applying start

Red Hot Ways to Show Your Medical School Fit

Red Hot Ways to Show Your Medical School Fit

By: Ryan Kelly

In the late 1980s, Flea and Anthony Kiedis--the two founders of Red Hot Chili Peppers--were having a hard time finding a drummer. The band had already met with some success, releasing three albums, the last of which had climbed to number 148 on the Billboard charts. The original drummer quit after a drug overdose claimed the life of his close friend and lead guitarist. The next two drummers were both fired, one for chemistry and the other because he couldn't stay sober. The Chili Peppers needed a drummer, one who not only could play the drums but would fit with the band.

4 Steps for Assembling UCSD's Autobiographical Secondary Essay

4 Steps for Assembling UCSD's Autobiographical Secondary Essay

By: Ryan Kelly

“It’s alive!”

Pre-meds might find themselves repeating Dr. Frankenstein’s catchphrase as they work on UCSD Medical School’s secondary essay. There’s no doubt; it’s a bonafide monster. The notorious UCSD autobiographical statement gives you 6,000 characters (yes, more than your personal statement) to answer the following prompt:

3 Strategies for Describing Yourself in 1,000 Characters for Albany Medical College's Secondary

3 Strategies for Describing Yourself in 1,000 Characters for Albany Medical College's Secondary

By: Ryan Kelly

Everyone knows that frustrating interview question that asks you to “Describe yourself in three words.”

How can you capture your personality in three words? It feels impossible to be unique yet so succinct at the same time.  The toughest secondary essay prompt for Albany Medical College, “Describe yourself,” might elicit similar feelings of frustration. In this case, you get 1,000 characters, but that’s still a pretty restrictive limit.    

How to Stand Out If You’re Totally Average: the Pre-Med Capstone Project

How to Stand Out If You’re Totally Average: the Pre-Med Capstone Project

By: Ryan Kelly

It’s easy to feel inferior as a pre-med. You look around your classes and see people who are smarter than you, work harder than you, who have overcome unbelievable obstacles to get where they are today. And then you look at yourself and feel, well, average. Nothing interesting defines your life. You certainly haven’t overcome much in your two decades and counting on this planet.  How, then, can you stand out in your medical school application given that you feel so average?

Volunteering, Research, Community Service: Great Ways to Get Rejected from Medical School

Volunteering, Research, Community Service: Great Ways to Get Rejected from Medical School

By: Ryan Kelly

Do any of the following sound like you?

You’re volunteering every week in the hospital to get enough hours to put on your medical school application. You’re pushing through your research internship even though you don’t like it much - because you know medical schools want students with research experience. You’re volunteering your time at a homeless shelter or attending blood drives to get your hours above the threshold most medical schools seek in their applicants (roughly 200 hours if you’re curious).

I have bad news. This will probably get you rejected.

3 Techniques to Avoid Sounding Cliche in Your Medical School Personal Statement

3 Techniques to Avoid Sounding Cliche in Your Medical School Personal Statement

By: Ryan Kelly


If you like science and want to help people, we think that’s great. But that won’t cut it when answering “Why medicine?” in your medical school personal statement.  

Those reasons have become cliche over the years, and admissions committees will be unimpressed by them. They will see an affinity for science and a desire to help people as prerequisites for becoming a doctor, rather than the primary motivations.

The Secret to Telling a Great Story in Your Personal Statement

The Secret to Telling a Great Story in Your Personal Statement

By: Ryan Kelly

Most people know the writing adage, “show, don’t tell.” Whether you’re writing a novel or a medical school personal statement, this approach is a tried-and-true way of getting your message across.

But it’s easier said than done. What story do you choose? What elements do you emphasize? How can you be sure that the reader will understand your point?

Never fear; we’ve got the answers!

5 Reasons You Should Apply to DO Schools

5 Reasons You Should Apply to DO Schools

By: Ryan Kelly

Thinking about applying to a DO school? You’re not alone.  Each year, more and more pre-meds are considering DO schools as a viable option. Most pre-meds start their journey to medical school by focusing on allopathic (MD) schools. Part of the reason is that MD schools are more prominent. For example, of the top 50 medical schools ranked in primary care, only one  - Michigan State - is a DO school (and 0 of the top 50 ranked for research are DO schools). The other reason is ignorance - most pre-meds just don’t know that DO schools exist, or if they do know, they don’t know what makes these schools distinct.

Highly Recommended: Training to Be a Good Writer

Highly Recommended: Training to Be a Good Writer

By: Ryan Kelly

Many pre-meds have feelings of trepidation when they sit down at the keyboard. Some openly claim to be “bad writers,” while others simply struggle to meet their own high standards.  

But as professional writer Leo Babauta points out, writing takes time and practice to master:

“I didn’t wake up and suddenly know how to write — I’ve been training for most of my life.”

3 Tips for “Average” Pre-Meds to Stand Out in Their Medical School Admissions Essays

3 Tips for “Average” Pre-Meds to Stand Out in Their Medical School Admissions Essays

By: Ryan Kelly

The dreaded “diversity question.” 

Each year, as students fill out their secondary applications, they’re bombarded with essay prompts about their “diverse qualities,” “unique insights,” or “unusual life experiences.” Schools will usually ask how these qualities, insights, or experiences will contribute to their campus or environment.