learning to properly intubate, place lines, prioritize events, anticipate problems, diagnose and treat changes, etc. There are hundreds of small parts which sum into an efficient anesthetic, so learning how to best execute each one was initially a struggle. Looking back, it’s almost laughable how much I’ve matured in terms of knowledge base and skill set as an anesthesia provider.

The most rewarding aspect of my training has easily been my commitment to patient safety. Circulating nurses are busy managing the operative flow. Surgeons and scrub techs are focused on the surgical goals of the case. Who is actually watching the patient? Your anesthesiologist!

Surgery is gruesome and unnatural. Patients are often times scared to tears in the pre-operative area. I take this as an opportunity to establish professional rapport by framing everything in the context of maintaining patient safety above all else. Their safe operative course is a responsibility I take very seriously and constantly motivate others to recognize. Also, no one can fault you for doing something in the patient’s best interest. My surgical colleagues have come to realize how I conduct my anesthetics, and many have expressed gratitude along the way. =)

Accepted: From your blog, it seems like you have a variety of diverse interests (sports, tech, gaming, etc). How do you balance work/life as a resident?

Rishi: Some of the more organized residents out there would likely say they have structured schedules incorporating recreational activities with their work loads.

I’m not one of them, lol.

I sort of let each day unfold depending on my mood. After a busy shift, I might just watch some sports, read, and then hit the sack early. Other days I’ll be doing laundry at midnight, grocery shopping at 6 AM, and playing video games in my PJs afterwards (always a kid at heart!) If there’s a big exam coming up, then my time will naturally shift towards preparing for it.

Truth be told, my work life is incredibly fulfilling in so many regards. Everything else I can squeeze into my schedule is just icing. =)

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

1. Be prepared to begin your real training. Medical school helped you learn the basics, but now you’re a doctor. Your colleagues and patients will be looking to you for answers. Serve them well.

2. Humility above all else. Medicine is filled with brilliant people with all sorts of incredible life experiences. Never let your accomplishments cloud your pursuit for selflessness.

3. Most importantly… remember what got you here. Your friends. Your family. Your hobbies and interests. Hold onto your past times and those who supported you.

You can follow Rishi’s blog at RK.md. Thank you Rishi for sharing your story with us – we wish you the best of luck!

Download your copy of "Navigating the Med School Maze" today!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Med School Essays
Residency Applications: How to Match, a free webinar
• An Inside Look at the Medical School Journey

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Get To Know Accepted! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/12/get-to-know-accepted/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/12/get-to-know-accepted/#respond Fri, 12 Jun 2015 16:39:22 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31490 As the dynamic and thoughtful community at Accepted continues to grow, we’d like to take a moment to thank you for your engagement and to introduce ourselves to those of you who may not know what we are all about. Keep up the great conversation in the comments section! We love hearing from you. Related […]

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As the dynamic and thoughtful community at Accepted continues to grow, we’d like to take a moment to thank you for your engagement and to introduce ourselves to those of you who may not know what we are all about.

Keep up the great conversation in the comments section! We love hearing from you.

See how Accepted can help you succeed!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• Get to know our admissions consultants
Download a free admissions guide
Check out the Admissions Straight Talk Podcast

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Detailed Instructions For Writing Your AMCAS Personal Statement http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/10/detailed-instructions-for-writing-your-amcas-personal-statement/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/10/detailed-instructions-for-writing-your-amcas-personal-statement/#respond Wed, 10 Jun 2015 16:28:56 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=29882 Do you want an experienced guide to walk you through the AMCAS personal statement writing process?Check out the video recording of our recent webinar, 5-Step Guide to Successful Medical School Personal Statements, in which Jessica Pishko, one of Accepted’s top consultants, discusses the 5 steps you MUST take if you want to create a winning […]

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Do you want an experienced guide to walk you through the AMCAS personal statement writing process?Watch the webinar!Check out the video recording of our recent webinar, 5-Step Guide to Successful Medical School Personal Statements, in which Jessica Pishko, one of Accepted’s top consultants, discusses the 5 steps you MUST take if you want to create a winning medical school personal statement.

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

Watch the webinar!Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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An Interview With Our Own: Herman “Flash” Gordon http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/09/an-interview-with-our-own-herman-flash-gordon/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/09/an-interview-with-our-own-herman-flash-gordon/#respond Tue, 09 Jun 2015 15:56:28 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31369 Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Herman “Flash” Gordon. Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Where do […]

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Click here to see how 'Flash' get you the acceptance you are waiting for!Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Herman “Flash” Gordon.

Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Where do you currently live?

Flash: I was born in Tokyo and have lived in many places, both inside and outside the US. I was a biochem major at Harvard and then a developmental neuroscience graduate student at Caltech. Despite my apparent credentials as a biologist, I always seem to come back to programming. My early talents were in math and then they evolved into programming. I’ve had a research career in developmental neuroscience. Now I’ve developed a pedagogy and associated software called ThinkShare™ to support the development of problem solving skills. I live in Tucson, AZ.

Accepted: Why “Flash”?

Flash: When I was in high school, I had a job as a system programmer for the Purdue University Computer Center. My office mates were Moira Gunn, now host of Tech Nation on NPR, and Ward Cunningham, later inventor of the Wiki. In those days, we submitted programming “jobs” as stacks of punch cards to a main frame. The first card was a 5 character job card. Employees got to use their last names, so my job card read GORDN. The resulting line printer output would then end up in my cubby labeled GORDN. One day, I couldn’t find my job output, and I was looking all around for it. People were smiling and giggling in the printer room. Finally, someone said, “Look under FLASH.” Ward didn’t like the missing “O” in my job card, so he swapped my job card for one with a 5 character name and created a new cubby. I’ve been Flash ever since.

Accepted: Can you tell us more about ThinkShare™?

Flash: ThinkShare™ is a social networking platform for developing problem solving skills. I invented it to support a course I teach about scientific problem solving. ThinkShare has really taken off for teaching Case Based Instruction in med school where small groups of students work on “challenges” online and then come together in face-to-face sessions to review and extend their work.

ThinkShare supports “structured problem solving” which is the use of a stepwise structure when working on a problem. A typical structure is 1) frame the problem, 2) brainstorm, 3) strategize, 4) execute, 5) reflect. By separating the steps, people know what they’re supposed to be doing, and they don’t get stuck going in circles.

With ThinkShare, students work in parallel, and after having made their own entry, they get to see peer entries at the same step and are free to edit their own entries in response. Students in this environment own their own entries, but they benefit from the compare and contrast with peers engaged at the same level of the problem. ThinkShare also provides instructors with a window into students’ minds. After working online, everyone comes together, aware of each other’s thinking. This jump starts the face-to-face session so that it gets moving more quickly and goes deeper as well.

ThinkShare leverages diversity in that everyone learns from each other’s perspectives and approaches. Even in scientific problem solving, where there is one answer, there can be many, very different ways to that answer. It’s very powerful to see the tools that others use and to be able to add them to your own toolbox.

ThinkShare is now available to everyone at ThinkShareApp.com. There are free, basic, and premium versions.

Accepted: What is your favorite flavor ice cream?

Flash: Pistachio (gelato actually).

Accepted: Do you hold any graduate degrees?

Flash: PhD.

Accepted: Can you walk us through the jobs and experiences you had that led you to become an admissions consultant for Accepted? 

Flash: My first exposure to admissions was as a freshman at Harvard. I sat in on the admissions committee and was amazed at how diverse the applicant pool was. There were all kinds of cool people applying. I especially remember one candidate whose personal statement read “I don’t have a lot to say for myself, but I’m quite proud of the attached 3 part invention that I wrote.” The committee sent the score off to the Music Department for evaluation. I always hoped that he got in.

As an academic, you’re exposed to “admissions” throughout your career. Students, post-docs, and faculty are always recruited to help evaluate students and job candidates. I served on various evaluation committees over the years. However, it wasn’t until I served on the University of Arizona College of Medicine Admissions Committee that admissions became a passion. I served for 2 years as a committee member and then another 2 years as chair. I always valued “uniqueness” in candidates, and I still see it as the most fair and productive way to generate diversity in a class. After chairing the admissions committee, I felt it was time to move on and allow new blood to make their impact on the process. Now I’m involved in outreach, especially to Native American applicants, and I consult for Accepted.

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about consulting?

Flash: When I reviewed applications, I felt that it was too late to help candidates. Now I can help candidates portray themselves in ways that give them the chances they deserve. I love helping people gain the confidence to be themselves in the admissions process.

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

Flash: I mostly work with applicants to med school and scientific graduate programs.

Accepted: What are your top 3 admissions tips?

