Medical School Personal Statement Examples: How To Write A Good Medical School Personal Statement.

(instrumental music) – Good afternoon everyone, how are you?. today we are gonna talk about medical school personal statements which is sort of what all of you if you’re applying to

medical school this year should be working on currently. I realized that everyone’s

sort of busy this time of year especially if you’re a junior

or a senior in college. You have finals and you

have the end of the year and you’re thinking

about your summer plans. And. sometimes it’s very very difficult to really sort of jump right in and start your personal statement. But as we, sort of our mantra at MedEdits is early early early is

really really important.. if you’re not working on

your personal statement yet, you should be. And if you are already working

on your personal statement, bravo, because you’re right on time and that will sort of

put you in a position to submit your application

to medical school as early as possible. At this point, all of the three major application systems are open.. AMCAS which is the allopathic medical school

application service is open. You can’t yet submit that

application but it’s open and ready for you to work on. The AACOMAS is open which is the osteopathic medical

school application service. And as soon as that one

opens you can submit it. And then TMDSAS which is the

Texas application service is also opening and that one as well, you’re ready to submit

that as soon as possible. These three application systems require slightly, very slightly

different approach for each. The AMCAS system is a 5300-character with spaces character limit. The TMDSAS is a

5000-character space limit.. for those two personal statements there can be a tremendous

amount of overlap. Most students in fact write one statement for both of those systems

and they just keep it to 5000 characters with spaces. Now the AACOMAS application system allows a personal statement that’s a bit shorter, 4,300 characters with spaces. And those 1000 characters actually can be, it can make quite a dent in terms of the overall amount of

space that you have to write. The other thing that we

encourage students to do is for AACOMAS to really emphasize why you are specifically

interested in osteopathic medicine. And. therefore we

don’t advocate recycling the personal statement that you might use for AMCAS, MTMDSAS for AACOMAS. There might be pieces

of it that you might use for AACOMAS but overall,

we recommend that students sort of start fresh. Even though most AACOMAS medical schools will send you a secondary

essay specifically asking why are you interested

in osteopathic medicine, we like for those ideas

to also come through in the personal statement,

not to dominate the statement but certainly to be communicated

in the personal statement.. the biggest question we get

is my gosh, how do I start? What do I write about? What do they want to know about me? How do I stand out?

And how can I write something that they’ve never read before? And what I tell my students

is, it’s really highly unusual that a student can write something that a seasoned admissions

officer has never read in his or her lifetime. And that’s perfectly okay because the goal of the personal statement

is to convey, number one, who you are as a human being? What are you about? What are your values and

your characteristics? Where did you come from? What’s important to you as a person? The medical school admission

officers want to know not only about your

commitment to medicine, to community service,

to research, to teaching but they also kind of want to

understand who are you, right? Some people say well, I don’t

have a really unusual story. I didn’t sort of move mountains, I didn’t have any tremendous

hardships growing up to write about and that’s completely okay. Medical school classes as everybody knows, it’s all about attracting

a diverse class, right?. no medical school wants 25 of sort of the same type of applicant

with the same experiences and the same background. This is about attracting applicants who have very diverse backgrounds,

very diverse interests and very diverse experiences.. your job in writing your

personal statement is to try to convey who are you as a person, why are you interested in medicine, what have you done to pursue

that interest in medicine and maybe highlight other

things that might not be directly applicable to medicine but are somehow tangentially related.. if you’re really interested

in community service, if you’ve really done something,

some things that are great in community service, totally

unrelated to medicine. Medicine is by all means a profession that involves service to your community.. it’s related. Do you have tremendous

teaching experience, public health experience, anything? What is it that sort of sets you apart? All students even if

they’re juniors in college have done something that required time, that required effort, that required your commitment. And that’s really what they want to see. They wanna understand that you

are a committed enthusiastic and motivated person who

is going to number one, be able to handle the

rigors of medical school and residency training

and a medical career. But someone who’s also

gonna be contributing in a meaningful way within

all of those sectors of your education and your career.. this isn’t about trying to stand out, it’s about communicating and

conveying in a passionate and sort of insightful

way, what you’ve done, what you’ve learned from those experiences and why they are important to you, okay? We can’t talk about a personal statement without talking about

activities entries as well. There will be overlap between the topics that you will write about

in your personal statement and your activities entries,

that’s perfectly okay. With AMCAS when you select your three most meaningful activities entries, there might be overlap

between those topics and the topics that you also write about in your personal statement

simply because most people in their young 20s, late

to mid-20s, late 20s, you don’t have 25 significantly

most meaningful things, and. it’s okay if there’s topic overlap between those most meaningful entries and what you also write about

