Interested in Medical School

You may think it is too early to even think about or prepare for it but in reality it is harder compare your college application. You need to start in your Freshmen year to prepare for it if you are serious (or at least remotely think this can be one thing you want to do after you get your undergraduate degree).

There are 133 medical schools in US and 17 in Canada so together there is 150 medical schools you can apply to. Medical school in other countries can always be considered but that is probably more work (like accreditation check, intern opportunity, recognize by US medical board, etc.). If you look at the top 50 medical schools listed in US News, 90% has an admission rate of about 6% which is like getting into Harvard when you first apply for college. Average is 9%. Minimum undergraduate GPA is 3.5 to quality and average admitted students have 3.6. Remember there is NO more “weighted” GPA for college for 3.6 is real.
There is test like MCAT which is much harder compare to SAT or ACT. As a UCSD student, they let you take FREE test prep courses at UCSD Extension. For most of this graduate school application required test like GRE, it is a 16 hours course. For MCAT, it is 35 hours. Probably you need at least a composite MCAT score of 30.
Some of the requirements to apply to medical school is similar to high school to college application which is letter of recommendations, interview, extra-curriculum, research, health care related experience, etc. For high school to college application, a lot of these requirements are optional but for medical school application, it is MUST.
You should start reading about some of these requirements to get yourself prepare starting as Freshmen, not as senior like when you are in high school.
What Are Medical Schools Looking For?
  • Academic Considerations
    • Major: any major is fine but key is to meet the pre-health core curriculum (additional work in biology or chemistry; courses with significant analytical reading and writing components to maintain or improve their verbal skills)
    • GPA: overall (4 years) and not just Sophomore/Junior like from high school
    • MCAT: only twice a year and not 7 times like SAT/ACT; general take in April of Junior; 3 multiple choice sections: Verbal Reasoning, Physical Sciences (physics and intro chemistry) and Biological Sciences (biology and organic chemistry) and writing section (2 essays)
    • Research Experience: get something published
  • Non-Academic Experiences
    • Extracurricular and Job Experiences: religious, sport, club; develop interpersonal skill, teamwork, leadership, time management; serious commitment (long term verse many different ones; depth verse breath)
    • Health Care Related Experience: internship at clinics, hospitals, nursing home, shelters; shadowing a physician; work directly with patients
    • Experience to work with people: community service, volunteer work like tutoring, short term mission trip; work with people with different background (ethnic, religious, socio-economic, etc.); compassion for others
  • Personal Considerations
    • Letters of Recommendation: from 4 faculty members; actively participate in class and get to know the faculty who teach you
    • Interview: All medical schools require an interview, often two or three, with members of their faculty and, sometimes, medical students on the admissions committee.
    • Professional Behavior: professionalism; personal accountability
What Medical Schools Are Looking For (blog entry from a Harvard Med School Girl)
  • reference to 2 good articles
Beyond the Numbers: Making Your Medical School Application Stand Out
3 things every medical school is looking for in an applicant
  • People who can handle intensive workloads while being able to maintain some sort of life outside school.
  • Every school is looking for a particular ‘breed’ of medical student.
  • Personalities fitting the current wind of change.
Medical School Admissions – An Insider’s Guide
Searching For Admission: The Smart PreMed Student’s Guide to Applying for Medical School
Web Resources
List of schools
Research Opportunity
Interview Tips
Select Medical School
101 Things You Wish You Knew Before Starting Medical School
If you are interested in physical therapy (PT) or occupational therapy (OT):
  • GRE instead of MCAT
  • volunteer work (200 hours) are required
  • first aid and CPR certification
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • interview

10 Practice Essay Prompts

  1. Discuss a significant personal archievement.
  2. Evaluate the pros and cons of a political issue, and discuss how that issue related to your community.
  3. Write an essay describing a person who has influenced you.
  4. Write about your favorite book, poem, or play.
  5. The admissionos committee has a copy of your autobiography opened to page 367. What does it say?
  6. discuss a challenge you overcame and how it changed you.
  7. What is the best advice you have received, and why?
  8. If you could time travel, what period in history would you visit, and why?
  9. You have been selected to meet with the president of the United States for one hour. What will you discuss?
  10. If you could switch bodies with someone for a day, who wouldyou choose, and why?

