Happy Friday the 13th!
My first medical school interview actually fell on Friday the 13th last year. The administration gave us credit for just showing up that day, jokingly asserting that having the bravado to show up that day alone was merit for acceptance. Anyways, here are the blog updates coming up.
Interviews on Featured on Blog
– Accepted medical student interview – Stanford University incoming M1
The last interview was received better then I could have expected. Last time, I asked for questions on Twitter and we sure received them — thanks! I should also note that the Johns Hopkins student last time was so excited by your questions that she’s considering opening a blog, I’m trying to coax her as much as possible. So, since that went well, and premeds said it was helpful, I’m going to do another interview with a friend who just matriculated into Stanford School of Medicine. Again, if you have any questions you’d like to direct to them (or me) feel free to either Tweet me, email me, or leave a comment. I do clean up the questions, and merge similar ones together, so don’t worry about if you’re asking a redundant question or if your question “makes sense” — just ask it, if I need to follow up with you I will. This interviewee will be a nontraditional, with research experience, and was both accepted into programs and wait-listed — so she’ll be able to really answer a large diversity of questions.
– Accepted medical student(s) — team behind Premed Tracker
Where was this application when I was applying — seriously? What happens to premeds after you put them through hellacious application process so that they may be accepted? Well, some of us enact our revenge by helping other premeds, this group did just that. I’m also writing a review on this application, so expect some type of combination of review/interview. After this review, I hope you’ll understand why I add I’m adding it to the list of premed must have items:
Premed (from freshman to ultra senior)
– Premed Tracker!
Primary Application / Secondary / Interviews
– MSAR (of your application year, they free version and the paid version can not be compared)
– Medical School Admission Guide by Suzanne Miller MD (has primary, secondary, personal statement examples, and much more + cheap!)
– Interview with ProMEDeus academic support and services for matriculating and current medical students.
Getting into medical school is awesome, but it by no means translates to “easy street” once accepted. After being accepted, the first thing on your mind will be, “So, how exactly will I pay for this again?”. If you check the MSAR, you’ll see that not all students receive financial aid, and most schools don’t guarantee you’ll receive financial aid (though, it’s tacitly assumed by the community). However, as we slowly drift back into the Dicksonian “money means virtue” and “debtors prison” age, some students will find that after supposedly beating financial adversity to get into medical they’re just in the same po’folk boat they were in to begin with — but this time, people just tell us “Not to worry about it, you’re going to be a doctor”. This is quite easy to say, when it’s not you thinking of the prospects of another 4+ years of ramen noodle nights. In the academic front, not everyone flies through medical school with flying colors. In fact, it’s pretty normal for students to have some type of tumble along the way, it’s medical school it’s supposed to be hard. This is where services like ProMEDeus come in, they offer advising and services to medical students (incoming as well) who are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Accepting Secondary Entry Samples 6/17/14
Officially, I have closed my personal statement critique window. I actually do enjoy doing it, however, I don’t want my review speed to be the reason why you delay your application — this is why I closed the submit date for these on May 20th. I only have a few people working on their final draft, and a few emergency submits. However, there’s no premed left behind here, if you have special circumstances and really need a critique let me know. Though, it takes about 4 business days for me to return it to you. I think I’ve figured out several ways to keep this process sustainable, so I’m really hoping I’ll be able to read personal statements next year as well.
If you’re on track with me, then you’re probably ready for your secondary feedback. I actually had little to no intentions of doing this as well, but people have brought it up — so why not? I will probably post something this weekend or Monday morning regarding the format of submissions and perhaps tips around that time as well. There’s going to be a lot of essays for me to go through, so I won’t be as nit-picky about your writing as I was during the personal statements, but you’ll receive feedback. I’m not sure when this window will close, I’ll post that after I have an idea of how my work load will be. It will be first come first serve, once I feel taking on more secondary reviews will decrease the quality of my reviews I will close the review window — though there will be warning.
Expansion of New Section
One of a medstudents/doctors job is to stay abreast in the latest issues concerning our field. So, I’ll be doing some work primarily in July, to expand a section on more topics such as: politics/policy and medicine, world and national medicine issues. And even occasionally an opinion piece or two. Though, when something is over my head, I’ll probably try to pull in a resident expert in the matter. It’s really easy to focus on just the BCPM part of getting into medical school, but actually as a physician you’re expected to be a patient advocate, advocates should stay informed so that they can inform others.
Well, thanks for keeping up with my blog!
My own updates. Admittedly, my life is rather peaceful, at least in contrast to dedicated premeds and busy medical students right now. I’m in that blissful period where I’m a medical student with no real responsibilities. So, I’ve spent my free time 1) baking desserts (see picture below), 2) working 3) mastering the art of laziness. Hopefully, you too next year will be able to lounge around during this period as well.
Focusing on Secondary and Interview Tips for You Soon!
People have been asking me about secondary applications, and rightly so. The secondary application sneaks up earlier than you’d expect; actually, right after you submit your primary application you’ve technically entered the secondary application phase in a sense. As soon as primary is verified and the date to release the AMCAS has come you’ll suddenly be inundated with secondary applications — you may receive a secondary application every few days. So, you really want to be up on your secondary game. Interviews blend into secondaries sometimes, as in you may even receive a secondary late while you’re interviewing already (interviews can go from September to March/April of the next calender year depending on the program). Schools pretty much follow their own deadlines’ except for a few gentlemen’s agreement concerning the first date that they start handing out acceptances, and if you were offered multiple acceptances your final decision on where you’ll be attending.