in your personal statement. People often ask me well,

what should my theme be? And in our experience, very

very rarely can a student sort of come up with a theme that sort of doesn’t seem forced and that allows the students to sort of communicate effectively all

of those different elements of what a personal statement should have.. I would say that maybe

once every couple of years, I have a student who really has a theme that really hangs together. But most people at this

stage of their education, the last statement that

they wrote was for college. And I can tell you having read

college admissions essays, just sort of on the side

’cause I’m curious about it, the emphasis of those statements

and the topic selection for those statements is

so completely different than what a medical school

personal statement is. When you’re applying to medical school, you’re applying to professional school. This is a profession.. it’s really a new

phase of your education,. kind of forget what you learned in terms of what should be included in your college personal statement. This is a totally different ballgame and this should be in our feeling and based on sort of the

success that we’ve had with our students, we feel that

a broad personal statement, of the personal statement, it’s to convince your

reviewer that they want to actually meet you.. and I emphasize it’s

important to write about what happens inside and

outside the classroom because many students sort of forget about what happened in the classroom and that’s really important, right? Because the majority

of your time and energy was spent on your academics and your intellectual pursuits in college.. don’t forget to sort of

mention those things as well somewhere within your application. Kind of what happened during

all of that class time, and what interested you

as an undergraduate. Again it doesn’t have to be

related to medicine, right? Admissions officers want

interesting diverse people who are personable and who know

about the world around them.. don’t think that if you’re, if some of your greatest

intellectual pursuits in college, if it was it wasn’t chemistry or biology that you’re at a loss, you’re not. In fact that can be

very very distinguishing in the application process.. think open-mindedly and think broadly in terms of the topics

that you want to include in your personal statement,

again kind of getting across this picture of who are

you in 5300 characters with spaces or less and

that’s not an easy feat, okay?. the key is to write

concisely and this is something we’re always encouraging

our students to do. Don’t go on and on and

on about any one subject.. get your ideas across clearly and concisely and efficiently. And certainly that is

possible, even though if you haven’t started or

even if you’re starting and you’re just looking at this, this page of ideas that you may have, it seems like the impossible

but it’s not the impossible. It’s definitely attainable.. what I encourage

applicants to do is really to sort of brainstorm. Write down what were my

most important achievements? What were my most important life cycle kind of events in my life starting with with childhood

and then sort of cherry-pick those experiences that were

really the most crucial to you as a person, and the

most sort of captivating perhaps to an admissions officer. And you can take a chronological approach by writing about those

experiences or you can, you don’t have to do that. And that again to some degree

depends on your comfort level, it also depends on what

those experiences were and how well they hang together. And it also depends on

your talent as a writer kind of in which direction you

take your personal statement.. with that I think we

should kind of open this up for questions because it

always seems that our audiences have lots of questions and we like to try to answer those as much as we can. – [Man] Okay,. the first question is, how important is it to submit your personal statement in June? -. the question is how

important is it to submit your personal statement in June? And when we talk about submit

your personal statement, we’re talking about submitting the entire application itself, the personal statement just

being one part of that, of the entire application, it’s important. You don’t have to submit

at the opening bell but we ideally like our

students to submit sometime in the month of June, and why is that? You simply will have, you’re

more likely to get interviews if you submit early

because you are competing with fewer people. When you start submitting

in August, September, a lot of those interviews have already been extended number one and number two, the numbers are greater at that point.. the applicant pool is smaller

earlier on in the season. And realize admissions

officers are not robots, okay?. they need people power to

review applications, right?. at the beginning of the season, all of those admissions committee members are reviewing applications. Once interview season starts, they’re interviewing applicants and they’re also reviewing

applications, and they’re also, they have all their

other responsibilities, clinical responsibilities and

research responsibilities, committee responsibilities,

whatever that is.. you just have to think,

it’s a function of where is the time and energy going, right?. the beginning of the season,

all the admissions people are just reviewing applications and then you’re sort of

competing for their time the later on in the season that you go.. you don’t have to

submit at the opening bell but we like people to

submit in the month of June, and we feel that anytime

within that month, we consider that early

based on our experience. – [Man] The next question is

would you recommend focusing on one important experience

such as only research or only clinical experience or should they use multiple examples? -. the question is,

do we encourage students to write about one primary experience in their personal statement or to write about multiple examples? And again for us this is

about breadth and depth, okay?. don’t write about things

that weren’t really important just to fill the space, to

think like oh my goodness, I need to also mention community service. let me mention this

