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BECOMING A COMPETITIVE APPLICANT Lauren Banks, MS4 Tomas Diaz, MS1 Eric Medina, MS2 Toy Ogunkua, MS4.

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Presentation on theme: "BECOMING A COMPETITIVE APPLICANT Lauren Banks, MS4 Tomas Diaz, MS1 Eric Medina, MS2 Toy Ogunkua, MS4."— Presentation transcript:

1 BECOMING A COMPETITIVE APPLICANT Lauren Banks, MS4 Tomas Diaz, MS1 Eric Medina, MS2 Toy Ogunkua, MS4

2 Welcome to Perelman School of Medicine! Although medical school may be 2-3 years away, there are steps you can take now to better prepare yourself for the application process and life after graduation.

3 DISCLAIMER There is no magic formula to get into medical school, and no two Perleman School of Medicine students have identical journeys. However, there are some basics which helped all of us succeed.

4 The Basics Get Organized!!! Estimate COSTS (and SAVE if you can) Learn the Application Process Know the Deadlines and Expectations THE PREGAME Gather Information & Utilize Resources

5 Gather Information & Utilize Resources Rule #1: Decide to devote a significant time commitment to preparing for medical school. Rule #2:Get to know your pre-med office! Rule #3: Seek advice from current med students, pre- health advisors, and mentors familiar with the medical school application process. Rule #4: Research national medical school acceptance data based upon GPA and MCAT scores found in MSAR

6 How to Identify a Mentor  Approach a professor in one of your pre-med science classes  Get to know faculty by going to their office hours  Faculty advisor of a student group you are involved with  Seek advice on who to approach from your pre-health advisor This is an active process.. You need to seek these figures out and approach them yourself

7 Gather Information & Utilize Resources The MSAR aka Your Best Friend The Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) profiles every medical school in the US and Canada. Check the MSAR before applying to get a sense of what a school’s numbers are, their requirements, and their curricula. Comprehensive guide found online at AAMC website (sign up fee of $15) Google “MSAR Online” Your premed office may have a paper version, but it is not complete

8 Create Your Academic Plan Before applying to medical school, you must take the following courses (and LABS!): Biology General chemistry Organic chemistry Physics English/writing (and BIOCHEMISTRY, statistics, and social sciences) Meet with your pre-med advisor ASAP to discuss your plan for taking these courses. National discourse regarding evolving course requirements Pre-med advisor should help you navigate the changing climate

9 What Do the Numbers Mean? %86%90%92% %80%85%86% %67%73%80% %51%61%62% %42% 44% MCAT GPA AAMC Data Warehouse, Table 24: MCAT and GPA Grid for Applicants and Acceptees to U.S. Medical Schools, Applicants accepted to at least one medical school

10 Grades matter. Don’t bank on being the outlier. It’s stressful to take that risk (both financially and emotionally). No one will see how wonderful you are unless your numbers get by the screening. You DON’T have to be a science major (at all!), but you DO need good grades in your science classes Your early grades can have a lasting effect on the rest of college – make sure to maintain them!

11 GRADES MATTER Tips on Academic Success Balance your schedule and major – you should be challenged, but not to the point where you are unhappy and aren’t doing well. Don’t be ashamed or afraid to ask for help! Go to professor AND TA office hours! Work in groups to solve problems. Don’t get caught up in the hype of how others are doing (or how they claim they are doing). When things don’t go quite right, troubleshoot – ask yourself, “How can I do better next time?”

