Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog http://blog.accepted.com Admissions consulting and application advice Fri, 22 May 2015 16:10:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Are MBA Rankings REALLY Important? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/22/are-mba-rankings-really-important-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/22/are-mba-rankings-really-important-2/#respond Fri, 22 May 2015 16:10:12 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30555 What do the MBA rankings mean to you? What will they teach you? Should you trust them? Are MBA rankings REALLY important? In our guide, MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know, newly updated and expanded for 2015, Linda Abraham will walk you through the process of locating the rankings, sifting through them for the […]

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What do the MBA rankings mean to you? What will they teach you? Should you trust them? Are MBA rankings REALLY important?

In our guide, MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know, newly updated and expanded for 2015, Linda Abraham will walk you through the process of locating the rankings, sifting through them for the important information, analyzing the relevant data, and then finally, USING that information to help you choose the best MBA program for YOU.

MBA Rankings: What you  need to know

The rankings ARE an important tool, but they’re also a tool that can easily be abused. Learn how to use the rankings properly when you download MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know today!

Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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PhD Funding Disparities http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/22/phd-funding-disparities/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/22/phd-funding-disparities/#respond Fri, 22 May 2015 15:46:54 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30990 The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that unequal funding for PhD students across disciplines is leading to an “unequal education,” where students in relatively flush disciplines (such as business and the STEM fields) enjoy more comfortable stipends, while those in the humanities and social sciences are left scrambling to find jobs off campus or take […]

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How will you afford your Social Science Ph.D?

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that unequal funding for PhD students across disciplines is leading to an “unequal education,” where students in relatively flush disciplines (such as business and the STEM fields) enjoy more comfortable stipends, while those in the humanities and social sciences are left scrambling to find jobs off campus or take out loans to supplement their much smaller paychecks.

The Chronicle’s story focuses on grad students at the University of Houston—a PhD student in Business whose stipend of $33,000/yr puts her among the most generously-funded grad students, as well as students in the humanities and social sciences whose stipends started at a far more modest $11,000-$13,000 (even after recent, hard-won funding increases, funding in those departments is well under $20,000/yr).

There are many factors that contribute to this disparity, including the availability of research grants in the field, the competitive profile of the department, and the university’s investment in developing its reputation in the discipline (as well as what it is willing to do to recruit top students in the field).

As the Chronicle story makes clear, low stipends have multiple effects: students might be forced to take out loans to fund their degree, when they likely already carry debt from their undergrad education and the academic job market is ever more insecure. Or they might search for off-campus employment (often in violation of the terms of their PhD funding packages), which can slow their progress to their degrees and take time away from the work they need to do to be successful academically (publishing, university service, etc).

A recent piece in The Atlantic highlighted the problem of PhD student debt and compared the average debt burden across disciplines:

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Not only do students in the Humanities and Social Sciences take on more debt—more of them take on debt. The NSF survey for the same year found that while more than ¾ of engineers graduated without debt, over half of humanities PhDs had student loans.

There are other disparities, too: a study has found that Black and Latino PhDs, even in STEM fields, graduate with substantially more debt than their white counterparts.

What is there to be done about disparities in funding? Would higher stipends improve the PhD experience? What does all this mean for you, if you’re considering a PhD?

First off, a few schools have been considering ways of increasing their funding packages for students in the humanities and social sciences. Some have suggested funding fewer students at a higher level, or funding students at a higher level for fewer years.

Second, what should you be aware of as an applicant? I advise you to look into your funding options carefully—including outside and summer fellowships. Find out how many years the programs you’re targeting will guarantee funding for. Is summer funding available? What about travel funds for research or conferences? What is the cost of living? Finally: would you be willing to go into debt to earn a PhD? For me, the answer to that question was “no.” I was fortunate to have funding throughout grad school—but you don’t need me to tell you that living in Los Angeles on $15K a year required some careful budgeting! The experience also made me acutely aware of the benefits of applying for outside funding, which helped me finish debt free.

Plott Your Way to a PhD: 6 Topics in PhD Admissions

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

Related Resources:

Choosing a PhD Program: 3 Tips
• Is a PhD a Good Idea?
• STEM PhD Applicants: Strengthen Your Candidacy

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Indian In IT Finds Her Fit At Anderson http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/22/from-mumbai-to-ucla-anderson-to-amazon-intern/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/22/from-mumbai-to-ucla-anderson-to-amazon-intern/#respond Fri, 22 May 2015 14:06:58 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30962 This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application. And now for an interview with Rohini Vaze… […]

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Read more MBA student interviews

This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application. And now for an interview with Rohini Vaze…

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Can you share 3 fun facts about yourself?

Rohini: Sure! I am from Mumbai in India. I did my undergrad in electrical engineering from Pune and then worked at Tata Motors for three years. It was an amazing job where I got a 360 degree view of the business by working in sales, manufacturing and customer support and could take many initiatives and see them implemented. However, I always felt that I needed to learn frameworks that I could apply in my career, and so I came to business school to gain those skills. I also funded my friend’s startup during my time at Tata Motors and that got me interested in this space. So I am using these two years at business school to gain exposure to start-ups in California.

3 fun facts about me are:

1. I have travelled to 10 countries outside my country of birth.

2. I am a trustee at a non-profit organization in India to help underprivileged children learn English and computers.

3. I have been dancing since the age of five.

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

Rohini: I am in my first year of Business School at UCLA Anderson School of Management.

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

Rohini: My favorite thing about Anderson has been the people and the exposure that it has given to me. Many schools are good at a single discipline but not so great at other industries, but Anderson is great for a variety of careers. This gives a lot of exposure to people who have very diverse backgrounds and I am sure it will be very helpful in the future. If I could change one thing, I would change the time at which the school starts. The quarter system makes recruiting harder since all other schools tend to have an advantage of starting a month earlier than Anderson, and thus those students have more time to gain valuable skills that will help them in seeking internships and full time positions.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your current internship? What role did UCLA play in helping you secure that position?

Rohini: I am currently pursuing a part-time internship at a Venture Capital Firm in Santa Monica and the opportunity came to me through UCLA itself. We have a website through our career center where companies that are in need of interns post about their opportunities. I applied to this internship after seeing the posting on the website and went through a company analysis and interview process before being offered this position. The part-time internship involves doing market research for companies that are being considered for funding through the Venture Capital Firm. What I really like about the internship is that the firm has good deal flow and provides real support to the entrepreneurs that they fund.

For the summer, I will be going to Amazon, and the Anderson career center was very helpful in giving me tips for preparation for the same. Moreover, my classmates as well as 2nd year students helped a lot with the preparation for the interviews!

Accepted: Which other business schools had you considered attending? How was UCLA the best fit for you?

Rohini: I always wanted a business school on the West Coast. I have a heard a lot about the cultural difference between the West and the East Coast schools and knew that I am a West Coast person. The other two criteria I had in mind were that I wanted a school in a city so that I could pursue part-time internships in parallel to school, as well as I wanted a school where there was a high concentration of people going into Hi-Tech. Thus, I had only considered attending UCLA, Berkeley and Stanford. I believe Anderson is a great fit for me since along with the above factors, Anderson has a very diverse crowd. The business school is really good for Finance and Consulting too, and I am confident that this exposure by being in an ‘all-rounder’ school will be very helpful in my career in the future.

Accepted: I see that you did fantastic on your GMAT – can you share a few tips with our readers?

Rohini: Thanks. There are a few things that I think helped me a lot with my GMAT score:

• Start with the simplest books and then move on to the harder ones. The simpler books help to re-learn the concepts from high school that most of us have forgotten. I started preparing with Princeton books and then went on to Manhattan and Kaplan. I also advise my friends to study from the official GMAT book the last. The official book tends to have the simpler questions in the 400-600 range and are not the best questions to practice when you are aiming for a great GMAT score. However, being able to easily solve these questions in the last couple of days when you need something to reduce your anxiousness is the best way to use the Official GMAT book.

• Check your mistakes to find patterns that will help you to focus your further preparation on a particular topic that is common for GMAT exams.

• Spend adequate time on the first 10 questions. I took the older format GMAT where the first 10 questions can really make or break your final score. Thus checking for silly mistakes in reading the question or a calculation error in not calculating answers till the end helps in getting a good score.

• Most importantly, practice a LOT! This is probably the most important tip since one of my biggest hurdles with GMAT was managing to concentrate for the whole 4 hours. During practice exams, I observed that I would make a lot of silly mistakes in the last hour and get lower scores. Thus, I made it a point to get used to the long hours and took one practice exam every three days. I believe this can really make the difference between a 700 and a 750 score.

Accepted: Do you have any other advice for our b-school applicants? 

Rohini: Start the application early and enjoy the process! Hopefully, there will be many things that you will learn about yourself through the application process. Also, focus on a few schools that you really want to get into and gather as much information about the school from as many sources as possible – you might have the best application but you won’t get any admit unless you can articulate “why this school” well.

For one-on-one guidance on your b-school applications, please see our MBA Application Packages.

To read more a bout Rohini, you can check out her blog at Rohini’s Blog. Thank you Rohini for sharing your story with us – we wish you much success! 

Download our free special report: Best MBA Programs

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• UCLA Anderson Zone Page
• MBA Admissions for Indian Applicants
• Podcast: UCLA Anderson and Entrepreneurship

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The Unconventional Guide To Writing For The GMAT http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/21/the-unconventional-guide-to-writing-for-the-gmat/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/21/the-unconventional-guide-to-writing-for-the-gmat/#respond Thu, 21 May 2015 21:18:18 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30929 Structure gets all the limelight.  Structure is undoubtedly a huge deal on the GMAT AWA. After all, you are being graded in part by a computer. But there is still much to be said for content, and the more you think about what to say before you say it, the less likely you are to […]

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Click here for GMAT study Tips

Prepare to think on your feet

Structure gets all the limelight.  Structure is undoubtedly a huge deal on the GMAT AWA. After all, you are being graded in part by a computer. But there is still much to be said for content, and the more you think about what to say before you say it, the less likely you are to run out things to say, besides simply repeating, “the argument is also weak because it fails to substantiate a number of points.” Remember, only one of the graders is a computer. The other grader will be very aware if your content is lacking.

Content is king

Much of the content, believe it or not, will come from your brain. All the advice you get about the structure and the exact wording will only help you so much. Generating ideas on the fly, though, can be difficult—especially on test day. A good tactic is to practice using the arguments in the back of the Official Guide. Your job: identify several assumptions and ways that those assumptions can be strengthened or disproven.

Official prompt from GMAT webpage:

“The following appeared in a memorandum from the business department of the Apogee Company:

“‘When the Apogee Company had all its operations in one location, it was more profitable than it is today. Therefore, the Apogee Company should close down its field offices and conduct all its operations from a single location. Such centralization would improve profitability by cutting costs and helping the company maintain better supervision of all employees.’

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion.”

The first step is to identify possible assumptions. This process might seem difficult at first, but with a little practice, you’ll become more adept at it.

Generating ideas means generating content

Questionable assumptions

1.  Profitability had one cause: having all operations centralized in one location.

2.  Even if that were the case, returning to a centralized operation does not ensure profitability.

3.  Supervision of employees is desirable and will lead to profit.

I probably could have come up with a few more assumptions, but I’d be stretching. The point of this exercise—indeed, the whole point of the AWA Argument task—is not to identify every questionable assumption, but to identify the main assumptions. From these few assumptions, you can build your essay. Remember, the instructions explicitly tell us to do the following:

“…what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion.”

Therefore, we need to take those first three assumptions and build off of them by offering alternative explanations and/or counterexamples.

1.  Profitability had one cause: having all operations centralized in one location.

Alternative explanation:

Profitability could have resulted from a number of different factors.

Counterexample:

For instance, Apogee could have focused on just one product, one that did well in the market and boosted company sales. The fact that operations were all under one roof did not impact the success of the company’s product. Indeed, Apogee could have continued to be profitable when it expanded its operations. We only know that at some point it was no longer profitable.

At this point, I could list another counterexample for the alternative explanation and house it under the same paragraph. This will help you add the much-needed length that many students struggle to provide in the essay. By coming up with realistic counterexamples, you can not only write a longer essay, but also a more persuasive one.

A good approach is to repeat the above for each of the questionable assumptions so that you are able to come up with five paragraphs (introduction, three bodies, and a conclusion). First, practice writing one solid paragraph, containing alternative explanations and realistic counterexamples. Once you can confidently do that, repeat two more times and you will be well on your way to a competitive essay score.