community service activity that I did for one afternoon, right?. you want to write about the things that were important to you but ideally you should be writing

about multiple experiences. Because you want to sort of

really give a full picture of who you are as a person, right? Doctors are not just researchers, they are not just clinicians. You want to sort of give this, this idea that you’re a

well-rounded candidate who has perspective based

on multiple experiences. – [Man] Can I write about something that is not medically related? – Can I write about something

that’s not medically related? Absolutely you can. For some students, athletics, if you were varsity athlete in college or you were an art history major, you did art history research. For some students, the

activities that were the most important to them

in college in addition to obviously being pre-med had

nothing to do with medicine, and that’s perfectly okay. You don’t have to kind

of have been on this, sort of have this laser focus

where there was nothing else but medicine in your undergraduate years or even after your undergraduate years.. kind of bringing that

diversity to a medical school is actually favorable.. certainly you can write about things that aren’t directly related to medicine. – [Man] If I’m a reapplicant, can I use my old personal statement? – If I’m a reapplicant, can I

use my own personal statement? If you’re a reapplicant,

you need to analyze why am I a reapplicants? Why didn’t I get in last year? And generally speaking,

we would probably look at most reapplications essays

and say no, start over. Because they’re probably,

if you’re a reapplicant, maybe there was something that was missing or maybe there was something

that wasn’t communicated well in that personal statement. Realize the personal statement along with the rest of

your written application kind of becomes the ticket or the plea in a sense,

please offer me an interview.. that personal statement

has to be convincing to admissions officer.. if it wasn’t convincing

the first time around, it might not be convincing

the second time around. And plus you have a whole year

of experiences hopefully that and from which you’ve grown

and matured over the past year. And. you want to include those things in your new personal statement.. there might be pieces of this statement that you can sort of recycle

or kind of refresh in some way but you shouldn’t just

take the old statement and just use the entire

statement in its entirety. – [Man] Very good, if I’m applying to osteopathic medical school, how should my personal statement differ from (mumbles) versus MD? -. the question is how

should my personal statement for osteopathic medical

school applications differ from my allopathic

medical school applications? First of all, there’s a 1,000 character with spaces difference between

those two application system.. the osteopathic medical

school application system is 4,300 characters with spaces and the allopathic is 5300

characters with spaces.. that’s a fairly significant difference.. you probably, in our experience usually the osteopathic statement

is a bit more streamlined than the allopathic statement, right? ‘Cause you don’t have as much

time to sort of tell stories and to kind of go into details. And the osteopathic

statement it’s our feeling that there should be some mention of why osteopathic medicine, what is it about the approach to patients in osteopathic medicine and

why does that appeal to you?. we do feel that that

should also be addressed in the allopathic, sorry in

the osteopathic statement.. we encourage students to

write two distinct statements for those two application systems. – [Man] This next question has

to do with MD PhD applicant. What’s a good thing to

keep in mind in choosing a topic for each of these essays? And he goes on to say, I’m a bit concerned about overlap for the

primary essay since interest in medicine is strongly tied

to a particular research. -. the question is for MD-PhD

applicants in particular, how do you approach those essays? And for the MD-PhD applicants,

there are three essays. There’s the personal statement, there is the why MD-PhD

essay and then there is a research essay. The research essay speaks for itself, you need to write about your research and that should be a sophisticated essay that we recommend ideally that you have a principal investigator

or someone else in the lab, a grad student review that essay for you because it should be sophisticated. Something that a researcher

who might be interviewing you would understand,. it

shouldn’t sort of be an essay that is sort of written

for a layperson in a sense. The why MD-PhD and the

personal statement essays, there might be some

overlap there, absolutely. Because why you want to

be an MD-PhD also relates to why you want to go to medical school. And also for most applicants, you’ll be applying to some MD-PhD programs but you’ll also be applying

to some straight MD programs. There are some students

who decide to pursue a PhD once they’re already in medical school.. it’s perfectly fine if those two essays if there is overlap. There are many students who go

to allopathic medical school who still want to make research a significant part of their careers. A PhD is not absolutely

necessary to do that.. I encourage students to

sort of take those two essays and look at them individually

and not together, because they will be considered separately and they will be considered

sort of by different members of the committee.. a researcher might in particular look at the why MD-PhD in the research essay, whereas an admissions

officer for an MD school is gonna look only at

the personal statement.. you don’t want to shortchange yourself and sort of not emphasize why

research is important to you in your personal

statement and only include that information in the why MD-PhD essay.. it’s okay, just like

the personal statement and the most meaningful, it’s okay if there’s some overlap there. That’s perfectly fine. But the personal statement