Since there are so many different deadlines, and the secondary is not centralized like the primary, I highly suggest you pick up the MSAR because it provides a lot information including deadlines. At first, I started making my own Excel file while going to each schools’ site myself, but I abandoned that for the MSAR as it was more efficient and a lot of times more accurate. Except for the school that admits you, the money from the MSAR is the most bang for your buck as an applicant. The MSAR also comes in handy when it comes time to prep for interviews, incredibly useful.
I put out a call for personal statements several weeks ago. I figured I’d receive maybe one or two statements, because last year when I put out the same offer I got about that. Fortunately, those people aren’t lobbing tomatoes at me right now because they were accepted — by their own hard work mind you. Though, within a few weeks, I received about 30 personal statements. Since I offer three revision critiques (including the first submission) this has resulted in me reading about 70 papers as some people are onto the second or third revisions — some just dropped out of the race entirely, I don’t take this personally at all. I’m on schedule to complete those who have already submitted by the submission date; I took a few after the date if people gave me a really good story or followed on Twitter. I’ll write up what I learned about this last session of revisions later. Next year, I’ll need to figure out a way to make it more sustainable, because I’ll be sort of busy around this time next year. I may do a lottery system to keep the numbers at a certain limit I can personally handle while keeping it free and fair.
My Own Stuff
Just finished the matriculating students survey given out by the AAMC. At the end of the survey, there’s a spot to add a comments about the survey itself. I suggested they add two more questions to the survey:
1. Did you qualify for the Financial Assistance Program?
2. On a scale of 1 – 5, how much financial difficulty did you encounter during the application period: primary, secondary, interviews.
I thought they should add these questions because they should also capture the population who does not quality for assistance, and yet will not have a family either willing or able to assist with application fees. It’s tacitly assumed by the AAMC that you’ll receive help from your family while applying, or at least it seems so, because when you’re applying regardless of your age or independence status your parent (guardian) information gets included when you file for financial assistance. And, given the fact that the middle class has been shrinking since early the early 2000’s in the US, it’s sort of silly to expect an average family to contribute — besides the “moral” obligation to help. I know one premed, her family thinks she’s “arrogant” because she spends so much time studying when she should be just ‘getting a real job’– do you expect her parents to fling out the cash to help for applications? For a process that emphasizes students are independent and not having helicopter parents dictating their physician ‘dreams’, there show is a lot of focus put on parents at the front end of the application financially. I paid for my application out of pocket, so I can say, I truly invested (gambled) and it looks like it’s going to work out. But, for a lot of people, it doesn’t work out like a fairy tell. So, I felt these questions needed to be added so we shouldn’t ignore this population, and only focus on success of those who could afford to play the game. But, I know they’re doing their best, with the metrics they’re working with.
Getting Ready for the Move to Boston!
I going to be sending in the measurements for my white coat this week! I just filled out my advisor form several days ago. I also need to call Boston University to leave a recording on my name, so they can say it correctly during the white coat ceremony. My lease is also signed for my place in Boston, at least on my part. My room mate will be a fellow M1, but from Harvard Medical School. We’re mutually excited about living together as medical students, but from different colleges. Their partner living in another city is also a medical student, though I think perhaps an M2. They’re also from California originally, but have lived out in Boston for a few years — so they can show me the ropes. I had a tough time finding a place before that. Finding housing is pretty dicey in Boston, there’s a lot of opportunities but you have to act quick to get a good deal. Before this place, I reached out to a few places; I almost had a lease signed but the deal fell through. And I was fortunate for that, this place is a little more expensive but the neighborhood is better and I have a room mate I already get along with. I’ll be moving out to Boston on July 30th, just bought the ticket this weekend (~$250 one-way). Oh yes, one more thing, I received my a draft of my Hippocratic Oath I’ll be reading:
My school starts on August 4th, I’ll post pictures!
Finally, I’ve also had some success. Boston University called me up and offered me a better package than the one before. I still need to cover some things with more loans, but it became lot more realistic. Thanks Boston University, we’re like totally BFFs now.
It’s time for me to start editing my work. Somehow, I’ve amassed almost 90 articles since October 2013, when this blog started from a spin off of my other blog because this one got all science-y. So, I’ll be checking links, adding links, updating stuff, and just an overall quality check. I also have to go through the comments and feedback sections to reply to people individually and upload their comments. Sorry that I don’t automatically allow an upload, most of the comments are actually spam, so it’d fill up the page with Viagra pill adds. Anyways, I’ll break out the hard hat after I’m done returning everyone’s personal statement.
Well, that’s it for now, back to baking…oh, and critiquing personal statements!
I appreciate all of my readers, the loyal, the new and the re-curious.
Why Do I Blog at All?
My friend recently asked me why do I blog at all, and if so why put so much effort into it without financial reward. I can see what they’re saying, after all time is money as they say, and my time is dwindling as I’ve been drafted for medical school duty. However, I remember as a kid I wanted to travel the world, and meet all sorts of people and share ideas with them. I guess, for now, this blog is the closest I’ll ever get to that. Thanks for reading, commenting, sending me messages, and just plain carrying-on.
Have a topic you’d like for me to address? Just message me like others have already, thanks again!
Also, if you’d like the blog to take a certain detour, go ahead and vote — or don’t, and just enjoy the ride.