Takeaway

You must be able to pinpoint questionable assumptions upon which the argument hinges and you must generate original counterexamples. No amount of learning cookie-cutter language (“the argument is unconvincing because it fails to account for several notable….”) will help you think of ideas specific to the argument you see on test day.

MBA 5 Fatal Flaws

This post was written by Chris Lele, resident test prep expert at Magoosh and a leader in GMAT prep. For more advice on taking the GMAT, check out Magoosh’s GMAT blog.

Related Resources:

• The GMAC, the GMAT, and the MBA Degree
• Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low Stats
• Analyzing Your GMAT Score: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself

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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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Columbia Applicants – Have You Registered? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/21/columbia-applicants-have-you-registered-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/21/columbia-applicants-have-you-registered-2/#respond Thu, 21 May 2015 15:54:42 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30584 Hey future Columbia students, have you signed up for our upcoming webinar, Get Accepted to Columbia Business School? The webinar will take place at 10:00 AM PST/1:00 PM EST on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. During the webinar, Linda Abraham, Accepted’s CEO & Founder, will explain the do’s and don’ts of applying to CBS. This is […]

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Want to get accepted to Columia? Click here to reserve your spot for the webinar!

Hey future Columbia students, have you signed up for our upcoming webinar, Get Accepted to Columbia Business School? The webinar will take place at 10:00 AM PST/1:00 PM EST on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. During the webinar, Linda Abraham, Accepted’s CEO & Founder, will explain the do’s and don’ts of applying to CBS. This is important stuff folks – you don’t want to miss it!

It’s not too late (though it will be soon), so grab your seat by registering now!

Save your spot!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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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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UCLA Anderson Bags $100 Million Gift http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/20/ucla-receives-the-gift-to-keep-on-giving/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/20/ucla-receives-the-gift-to-keep-on-giving/#respond Wed, 20 May 2015 16:13:32 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30916 UCLA’s Anderson School of Business has announced a $100 million gift from philanthropist Marion Anderson, whose late husband John Anderson is the school’s namesake. Sixty million dollars of the gift will go towards an endowment supporting student fellowships, faculty research, and innovative program development, while the remaining $40 million will go towards the construction of […]

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Be sure to visit our UCLA Anderson Zone page! UCLA’s Anderson School of Business has announced a $100 million gift from philanthropist Marion Anderson, whose late husband John Anderson is the school’s namesake.

Sixty million dollars of the gift will go towards an endowment supporting student fellowships, faculty research, and innovative program development, while the remaining $40 million will go towards the construction of a new building.

Judy Olian, Dean of UCLA Anderson and the John E. Anderson Chair in Management, said, “From student fellowships to faculty recruitment and retention, to innovative research programs and the state-of-the-art facilities that will house them, Marion Anderson has enabled our future and empowered us with her confidence in the path we are taking.”

Marion Anderson, chair of Topa Equities, is an active member of both the UCLA and broader Los Angeles communities. She is a member of the UCLA Anderson Board of Visitors executive committee and the Centennial Campaign for UCLA executive committee, as well as the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles board of trustees. An endowed professorship and a courtyard at UCLA Anderson are named in her honor.

This substantial gift (the largest in the school’s history) launches the Anderson School’s “Into the Next” campaign—a $300 million fundraising campaign that is part of UCLA’s broader $4.2 billion Centennial Campaign, set to culminate in 2019 with the university’s centennial. It brings the total donated by Marion Anderson and her late husband to $142 million.
Download our free special report: Best MBA Programs

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• UCLA Anderson Student Interview: Enjoying the MBA Whirlwind
Columbia B-School Receives $100 Million Gift from Wharton Alum
• U.S. News 2016 Best Graduate Business Schools

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MIT Sloan 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/20/mit-sloan-2016-mba-essay-tips-deadlines/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/20/mit-sloan-2016-mba-essay-tips-deadlines/#respond Wed, 20 May 2015 15:38:13 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30678 This year’s MIT MBA application is significantly different from last year’s — and those that preceded it. No cover letter, which was part of MIT’s application for years, and no letter of recommendation from you about you. That was last year’s twist.  This year’s application has one required essay and another short-answer question that applicants […]

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

Stata Center at MIT

This year’s MIT MBA application is significantly different from last year’s — and those that preceded it. No cover letter, which was part of MIT’s application for years, and no letter of recommendation from you about you. That was last year’s twist. 

This year’s application has one required essay and another short-answer question that applicants invited to interview will need to address. Both these questions are new. Plus the request for additional written information from those invited to interview is not only new, but unique. To my knowledge, MIT is the only school with this requirement. HBS has its post-interview reflections, but that again is post interview and is not a response to a specific question.

Finally, MIT Sloan for years had only two rounds. The second round deadline last year was January 8. This year MIT is adding a third round which extends its application season to April 11.  There may be many reasons for this change, but one result: it increases total application volume and reduces the acceptance rate while giving MIT Sloan a chance to admit excellent applicants who may just decide to apply late in the application cycle.

My tips are in blue below. 

Resume:

Please prepare a business resume that includes your employment history in reverse chronological order, with titles, dates, and whether you worked part-time or full-time. Your educational record should also be in reverse chronological order and should indicate dates of attendance and degree(s) earned. Other information appropriate to a business resume is welcomed and encouraged. The resume should not be more than one page in length (up to 50 lines). We encourage you to use the résumé template provided in the online application.

Go beyond mere job descriptions to highlight achievement. If your title is “consultant.” Saying that you “consulted on projects” is redundant and uninformative at best. Writing that you “Led a 6-member team working on a biotech outsourcing project to Singapore with a budget of $X; it came in on time and under budget.” conveys infinitely more. Quantify impact as much as possible. You want the reader to come away with a picture of you as an above average performer on a steep trajectory

We have one required essay at the time of submission:

Tell us about a recent success you had: How did you accomplish this? Who else was involved? What hurdles did you encounter? What type of impact did this have? (500 words or fewer)

The really effective response will tell a story about a success. Yes that means one success.

The story can start with the moment of success or a moment of challenge, maybe even of failure or tension. Then describe your role in turning that situation or challenge into an accomplishment.  To provide context and indicate the magnitude of your accomplishment, as well as fully answer the question, talk about impact. What were the results or benefits of your success? Quantify as much as possible.

If you are lucky enough to have several accomplishments to choose from, review “What We Look For,” and choose an experience that presents what MIT seeks.

A second, short-answer question will be asked only of those invited to interview:

The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. Please share with us something about your past that aligns with this mission. (250 words or fewer)

Congrats! If you’re reading this after you applied you’ve been invited to interview at MIT Sloan! Of course now you need to respond to this question. Get ready. Get set. Think!

When have you had an innovative idea that in some small way improved the world?  When have taken your idea and led the implementation of it or persuaded others to go in with you on this project or initiative? You only have 250 words so you can’t write a long story here.  Focus on the elements of your achievement that show you as an innovative leader who has improved the world and has the ability to advance management practice.

Some of you may thing “I already wrote about my best example in the required essay. What am I supposed to do know now?” Choose your second best example. Or choose an impressive example from a different arena of your life, perhaps sports, religion, politics, the arts, community service, or a hobby.

I’m sure you’re not a one-trick pony. Don’t leave them thinking that you have only one achievement that you feel is worthy to share with MIT Sloan’s admissions committee. 

Optional Question

The Admissions Committee invites you to share anything else you would like us to know about you, in any format. If you choose to use a multimedia format, please host the information on a website and provide us the URL.

I discussed this question a few years ago with someone in MIT Sloan’s admissions office. First of all realize that you can choose an essay or multi-media presentation. The media option is there so you can express yourself in the way you find easiest and most revealing. MIT does not want a recycled essay from another school. The person I spoke to was explicit about that. If you choose the multi-media format, realize it should be something viewable in about a minute — no 20-minute videos or 100-slide expositions or lengthy orations. Keep it short. It’s also fine to link to something you have created for a club, event, or cause that’s important to you.

What’s behind the option? A deep and sincere desire to meet you as a human being. A genuine, animated, real live human being. So don’t regurgitate your resume or spew stuff found in the required elements of your application. Have the confidence to share a special interest or deep commitment. I’m not suggesting Mommy Dearest or True Confessions; use judgment. I am suggesting that you allow the reader to see a good side of you not revealed elsewhere in the application.  Let them see what makes you smile, motivates you to jump out of bed with joy, and gives you a feeling of satisfaction when you turn out the light at the end of the day.

MIT Sloan has an excellent video with advice on its optional essay. Here it is:


I think the key phrase in the video is “We really want to get to know you guys as people.” What else would you like MIT Sloan to know about you? Share it here.

MIT Sloan 2016 Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline Decision Notification
Round 1 September 17, 2015 December 16, 2015
Round 2 January 14, 2016 April 4, 2016
Round 3 April 11, 2016 May 18, 2016

If you would like professional guidance with your MIT Sloan MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our  MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the MIT Sloan application.

Learn How to Choose the Best MBA Program for You!

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

Related Resources:

• School-Specific MBA Application Essay Tips
• MIT Sloan B-School Zone 
Is My Personal Statement Too Personal?

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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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Business School Gender Balance Improving http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/19/business-school-gender-balance-improving/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/19/business-school-gender-balance-improving/#respond Tue, 19 May 2015 15:49:36 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30500 Women now make up 60% of university graduates, but most business schools have lagged behind when it comes to gender balance—impacting not just women’s experience of b-school, but the composition of the workforce afterward. A new report from gender consulting firm 20-first looks at the numbers of women MBA students and faculty at top programs, […]

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Berkeley Haas

UC Berkeley Haas takes the lead with a 43% female student body.

Women now make up 60% of university graduates, but most business schools have lagged behind when it comes to gender balance—impacting not just women’s experience of b-school, but the composition of the workforce afterward. A new report from gender consulting firm 20-first looks at the numbers of women MBA students and faculty at top programs, and finds that while there has been some improvement in the last few years, we still have a ways to go before achieving gender balance.

Lesley Symons, one of the authors of the report, points out that this “balance” is not merely an issue of numbers—currently, the curriculum at most b-schools is defined and driven by male faculty, male-dominated case studies, etc. She suggests that a deeper issue of cultural change is at stake, in order to make business education “gender bilingual” and effectively train the next generation of business leaders.

The report found that gender balance among students at top programs is improving (with several top US programs near or over 40% representation for women), while faculty numbers are slower to budge.

Here are some of the report’s findings regarding female MBA students and faculty:

Check out our b-school zone pages to learn more about these top schools!
Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Best MBA Programs and How to Choose the Right One
Leaning in While Pursuing Your MBA: The MBA Mama Story
Forte Helps Women In Business Thrive: Interview with Elissa Sangster

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How To Pay For Your MBA: Free Webinar TOMORROW http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/18/how-to-pay-for-your-mba-free-webinar-tomorrow/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/18/how-to-pay-for-your-mba-free-webinar-tomorrow/#respond Mon, 18 May 2015 17:13:18 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30486 B-school applicants stressed by future tuition bills…listen up: We’ll be hosting a webinar loaded with tips on how to pay for business school TOMORROW, Tuesday, May 19, at 4pm PT/7pm ET. Guest presenter Julianna Young, VP of Operations at CommonBond, will show you: • How to understand the full cost of attendance • How to […]

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B-school applicants stressed by future tuition bills…listen up: We’ll be hosting a webinar loaded with tips on how to pay for business school TOMORROW, Tuesday, May 19, at 4pm PT/7pm ET.

Click here to watch the webinar.

Guest presenter Julianna Young, VP of Operations at CommonBond, will show you:

• How to understand the full cost of attendance

• How to identify sources of support—scholarships, loans, and more

• The mechanics of lending – the terms and calculations you need to know

• And much more!

The webinar is free but you do need to register.

Reserve your spot before it's too late!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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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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The Applicants That Stand Out At Columbia Business School http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/18/the-applicants-that-stand-out-at-columbia-business-school/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/18/the-applicants-that-stand-out-at-columbia-business-school/#respond Mon, 18 May 2015 15:54:38 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30841 My observation as a former insider at CBS is that Columbia is looking to build a diverse class of high-achieving world citizens who’ve got a bit of grit. World Citizen  What do I mean by a world citizen? For a small fraction, it means applicants who are internationally famous due to their own achievements or by […]

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Learn how to get accepted to Columbia Business School!My observation as a former insider at CBS is that Columbia is looking to build a diverse class of high-achieving world citizens who’ve got a bit of grit.