should sort of be a more general statement,

but kind of mentioning a commitment to research within that essay is you should do that if

you’re applying to MD-PhD ’cause that’s part of, those

are part of your future goals and part of why probably

you’ve done what you’ve done as an undergraduate, a

postgraduate student. – [Man] Okay, you said

that the personal statement is about letting the admissions

committee know who you are. How do I write about my

experiences in such a way that highlights my qualities

and who I am as a person? -. the question is that you want, that I mentioned that you want

to let admissions committees know who you are and how do

you highlight your strengths and highlight your qualities

and characteristics. And that’s about writing about

your experiences in depth. What did you observe? What did you learn? Sort of really write about

it from the heart in a sense, in terms of your

observations, your insights, how those things maybe motivated you, how they impacted your next

experiences that you took on or how did that impact your future goals or maybe what you wanna

do in medical school.. it’s really hard to

kind of say specifically how to do that because with each student, we work on that very individually, right? ‘Cause everyone’s an individual in terms of what motivates them, in terms of how they observe things, how they express themselves, right? And. this is where the

individuality really comes in and there aren’t really

kind of formulaic ways to instruct you on how to do that. That’s a very individual thing. – [Man] Okay, if I’m

taking the MCAT in June, should I wait to submit my application till after I get my score? -. the question is if I’m

taking the MCAT in June, should I wait to send my

application after I get my score? If you’re taking your MCAT in June, you’re probably not getting

your score until July. And it really would depend

on what your score is. If your score is a 509,

applying in July might not be the smartest thing. If your score is a 520 then

you’re probably completely fine. Of course also considering

what are your academics like, who your letters of reference writers, what are your experiences,. all of this needs to

be considered together. Are you definitely applying no matter what that MCAT score is? When students tell us, I don’t

care what I get on my MCAT, I know I’m a good test taker, I’ve been doing all my practice test, I’m applying no matter what the score is then the answer becomes

well then submit in June. But if whether or not

you apply is dependent on that score, then no. Then you should probably wait. Of course, you can always

submit an application and then if the MCAT

is really disappointing you can withdraw because at that point, you probably wouldn’t have even completed most of your secondary essays,

many of your secondary essays and you certainly wouldn’t

have had any interviews.. that’s always an option as well. – [Man] Can you talk a little

bit more about the overlap between the personal statement

and activity entries? -. someone asked about

can I talk about the overlap between the personal statement

and the activities entries?. for AMCASS in particular, you have an opportunity to

write about up to 15 activities. Most students don’t have 15 activities. it’s totally fine if

you don’t have that many. And of those up to 15 activities,

you should select three that are considered your

most meaningful, okay? And for those in addition

to the 700 character with spaces description, you write a most meaningful explanation which is up to 1325

characters with spaces, okay? You will have overlap between the topic.. the most meaningful

experiences that you have had in your lifetime, there

will be some overlap with what those experiences

are and the topics that you’re going to write about

in your personal statement. We encourage applicants to write the personal statement first, figure out how those

experiences are fitting into the overall framework

of the statement, and what they will be

writing about with regards to those experiences within

the personal statement. Then write the application entries and the most meaningfuls, and

take a different approach. Write about a different

aspect of the experience.. that way, even though you’re writing about the same experiences

what you’re expressing about those experience is a bit different.. when they read your personal statement they’re learning something about you and then when they read

your application entries, they’re learning a little bit, something different about you even though it’s the same experience. And with our students,

there’s always overlap. Sometimes the students maybe will write about two of the three most

meaningful in their statements, sometimes depending on how

many experiences they’ve had, how old they are, how much

life experience they’ve had. They’re writing about all three in both of those two documents.. all three most

meaningfuls are also topics that are included in

the personal statement. And. it really depends on

what your life experiences are, how old you are. Are you a junior in college

or are you three years out of college?. that’s all something

that is sort of part of the discussion in terms

of what you highlight there. – [Man] I have nothing to write about. Do you have tips to get started? – I have nothing to write

about, how do I get started? Do your personal inventory,

and write about the milestones in your life and this is

something that I write about in my book, The MedEdit’s Guide

to Medical School Admission.. literally just start

from the beginning. Where were you born? What were the really crucial

things in your lifetime? Did your family have hardship? Did you switch schools and why?

