6 Tips for Med School Interviews

The interview is one of the most important steps in the medical school application process. It’s your chance to get to know the medical school in person while demonstrating good communication skills, professionalism, maturity, and your passion for medicine.
Below are six tips to help you make a good impression:

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Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Pre-Health Advisor

If you’re interested in a career in medicine, one of the most important and helpful people will be your college’s pre-health advisor. There’s a lot of planning and preparation to do before you’ll be ready to apply to medical school, so it’s a good idea to meet with your advisor early. Make an appointment or go to drop-in hours at least once a semester to keep in touch about your classes and activities. When your advisor knows you well, they can help you find opportunities relevant to your interests and strategize about when and where to apply.
Here are some important things to ask about when you meet:

1. What classes should I take and when? 
Your advisor can help you create a plan for which pre-requisite classes you should take and how you should schedule them. This will help you develop a timeline for when you’ll be ready to take the MCAT® Exam and apply to medical school. Different medical schools have different requirements, so your advisor can help you determine if you’ll need a post-baccalaureate or other program to help meet coursework requirements.

2. Are there any campus pre-med clubs, email lists, or workshops? 
Many colleges have student run pre-med clubs that are a great way to make friends, form study groups, learn about local opportunities, and stay motivated. Your advisor may also send out information through an email list or social media and may hold workshops on various pre-med topics.

3. Does our school have a specific process for writing Committee Letters or Letters of Evaluation? 
One of the most important and influential components of your application is the Committee Letter or Letters of Evaluation that you’ll receive from faculty and staff members at your college. The Committee Letter is a document or collection of letters written on your behalf to tell medical schools about you, your commitment to medicine, and your strengths. It’s important to know your school’s procedure so that you can begin early and have your letters sent in on time. Some medical schools will not consider your application complete until they have this letter.

4. Do you know of any medically-related opportunities in the community that will help me get experience? 
Some colleges have relationships with local hospitals, clinics or other community-based centers that may allow you opportunities to shadow, volunteer, or work in a lab. There may also be a connection with a local medical school, or another organization, that has a pre-med summer or pipeline program. Your advisor will likely know about many of these and be able to help you decide which might be right for you. They’ll also be able to steer you away from places where other students may have had negative experiences. Be sure to check with them each semester as opportunities may come available at different times of the year.

5. Do you think I should take a gap year before starting medical school? 
More and more students are taking a year or more in between undergrad and medical school for various reasons. Last year, more than 50% of accepted applicants had one or more years between graduating college and applying to medical school. Your advisor can help you decide what’s best for you and discuss what opportunities might make you a more competitive applicant.  
Whether you’re just starting to think about medicine or you’ve already applied, your advisor can be a great resource throughout the process. For more tips, see AAMC’s Partnering with your Advisor.

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Graduation Day Thoughts on Student Debt

Memorial Day and Mother’s Day are May’s official holidays, but for millions, graduation day is May’s biggest celebration—as momentous as a wedding or birth. Graduation creates memories of a proud family gathering, celebrations with classmates, and the inspiring message from a charismatic commencement speaker.
I’ve had my share of graduations—high school, college at Cornell University, medical school at GW, grad school at Hopkins. Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) President Jordan Cohen addressed my medical school graduation. I had no idea who he was. A decade later, I went to work for him, and the AAMC has been my professional home ever since.

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Picking the Right Medical School Program

medical school rankings

There’s a popular phrase, “If you’ve seen one medical school… you’ve seen one medical school.” Every school is completely different, so it’s a good idea to thoroughly research what programs would be best for you before you start the application process.
What are you looking for?

Source: The Official Guide to Medical School Admissions, AAMC 2015
Source: The Official Guide to Medical School Admissions, AAMC 2015

When you’re deciding which medical schools to apply to, consider some of the same factors you weighed when applying to college: Are you looking for a public or private university? Do you want to attend school in your home state or out-of-state? You may also narrow your choices by considering the specialties offered or even which clubs and organizations are available to med students.

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What to know before applying to medical school with AMCAS

The 2016 American Medical Colleges Application System (AMCAS) application season opens on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. Here are some things to know before starting your application.
1. See if you are eligible for the Fee Assistance Program now.
The AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program assists those who would otherwise be unable to afford to apply to medical school with the AMCAS application. If you are approved for fee assistance, your AMCAS fees for up to 15 medical school designations will be waived. However, in order to take advantage of this benefit, you must apply and be approved for fee assistance before you submit your AMCAS application. Fee Assistance approval can take three weeks, so start this process now.

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Should You Retake the MCAT? A Guide to Evaluating Your Score

Deciding to complete the MCAT for a second time is a decision that can have a significant impact on your chances of being admitted to medical school. It is vital that you correctly assess your first MCAT score to determine if retaking the MCAT is best for you. As a general rule of thumb, if your result is five or more points below your goal score, you should consider sitting for the exam again. However, there are also several factors to examine before solidifying your decision.

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Making the Transition to Medical School

You’ve taken the MCAT exam, applied to medical school, received an acceptance (or two!), and finally decided which school you are going to attend. Now it’s time to prepare to start medical school.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has a few tips to help make the process of transitioning to medical school a little smoother:

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9 Things to Do Before Applying to Medical School

Think about including these steps in your path to medical school:
1. Work or volunteer in the medical field. Working or volunteering in a health care-related environment or organization will not only enhance your medical school application, it will benefit you. It’s a chance to see if you enjoy working in the health or medical field, network with like-minded peers, take on increased responsibility and leadership roles, and build your resume.
Consider internships and research opportunities at health care facilities or research institutions in your local community. Shadowing a doctor or health professional is another good way to find out if a career in medicine is right for you. Research and leadership positions on campus are also a great way to build your application and test out this career path.
Get Medical Experience

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Post Undergrad: Getting Ready for Medical School or a Gap Year

For many students interested in a career in medicine, the period after the final year of undergraduate education represents a time of transition to medical school or to furthering their experiences and their education in preparation for applying to medical school. This month’s article from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) focuses on those two pathways.

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MCAT® Exam Registration: 10 Tips from the Experts

In just a few short weeks, registration for the June 2014 through January 2015 MCAT exam dates will open. We understand that registration can seem overwhelming! While we can’t promise that you won’t experience any wait time during registration, we do have some tips to help you BEFORE you even login to the registration system to make things a little easier and quicker.

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