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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Non-Academic Ideas to Boost Your Med School Chances

non-academic ideas

At this point, you are probably already aware of how competitive medical school admissions are. For instance, you may already know that the most competitive med schools boast acceptance rates of nearly 3%—that’s almost half the acceptance rate of Harvard College. Pretty dire, right?

The truth, however, is that while medical school admissions are and will continue to be incredibly competitive, there are a number of steps you can take throughout college to distinguish yourself from the enormous pool of hyper-qualified candidates. Along with doing the typical extracurricular activities for med school like lab research, teaching experience, etc. the best candidates think outside of the box to make their extracurriculars stand out.

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Confessions of a Former Mediocre Premed Student

premed

By Yoo Jung Kim, MD Candidate, Stanford University

Many students start college gung-ho about going into medicine, and many end up falling short of their goals. Their reasons are varied. Some discover new careers that better appeal to their interests; others realize that they can’t stomach the long commitment required in medicine. However, the saddest group of people are those who come to believe that they aren’t cut out for becoming a physician because of their performance in science courses. I was very close in becoming one of them.

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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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Location, Location, Location! Should You Apply In-State or Out-of-State? 

The AAMC Premed Team recently conducted a few twitter polls which asked premeds to share what you are looking for in a medical school. We received hundreds of responses, and while a school’s mission statement and scholarship opportunities were both important influences, the results pointed to one factor above all others: location!

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Checking the Boxes: Should You Give Up Your Job To Do Research?

Sometimes the requirements aren’t required.

Annie wrote in to [email protected] to ask Kaci McCleary, Erik Kneller, Gabriel Conley, and Marissa Evers if she should give up her 10-year job as a radiology tech so she’d have time to do research before applying to medical school. As is often the case with these kinds of questions, the answer is no! But maybe yes. In some cases.

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4 Ways to Address a Low MCAT Score on Your AMCAS Application

low MCAT score

Overcoming a low MCAT score on your AMCAS application can feel daunting. Can they really judge my whole application by my performance on one 8 hour block of life!!? Sadly, most schools do put extensive emphasis on MCAT scores. However, a low score is not the end of the world if you are within the range of applicants to a particular school. Ask yourself: What do medical schools look for? The answer is more dynamic than just a good MCAT score…

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4 Things I Wish I’d Known About the MCAT

taking the mcat

Walking out of the test center after I had completed the MCAT was a surreal experience. Somehow, the far-off test date for which I had been preparing for months had not only arrived, but had already passed. I was suddenly and thankfully in possession of all of the components of a complete medical school application, as an MCAT score was the last blank space to fill on my impending AMCAS application.

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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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Four Tips for Completing Your AMCAS Application

amcas application

The 2018 AMCAS application cycle has started! If you plan to apply to attend medical school starting in Fall 2018, the application is now open for you to begin working through the nine different sections of the application. While the application is straightforward, it can be easy to make simple mistakes that can delay the verification process. To help you fill out an application that may be processed faster, we asked for tips from the AMCAS Verifications Team, as they review and process thousands of AMCAS applications each year. The Verification Team provided us with some important tips to help you avoid making mistakes and ensure your application gets successfully verified.

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Conquer the Obstacle Course of Medical School By Building Multiple Strengths

Everyone has this perfect image of how fun medical school is when they enter. You daydream about working with patients and saving lives from your first year, but the reality is, medical school is a giant obstacle race. Many people say that it is a marathon, but I do not think that this is accurate. A marathon requires you to be a good runner. Marathon training is gruesome and tiring, but the focus is on increasing your mileage until you feel confident that you can achieve the 26.2 miles on race day. Obstacle race training, on the other hand, is a little more dynamic. You must train yourself to be able to handle the long mileage of running the course, but you also have to develop your body and mind to conquer obstacles requiring strength, agility, strategy, and overall grit. In my drawn-out analogy here, obstacle race training is the “preparing to apply for medical school” stage and the actual application and interview seasonCon is the beginning of your long obstacle race that ends with a medical degree. I will come back to these two points, but first I would like to elaborate on why medical school is an obstacle race.

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Finding Clinical Opportunities: Show Up, Ask, and Follow Through!

I was recently asked to give advice on finding clinical opportunities. Here’s the short version: show up, ask, and follow through! This is an exciting and supportive profession you are entering. Physicians not only remember what it feels like to be in your shoes but they are eager to support you. Part of our responsibility in medicine is to educate and mentor the next generation. This applies to everyone from a first-year medical student all the way to the most seasoned attending.  I’ve had opportunities to tutor my classmates, write for Elsevier, deliver a heart from its pericardium, coordinate a helicopter landing and practice my old fashioned medical skills on the 7th continent all because I have shown up, asked for opportunities, and followed through when given the chance. Here are a few notes on how I approach gaining these clinical opportunities.

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