Flash:

1. The Personal Statement is EVERYTHING.

2. Be the unique person you are.

3. Be genuinely interested in the school and the people there with whom you interact.

Learn more about Flash and how he can help you get accepted!

catalog - grad CTA Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• Plotting Your Way to a PhD: 6 Topics in PhD Admissions
• Getting Into Medical School: Advice from a Pro
• How to Get the Most Out of Your Experience Working With A Medical School Consultant

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Are You A Med School Applicant With Low Stats? Read On… http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/08/are-you-a-med-school-applicant-with-low-stats-read-on/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/08/are-you-a-med-school-applicant-with-low-stats-read-on/#respond Mon, 08 Jun 2015 17:27:38 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31185 Applying to med school and worried your stats are too low? Not sure if your numbers will make the cut? In our upcoming webinar, Get Accepted to 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 […]

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Applying to med school and worried your stats are too low? Not sure if your numbers will make the cut?

Get Accepted to Medical School with Low Stats! Live webinar on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 at 5:00 PM PT/8:00 PM ET.

In our upcoming webinar, Get Accepted to 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!

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

Grab your spot at the webinar!Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Public Vs Private Med School Training: How Will It Affect Your Career? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/07/public-vs-private-med-school-training-how-will-it-affect-your-carreer/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/07/public-vs-private-med-school-training-how-will-it-affect-your-carreer/#respond Sun, 07 Jun 2015 15:46:55 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31315 A recent study has found that the type of med school a student attends (public or private) can have a significant impact on her/his career path, with substantially more graduates of public medical schools choosing primary care specialties. A sampling of the findings: • In 2010, there 10,946 students graduated from public med schools, vs […]

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Are you misusing the med school rankings?A recent study has found that the type of med school a student attends (public or private) can have a significant impact on her/his career path, with substantially more graduates of public medical schools choosing primary care specialties.

A sampling of the findings:

• In 2010, there 10,946 students graduated from public med schools, vs 9,591 from private schools.

• In 2013-14, the average cost of attendance totaled: public, $187,400 vs. private, $264,000.

• In 2013-14, med students’ average debt at graduation totaled: public, $155,000 vs. private, $180,000.

• Between 1997 and 2006, 28.8 % of public med school graduates chose primary care specialties, while 24.3% of private med school graduates did so.

• Physicians who train in a rural area are more likely to practice in a rural area.

• There are also regional differences: in the South, West, and Central regions, public medical training predominates, while in the Northeast, the majority of medical students train in private schools.

Discussing the findings, the American Academy of Family Physicians highlighted the need for more primary care physicians.

Are you misusing the med school rankings? Click here to find out!Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• Get Accepted to Medical School in 2016
• Med School Kicks Off: Ten Tips to Get You Through The Season
• U.S. News Most Selective Med Schools

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Experience Working With A Medical School Consultant http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/04/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-experience-working-with-a-medical-school-consultant/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/04/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-experience-working-with-a-medical-school-consultant/#respond Thu, 04 Jun 2015 15:43:14 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31250 As students contact me to share the good news that they have received acceptances to medical school, I can’t help noticing patterns in the way that successful applicants work with a medical school consultant, like me and my colleagues at accepted.com.  For those of you embarking on the process of applying to medical school and […]

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See how we can help you!

With a little encouragement, you can write your way into med school!

As students contact me to share the good news that they have received acceptances to medical school, I can’t help noticing patterns in the way that successful applicants work with a medical school consultant, like me and my colleagues at accepted.com.  For those of you embarking on the process of applying to medical school and considering working with a consultant, we can help in the following three substantial ways:

1.  Provide guidance on strategy

From advising you on which schools to apply to all the way to helping you decide which school to attend, we can help you identify and use the individualized approach to each part of the application process that will work best for you.

2.  Help you reduce your stress levels

I focus my clients’ attention on the sections of the application that they have control over and encourage them to do their best in these areas so that they can relax when it comes to the parts of the process over which they don’t have any control.  By providing activities and emotional support to guide clients through the process, I hope to give them insight into themselves and to increase and enrich their coping mechanisms so that they will not only get into medical school but are successful in their training and career.

3.  Give you the confidence to present yourself most effectively in writing and in interviews

By reviewing essays with clients and pointing out how they can improve their writing, I hope to encourage my students to become better writers as well as empower them through self-expression to make their dream of medicine a reality.  You can write your way into medical school.

Through mock interviews, I assist students by evaluating the rhetoric of their responses, facial expressions and posture.  I include exercises and nonconventional approaches to help students be more authentic and comfortable in interview settings.  You can enjoy the journey!

To get the most out of your experience working with a consultant, I recommend taking the following approaches

• Set deadlines for you to complete your application materials and share these dates with your consultant.

• Get organized by creating an excel spreadsheet with school deadlines and dates of submission for all materials and check it regularly.

•Meet all agreed-on deadlines for the primary application, secondary applications, and mock interviews.

• Be ready for scheduled appointments; don’t miss appointments.

• Ask for help when it’s needed, especially if you’re uncertain about how to proceed in any section of the application process or if you’re feeling frustrated.

• Talk to your consultant about any questions, worries or concerns that you have.

• Enjoy the process.

The best part of my job is working with clients.  I enjoy getting to know each student and identifying how I can best support each individual.  Once you have clear goals with realistic deadlines, share them with your consultant.  You will then gain not only the expertise that will lead to an acceptance but you will also acquire a mentor and a cheerleader to help you thrive in the application process.

View our catalog of med admission services

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

Related Resources:

Get To Know Our Consultants
Navigate The Med School Maze
• 5 Step Guide to Successful Medical School Personal Statements

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Baylor College Of Medicine: A Holistic Approach To Admissions http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/03/baylor-college-of-medicine-a-holistic-approach-to-admissions/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/03/baylor-college-of-medicine-a-holistic-approach-to-admissions/#respond Wed, 03 Jun 2015 16:10:39 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31259 As AMCAS season moves into full swing, we’ve nabbed an interview with two people whom med applicants everywhere are working to impress. Listen to our conversation where Dr. Jesus Vallejo, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Dr. Karen Johnson, Associate Dean for Admissions at Baylor College of Medicine, share a gold mine of information and advice for […]

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Listen to the Show!

Baylor College of Medicine

As AMCAS season moves into full swing, we’ve nabbed an interview with two people whom med applicants everywhere are working to impress.

Listen to our conversation where Dr. Jesus Vallejo, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Dr. Karen Johnson, Associate Dean for Admissions at Baylor College of Medicine, share a gold mine of information and advice for current and future med school applicants.

00:01:41 – What do deans of admissions actually do?

00:06:20 – Best part of the job!

00:08:05 – AMCAS & TMDSAS.

00:11:09 – An overview of the Baylor curriculum & approach.

00:16:29 – Ramifications of the new MCAT.

00:20:46 – Just how important is it to apply early?

00:23:15 – The best time to take the MCAT.

00:28:41 – Whom the adcom is hoping to “meet” in an AMCAS application.

00:32:03 – Baylor’s mission, vision, and values, and what they mean for applicants.

00:36:59 –Early decision: For the few and far between.

00:39:27 – What your secondary application to Baylor College of Medicine needs to convey.

00:42:57 – Preparing for a medical school interview.

00:45:44 – Important advice for reapplicants.

00:50:21 – Why does an applicant with good credentials get rejected.

00:53:09 – Take a reality check, be careful when you party, and other words of wisdom for applicants.

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

Related links:

BCM Admissions
• For questions, email admissions@bcm.edu
Baylor Medical School’s Mission and Value
Applying to Med School with Low Stats
• Create a Winning AMCAS Application
Navigating the Med School Maze, tips to help you apply successfully to medical school
Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success

Related Shows:

Attn Med Applicants: A Class Is Matriculated Every Single Year
Medical School Admissions 2015-2016: A Dean’s Perspective
• Admissions Straight Talk: All Things Postbac
• A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes
• Elliptical, Meet Med School: Interview with Andrea Tooley
• Overcoming The Odds: A Story Of Med School Inspiration

Download Medical School Reapplicant Tips for Succcess

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PoliSci To DO Via Special Masters Program: Undeterred By Rejection http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/01/interview-with-3rd-year-med-student-jason-spears/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/06/01/interview-with-3rd-year-med-student-jason-spears/#respond Mon, 01 Jun 2015 16:40:49 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31181 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 Jason Spears… Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an […]

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

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

Jason: I’m Jason Spears and I’m from Reading, PA (Reading railroad as in the monopoly game).  My undergraduate studies were completed at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and it was actually the only college I applied to coming out of high school. While at Northwestern I studied Political Science while completing a majority of my premed science courses at Harvard Summer School.

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

Jason: I’m about to enter my 3rd year at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harlem, New York.

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?)

Jason: I actually took time off between college and med school, and it wasn’t by choice originally. When I initially applied, AMCAS computers made an error with my application and they gave me zero credit hours for my Harvard coursework when transferring the credits, so to all the medical schools it looked like I didn’t complete the basic requirements. This is a complete fluke that is not likely to be repeated as it was a computer error which also involved quarter credit hours (Northwestern) and semester hours (Harvard).