World Citizen 

What do I mean by a world citizen? For a small fraction, it means applicants who are internationally famous due to their own achievements or by association. Let’s say, the guy who won an Olympic medal, or the gal who gets a call from the former president of “X” country and says, “Hi, Dad.”

A world citizen also means someone who will add their own confident, distinct vibe to a cosmopolitan student body. Columbia wants to admit people with strong intellects and big ideas. They want confidence, but not arrogance. They like people who thrive in large group settings and don’t need a lot of handholding. They’re looking for admits with resilience and who exude a joie-de-vivre — kind of like the city itself.

The Greatness of Grit

And what do I mean by grit? That means someone who has achieved extraordinary things in the context of his or her job. It’s someone who has mapped out a plan for his or her future, and has done the hard work of really getting to know Columbia’s program and can prove it’s a good fit.

It can also mean someone who doesn’t have good test scores or a glossy international background.  But that person (usually a New York local) builds a relationship with an adcom member (though is not annoying!), retakes tests and makes efforts to improve at work or have an impact in the community. He or she might have to reapply, but showing that grit can eventually mean an admit.

 The New York Connection 

Finally, Columbia is looking for that New York connection. Why this city? Do you know what it has to offer? Can you thrive in its hyper-competitive business scene? Have you ever lived or worked here? A campus visit can be a huge plus–confirming for the adcom that you’re serious about attending.

New York can break your heart, or fulfill your wildest dreams. It will absolutely affect your experience at Columbia. They want to know you’ve got the right stuff to make the most of it.

Register for the webinar

Michelle Stockman Michelle Stockman is a professional journalist, former Columbia Business School admissions insider, and experienced MBA admissions consultant.

 

Related Resources:

Columbia Business School 2016 MBA Essay Tips and Deadlines
What Not to Include in Your Columbia Business School Application
Columbia Business School Zone

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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

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Related Resources:

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

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Indian School Of Business 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/17/indian-school-of-business-2016-mba-essay-tips-deadlines/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/17/indian-school-of-business-2016-mba-essay-tips-deadlines/#respond Mon, 18 May 2015 02:04:26 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30846 The Indian School of Business is an excellent program for those interested in advancing to management roles in a broad spectrum of industries and those seeking positions in the consulting industry (20% of graduates earn consulting placements) and technology field (28% of graduates choose this industry upon graduation). Interestingly, while median salaries for graduates of […]

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Check out ISB's bshool zone pageThe Indian School of Business is an excellent program for those interested in advancing to management roles in a broad spectrum of industries and those seeking positions in the consulting industry (20% of graduates earn consulting placements) and technology field (28% of graduates choose this industry upon graduation). Interestingly, while median salaries for graduates of a top US program like Stanford and Harvard only exceed the US national average by 240%, graduates of ISB can expect to earn 522% of the Indian national average wage upon graduation*.

ISB has overhauled its essay questions this year, only maintaining their standard of 3 required essays and one optional while changing the phrasing of all of the essay prompts and increasing the total word limit by 200 words (ISB is one of the few schools that actually require the strict adherence to its word limits). My comments are in blue.

Essay 1 (400 words maximum)

If we were to admit just one more student, make a compelling argument as to why that student should be you by describing an (only one) achievement in your personal / professional life that you are most proud of. What did you do that sets you apart from others? What did you learn?

This is a great question because it allows you to shine the spotlight on whatever aspect of your candidacy you feel makes you exceptional. Look at your career and extracurricular activities and identify the area in which you have achieved the greatest impact, ideally reaching a level that few other applicants can match. This is not just about a title or award you earned; the essay needs to highlight the obstacles you navigated and the challenges you overcame to reach that pinnacle. Don’t forget to discuss some of what you learned about yourself, leadership, and management.  

Essay 2 (300 words maximum). Choose one of the following 2 options:

Describe a (only one) defining moment in your personal / professional life when you had to make a risky decision, and explain what you did, why and the outcome.

A risky decision means there was a lot to lose and there was no clear path forward. This essay offers applicants an opportunity to demonstrate their appetite for risk and their decision making process – was it based on data, market research, networking with experienced mentors in the field, gut instinct, or some other technique? A good essay will be able to point to significant results and impact from the risk.

or

Describe a (only one) situation in your personal / professional life when you had to interact with people from diverse backgrounds. How did it affect you and what did you learn?

Similar to option 1 above, this potential topic includes an element of the unknown: when faced with a diverse team, a leader must analyze how the cultural and/or professional backgrounds of the people involved may affect the project and take action to smooth the interactions. This is a great opportunity for applicants with international work experience to share the cultural insight they have gained.

Essay 3 (300 words maximum)

What are your post ISB career plans and how will your past experiences and the Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP) contribute to taking you there?

This question is similar to last year’s essay prompt about career goals but is much more focused on what you have done (compared with last year’s emphasis on why you chose those paths). This essay demands a clear definition of what field and role you hope to enter upon graduation, the business skills and insight you have gained that will be essential to succeeding in that role, and how ISB will complement that knowledge.

Essay 4 (Optional) (200 words maximum)

Please use this space to explain any career breaks / provide any other information not covered elsewhere in the application that could significantly impact your candidature at ISB.
Note: It is not necessary to write this essay. Please use this space only if there is something really significant that you would like us to know.

Use this space to explain any gaps in your career but also take advantage of this opportunity to grant deeper insight into any leadership role or impact you have gained, emphasizing how this experience has prepared you for ISB and your future career.  

ISB Application Deadlines:

Round 1: October 15, 2015 (11:59 pm India Standard time)

Round 2: January 5, 2016 (11:59 pm India Standard time)

Download your free guide: Navigating the MBA Maze

Jennifer Bloom As a consultant with Accepted for nearly 17 years and a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), Jennifer Bloom has gained great experience in crafting application materials that truly differentiate you from the rest of the driven applicant pool. If you would like help with your ISB application, there are a variety of options for working with her on any budget.

Related Resources:

Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One
Writing About Overcoming Obstacles in Your Application Essays
• 4 Ways to Show How You’ll Contribute in the Future

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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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Should I Reapply To B-School? And To Which Programs? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/17/should-i-reapply-to-b-school-and-to-which-programs/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/17/should-i-reapply-to-b-school-and-to-which-programs/#respond Sun, 17 May 2015 15:52:14 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30806 This time of year, we gets lots of  reapplication queries. Should I reapply? To which programs should I reapply? Let me give you a few tips on successful MBA reapplication: 1. Coldly and objectively analyze your profile. Do you have competitive qualifications for the schools you applied to? I just yesterday spoke to a former admissions […]

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Check out more reapplicant tips on this tip page!This time of year, we gets lots of  reapplication queries. Should I reapply? To which programs should I reapply? Let me give you a few tips on successful MBA reapplication:

1. Coldly and objectively analyze your profile. Do you have competitive qualifications for the schools you applied to? I just yesterday spoke to a former admissions committee member at a top school, and she emphasized how talented the applicant pool is. “It’s so hard to choose!” she said.

2. With the same cool objectivity evaluate your application: Did you present your qualifications well? This step is more difficult than #1, because you rarely have the perspective necessary to evaluate your presentation via your application.  And it’s even harder to be objective about something inherently subjective.

3. Did you apply to the right schools given your goals and interests?  Or did you just look at rankings and brand? (The latter is the wrong way to choose schools.)

4. Did you apply early in your target schools’ application process? For most programs “early” translates into an application submitted during or prior to January the January deadlines.

Once you have evaluated your qualifications, your presentation of those qualifications, and your school choices, you should also have the direction necessary to go forward. You may need to improve your profile, polish your presentation, adjust your school choice, and apply earlier. Or you may need to work on one of the above areas. But there is one approach you should not take: The same one you took last year.

If you aren’t confident of your objectivity or your ability to take the above steps, then consider an MBA Application Review. It will cost you a lot less money (and time) than another bunch of rejected applications.  

MBA 5 Fatal FlawsAccepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• Create a Better Sequel: How to Reapply Right to Business School
Got Dinged? You Can Handle it!
• 5 Ways to Clean Up & Optimize Your Online Presence Before You Apply

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Harvard MBA Essay Question: Now Required and New http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/15/harvard-mba-essay-question-2016/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/15/harvard-mba-essay-question-2016/#respond Fri, 15 May 2015 18:54:18 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30829 And the Harvard MBA essay question is… It’s the first day of class at HBS. You are in Aldrich Hall meeting your “section.” This is the group of 90 classmates who will become your close companions in the first-year MBA classroom. Our signature case method participant-based learning model ensures that you will get to know […]

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Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School

And the Harvard MBA essay question is…

It’s the first day of class at HBS. You are in Aldrich Hall meeting your “section.” This is the group of 90 classmates who will become your close companions in the first-year MBA classroom. Our signature case method participant-based learning model ensures that you will get to know each other very well. The bonds you collectively create throughout this shared experience will be lasting.

Introduce yourself.

Note: Should you enroll at HBS, there will be an opportunity for you to share this with them.

We suggest you view this video before beginning to write.

You can read Dee Leopold’s full thoughts on this question at on her blog, Direct from the Director, as well as her reasons for making this required as opposed to optional, as its been for the last 2 years.

Dee also reviews the purpose of the essay. On one had its a chance for you the applicant to reflect, organize your thoughts, and relate them as you embark on the adventure of business school.  In addition and something that is critical for you to realize as you start that reflection process and choose what to write: The essay is “a chance to get to know you beyond the elements of the application that feel fixed and stationary. Can also be a starting point for interview conversations.”

Check out our free webinar: Get Accepted to Harvard Business School!

 

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

 

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Can You Get Into B-School With Low Stats? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/15/can-you-get-into-b-school-with-low-stats-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/15/can-you-get-into-b-school-with-low-stats-2/#respond Fri, 15 May 2015 16:26:47 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30001 Yes! Not everyone who goes to Harvard scores a perfect 800 and has a GPA of 4.0 (in fact, very few actually hit those perfect scores). If you’re stats are less than ideal, that doesn’t (always) mean that you need to cross your top schools off your list! Now’s your chance to catch up on […]

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Watch the webinar!

Yes! Not everyone who goes to Harvard scores a perfect 800 and has a GPA of 4.0 (in fact, very few actually hit those perfect scores). If you’re stats are less than ideal, that doesn’t (always) mean that you need to cross your top schools off your list!

Now’s your chance to catch up on valuable information you may have missed during our webinar, Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low Stats. B-school applicants with low GPA and/or GMAT scores – you don’t want to miss this! View Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low Stats for free now!

Watch the Webinar!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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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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Stanford GSB 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/14/stanford-gsb-2016-mba-essay-tips-deadlines/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/14/stanford-gsb-2016-mba-essay-tips-deadlines/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 17:17:04 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30673 There is very little change between last year’s and this year’s Stanford GSB MBA essay questions.  One minor change to note: You get an entire 50 extra words for your two essays. Last year the total word count was 1100 words. This year the maximum length is 1150. This is noteworthy only because it represents one […]

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Want to learn more about Stanford? Check out our Stanford GSB B-School Zone!There is very little change between last year’s and this year’s Stanford GSB MBA essay questions.  One minor change to note: You get an entire 50 extra words for your two essays. Last year the total word count was 1100 words. This year the maximum length is 1150. This is noteworthy only because it represents one of the few  times in recent years that schools are allowing you to provide a little more information about yourselves than they allowed previously.  Stanford is bucking the trend here.

Stanford gives a lot of advice and guidance on its website as to what it’s looking for in the essays. You should access that advice. 

Stanford moved its Round 1 deadline up about a week (from Oct 1 to this year’s Sept. 22.). It moved its Round 2 deadline to January 12 from last year’s Jan 7. Round 3’s deadline for 2016 is April 5; last year’s final deadline was April 1.  As I said in a recent podcast, the MBA application cycle — like some sports’ seasons and certain individuals’ waistlines, is expanding.

My tips are in blue below. 

Stanford GSB 2016 MBA Application Questions:

Essays help us learn about who you are rather than solely what you have done. Other parts of the application give insight to your academic and professional accomplishments; the essays reveal the person behind those achievements.

