Guide to SDN Resources

SDN Resources

When most people think of Student Doctor Network, they think of the SDN Forums, where … Read more

Q&A with Dr. Suzi Schweikert, Ob-Gyn and Medical School Admissions Expert

Suzi schweikert

As a physician, I have worked in private practice, academic medicine, research medicine, and community health. I currently work in a non-profit community clinic, where I treat patients, supervise nurse midwives, and train providers on electronic health records. At Accepted, I advise students applying to medical school, residencies, fellowships, PA, NP, MPH, nursing, midwifery, and other healthcare-affiliated programs. I enjoy working with traditional and nontraditional applicants alike and believe that healthcare is at its best when providers come from a wide variety of backgrounds.

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"Personal Branding" as a Premed: How Knowing Who You Are and What You Stand For Can Help You Get In

personal branding as a premed

I began my first job when I was just 12 years old (don’t worry, I had a work permit from my school!). It was natural for me to want to start earning my own income and save money for eventually purchasing a car. I continued to work through high school and on into college. I worked two jobs to pay for my tuition, housing, and living expenses. It wasn’t always easy, but providing for myself gave me a sense of pride and encouragement that I could achieve whatever I set my mind to. Although I wasn’t fully aware of it at the time, having this sense of determination shaped my personality and defined who I was. Eventually, sharing these experiences with medical school admission committees helped to convey my most desirable qualities as an applicant: responsibility, work ethic, perseverance, and strength.

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How To Stay Afloat As A Premed

Sometimes it feels like prepping for med school really is like bracing yourself against the onslaught of an impending natural disaster. You try not to bend and sway in the gust of premed coursework that threatens to wreck you. Meanwhile, you’re doing your best to dodge the MCAT prep books and recommendation letter requests that are quickly spiraling into a twister in your not-so-distant future.
Sure, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the requirements and tasks necessary to succeed in the medical world. However, with these three tips, you’ll not only learn to stay afloat in the premed madness – you’ll be swimming to success!

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Considering Rejection: Lessons Learned From an ESL Classroom

I was seated on a child-sized plastic chair along a wall in the classroom when the teacher summoned me to the front of the room. She handed me a sheet of stickers and, in broken English that was heavily accented, indicated that my task was to watch the approximately twenty children in front of me as they practiced their English vocabulary and reward those who performed the best. This was several weeks into my six-week adventure of teaching English in China during a gap semester after graduation; this was nine months after beginning my application cycle for medical school that remained an open-ended endeavor yet to discover its fate.

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The Changing Landscape of the Multiple Mini Interview

The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) was first adopted by McMaster University in Ontario, Canada at the Michael G. DeGroote, School of Medicine back in the early 2000s. Initially, MMIs were used strictly during the admissions process for medical school.
For starters, depending on the specific program where you interview, your MMI circuit will likely consist of 6 to 12 stations and may include rest stations. There will be as many participants in your interview circuit as there are stations. The instructions for each station are typically posted directly outside of each room and you are given up to two minutes to carefully read the prompt prior to entering the room. At the end of the two minutes, a bell will sound and this is your cue to enter the room. Typically, a bell ringer type method is used to keep track of the time and you will be allocated six to eight minutes for each station before moving on to the next station.

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Maximizing Your Predental Experience

Being a dentist is a lifelong dream for many people. Yet few are able to make this dream a reality. Year by year, the application pool for dental schools has become more competitive, and selection committees have a more difficult time choosing the best candidates. As the number of applicants increase, it has become more vital to stand out from among other applicants. Strategically planning your undergraduate years can significantly increase your chances of acceptance at your dream dental school. Looking back at my experience, this is the advice I would give a friend to maximize the experience and overall results to yield the best outcome.

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Time Away From Formal Academics Can Enhance Application

take gap year

Whether or not a student should take a “gap year” (or two) often comes up during our conversations with applicants to medical school. Based on MedEdits’ experience working with students, we find that gap years are becoming increasingly common and that this extra time away from formal academics can enhance a student’s candidacy.

The Association of American Medical College’s (AAMC) 2016 Matriculating Student Questionnaire (MSQ) reports that the age of matriculants continues to rise, with 60.6% reporting that more than a year had passed since graduating from college, up from 57.9% in the 2014 MSQ. Matriculation data from colleges of osteopathic medicine show that the average age at matriculation in both 2015 and 2016 was 24.

