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

5 Simple Steps to Turn Your AMCAS Essay into Your AACOMAS Essay

    Let’s be honest. For most students applying to medical school, DO schools are a backup. From data collected by AACOM, of the students surveyed who got into both MD and DO schools, 86% chose an MD school.   Why do some students prefer MD schools over DO schools?   There are several reasons: 1. Some students think MDs have a better shot at getting competitive residencies (true) 2. Some students think MDs have more opportunities to do research (also true) 3. Some students come from families of MDs who discriminate against DOs (an attitude we think is unjustified)   Because DO schools have slightly lower admissions averages, many students apply as a plan B.  So what do you do if you’re one of these students? How do you navigate between the two applications with your one set of experiences?   MD Application ———> MAGICAL BOX Ta-da! DO Application!   Let’s be honest again. Most of these students complete their allopathic applications first. There are more essays with longer word and character limits, so it makes sense. But DO personal statements are only 4500 characters. That means you have to write a shorter essay that requires more specificity. Dang. It was already painful to trim down your AMCAS personal statement. How in the heck are you going to pull this off?       Step 1: Remove unnecessary...

The Hardest Secondary? How to Conquer the 10 Secondary Essays for UCLA (Geffen) School of Medicine

Who wouldn’t want to go to medical school at UCLA? Top-ranked, exceptional match list, nearby beaches (not that you’ll have time to frequent them during medical school). There’s a reason UCLA gets nearly 10,000 applicants each year. A big part of whether you get selected for an interview, however, are the UCLA secondary essays. There are 10 (count ‘em) secondary essays just for UCLA. The good news? They’re short: a mere 800 characters. It can be useful (and fun?) to see your frame before getting started. Here is 800 characters as a block of text. With limited space, you should immediately grab the reader’s attention with a problem or surprising angle. The next few sentences should illustrate the angle or show the steps toward conflict resolution. Let the type of essay dictate the focus. For leadership, show a compounding of multiple responsibilities to convey your balance and poise. For clinical interactions, paint a before-and-after picture of patients to reveal your positive influence on them. Present yourself as someone who actively contributes to situations while also learning from them. Make sure that your final takeaway sentences address the prompt, and don’t force a connection to medicine unless it feels natural or appropriate. Be as specific as possible or you’ll run out of spac… Here’s a good example, which could work for several UCLA secondary essay prompts (problem, leadership, honor, or non-academic experience): I...

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