The Application Process

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1 The Application Process Presented by: Brian Sowka 1 Some important notes before we begin The application process is a very long and painstaking process. It could be equated to taking a 3 credit course during your semester. Be prepared to do a lot of work. This is by no means a complete presentation of every thing you will need to know, rather an overview. Medical Schools = Allopathic and Osteopathic Schools. 2 1

2 What are Medical Schools Looking For? Data from AAMC. 3 Personal Characteristics Data from AAMC. 4 2

3 General Information The big online application service (for Allopathic schools only). Opens in May for the start of the application cycle. Application can be submitted by June 1 st. (Apply ASAP, a lot of schools have rolling admissions). Cost is $160 for 1 st Medical school, $35 for each school after. If you want to start medical school right after college you must apply in your junior year. The application process lasts a year. Does not carry over year to year. AAMC.ORG 5 Things to do Before Even Opening Obtain transcripts to help enter in your course grades in. Discuss letters of recommendation with recommenders (Ask at least 3 months in advance). Begin preparing activities list and personal statement (these will take longer than you think). Research medical schools (MSAR online is best resource by far for Allopathic schools). Make a table of these schools and important information you will reference frequently. I suggest starting these during the summer of your junior year. 6 3

4 1 Identifying Information Preferred Name Legal Name Social Security Number Birth Date and Sex 7 2 Schools Attended High School Colleges (section where you submit transcript to) Previous Matriculations (for medical schools) Institutional Action (You did something bad in school) 8 4

5 3 Biographic Information Contact Info Citizenship Legal Residence Self Identification Languages Childhood Disadvantaged Status Dependents Parents Siblings Felony Conviction Misdemeanor Conviction Military Discharge This is where wants to know all your dirty little secrets. Its better to be honest than to lie, just like your parents always has a way of finding out. 9 4 Course Work List of all your classes taken in college. Very dry and boring part that takes awhile. This section includes helpful video tutorials that can answer a lot of questions. After submission of your application will calculate your GPAs. Cumulative. Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math). Per class you list: Academic Year Academic Term Year in School Course Number Course Name Classification Transcript Grade Credit Hours Lecture or Lab? Special Course Type 10 5

6 4 Course Work Special Notes Medical schools want well rounded individuals, but grades are still huge. Ask any Pre-Med Adviser on campus or Medical School Admissions Director and they will tell you: There are no substitutes for bad grades. The bottom of the competitive GPA range is 3.5 (for both science and cumulative). Science GPA carries more weight than the cumulative GPA slots for activities: 3 for meaningful activities (1325 characters). 12 for other activities (750 characters). Characters includes spaces. It is more impressive to have 5 long term activities than 15 short activities. 5 Work/Activities Activities are meant to highlight things you have done which you show you can be a doc. Have them checked out by different people: Tutoring center in LRC is very helpful. Successful medical students or applicants. After major editing is done have several people proofread for grammar and spelling errors. 12 6

7 5 Work/Activities Special Notes Types of activities are important. Medical schools want to see volunteering, community service, health care experience. Medical schools do not care very much about college sports. Note: Shadowing is NOT considered patient contact (Still something you should do). Medical schools want to see commitment to a few activities rather than several small events. (i.e. volunteering weekly at the hospital or a nursing home for a few hours a week for 3 years). For you will need to list for activities: How often you did them (hours per week). What type of activity. How many years did you do them Work/Activities Special Notes Most importantly medical schools want to see something you are passionate about. This can be any activity, but it should be something you took the initiative on, something you created, or expanded upon. This will show your passion in that area. Simply being a passive member in an organization will not get you anywhere. It s also important to have a hobby or activity outside of school and work. You will be asked about this at an interview. They want to know if you have a life, compassion, empathy (that you re human). None of these activities have to be medical. It s best not to go into activities with the intention of looking good on a resume. Do something you enjoy. 14 7