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Preparing to Apply to Medical School

Wondering if a career as a doctor would be a good fit for you? Already decided you want to apply to medical school, but not sure where to start? In order to help premedical students understand what is involved in applying to medical school, Student Doctor Network has partnered with Open Osmosis to create a video on “Preparing to Apply to Medical School.” Learn what to consider when deciding whether medical school is the right path for you, find out what you will need for your application, and hear what steps you’ll need to take before starting the application process. The video also takes a look at joint degree options, different curricula, and school environments to help you find the best fit. 

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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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New Student Success Stories: How I Prepared for the MCAT Exam

Studying for the MCAT exam can be daunting, and chances are, you’ve typed “How do I study for the MCAT exam?” or “What’s the best way to prepare for the MCAT exam?” into your search engine. You may have even wondered how long you should spend studying.
Whether you are about to begin studying or are currently in the process, it’s likely you are still looking for guidance about where to start or where to find the best review strategy, or whether you are on the right track with your preparation. To find these answers, you may have searched the web, skimmed online forums, and consulted with friends or family, likely uncovering hundreds of different results, advice, and opinions that can leave your head spinning.

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4 New Year’s Resolutions for Pre-Medical Students

Being a pre-medical student means committing to a years-long process aimed at ultimately gaining admission to medical school. No matter how many years away you may currently be from applying, starting the new year with a resolution or two that is geared toward helping you achieve your goal of becoming a physician is a great way of ensure that you are on track. Whether you vow to finally enroll in that EMT class, or to broaden your academic horizons by taking an elective outside your major, find time to build yourself as an applicant while also maintaining a life outside of your pre-medical activities. Consider taking on one or more of the below resolutions, or craft your own to fit your academic and personal needs.

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Advice from 20+ interviews: Part 2

Don’t miss Part I of this article, which covered how to prepare before the interview and general interview advice.
COMMON INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Tell me about yourself
You should have prepared for this! Like I said, have your key bullets/road map ready. Try to keep it around 5 minutes too. This question usually comes up on closed file interviews (where they don’t look at your file beforehand). You may want to cover a bit of question 2 (below) if you have time, since it may not get asked separately. I think it’s always best to include things beyond the typical premed experiences. Talk about your cultural background, travels, cool hobbies, non-medically related endeavors, odd jobs… They’ve always loved those things most. Mention the relevant premed stuff too, but don’t forget about what I mentioned in the previous sentence. Stand out as a person, not a premed machine!

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Advice from 20+ interviews: Part 1

interviews

I did 21 interviews. Don’t ask how much it cost because I don’t enjoy thinking about it! Basically, it was roughly the “Top 25” schools if you listen to US News. Since I gained a lot of experience, figured out what works, and had quite a bit of success (with the interviews themselves, not just decisions), I thought I would share what I learned with all of you who want to prepare for interviews.

The Key: Many applicants view interviews the wrong way, in my opinion. To me, it was my time to take control of the conversation and put out exactly the impression that I wanted them to get. You have the spotlight and power to present yourself and your achievements/activities in whatever light you choose. Your confidence and charisma are your greatest assets, and you can use them to make almost anything seem incredible. You shouldn’t be scared – you should be excited, since this is one of the few times you really get to control this process!

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Is a Post-Bacc Program Right for Me? Seven Benefits to Consider

It’s important to remember that as you prepare for and apply to medical school, there isn’t one set path you must take. It’s okay if your path takes different twists and turns along the way. Increasingly, applicants are taking gap years, sometimes called bridge years, between graduating from college and applying to medical school in order to gain more medically-related experience, pay down educational debt, or prepare for the MCAT exam.

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How to Balance MCAT Prep with School or Work

In an ideal world, the months before an MCAT test date would be exclusively devoted to preparing for the exam. Prospective medical students would wake each morning without any obligations outside of studying. Unfortunately, the reality for most students is that MCAT prep does not occur in a vacuum separate from other responsibilities. Instead, MCAT review occurs in the context of the typically busy life of a pre-med—taking science courses, conducting research, volunteering, and applying to medical school. Finding time to adequately prepare for your MCAT test date can be challenging, but with careful planning and the tips listed here, you can squeeze MCAT prep into your schedule.

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