savvypremed

The Savvy Pre-Med

The Savvy Pre-Med is a medical school admissions blog powered by Passport Admissions. Discover unconventional advice for standing out in the medical school admissions process at www.savvypremed.com

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A Research Manifesto: How to Make the Most of Your Pre-Med Research Position

A ‘manifesto’ is a published declaration of someone’s intentions, motives, or views. Although often associated with radical politics and revolution, manifestos can be written to capture the spirit of any group or movement.   Why does research need a manifesto? We’ve worked with hundreds of pre-meds, and many struggle to write about their research in meaningful ways. What’s the problem? Usually, it’s their approach to their work in the lab. Too often, they’ve taken on research as a way to check off one of their pre-med boxes, rather than a means for exploration, growth, and discovery.   Our manifesto is designed to help you avoid these obligatory feelings by inspiring a deeper commitment to the research. Hopefully, you read our manifesto early on in your research career. But regardless of how far along you are in the process, our principles will help you maintain the right mindset in the lab.   Karl Marx called the subpoints of his manifesto ‘planks,’ but for our purposes, ‘theses’ seemed more appropriate.   Thesis #1 – Get Involved in Research Early and Often in Your Pre-Med Career You will not make the same mistake as most pre-meds. You will look for research opportunities as early as possible, because you’ll recognize how long it can take to secure a spot. You will remain open-minded towards different projects, even if they seem outside of your...

7 Ways to Be a Remarkably Average Pre-Med

Date: Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 Time: 6:00-7:00PM Location: Online Classroom Cost: FREE Register here!   Volunteering, shadowing, research, leadership…the list goes on. Pre-meds work so hard to stand out for medical school, but they all end up doing the same activities. When the time comes to apply, so many of them look identical on paper.   The checklist is good, but it’s only half the battle. Successful applicants not only do the checklist, but they find a way to make themselves stand out from the crowd. You can either: 1) be better than everyone else (4.0 GPA, 38 MCAT), or 2) be different from other students applying to med school.   Come to this class, led by Savvy Pre-Med author and Passport Admissions founder, Rob Humbracht, to learn what you can do to stand out (while also staying true to yourself!) Warning: it’s not easy to figure out the best path for you; this presentation will challenge you to take bold steps toward becoming the very best applicant you can be.   Register...

3 Tips for “Average” Pre-Meds to Stand Out in Their Medical School Admissions Essays

The dreaded “diversity question.”   Each year, as students fill out their secondary applications, they’re bombarded with essay prompts about their “diverse qualities,” “unique insights,” or “unusual life experiences.” Schools will usually ask how these qualities, insights, or experiences will contribute to their campus or environment.   Pre-meds are quick to label themselves as average, normal, or even boring. Every example or topic they can muster sounds lame. What was once a crisis of writing is now a crisis of identity, and they start calling their whole application (and life?) into question.   Does this sound like you? Never fear! We have three tips for helping self-proclaimed “average” students find something to say.     TIP #1 – THINK SMALL A student might profile herself and think, “I’m white, middle class, and suburban. I’ve played on the tennis team, volunteered clinically, and written for my school’s academic science journal. How the heck am I supposed to sound diverse?”   The problem here is that she’s thinking too broadly. But if she narrows her scope, let’s say to one summer or maybe even one afternoon, she has a better chance to find an interesting angle for her essay. She could also choose to focus on one small aspect of her “average” activities.   For example, let’s say she petitioned to change the format of her school’s academic journal to increase...

