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UCSD HMP3 Constructing the AMCAS Presentation - Ben Ostrander

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Ben Ostrander, an alumnus of UCSD HMP3, shares his medical application success secrets with current members.

Text of UCSD HMP3 Constructing the AMCAS Presentation - Ben Ostrander

  • 1. How To Set Yourself Apart: Constructing an effective AMCAS application November 6th, 2013 By Benjamin Ostrander

2. 1) The WHAT and the HOW Success in the application process starts with WHAT you do and HOW you do it 3. WHAT? It is no secret what admissions committees want to see (Hint: Google medical school selection factors or med school applicant traits) The important thing: Do what you love, love what you do! Your activities should be things you enjoy There are endless options, so do something you are passionate about These are not boxes to check 4. HOW? If you enjoy what you do, it makes a huge difference Questions to ask: Am I learning? Thinking critically? Actively participating? Reflecting on this activity? 5. 2) READ/WRITE Read read read. Write write write. Many fail to recognize that the quality of an application is heavily dependent on your ability to effectively express ideas and experiences through language So you have to practice 6. READING All good writers are voracious readers. So read! My suggestions: Atul Gawande, Paul Farmer, Oliver Sacks, Michael Gladwell, Abraham Verghese, the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Economist Bonus: Through reading, you not only improve your writing and vocabulary, but you are also preparing for interviews 7. WRITING Write a lot! And not just for school Write for the Guardian, Prospect Journal, Saltman Quarterly, Triple Helix, or start a blog Keep a journal, preferably one that you will share: This forces you to write, and to put effort into it 8. 3) START EARLY Plan: How are you going to take care of all the requirements and still stay sane? When are you going to take the MCAT? Do you realistically have time to fit that activity in this quarter? Will you have time next quarter? Then you finally reach the application year First: Start prewriting for your personal statement 9. BASIC TIMELINE Spring Break: Write a first draft of your personal statement. May: AMCAS opens online. Start filling it in. June: Submit! Apply early. This is especially tough on the quarter system. July-August: Complete supplemental apps. September: Let the interviews begin! 10. 4) TELL A STORY This is probably the most important thing! Many premeds participate in very similar activities, so the difference is HOW you talk about them in your application 11. AMCAS COMPONENTS AMCAS is your medium: The application is to you as the poem is to Robert Frost and the novel is to Leo Tolstoy. Academic transcript: Believe it or not, this tells an important story What did you major in? Did you have a minor? What trends are apparent in your grades? Essay: 5300 characters Work/Activities Section 15 slots available, 700 characters each 3 most meaningful activities, 1325 additional characters 12. STORYTELLING This is hard! Your mindfulness and reflection during all your premed activities (the HOW) and all the reading and writing you have done to become the next (insert favorite author here) now take center stage. Think deeply about who you are, your personality, and why medicine. Show these traits in your writing. 13. SHOW DONT TELL! 14. MY EXAMPLES Personal Statement:Most Meaningful Activity 15. 5) FOCUS, BALANCE, SHIN E Focus on the traits medical schools are looking for and that you honestly feel you possess (see selection factors/traits: compassion, empathy, leadership, motivation, com munication) Tailor your app: This is especially important for secondary applications: Is the school a research institution? Is primary care the focus? Do they have an affiliated school of public health? Pay very close attention to the language in the mission statement and on the admissions website. 16. BALANCING ACT Construct a balanced application This is especially important for the primary app. You can narrow your focus more in the supplemental apps. 17. Your 15 slots in the Work/Activities section should ideally be divided somewhat evenly into the different categories 18. SHINE How will you be remembered? How are you going to differentiate yourself ? Do not hold anything back There are ways to describe what you have done and really highlight and accentuate them without falsifying information. You are all interesting people, so be interesting! 19. RECAP 1. The WHAT and the HOW. 2. Read read read. Write write write. 3. Start early. 4. Tell a story. 5. Focus, balance, shine. 20. INTERVIEWS If you submit early, you can expect to hear back from the first schools sometime in September BUT: Interview invites are stochastic and unpredictable. Be patient. Prepare: Browse the school website, see Student Doctor interview feedback surveys, do mock interviews, think 21. HOW ARE THEY ANYWAY In general, on interview days schools are recruiting you just as much as you are trying to prove you deserve a spot Usually consists of a dean welcome, two 40-60 minute interviews (or MMI format), lunch with current students, and a tour Interviews so far have been largely conversational 22. REMEMBER 23. QUESTIONS? Feel free to shoot me an email: [email protected]