My Primary Entry Samples

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Recently people have requested that I upload some of my primary entries. That was a little harder than I imagined, most because I sort of jettisoned the whole primary application from my life after I was accepted (sorry, didn’t know I’d be blogging). Luckily, I’ve found my copy and I’ve copied a few of my entries below. You may notice that I redacted some information for my privacy. Besides that, and typos that may appear from me having to copy and paste it a few times to here, these are some of the primary entries I submitted. Next week, I’ll post some of my secondary essays.

Clubs / Hobbies:

As you can see from my hobbies, or lack thereof, I didn’t have much going besides academic life. I personally enjoyed the world of academia, and I’m still involved, so I had no shame in being upfront about my “lame” hobbies. Like many premeds, I learned to trick myself to like the nerdier side of things. Give me some books, lots of paper and a writing utensil, and then I’m satisfied for life. Though, I do own several guitars I haven’t actually sat down and properly practiced in years, that was my only note worthy hobby. However, since it was something I hadn’t done in a while, I just chose not to bring it up — just in case my interviewer decided to have a guitar solo battle to determine my eligibility. =)

Clubs / Hobbies
Experience Type: Hobbies Most Meaningful Experience: No
Experience Name: Clubs Dates: 09/20XX – 06/20XX Total Hours: 360
Organization Name: Waffles University
City / State / Country: Waffletown / / United States of America
Experience Description: University Tutor Club (Sept.20XX-present): volunteer tutoring to students who otherwise could not be tutored because of Waffle University. Traveled to Stanford University to lead a meeting regarding Organic Chemistry best tutoring practices in 20XX. Also participated in annual budgetary hearings where I successfully petitioned for an increase of funding for tutoring. (30 hours)
XXX Research Scholars Club President (Sept.20XX-20XX): responsible for fundraising, mentoring Upward Bound students interested in the sciences and pre medical degrees. (80 hours)
Human Physiology Research Journal Club (Jan.20XX-Nov.20XX): club focused on discussing and presenting weekly assigned research journal articles. In this group, I was expected to present an hour long presentation at least twice a month to critique the methodology and scientific merits of studies focusing on muscle and neuronal excitement. (250 hours)

Experiences (not most meaningful entry):

To enter this section, I just took my working Curriculum Vitae and resume, and crafted them to fit the AMCAS style/character count. One of my main strategies was not just to list what I did, but try to explain why it’s important that I bothered to mention it at all. I should note that I didn’t use all of my entries, I think I used about 12 of the 15 — I don’t like filling up space if there’s nothing to say.

Experience Type: Research/Lab Most Meaningful Experience: No
Experience Name: Research Assistant Dates: 06/2010 – 12/2010 Total Hours: 60
Contact Name & Title: Awesome McAwesome, Associate Professor
Contact Email: Contact Phone:
Organization Name: Waffle Univ. Biological Department
City / State / Country: Waffletown / CA / United States of America
Experience Description: I conducted a proof of concept sub-study for our lab, to demonstrate that action potentials (APs) in muscle can be measured using the electro-potential sensitive dye Di-8-ANEPPS ((4-{2-[6-(dibutylamino)-2-naphthalenyl]-ethenyl}-1-(3-sulfopropyl)pyridinium). Similar to the mechanism that makes fire flies glow, Di-8-ANEPPS emits a photon of light when electronically excited. After dissecting out the muscle I would then integrate Di-8-ANEPPS into the muscle membrane, where it would excited. To measure the correlation between intensity with the magnitude and density of excitation I selectively blocked ion channels florescence when the muscle fiber was electronically.

One of my most meaningful entries:

This is one of my most meaningful experiences. I choose my most meaningful 3-entries in effort to show balance. One entry was about research, another was on my experience as a volunteer in the correctional system, and the last was about my experience with patients. I felt I had to be strategic about displaying that I could fit into medical schools’ holistic views.

Experience Type: Research/Lab Most Meaningful Experience: Yes
Experience Name: Co-Principal Investigator Dates: 01/20XX – 11/20XX Total Hours: 999
Contact Name & Title: AA Awesome, Associate Professor
Contact Email: Contact Phone:
Organization Name: Waffle Univ. Biological Department
City / State / Country: Waffletown / CA / United States of America
Experience Description: I started the project by performing a comprehensive literature review, and creating a muscle electrophysiology timeline in neonate and adult mice. This timeline was presented to the lead investigator, and used to justify our need for animal experimentation to the Animal Care and Use Committee. From this project I was selected as a XXX Research Scholar, helping to fund my study. This opportunity allowed for hands on learning of physiology. After nearly two years of work, 20-30 hours a week, I was able to present the project at UC Berkeley in 20XX.

Hope this helps!

Agenda and Updates 6/3

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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.

Strawberry cheesecake. Vanilla wafers instead of graham crackers. Strawberries from the farmer's market. Cheated with the syrup, melted jam with water in a sauce pan to take the "jammy" taste out of it.
Strawberry cheesecake. Vanilla wafers instead of graham crackers. Strawberries from the farmer’s market. Cheated with the syrup, melted jam with water in a sauce pan to take the “jammy” taste out of it. Lemon zest and whip creme to be fancy.

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.

Personal Statements

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 Hippocratic Oath
My Hippocratic Oath

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.

Blog Maintenance

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!