Where did you go to college? Why did you make that decision? What has been your most, what were your most valuable

experiences in high school? How did those experiences

influence your college decision, influence your future goals? What were your major

experiences in college? Again how did those influence your choices and your future goals? And sort of just keep

going through this process until you kind of have distilled out and identified the most

significant aspects of your backgrounds? And then highlight those things

in the personal statement and then just start writing. Sometimes it looms. large over people because they think I have

nothing to write about and I want to stand out. And what I tell people is

if it’s that difficult, then you’re trying too hard, right? Because this is about writing your story and nobody can tell your story better than you can tell your story. And everyone has a story to

tell,. just start writing. – [Man. if I get my score in July and I don’t like my score,

can I retake the MCAT and continue with the application? – The question becomes if

you’re taking the MCAT, retaking the MCAT later than July, either because you’re disappointed with the score that you got or you’re taking a September MCAT, should you continue with the process? Should you apply in June? And our general advice

on that level is no, it probably is better to wait

to apply for the next cycle. Number one, if you do poorly on the MCAT, unless there was a real sort of event that happened that impacted

your score in a negative way, it’s unlikely that without

sort of really doing some real analysis that you will bump your score that significantly.. it’s better to sort of

kind of really evaluate what did I do wrong, what

do I have to do differently and to really sort of restudy and refocus and make sure that second

MCAT is where it needs to be. Students who rush the retake

generally don’t bump scores.. we discourage students

from taking a September MCAT or quickly retaking an

MCAT after an initial test.. basically if you’re

taking MCAT later than June, again unless you’re a

phenomenal phenomenal applicant who is gonna score incredibly

well on their MCAT regardless, generally speaking it’s better to wait till the next application cycle

to guarantee your success. – [Man] Is it okay to start

working on my secondary essays in June before I hear from schools? – Is it okay to start working

my secondary essays in June before I hear from schools? The schools will start

sending you secondary, essays secondary

applications in late June. Every year secondary essay prompts change for some schools, not

all, not most but some and all the prompts are available online. And MedEdits will soon

be starting a database of those secondary essay prompts which will be publicly

available to everybody.. if you have the time, absolutely. Start your secondary essays,

look at last year’s prompts realizing that there

might be some surprises. With the exception of California schools and a few outliers outside of California, most medical schools will send

you secondary applications and secondary essays automatically.. there won’t be a question of will I get secondary

essay requests, you will. You’re gonna get a lot of them depending on how many

schools you apply to.. yes, if you have the time

and you have the energy, the secondary essays

can really be daunting for some students and overwhelming.. yes, start them early, absolutely. – [Man]. for schools

that are numbers focused, do they really read my personal statement? – For schools that are numbers focused, do they really read my personal statement? Schools will not tell

what their thresholds are to review an application, okay? But in our experience the

vast majority, if not all of medical schools have thresholds. Meaning that they won’t

review an application with numbers below a certain point, okay? Numbers meaning GPA, overall GPA, BCPM biochem physics

math GPA, MCAT scores. Some schools have formulas that they use to give a certain degree

of weight to the MCAT, a certain degree of

weight to the BCPM GPA, the overall GPA and then they weighed it and then they decide who they’re

actually going to review.. certainly there are

some medical schools that will not review your application if you don’t meet their

minimum thresholds. Meaning that they won’t even

read your personal statement. And this is why we say to applicants who maybe don’t have great numbers, they say but I have these

amazing experiences, I’m a really good person, I want to be a doctor

for the right reasons and we say we get that

and we appreciate that, but the school won’t even

read your application if you’re sort of below

their absolute minimums. And that’s just the reality of the process and it’s tough to really

find out that information is not really publicly available. – [Man] What’s the latest

I can apply in this cycle? – What’s the latest I

can apply in the cycle? – I need to look, all the

schools have different deadlines that are generally in the

fall,. that’s the latest. But we discourage applicants from looking at those deadlines seriously which is why we don’t have them memorized.. we certainly work with

applicants who are successful who get into US allopathic medical schools which are the most

competitive group obviously. We work with applicants

successfully who apply in July, even early August but they

also are very very quick to complete their secondaries. They do well in interviews,

they have good numbers, they have good experiences.. it really depends on

who you are as an applicant in terms of when you

should be applying to. Can you risk an August application? Most students can’t,. it really depends. – [Man] And this is

the same question again Do I have to… The person’s friends told

them hey have to submit early? Do you have to submit early? – Again the question, everyone’s been told I have to submit early. Ideally yes, you need to submit early but not everybody has to.

