December 6, 2012

Application Essentials II: The Personal Statement

Let’s start today with a simple (?) question:

“Who are you?”

With all respect to Roger Daltrey, this is actually one of the most challenging questions for pre-med students to answer.  And yet, this question is the basis of a major part of your application:  The Personal Statement.

While there just isn’t enough space in a single blog entry to cover every facet of the Personal Statement, there are a couple important themes to keep in mind as you’re coming up with what you plan to write in – what many admissions officers refer to as – “your … more
November 30, 2012

Application Essentials I: The Holistic Review Process

Earlier this month, I had the great fortune of attending the 2012 AAMC Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA.  This meeting represents one of the largest gatherings of medical educators, premedical advisors, admissions officers, practicing physicians and students in the country, all with one common goal:  your education.  This is the group that writes the MCAT, runs the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) and creates informative resources like Careers in Medicine to help you plan your future medical career.

One of the “hot topics” in medical admissions these days is holistic review.  While a full detailing of this … more
Applying to Med School
December 12, 2011

The Med School Personal Statement: Where To Start

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 … more
Applying to Med School
April 19, 2010

The Personal Statement – Part 2

By Carleen Eaton, M.D.

In January, I wrote about taking the first step towards crafting an outstanding personal statement. That initial phase involved generating ideas, anecdotes and examples to use when you sit down to write. Now that it is April, it is time to take those ideas and turn them into a cohesive document that will convince the admissions committee that you are a strong applicant, worthy of an offer to interview at their school.

With a 5300 word limit, the personal statement for the primary application doesn’t give you a lot of space in which to tell … more
Applying to Med School
March 22, 2010

Reapplying for Medical School

By Carleen Eaton, M.D.

If the 2010 cycle will be your second (or third) application to med school, then you need to take a different approach than a first time applicant. Your goal is to differentiate your current application from the last one as much as possible, and to convince the committee that you are now deserving of a spot in the class. This means scrutinizing each section of the application and determining what is new or improved and making sure that those features stand out.

In terms of timing, applying for back-to-back cycles may not be the best strategy … more
Applying to Med School
February 15, 2010

MD-PhD Programs

By Carleen Eaton, M.D.

For applicants who are considering a career combining both medicine and research (a “physician scientist”), completing an MD-PhD program may be a good option.  Besides graduating with both an MD and a PhD, and thus receiving excellent preparation for a career in academic medicine, in most programs, you will attend med school tuition free and even receive a stipend for living expenses. However, these advantages need to be balanced against the drawback of spending an extra 3 to 4 years in school on top of the 4 years needed to obtain the MD, and … more
Applying to Med School
January 25, 2010

Medical School: The Personal Statement – Getting Started

By Carleen Eaton, M.D.

To a writer, there is nothing more intimidating than being faced with a blank screen. That sight induces the average person to check their e-mail, browse the web, grab a snack and do just about anything to avoid having to type a single character. While this technique will keep you in touch with your friends and ensure that you are up to date on breaking news, it won’t get your personal statement written – or at least not very quickly.

At this point, you may not be ready to sit down and write your entire personal more

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