When writing your essays, resist the urge to “package” yourself into what you think Stanford wants to see. Doing so will only prevent us from understanding who you really are and what you hope to accomplish. The most impressive essays are the most authentic.

Essays:

We request that you write two personal essays. The personal essays give us glimpses of your character and hopes. In each essay, we want to hear your genuine voice. Think carefully about your values, passions, aims, and dreams prior to writing them.

Essay A. What matters most to you, and why?

For this essay, we would like you to:

• Focus on the “why” rather than the “what.”
• Do some deep self-examination, so you can genuinely illustrate who you are and how you came to be the person you are.
• Share the insights, experiences, and lessons that shaped your perspectives, rather than focusing merely on what you’ve done or accomplished.
• Write from the heart, and illustrate how a person, situation, or event has influenced you.

This superficially straightforward question has been Stanford’s first for the last several years, and it is actually one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult MBA essay questions to answer. It demands introspection. Before you put finger to keyboard or pen to paper, really reflect on what you value, how you have acted upon those principles, and why you value them. Stanford’s advice urges reflection. The question requires it.

When I reflect on our many successful Stanford clients, initiative in the face of need is the common thread among them. They are always the ones who revealed, especially in Essay A, that they do not turn away when they see a problem or need for action. They grab the initiative when faced with an opportunity to contribute. They are comfortable expressing emotion and their values, and their actions reflect both, but particularly the latter. Think purpose-driven, principle-driven lives.

More than anything else, initiative and self-awareness characterize the successful Stanford applicant. Implication: You have to know your values and those times you have acted upon them. Yes I wrote that a few seconds ago, but it bears repeating. Climbing Mt. Everest or suffering from terrible social ills is not a requirement of admission, but you do have to know the person occupying your skin.

Essay B. Why Stanford?

Enlighten us on how earning your MBA at Stanford will enable you to realize your ambitions.

A strong response to this essay question will:

• Explain your decision to pursue graduate education in management.
• Explain the distinctive opportunities you will pursue at Stanford.

Now that question is succinct, and really says what they want to know.

Similar to  questions that have occupied this Stanford application slot for years, this question is a variation of a standard MBA goals question, as revealed in the two bullet points after it. For this forward-looking question, you say why you want an MBA. The best way to do so is in terms of your desired post-MBA professional direction. Then explain how Stanford’s program specifically will help you travel down that path.

Understand the flexibility inherent in Stanford’s curriculum, its integrated approach to management, its entrepreneurial culture, and how both will help you learn what you need to know to achieve your career goals. Realize that the curriculum allows for personalization based on your goal and your past experience, specifically your previous business education. Two pieces of information are required to answer this question: A clear MBA goal and an in-depth understanding of Stanford GSB’s curriculum. (Folks: It’s not just the ranking, brand, or location.)

Essay Length:

Your answers for both essay questions combined may not exceed 1,150 words. Below are suggested word counts per essay, but you should allocate the maximum word count in the way that is most effective for you.

      •   Essay A: 750 words
      •   Essay B: 400 words

Formatting

• 12-pt. font size
• Double-spaced
• Recommended font types: Arial, Courier, or Times New Roman
• Indicate the question you are answering at the beginning of each essay (does not count toward the word limit)
• Number all pages
• Upload one document that includes both essays

Be sure to save a copy of your essays, and preview the uploaded document to ensure that the formatting is preserved.

Additional Information:

If there is any information that is critical for us to know and is not captured elsewhere, include it in the “Additional Information” section of the application. Pertinent examples include:

• Extenuating circumstances affecting academic or work performance
• Explanation of why you do not have a letter of reference from your current direct supervisor
• Work experience that did not fit into the space provided
• Academic experience (e.g., independent research) not noted elsewhere

This is optional. Respond if you have something to explain or need the additional space because you can’t fit in your work experience or all academic info. Responses should be succinct and to-the-point and should provide the context necessary for Stanford to understand the circumstances surrounding whatever difficulty you are writing about. 

If you would like professional guidance with your Stanford GSB application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our  MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Stanford GSB application.

Stanford GSB 2016 MBA Application Deadlines:

Application Round  Submit Your Application By  Notification Date
Round 1 22 Sept 2015* 09 Dec 2015
Round 2 12 Jan 2016* 30 Mar 2016
Round 3 05 Apr 2016* 11 May 2016

* Applications and Letters of Reference are due by 5:00 PM, Pacific Time

Get Accepted to Stanford Graduate School of Business! Click here to learn more!

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

Related Resources:

• What Stanford is Looking for: Personal Qualities and Contributions
• What Stanford is Looking for: Demonstrated Leadership Potential
Valentine’s Day, Economics, and Stanford GSB

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How Do I Choose The Right MBA Student Loan? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/14/how-do-i-choose-the-right-mba-student-loan/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/14/how-do-i-choose-the-right-mba-student-loan/#respond Thu, 14 May 2015 16:30:33 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30789 Student loans are an essential part of many students’ b-school financing strategies, but they’re rarely user-friendly. You’ll face a multitude of options, and it’s up to you to decide the right loans for your situation. We’ll help you determine the right amount of student loans for your situation in our upcoming webinar, but for now, […]

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Register for the webinar!Student loans are an essential part of many students’ b-school financing strategies, but they’re rarely user-friendly. You’ll face a multitude of options, and it’s up to you to decide the right loans for your situation. We’ll help you determine the right amount of student loans for your situation in our upcoming webinar, but for now, let’s take a look at the different loan options for MBAs and the general pros and cons of each.

At the highest level, you could borrow three types of loans to pay for your MBA: family loans, personal loans, and student loans. Not everyone has access to the first option of course, but if you do have a family member willing to provide the cash upfront, you could negotiate a great, low-cost funding source. Meanwhile, personal loans are usually far less preferable to student loans: Personal loans rarely offer interest rates lower than 9%, and most importantly, rarely offer in-school payment deferment options, meaning you’ll need to start repaying your loan as soon as you start school. Therefore, we’ll focus on student loans, the category of loans that are most broadly available and effective for MBAs.

There are two types of student loans: federal and private. U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for federal student loans and many private student loans, while international students cannot obtain financing from the U.S. government and should look to their schools’ financial aid office and private programs for financing sources.

The key federal loan programs are Direct Unsubsidized Loans (commonly known as the “Stafford for grad students”) and Direct PLUS Loans. Both offer fixed interest rates, which are set annually following the government’s auction of the 10-year Treasury note in May. At the time of writing, the interest rates are 6.21% and 7.21%, respectively, for these loan programs, and each comes with an added origination fee. This fee is common when borrowing both federal and private student loans, and is usually charged as a percentage of your total loan principal. For example, a 2% origination fee on an $80,000 loan means that a fee of $1,600 is added to your loan balance before your interest rate is applied. The origination fee is 1.073% for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan and 4.292% for the Direct PLUS Loan. Another federal loan program for which some borrowers may be eligible is the Perkins Loan program (which has no origination fee), but this is only available for those with exceptional financial need. If you’re eligible, you’ll be notified after you complete your FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Completing the FAFSA online is the first step to obtaining any federal aid.


Why would someone choose federal loans, or choose one loan program over another? Federal loans feature the government’s borrower protections, such as Income-Based Repayment to help those who struggle to meet their monthly payments under the standard loan plan. You can read all about these loan options and protections on the Department of Education’s website. When it comes to the specific federal loans mentioned above, you can only borrow up to $20,500 annually in the lower interest rate Direct Unsubsidized Loan – a limit that many MBAs will easily exceed given the costs of business school. Therefore, aside from the relatively few borrowers eligible for a Perkins Loan, it can make sense to borrow the first $20,500 of your loans via the Direct Unsubsidized Loan program before looking at other loan options.

The other option that many MBAs consider is private student loans from a financial institution like a bank or credit union, or a lending platform such as CommonBond. Private student loans come in more shapes and sizes than federal loans, including fixed and variable rate options. When taking out a loan through a private lender, as a rule of thumb, you’re likely to get lower interest rates on loans with shorter terms. (Lenders charge less interest for shorter terms because they assume less risk in lending for a shorter period.) Depending on the lender, you may find that private loans offer lower rates than the government options, so you might opt for private loans if you want to lower overall interest costs.

The tradeoff when choosing a private lender is that private loans do not come with the same borrower protections as federal options, e.g., you might get deferment and forbearance with a private lender, but you probably will not have an option to adjust your monthly payments based on your income (as you can using the government’s Income-Based-Repayment plan, for example). You should spend time researching private lenders to make sure that it offers basic borrower protections you need, such as in-school deferment. Our recommendation: Call up a lender’s customer service team and talk to someone there. This is a great way to explore your options and make sure you feel comfortable with the lender, especially if you need to ask questions in the future.

In the case of CommonBond, we offer an MBA Student Loan with two options at rates of 6.40% or 6.85% APR, respectively. As mentioned previously, CommonBond borrowers forego federal loan protections but have access to CommonBond-specific protections, like CommonBridge, a program where we help borrowers who are in-between jobs. If you have any questions at all about private loans, get in touch with our Care Team at care@commonbond.co or give us a call at 800-975-7812, and we’ll be happy to help.

MBA 5 Fatal Flaws

Kaitlin Butler is Content Manager at CommonBond, a student lending platform that provides a better student loan experience through lower rates, superior service, a simple application process and a strong commitment to community. CommonBond is also the first company to bring the 1-for-1 model to education and finance.

Related Resources:

Know Before You Go: Paying for Your Columbia MBA
• CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans
• Is it Worth it to Get an MBA?

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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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Why Is The SAT Scored From 600 To 2400? http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/13/why-is-the-sat-scored-from-600-to-2400/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/13/why-is-the-sat-scored-from-600-to-2400/#respond Wed, 13 May 2015 16:22:42 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30751 There are only a few times in your life when you’ll look at test scores and see a number like 1200 or 2000. Wait, wait—there’s only one time, really: that’s the SAT. Ninety-nine percent of the tests you take are scored as a fraction or a percentage, so what gives? What’s the point of putting […]

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Download your copy of: Preparing for college in high school: A to-do list for 11th gradeThere are only a few times in your life when you’ll look at test scores and see a number like 1200 or 2000. Wait, wait—there’s only one time, really: that’s the SAT. Ninety-nine percent of the tests you take are scored as a fraction or a percentage, so what gives? What’s the point of putting SAT scores in this bizarro range of 600 to 2400?

There are a few reasons:

1. The Wrong Answer Penalty:  The SAT isn’t scored just by counting how many correct answers you got; your incorrect answers also count to your total score. That’s right—you’re punished for your mistakes. In theory, it’s better to leave an answer blank than it is to get it wrong. In practice, that ends up not really being the case; you’ll definitely want to guess if you’re stumped on the test, especially if you can rule out one of the wrong answer choices.

Anyway, the system is pretty simple. A wrong answer is worth -¼ of a right answer. So if you get 1 question right, then 4 wrong, the correct answer is completely canceled out. Now, imagine you had a really hard time on the test and got more than four times as many incorrect answers as you did correct answers. That would lead to a negative score, right? But that’s nonsense. Test scores don’t go negative. So the raw score, calculated by the number of correct and incorrect answers you got, has to be converted into a different scale, a scale that is only positive.

2. Standardization:  If you take the SAT in May, then again in October, there’s a chance you’ll see harder questions on one test or the other. It’s not a pattern, though—it’s not as though SAT Math is always harder in the spring (that’s a common myth, but it is just a myth). Instead, there are just normal variations in the test difficulty. It’s pretty much impossible to create two tests with the exact same difficulty level. So if you answer 70% of the questions correctly on SAT critical reading one month, but only 65% correctly four months later, it’s likely the second test was just a bit harder by chance. To deal with that, the College Board, who makes the SAT, scales scores according to how hard the test was—you could end up with the exact same score on the 200 to 800 scale for that section from both test dates.

3. Distinction: This is the biggest reason, really. A high score on your algebra final might be a 95% or even 100%. The average score in the class might be closer to 80%. But if the SAT were on a 1 to 100 scale, the average score would be more like 50 (the average SAT score is near 1500, which is halfway between the minimum 600 and the maximum 2400). It would give the wrong impression of how well you actually did on the test, because people would immediately associate that 50 with a 50%, a failing grade, which an average SAT score absolutely is not.

