Did you know that graduate school applicants creating their first CV often get it wrong? It's way too detailed, not detailed enough, the formatting is incorrect or the content is irrelevant. In this post I’m going to answer some of the most common questions regarding CVs, provide you with some tips on how to make yours stand out, discuss common mistakes and give you a sample CV.
What is the difference between a CV and a resume? This has to be the most popular question that students ask us and it's always a good idea to think of one versus the other, meaning no, they're not the same. A resume is a short, concise 1 to 2-page document that summarizes your education and credentials, employment history and other accomplishments or skills. Resumes are often used in the professional field and are designed to give potential employers a “snapshot” into your relevant background.
A CV, on the other hand, is often used in the academic field as it encapsulates your education and academic background. There are unique sections that allow you to really showcase your experiences and achievements which may include teaching, research, awards and publications. As it's a lot more detailed than a resume, CVs often extend past the two-page mark, depending on the level of experience you have. However, for graduate school applications, each school will have specific requirements so as always, make sure you follow the instructions.
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Not all graduate programs require an interview, but – increasingly – this is becoming more common. If you’re applying to a graduate program, particularly (though not exclusively) to a doctoral program, you may face an interview, and you need to be prepared for the kinds of questions you may be asked. Sometimes, seemingly innocuous questions – questions that seem simple, and that you could answer “off the cuff” – have a deeper meaning behind them. While you should feel comfortable enough to speak in a collegial way with your interviewer(s), you still need to be attentive to the fact that you are being evaluated at all times. With that said, bear in mind that making it to the interview stage for a graduate program means that they’re likely looking for reasons to keep you, rather than reasons to exclude you. Your application materials and statement of purpose have piqued the review committee’s attention, and now, they want to see if you’re as awesome as you seem on paper – that is, if you’re both someone with promising ideas and someone they’ll be interested in bringing into their departmental community. Having an idea of what to expect will allow you to put your best self forward on interview day.
Here are some of the most common and some of the most difficult or tricky questions candidates often face in interviews. For the more common questions, we’ll provide you some tips or pointers to help you think carefully about your own responses. These are the kinds of questions you likely already have in mind, and to which you have hopefully given some thought already. For those more difficult questions, we’ll provide some discussion about the question and an expert response, so that you have the tools you need to construct your own unique responses.
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Let's face it; each year getting into medical school is proving to be more difficult. What are you supposed to do when becoming a physician seems so close, yet so far away? How do you even get into medical school? You already need awesome grades, MCAT scores, and extracurriculars. Now you might be thinking you need another degree altogether!! Before you freak out and start searchingonline premed forums like premed101 (note: spare yourself the pain, don't do it!) let BeMo help you understand graduate school and medical school acceptance. So do you really need a graduate degree to get into medical school? Let's find out.
Why are you thinking of going to graduate school?
First things first, ask yourself why grad school. Do you want to pursue something specific? Are you having doubts about medicine? Are you unsure of aMaster's or Ph.D.route? How about the MD-PhD program? Are you afraid you won’t get in? Why do you want to be a doctor? Have you been wondering "How hard is it to get into medical school?" and wondered whether a graduate degree might help your chances? Whatever the reason, answer that question. Grad school isn't something to be taken lightly. It's challenging and it comes with a hefty price tag. The decision to enter grad school takes time and should not be thought of as a backup plan to medicine. It is still an excellent idea if you are passionate about a discipline or you want to further your education. If you are worried your application is weak, examine what those underlying factors first. Maybe you need more clinical experience. Shadowing a physician would be a better step in the right direction. Are you worried about your grades? Graduate school could help show the admissions committee that you can handle the advanced coursework. Keep in mind that each committee will evaluate your graduate GPA differently. Some might average it or they may even replace your undergrad GPA. Again remember, that is specific to each school so bear that in mind.
Want to make your med school application stand out?
How does a graduate degree help your chances of medical school acceptance?
Many future and current medical school applicants are faced with the question of whether or not they “need” a graduate degree (Master’s or Ph.D.) to gain successful admission into medical school.
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The world of graduate studies is one that greatly differs from what you experienced in your undergraduate years. It is a new world of exploration, enhanced critical thinking, understanding, collaboration with supervisors and mentors, and the opportunity to develop a new lens or perspective on various facets of life within and beyond academia.
To say what degree may be best for you is nearly an impossible task because what is “right” for you will vary depending on your individual goals, skills, and perseverance. With that said, this blog is not meant to persuade you one way or the other, it is meant to highlight what both degrees can offer you, and what is involved in earning that degree. In the end, you will need to reflect on your goals (personally and career wise) to better understand what is “right” for you. What you get out of your degree depends on your personal goals, activities, teaching engagements, research positions, internships, or other work experiences that you chose to engage in while going through your studies.
Tip#1: Don’t assume that each school has the same application process.
Do your research and have a strong understanding of the requirements for each school so that you are not surprised about any requirements when submitting your application.
Tip#2: Know all the deadlines.
Knowing all of the application deadlines is important because some schools will have earlier deadlines than others, and moreover, if you want to be considered for funding packages, schools may have different application deadlines for funding eligibility. (Expert tip: create an Excel spreadsheet with the schools you want to apply to, and their application deadlines.)
Tip#3: Identify your preferred research topic.
Once you have an idea about what you want to research, start reading the literature in the field to gain a sense of the urgency of the research, what has already been done, and what gaps need to be filled to add to the research literature. Although it is generally not required for you to be extremely well-versed in the literature prior to beginning your studies, being versed will give you an advantage when writing your admission applications, speaking with potential supervisors, and when the time comes, having to write your research proposal during the graduate program. The more informed you are, the better.
tags: graduate school, graduate school application tips
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