This is a very very individual thing. Some students will call us in

mid-July and say oh my gosh, I was. busy, I was doing

my research in Africa. I didn’t submit my application

and they have publications, and they have over-the-top

grades and it’s like, okay, you’re okay, you can submit now and you’ll be alright.. again, this is a very

personalized sort of recommendation but the general rule of thumb that we tell all of our students is yes, apply in June. And plus it alleviate

stress which is huge. I mean our students who

apply in early June, who’ve done everything, they

already have their MCAT, they already have everything done and then they do their

secondary essays quickly. They’re getting interview

invitations in August and they’re going on interviews in October and they have their first acceptances. They’re going on interview,

sorry in like September, they have their first

acceptances by October.. just in terms of (audio cuts out). It behooves you to apply early because it makes a world of

difference when you’re walking into interviews later on

in the application cycle and you already have an acceptance. It just totally changes the

way you present yourself.. it makes life much less

stressful when you apply early. – [Man] Okay, I’ve been told

that I can’t write about things that happen before college, is that true? – I’ve been told I

can’t write about things that have happened before

college, is that true? And we get this question a lot. It depends on what it is, right? You want to focus mostly on

your more recent experiences. However, for many students, some things that happens before college were really significant in

terms of influencing their path.. depending on your upbringing, you might want to say

something about that. If there was something

really really crucial that happened in high

school that sort of impacted your choices of where to go to college, whether to pursue a

degree in medicine or not, there can be mention of that, absolutely. It gives dimension to your candidacy and it gives the reviewer sort

of some idea of who you are, where you’re from, what

was your home life like, what was your community like growing up and all of that is great information.. you don’t wanna write

an entire statement on something that happens before college. Of course it’s okay to

mention really critical things that happens before college. And most of our students do even though that doesn’t dominate the essay. Again this is about

cherry-picking the things that sort of will distinguish you and then sort of paint the

clearest picture of who you are. – [Man] What is the minimum

GPA threshold more or less? – More or less the minimum GPA threshold to get into medical school, we

like to think of it as a 3.5. However, we’ve had students

who get in with a 3.4, even a 3.3 and again this

is about the combination of MCAT and GPA. This is about trends. Many students start their

college careers don’t do well. They’re distracted, they

don’t have the study skills ’cause maybe they didn’t go

to an amazing high school. And. the freshman GPAs are terrible. They go to a school which

is notoriously stingy in terms of giving out high grades.. it depends on your trend,

and it depends on your MCAT and it depends on your

overall story and who you are. The general ballpark number

that people say is 3.5 but there are obviously

variations to that. – [Man]. I come from

a difficult background and I’m struggling to identify how candid my personal statement should be. While the trauma and adversity I’ve faced has made me the person

I am, and is a testament to my ability to thrive

in medical school… The question was cut off here. – I get it. The question is if you come

from a difficult background, if you’ve had difficulties in your life and traumas in your life, how much of that do you write about? And really it depends on

what those traumas are, depends on how comfortable

you are writing about them and talking about them. We certainly work with

students who have had all different kinds of

disabilities, not disabilities, disabilities as well but difficulties. Whether that be financial, whether that be some sort of

traumatic event that happened where they had to go through

a very difficult time and generally speaking

we encourage applicants to write about those things because again, they were crucial in your development. There are some deal-breakers. If there was any sort

of major mental illness, not depression, but any

kind of major mental illness we sort of discourage people

from writing about that.. there are some things

that we discourage but overcoming hardships,

persevering through difficulties, all of that is really

important and speaks well of the student often times.. we have had some applicants assuming that they are comfortable

discussing it, right? ‘Cause anything you write

about is open for discussion in an interview, but

assuming they’re comfortable writing about something

and discussing something, we encourage that. And in fact we had one applicant who wrote about something

incredibly traumatic that had happened and it was

brought up on an interview. And this applicant started

crying during the interview. And it was an extremely

competitive medical school and that person got in.. we’re all human. having been through a difficult experience and

again getting through it and understanding maybe that

makes you more compassionate and understanding of others. Sort of think about

what the byproducts are of that experience and

that’s kind of what we try to sort of identify. – [Man] Okay, next question. Does being an RN help

or weaken your chances of getting into medical school? – Does being an RN helped

or hurt your chances of getting into medical school? It depends. (laughs) I realize that’s a common answer. It certainly can help. I mean we’ve worked with

