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The Path to Medical School Kevin Lopez. My Path Judson University alumnus 2014 Pritzker School of Medicine Experience in Research Scholar Summer 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "The Path to Medical School Kevin Lopez. My Path Judson University alumnus 2014 Pritzker School of Medicine Experience in Research Scholar Summer 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Path to Medical School Kevin Lopez

2 My Path Judson University alumnus 2014 Pritzker School of Medicine Experience in Research Scholar Summer 2013 Rush Medical College MD candidate 2018

3 Outline 1. Undergraduate Preparation 2. MCAT 3. AMCAS 4. Secondaries 5. Interviewing 6. Choosing Schools

4 1. Your Path to Medical School has already Begun Whether you realize it or not your path to medical school has already begun Some applications for medical schools will ask for SAT/ACT scores Classes that you take in Undergrad will meet requirements for enrollment and will prepare you for the MCAT Research experience will expose you to the academic rigor of medicine Extracurricular activities demonstrate your competence and maturity Arts Student Organizations Athletics Shadowing will allow you to understand the career path

5 Undergraduate Class Scheduling Medical Schools have Requisites 2 semesters of Biology 2 Semesters of General Chemistry 2 Semesters of Organic Chemistry 2 semesters of Physics Lab experience Often Recommended Biochemistry Calculus Statistics English Composition Humanity courses

6 Undergraduate Class Scheduling A deeper understanding of Basic Sciences can only help you Physical Chemistry and Biochemistry will make the MCAT look easy Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, and Nutrition will make medical school a great deal easier Anatomy lab and dissections will be breeze The biochemistry of systems will be easier to understand You will have more time to dedicate to new material, extracurricular activities, or hobbies

7 Undergraduate Scheduling Required classes should be completed by the end of Jr year This will allow you to take the MCAT the summer after Jr Year The earlier you can complete classes the better Work WITH your advisor to accomplish this task I would suggest you complete your 4 year plan on your own and ask for your advisors approval

8 Undergraduate Scheduling Minimum requirements change with individual medical schools Some schools require Calculus and Biochemistry (Harvard), while other schools do not have any requirements (Rush) Most schools will not accept AP classes as a fulfillment of requirements Most school will not accept summer classes as a fulfillment of requirements Most schools will not accept community college credits as a fulfillment of requirements

9 Undergraduate Scheduling TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Class scheduling is important. It will set you up for success on your MCAT and in medical school, so take control of it and work with your advisor to formulate your 4 year plan

10 Undergraduate Extracurriculars Medical schools pride themselves in the diversity of their classes, so they don’t look for a specific type of individual. What they do want is active and mature applicants Ways to be active JSO, UM, Mission trips Athletics Tutoring, TAing, Arts, Choir, Ensembles

11 Undergraduates Extracurriculars Don’t do extracurriculars to add notches to your belt, engage in activities you are passionate about Interviewers will ask you about your experiences and can tell the difference Interviewers love hearing about why you chose to engage in extracurriculars and what you learned from them

12 Undergraduate Extracurriculars TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Be involved in something you love so you can continue to do such activities in medical school and talk about it enthusiastically during interviews

13 Undergraduate Research I HIGHLY recommend every premed student do research Medicine is a quickly evolving field, especially post Human Genome Project, and research experience will demonstrate that you understand that and can evolve with the field Research experience will allow you to be familiar with the academic rigor required at a research institution Research will expose you to the hierarchy of medicine and to the process by which professors and physician scientist “survive or thrive”

14 Undergraduate Research Judson’s Science department has research opportunities Dr. Henderson loves to introduce students to research and is an AWESOME mentor Dr. Hofferer also has ongoing research (also an Awesome person) The Judson Honors program adds research components to some classes Summer research programs will solidify your competence You will do research along with students from all over the nation. Such experiences will allow you to realize that you can perform at the same level as Ivy Leaguers

15 Summer Research Recommend that you begin to do summer research as early as possible I did my Summer Research at Pritzker after my junior year There were students at the University of Chicago Summer research programs that were Freshmen. The earlier you start, the better your resume will be when applying for Medical School You have a REALISTIC opportunity to become a published student before graduating

16 Undergraduate Research TAKE HOME MESSAGE: DO RESEARCH. The more the better.

17 Shadowing Shadowing is a must. Medical schools want to know that you understand the medical profession in greater depth than what’s portrayed on Grey’s Anatomy or House Hours with a primary care physician will show you the challenges in dealing with patients, parents, insurance companies, etc. Hours with a surgeon will allow you to decide whether that specific specialty is an option you’d want to pursue Hours with a pathologist or a radiologist will allow you to understand that there are specialties in which you do not interact directly with patients

