While many people have opinions about the best way to gain admission, in the end, the only opinions that really matter are those of the admissions committees; after all, they’re the ones that decide whether you’ll be accepted or not. Unfortunately, opportunities to pick the brain of a Dean of Admissions are few and far between. In an effort to shed some light on what admissions committees think about when …Read more
We’ve all heard horror stories: bizarre ethical dilemmas, not clicking with your interviewer, the old “window-being-nailed-shut” story. But medical school interviews really aren’t that bad. Perhaps the most misunderstood part of the application, these brief conversations hold the key in that final step of getting you from interviewee to medical student.
Why do pre-health schools do interviews? What are they looking for?
The interview is all about your ability to communicate clearly and effectively with others. Medicine is, at its core, a humanistic practice of care for one’s community. To be a successful clinician, you will have to be able …Read more
In Part I of this series we explored the most common reasons for taking a gap year. While everyone has their own reasons for the choice, one of your biggest concerns is likely going to be how to explain such a decision to admissions committees. However, your time away from school can actually be a great conversation point during your medical school interviews, and can help distinguish you from other candidates. While in college, students do many of the same things (research, leadership, volunteering), and while it’s necessary to fulfill your premed requirements it can often result in cookie-cutter …Read more
Most medical school applicants tend to normalize towards a typical set of extracurricular activities; research, clinical experience, and volunteering activities are the standard and show up in abundance on applications. Applicants believe that a vital part of getting accepted is having these experiences, and that is largely true. Would it surprise you, though, to know that it was comic book collecting that was the one activity my medical school noticed most on my medical school application?
I had a strong background in research, significant clinical experiences, great community service, and lengthy periods of paid employment, but so did most …Read more
Now that 2012 is upon us, I’m sure that all of you, like me, are hard at work on your many New Year’s Resolutions. Granted, I haven’t had time yet to get in that extra trip to the gym, and it’s tough to eat healthy when it’s so easy to grab a burger on the way home. But really, I’m sure I’ll get down to business next week and we’ll all be well on our way to accomplishing our goals for 2012 by the end of the month, right? Right?
Many of you undoubtedly have high aspirations for the coming …Read more
There’s a great line in the 2000 British stop-motion animation film Chicken Run. After surviving a brush with death, Babs, the sweet, daft chicken deadpans, “All me whole life flashed before me eyes . . . It was really borin’.”
Some of you may be feeling a little bit like poor ol’ Babs as you stare at an empty Word document – or blank sheet of paper for you old-fashioned types – wondering how you’ll ever manage to craft a personal statement for your medical school primary application that is interesting, meaningful, and no longer than 5300-characters-including-spaces. You might be …Read more
“So tell me about yourself.”
It’s not even a question. It’s a request, and in the opening moments of your medical school interview, it may sound more like a hostile command. But it is perhaps one of the most common ways in which your med school interviewers may invite you to join in conversation with them. How would you respond to this non-question question? It doesn’t seem easy, as I’m sure you’re well aware. Because it’s so open-ended, we tend to hem-and-haw and sputter out the first thing that comes to mind, and our response usually starts with, “Well, …Read more
When it comes to the medical school selection process, schools sometimes receive as many as 100 applications for every spot that is available. The majority of applications are extremely similar: high GPAs, top MCAT scores, and ample community service and clinical involvement. The difference between an accepted applicant and one that is not can be quite thin. In times like these, schools deeply appreciate knowing more about applicants than just the details found in their med school application. That means being more than just a name with some numbers attached to it. To achieve this, you need to harness the …Read more
It’s the week before the MCAT, the day before your organic chemistry final, or the morning of your first medical school interview and you’re struggling to organize your own thoughts, feelings, emotions, fears, hopes, and expectations. And that’s just YOU! Then there’s all the “outside” stress to deal with, too, like your roommate’s noisy new boy/girlfriend, Aunt Jen’s cancer scare, the road trip with friends you’re missing out on, and the challenge of meeting next month’s rent. Sometimes, it can feel like too much, and in order to have the clarity of mind needed for success we need to …Read more