medical school, amcas application, personal statement do's and dont's
A list of "Don'ts" for Writing Your Medical School Personal Statement
Writing your personal statement for medical school certainly isn’t easy. As an admissions consultant, I’ve watched several students struggle to describe exactly why they decided to pursue a career in medicine. It's not a simple task, given the limited word count and enormous amount of pressure. The key to writing a strong personal statement is reflecting on where this initial desire came from, the steps you took to explore it, and what you learned about yourself and medicine along the way. A good personal statement leaves the reader with a sense of how you became interested in pursuing medicine in the first place, what you did to explore that interest, and how you finally decided that it was the right career for you. Sometimes these things are difficult to put into words. If you're struggling, then be sure to also read:
Even worse then not knowing what to say, what if you write something that will actually hurt your chances of getting in? No one wants their application cycle to end before they even get to the interview phase!
To help you answer these questions, I’ve decided to put together a list of common mistakes that you should avoid while writing your personal statement for medical school. Most of the mistakes I’ll be outlining demonstrate a lack of professionalism or poor self-reflection. All of these errors outlined below can dash your chances of securing an interview, leaving you with a inbox full of rejection letters.
FIVE things you should absolutely avoid doing while writing your personal statement:
Volunteer Experiences Can Make or Break Your Medical School Application
Between maintaining an exceptional GPA, juggling numerous extra-curricular activities and looking for opportunities to engage in meaningful research, the process of applying to medical school can leave one white-knuckled countless times a day. In spite of all this, I truly believe that some of my most valuable learning experiences to date have occurred while volunteering. Volunteering to do the things that I am most passionate about has helped to shape me into the person I am today. In this blog post I will cover some of the most common questions that students ask about volunteering, including how many volunteer hours you need for a strong medical school application, and what every pre-med hopeful should be looking for in their volunteer experiences.
Why is Volunteering Important as a Pre-Medical Student?
As Noreen Kerrigan, Assistant Dean of Albert Einstein’s College of Medicine says, medical schools “want to make sure we’re not accepting brains on stilts. We want people with hearts”. The volunteering section of your medical school application is meant to illustrate that you are more than just book smart, you are a human being with an insurmountable level of selflessness, compassion, and altruism. Volunteering also provides an amazing opportunity to work with people in your community, allowing you to learn valuable skills such as leadership, teamwork and communication. The world of medicine, and medical professional hopefuls, is filled to the brim with high-achieving, motivated, and competitive beings. Being involved in your community is one way to truly set yourself apart, while also learning the skills required to be an excellent physician. Read more…
Applicants Significantly Improve Their Interview & CASPer Scores with BeMo®
Arguably, the most challenging parts of the admissions process for many applicants are the dreaded situational judgement tests CASPer and the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI).
Applicants are generally not provided with detailed instructions on how to prepare in advance by official admissions and test administrators. In fact, a handful of official sources claim that it is not possible to prepare in advance for such tests and going as far as claiming that such tests are "immune to test preparation" and encouraging applicants to "be yourself".
We have already highlighted the myths about such claims in a previous report and we have advised future applicants to aspire to be their "best self" instead as part of their life-long journey of becoming future practicing professionals. We have also argued in this report that situational judgement tests are coachable just like any other tests.
In a new study highlighted here, we provide formal proof that both CASPer and MMI are highly coachable and applicants can significantly improve their scores with appropriate preparation.
MMI and CASPer scores increased 23-27% on average with BeMo preparation programs, respectively.
Applicants’ CASPer scores improved significantly by 10 percentage points going from a baseline average of 53% before preparation to 63% after just 3 preparatory sessions.
On the other hand, applicants’ MMI scores improved significantly by 15 percentage points from a baseline of 66% to 81%.
While CASPer test performance required only 3 coaching sessions to show improvements, MMI performance normally required at least 6 preparatory sessions to show improvement. Read more…
medical school secondary essays, secondary application med school, secondary application medical school, medical school, when do medical schools send out secondary applications, medical school challenge essay, medical school secondary application prompts
Writing Your Secondary Application for Medical School:
Why the Secondary Application:
The main purpose of the secondary medical school application is to determine whether you are a good “fit” with the mission and values of the school you are applying to. Med schools send out secondary essays to further assess the unique characteristics of each applicant that have not been addressed in the AMCAS Work/Activities Section. This post will go over when medical schools send out secondary applications, how long you have to return them, common medical school secondary application prompts and tips for writing strong essays that application committees will love.
When Do Medical Schools Send Out Secondary Applications?
Once the primary application has been received and processed, schools will do one of two things. They will either send out secondary application packages to all students who applied, or they will send out secondary application essays to the students that have passed their preliminary screening process. How long it will take for you to actually receive the essay prompts is dependent upon how long it takes AMCAS to process your application (which can take up to six weeks during the peak application season) as well as how long it takes the school to process your application.
How Long Should I Take to Return My Secondary Essays?
Generally speaking, the answer to this question is the sooner the better. Schools see a prompt submission as an indication of your interest in the program. Two weeks should be the most time you allow to elapse before submitting your essay.
Some of you may be realizing at this point that you’ve applied to 10-20 schools and that each will likely send somewhere between 2-10 (looking at you, UCLA) prompts. That’s a lot of essay writing! This brings us to the next point:
BeMo®, BeMo Academic™, BeMo Consulting™, BeMo Academic Consulting ™, CASPer SIM™, MMI SIM™, & Get In Or Your Money Back® are trademarks of BeMo Academic Consulting Inc. BeMo does not endorse nor affiliate with any universities, colleges, or official test administrators.