18 Shadowing TAKE HOME MESSAGE: It is a must. You need to convey that you understand the career you are pursuing.

19 2. Your MCAT score is your opening statement Schools are not allowed to have a “minimum MCAT score”, but we all know that your MCAT score will be used as a screen for applicants You can take the MCAT multiple times Most schools prefer just one good score Most schools will want to see a significant increase (up 3 points) if you retake the test

20 Setting your MCAT Exam Date If you do not want to take a gap year, you must take the MCAT before your senior year Latest MCAT scores accepted will be August of the year before you plan on enrolling e.g. I started medical school August 2014. The latest MCAT score they would accept would be from August 2013 Oldest MCAT scores accepted are scores from 2 years prior to the year of enrollment

21 Setting your MCAT Exam Date Register for your MCAT 5 months in advance You will register through the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) website Will require you to set up an account If you can show proof of financial need or underrepresentation, the AAMC will subsidize your MCAT fee and will also provide study material Early registration will provide a proximal testing site I took my MCAT in Reno because I didn’t know this

22 Setting your MCAT Exam Date You are allowed to change your MCAT date This is not recommended, but is possible. Everyone feels underprepared, changing the date will only increase your stress level If you do change your date or if you did not register in time, check for open spots on the week of the exam In a paradoxical manner slots will open up closer to the test date due to people dropping out

23 Studying for the MCAT Study with time! “Preparation is separation”. The more you prepare the better you will do You will not be able to cram all the information in a month Believe me I tried and failed miserably in Verbal Skills Plan to study for the exam over a period of 6 months There are study schedules online that will help you organize your studying times

24 MCAT Prep Material There is an infinite amount of study material. You can find them online and can personalize to your own studying habits I chose a mixture of books and videos, following by a ton of practice exams (took about 10) I donated my Kaplan Books to the library and Jarod Schieler has pdfs of my other studying material

25 The MCAT is Different Beast Getting used to the exam is half of the challenge Taking multiple practice exams will help It is composed of 4 sections Physical sciences Social sciences Biological sciences Verbal reasoning

26 The MCAT is Different Beast If you do well at Judson you will do well on the Physical, Biological and Social Science sections Studying for these will be matter of review and memorization (specifically physical sciences) Verbal Reasoning is the most difficult section and requires months of preparation Higher level English classes will assist in learning the analytical techniques used in this section

27 The MCAT TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Study early, register early and take challenging classes to prepare for the exam.

28 3. AMCAS AMCAS is the American Medical College Application Services. Colloquially known as your “primary application” This is the branch of the AAMC that collects most of your application information and sends your primary application to medical schools

29 AMCAS Cost It cost $160 for the AMCS which includes 1 medical school designation. Additional school designations cost $36 per school Some people will send applications to 20 schools Again, if you registered for financial assistance some of these costs may be subsidized Stipends from Summer Research are a great way to pay these costs

30 AMCAS Components Identifying information Schools attended Biographic information Course work Work/Activities Letters of Evaluation Essays Standardized tests

31 AMCAS Components Identifying information Name, IDs, Sex Schools attended All schools attended. High school through graduation Transcripts from all schools required Biographic information Address, citizenship, languages, disadvantaged status, siblings, dependents, military service, misdemeanor or felony convictions

32 AMCAS Components Course work All classes ever enrolled in should be submitted Classes that have been retaken require grades from both classes Work/Activities Allowed up to 15 entries Can be any work experience you have or extracurricular activities Require contact information Require amount of hours spent on activity to be calculated

33 AMCAS Components Letters of Evaluation Up to 10 letters permitted DO NOT NEED TO USE ALL 10 FOR EVERY SCHOOL Can choose to have a subset for one school, a different subset for another school. This could be assigned based on alumni status of writers or mission statement of school I was once told to never ask for a letter of evaluation unless I received an “A” in the professor’s class. You do not want a mediocre letter. You want people to brag about you Can be written by professors, mentors, people you shadowed, leaders of organizations etc. It can take a while for your writers to submit their letters so be responsible with time

34 AMCAS Components Essays Personal Statement May include additional essays if you are applying for an MD PhD position Standardized tests MCAT Scores Are not required at the time you submit the application; scores will be automatically uploaded as soon as they are released

35 AMCAS: Personal Statement It is an essay about why you want to become a medical student Should be mainstream in form but unique in content You do not want to be so unique you creep the admissions committee Some people try to make it a poem or a sob story: bad idea Do not want to be so bland that you can’t be identified from the 7,000+ essays these schools receive Limit is 5300 characters