PAs, we’ve worked with RNs. Understanding medicine

from really the inside, I mean that’s a tremendous benefit. It doesn’t help in terms of the fact that you have more experience or

you’re gonna be a better doctor because obviously you

understand more about medicine than many of your peers. But it helps because

you understand the field and that has motivated you

then to become a physician.. it certainly can

help, without question. – [Man] Alright, does

reapplying lessen your chances? – Does reapplying lessen your chances? I wouldn’t say it lessens

your chances per se. Reapplicants certainly

there’s a lower percentage of reapplicants who are

accepted to medical school but that simply is

because many reapplicants just aren’t qualified and

they just try to reapply without sort of figuring

out well why didn’t I get in the first time and what

do I need to do to improve and sort of working on that. But many many students

their first time around are not successful. And there’s many many reasons

why they’re not successful and the key is to identify

why wasn’t I successful and to improve upon

whatever that reason was and then submit a better reapplication. We work with many reapplicants every year who get in successfully. It’s an issue of analyzing

the previous application cycle and improving upon whatever

the deficiencies were. – [Man] Okay, is it true

you should never write about your own experience in healthcare? – Is it true you should never write about your own experience in healthcare? No, that’s not true and

for many many students and I’m assuming this is someone who’s had some type of illness,

experience as a patient, being a patient is one

of the best ways to learn about what it means to be a doctor, what do patients need,

what is it like to be on the other side of the table? And you don’t want to be ever

negative about the profession or about your doctor who

maybe you didn’t like or you didn’t think

was the best treatment. But understanding what

it means to be a patient and what a patient need

can be very very powerful in a statement.. again, at MedEdits, we don’t

like to sort of take these, you never do this or you never

do that kind of approaches for the vast majority of things because every student is different and every student’s path is different.. it really depends on the students. – [Man] Okay,. just explain to everybody there’s a lot of questions. We’re gonna get to them one at a time. This student asks, I’m a rising senior who just started my pre-med

sequence in my junior year. I’m contemplating organic chemistry one, one and two over this summer

in time to apply for June 2018 and take the MCAT in May 2018. How does organic chemistry

over the summer look taking? -. the question is

someone who is a junior who started pre-med studies late wants to take organic chemistry over the summer. Wanted to take the MCAT

during the senior year, apply in June and that’s a fine plan. As long as everything else is there. Your research or your volunteer

activities, your teaching. As long as everything else is there, taking organic assuming

you’re at a challenging for your undergraduate college is not in and of itself a bad thing. Many students take a

prerequisite over the summer, that’s totally fine. – [Man] Is writing about your GPA not great on your personal– – Is writing about your GPA not great in your personal statement? It depends, it depends on

how not great is your GPA. Did your GPA improve? Was there some sort of

experience that happened in your sophomore year of college that was. life-changing

or traumatic for you that it really negatively enhanced or negatively not enhanced,

negatively impacted your GPA.. that really is an

individual sort of question, depends on the overall picture, depends on how low the GPA is, where the GPA went from there. That’s a tough one to answer definitively. – [Man]. despite my previous interest something that happened about a month ago really invigorated my desire

to go to medical school. Is writing about this one

experience given the proximity in my timeline, something

that could work against me especially when I’m

going up against people with potentially lifelong

desires to be a doctor? -. no interest in medicine before the– – [Man]. this student had

an interest in medicine. Something that happened recently– -. the question is someone

who had an interest in medicine but something very pivotal happened within the past month or. that sort of really confirmed that interest

and sort of reinvigorated. to speak using the

language of the student, absolutely right about it. Because this is about

what are your motivations? It doesn’t mean you had no

interest in medicine, right? You’re telling me that you

had an interest in medicine as an undergraduate and this experience however really sort of solidified

that and confirmed that. And. that certainly should

be mentioned without question. That wouldn’t hurt you at all. But that’s assuming that the

interest was already there and that there’s evidence

for that interest that was already there as well. – [Man] Okay, am I selling myself short if I don’t take the MCAT until September? – Am I selling myself

short if I don’t take the MCAT until September? Absolutely yes. We do not advise applying– – [Man] Even though the

deadlines are in November. – We do not advise applying in

the current application cycle if you’re taking the MCAT in the fall. It’s just too late. – [Man] Yeah,. we’re running

a little short on time. More or less how long will it take to write a well-written personal statement if I’m still studying for a MCAT and don’t have much time to do both. – Okay,. the question is, how long will it take to write

a great personal statement if I’m studying for a MCAT and

I don’t have a lot of time? The MCAT is priority.. you focus on the MCAT

especially if it’s your first MCAT. In the ideal world, we like

students to take the MCAT once and do well, and as soon

as that MCAT is over you start working on your statement. Good writing takes time. We prefer that people

start working with us or working on their statements

in January, February, March. But we understand

students are insanely busy and honestly the vast majority don’t start their personal statements, their

application entry write-ups until May and June and

that’s just the reality.. it’s an issue of sort of being focused, really writing it, not

questioning yourself too much, not sending it to 25 different people and trying to incorporate

all of their suggestions and second-guessing yourself.. if you’re gonna write your

