Monday, September 1, 2014

Medical School and Residency Interviews: Power Pose

Those of you who have worked with me may recall that I am a big fan of the "fake it until you make it" philosophy espoused by Harvard's Amy Cuddy. Many applicants are overly humble about their accomplishments, leaving their interviewers mistakenly underwhelmed.

Cuddy's TED talk has been viewed over 19 million times. It's definitely worth a watch.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Interview Help

Here's a quick reminder that - because of high demand - I am booking a couple of weeks in advance for my Mock Interview service. Please consider securing your slots now.

Also, here is an article for PreMedLife Magazine that I wrote with several important interview tips.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Nothing Left to Say

I've gotten a few requests for help on the following secondary essay prompt:

Do you have anything else to say in addition to what has already been stated in other parts of your application?

Usually the point of this type of prompt is to offer the candidate a fair opportunity to discuss any weaknesses in her application. So, if you have a genuine shortfall in your candidacy (low MCAT score or GPA, for example), this would be the place to ensure the committee sees that your deficit does not represent your true intellectual ability. Of course, avoid excuses or blaming others.

If the question is elective and you do not feel that you have anything to explain, it is okay to skip the prompt. Answering with filler will not further your candidacy.

Monday, August 11, 2014

DO + MD = Love

This article in the New York Times does an excellent job of showcasing the popularity of DO programs, the rigor of their admissions process (as well as that of allopathic schools), and the imminent slow merging of the two professions. (If nothing else, it's worth looking at the article for the links to hard statistics it provides.) Along these lines, please take a look at my blog regarding the recent announcement from the American Osteopathic Association, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education about the consolidation of the graduate medical education system. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Urgent, Urgent, Emergency


Every September a swarm of panicked residency applicants contacts me asking for urgent editing help. Don't be one of those candidates approaching your future career goals in a frenzy.

Get started now on your ERAS® personal statement and experiences section. MyERAS® opened on July 1 for candidates to start working on their applications, and residency tokens are already available for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) through the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates® (ECFMG).

Even if you have a super-fast editor like me on your side, you should expect that you will revise your materials multiple times and that each of your drafts will take you many days or weeks to craft.
For those of you who don't think the quality of your personal statement matters, take a look at the (bizarrely) high percentage of residency directors who site the personal statement as a factor in selecting whom to interview in the most recent NRMP Program Director Survey.

Here is a list of the residency application services I provide and here is my comprehensive package.

Finally, for fun, take a look at my under-one-minute Guru on the Go® stop-motion, animation video "Honors Won't Make It Write" about the import of the residency personal statement.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Secondary Essays: Why Our School?

I receive a lot of questions from medical school applicants regarding the "why our school" secondary essay prompt. Although it's work, the goal is to research each institution and then link your qualities and interests with the school's.

Be very specific. Look into what makes the institution distinctive, including electives, curriculum, awards, international opportunities, and research.

The mistake I see is that candidates tend to use generalities, a tactic which doesn't afford the admissions committee members a sense that the applicant is really interested in their institution.

If your interests and accomplishments are linked to the underserved, for example, look into the school's commitment to that community (a free clinic at which students volunteer, a medical student program to teach sex ed in a struggling high school). Then, in your essay, specifically review your achievements and the school's associated opportunities.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Gap Year

I'd recommend purusing this brief piece by Varsity Tutors' Dr. Anubodh “Sunny” Varshney regarding the benefits and drawbacks of taking a gap year before medical school. I should note that Dr. Varshney does not mention a gap year's financial drawbacks, which can be significant.

I took an extra year (although it was during medical school, part of HMS's 5-year plan) that grounded me and made me a more competitive emergency medicine applicant. If feasible, it's a great opportunity.