So taking the score out of the 1 to 100 scale is necessary. But why 600 to 2400? The truth is that it’s pretty arbitrary. If you’ve taken or studied the ACT, you know that test is scored on a scale of 1 to 36. The PSAT, meanwhile, is from 60 to 240. The GRE is scored from 260 to 340, the LSAT from 120 to 180, and the TOEFL paper test from 310 to 677 (just to screw with people, I’m sure). Any standardized test has to pick a range of numbers to use. Test makers don’t want the scores of their test to be easily confused with the scores of another test, so they choose number ranges that don’t look like those of other tests’.

Get calibrated: If you’re not sure how to read your score, then forget about the actual number: just look at the percentiles. That shows you what percentage of people you scored higher than. If you’re in the 60th percentile, for instance, you scored higher than 60% of the other SAT takers. That gives a much better picture of where you stand and exactly how good your score is.

Find out what you can do NOW to make applying to college go as smoothly as possible!

This post was written by Lucas Fink, resident SAT expert at Magoosh, a leader in SAT Prep. You can learn more about Magoosh on our SAT blog.

Related Resources:

• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your College Application Essays
• GMAT, GRE, SAT, and All Things Test Prep
• College Application Tips for Parents

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To GRE Or Not To GRE? That Is The Question http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/13/to-gre-or-not-to-gre-that-is-the-question/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/13/to-gre-or-not-to-gre-that-is-the-question/#respond Wed, 13 May 2015 15:55:40 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30730 Before your dream of getting accepted to graduate school comes true, you’ll have to face – and conquer – the GRE. Listen in on our conversation with Dr. Lydia Liu, Managing Senior Research Scientist at the ETS and Tom Ewing, Director of External and Media Relations, for GRE advice, their perspective on the GRE vs […]

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Listen to the show!Before your dream of getting accepted to graduate school comes true, you’ll have to face – and conquer – the GRE.

Listen in on our conversation with Dr. Lydia Liu, Managing Senior Research Scientist at the ETS and Tom Ewing, Director of External and Media Relations, for GRE advice, their perspective on the GRE vs GMAT debate, and more.

00:03:22 – An overview of the GRE.

00:05:18 – Don’t stick with your first instinct: The GRE’s changing score feature and how it helps you snag a higher score.

00:09:13 – Paid and free GRE study tools.

00:12:16 – The GRE as a predictor of success in b-school.

00:13:18 – Why MBA applicants should take the GRE and not the GMAT.

00:17:24 – GRE prep strategies.

00:19:57 – Ongoing research studies at ETS.

00:21:09 – The latest news from ETS (and it doesn’t reflect well on US grad students).

00:25:58 – Tips for graduate school applicants.

Listen to the show!

Related links:

ets.org
takethegre.com
Should You Take the GMAT or GRE?
GRE vs. GMAT: Trends
GMAT vs. GRE: Harvard Business School Weighs In

Related Shows:

The GMAC, the GMAT, and the MBA Degree
The GMAT, the GRE, and the Guy Who Knows them Well
GMAT, GRE, SAT, and All Things Test Prep
Interview with Chris Ryan of Manhattan GMAT 

Leave a Review for Admissions Straight Talk:

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

Get Your Game On: Preparing for Your Grad School Application, a free guide

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Columbia Entering Class Profile http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/12/columbia-entering-class-profile/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/12/columbia-entering-class-profile/#respond Tue, 12 May 2015 17:37:05 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30719 This year’s entering class at CBS reflects the school’s interest in building a class composed of  “intellectually driven people from diverse educational, economic, social, cultural, and geographic backgrounds.” According to the class profile, 41% of the class are international students, 36% are women, and 32% are minorities. They come from a range of previous industries […]

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Learn how to get accepted to Columbia Business School!

This year’s entering class at CBS reflects the school’s interest in building a class composed of  “intellectually driven people from diverse educational, economic, social, cultural, and geographic backgrounds.”

According to the class profile, 41% of the class are international students, 36% are women, and 32% are minorities. They come from a range of previous industries (Financial Services 28%; Consulting 25%; Marketing/Media 10%; Private Equity 8%; Technology 7%; Non-profit 5%; and smaller numbers from other fields), and studied a range of fields in college, from Social Sciences, to Business, to the Humanities.

They share a strong record of achievement and leadership, whatever field they are coming from. They are also strong academically: applicants’ average undergraduate GPA was 3.5 (middle 80%: 3.1-3.8) and their average GMAT was 716 (middle 80%: 680-760). Of 5799 applications received, 1056 were admitted, for an ultimate entering class of 743.

Are you planning to apply to CBS? Register for our FREE WEBINAR for vital guidance on the application process!

Want to get accepted to Columia? Click here to reserve your spot for the webinar!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Columbia Business School 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
• Podcast Interview With the Columbia Business School Admissions Team
• Columbia Business School Zone

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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!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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An Interview With Our Own: Todd King http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/12/an-interview-with-our-own-todd-king/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/12/an-interview-with-our-own-todd-king/#respond Tue, 12 May 2015 15:50:51 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30697 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…Todd King. 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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Click here to read Todd'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…Todd King.

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?

Todd: I grew up mostly in Virginia, but have lived many places as an adult: Georgia, Utah, California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, even China for five years. These days I’m in the Boston area, but I’m frequently in Virginia to visit my octogenarian parents and in Beijing to visit my wife’s parents.

I served in the Army to save up for college. In my Military Intelligence role I did a lot of work involving computers and graphics, and truly enjoyed it; so after the Army I attended one of the best computer graphics college programs, at the University of Utah. I graduated with honors despite holding down a job throughout school to support myself, and that helped me land a job with IBM, despite graduating during a recession. A short time later I found work that was more truly graphics-related, at Walt Disney Feature Animation.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your work with Disney?

Todd: Lots of people ask if I was an animator; no, I was one of the people who kept the process moving. Even at that time, during Lion King days, technology played a huge role in the making of animated films and there was much for a technologist to do. I did a bit of everything: front-line support for the animators, system administration to keep movie data backed up, software programming, project leading, maintaining aspects of the system across multiple sites in multiple countries, and more. Every frame of film for six Disney animated features went through my hands at some point, and knowing that my work has helped to make many millions of children happy is something that will always bring me a great sense of satisfaction.

Accepted: How did your experience with the US Army, as well as your Disney experience (and any other jobs), pave your path to business school?

Todd: My work in the Army led to my study at college, but it was my work at Disney that led to my study at business school. My time in the Army no doubt served to make me a more attractive business school candidate, since military people tend to have held significant responsibility, but it also served to make me older than the traditional candidate, since my military career came before college.

My Disney experience led me to business school in an unusual way. Before Disney, I had a strong interest in China, and that grew greatly during the making of Mulan. Making that movie got me thinking about making animation for a Chinese audience, something no one seemed to be doing at the time, despite China’s rapid growth. I wanted to combine my Disney experience with my passion for China to explore the possibility of creating an animation business there. I had no knowledge of business fundamentals though, so I truly needed an MBA to pursue such a venture, and as we wrapped up work on Mulan I started looking at business schools.

Accepted: How was MIT Sloan the best MBA program for you? What are some of your fondest Sloan memories?

Todd: Sloan was right for me for a number of reasons. Animation relies heavily on cutting-edge technology, and no school was better at teaching the management of technology than Sloan.

Business in China is unique, and Sloan was one of the very few programs then with significant knowledge of China. A studio in China would likely involve entrepreneurship, and that was another Sloan strength. It all made the school a great fit for my needs; visiting the school and seeing its many smart but laid-back students reinforced that feeling of a good fit. Other business schools could have been a good fit as well – UCLA and NYU in particular – but I needed to be in the Boston area at that time, so I focused on getting into Sloan.

This may sound strange, but my fondest memories of Sloan involve the times that I was not there: I spent around six months of my Sloan tenure in China, an opportunity I never would have had without the school. I interned for Sloan’s international MBA program in China, assisted a venture in China partially funded by a professor at Sloan, and finally got to explore the animation scene in China, which turned out to have many significant issues. I spent spring and winter breaks in China as well. All of that led to my work after graduation as a consultant for a Chinese firm that also had Sloan connections.

Accepted: When and why did you become an admissions consultant for Accepted?

Todd: My Chinese firm was hit hard by the dot-com bust a year after I joined, and it laid off all its consultants. I contacted many former classmates then, but they were in similar situations, so my prospects for new employment were few. Around the same time, I was helping friends and acquaintances with their business school applications, and discovering that I had a knack for it; I enjoyed advising them and they kept getting accepted. So, when an opportunity arose to join a professional admissions consultancy, I took it. I meant for it to be temporary, so I’m shocked when I think that nearly fifteen years have passed since then, the past three of them at Accepted. It shows how much I enjoy admissions consulting.

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about consulting?

Todd: Professionally, my favorite thing about consulting is that thrilling moment when a truly deserving person I have guided over the past six months gets accepted to a top school. It’s particularly satisfying if that person was rejected the previous year, not only because of their sheer relief, but also because they can see the value of my guidance very clearly. Getting someone accepted is not quite the same as seeing for the first time the completed version of a Disney movie I worked on for years, but it’s close.

Personally, my favorite thing about consulting is the flexibility it gives me. I’m not tied down by geography, so I can consult whether I’m in China or in the US. I’m also not tied down by schedule, so I can spend a great amount of time with my family, something that proved particularly beneficial when my wife needed to spend a lot of time in China during our daughter’s high school years in the US. Consulting allowed me all the time I needed to raise her, and though she’s off at college now, we’re still very close.

Accepted: What are your top 3 admissions tips?

Todd:

First: When writing an essay, answer the question. If you give your essay draft to someone to read and they can correctly guess the question you’re answering, that’s a good sign. You’d be surprised by how rarely that happens, though.

Second: When writing about why you want to attend a school, write about your needs, not just about the school’s offerings. Admissions committee members already know their school’s offerings; what they don’t know is what you need in order for you to reach your goals. So tell them; they’ll see a fit if it’s there.

Third: Be sincere. Admissions committees ask their questions in different ways not to trick applicants, but simply to find ways to get applicants to reveal who they really are. You’d be surprised by how far sincerity will carry you with an admissions committee. I give all this advice freely, because it’s far easier said than done; guiding applicants to do these things is how I spend much of my time as a consultant.

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

MBA catalog CTAAccepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• MBA Admissions Consulting and Editing Services
Top MBA Programs: How To Answer Them Right
• Why MBA?

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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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MBA Maze: Application Timing http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/11/mba-maze-application-timing/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/11/mba-maze-application-timing/#respond Mon, 11 May 2015 17:26:25 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30466 “Application Timing” is the first post in our series, Navigate the MBA Maze. Should you apply Round 1, Round 2, or Round 3? Do not try to win the admissions game through timing. Quality—not timing—trumps all. Submit your application when it is at its best. When in doubt, listen to Linda’s rule: “Apply in the […]

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“Application Timing” is the first post in our series, Navigate the MBA Maze.

Download our guide: Navigate the MBA Maze

Apply in the earliest round possible PROVIDED you don’t compromise the quality of your application.

Should you apply Round 1, Round 2, or Round 3?

Do not try to win the admissions game through timing. Quality—not timing—trumps all. Submit your application when it is at its best.

When in doubt, listen to Linda’s rule:

“Apply in the earliest round possible PROVIDED you don’t compromise the quality of your application.”

The R1 vs. R2 Dilemma:

“Lisa,” who has been struggling with her GMAT, wants to attend a top 15 program. She is unlikely to be admitted with her current score and she wants to apply Round 1. She is better off raising her GMAT and postponing her application to Round 2.

Or take a look at John’s profile: “John” has good scores, grades, and work experience, but is in a common applicant sub-group and wants to apply Round 2 because he believes competition will be less intense. Big mistake. Competition is intense both rounds. Instead of focusing on this timing question, he should be working to improve his profile, differentiate himself, learn about the schools, and start on his essays so that he can submit Round 1 when there are more spots available.

Is there an advantage to applying early in a round, especially Round 1? I don’t think so. More importantly, there is an advantage to holding onto a completed first application and submitting it closer to the deadline.  (Any school, CBS for example, with rolling admissions could be an exception to this.) As you work on subsequent applications, you will improve your essays and relate experiences and goals with greater clarity. If you just put that first completed application away while you work on applications 2, 3, and N, then you can go back to application 1 before that school’s R1 deadline and tweak it before you submit. That first application will then benefit from your recent writing experience and greater clarity.

