January 6, 2014

Stanford Medical School: Pushing You to Dream

While exploring the Stanford Medical School site, you're likely to come across a few gems of wisdom, including this answer to the question of what his inspiration was, "The professors push you to dream, and to dream on a world scale". Those few words summarize Stanford Medical School succinctly and simply. Of course, there was the other student, nearing the end of his career in grad school, preparing for graduation and looking more than slightly exhausted, but we'll save his wisdom for another day. He looked like he hadn't slept in a few days. It should be noted that 2012 was a remarkable year for the institute. Stanford Medical School received two Nobel Peace Prizes and shattered previous fundraising goals. While that may or may not play a role in one's decision to apply to the program, it's an impressive truth that shows the collective determination of both the student body and the educators. Stanford Medical School by the Numbers
  • As of a newly released report, there are 461 students in the Stanford Medical program. On average, the acceptance rate is 2.8%. This highlights the importance of early preparation for those wishing to apply.
  • While Stanford Medical is known for its technological breakthroughs in the world of medicine, in recent years, there has been a focus on urology and most recently, a risk was found that could determine a male's chances of being diagnosed with cancer. This is just one of the many reasons many apply to the program. It's also known for its human genetics and genetic counseling program.
  • Costs include an $85 application fee and full-time tuition, as of March 2013, equates to $47,343.
  • Salaries will vary greatly depending on one's specialty; however, on average, a Stanford cardiologist can expect a median salary offer of $250,000 while a pediatrician can expect $115,000 offers. ER doctors will likely find median salaries of $175,000.
  • According to a new Forbes report, this is the "most empowering time to graduate (from Stanford)". A whopping 93% of Stanford grads have jobs with three months of graduating.
  • As mentioned, urology and genetics are both red-hot choices, but Bioscience is becoming the next "big thing" in terms of medical breakthroughs.
  • The average MCAT hovers around 35 while the average GPA is 3.77. Also - and this is important - there are big changes coming in the very near future with MCAT. Be sure to take these changes into consideration and prepare accordingly.
Stanford Campus Culture Club OK, there's no Boy George or Culture Club mentality (but now you have Karma Chameleon playing in your head, don't you?), but there is a sense of loyalty one feels almost immediately after becoming part of the Stanford family. There are also several student led organizations, including the Stanford Medical Student Association and Stanford University Minority Medical Alliance. From the Mouths of Babes Sometimes, to get a true sense of how things really are, you need to look for those who have lived it. Fortunately, we have a few student testimonials. Matthew Goldstein, a fourth year grad student, sums it up perfectly, "The atmosphere is very warm and personalized. I not only know my classmates well, but also everyone else here. It's a fun, collaborative, cooperative environment." Sometimes, the most overwhelming aspect of attending Stanford Med is the sheer size and "bigger than life reputation". It can be a bit intimidating, but Jane Whitney, a first year grad student, says she felt welcome and that she was able to transition from a small liberal arts college quiet easily. A Day on Campus Life on campus can feel surreal. There's so much to do and with the California environment, complete with sunshine filled days, you have opportunities to explore a lot between classes. The Hoover Tower is a must-see. It's dedicated to providing insight into a free society. The Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden is a striking collection of many artists' visions, all from Papua New Guinea. These are just two of the fascinating inclusions that define the Stanford environment and the campus as a whole. So Now You're a Doctor. Now What? There exists the Stanford School of Medicine Career Center. Here, you'll discover an entire department that's ready to provide any kind of assistance one needs. Don't assume it's just for graduating students, either. It's a great resource no matter where you are in your education. Job postings, internships and much more awaits you. The fact is, making the decision to become a physician, surgeon or any other medical professional takes a lot of soul searching. It's brutally tough. It's supposed to be. But when you come full circle, see your way through to the other side and emerge as a strong, educated and fiercely determined professional, all of those brutal study sessions and everything else that goes into becoming who you're supposed to be, just falls to the wayside. And in that moment, you know that anything less would equate to a life half-lived. No one should ever know what that feels like. So will it kick you in the teeth? Absolutely. Crazy as it sounds, it's the most incredible pain you'll ever know. And no - we're not a bunch of crazy folks putting these reviews together. We do know, however, what it's like on the other side of grad school. [cf]skyword_tracking_tag[/cf] ...read more
October 11, 2012

Med School Admissions Statistics, Part III: What’s the Average GPA? (And What Can I Do About It?)

Over the past two weeks, we've been taking a look at some of the medical school admissions statistics.  While we've tackled the question of how many people get into medical school and the average MCAT score, we turn our attention today to the average GPA. Remember, AAMC keeps this information public through their FACTS tables.  In addition to what we’ve covered here, check out what other great information you can glean from these resources.  In the world of medical school admissions, knowledge is power! (credit:  Schoolhouse Rock!) Interestingly, medical schools are actually given three GPAs when they look at your application.  Your science and math courses are considered in what is called the BPCM (Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Math) GPA, and your non-science courses (humanities, social sciences, language, etc.) are considered as another entity.  Finally, schools see the overall (amalgamated) GPA. While each school has a its own average GPA for the incoming class (information, by the way, that is easily found in the Medical School Admission Requirements guidebook), the national averages in 2011 were as follows:
  • BPCM GPA – applicants 3.43 ± 0.43, matriculants 3.61 ± 0.32
  • Non-science GPA – applicants 3.65 ± 0.30, matriculants 3.74 ± 0.25
  • Overall GPA – applicants 3.53 ± 0.34, matriculants 3.67 ± 0.26
Unlike the MCAT, for which many of you still have a clean slate, GPA is set during your college career.  So what can you do if your GPA isn’t quite into the range above?
  • Explain the GPA Tactfully – on your applications, you have the opportunity to bring up any blips in your GPA in both the primary application (as part of the Personal Statement) and secondary applications (in one of the essays, or as an addendum to the application).  When talking about a problem in your GPA, explain the reason behind the drop, but don’t make excuses!  Medical schools want mature applicants who can take ownership of the problem, and – perhaps more importantly – can explain how it served as a learning experience.  Did getting a not-so-great grade in Organic Chemistry I teach you how to study better, utilize office hours, or find new ways to learn so that you knocked Organic Chemistry II out of the park?  These skills may better you as a physician – tell the medical schools that!
  • Be an MCAT Rockstar – according to a Harris-verified poll a few years back, 90% of medical school admissions officers polled consider GPA and MCAT to be the two most important factors in admission – at least in the early stages.  Thus, a not-so-great GPA can be significantly abated with a stellar MCAT score.  Prepare wisely and work towards that 45 you deserve!
  • Consider Re-Taking Courses or Post-Bacc Work – there are a number of post-baccalaureate programs in the country that can be optimal for a student who needs to boost their GPA (especially the BPCM GPA).  These programs may also afford you opportunities to become involved in research or shadowing, thus helping your application portfolio that much more.
This is the end of this particular series on medical school admissions statistics, but we want to hear from you!  What other statistics (or aspects of the medical school application process) would you like to learn more about?  We want to arm you with the knowledge to help get you into the medical school – and career! – of your dreams. This article is Part III in a three-part series on Medical School Admissions Statistics.  For more information, check out: ...read more

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