I recently learned about a pretty cool service that I think my pre-med followers could use.
I know you’re thinking, “who is this Roheet guy and why should I trust him to read my junk?”
To that I reply 1) Roheet is awesome 2) he writes extremely thoughtful posts (and you should probably follow him) and I’m sure that style overflowed into his own personal statement 3) he was just accepted to several medical schools, and 4) because I said so.
You’re also probably thinking “what’s the catch?”
Ok, yeah, there’s a catch. There’s a DEADLINE of MAY 20, 2013 to get your essay in to him. I mean hey, the guy can only be so nice, right? I’m sure he has a life and stuff and thangs to do.
Also you’re thinking “is it really free.99?”
Yes. Or no, if you’re also an awesome person and actually throw some dollas Roheet’s way. He does have a thingy set up for donations, so be generous.
And hey, maybe I’ll be a total copy cat and offer a similar service in the fall for residency apps….
Hey, I know you’ve probably been asked 8,657,239 times, but do you have any rules that would be helpful when trying to pick certain schools? I’m SO lost right now. *brain cramp* I don’t know how to pick schools. The only reason I’m in the university I’m in right now is that they offered me a lot of money and how could I turn that down? I still have a little while before I’m in dire straights, I just want to know if you have some advice.-bitemebloody
I felt like I had answered this before (not 8,657,239 times though), but I couldn’t find anything in my archives except this, so here goes, in no particular order and with random gifs that don’t fit any other posts:
Know your learning style: Is the school majority PBL, lecture, or an even mix of both? Do you want to be fed the material, or are you interested in more self-directed learning?
Scholarship opportunities: They’re few and far between in the med school world, but if they offer you one, jump at it.
Residency opportunities: What residency programs are available at the hospital affiliated with the school? Is this a place you may potentially like to stay in? Do they have fellowships in fields you’re interested in?
Location, Location, Location: You will need a support network in medical school. Consider a school’s proximity to family/friends/significant others. Also think about availability of jobs for spouses in your location, size of the town, availability of activities you enjoy, etc. Where will you be doing clinical rotations? Is the hospital a place where you can get a good experience?
Research availability: Maybe you’re an uber nerd who loves research. Is that school doing interesting things? Are you interested in an MD-PhD? Is their program any good?
Cost: If you’re looking at equally awesome schools, pick the cheap one, duh.
Size Matters: I did better at a smaller undergrad, and the same was true for med school. I wanted small groups, a low student:professor ratio, and a smaller city. Maybe you prefer big cities and classes and schools. Who knows.
Reputation: Not all med schools are created equal. If it’s brand new, the reputation isn’t going to be established (doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad though). The reputation and the “brand” associated with the school can potentially be helpful in your residency match process.
Stats: Do their graduates match to residency programs? What is their board score pass rate (first try)? What is their teacher:student ratio? Are your grades at least the average for that school? Do they have a good match rate for the specialty you’re considering?
Bonus Points: What do they have that the other schools don’t?
So yeah, make a chart of all your schools, their info, and pros and cons, and ask yourself these questions. Hopefully it will point you toward a favorite.
Hi, what makes students who get into top medical schools different from other candidates? I can’t seem to find any student profiles on the web. Thanks <3
Let me start with sort of an obvious statement: Students who apply to (and go to) top medical schools want to be in a top medical school. Think about this: there are TONS of super smart people out there who specifically chose NOT to go to a top school. They make this choice for a myriad of reasons, including geographic preference, cost, family obligations, specialty interests, and research preferences (or lack thereof…some schools require research, others do not). So a degree from somewhere other than Pitt or Hopkins doesn’t mean they aren’t brilliant.
But students who go to top schools often go to those schools for the prestige of it all. They know that school will look good on residency and fellowship applications, and they know they will have a solid education there. But remember, one does not have to go to a top school to get a top education. What you learn is mostly up to you.
Also, know what a “top medical school” is for YOU. Just because it’s the best doesn’t mean it’s the best for you. For example, I could have applied to the top school in my state, which is ranked in the top 25 for research and top 20 US medical schools overall. However, their rankings in primary care education are much lower, and considering my interests, it wouldn’t have been the best place for me to go.