Thinking I needed to improve my credentials without knowing about the AMCAS error, I applied to post bac and special master programs (SMPs). Ultimately, I ended up graduating from Boston University School of Medicine’s MAMS program. Before getting into the program I also worked at several jobs– some in pharmaceutical consulting, and also at a patient satisfaction firm.

So definitely, I had a journey before starting medical school– but that’s my story and I have no problems not starting out like everyone else. Although, it is interesting that many of my friends from undergrad have already graduated from medical school and a good portion are almost done with their residencies.

Accepted: How/why did you decide to start blogging at doctorpremed? What are your goals in developing this blog as a resource for applicants and incoming students?

Jason: While an undergrad student I was the president of the premed society and made numerous contacts with admissions officers from the top medical schools throughout the country. By the time I graduated, a lot of my friends would approach me one-on-one asking for individual advice on getting into medical school. After a while, I began to realize most of my peers had the same questions. Being the efficient and pragmatic guy that I am, I thought, why not start a website detailing exactly what it takes to get into medical school? It would be accessible anytime, anywhere– allowing me to help many more premeds than I possibly could on my own.

My goal has always been to be the premier premed resource and your one stop shop for all things medicine. Having been blogging for years and speaking with many students I know there are a lot of myths about what it takes to be a successful applicant to medical school, and I want to provide the honest facts that aren’t just my personal opinions, but advice that comes from admissions officers, doctors, medical students, and college professors.

Additionally, many students have never been through the application process before and I attempt to outline exactly what students should be doing and when through my timely “Premed Grand Rounds” newsletter. Basically, each month there’s a key part of the application a student should be focusing on.

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

Jason: I think the challenging aspect for me was not getting in the first time. I just remember waiting as the rejection letters piled up and holding out hope for that one school, constantly reminding myself that it only takes one, “yes!” The waiting game can be tremendously hard because once applications are submitted, everything is out of your control and all you can do is check emails and the mailbox, waiting on some form of news to arrive.

I overcame this setback by learning there wasn’t anything overtly wrong with my application—rather, there was a glitch in how my application was processed. Knowing I wasn’t academically deficient really was a huge relief and allowed me to move forward with confidence in my post-bac and my next application to medical school.

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 when you were starting out?

Jason: There’s almost too much to share when it comes to first starting out in medical school. The biggest advice would be to learn material cold the first time around and realize that everything matters in medical school. To be successful, you’ll definitely want to create and stick to a schedule, and remember, as one mentor stated, “Those who hate the schedule need it the most.”

Additionally, one skill that will help students in the first year is utilizing spaced repetition learning to put things in longterm memory, which will make preparing for Boards much easier.

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

Jason: Work hard, and never give up on your dreams of becoming a doctor if that’s what you really want. Also, if your heart isn’t in medicine, don’t go into the field to please family, friends, or for the income or prestige, because there are going to be many lonely and soul-searching nights where the work is more than you think is manageable– but if medicine is what you want, you’ll figure out how to get by.

If you’re applying right now, be sure to get your applications in early because that makes a huge difference in improving your chances for admission because the committee has more acceptances to offer but later in the season only a few spots are left so they’re really going to scrutinize every aspect of your application down to the last detail. Remember that the MCAT is the great equalizer: it will make or break your chances for getting into medical school, and this is a test you want to take once and only once, so only take it when you are best prepared.

But enjoy the process…far too often you’ll focus on the destination (medical school acceptance) without taking time to enjoy the journey.

You can follow Jason’s blog and sign up for his newsletter at doctorpremed.com. Thank you Jason for sharing your story with us – we wish you the best of luck! 

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

Get Accepted to Medical School in 2016
Attn Med Applicants: A Class Is Matriculated Every Single Year
Who Needs a Postbac Program and Who Doesn’t

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Numbers Aren’t Everything When You Choose Your Med Schools http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/31/numbers-arent-everything-when-you-choose-your-med-schools/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/31/numbers-arent-everything-when-you-choose-your-med-schools/#respond Sun, 31 May 2015 15:47:50 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31136 After completing the first steps in determining which medical schools you should apply to this application cycle, I recommend that you have your scores in front of you. It is essential that you use these scores simply to guide your decision-making process and not to beat yourself up about the numbers.  Separate yourself as much […]

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Check out our General Advice for Med School Applicants page!

Use your scores as a tool to help you get from Point A to Point B

After completing the first steps in determining which medical schools you should apply to this application cycle, I recommend that you have your scores in front of you.

It is essential that you use these scores simply to guide your decision-making process and not to beat yourself up about the numbers.  Separate yourself as much as you can from those numbers.  Taking the time to process any strong emotions before you begin selecting schools would help you to make wiser decisions.  When you are ready, use the scores only as a tool to help you get from Point A to Point B.

To get started and to save yourself considerable time and effort:

1.  Review the medical schools in your state first.

Statistically, you are more likely to be accepted into a school where you are considered a resident. Often, medical schools will have special programs geared towards serving those communities that are considered medically underserved in their area.  For example, UC Davis School of Medicine hosts a Rural PRIME Program for students from rural areas who want to return to them to work as doctors.

The strongest predictors of whether you will meet the criteria for these types of special programs include: 1) your personal connection to the community and 2) how much volunteer and clinical experience you have serving this particular group of people.  Take these factors into account when deciding whether or not to apply to any programs that may represent your community.

2.  Identify which out of state medical schools accept a higher percentage of out-of-state students.

Select the percentage that you are most comfortable with, say 40% or higher to be safe. Using this information will prevent you from selecting schools where your chances are especially low simply given that you are an out-of-state resident.  This tactic should narrow down your list considerably. There are some medical schools that claim they accept out-of-state residents; however, this year students notified me of some schools that gave them automatic rejections simply on the basis of their residency even though the schools stated otherwise on their websites.

3.  Out of this whittled down list of schools, begin comparing your scores.

In my experience, as long as your application is strong in all other sections, you can choose schools on the basis that you fit at least one of their averages for either MCAT or GPA.  For example, if you fit high into a school’s average for GPA, but are just below the MCAT averages, and you are genuinely interested in applying to the school, you can include it on your list.

4.  Taking the list of schools you have created, begin evaluating the schools on the basis of your personal interests.

These personal interests could include: ethnicity, financial aid, graduate degrees or combined programs and research opportunities.  Compare the number of students accepted from your ethnicity.  If it’s a relatively low number, you may have a higher chance at the school because you will enhance the diversity of your medical school class.

The availability of financial aid is always an important consideration.  Some schools have lots of private funding and scholarships available while others offer more austere packages.  Looking at the school in terms of its specialties and how it can support your career goals is important in the long term.  Just as much as you may feel that the decision is all up to the school, you have the ultimate power in choosing which schools to consider you.

5.  Double check that you meet all of prerequisite requirements for each school to further refine your list.

Unfortunately, many students forget to complete this step.  If you are missing even a single class, you may be disqualified from serious consideration.  Cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s.  It’s an expensive mistake to apply to schools where you simply don’t meet their basic requirements.  For example, some schools will only accept committee letters while other schools don’t require them.  If you don’t have a committee letter, it will not help to apply to any schools that will only accept this type of letter of recommendation.

So yes, the numbers are an element—an important criterion—but not the only one that you should consider when choosing which medical schools to apply to. In using your numbers to objectively select the schools where you have the highest chances of acceptance, you will be setting yourself up for success.  If this process seems overwhelming, don’t hesitate to contact us at Accepted.com. My colleagues and I would be delighted to share our expertise with you.  Ask for help, when it is needed.  It may be the best decision you have ever made!

Click here to read Part 1: How Your Academic Statistics Should Influence Your School Choices.

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.

Related Resources:

Ace the AMCAS Essay
Where Should I Apply to Med School?
• Med School Admissions for Parents 101

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How Your Academic Statistics Should Influence Your School Choices http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/27/how-your-academic-statistics-should-influence-your-school-choices/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/27/how-your-academic-statistics-should-influence-your-school-choices/#respond Wed, 27 May 2015 15:50:40 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=31073 The most reliable source of information about allopathic medical schools is provided on the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) website, offered by the AAMC.  It is worth purchasing access to this database because the statistics it contains are very valuable in helping you to decide where to apply. Before you begin exploring the school data, […]

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Download our guide on how to Navigate the Med School MazeThe most reliable source of information about allopathic medical schools is provided on the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) website, offered by the AAMC.  It is worth purchasing access to this database because the statistics it contains are very valuable in helping you to decide where to apply.

Before you begin exploring the school data, it’s important for you to know the schools only provide an average of the scores that they accept—they do not provide the full range of scores.  If you had access to see the full range of scores for accepted applicants, rather than the averages, you would be pleasantly surprised. With a decade of experience in medical school admissions, I have seen how quickly and easily students are discouraged by these numbers. I want to emphasize the importance of the other sections of the application.  If you have a lower GPA, but at higher MCAT score and years of exceptional service and activities, you may be just the student a school is looking for but you’ll never know if you don’t apply to the right schools.

The purpose of this blog is not to discourage you, but to help you more accurately assess where you should apply because you will have a higher chance of getting in.

