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...

Medical Shows To Remember #10: The Knick

I have to say – this show is turning into my new TV romance. The Knick depicts a story about the workings of surgeons when surgery was a young art, unexplored and untouched. In a time when factors such as racism, abortion, and various cultural influences were widespread, some physicians like Dr. John Thackeray trudged on fearlessly, experimenting with the human body and forging new frontiers in the field of surgery.     Just as depicted in my last collection of articles on medicine in the realm of big screen cinema, television is likewise marked by a wide variety of showings that bring forth the novelty as well as uniqueness of the medical field. While many of us are familiar with a good majority of these shows, some are not so well known (yet still reflect key aspects of medicine worth pondering).   Over the course of 10 articles, I will be presenting you all with some clips from some of the most famous as well as artistically fascinating shows in television history. Fondly reminisce the ones you have come across (and binge watched several times) while starting to get your summer list together for the new ones (that you now just have to watch)!   10. The Knick     Video: Source Featured Image:...

TED Talks For Food Lovers #5: Why I’m A Weekday Vegetarian

For all those meat-lovers out there, worry not! TED speaker Graham Hill has risen up to root for you and your carnivorous desires. In his talk, Hill argues for a middle ground between the many touted benefits of being a vegetarian versus the deep cravings of non-vegetarians. But are you ready for the challenge to strike the right balance?     Diet and health are highly interdependent. The food people eat over the course of a lifetime often plays a huge role in determining many of the ailments they incur. Referring to some recent exploration into the field of microbiomics, the large quantity and variety of bacteria in our body may likewise be acutely as well as chronically transforming due to the food we eat and the changes we make to our diets. Lastly, for aspiring medical personnel, quick food sources such as cold pizzas, Chipotle veggie bowls, and espresso shots often make up our daily sustenance. What effect do these have on our health?   Over the course of the next several articles, I would like to take you all on a run through some of the most interesting TED talks on food, some quite interesting and others downright genius. As you watch these videos, reflect on the close ties between nutrition and medicine, and what we can due as future clinicians to best counsel our patients in...

So, You Want To Be A Research Clinician?

  Stay Current To be competitive in the medical research arena, it’s essential to keep up to date with the current research. Read as much as you can about current research that is coming out, not just in your own field of interest, but also in breaking medical and technology news. Use these strategies from The Almost Doctor’s Channel’s guide to Staying Up to Date on Research in Your Field to keep the news and information flowing straight to your newsfeed.   Publish or Perish Start writing now. Write Letters to the Editors of peer-reviewed journals if you read something that piqued your interest. Get involved in student publications or online blogs. You can even send emails to authors whose research you’re interested in, as this information is often published along with their work. Getting your name out there, and having it show up on a Google search, will prove that you are not only dedicated to medicine, but that you’re able to write about it too.   Cultivate Mentors and Collaborators Make connections with everyone around you. Attend Office Hours, meet with your advisors and find out the special interests of not just your professors, but their RAs and TAs too. Connect with your peers. While medical school can, at times, be ultra-competitive, someday you will all be doctors and you never know who might end up in...

Solving the Zika Puzzle

While the Olympic Games at Rio have closed and the Northern Hemisphere heads into winter, researchers in laboratories around the world continue to urgently pursue a vaccine for the Zika virus, which has had devastating effects on those people infected with the virus in more than 60 countries and territories.   Image: Source   Despite various mosquito control efforts, the race to the solve the Zika puzzle is a race to find the vaccine. Zika vaccine researchers are relying heavily on three decades of HIV vaccine research infrastructure that could quickly pivot to Zika research and expedite Phase 1 clinical trials. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has announced five Phase 1 clinical trials that have commenced or will begin shortly.   To gather data on the Zika epidemic, in January the National Institutes of Health (NIH) expedited the review process for research programs into Zika in January, and by August had awarded 16 grants. This data is urgently needed to assess the spread of the virus and its effects. The Zika in Infants and Pregnancy study was launched in June to track potentially 10,000 pregnant women in endemic countries, a collaboration with the Brazilian Ministry of Health.   Researchers agree that solving the Zika puzzle will require unprecedented collaboration between researchers around the globe. Eager to avoid the mistakes of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the...

5 Tips for Your AMCAS Application From Someone Who Went Through It

1. Do it NOW. The AMCAS application opened for submission of June 3rd so the good news is it’s still pretty early. Really start focusing on getting your AMCAS in as soon as possible. Highly qualified applicants have been turned away simply because they waited too long to apply. When I interviewed at a school in October (what I thought was an early interview), there were applicants there who told me that this was their last interview and that they had been at several other schools already. Bottom line is, med school applicants are highly motivated and overly attentive – keep up with them!   2. Be honest. There is more to being a physician than being smart. Honesty, and the traits of integrity and morality that generally accompany it, is something you will need to practice for the rest of your career (and ideally, life). An admissions committee will readily overlook at 40 MCAT score and 3.9 GPA if it appears that you have lied on your application. It will also come back to bite you in the butt if you say you’ve done something but can’t talk about it in an interview. There is no need to lie – you’ve done amazing things!   3. Don’t feel like you need to use all of the space. Just because they give you 15 slots, doesn’t mean you have to fill them...

Medical Shows To Remember #9: Private Practice

If you are a person who hates change, but still want to satisfy yourself for having tried something new, then Private Practice may be for you. A spinoff following Grey’s Anatomy, this show highlights some of the finer aspects of medicine by focusing on connecting with patients and understanding their concerns on a personal basis (while focusing on the drama of relationships and such, of course).     Just as depicted in my last collection of articles on medicine in the realm of big screen cinema, television is likewise marked by a wide variety of showings that bring forth the novelty as well as uniqueness of the medical field. While many of us are familiar with a good majority of these shows, some are not so well known (yet still reflect key aspects of medicine worth pondering).   Over the course of 10 articles, I will be presenting you all with some clips from some of the most famous as well as artistically fascinating shows in television history. Fondly reminisce the ones you have come across (and binge watched several times) while starting to get your summer list together for the new ones (that you now just have to watch)!   9. Private Practice Just as a big medical center presents systemic challenges, a clinic likewise comes with a unique set of obstacles. As shown in this show, the...