Back to the question. I’m guessing it really was more about how to get into a top school, so let’s go there. If you wanna go to a commonly recognized top school, you need:
Hey, so I’m in med school right now. However, it’s getting to that point where I have to take my Step 1s and start thinking about residency. How hard is the process overall? Is it as stressful, difficult, and overcomplicated as all the people on the forums make it out to be? As a side note, I am in a foreign medical school right now, and I’m hoping to get back to the States as… something. We’ll see when I get to clinicals. - tinypasserine
The residency application process is no more painful or difficult than the med school application process. Actually, it may be a little easier.
The AAFP has a pretty decent Timeline/Checklist thingy to help you organize and plan your application process.
I think it probably is a little more complex for foreign medical grads, but since I went to school in the US, I don’t know all the ins and outs of that process. I would check out ERAS’s page for IMGs for that info.
Also, disregard Student Doctor Network. For everything. Go with the TOADs. We will not steer you wrong.
Are you in the end of your second year? Because that’s probably a little early to be thinking seriously about residency. But here’s what you can do at this point:
I likes it. A lot. So much so that I did it.
First I thought, “but what if I get in and then I don’t want to go there after all?”
And then I thought,
And I got in. And it was great. And I mean REAL great, because it was the only place I applied to.
But yeah, if you’re absolutely sure you want to go to a particular school, why not apply early decision?
I’m currently applying for a medical program, and it has come to the toughest part—the essay. And then comes another tough question for me: should I reveal my sexual orientation in my personal statements? Should I proudly pinpoint what I have to overcome daily, or would these few words strike me down with undeserving bias? I’ve researched into the issue, and it seems there is still phobia within medical leaders. I don’t know if its worth the risk. Thanks! - follower asked to remain anonymous
There are a few things to consider. The point of the essay is to tell the school why you’re interested in medicine and why you’d be a good doctor. If your sexual orientation is a part of that answer, then absolutely talk about it. For example, if one of your interests in medicine is LGBT health (as this is a very underrepresented field), it totally fits that you should talk about your own experiences. It’s the same advice I’d give for virtually any other issue (except for those that could potentially keep you out of med school), be it an illness, life event, personal experience, etc: if that experience is what drove their interest in medicine, talk about it.
Similarly, if your sexual orientation (or chronic disease/medical history/depression history/anything else) has little to do with your reasons for going into medicine, I’d leave it out. I love music. It’s part of who I am. But I didn’t mention it in my med school application because it wasn’t relevant. Legally, schools can’t discriminate against you for your sexual orientation, and I haven’t heard of much blatant discrimination in med school circles. But you’re right. It sort of boils down to who reads your application first, unfortunately. If it’s someone inclined toward homophobia, it may turn them off. It’s a fine line.
Personal statements are supposed to be fairly brief and are supposed to be packed with reason after reason why you want to be a doctor and would be a good candidate for that school. If you’re putting something in there that doesn’t answer those questions—“controversial” or not—you should probably take it out.
What is the best way to start looking for some med schools to apply to? Also, how would I go about looking for research vs. service med schools? Service seems to suit be more. -whylifeconfusing (edited for length)
There’s no good formula for finding a school. It’s all based on what’s important to you.
Some things to consider:
Nope, your residency goals don’t matter when applying to medical school. When you apply to medical school, you’re applying for a generic MD/DO position. So everyone’s on even ground. Plus, most people who go into medical school “knowing” what specialty they want to go into eventually change their minds (except for me), just like with undergrad majors.
Many people mistakenly believe that there are majors in medical school like in undergrad, and that people become pediatricians, psychiatrists, etc in medical school. Not true. People become doctors in medical school. They become pediatricians and psychiatrists in residency.
At the end of medical school you apply for residency, and that’s when your specialty choice matters. The lower paid specialties—psych, peds, family medicine, internal med—are easier to match into than the higher paid ones—surgical sub-specialties, derm, radiology, etc.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not because one is necessarily harder than the other. It’s because the higher paid positions have less spots offered. And of course, as supply of spots decreases, demand for those spots increases and the requirements to get a spot become harder and harder. That’s not to say the lower paid specialties don’t have plenty of cream-of-the-crop people in them, though.
Zat make sense?
