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Keeping the Cynic out of the Clinic: Books to Renew your Love of Medicine

Most people don’t associate being a premed with relaxation. Outsiders imagine your existence as a combination of serious studying, late nights in the lab, and an extensive cornucopia of community service and leadership roles. Let’s be honest: Those impressions are mostly right. Because of that, today I’ve decided to escape my usual role as a professional medical school admissions advisor to shine a bright light on some recommended premed, non-science reading. If you dutifully want to balance your “pleasure” reading with more utilitarian medical school admissions advice, please see my recent Student Doctor Network piece, “Ten Ways to Improve Your Medical School Application.”

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Ten Ways to Improve your Medical School Application

Recently, I rounded out a full decade as a professional admissions consultant, assisting candidates with residency and medical school applications. One thing I’ve noted over the last ten years is that, regrettably, many applicants repeat the same subset of errors – miscalculations that I’d like to help future candidates avoid. Although these are mistakes to sidestep at all cost, I’ve written this piece with a positive bent, so proceed with optimism – and attention – please. Here are ten actionable items you can implement to significantly improve your medical school candidacy:

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Get A Better Letter: An Insider's Guide to Letters of Recommendation

letter of recommendation

By Michelle Finkel, MD Whether you are a candidate for medical school, residency, fellowship, dental … Read more

Difficult Interview Questions: Learning To Hit A Curveball Out Of The Park

difficult interview questions

By Michelle Finkel, MD with CrispyDoc

You put your heart and soul into your compelling, charismatic personal statement; you showcased your accomplishments and drive to succeed in your activities section; and you demonstrated the endorsement of respected faculty allies in your letters of recommendation. Now your hard work has paid off and helped you get a foot in the door: You’ve been invited to interview at your dream medical school or residency program.

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Choosing a Specialty: The Generalist vs. the Early-Committer

Many students arrive at medical school with a bias that their liberal arts education has instilled, namely, that they should survey everything before deciding on their specialty. Before medical school, students matriculate at colleges that pride themselves on providing a diverse exposure to a variety of subjects: Computer science majors experience the canon of Great Literature before pursuing a life of code, and English majors can take “Physics for Poets.”
For a generalist student sampling from the buffet of medicine, it can be jarring to sit in lecture next to a classmate who declares on the first day of school that she intends to become an orthopedist. These early-committers appear to have whittled down their choices from day one. They magically become apprentices to a faculty member in their chosen specialty by the first quarter, have a publication by their first year, and seem to possess an intuitive roadmap for applying to residency that the generalist cannot read.

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Getting Into Medical School and Residency: Wish I Knew It Before I Blew It

We’ve all known or heard of medical school or residency applicants with great credentials who should have had their choice of programs. They had the marks, the winsome personality, and the composure that made their success seem inevitable. But something happened on the way to derail their plans, and, sadly, they never realized their full potential. What happened?
Being a former Harvard Assistant Residency Director and a professional medical admissions counselor has afforded me the opportunity to witness firsthand many cautionary tales of candidates who, inadvertently, were their own worst enemies. Drawing on the wisdom of those who went before, you can mitigate the liability of personal inexperience.

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Emergency Medicine: Can a Sizzling Hot Specialty Burn You to a Crisp?

Emergency physicians experience burnout at a rate of more than three times that of the average doctor and more than anyone else inside or outside of the medical field, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (1). The study surveyed over 7000 physicians in more than two dozen specialties and compared them with almost 3500 working adults in fields outside of medicine. More than 65% of emergency physicians reported burnout, compared to 55% of internists (the next crispiest specialty), and 27.8% of the general population.

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