I recommend using the following approach in preparing to research which schools you will have the best chances of acceptance at:

1.  Without judgment or berating yourself, calculate your cumulative and science GPA’s.

2.  Look at the trends in your GPA, term by term.  If you graduated with a significant decreasing trend, do not apply this cycle.  If you have a strong decreasing trend and your GPA is below a 3.0, consider completing postbac coursework or a postbac program.  In this case, read a copy of my book, The Definitive Guide to Premedical Postbaccalaureate Programs, for guidance in this direction.

3.  If you have maintained a competitive GPA or have a strong increasing trend, review your MCAT scores.  If you have earned a 7 or higher in each section of the exam, with a total score above a 25, you can consider applying.  If you have scores below a 7 on any section, your application may go through an additional hurdle, known as the “academic committee” on some campuses, where a few applications with low GPA’s or lower MCAT scores make it out.  In these committees, they duke it out based on whether the student has any other significant redeeming qualities in other areas that could possibly justify keeping your application under consideration.

4.  If you have made it this far, congratulate yourself!  If you have a lower GPA, you should have a higher MCAT score to compensate and vice versa.  If your numbers are too low in any of these areas, consider retaking the MCAT or completing additional coursework.

5.  Once you have objectively collected and reviewed your numbers in detail, you are ready to begin researching medical schools.

In my next blog, we will review how to select medical schools by directly comparing your data to theirs. In preparation for this next step, you will need to purchase access to the MSAR website.  We have reviewed the process designed to prepare you for the next stage of the process of school selection. Again, it is important that you not be discouraged by the numbers.  We are reviewing them objectively. The more honest and accurately you can review your numbers in relation to theirs, the more realistic and successful your decisions will be.  Our focus in this process is on outcomes.  By using a strategic approach, we can bring about a positive outcome for your application.  I’d rather be guilty of not trying hard enough than not trying at all.

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.

Related Resources:

• 5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Medical School Profile
• Improve Your MCAT Score for Medical School Acceptance 
• Advice From A Med School Admissions Director

Image designed by Freepik

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Humor And Happiness In Medicine: A Med Student Reflects http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/26/humor-and-happiness-in-medicine-a-med-student-reflects/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/26/humor-and-happiness-in-medicine-a-med-student-reflects/#respond Tue, 26 May 2015 15:40:30 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30998 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 BurntOrangeScrubs… Accepted: We’d like to get to know you? Where are you from? BurntOrangeScrubs: I’m originally from Texas, but spent a […]

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Read more medical student interviews

“I’ve learned that we’re not so different from each other.”

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 BurntOrangeScrubs…

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you? Where are you from?

BurntOrangeScrubs: I’m originally from Texas, but spent a lot of time growing up in beautiful Seattle, WA.

Accepted: Where and what did you study as an undergrad?

BurntOrangeScrubs: I was a neurobiology major at the University of Texas at Austin.  I fell in love with the brain because of its complexity, plasticity, and the fact that it is an electric organ.

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

BurntOrangeScrubs: It’s hard for me to choose just one, but George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is gripping, wrenching, and an amazing adventure with incredibly deep lore.

Accepted: Congratulations on matching! What stood out to you as the most important parts of the residency application process?

BurntOrangeScrubs: The most critical thing is being an active learner– researching what a program has to offer you based on their website, contact with residents and program directors, and questions asked during your interview day.

You have to be able to handle everything when you graduate residency, so it’s best to see as much as possible during your training as a resident.

Accepted: If you could give residency applicants three tips, what would they be?   

BurntOrangeScrubs:

1. Meet with your program director and keep in touch.  They know programs very well and are a priceless source of advice.

2. Build professional working relationships with potential letter of recommendation writers.  Go above and beyond your duties as a medical student.  Your hard work will be noticed.

3. Cast a wide net when you apply.  Many interviewing medical students from all over the country believed there was a “regional bias” among programs when selecting people to interview.  It seemed like the west coast programs were hard to get an interview from if you didn’t rotate with them or had ties to a certain city/state.

Accepted: Why did you decide to blog about your experience?

BurntOrangeScrubs: Medical training is such a physically and emotionally draining experience with frequent challenges and victories.  I blog to help give people insight to the field, vent emotionally, and connect with readers from all backgrounds. I also do it to help me more vividly remember situations that will stick with me and my patients for life.

There’s something so powerful about being trusted with the lives of people who come to you in their weakest state.  Seeing how the psychological aspect of illness affects patients and their families lends itself to much reflection.

Accepted: What have you gained from the experience?

BurntOrangeScrubs: Blogging has helped me cope with the stress and sorrow I’ve felt working in the hospital as well as with the strain it has placed on my relationships.  I feel like my readers have gained more insight about medical training and I feel happy reaching that goal.  Writing is extremely cathartic.  Blogging about my non-medicine life has been fun as well.  It definitely helps me feel more balanced.

Accepted: What do you hope others will learn from your blog?

BurntOrangeScrubs: I hope many people will learn that medicine isn’t glorious and it that it takes a lot of sacrifice to be not only be “book smart,” but to deliver good care, especially when you’ve been taking care of patients for 48 hours straight.  I also hope people will learn that there is a lot humor and happiness in medicine as well as in the coping with illness.

Most importantly, I hope every reader gets inspired to connect with people from all walks of life and that they find themselves discovering how to open their hearts even more.

Like many others in my field, I’ve cared for the rich, the poor, the highly educated and the illiterate. I’ve learned that we’re not so different from each other, and that showing others compassion and kindness is a truly elevating experience.

Thank you for this opportunity!  I am always available to discuss more about medical training!

You can follow this blogger’s journey at Burntorangescrubs. Thank you BurntOrangeScrubs for sharing your story with us – we wish you the best of luck!

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

Ace Your AMCAS Essay
• An Inside Look at the Medical School Journey
Watch Words: Advice for Third-Year Medical Students

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5 More Tips To Help You Become A Physician’s Assistant http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/21/5-more-tips-to-help-you-become-a-physicians-assistant/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/21/5-more-tips-to-help-you-become-a-physicians-assistant/#respond Thu, 21 May 2015 16:04:44 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30686 If you missed the first 5 tips, check them out here.  1. Double check deadlines and track your progress in a spreadsheet: Create an excel spreadsheet to give yourself a big picture of the application timeline.  List each school and its individual deadline, as well as the dates that you submit materials and interview.  This […]

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Download the 10 Tips for PA Applicants!If you missed the first 5 tips, check them out here

1. Double check deadlines and track your progress in a spreadsheet: Create an excel spreadsheet to give yourself a big picture of the application timeline.  List each school and its individual deadline, as well as the dates that you submit materials and interview.  This approach will ensure that you don’t get lost in the excitement and details of the application process.

2. Emphasize your ability to collaborate and work in teams through your activities/essays: As a PA, you will be expected to serve as a powerful member of a healthcare team.  Demonstrating your ability to successfully collaborate with others will give your application an edge.

3. Gain direct exposure to the field by volunteering or working with a PA: In order to convince the selection committee that you know what you are getting yourself into, get experience working directly with a PA.  The more that you can showcase your knowledge of the field and how you will excel within this particular role the stronger your application will be.

4. Since CASPA does not notify you that materials are missing from your application, be proactive and contact them directly to confirm that all materials have been received: Most applicants don’t realize that CASPA does not notify them if materials are missing.  Submit materials early and call/email to confirm that all materials have been received.  Advocate for yourself!  This is too important to let slide.

5. Participate in mock interviews to prepare for your PA interviews:  One of my clients last year completed six mock interviews with me because English was her second language and she wanted to practice to improve her confidence.  She gave an amazing interview and was accepted into the program.  It’s no accident that she did well, because she put all her effort into the preparation.

If you focus on the aspects of the application that you have control over, as outlined above, you will improve your chances of success.  When it comes to the parts of the application that you have no control over, you can be more relaxed because you’ve done your best on the rest.

Be thoughtful with your essays and words and carefully explain your background and reasons for applying.  For assistance in these areas, contact me or my colleagues at accepted.com.

Download your free guide 10 Tips for PA Program Acceptance!

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

Related Resources:

The Quick Guide to Admissions Resume
Exploring Yale’s Top-Rated Physician Assistance Program
• Where MedEd & Leadership Meet: An Inside Look at AMSA

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Attn Med Applicants: A Class Is Matriculated Every Single Year http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/20/attn-med-applicants-a-class-is-matriculated-every-single-year/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/20/attn-med-applicants-a-class-is-matriculated-every-single-year/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 16:26:48 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30944 If you are a pre-med preparing to take the MCAT or a waitlisted 2014 applicant, you may have something in common: A nagging fear that you just may not make it to medical school. Enter, Dr. Lina Mehta, Associate Dean for Admissions at Case Western Reserve University College of Medicine, with good news: You can get […]

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Listen to the show!If you are a pre-med preparing to take the MCAT or a waitlisted 2014 applicant, you may have something in common: A nagging fear that you just may not make it to medical school.