8 6 Letters of Evaluation 10 slots for confidential letters in for recommenders. Interfolio is another useful tool for letters of rec (not necessary for ). Letter Request Forms in should be ed/mailed separately to recommenders (this will give recommenders direction on how to submit the confidential letters). Each school is different in what they require for letters of recommendation. In general I would recommend for to get letters from: Adviser. 2 Physicians (MD or DO). 2 Science Professors. 1 or more non-science professor. 1 from employer or boss Letters of Evaluation - Tips Professors, physicians, and employers are busy people so ask at least 3 months in advance for a letter. Set up a little interview with your recommender so they can ask questions to better help write the letter. Before meeting with the recommender have these ready: Updated resume. List of schools you re applying to. A paper on what you may want specifically mentioned in the letter (see next slide) (One professor actually complimented me on how prepared I was compared to other students for requesting the letter). The more personal a letter the better. Don t ask for a letter from a professor who only knows you as a good grade in their class (that s all they can really write truthfully). We have a privilege at UWSP to have classes with smaller sizes and many professors who are very willing to see you and talk about what they teach (even if you are not struggling with it). This is something you can do starting your freshman year so professors can remember you personally and write a great recommendation for you. Ultimately the letters are confidential, it is up to the recommender if they will share what they wrote about you. 16 8

9 The Big Picture Let s start with what Medical Schools think a good doctor should have at the end of their training. These are really what they are judging Med School applicants against can they accomplish the Six Competencies for a Successful Physician, as stated by the American Medical Board of Medical Specialties? Medical Knowledge competency Patient Care competency Interpersonal and Communication Skills competency Professionalism competency Practice-Based Learning and Improvement competency Systems Based Practice competency They only have your grades, MCAT scores, your Personal Statement, resume, letters of recommendation and an interview to see if you have the potential to reach these goals. Make sure they know from your Personal Statement, resume, letters and interview that you do! 17 7 Medical Schools In this section you select the medical schools you want to send your application to. This is also where your pocket book gets much thinner. It is ultimately your choice of how many schools you apply to. I would recommend more if you have the financial capability (otherwise you may end up loosing a lot of time and money applying to only a handful of schools if you don t get in the first cycle). 18 9

10 8 The Personal Statement 5,300 character text box to write in why you want to go to medical school. Take this statement seriously (this is the only way medical school can get a feel of who you are before the interview). Again have several different people review and proof read your statement (as mentioned in activities/work slide). Set yourself apart from everyone else and make the statement interesting to read (Admissions committees will be reading thousands of these). This will take a lot of time to write, I would start early on it when you have a lot of free time. How to write it? The Can The Want The How The Why 19 8 The Personal Statement Tips The Personal Statement on the application: TAKE THIS WITH YOU FOR EDITORS! Medical School Admissions Committee members are looking for the following in the essay The ultimate goal THE READER REMEMBERS YOUR ESSAY! Great writing skills demonstrate a professional attention to detail and thoughtfulness. PAY ATTENTION TO GRAMMAR AND SPELLING! Have several people (writing lab, advisor, others) read the essay for correctness and interest. Personalize the essay and give it life(!!) beginning with a STRONG INTRO. You have only a couple sentences to pull in the reader. Tell a story. Do not make a laundry list of your activities; that is the job of the resume! Think of an experience you have actually had that shook you up and made it clear you wanted to be a doctor, whether or not you thought of it before. Overused lines: I have always wanted to be a doctor since I was a kid. I was in a car accident and was fascinated by all the doctors that patched me up. The human body really interests me. Your story should show your sincerity, maturity, empathy, compassion and motivation toward Medicine You could enter any number of clinical fields. Why are you choosing Medicine? As a vocation or as a Job? What are your personal strengths that qualify you for Medicine? (See Six Competencies above.) How do these traits make you unique and how will these help you be a great doctor? Don t sell yourself short end with a STRONG Conclusion

