Category Archives: Admissions

Nashville, TN

I was lucky enough to spend the weekend in Nashville, TN. Even luckier that I was there to interview at Vanderbilt. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, and I certainly didn’t think I would fall in love with the school the way I did. I absolutely love it and would be honored to go to school there.

It’s a gorgeous campus. All old brick and lots of trees.

Chapman Quad

We also stopped by The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s residence in the early 1800s

 

Secondaries.

Well, I’m finally done with my secondary apps for med school. I think I will weirdly be sad to see them go. While I have resented the abundance of essays that I was certainly not planning on writing, I will miss the constant reminder that I am on the path to somewhere. I say somewhere specifically, because, alas, I am still unsure of where exactly I am going. But not to get side tracked.

To be frank, the hardest questions were about how I have over come adversity. The diversity questions got easier once I figured out something appropriate to talk about, aka “my diverse clinical experiences”.

I think my favorite question was USC’s one main essay: If you had work cancelled and 3 hours free in the afternoon what would you do?

It did get easier as it went on.

Now it’s just the waiting game, so far no real news

I need a hobby

 

The Personal Statement

I can’t sleep.

And I have a sore throat (double whammy).

Which means of course that I have to embark on my person statement (jeeze seems like I while since I have done anything Medical related! ha)

I got down version 1… I don’t know if it meets all the goals that one should have for such a statement but luckily I have 11 and a half months to edit it… and have been blessed with an amazing professor that has agreed to help me write it well.

It is always a challenge for me to find people whose advice I honestly trust when it comes to medical school. Likely because there is no one right way. What worked for someone else may not work for you, and vice versa. You have to hope that you are right, is some way, I mean given you’re not a super genius with an incredible GPA and MCAT score, you gotta hope you can show medical schools your edge (because you know that you have it, it’s just about how you show it off).

So luckily I have my favorite professor whose advice I do trust and who is going to help me with the personal statement. yay. sigh of relief. And i got time. Just can’t let it tick away

No more study breaks…. for a while

Yes. Summer is here at last. Which means two weeks of freedom before I start summer school. And I shall take this time for some serious baking, cleaning and a bit of relaxation.

In other news, I am no officially a certified MCAT teacher for Princeton Review (: We’ll pretend that I’m doing it for my love of Ochem more than the $22/hour start rate…. Though, i suppose the best reason for doing this job is to strengthen my resume. I rarely say that, and never do things solely for the purpose of strengthening my resume.*

I was up in Berkeley for training last weekend. The company flew me up, paid for hotel and food. It all sounds great until I think back to last summer when I took that $2000 course and wonder if half of that money was spent simply to make sure instructors flew business class to get basic certification.

Which brings me to the next point, $2000 a course. I wonder how it got so expensive. Especially when it’s people like me that are teaching… Do my teaching skills really warrant that much money? We shall see.

*It’s absurd the amount of people that join organizations, “involve” themselves in volunteer work purely for being able to put on on an application. I suppose that true experience will show in the end, but still.

Tip #8 Building Relationships

So it’s fourth week. And I now find myself with 2 days to make final decisions about add/drop class and grading options. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a minor freak out yesterday. I have quite an interesting schedule this quarter… endocrinology, molecular biology, historical archeology, and politial psychology. Endocrinology is going to be hard, I’ve accepted that, my teacher is an MD who taught at the med school, I get what he expects from us. Historical archeology is a seminar, so I’m hoping that since 45% of the grade is based on participation, I shouldn’t have any problems.

The issues lie with my Poli and Mol Bio classes. Day 1 Poli the professor said this is one of the hardest Poli classes at UCSD. Hmmm not my favorite thing to hear as a bio major. In theory, I could take it pass/no pass, but I actually like the class, and I want to work hard. I  taking a P/NP gives you the ability to focus on your other classes and still get credit for doing nothing in that class, so actually caring and putting in effort defeats the point. Then there is Mol Bio. I cannot understand the professor, she doesn’t hold my attention in lectures, she assigns incorrect reading so I can’t even teach myself in the book, she doesn’t curve the class so it’s a rote memorization nightmare. Basically 3 weeks in and I’ve learned close to nothing. A combination of her inability to teach effectively, and my frustration.