Enter, Dr. Lina Mehta, Associate Dean for Admissions at Case Western Reserve University College of Medicine, with good news: You can get accepted to med school.

Listen to our advice-packed interview for important tips for applicants at all stages of the medical school admissions process, a word of encouragement, and an inside look at Case Western.

00:02:15 – How Dr. Mehta got involved in admissions and what her job entails.

00:04:16 – The New MCAT’s impact on med school admissions.

00:05:26 – The value (and definition) of “applying early.”

00:09:00 – Is it too late for a student taking the MCAT in July/August to realistically apply to med school this year?

00:11:33 – Whom the adcom is hoping to meet in a personal statement.

00:13:15 – Case Western’s 4 Themes and what they mean for applicants.

00:17:38 – Understanding the “leadership and civic professionalism” themes as Case Western School of Medicine.

00:19:27 – How secondary are secondary essays?

00:20:57 – The true goal of a med school interview.

00:22:30 – If only premeds would understand…. (about med school in general and Case Western Reserve specifically).

00:24:16 – Still on the waitlist: Should a student reapply or wait to hear back?

00:26:12 – Factors that could cause a competitive applicant to be rejected.

00:27:58 – Advice for freshman & sophomore premeds.

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

Related Links:

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Admissions
• Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Create a Winning AMCAS Application: Medical School Admissions Webinar
 • Navigating the Med School Maze, tips to help you apply successfully to medical school.
• A Second Chance at Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs
• Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success

Related Shows:

• Medical School Admissions 2015-2016: A Dean’s Perspective
• Admissions Straight Talk: All Things Postbac
• A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes 
•  Elliptical, Meet Med School: Interview with Andrea Tooley
• Overcoming the Odds: A Story of Med School Inspiration

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

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U.S. News Most Selective Med Schools http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/19/u-s-news-most-selective-med-schools/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/19/u-s-news-most-selective-med-schools/#respond Tue, 19 May 2015 16:32:59 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30888 U.S. News has released its list of med schools with the smallest acceptance rates – the 10 schools on the list accepted an average of just 2.7 percent of their applicants. Here’s this year’s list: *RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one-fourth of all medical and osteopathic schools Need Help polishing your applications? […]

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U.S. News has released its list of med schools with the smallest acceptance rates – the 10 schools on the list accepted an average of just 2.7 percent of their applicants.

Here’s this year’s list:

10 Most Selective Med Schools
*RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one-fourth of all medical and osteopathic schools

Need Help polishing your applications?  Check out Accepted’s Medical School Application Services.  And may the odds be ever in your favor!

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

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• Get Accepted to Medical School in 2016
• Advice From A Med School Admissions Director
• US News Most Affordable Med Schools

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An Interview With Our Own: Dr. Sheryl Neuman http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/19/an-interview-with-our-own-dr-sheryl-neuman/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/19/an-interview-with-our-own-dr-sheryl-neuman/#respond Tue, 19 May 2015 16:02:08 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30885 Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Sheryl Neuman. Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you hold […]

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Learn more on how Sheryl can help you get into med school!Curious about the life and times of our spectacular admissions consultants? Please enjoy our newest blog series in which we interview the fabulous people who make up the Accepted.com staff. Next up is…Sheryl Neuman.

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

Sheryl: I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I studied Biology at UCLA and went to medical school there as well. I did an internal medicine residency at Cedars Sinai Medical Center followed by a combined General Medicine Fellowship/Preventive Medicine Residency at Cedars and at UCLA, which included getting an MPH at UCLA.

After my training, I worked at Cedars as the Associate Director and later the Director of the Employee Health Service. During that time I also headed the Med-Peds Residency program and was a faculty member in the Internal Medicine Department at Cedars.

Accepted: What’s your favorite book? 

Sheryl: Currently one of my favorite books is Einstein, by Walter Isaacson. I wish I had read this book during my year of physics in college. Isaacson’s talent as a writer got me much more excited about physics than my courses ever did!

Accepted: How have your experiences as a med school student, doctor, and admissions committee member contributed to your talent as an admissions consultant?

Sheryl: Having been through all aspects of the process, I know firsthand what is expected. There is nothing that beats personal experience. As a physician myself, I know what to look for in an applicant.

Accepted: Can you talk about the road that led you to becoming an admissions consultant for Accepted? 

Sheryl: I had not been doing clinical work for several years while raising my family, so when I was approached about the job, I thought it would be a great way to use my experience as a physician to help others applying to medical school. I found it to be very enjoyable.

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about consulting?

Sheryl: I really enjoy taking a so-so personal statement and helping my clients turn it into something special. Our finished product tells a good story and showcases the applicant in the best possible way. Knowing that the applicant has a much better chance of having their application stand out makes me feel good. I also like helping with interview prep, especially since I have been on both sides of the interview before.

Accepted: What are your top 3 admissions tips?

Sheryl:

1. Start early so that you can get your application in at the earliest possible date to maximize your chances of acceptance.

2. Spend the time to get your personal statement sounding crisp and clear, with an interesting opening and a good flow.

3. Take the time to practice interview questions so you will not be caught off guard during the interview.

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

View our med admission services catalog!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• Interviewing with Impact: How to Make an Impression in Your Medical School Interviews
• Med School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services
• Navigating the Med School Maze

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AMCAS Workshop This Wednesday! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/18/dont-forget-to-register-for-wednesdays-amcas-workshop/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/18/dont-forget-to-register-for-wednesdays-amcas-workshop/#respond Mon, 18 May 2015 16:33:13 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30462 Grab your seat for an event that will make a huge impact on your AMCAS application’s success! Create a Winning AMCAS Application will air live on Wednesday, May 20 at 5:00 PM PT / 8:00 PM ET. Register now to get one step closer to a stronger, more impressive, and more timely AMCAS application! See you […]

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Grab your seat for an event that will make a huge impact on your AMCAS application’s success!

Click here to register for the AMCAS webinar

Create a Winning AMCAS Application will air live on Wednesday, May 20 at 5:00 PM PT / 8:00 PM ET.

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

Register Now!

See you soon!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Third Time’s The Charm For This Med Student http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/18/3rd-year-med-student-finds-the-right-balance/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/18/3rd-year-med-student-finds-the-right-balance/#respond Mon, 18 May 2015 15:44:51 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30855 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 Jonathan Karademos… Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? […]

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Read more med student blogger iv's hereThis 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 Jonathan Karademos…

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

Jonathan: I am from Washington State and attended the University of Washington in Seattle.  I studied microbiology and graduated in 2008.  Two interesting things about me…hmm…lets see. While I blog now, I actually hated writing in college (I dreaded every paper I had to write).  Second, I have been stung by a jellyfish and still have the mark on my side.

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

Jonathan:  I am currently a third year student at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA.

Accepted: What is your favorite thing about Drexel U College of Medicine so far?

Jonathan:  My favorite thing was getting the opportunity as a student to be on the admissions committee.  Not only was I able to interview prospective applicants, I was able to provide my opinions during committee meetings that other committee members actually responded to.  It was really cool seeing the admission process and how applicants are really chosen (there is a lot of bad advice out there on how to get into medical school).

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?) How did that experience influence you?

Jonathan:  I actually took quite a long time off from school.  Almost 4 years.  During that time I held two jobs and tried to do many things to strengthen my application to medical school.

My primary job was as a researcher at the HIV Vaccine Trials Network in Seattle, WA.  I took care of three very expensive flow cytometer machines and analyzed blood samples from various HIV vaccine trials around the world.

My second job was as a host in a busy Jazz Club in Seattle.  While a lot of people may wonder how this helped me for medical school, it actually helped tremendously. This job solidified my skills in multitasking, thinking on my feet, and interacting with different personalities (some people were nice, some not so much).

The biggest thing the time off did was helping me to mature. Living in the “real world” is very different than going to school and comes with a new set of responsibilities and stressors that are not simply learned overnight. Learning how to adapt to the new situations has now helped me in the hospital where I initially felt lost but am now a lot more comfortable with whatever gets thrown at me.

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

Jonathan:  It took me three tries to get into medical school.  In retrospect I definitely was not ready for medical school on the first try, and it showed in my application.  The second try was tough.  I had retaken the MCAT, volunteered, shadowed, and really worked on my application, but it was not enough.

For my third application, I was absolutely determined to do anything I could to get in. To that effect, I went into shadowing overdrive. Within a period of about 6 months I was able to get over 100 hours of shadowing in various low-income clinics (while working 70 hours per week). When it came to applying again, the shadowing experience really helped shape my personal statement, which lead to an eventual acceptance to Drexel.

Accepted: How do you balance work/life as a med student?