12 The Medical College Admission Test

13 About the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)… The MCAT is a multiple choice, standardized test required for admission into medical school Tested subjects include: Biology Physics General Chemistry Organic Chemistry All sections except the Writing Sample will have many, many passage-based questions. Study for the Verbal Reasoning and Writing sections of the MCAT. NOTE: The MCAT is changing in 2015 and there will be NO writing sample, and more emphasis on biochemsitry and interpersonal skills…Stay tuned…

14 General Tips  65% of applicants take a prep course  Different styles and intensities (and prices)  Aim to take the MCAT when you are PREAPARED!  Retake the MCAT if needed when READY Know that schools calculate multiple MCATs differently…  Last score  Average all of scores  Best sub-score in each category

15 A Lesson Learned  Janell was a junior and studied for the MCAT for two months. She hadn’t taken organic chemistry yet but heard it was only a minor part of the test, so she wasn’t too worried. To prepare for the biology section, she studied intently from her dusty biology book that she used freshmen year for Bio 101. She registered a month before the test and was surprised when she was placed at a testing site an hour away. She had to wake up early on testing day in order to make the trip. When her scores came back, she felt frustrated as she got seven points below the average for her target school.  How can we help Janell?

16 The Inside Scoop  Take all classes, biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics before taking the MCAT  Take an MCAT prep course or study from review books made specifically for the MCAT  Do a ton of practice tests  Register early and leave time to retake the test before applying  AAMC Fee Assistance Program (FAP)  Reduction of MCAT registration fee from $235 to $85  For more information, go to https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/fap / https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/fap  Sign up with the AAMC Medical Minority Applicant Registry (Med-Mar) Program when you take the MCAT  The registry distributes biographical information about examinees and their MCAT scores to diversity/multicultural and admissions offices of medicals school Study reminders Important programs to know about

17 Okay – good grades and MCAT scores are important to get past the screening. What else should I be thinking about?

18 Extracurricular Activities!

19 An extracurricular activity… Allows you to develop personal interests outside of class and build leadership skills. Demonstrates that you’re a well–rounded individual. Brings together people from different majors/ levels of education. Provides a chance to serve the community. Exposes you to health/medically – related projects. Shadowing a physician is great, but make it an active experience that includes patient interaction

20 Advice on Joining Extracurricular Activities Tip 1: Join extracurriculars that you're interested in early, with the hope of an eventual leadership role. Tip 2: Don’t stretch yourself too thin! Seek quality opportunities, rather than quantity. Tip 3: Try to maintain a balance between extracurriculars and good grades.

21 The American Medical College Application Service

22 AMCAS  Centralized application service through the AAMC  Available online in mid-May of your application year  Apply early if possible   Can be submitted in early June

23 AMCAS Sections 1. Identifying Information 2. Schools Attended 3. Biographic Information 4. Course Work 5. Work and Activities* 6. Letters of Evaluation 7. Medical Schools 8. Essay(s) 9. Standardized Tests * A note on framing your experiences… they should inform how you will make a good physician/med student

24 Letters of Recommendation Start thinking about Letters of Recommendation NOW Required:  letters from instructors in science courses  letter from instructor in a non-science course (numbers vary by program)  Choose individuals who know you well and who will write very favorable letters of recommendation for you  Request your individual letters of recommendation EARLY!

25 Essays Personal Statement:  Leave a lot of time to write it  Have many, many, many people read/edit it (e.g. writing tutor)  Especially premed advisor  Make the admissions committee want to meet you! NOTE: MD/PhD applicants have 3 essays 1. Personal statement 2. Significant research experience 3. “Why do I want to do this?”

26 Application Process  Primary application: The AMCAS Submit one set of application materials to AMCAS, which verifies transcripts and forwards application to the medical schools that you indicate.  Secondary applications: Most schools send you a supplementary application (usually requires additional fees and essays).  Don’t apply to a school with primary application if you don’t intend to do the secondary

27 A Note on Professionalism  Professional dress  Conservative accessories, clean appearance  Cell phone etiquette  Best idea: turn it off!  DON’T answer it  Positive presentation/impression  Listen and don’t interrupt  Ask questions  Convey your interest

28 QUESTIONS? Let’s keep in touch! Lauren Banks, MS4 Tomas Diaz, MS1 Eric Medina, MS2 Toy Ogunkua, MS4


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