So what do I do now? Drop Mol Bio? Put that puts me with only 3 classes and med schools wont like that I’m “not working hard” or take a P/NP in Poli, but I would have to convince myself to direct some of my efforts from that class to Mol Bio or another subject? Or stick with Mol Bio, and take the chance of not doing well in the class?

For me, my decision hinges on how med schools will view my decisions. I’m only concerned with this quarter because I know I won’t want to take 4 challenging classes every quarter of my senior year and I refuse to let my desire to ensure a “fun” senior year shine unfavorably in the eyes of admissions committees…

So with 38 hours to change grading options, I set out to consult anyone I know that has med school knowledge….

This is why building relationships is important. Or, I should say, one reason why building relationships is important. I e-mailed my Ochem professor right away. I knew he had some background in med school apps, and I figured he could give me some advice. I also know a med student that is always available to answer my questions to the best of his ability. Having reliable people, whose opinions you respect and more importantly whose advice is valuable is critical. You never know when you might need an on-the-spot question answered (even if your question is dumb…). Furthermore, hopefully these relationships you build, whether it be a professor, TA, employer, advisor can probably write you a pretty good letter of rec in the long run. Either way, as I’ve said before, get to know and build a friendship with every one you can because people are cool. They have led interesting lives and have the stories to prove it. Life is short, why not make it a little bit bigger by sharing the experiences of others?

Rule #1 — GPA

I think finals might be the most appropriate time to elaborate on the first rule of getting into med school. Getting the GPA. This was the original acceptance factor, which over decades lost importance with the creation of the MCAT and the emphasis on extracurriculars, is re-entering the the top spot for selection criteria. Why? Because you spend 4 years working on your GPA while the MCAT is a 5 hour sit-down session. Yes, there is so much more to an application than just GPA. But without GPA, it is nearly impossible to get accepted. (see 1-Armed Amputee Saves Village From Rare Infectious Virus. jk. kind of…) Point being is if you’re a normal student, and normal within reason, and thus 99% of the applicant pool, you will need the GPA. While obviously there are classes that are unfair, or easy, and schools vary in levels of difficulty, competition, etc. GPA is the only way to have some kind of basis for your level of “intelligence” versus other applicants. MCAT does this as well, but GPA is a long term, multi-term factor which can tell a lot about an applicant. Someone who started strong and sloped off either lost ambision, or was faced with harder classes possibly, or just stopped caring. Would you want someone who stops caring over an extended period of time to be your doctor? Or someone who struggled initially, earning 3.3, 3.4s and worked their way up to 3.8 and 3.9 in later semesters probably experienced the initial shock of college, but recovered, and demonstrates that they are willing to continue to persevere and not give up despite initial disappointment. Members of the Admissions committee consider these things, truly. And will try to decipher as much as they can about you from your GPA. If anything, i preach about having fun and enjoying college (I wasn’t always like this trust me), but you still have to remember your GPA. Too much fun now, and trust me, if you were really meant to be a doctor life won’t be a lot of fun later on. At least that’s how I feel. So I try to work hard. aka post about baking and stupid non-school related things. Do as a same not as I do damnit. Just kidding, I study too… a bit…

 

 

For the day I have taken up residence in this empty classroom. I did this last quarter and I quickly realized that studying in a small discussion classroom is thousands of times better than trying to find a quite, nice area of the library during finals week. It’s peaceful here, and has chalkboards which are probably the most fun thing to study on ever. Last year I even fired up the projector and watched South Park on a study break ha. That or played music over the surround sound speakers… can you believe they just leave these classrooms open? Score.