Jonathan: This is the million-dollar question.  Honestly, I am still trying to find that balance.  During my first year I had the mentality that I was going to study harder and perform better than anyone else.  The problem was that I neglected the life balance aspect.  I did not work out as often as I used to and I neglected some of my hobbies. What ended up happening is that I did “satisfactory” on a lot of my courses during the first semester. When I realized that I needed to exercise more and continue my hobbies, things changed.  I was studying less but my grades were improving because I had more focused study sessions and I was a lot happier.

When my wife (then fiancée) moved to Philadelphia during my second year, I had to learn new balancing techniques.  One of the things I made a commitment on fairly early was a date night.  Usually on the same day each week (unless there was a test the next day) I would stop studying around 4pm and completely devote my attention toward my wife.  Since she is not in the medical field, this helped me get a break from medicine and recharge.

Third year is a little tougher to find the work/life balance.  There are multiple hospitals and multiple time commitments that it can be hard to find a good routine. However, I still try and do what I have been doing during the first two years: I find time to exercise and I still have my date nights with my wife once a week.

Medical school is a marathon that can be very rewarding or grueling depending on how you approach it.  If you can find and do things in school that make you happy, you will take away a lot of positive experiences.

Accepted: What are your top 3 tips for med school applicants?

Jonathan:  When you interview, do two things: be yourself and back up your responses with things you have done.  Part of the interviewer’s job is deciding if you are the right fit for a school.  If you are not yourself and get accepted, it is possible you could be miserable at that school.  In terms of backing up your responses, don’t say that you want to be a surgeon if you’ve only ever shadowed primary care physicians.  If you want to be a surgeon, make sure you have shadowed a surgeon and can explain why you like that field.

In the years before applying, shape your experiences for quality.  I’ve seen multiple applicants where they had 30 different things they did for a month at a time.  Sometimes they got in, sometimes they didn’t.  If that same person instead had 5 big experiences that lasted 4+ years each, then they probably got in because they could talk about how much those experiences shaped their character.  Quality over quantity!

Be prepared for rejection and don’t give up.  There are a lot of very talented people applying to medical school.  Sometimes you wont get into a school because of competition.  Other times it will be because they didn’t think you would fit in with their mission.  Keep trying to improve and admission committees will acknowledge perseverance when they see it. One of the best pieces of advice I received after getting rejected twice was that if it truly is your dream to become a physician, it is not a matter of if, but when.

You can read Jonathan’s blog at medicalstudentjourney.com.  Thank you Jonathan for sharing your story with us – we wish you the best of luck!

Download Medical School Reapplicant Tips for Succcess

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• Navigating the Med School Maze
• Experiences That Count For Medical School Reapplicants
• Moving Forward After Medical School Rejection

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5 Questions To Help You Decide Where To Apply To Med School http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/17/5-questions-to-help-you-decide-where-to-apply-to-med-school-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/17/5-questions-to-help-you-decide-where-to-apply-to-med-school-2/#respond Sun, 17 May 2015 16:22:02 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30723 There are literally hundreds of medical schools in the U.S. to choose from – how do you choose where to apply? Ask yourself the following five questions – their answers will help you narrow down you school selection list and choose the ones that are best for YOU. 1. Should you go in-state? This is […]

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Will your application distinguish you from the tens of thousands of qualified med school applicants?

Know where you stand when compared to other applicants.

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

1. Should you go in-state?

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

2. Where do you stand competitively?

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

3. What’s your area of interest?

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

4. Who do you know?

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

5. How are the vibes?

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

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

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Navigate the Med School Maze
How to Research Medical Schools
• Ask The Experts: Medical School Admissions Q&A

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5 Tips For Physician Assistant (PA) Program Acceptance http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/15/5-tips-for-physician-assistant-pa-program-acceptance/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/15/5-tips-for-physician-assistant-pa-program-acceptance/#respond Fri, 15 May 2015 16:07:15 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30682 Over the years, I’ve helped many students get accepted into Physician Assistant (PA) Programs across the country.  To apply to PA programs, you will use the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). To help you send in an application that effectively presents your qualifications, I’m including five tips below to ensure that you, too, will […]

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Click here to get all 10 tips for PA application success.

There is lots to do. Time to get organized!

Over the years, I’ve helped many students get accepted into Physician Assistant (PA) Programs across the country.  To apply to PA programs, you will use the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). To help you send in an application that effectively presents your qualifications, I’m including five tips below to ensure that you, too, will be successful in applying:

1. Review the CASPA Application BEFORE you apply as part of your preparation:  In order to strategize, it’s helpful to review all sections of the application so that you can make careful decisions about how you will approach each one and how you will set yourself apart as an applicant.  Create a to-do list with a timeline that is realistic for your schedule.

2. After identifying the programs that you want to apply to, check each individual program’s requirements because they vary:  Before you begin taking the prerequisite coursework, double check the websites for the schools where you are interested in applying. If you have already taken your coursework, confirm that you have met these requirements before submitting your application.

3. Make sure your recommenders meet the recommender requirements for the schools you are applying to and request the letters of recommendation early: Different schools will require different combinations of letters.  For example, if a program requires a letter from a PA on your behalf, do not apply to that school if you can’t find a PA to write a letter for you.  It’s worth taking the time to check what the letter requirements are because they could limit the number of schools you apply to.

4. Order a copy of your transcript and review before you order copies to be mailed to each program: It’s important to review a copy of your transcript for errors.  They happen.  Give yourself enough time to correct any errors, before you need to order copies to submit to CASPA.  The transcripts should be mailed four weeks before your deadline because it takes that same length of time for your application to be processed before it can be mailed to each individual program.

5. Begin working on your application essays early:  Since these essays represent you, take the time to make sure they offer a true reflection of your character.  Since it can seem overwhelming to decide what details to include or what to highlight about your background, working with a professional editor like me and my colleagues at accepted.com can give you a significant advantage.  I want my clients to be excited to submit their applications because they are so proud of the essays that they have written.

5 more tips coming soon!

Download your free guide 10 Tips for PA Program Acceptance!
Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted.com advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs.

Related Resources:

From Example to Exemplary
Exploring Yale’s Top-Rated Physician Assistance Program
• Medical School Admissions 2015-2016: A Dean’s Perspective

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5 Mistakes To Avoid In A Cover Letter http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/14/5-mistakes-to-avoid-in-a-cover-letter/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/14/5-mistakes-to-avoid-in-a-cover-letter/#respond Thu, 14 May 2015 15:55:35 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30704 You only have one chance to make a first impression. If the first impression you need to make is through a cover letter to a prospective employer, school admissions office, or internship sponsor, make sure it shines a light on your qualifications and displays your enthusiasm for the position or that seat in the class. […]

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Click here to download your quick admissions guide

Think of your cover letter as the appetizer for what you know will be a great meal.

You only have one chance to make a first impression. If the first impression you need to make is through a cover letter to a prospective employer, school admissions office, or internship sponsor, make sure it shines a light on your qualifications and displays your enthusiasm for the position or that seat in the class. Unfortunately, too many cover letters I see are dull as dust, containing only generalities or jargon and lacking confidence. These letters hurt your cause.

Here are 5 common mistakes in cover letters. Don’t make them in yours!

1. Sound as if you’re bored.

“I am writing in response to your opening for a marketing manager, listed on Job Site website.” This response is honest and to the point, but it also lacks a sense that you really want this gig. Better: “I am enthusiastically applying for the position of marketing manager for Best Company Ever. My experience as a top saleswoman for the last three years for an organic beauty supply is an ideal match for your needs.” Feel the energy of the second sentence? The reader will, too.

2. Don’t make any effort to get inside knowledge about the company or school, or explain why you want to attend their program/get hired by them. Also omit your most relevant experiences that should make them want to give careful consideration to your resume.

There could be a dozen different reasons why you’ve chosen to apply for this job or to attend this program. For example, if it’s a start-up, you’ll have more opportunity to perform multiple roles and gain a broader view of small businesses. In a larger company, you may have more chances for travel or longstanding career growth. Perhaps the company has innovated a technology, product type, or employee-friendly atmosphere that you strongly admire. Identify these things, as well as your most relevant experience/qualifications that match what they are looking for. Don’t go into too many details; keep it short. For example:

“My friend Bonnie V. told me how much she learned about digital media sales and marketing as a result of her internship with Best Company Ever last summer. My experience with the Streaming Live Network in building their salesforce over the last year will make me an ideal fit for your team.”

“As a future entrepreneur in green technology, I admire Live Green Now’s innovations in environmentally friendly plastics and am eager to learn more about these innovations from the inside. My master’s degree in Environmental Studies and research into new techniques for recycling plastics without water makes me a strong candidate for this position.”

3. Ignore the stated requirements for acceptance or position.

If a company says that knowledge of a particular software knowledge, skillset, or academic record is required for a position, don’t waste your time or theirs by submitting a letter if you don’t have it. If you feel you are still qualified, you had better have a compelling explanation and say so up front. Otherwise move on. Pay attention to what companies and schools say they are looking for. They mean it.