Source: College Planning Workbook, Spark Publishing, 2008, p. 138-167.

UC Personal Statement

UC Davis – The Personal Statement

  • Write it yourself.
  • Write it about yourself.
  • Provide any relevant information about yourself that you don’t think is captured elsewhere in the application.
  • Write about experiences, accomplishments, etc. that occurred during or after high school.
  • Provide specific examples of your accomplishments or activities in which you’ve participated.
  • Keep your statement focused.
  • Have your statement checked by a teacher, counselor or other adviser for spelling, grammar and clarity.

Writing and Reading UC’s Personal Statement (PowerPoint presentation)

What characteristics is UC looking for?

  • Thoughtful, incisive reflection — some sense of who the student is.
  • Personal qualities including, but not limited to, leadership, creativity, initiative, persistence, maturation, commitment to others.
  • Students who have done more to enrich their education.
  • Students who have had meaningful participation, not just a listing of activities.  Quality over quantity should be the general guideline.
  • Students who demonstrate tenacity, self-discipline and motivation for academic success.
  • Students who have demonstrated a sensitivity to and respect for differences, e.g., through sustained community service.
  • Students who are informal leaders — the type of student who makes things happen — a catalyst who motivates others, who initiates or takes responsibility for something that meets a perceived need.

What the personal statement is not:

  • A visionary statement of what you plan for your future, without concrete examples of what initiatives you have already taken that will lead you to your goals.
  • An elaboration on someone you admire, without a specific description of what you, yourself, have done or not done as a result of your inspiration.
  • An exaggeration of problems but an acceptance of responsibility for choices, academic performance,  and/or behaviors.
  • An exhaustive listing of activities, honors, awards but rather a judicious selection of important indicators.
  • Solely a sample of  writing skills although appropriate grammar, level of  usage and spelling are expected.

UC Fall 2011 Preview Day

Each of the UC’s will most likely have an preview day this fall. These events are extremely informative for students and parents. All ages of students are welcome, but the events are targeted for Seniors who are thinking about applying for fall 2012 admission.

UC Davis – 10/15
UC Santa Cruz – 10/15
UC Merced – 10/15
UC Riverside – 10/15
UC Irvine – 10/28

‘What’s It Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors’ (Georgetown Univ. Study)

When considering your choice of major, students might want to consider this study as one of their many resources regarding income potential.  This (first of its kind)  study concluded that college graduates overall make 84% more over a lifetime than those with only a high school diploma.  Further analysis of 171 majors discovered that various undergraduate majors can lead to significantly different median wages within certain fields.

Keep in mind that median salary level of particular majors/careers is only one piece of a very large and intricate puzzle when determining an appropriate (personal=right fit) college pathway.  Other considerations could include:  knowing what they would be doing everyday in that job, the job responsibilities, values of the occupation, the advancement potential, etc. Statistics show that an average worker changes careers 3-5 times in a lifetime.

To access a copy of the study, click here.

Impressive Candidate vs. Admitted Student | InLikeMe

Impressive Candidate vs. Admitted Student | InLikeMe
So, who gets in to the most selective colleges and universities? For the most part, admitted students fall into one or more of these three categories:

(1) students who can bring something “special” that the school desires;

(2) those with exceptional promise; and

(3) academically-qualified legacy applicants.

Focus on quality over quantity. We look for the opportunity to pursue (with gusto) one or two interesting projects, activities, and/or areas of research where the student can showcase some combination of leadership, character, determination, intellectual curiosity, talent, heartfelt interest, creativity, problem-solving and/or communication skills, maturity and ability. The “hook” should be genuine and be a good fit with the student’s interests and abilities. A hook can also be developed to either offset an area of perceived weakness or to create positive differentiation.

As an example, one of my clients was dismayed by the lack of intercultural harmony at her public high school. She endeavored to improve the situation by bringing together students to share her love for gardening. She founded a community garden project and encouraged diverse participation. She described her experiences (positive and negative) in various college application essays and was thrilled to gain admission to a number of the most selective colleges and universities.