11 9 Standardized Tests (Aka the MCAT) Here is where the MCAT results are sent to; which in turn is where they are sent to all schools you are applying to. MCAT Registration is online at aamc.org/mcat. Total time length of test 5 hours and 10 minutes (4 hours and 5 minutes of actual test taking). Equivalent UWSP Courses I recommend: Biology : 160, 210, 385, 305/306? Chemistry: 105, 106, 325, 326 Physics: 203, 204 Verbal Reasoning: Phil 121. Usually taken in spring semester of junior year. Break down of MCAT: Physical Sciences 70 minutes for 52 multiple choice questions. Tests general chemistry, physics, analytical reasoning, data interpretation. Biological Sciences 70 minutes for 52 multiple choice questions. Test basic biology, (genetics, physiology, ecology) and organic chemistry, analytical reasoning, data interpretation. Verbal Reasoning 60 minutes for 40 questions. Tests critical reading skills. Trial Section (Optional) 45 Minutes for 32 questions. Experimental questions for future 21 MCAT. 9 Standardized Tests (Aka the MCAT) 22 11

12 Register very early for the MCAT! Available to take from early January to September every year. Its expensive so study well enough to do well enough the first time. Competitive scores for most medical schools are in the double digits for each section. Scores are scaled from 1 to 15 for each section. Total score is a composite of all section scores added together out of 45. I recommend creating a studying schedule for the exam based around your preparation materials/courses. Exam takers who have 30+ composite scores have put in hours of studying time. MCAT Tips Depending on your study habits/personality there are several options for test preparation. Range from $100 to a few thousand dollars. Online or class room prep courses (Kaplan or Princeton Review). MCAT Prep books (Exam Crackers, Kaplan, Princeton Review, etc.). Practice exams (AAMC, Kaplan, Princeton Review, etc.). I personally recommend AAMC for practice exams. If you are a dedicated, disciplined student who can find 2 to 3 hours a day outside of their pre-med lifestyle than you may not need to have an expensive prep course. Remember this! Although the MCAT is somewhat content heavy, its more concept heavy! 23 Changes for the new MCAT of the future MCAT Information Link For those taking the exam to get into medical school in 2016 MCAT 2015 exam has four test sections: Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems. Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. Exam time is approximately 95 minutes per section which totals to 6 hours and 25 minutes (not yet official) MCAT Official Guide to 2015 MCAT will be available in Designed to prepare students to be good physicians, preparation for medical school, be able to solve new problems, and be cultured. Each section tests: Section 1-2: Biological and Chemical Introductory level biology, organic and inorganic chemistry, and physics concepts. Introductory biochemistry. Cellular/molecular biology. Basic research methods and statistics concepts. Section 3: Psychological Concepts in psychology, sociology, and biology that provide a solid foundation for learning in medical school about the behavioral and sociocultural determinants of health. Introductory psychology and sociology. Section 4: Analysis and Reasoning Comprehension, analysis, and reasoning skills by asking you to critically analyze information provided in reading passages. 24 Wide range of topics. 12

13 Secondary Applications After sending your primary application out through most medical schools will respond by with the secondary application. Secondary application will: Be different for all schools. Arrive in the summer after you ve applied. Comes with an additional fee. Deadline is different for every school (I recommend getting them done ASAP). Usually consists of essays regarding why you fit well with their school, vision, or mission. Again I recommend having others proofread/critique these essays. If you are applying to many schools there could end up being dozens of essays to write. Try not to get burnt out and remember that each essay is important! 25 Interviews Will vary a lot from school to school, but generally Interviews can run from around September to March. After your secondary application is reviewed and the medical school feels you are a qualified applicant they will invite you for an interview via (it may take several months to hear from them). What will the interview be like? This is the chance for medical school to see who you are in person, before meeting you all they have seen is your information, grades, MCAT scores, etc. on paper. There could be a one on one interview, or interviewing with a few to several people on committee (varies from school to school). I recommend doing several practice interviews with different people with a different set of questions. This will help you feel prepared and take away some of the stress of real interviews (they can ask you anything and everything). You may be asked to answer for bad grades, your weaknesses on your application, or you may have a pleasant conversation. Be sure to dress formally

14 Application Cycle April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014December 2014 Have Earliest Send out Interviews. Interviews. Interviews. Interviews. application opens. time reviewed, secondarys materials ready. can be submitted. secondarys. ed. January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 Interviews. Interviews. Interviews/ AcceptanceClass Acceptances. chosen. s. Class chosen. Classes begin. Classes begin. Application Cycle for applying to start Medical School in End 28 14

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