36 AMCAS: Personal Statement Must me written THEN Rewritten…. Multiple times The hardest part is the 1 st draft. Just chug a redbull and write it down. Surround yourself with a group of trusted editors Professors who know the system Friends and family who know you and your strengths Professors or staff that will critique your writing Rewrite your statement until you feel that it is a masterpiece of your journey to Medical School

37 AMCAS: Personal Statement General “plot” of a personal statement Introduction paragraph- shows your uniqueness “Why I want to be a doctor” paragraph Strengths paragraph Weakness that you have overcome paragraph Emphasis on OVERCOME Competence paragraph or translation into medical school paragraph Conclusion that ties in a theme you have woven into your statement

38 AMCAS timescale AMCAS is a LOT of work so it must be taken seriously and must be done with time AMCAS opens in June and it would be ideal to have it completed by July or Early August. Work on it early and often.

39 AMCAS TAKE HOME MESSAGE: AMCAS is a time consuming application, so it is paramount that you begin it early in order to submit it by August.

40 4. Secondaries All schools will require that you submit a secondary application These applications will require additional essays that are focused on the school’s mission statement Can have 2- 10 essays Cost between $70 (U Miami) - $100 (Harvard) These must be filled out carefully, but in a time sensitive manner

41 Secondaries Most schools accept students on rolling admissions They begin accepting students as they interview and, therefore, the earlier you interview the better chance you have of being accepted The earlier you turn in secondaries, the earlier you can get an interview You should reach out to the same group of people to help you edit your secondaries

42 Secondaries Writing coaches can be an essential help in developing first class essays in a time sensitive manner Writing coaches can critique your work and assist in editing while you focus on the content of the essays Your first secondaries will be the most difficult to write. You will perfect the art of copy, paste and tune by the end of the process

43 Secondaries TAKE HOME MESSAGE: You must be efficient, but careful in producing secondaries in a time sensitive manner. Writing coaches and other editors can be a critical part of this process

44 5. Interviewing Waiting for interview responses is probably the most stressful part of the process The school will usually contact you and give you a login and password to a website where you can look at a calendar and choose an interview date Prepping for interviews is indispensable and should be taken seriously

45 Scheduling Interviews Interviews should be scheduled around exam dates All professors should be notified of interview dates They are very lenient about interviews, but should be notified of your absence. Flights and hotels should be planned. Some schools will offer overnight stay with a student. This is fun if your are comfortable with being flexible around other’s schedules

46 Prepping for Interviews There are an unlimited amount of videos on YouTube that will help you prepare for medical school interviews Kaplan, Kevin Ahern, etc. Look up frequently asked questions on forums of your hosting institution Write out responses to such questions and rehearse them Make an appointment with Doris; she was great help. She set up a mock interview for me and helped me iron out the wrinkles in my responses

47 Common Interview Questions Why do you want to be a doctor? What are some of your strengths and how would they translate to medical school? What would you say is one of your weaknesses? Why do you want to come to (specific institution)? If there was something in healthcare you could change, what would it be?

48 Interview Itinerary Small breakfast Introduction to staff Individual interviews (usually 3) Introduction to medical school curriculum, mission, etc. Lunch with students Tour of facilities and hospitals You will receive a notice of acceptance, waitlisted, or denial in about month

49 Interviewing TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Perfect practice makes perfect, so do your research and rehearse your answers often.

50 6. Choosing a School You all are awesome, so you will most likely get multiple acceptances Most schools require a signed commitment form and deposit Multiple acceptances can be held until May 15 th. At this date you are required to commit to only one school. After committing to one school you must notify other schools of your withdrawal. You will receive your deposit in return. If you are waitlisted you will probably not be taken off the waitlist until after May 15 th when people commit and drop acceptances.

51 Choosing a School Most schools will have a second look day for all accepted before May 15 th. This will allow for a second opportunity to tour the campus and see its many programs. Use this day to get a feel of the school Ultimately it’s up to you, based upon how comfortable you feel and what your goals are Research schools are ranked higher on US News, but might not have the best facilities or best outreach programs, and will most likely have more hostile classes Although price is a huge issue, do not let it decide what school you choose. Pick a school that makes you feel welcome

52 Choosing a school TAKE HOME MESSAGE: This is the least structured component. Your school must fit you and your personality

53 Bon Voyage I hope this presentation was able to answer some questions and that you have a great experience on your way to medical school It’s a difficult and long path, but definitely worth it. Medical school is a ton of fun and the career is one of the most respected professions on the planet. You get to directly help people every day and enjoy it. BTW medical school lectures are pretty dense so presentations like this one in an hour will be a norm

54 Have More Questions???! Feel free to email me at I will try to get back to you as soon as I can If we’re FB friends, Messenger would probably be the best way to reach me “There is no such thing as a stupid question”, or so they say Thanks for reading through this presentation!

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