Don’t, however, wait until the 11th hour to upload your app and press SUBMIT. Servers are often overloaded on deadline day. You don’t want to miss a deadline on an application that was completed weeks earlier because you waited too long.

Should you apply R3?

If you belong to the following groups, I advise you not to apply Round 3:

• You do not have a clear post-MBA goal and competitive stats, work experience, and community  service. In other words, you’re not really ready.

• Your target schools are not reapplicant friendly.

• You are not a US permanent resident and you anticipate visa issues or problems if accepted by the later notification dates.

• You are a card-carrying member of an over-represented group.

However, you should apply during the third or later rounds if you are among those who:

• Just missed the Round 2 deadlines due to circumstances beyond your control, but have your GMAT and a clear idea of where you want to apply and why you want an MBA.

• Are a non-traditional applicant or member of an under-represented group or have diversity elements in your profile.

• Prefer to have a slight chance of acceptance over no chance, which is what you will have if you don’t apply.

A third round application has the following advantages over waiting until Round 1 next fall:

• You have a chance of acceptance this year, even if it isn’t as good as it would be earlier in the application cycle.

• Some programs give feedback so that you will be better prepared for Round 1 in next year’s application. Don’t apply just to obtain feedback, but the opportunity to receive feedback could make applying educational and worthwhile, even if you are rejected.

The main disadvantage: The cost and time required to apply.

Download your free copy of Navigating the MBA Maze!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

Round 3 or Next Year: When to Apply to Business School
I was Accepted…But Can I Do Better?
• Application Timing: When Should You Submit?

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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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MBA Admissions A-Z: E Is For Essay http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/10/common-mba-application-essay-mistakes/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/10/common-mba-application-essay-mistakes/#respond Sun, 10 May 2015 15:55:10 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30425 4 Common MBA Application Essay Mistakes Here we are going to focus on 4 critical MBA admission essay mistakes. Make sure that your essays DON’T include any of these: 1. Buzzwords Try this on for size: “I plan on penetrating the B2C e-commerce bubble by starting my own synergistic company. Additionally, I want to lead […]

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MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips

4 Common MBA Application Essay Mistakes

Here we are going to focus on 4 critical MBA admission essay mistakes. Make sure that your essays DON’T include any of these:

1. Buzzwords

Try this on for size: “I plan on penetrating the B2C e-commerce bubble by starting my own synergistic company. Additionally, I want to lead empowering seminars about diversity awareness in the workplace for the human resources space.”

Unfortunately, creating an MBA application essay isn’t as simple as piecing together a string of keywords. Many applicants think that if they include industry buzzwords in their essays, then they’ll come off sounding like experts in the field. Recipe for success? More like recipe for disaster. Buzzwords don’t make you look smart; they make you look unoriginal. (Of course, you can use a few buzzwords when absolutely necessary. Just make sure they clarify and inform as opposed to confuse and obscure.)

2. Grandiose Statements

Don’t merely discuss a value or belief; illustrate it. “I want to give back to my community.” Okay, thanks for the info…now tell me something else: HOW? Or WHY? When have you lived this value in the past? How do you plan on focusing your energy on helping your community in the future? Furthermore, why do you feel a calling to contribute to your community? Give me some details here!

Maybe this is what you meant: “When I was suddenly orphaned at 16 years old, my local church bent over backwards to help revive me and my twin brother after the paralyzing tragedy. The community members went beyond simply feeding and clothing us, by caring for us and loving us in the absence of our parents. Their boundless kindness inspired me to found my not-for-profit organization; it helps teenage orphans keep their heads above water after tragedy strikes by supplying material as well as emotional support.”

3. Whining

Complaining about your application blemishes only draws attention to them. If you aren’t happy with your GPA, then take responsibility for your low grades, and if relevant, provide context that explains why you did poorly…and then move on. If possible, portray your liabilities as assets by discussing the ways in which you’ve grown from your experiences, or  point to times when you excelled in similar circumstances. But please, keep the tone mature. Nobody likes a crybaby.

4. Typos

This is one of the most common MBA essay mistakes, and yet is also one of the easiest errors to fix. Rule of thumb: Don’t hit “Submit” until you’ve edited and proofread your application essays. For the best results, read your essay aloud so you can identify errors with your eyes, as well as your ears. And remember, the only thing better than one set of eyes and ears, are multiple sets. Have your mom, best friend, neighbor, co-worker, or Accepted.com editor help you identify and then fix all spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and stylistic blunders.

MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips - Download your free copy!Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• 5 Fatal Flaws: Eliminate the 5 Most Common Flaws in Your MBA Application
What Should I Write About? Making a Difference
4 Ways to Show How You’ll Contribute in the Future

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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!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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A Nigerian Woman’s Journey to MIT Sloan Acceptance http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/08/mba-iv-with-ginika-agbim-okelly/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/08/mba-iv-with-ginika-agbim-okelly/#respond Fri, 08 May 2015 15:43:45 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30640 This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for an interview with Ginika Agbim O’Kelly… Accepted:  We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What are a […]

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Click here for other MBA student interviewsThis interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for an interview with Ginika Agbim O’Kelly…

Accepted:  We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What are a couple of your hobbies?

Ginika: My name is Ginika Agbim O’Kelly. I am Nigerian, grew up in Atlanta, and am married to an English-Irish man. I studied Economics & Strategy, Finance, and Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. I was interested in studying human behavior and decision-making from multiple angles. For fun, I started a fashion column in the school newspaper and organized African fashion shows every year. Today, I also run a blog on my website, run for exercise, and travel at every chance I get!

Accepted: Can you tell us a bit about your path to business school? What were you working in previously? What made you decide to pursue an MBA?

Ginika: Business school is interesting for me, because at one point in my life, I actually wanted to become a doctor. Through working in consulting after graduating from Wash U, I still find myself exercising those same diagnostic and problem solving skills. I knew that I wanted to pursue an MBA because, now that I have analyzed issues in real organizations, I want to improve my skills as a leader and strategic thinker, and also meet many incredibly innovative people changing the world.

Accepted: How did you decide on MIT?

Ginika: I chose MIT Sloan for two main reasons. First, there is the flexible curriculum and the action-learning philosophy. MIT’s motto is Mens et Manus (Mind and Hand), and having the ability to apply concepts that I learn in the classroom to help real organizations move forward fits with my learning style. After the first, rigorous core semester, I can choose the courses I take and engage in Action Labs, which allow me to advise global organizations on pressing issues. Second, not only are the students and alums at MIT Sloan impressive, but they are also collaborative and very humble. I knew this dynamic environment would challenge me to grow both professionally and personally.

Accepted: What was the most challenging part of the MBA application process? How did you approach that challenge and overcome it?

Ginika: The most challenging part of the process is managing your own psychology. Applying can be quite emotional sometimes, and you may find yourself doubting your abilities. To deal with the emotional stress, I relied on my husband and our families, as well as prayer, meditation, yoga, running, and lots of tea! These resources helped me focus, stay true to myself, and put things into perspective. If you’re going to be great in life, it will happen, with –or – without the MBA degree.

Accepted: What are your top three tips for applicants preparing for the MBA application process?

Tip 1:  Start early. Things can go wrong on GMAT test day, the essays will definitely take longer than anticipated, and if you’re anything like me, you want to get all your applications completed by Round 1 so that you can enjoy Christmas vacation. Take the GMAT as early as you can. Life happens, but if you start early, you give yourself the best possible chance to reach your personal application deadlines and submit applications that best capture who you are.

Tip 2:  Talk to people. Though it may seem daunting to reach out to friends or strangers about your MBA ambitions, just do it. People who have “been there and done that“ know more than you regarding business school and succeeding in your future career, so it’s always best to research, reach out, and listen. I talked to my mentors, admissions advisors, current students, alumni, business executives, etc. Talk to people in the careers you hope to enter and at the schools you wish to attend.

Tip 3: Find healthy ways to relieve stress. Applying while working is tough because you can’t give excuses in the office and you have to give 100% in your applications. Re-assess how you spend your time in a 7-day period. Find a support system and know that someday, you’ll be on the other side. And if business school doesn’t work out, keep pushing for your dreams anyway.

For one-on-one guidance on your b-school applications, please see our MBA Application Packages.

Thank you Ginika for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

Download your copy of Navigating the MBA Maze

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One
MIT Business School Zone Page
Video Tips: MBA Application Advice From Linda Abraham

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Show Me The Money http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/08/show-me-the-money-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/08/show-me-the-money-2/#respond Fri, 08 May 2015 15:38:00 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30003 On a day like today, I’m doing my happy dance.  My MBA clients have been contacting me with good news from the schools to which they applied.  Several of them have multiple offers with scholarships attached, which immediately present the question:  Can they negotiate their scholarship offers? Since most of you have yet to take […]

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You may get accepted. You may get rejected. Either way, you need to answer one question: "Now what?"

I’ll give you a little advice…everything is negotiable.

On a day like today, I’m doing my happy dance.  My MBA clients have been contacting me with good news from the schools to which they applied.  Several of them have multiple offers with scholarships attached, which immediately present the question:  Can they negotiate their scholarship offers?

Since most of you have yet to take your MBA negotiations class, I’ll give you a little advice…everything is negotiable.  You have an offer of admission and unless you did something egregious that the schools discover in their background research, the school will not take that offer away from you.  In fact, the schools want you to come to their programs so much that they’ve offered you scholarships, tuition discounts, or graduate assistantships to entice you away from other schools.  You are in the power position, but you have limited time to act.

If you have multiple scholarship offers, you have even more power.  So play the schools off each other.  You will need to provide proof of funding and develop a clear statement of what it would take to have you deposit and attend that school.  If school A matches school B’s offer, go back to school B and ask for more.  Many schools have some wiggle room with scholarship offers.  And the worst-case scenario is that school A will say “no” to your request and then there is no harm and no foul.

Caution: While you may be in the power position, remain likeable, respectful and courteous. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by coming off as arrogant.  And if you have deposited at a school, you have diminished your position of power.

If you need additional consultation on this matter, we are available to help you construct the communication that in the words of one of my former clients made his “investment in Accepted.com a very positive ROI.”

Download your copy of MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips

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

Related Resources:

• How to Pay For Your MBA Webinar
• Alumni Funded Student Loans: An Interview with Daniel Macklin of SoFi
• MBA Choices: Dream School vs. Scholarship School?

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Know Before You Go: Paying for a Columbia MBA http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/07/know-before-you-go-paying-for-a-columbia-mba/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/07/know-before-you-go-paying-for-a-columbia-mba/#respond Thu, 07 May 2015 18:21:01 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30608 Financing a degree that costs around $200,000 is a daunting task, and personal finance can be a challenging topic to discuss among young professionals. We know how hard it is to start this conversation, so before we show you how to pay for your MBA in our upcoming webinar, we’d like to share the perspective […]

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How will you pay for your MBA?

How will you pay for your MBA?

Financing a degree that costs around $200,000 is a daunting task, and personal finance can be a challenging topic to discuss among young professionals. We know how hard it is to start this conversation, so before we show you how to pay for your MBA in our upcoming webinar, we’d like to share the perspective of Sonya*, a Columbia Class of 2015 MBA. Here’s how she’s thought about financing her MBA since the time she was first admitted and how she’d revisit her strategy with a second chance.

First, here’s more on Sonya’s background: She came to business school with an audit background from a New York City firm and “felt fine about [her] finances, comfortable enough” when she decided to apply for her MBA. She knew she’d be paying her own way through school. She chose her schools based on location, opting for East Coast programs in order to have better access to New York’s tech startup scene. Sonya submitted her three applications in Round 2 and ultimately received her acceptance to Columbia Business School in February. By April, she decided to attend and put down an approximately $2,500 deposit for tuition.

“For two months, I was basking in the glow of ‘hey, I’m going to business school,’” Sonya said. “Then the financial aid office rained on my parade.” Columbia’s financial aid office reached out in June to remind Sonya of loan application deadlines and upcoming payment due dates, and that’s when the cost finally clicked. “I hadn’t really thought of financing until then,” said Sonya. “It certainly wasn’t a factor in my school selection at all,” though she did make sure she applied before Round 3 in order to be eligible for scholarships at her target schools.

Sonya quickly crunched the numbers and reviewed her existing savings, including brokerage accounts and retirement savings. She decided to use student loans to cover all of her tuition costs and her savings to pay for her living expenses, keeping some retirement and brokerage accounts intact to provide a cushion post-MBA.