statement somewhat quickly, you have to be decisive

and you have to sort of be very prudent in terms of from whom are you going to get opinions because everybody’s going to have one. But it certainly can be done. You can write a statement. I’d say two weeks is the

minimum, a good statement ’cause you wanna think about it and you wanna try to do edits. And kind of not rush

work sort of as always in our opinion typically substandard. – [Man] A few more questions.. with what MCAT score

should I consider retaking it? – With what MCAT score should

I consider retaking the MCAT? I’d say anything below, again

depends on your background. If you’re an underrepresented minority, if you’ve had tremendous

financial hardship, it puts you in a different

cohort of applicants. it depends on those two things as well. Assuming that you are in

either of those categories I would say that and again,

also depends on the GPA. If you have a 3.2 GPA

and a 509 in the MCAT, you’re going to have a tough time. If you have a 3.8 GPA from a competitive four-year university and you have a 509 on the MCAT, you’re gonna be okay probably.. I’d say ballpark is

anything below a 509 is probably something with

which you should consider retaking for allopathic

US medical schools, not for osteopathic. But again it depends on the full picture. It depends on the GPA,

depends on the experiences, depends on do you only have

your undergraduate grades, how many years of undergraduate grades, what was your trend, all

of those kinds of things. We look at these things in

terms of the big picture to make those decisions. – [Man] When is the

latest I can take the MCAT and apply this cycle? – When is the latest I can take the MCAT and apply this cycle? And again I sound like a broken record but it largely depends on your background, your grades, your experiences in terms of making that decision. If you’re an excellent

applicant and someone who’s probably getting in, I’d say July. If you’re sort of more

of a borderline applicant and maybe doesn’t have

sort of that threshold GPA and maybe the experiences

that we like to see, I’d say May. But then for some we’d say June is okay,. again it really

depends on the applicant and kind of the overall profile. – [Man] I’m actually a freshman going into my sophomore year this fall. Do you have any tips for me to

get ahead of the application and personal statement process? -. the question is a freshman

who’s rising sophomore, what can they do to get ahead

of the personal statement and application process and it’s terrific you’re thinking about this.. you’re gonna do really well. (laughs) I’d say keep a diary, keep a journal, write about your

experiences as you go along. It’s a great question. And sort of write about your observations, what are your insights and that way not only can you sort of go back to that to try to sort of pull out the things that were really significant to you but you can also kind of watch your own maturation and growth. And that sort of is typically what leads to a really amazing personal statement when you can sort of in a

sense document that evolution.. it’s great to start

thinking about this now.. yeah, everything that you do, whatever you’re doing this summer, whatever you’re doing

during the school year both in terms of your academics as well as in terms of your extracurricular

pursuits, write about them. And that way when you start

writing about your experiences for your personal statement

and your application entries, you’ve already thought about it, right?. you already sort of know

what’s important to you and you kind of have an idea of what you’re probably going

to be highlighting where. That’s a great question. – [Man] Last question. I have a lot of research experience but no clinical experience, is that okay? – Question is I have a

lot of research experience but no clinical experience, is that okay? First of all let’s define

what clinical experience is in someone who doesn’t

have a medical degree. Typically that involves shadowing. It involves volunteering in a free clinic, it can involve EMT work. For people who are taking

a gap or year or two, it can involve scribing,

becoming a medical assistant. Assuming the research is lab research if it’s not clinical research where you’re interviewing patients and you’re involved in the

hospital which can sort of, those types of experiences, the clinical research

experiences can sort of bridge both of those things.. that involves clinical

experience and research but assuming it’s bench research you have to get some clinical exposure. You’re going to be asked

on your interviews, how do you know you want to be a doctor? And if you’ve never been

in a clinical setting and you’ve never observed

whether as a volunteer, as a shadow, it’s not going

to be convincing to people.. we have students who come to us with phenomenal research backgrounds but they have zero clinical exposure and they don’t do. well in the process. Some of them get in depending

on kind of what else there is in terms of their metrics,

their grades and their GPA but it’s very tough to convince someone you want to be a doctor if

you’ve had no clinical exposure. – [Man] Okay,. we’re

gonna call it quits there and I apologize ’cause there

are a few more questions but we’re out of time. – Okay,. we are out of time but I thank you all for your

attention and for tuning in, and I wish everybody luck. The key is to stay

organized and to stay calm and to sort of work on all

of these things methodically because this is sort of crunch

time for a lot of students. And it will all get done.. just sort of make a

list, make a schedule and it will all get finished, okay? The application year is

a really exciting year. Sometimes very stressful

but very very exciting.. good luck to everybody. (instrumental music)