How to Get Into Medical School If You’re White or Asian

Recently, we heard someone complain that “Asians don’t get into medical school anymore.” That’s quite a loaded statement, but it’s (somewhat) supported by statistics.   Asians definitely still get into medical school nowadays, but according to 2015 medical school admissions data, they do appear to be at a disadvantage.   The 10 Biggest Myths About Getting into Medical School     What Do These Statistics Show About Medical School? With average GPAs (3.40 to 3.59) and average MCAT scores (27 to 29), black applicants were almost 4 times more likely to be admitted to medical school than Asians in that applicant pool (81.2% vs. 20.6%), and 2.8 times more likely than white applicants (81.2% vs. 29.0%).   1) Likewise, Hispanic applicants with average GPAs and MCAT scores were more than twice as likely as whites in that pool to be admitted (59.5% vs. 29.0%), and nearly three times more likely than Asians (59.5% vs. 20.6%).   2) Overall, black (81.2%) and Hispanic (59.5%) applicants with average GPAs and average MCAT scores were accepted to US medical schools for the 2015-2016 academic year at rates (81.2% and 59.5% respectively) much higher than the 30.6% average acceptance rate for all students in that pool.   3) As the average GPAs and MCATs drop, the same trend continues, with acceptance rates for blacks and Hispanics being much higher than whites and Asians....

You Won’t Believe the Amount of Pages You’ll Need to Write for Medical School

“I want this to be perfect.”   Every year, we hear pre-med students say this about their medical school personal statements. And we don’t blame them. The personal statement is the largest essay of the primary application, and it certainly carries a lot of weight.   But consider this: did you know that medical schools will read your work and activities section first? Yep. That means three 1325-character most meaningful essays, along with up to 15 activity descriptions (700 characters each), all before they even glance at your personal statement. Let’s do some quick calculations, shall we?     Personal Statement 5300 characters with spaces 500 words 1.5 pages single spaced   Most Meaningful Essays 3975 characters with spaces (1325 x 3) 375 words 1.13 pages single spaced   Activity Descriptions 10500 characters with spaces (700 x 15) 991 words 2.97 pages single spaced   Total Work and Activities 14475 characters with spaces 1364 words 4.1 pages single spaced   Even if you only have, let’s say, eight 700-character descriptions (as opposed to the full 15), the work and activities section is still nearly twice as long as the personal statement.   So, your perfectionism and anxiety surrounding the personal statement can be detrimental if it stifles your progress on other essays. In a way, your personal statement is like the headliner at a music festival. Sure, it’s a...

Quiz: Are You A Pre-Med at Risk for Severe Burnout?

Are you a boiled frog?   Imagine a pot filled with cold water, with a frog peacefully swimming in it. A fire is lit under the pot and the water becomes lukewarm. The frog finds this rather pleasant and keeps swimming, but then the temperature keeps rising. As the water turns hotter, the frog grows uncomfortable, but it also becomes weak, so it stands the heat as long as it can and does nothing.   You can probably guess what happens to our poor, weakened frog. The temperature will keep rising until the moment when it’s simply cooked to death.   But what if it had been plunged into the pot halfway through boiling? The frog could have recognized the intense heat and given a powerful push with its legs to extract itself.   That’s how burnout works. As a pre-med, you become so entrenched in your many obligations and activities that you lose sight of your own well-being. When things get “warmer than desired” (and you realize the problem), it might be too late to escape.     Pre-meds know all about boiled frogs, and they might have even seen fellow pre-meds boiled alive. But they trust in their own ability to withstand the heat, to keep swimming, to somehow find extra strength in their frog legs. Plus, all around them, they see dozens and dozens of frogs...

How to Avoid Sounding Naive in Your Personal Statement

Consider the following introduction to a personal statement: “It’s time to get back on the horse,” Rosie said, referencing her earlier days as champion rider. “I’ve handled bigger hurdles than this.” Rosie winced in pain as she gripped her walker, but her grimace quickly turned into a smile. She glanced down at her knees, and then lifted her head to look around the office. She beamed at me and the nurse, but she reserved the most heartfelt look for Dr. Jones.   Rosie had just taken her first steps in two years. Not only had Dr. Jones successfully replaced her knee, but he had also directed the therapy that gave her the strength to once again move on her own. “Thank you so much,” she said, hugging him. “You’ve given me a second chance.” Months later, Dr. Jones showed me a holiday card from Rosie, posing with her prize horse. Rosie represents the rewards and joy of medicine. To me, nothing would be more fulfilling than to help people on a daily basis, alleviate their pain, and get them “back in the saddle.”            What’s wrong with the excerpt above? There’s plenty to like about it: the use of a personal anecdote, the decent writing, and even the detail. But it makes a classic mistake that you should avoid if you can: the “why medicine” is naive. It only...

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