After one year as an active MBA student at Columbia – “I loved it!” – Sonya sat down to review her finances again, this time with a crystallized career objective: join one of a handful of NYC fintech startups after graduation. After both summer and in-school internships, Sonya had a realistic idea of what her salary would be on this career track, and salary, she advised, is a number that all prospective MBAs should start with when planning to finance their degrees.

“I can still join a startup despite my loan burden, but everyone’s situation is different of course,” Sonya said. The savings she hadn’t touched as an MBA would become a big asset in transitioning to her full-time role.

Now that Sonya is just weeks away from graduating Columbia, what’s her advice for new MBAs? “Think about the costs much earlier than I did, perhaps before even applying for school or taking your GMAT. Think, ‘What’s the financial cost involved, and am I pursing a field that will be able to sustain this debt? Is it worth it to get an MBA?’” Sonya has realized that while she’ll be able to pursue her target salary within her preferred startups, there’s a wide, wide range of startup salaries out there for MBAs, and she’s encountered peers who will need to make tough decisions about their chosen paths come graduation given their student loan costs. Also, Sonya advises new admits to think about financing earlier in order to leave time for a scholarship hunt. In her own experience, starting this search during the June before matriculation eliminated the majority of her potential outside scholarship options.

“For me, it was an amazing two years, and I wouldn’t have changed my decision at all,” she said. “But while I’m okay financially, I should have been more proactive and really looked at my salary after graduation when deciding to get my MBA.”

*Name changed at interviewee’s request.

Download your copy of MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips

Kaitlin Butler is Content Manager at CommonBond, a student lending platform that provides a better student loan experience through lower rates, superior service, a simple application process and a strong commitment to community. CommonBond is also the first company to bring the 1-for-1 model to education and finance.
Related Resources:

Is it Worth it to Get an MBA?
How Much Will a Top MBA Earn You
• CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans

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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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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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What Not to Write in Your Columbia Business School Application http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/06/what-not-to-write-in-your-columbia-business-school-application/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/06/what-not-to-write-in-your-columbia-business-school-application/#respond Wed, 06 May 2015 17:29:02 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30581 Let’s face it, even if Columbia weren’t smack in the middle of NYC, it would still be an amazing business school, so you need to make sure that when you explain why CBS is the school of you, you don’t focus exclusively on the city, but include attractive aspects of the school itself. 2 Reasons […]

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GetAcceptedToCBS_lpLet’s face it, even if Columbia weren’t smack in the middle of NYC, it would still be an amazing business school, so you need to make sure that when you explain why CBS is the school of you, you don’t focus exclusively on the city, but include attractive aspects of the school itself.

2 Reasons You Should Keep to Yourself:

1. You love the underground world of tunnels and subways.

2. Sony Theater has the world’s longest free-standing escalator, and it’s only 11 minutes from CBS.

2 Reasons You Could Share:

1. You’re excited about the access and opportunities Columbia provides because it is at the center of an international business hub. And you can give specific examples of how you intend to take advantage of that accessibility.

2. You love the cultural richness that Columbia pulls from its central location in NYC – from Nobel Prize winning professors to unique consulting projects to clubs relating to the arts.

Listen, the fact that Columbia is in NYC is a perk – a huge perk – but remember, you’re applying to the school, not to the city!

Want more tips about how to apply successfully to Columbia Business School? Register for our upcoming webinar, Get Accepted to Columbia Business School, which will air live on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 10:00 AM PST/1:00 PM EST. Spaces are limited – grab yours now!

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An Interview with Our Own: Jennifer Weld http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/05/an-interview-with-our-own-jennifer-weld/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/05/an-interview-with-our-own-jennifer-weld/#respond Tue, 05 May 2015 18:02:23 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30522 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…Jennifer Weld. 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 about Jen and see if she is the consultant for you!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…Jennifer Weld.

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?

Jennifer: I spent most of my formative years in Michigan, with the exception of my junior and senior years of high school, which I spent in Japan. My father worked at Ford, and we moved there for the Ford/Mazda joint venture. I graduated from an international school in Kobe.

By no means while living in Japan did I master the Japanese language, so I majored in it at the University of Michigan. My first job after college was at a Japanese trading company, but since then I haven’t used the language much and have gotten rather rusty!

I have an MBA from Cornell University (The Johnson School), and currently live in Durham, North Carolina.

Accepted: What’s your favorite book?

Jennifer: Since I have two young children, I don’t have time to read much other than children’s books these days, so I’d have to say, The Gruffalo, The Pout Pout Fish, and, Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent.

Accepted: What was your role with the Cornell Executive MBA program? How has that experience contributed to your role as an Accepted admissions consultant?

Jennifer: I was the Assistant Director of Admissions and Marketing, so in addition to serving on the admissions committee and all that entails (vetting prospective students, interviewing, making decisions on applicants, etc.), I also was responsible for the marketing messaging that we put forth to prospective students.

As a result of my role at Cornell, I am confident I have a good sense of what makes a successful applicant, and I make sure to get to know my clients well enough so that they present a multi-faceted view of themselves, not one that they “think” an admissions committee wants to hear (because trust me, they don’t!).

Admissions committee members read A LOT of essays, and you want yours to be the ones they can’t put down, not the ones that put them to sleep!

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

Jennifer: My road to Accepted was a bit unexpected. After I received my MBA from Cornell, I was happily developing a career in brand management at Unilever when my husband decided to go back to Cornell for his PhD. Since I didn’t want to have a long distance marriage, as well as the fact I wanted to support him in this endeavor, I looked for a job in Ithaca. With the emphasis on marketing with the Cornell EMBA position, it was a good fit. While in the role I discovered how much I enjoyed my part in helping others reach their goals.

Once I had kids, and after my husband graduated, I wanted to find something more flexible than a traditional 9-5 job. Natalie Grinblatt Epstein, who was at Cornell when I was a full-time student, was already working at Accepted, and suggested I consider a position there. And the rest, shall they say, is history!

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about consulting?

Jennifer: My favorite thing is when some advice or knowledge I share with clients really hits home, and they take it to heart. As I mentioned earlier, one of the common misconceptions applicants have is that essay topics should always stick to work-related experiences. While the content provided in those types of essays is always informative, it might not be very attention-grabbing.

When I challenge clients to come up with alternative topics they are almost always spectacular. For example, one of my recent clients came back to me with an answer to “What’s the most challenging experience you’ve ever faced?” with a perfectly reasonable work story about developing the first app in his company, which wasn’t app-savvy. It showed all of the hurdles he surmounted and that he no doubt was a valuable employee, but the essay was thoroughly boring. When I encouraged him to share with me some other examples of challenging experiences in his life, one of them was a time he broke his ankle on a remote hiking trail with his family. Pay dirt!

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

Jennifer: I work with MBA applicants, those looking to enter full-time, part-time or EMBA programs.

Accepted: What are your top 3 admissions tips?

Jennifer:

1. Be sure. If at all possible, visit the schools you are considering applying to. Sit in on some classes, speak with students, and see what environments feel right to you. That is the best way to decide if the school is a good fit, and those visits often provide rich material for essays where you are supposed to discuss the whys of a particular school.

2. Be yourself. Own up to who you are, warts and all. No one is perfect, and don’t try to present yourself as such in your application. If you have extenuating circumstances that can help explain a poor semester, share them. If you have a gap in your resume, clarify it. If your GMAT score is not as high as you’d like it, present other evidence as to why the lower score should not be a concern.

3. Be selective (with your recommenders). Choose people who know you well and can speak to your strengths, weaknesses and how an MBA will help you succeed in your chosen profession, not those who may have impressive titles but have little to no insight into you as a working professional.

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

MBA catalog CTAAccepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• MBA Admissions Consulting and Editing Services
Grad School Admissions 101
• Why MBA?

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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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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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So You Didn’t Get Into Law School… http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/04/so-you-didnt-get-into-law-school/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/04/so-you-didnt-get-into-law-school/#respond Mon, 04 May 2015 19:22:49 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30547 If you didn’t get into law school this year, it’s never too early to start planning a strategy for next year. Below are five tips that will help you change the results next time you apply if you did not get into law school this time. 1. Evaluate your application. After you’ve licked your wounds, […]

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Need help overcoming your law school application weaknesses? Click here, we can help!

Start planning for next year. Most schools welcome reapplicants.

If you didn’t get into law school this year, it’s never too early to start planning a strategy for next year. Below are five tips that will help you change the results next time you apply if you did not get into law school this time.

1. Evaluate your application. After you’ve licked your wounds, take a hard look at your application and see what needs to be improved. Is it LSAT scores? Grades? Letters of recommendation? Think about yourself as an applicant and what you should focus on and improve during the next 12 months.

2. Retake the LSAT. If your LSAT is under 160 and you are applying to top programs, I strongly suggest retaking it. I recommend to set aside at least three months to study for the LSAT. Your LSAT score is the single, most important element you can work on to increase the competitiveness of your application.

3. Work. I recommend that you work for a law firm in an area of law you are interested in so that you can get an idea of how the law works. If that isn’t an option, consider another business-related job or intern at a district attorney’s office or judge’s chambers. The goal: get relevant legal experience. It will demonstrate your interest both to law schools and potentially to future employers.

4. Network. I recommend using LinkedIn to contact alumni of your top choice law schools and talk to them about their experience and their current work. It can be valuable to have an idea of the student profile for your target law schools and will give you a good idea of what post-law-school life is like.

5. Try again. Come August, some schools may still be looking for students. You won’t get into a top-tier school, but other schools might still have spaces. You may also want to consider part-time programs or schools that will allow you to start in the spring or summer – these terms generally have fewer applicants, so you will be more competitive.

It’s hard when you don’t get accepted into law school, but the best response is to use the opportunity to fine-tune your application and make yourself more competitive for next year. Most schools welcome reapplicants, particularly those who have made significant steps to show their interest in law school and improve their qualifications.
5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Law School Personal StatementJessicaPishkoJessica 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:

The Law School Admissions Guide: 8 Tips for Success
The Increasing Value of Work Experience in Law School Applications
So You Got Waitlisted…7 Tips to Get Off the Law School Waitlist

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Learn The Ins And Outs Of B-School Funding http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/04/learn-the-ins-and-outs-of-b-school-funding/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/04/learn-the-ins-and-outs-of-b-school-funding/#respond Mon, 04 May 2015 18:50:42 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30484 Whether you’re just starting the process or have already received your acceptance, you know one thing for sure about b-school: it ain’t cheap! Join us for our free webinar on How to Pay for Your MBA, when guest presenter Julianna Young, VP of Operations at CommonBond, will show you: • How to understand the full […]

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Click here to watch the webinar.Whether you’re just starting the process or have already received your acceptance, you know one thing for sure about b-school: it ain’t cheap! Join us for our free webinar on How to Pay for Your MBA, when guest presenter Julianna Young, VP of Operations at CommonBond, will show you:

• How to understand the full cost of attendance

• How to identify sources of support—scholarships, loans, and more

• The mechanics of lending – the terms and calculations you need to know

• And much more!

The webinar will air LIVE on May 19th at 4pm PT/7pm ET.

Register now to learn How to Pay For Your MBA! B-school may be expensive, but the webinar is FREE!

Register for the webinarAccepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Save 10% on Med School Application Help! Limited Time Offer! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/04/save-10-on-med-school-application-help-limited-time-offer-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/04/save-10-on-med-school-application-help-limited-time-offer-2/#respond Mon, 04 May 2015 16:22:37 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30392 AMCAS releases its 2016 application this Tuesday, May 5th, which means…it’s time to get to work! We’d like to give you an incentive to get cracking on those apps here and now, by offering you 10% off on all med school admissions services! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to get top-of-the-line editing and consulting […]

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AMCAS releases its 2016 application this Tuesday, May 5th, which means…it’s time to get to work! We’d like to give you an incentive to get cracking on those apps here and now, by offering you 10% off on all med school admissions services!

Sale-Med-School-Admissions-Consulting-EditingDon’t miss out on this opportunity to get top-of-the-line editing and consulting at a discounted rate!

Now who’s ready to tackle those applications?! Let’s do it!

View catalog of med school services!*Coupon may not be combined with other offers and may not be used on rush services.