Many people do go into medicine because of personal experiences with disease. For example, a guy with a history of childhood cancer who becomes a pediatrician, or a girl with a thyroid tumor who discovers a love of endocrinology. Lots of people will write about their experiences in their applications and personal statements, and for the most part, that is looked on favorably.
Honestly, though, the one exception may be psychiatric history.
One of the things medical schools are thinking when they review applications is “can this person make it through to graduation?” Anything that makes them think the answer to that question could be “no” is a red flag.
A history of multiple psychiatric inpatient stays would probably be a red flag unless they were in the very distant past. The thought would be that someone with a history of, say, chronic depression, would have a much harder time handling the stress of medical school than a person without that history, and therefore would have a higher likelihood of dropping out. But it’s also sort of condition-dependent. Of course, admissions for something like substance abuse detox/rehab would probably preclude admission to medical school.
Many schools require incoming students to undergo a physical before starting school to certify that they don’t have any medical or psychiatric conditions that could hinder their studies. Some things may lead the school to put your acceptance on hold (like my school has done for students who were pregnant or had been recently diagnosed with cancer) until you are ready to start school, whereas other conditions may completely keep you out of medical school.
Unfortunately, the stigma that comes with psychiatric conditions is often strong even withinthe medical establishment. It is rare to find a physician outside the field of psychiatry who will admit to a personal or close family history of mental illness. (A fact which I personally find ridiculous.)
So basically what I’m telling you is that you want your admissions committee to have no qualms about accepting you, so be wise about what you write about in your application.
Thanks for letting me answer this publicly. I think a lot more people probably have the same issue as you and don’t know if they can bring it up in an interview.
If you’re ever given a chance to explain a bad grade, take it, especially when you have a legitimate reason.
Whether it affects the interviewer’s opinion of you depends on the interviewer. Some may not be very understanding and may see depression as an invalid excuse. Hopefully, though, your interviewer will be an MD or PhD who understands that depression affects all aspects of life, and that it is not something that you could have prevented from happening.
If I was your interviewer, I would see your struggle with the depression the same as a more physical chronic disease. Both would make studying and keeping up with school work difficult—depression maybe even more so because it affects your concentration and motivation and makes you feel completely blank.
How you approach the subject is important, I think. As an interviewer, there’s nothing I hate more than a canned response to an expected question. Be honest. If you are flippant about it and say simply, “I was depressed that semester,” the interviewer will probably not take you seriously. But if you expand on it and talk about your struggle, they will likely be more understanding.
It’s equally important to talk about how you are managing to deal with your depression. As with any other obstacle in life that could hurt your performance in school, you need to let your interviewer know that you have tools to help you overcome it. Talk about what has worked for you, and if the struggle is ongoing, own up to it. You want your interviewer to know that your depression is under control (if it really is) and that your grades are not going to drop like they did before.
I’m sure you’ve heard that you always want to spin a potential negative thing into a positive thing in an interview, so talk about how you’ve grown from the experience or how you’ve learned to cope, and how those skills will be useful as a medical professional.
I assume your grades are better now, since you said all this happened last year. One bad year, especially at the beginning, can be balanced out in the end. Keep up the good work, and whatever you’re doing to control your depression and anxiety, keep at it.
It’s never too late to get clinical experience. Some people don’t get any just because it can be very hard to find a doctor willing to let you shadow. It is possible to get into med school without any clinical experience, but of course, experience is good to have.
Especially if your extracurriculars are not sciencey, you may want to try for some clinical experience. My worry as an interviewer would be that without any clinical experience, you don’t really know what you’re getting yourself into.
Yes, it is wrong, but it probably does happen. I hate to say it, but it probably does help to know someone on the admissions committee. At a school where you are only interviewed by one committee member, having someone else gunning for you in the admissions meeting would be pretty helpful. But other schools make you do several short interviews, so knowing one person on the committee would have less of an impact.
It seems to me that knowing someone in admissions would be most helpful for someone with a borderline application. For a person who isn’t outstanding but isn’t terrible, having an extra person speaking up for you could make a big difference. I think it would be less likely that just knowing someone would override a crappy application, though. So yeah, it isn’t fair, but it probably does happen. But don’t believe that your friend is completely safe just because they know somebody.