A Scribe Case Study: Alyssa Kettler

When did you first hear about medical scribes?
I first heard the term ‘medical scribe’ from a friend of my mother, a nurse at Fairview Hospice. She knew that I was looking for meaningful work to undertake before pursuing medical school and suggested I explore scribe opportunities. After extensive online research, I began scribe training with Elite Medical Scribes.

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Five Mistakes to Avoid in Medical School Interviews

medical school interviews

We all know medical school interviews are important. But did you know, according to a survey of medical school admissions committees conducted by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), interviews are the most important factor used to decide which applicants gain acceptance (Dunleavy DM, et al. Medical School Admissions: More than Grades and Test Scores. AIB. 11 (6), 2011)? The most important factor! Fortunately, interview techniques can be learned and, when practiced, improved. This article addresses the five biggest mistakes I have seen pre-meds make regarding interviews during my over 10+ years as a Harvard pre-med tutor and admissions consultant.

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A Guide to a Successful Gap Year

gap year

It wasn’t so very long ago that the typical medical student went straight from high school to a premedical program and then onto medical schools itself. This traditional pathway, however, is not so traditional anymore. The question of a gap year is one which comes up more and more frequently nowadays–and it is also one which can cause aspiring medical students a lot of anxiety as they make the decision about whether to take time off from academia when the undergraduate work is finished.

This article covers different aspects of the gap year, including the reasons why students take it, the fact that is it actually becoming more popular among pre-med students and different opportunities that students can take advantage of during this year off.

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Time to Start Thinking About Your Medical School Application

If you are planning to start medical school for the 2017 Fall Semester, it’s already time to start thinking about your application!
You will apply using the American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS®) for your medical school applications – the 2017 application cycle opens in early May. AMCAS is the primary application method used by most US medical schools. For you, this means that you’ll submit only one online application, regardless of the number of medical schools you choose to apply to.
We’ve highlighted tips and resources to help you begin to prepare for completing your application whether you are applying for this upcoming cycle or sometime down the road.

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A Compilation of Essential SDN Wisdom

I wanted to begin 2016 with a positive start by organizing all essential tips and advice from respected members and adcoms on SDN into a valuable collection. Much of the essential advice is overshadowed by the endless volatility and stress flowing through in these forums, so a master thread is necessary to remind us of our primary objective: to get into medical school. The thread will be regularly updated with new advice and tips.
Before exploring the compilation, please read the AMCAS Instruction Manual to be familiar with the application process (and essentially a required reading when you actually begin to apply). The guide has everything you need to know, such as whether courses are classified as science/non-science, what institutional actions you should report, how the schools view your grades, MCATs, essays etc., and a lot of other important information.

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20 Questions: Jeffrey M. Whitaker, DPM, FACFAS

Dr. Jeffrey Whitaker knew at a very young age that he wanted to be a doctor, though his specialty remained uncertain until he discovered podiatric medicine as an undergraduate pre-med student. Having graduated Magna Cum Laude with his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from California State University-Long Beach, he later completed a second Bachelor in Cell and Molecular Biology with San Francisco State University, followed by the successful completion of his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree from the California College of Podiatric Medicine, which is now Samuel Merritt University. Dr. Whitaker graduated from the DPM program with Honors, ranking 4th in his class, and completed his three-year foot and ankle surgery residency with Western Pennsylvania Hospital, in Pittsburgh.

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Five Simple Tips for a Better Personal Statement

The personal statement is, for many, one of the most dreaded aspects of the medical school application. It can be quite intimidating to be given a blank space so large, with the expectation that you will use it to answer a simple yet complex question: “Why do you want to go to medical school?” This question can be difficult to answer in the form of a personal statement because it is so open-ended; even students who “know” the answer for themselves may feel worried that they are not structuring the personal statement correctly, or are not saying everything that they feel admissions committees want to see. There is also the issue of deficiencies or weaknesses elsewhere in the application; the personal statement is supposed to be a platform for addressing these, but many students struggle to write about these openly and tie this into the rest of the personal statement.

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5 Things You Should Know About Secondary Applications

Unlike other graduate school admissions processes, where there is typically only one round of applications, medical schools often have a primary application and a secondary application. The secondary application generally involves one or more essay questions that are meant to help the admissions committee better understand your background, qualifications, and career aspirations. Below are five things you should know about medical school secondary applications.

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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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Top Factors to Consider When Comparing Medical Schools

Selecting a medical school is a significant decision, as the program you attend may play a key role in determining your career path. Whether you are completing final interviews or simply starting the application process, below are several factors to consider when comparing potential medical schools.

Location

The majority of applicants have a reasonable idea of the type of setting they would like to spend four years. In general, medical schools can be in urban and suburban settings. They are rarely rural. However, realize that the area a medical school is in affects more than your personal life and cost of living. Different geographic regions will expose you to different patient populations and disease processes. If you are extremely passionate about working with certain patients (e.g., the under-served urban poor), then take location heavily into account when choosing a program.

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6 Ways to Make the Most of Your Summer

Summertime on your mind? You’ve worked hard this semester and have earned some well-deserved time to sit back and slow down for a change. While summer is your time to relax and recharge, it’s also a great opportunity to start focusing on rounding out your medical school applications. So how do you do that? We’ve come up with 6 ways to help you make the most of your summer.

1. Volunteer: Volunteering in a healthcare facility or organization not only enhances your medical school application, it’s a chance to see if you enjoy working a medical setting. It’s also an opportunity to network with peers and possible mentors, take on increased responsibility and leadership roles over time, and build your resume. Learn how to find a volunteer opportunity.

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The Dual Path: What to consider when considering an MD-PhD

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” – Yogi Berra
I was sitting in the back of a filled auditorium listening to a presentation about the medical school application process when I heard the question that would forever change my life’s trajectory. “What about MD-PhD programs?” a woman sitting somewhere down in front asked. That was the first time I had heard of the dual degree program. Having struggled to decide on my career path, this seemed like the best of all worlds: I could get an MD and a PhD.

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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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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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What You Should Know Before Your First Interview

This article is reprinted with permission from the American Student Dental Association. It originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of ASDA News.
ASDA400px
Interviewing is a stressful experience. Knowing some typical interview formats and the expectations of your interviewer can help put your mind at ease while pursuing acceptance into dental school.

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5 Tips for Your Medical School Interview: Advice from a Recent Admit

Think of the medical school interview as a giant, modern dating ritual. Your AMCAS application and secondary essay were the first two online dates, and now you have agreed to meet each other in person. The admissions committee already has a rough skeleton of the greatest hits of your adult life, and they have decided that they really like you. However, before they will extend a proposal, they need to meet you in person, and they are willing to spend enormous amounts of their time and your money to arrange this meeting. What your interviewer writes about you for the admissions committee will either make your application come alive, remain flat on the paper, or tragically fail.

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