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

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Meet An Underrepresented, Highly Motivated MD/MPH Student http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/04/meet-an-underrepresented-highly-motivated-mdmph-student/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/04/meet-an-underrepresented-highly-motivated-mdmph-student/#respond Mon, 04 May 2015 15:50:58 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30493 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 Alexa Mieses… Accepted:  We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as […]

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Click here for more Med 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 Alexa Mieses…

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

Alexa: I was born and raised in Queens, New York. I attended public school throughout life including the prestigious Bronx High School of Science. I graduated from the City College of New York, magna cum laude, with a B.S. in Biology, minor study in Psychology. Apart from my hard core science courses, I also took a lot classes in English Language Arts, and studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. When I am not studying, I enjoy reading non-fiction books. But my favorite author is Brett Easton Ellis. He writes wonderfully complex and provocative fiction that makes you question reality and the human condition.

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

Alexa: I am in the joint MD/MPH program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. I am currently a third-year student and will graduate in 2016.

Accepted:  What is your favorite thing about Icahn School of Medicine so far?

Alexa: I have really enjoyed the flexibility of the curriculum. As a pre-clinical student in years one and two, I was able to skip lecture and either study on my own or watch the lectures online. This allowed me to attend my MPH classes in the evening without being exhausted, and participate in extracurricular activities, like mentoring, which are very meaningful to me. I think the school emphasizes adult learning and allows each student to learn how he or she learns best (which may not include hours of lecture each day).

Accepted: Can you tell us a bit about your interest in Public Health, and how you plan to integrate that into your work as a physician?

Alexa: As a child, I witnessed health disparities in my neighborhood, which drew me to medicine in the first place. It wasn’t until undergraduate school when I became a member and then President of the Minority Association of Premedical Students that I actually learned the term “health disparities.” I became determined to make a difference in society and saw medicine as my tool to do so. Also in college, I completed a public policy internship with Gay Men’s Health Crisis, an HIV/AIDS advocacy organization, and I discovered the impact an MPH could have on my education and career.

I plan to become a family medicine physician and will incorporate public health research and leadership roles in advocacy to influence health beyond the confines of an exam room. I will continue to work with underserved populations similar to my own in an effort to ameliorate health disparities.

Accepted: You’ve blogged about diversity in the medical field (or the lack thereof). Do you have specific advice for underrepresented students?

Alexa: Be yourself, not what you think people want you to be. You don’t need to prove yourself to others but you must work hard in order to learn to be the best physician you can be for your patients. We need underrepresented minorities in all fields of medicine so don’t be afraid to follow your passion, even if it is not primary care. Seek out mentorship and get to know your colleagues in order to develop a professional network.

Accepted: You’ve written a book for aspiring med students about the application process. What inspired you to undertake that project?

Alexa: I have worked with an organization called Mentoring in Medicine for over seven years. MIM serves underrepresented minority students interested in the health professions. I started as a program participant but then became a mentor to younger students. I spend a lot of my free time mentoring underrepresented minority students in an effort to eliminate the racial disparity that exists in medical education. Back in 2013, MIM happened to host a “write your book in 30 days” challenge, and I decided to participate in order to mentor students on a larger scale. I wrote and published a medical school admissions guide in just thirty days and through the book, have been able to provide mentorship on a national scale.

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?

Alexa: First year is all about adjusting to medical school and figuring out how to be successful. That is not to say the information you learn in first year is not important, but I promise that you will see the important stuff over and over again throughout medical school. Focus on learning how to be successful during the first year so that you can hit the ground running in second and third year, when you are actually providing care to patients. I wish someone told me that before because I think I spent too much time feeling anxious about whether or not I was mastering the material presented to me rather than learning to actually master it. Eventually everything came together just fine but I wish someone would have given me that advice sooner!

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

Alexa:

1. Spend a lot of time on your personal statement–it really matters! Also, proofread your entire application over and over… then proofread it again.

2. Stay organized in order to keep track of primary and secondary application deadlines, fees, interview dates and acceptances (or rejections) from each school to which you apply.

3. Be yourself during the interview and don’t be afraid to talk about your accomplishments.

You can read Alexa’s blog at http://alexamieses.com. Thank you Alexa for sharing your story with us – we wish you best of luck.

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

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Related Resources:

Ace the AMCAS Essay
• Medical School Admissions 2015-2016: A Dean’s Perspective
• The Experiences Section: How to Choose

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New AMCAS Workshop for Med School Applicants – Register Now! http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/03/new-amcas-workshop-for-med-school-applicants-register-now-2/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/03/new-amcas-workshop-for-med-school-applicants-register-now-2/#respond Sun, 03 May 2015 21:21:24 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30447 Are you struggling to make your way through the various elements of the AMCAS application? Are you having trouble writing your personal statement and all the other short (but still important!) essays? Not sure how you’ll get it all done by the buzzer? Tune in to next week’s presentation, Create a Winning AMCAS Application, to […]

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

Are you having trouble writing your personal statement and all the other short (but still important!) essays?

Not sure how you’ll get it all done by the buzzer?

Register for the webinar now!

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

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 5:00 PM PST / 8:00 PM EST.

Register Now!

See you next week!

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Columbia Business School 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/03/columbia-business-school-2016-mba-essay-tips-deadlines/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/03/columbia-business-school-2016-mba-essay-tips-deadlines/#comments Sun, 03 May 2015 16:59:29 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30322 Columbia tweaked last year’s questions for this year. Relatively minor changes. Specifically: • Its short-answer question about your immediate post-MBA goal has gone from 75 to 50 characters. Yes, that was  characters, not words. Two years ago it was a generous 100 characters. And those applicants thought they had it tough.  • There are wording changes to all […]

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Click here for Columbia Business School's zone page.Columbia tweaked last year’s questions for this year. Relatively minor changes. Specifically:

• Its short-answer question about your immediate post-MBA goal has gone from 75 to 50 characters. Yes, that was  characters, not words. Two years ago it was a generous 100 characters. And those applicants thought they had it tough. 
• There are wording changes to all the questions. The central focus is the same as in previous years; but nuances have changes. 

Other than cutting 25 characters from the goals question, CBS has not cut essays or essay length. Still, you will need to make every word, indeed every character, count to really allow your essays to effectively and compellingly present your qualifications.

My tips are in blue below.

Applicants must complete one short answer question and three essays.

Short Answer Question:

What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)

Note the character limit. Your response must be less than a tweet. Actually it must be just about one third of a tweet. What do you want to do professionally and in which industry immediately after earning your MBA?  Here are CBS’ examples of possible responses:

“Work in business development for a media company.”
“Join a strategy consulting firm.”
“Launch a data-management start-up.”

Warning: This question is not asking about intended area of study while in business school or a non-professional goal or even a long-term goal. And the subject is assumed to be you. No need to waste characters by including “I.”

Essays:

Essay 1. Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals going forward, and how will the Columbia MBA help you achieve them? (Maximum 500 words)

They already know what’s in your resume. Don’t repeat “your career path to date” here. That’s a waste of essay real estate and means you’re not telling them anything new or answering their question.

Do tell them what you want to do after your MBA and what aspects of the Columbia MBA experience will prepare you to do it. Keep in mind that the MBA is a bridge between your past and desired future. Show Columbia why its program is the right bridge for you and now is the right time for you to be traverse this bridge. 

To answer this question well,  you will need to really know the Columbia program thoroughly along with why you want a CBS MBA at this point in your career. The essay that shines will do a great job of showing both fit and self-awareness.

Essay 2. Columbia Business School’s location enables us to bridge theory and practice in multiple ways: through Master Classes, internships, the New York Immersion Seminars, and, most importantly, through a combination of distinguished research faculty and accomplished practitioners. How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (Maximum 250 words)

Please watch this video before attempting to answer the question and then keep it in mind as you write.

Really think about the points it’s making in terms what being at the center means: Access to an infinite variety of opportunities. Proximity to thought leadership and executive leadership. Convergence of theory and practice. NYC as an — if not the — international business center. Also note the emphasis in the question on bridging theory (the classroom) and practice (the opportunities that New York City provides).

After watching the video, think about how you intend to take advantage of the infinite opportunities and energy that reside at Columbia University and in New York City. How will you take advantage of the entrepreneurial eco-system in New York and Columbia University? The ties to bio science and pharma? Madison Avenue? The cutting-edge research and thought leadership? Not to mention the practitioners who lead Wall Street and teach at Columbia. Or will you explore the cultural riches of NYC and take advantage of the incredible business opportunities present in the arts and media?

Be careful not to speak of those opportunities in the generalities that I have. If you are interested in luxury goods marketing, as stated in your short answer, then write here about how you will take advantage of Madison and 5th Avenues as well as Columbia’s offerings. If you are interested in finance or consulting, Manhattan and all the businesses in it are at your feet. How will you benefit from this incredible location as well as the practitioners teaching at CBS? 

Final point: you don’t have to address all the points raised in the video, but you do have to write persuasively about at least one. 

Essay 3. CBS Matters, a key element of the School’s culture, allows the people in your Cluster to learn more about you on a personal level. What will your Clustermates be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (Maximum 250 words)

Please watch this video to have an idea of what “CBS Matters” is about.

Make sure you understand Columbia’s Cluster System.  And if you have any lingering doubts whether this question is about professional achievement, watch the video again. It’s not.

You can use this essay to bring out something fun that you like to do. Would you try to get your cluster to train for a marathon? Set up a karaoke night? Plan a ski trip? Explore New York’s museums? Or you can reveal something non-professional that is important to you.  How have you contributed to social groups or causes in the past? Relate you plans to a past successful initiative, and you will enhance your answer to this question.

Or you could take a more serious approach to this question and discuss a challenge overcome. Show that you are a survivor, not a victim and far stronger as a result of this experience. If you take this approach, be careful to avoid TMI (too much information). You will have barely met these people.

Optional Essay. An optional fourth essay will allow you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays.

Clearly you can use this optional essay question to address a weakness in your profile or qualifications, but in my mind, this question is also open-ended enough to allow you to discuss a diversity element in your personal background or simply some unique area of interest. Also, tucking a weakness explanation somewhere else would allow you to end the application with a strength and not a flaw.

Don’t use this essay as a grand finale or wrap up. And definitely don’t use it to rehash your reasons for wanting to attend Columbia; those reasons should be perfectly clear from the required essays. If you decide to respond to this essay, use it to educate the reader about another talent, interest, or commitment of yours. As always try to show leadership and impact. In short, give them more reasons to admit you.

If you would like professional guidance with your Columbia Business School MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our  MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the CBS MBA application.

Columbia Business School 2015 Application Deadlines:

January 2015 Entry: October 7, 2015

Early Decision: October 7, 2014

Merit Fellowship Consideration: January 6, 2016

Regular Decision: April 13, 2016

*All deadlines are 11:59 p.m. New York Time on the date listed.

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

Related Resources:

Podcast Interview With the Columbia Business School Admissions Team
Columbia Business School Zone
• Experiences & Advice from Columbia MBA Student Kendall Miller

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Your Online Presence And Medical School Admissions http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/03/your-online-presence-and-medical-school-admissions/ http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/03/your-online-presence-and-medical-school-admissions/#respond Sun, 03 May 2015 16:13:37 +0000 http://blog.accepted.com/?p=30427 Can your online presence affect the way an adcom will see you? According to many admissions professionals, the answer is yes. The AAMC factsheet on social media cites Scott M. Rodgers, M.D., associate dean for medical student affairs at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, who says that “Every student should assume that admissions committees DO look […]

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Ace the Amcas! Download your free guide now

Make sure that little birdie doesn’t hurt your chances.

Can your online presence affect the way an adcom will see you?

According to many admissions professionals, the answer is yes. The AAMC factsheet on social media cites Scott M. Rodgers, M.D., associate dean for medical student affairs at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, who says that “Every student should assume that admissions committees DO look up applicants online and sometimes come across information about people that can either hurt or help a candidate.”

How to make sure that your online presence doesn’t hurt your chances?

• Do web searches to see what is out there under your name. Some might be positive, some might be troubling, and some might not even be about you (but relate to someone with the same or a similar name)

• Be careful of your privacy settings on social networks. Approve tags from friends (so that a regrettable photo doesn’t end up public on someone else’s wall)

• Keep your own activity clean.

AAMC provides some other straightforward, good advice: always log out of public/shared computers, and keep your passwords private.

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Related Resources:

• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Med School Essays
• 5 Ways to Create, Clean Up, & Optimize Your Online Presence before Submitting Your Apps
Navigate the Med School Maze

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