4. Sound needy or wishy-washy about getting a call back for an interview. 

A recent cover letter I edited – by someone whose professional experience spanned more than 20 years, numerous awards and 10 patents in his name – ended his letter like this: “If after reviewing my materials you believe that there is a match, please contact me.” This sentence is passive and sounds insecure, as if he doesn’t really expect them to call. And they probably wouldn’t.

I suggested he end the letter like this: “I look forward to the opportunity to meet you to discuss this position and how I can add value to Best Company Ever.” See how the simple change of writing in active voice (“I look forward. . . “) exudes confidence in his ability to demonstrate value.

5. Make them take the extra step of going back to you to get references.

This is one of the mistakes that drives me crazy every time I see it, which is often. Why in the world would you write “References available upon request” instead of providing the actual references in the letter, and/or the resume? List names, titles, phone numbers and emails. If a reference doesn’t have a title, put the person’s relationship to you so the caller will know in what context he or she is providing the recommendation.

Finally, keep the letter short – preferably only a half to three-quarters of a page. This is an appetizer only to get them to want to give your resume careful review, and then call you for the next step. Using active voice, specific facts about your qualifications and the reasons you like the company or school, will demonstrate you are not sending cover letters in a scattershot way, but in a thoughtful, carefully considered manner. And this should help you bring your job search to a swifter and happier conclusion.

Download your free copy of the Quick Guide to Admissions Resume now!

Judy Gruen

By , MBA admissions consultant since 1996 and author (with Linda Abraham) of MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

 

Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application Essay or Personal Statement
Ten Do’s and Don’ts for Your Resume 
Sample Resumes and Cover Letter

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Time Is Running Out To Register For Important AMCAS Webinar! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/12/time-is-running-out-to-register-for-important-amcas-webinar/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/12/time-is-running-out-to-register-for-important-amcas-webinar/#respond Tue, 12 May 2015 16:20:59 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30460 You have just a few more days until we go live with our newest med school admissions webinar, Create a Winning AMCAS Application. Please remember to register or you will not be able to access important advice that will guide you through AMCAS application process. The AMCAS application can be confusing and difficult – the […]

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You have just a few more days until we go live with our newest med school admissions webinar, Create a Winning AMCAS Application.

AMCAS webinar Pic

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

The webinar will air on Wednesday, May 20th at 8:00 PM PST / 5:00 PM EST.

Register Now!

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Penn Med Student Makes A Difference By Facing Differences http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/11/penn-med-student-makes-a-difference-by-facing-differences/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/11/penn-med-student-makes-a-difference-by-facing-differences/#respond Mon, 11 May 2015 18:03:36 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30690 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 Dorothy Charles… Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as […]

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Click here to read more med 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 top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Dorothy Charles…

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Can you share 3 fun facts about yourself with us?

Dorothy: I was born and raised on Guam, moved to Oregon just before starting high school, and then attended Princeton University, where I majored in molecular biology and minored in neuroscience. As for three fun facts: 1) I have one younger sister, and everyone swears we’re twins. That, or they assume she’s the older one. 2) I managed to avoid pumping my own gas for 7 years because I moved from one state that doesn’t let you pump your own gas to the only other state that has the same restriction. It’s actually a bit embarrassing. 3) My fingers are hypermobile/double-jointed, and it usually creeps people (anatomy TA’s included!) out when I show them.

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

Dorothy:  I’m a first year at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about Penn Med so far? Why was this the best program for you? And if you could change anything about the program, what would it be?

Dorothy: If I had to choose just one thing, it would be the people, both students and physicians. I’ve made pretty great friends here–people whose passion to use medicine to enact social change inspires me and reminds me why I’ve chosen this career path and who also help me keep perspective and stay balanced, relaxed, and happy when things get stressful. I’ve also found some amazing physician mentors who’ve been really instrumental in supporting me as I explore my interests in health policy and advocacy and are just generally the kind of people that make me go, “How do I become you??”

I think clicking with the people in the program and making sure the school had the right vibe for me was one of the key factors in my choosing to link here. Apart from that, I really love that Penn Med is part of the larger University of Pennsylvania system because it gives me the opportunity for a lot more interdisciplinary learning and collaboration. When I first started out here, I was really interested in the MD/Master’s programs, which would give me the opportunity to get another degree from one of the other schools. I’m don’t think that’s the path for me right now, but I do appreciate that I still have that option and that, at the very least, it’s really easy to take courses in other departments.

As for changing the program, I think what I would like to see most is to see a greater emphasis placed on teaching the concept of privilege in our social medicine course because many of the topics we talk about like race, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status require that framework to inform our discussions.

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

Dorothy:  I think that med school culture makes it difficult for us to admit we need help, whether that be academic, mental, emotional, or otherwise, and that’s a real problem. So if you find yourself falling behind on work or struggling with anxiety or depression or something like that, don’t be afraid to admit it and use the resources available at your school or in your community to get help.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your unique path to med school?

Dorothy: During my sophomore and junior years of college, I participated in a pretty small summer program at Penn that gave me an option to link to the med school at the completion of the program, given that I met certain requirements. I was very blessed to have that opportunity, and I’m glad I was able to get to know the school, as well as Philly, through that before applying.

Accepted: What is intersectional feminism? What role does it play in your life as an individual and as a future physician?

Dorothy: Intersectional feminism is the idea that people’s experiences and the privilege they have in society will differ on the basis of their identities other than gender, particularly their race but also their socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, disability status, etc. Having that lens to view society and medicine has made me approach questions of equity from multiple points of view. I’m not only thinking about how the women I meet have inherently different experiences than men but also how a poor woman’s experience differs from a rich woman’s, or a woman of color’s vs. a white woman’s, or a lesbian’s vs. straight woman’s, etc. And then on top of that, I’m thinking about multiple identities at once and how those identities do or do not provide access to certain resources such as education, employment, housing, and health care, or may lead to direct harms, as is the case with police brutality toward people of color. As an individual, intersectional feminism has taught me to look at people more holistically and think about how societal structures have created and perpetuate inequities for anyone who isn’t a rich, able-bodied, white, cis-gender, heterosexual man. As a future physician, intersectional feminism, I think, will help me think of the sorts of challenges my patients will face living in an inequitable system–challenges that will essentially be assaults on their health–and will hopefully also allow me to think of and advocate for broader solutions, such as policy changes, to address those problems.

Accepted: Can you talk about your involvement with White Coats for Black Lives and your passion for social justice in general?

Dorothy: I was involved with coordinating the National White Coat Die-Ins that happened this past December, along with amazing students from UCSF, Mount Sinai, and of course, Penn. Nowadays, I serve on the National Working Group for White Coats for Black Lives with 8 other med students from across the country and continue to work with my classmates at the Penn chapter.

I started learning about social justice about halfway through college, and that gave me the framework for thinking about a lot of societal problems, but I wasn’t sure how to fit that in with a career in medicine. My passion for social justice stems from my desire to help people–it’s the same thing that drew me into medicine in the first place. I think the difference, though, is that the former more strongly emphasizes systemic change to help those who have been marginalized by a society that prioritizes some groups over others, some lives over others. In medicine, we are often taught to help the individual, and I think we sometimes lose sight of the broader societal structures that cause illness. So to some degree, medicine has become a vehicle for social justice to me. I think medicine is a powerful way to create social change, and knowing that I can do both now has been really motivating for me.

Accepted:  Can you tell us about your blog/Twitter/About.me page? Who is your target audience? What have you gained from your involvement in these various social media outlets? (And we’ll add whatever links you want to share.)

Dorothy:  I only recently started a blog, so there’s not much content up at the moment. (I’m hoping to start posting more regularly soon. We just got out of our toughest organ block yet, so I’ll have more time to write!) I tend to have a lot of conversations with my classmates about social justice, so my blog is essentially my processing those conversations in written form, but really anyone interested in medicine, health care, social justice, and/or feminism might enjoy reading it. At the moment, I’m a bit more active on Twitter, where I tweet mostly about medical education (#meded) and racial justice since it’s most on my mind. I’ve been able to connect with quite a few med students through social media (especially when we were organizing the die-ins on Facebook) as well as follow a bunch of social justice-minded physicians. It’s actually been inspiring to know that I’m going into a field with a lot of people who are passionate about both medicine and justice, and I’m really excited that so many of the friends I’m making through social media are going to be leaders in medicine.

You can read Dorothy’s blog at https://intersectionsinmedicine.wordpress.com/ and follow her on Twitter @dn_charles.  Thank you Dorothy for sharing your story with us – we wish you the best of luck! 

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

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Navigate the Med School Maze
Tips for Applying to Medical School As a Disadvantaged Applicant
Medical Minority Applicant Registry: Who, How & Why?

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How To Research Medical Schools http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/10/how-to-research-medical-schools/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/10/how-to-research-medical-schools/#respond Sun, 10 May 2015 16:16:21 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30645 Considering that there are 141 allopathic medical schools in the U.S., deciding which schools to apply to can feel overwhelming, especially since selecting the right schools can make or break your chances of acceptance.  To help you navigate these options, I recommend that you consider the following areas when narrowing down your school selection: Geography: […]

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Click here to download our free guide on how to navigate the med school maze.

Do your research! There are a lot of factors at stake.

Considering that there are 141 allopathic medical schools in the U.S., deciding which schools to apply to can feel overwhelming, especially since selecting the right schools can make or break your chances of acceptance.  To help you navigate these options, I recommend that you consider the following areas when narrowing down your school selection:

Geography:  Realistically, people excel at the schools where they have the most support.  Begin exploring the schools closest to you and family. Furthermore many medical schools prefer to accept in-state residents so you will also have a stronger chance of getting in at a school near you. Finally, keep in mind that for many programs in-state tuition is significantly less than out-of-state tuition.

Interests:  If you have years of research or clinical experience within a particular field or specialization, consider the schools that have funding and special training opportunities in your area of interest.  Even better, you can network with your mentors to reach out to. principal investigators or professors of medicine at these schools to find out more about their work and how you could get involved as a medical student.

Your qualifications:  After reviewing your GPA and MCAT scores, focus on the schools where your numbers fit into their averages.  You can apply to a couple of dream schools, but if you apply only to top tier medical schools when you do not have competitive numbers, you may receive only rejections.

The goal is acceptance to medical school, not bragging rights or trophy schools. It’s better to receive an acceptance from a lower tier program than a drawer full of rejections from schools that were out of your reach to begin with.  It’s all about strategy.

Special Programs: There are early acceptance programs that some medical schools offer, which you may want to consider, if you have competitive grades and know early in your education that you want to pursue a medical education.  For less competitive applicants, medical schools also offer conditional acceptance programs for students who do not have a strong academic background but who demonstrate potential; through this type of program, if you earn a certain GPA by a specified date, you can gain full acceptance into their school.  Check out all of the programs offered by the medical schools you are interested in.  They are worthy of your consideration because they offer valuable support in multiple areas and serve as clear pathways into medicine, at different points in the process.

In conducting your research, rely on:

• Books, like mine, The Definitive Guide to Premedical Postbaccalaureate Programs and the AAMC’s Medical School Admissions Requirement (MSAR) Handbook

• Medical school websites

• Networking through pre-med clubs and health organizations

• Attending premed fairs

• Visiting medical schools campuses

• Participating in conferences, internships and/or shadowing affiliated with medical schools

The sooner you begin exploring the options, the more knowledgeable you will be about these schools.  As you learn more, you will develop definite opinions about what you do and don’t like.  Talk to medical students and find a mentor or counselor to help guide you through the process.  It’s a long complicated dance before you find the campus where you will thrive.  The more specific your criteria, the more likely you will be to identify the med school that is right for you.

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.

Related Resources:

Navigate the Med School Maze
Boost your GPA for Med School Acceptance
7 Reasons Why Medical School Applicants Are Rejected

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Magoosh Guide To The TOEFL eBook http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/08/magoosh-guide-to-the-toefl-ebook/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/08/magoosh-guide-to-the-toefl-ebook/#respond Fri, 08 May 2015 16:21:15 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30184 Feeling overwhelmed by the TOEFL test? Don’t know where to start? Or have you taken the test 5 times before and just need a quick refresher before you take it for (hopefully!) the last time? Either way, it can be tough to find quality resources that provide everything you need to know for the test […]

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Click here for help on your TOEFLFeeling overwhelmed by the TOEFL test? Don’t know where to start? Or have you taken the test 5 times before and just need a quick refresher before you take it for (hopefully!) the last time?

Either way, it can be tough to find quality resources that provide everything you need to know for the test while also being easy to understand. But that’s where our friends at Magoosh TOEFL come in!

They’ve put together this new (and free!) TOEFL iBT eBook to help you prepare for and succeed on your TOEFL test! So no need to spend hours browsing the web for TOEFL practice questions, test strategies or problem explanations–you can find all these resources and lots more in the Magoosh TOEFL eBook.

Go ahead and get to studying–and of course, good luck on your test!

Click here to download your TOEFL iBT eBook!

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5 Ways To Start Your Med School Personal Statement http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/07/5-way-to-start-your-med-school-personal-statement/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/07/5-way-to-start-your-med-school-personal-statement/#respond Thu, 07 May 2015 15:55:06 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30631 Writing your personal statement can be daunting, and the hardest part is getting started. Here are five ways to start writing. 1. Remember your audience. Admissions officers spend generally five minutes or less on your personal statement and read about 40 to 50 essays a day. Your essay needs to grab their attention and stand […]

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Click here for more med school applicant advice

Create a personal statement that grabs the adcom’s attention and keeps it until the end.

Writing your personal statement can be daunting, and the hardest part is getting started. Here are five ways to start writing.

1. Remember your audience. Admissions officers spend generally five minutes or less on your personal statement and read about 40 to 50 essays a day. Your essay needs to grab their attention and stand out immediately.

2. Show your ability to succeed. Admission officers are looking for people that will be successful med students and doctors. Show them right away that you are a good fit for the program and the profession.

3. Show your motivation. Most people applying to medical school want to go, but not all of them can articulate why. Explain to the admissions committee why you want to go to medical school, not just the fact that you want to go.

4. Focus on “soft skills.” Admissions officers are looking for empathy, compassion, sincerity, and people skills. These are not readily apparent from grades and scores, so emphasize those attributes in your essay.

5. Be truthful and personal. Admissions officers read so many essays that they can immediately detect when someone is being insincere or is writing from a template. You need the essay to reflect who you are. Really. Remember, everyone else is already taken.

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

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

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

Related Resources:

Ace The AMCAS Essay
5 Things to Avoid in Your Med School Personal Statement
Must-Read Books for Pre-Meds

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Overcoming The Odds: A Story Of Med School Inspiration http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/06/overcoming-the-odds-a-story-of-med-school-inspiration/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/06/overcoming-the-odds-a-story-of-med-school-inspiration/#respond Wed, 06 May 2015 17:54:35 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30621 Think a low MCAT score means medical school is out of the picture? Not for Student Dr. Diva. Listen to our conversation with the pink and glitter-loving tomboy with determination and resilience that is nothing short of awe-inspiring. If you are a pre-med, current student, graduate, or even none of the above, you won’t want […]

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Listen to our conversation with Student Dr. Diva!Think a low MCAT score means medical school is out of the picture? Not for Student Dr. Diva.

Listen to our conversation with the pink and glitter-loving tomboy with determination and resilience that is nothing short of awe-inspiring. If you are a pre-med, current student, graduate, or even none of the above, you won’t want to miss this interview.

00:01:57 – Everything happens for a reason: Dr. Diva’s introduction to osteopathic medicine.

00:04:53 – The Rural Health Initiative Program.

00:07:37 – Challenges faced by physicians in rural medicine.

00:09:00 – The secret of getting into med school with a 19 MCAT score!

00:10:30 – Overcoming a series of painful tragedies and obstacles to become a successful med student.

00:16:54 – The best thing about medical school.

00:19:19 – Finding time for life.

00:20:49 – What the future holds for Dr. Diva.

00:21:46 – What the diva doesn’t like about med school.

00:23:28 – Do what makes you happy! [Even if it isn’t medical research! Really.]

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

Related Links:

Student Doctor Diva Blog
@studentdrdiva on Twitter
Ineedamarteney on Instagram
Interview with DO Student Dr. Diva: Do What Makes You Happy!

Related Shows:

Elliptical, Meet Med School: Interview with Andrea Tooley
Insights, Advice and Experiences of a Non-Traditional Med Student
An Inside Look at the Medical School Journey
Medical School Admissions 2015-2016: A Dean’s Perspective
Getting Into Medical School: Advice from a Pro
MCAT Scores, MCAT Prep, and #MCAT2015

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

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Where Should I Apply To Med School? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/05/where-should-i-apply-to-med-school-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/05/where-should-i-apply-to-med-school-2/#respond Tue, 05 May 2015 16:06:47 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30529 Selecting medical schools that you will apply to can include some of the most important and strategic decisions you’ll have to make during the application process. These decisions will directly impact your chances of gaining an acceptance. Start by deciding realistically how many schools that you can reasonably afford to apply to—taking into consideration the […]

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Download your free copy of Ace the AMCAS

Selecting medical schools that you will apply to can include some of the most important and strategic decisions you’ll have to make during the application process. These decisions will directly impact your chances of gaining an acceptance. Start by deciding realistically how many schools that you can reasonably afford to apply to—taking into consideration the following costs:

MCAT, if you haven’t already taken it

• Primary application, fee per school

• Secondary applications, price varies according to school

• Funds needed to travel to interviews (flights, taxi or bus services, hotels and meals)

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

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

1. Where would you like to practice medicine?

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

2. Where can you claim residency?

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

3. What are your areas of interest?

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

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

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

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

Related Resources:

Navigate the Med School Maze
Improve your MCAT Score for Med School Acceptance
US News Most Affordable Med Schools

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