Check out our brand spankin new Secondary Essays hosted on our Notion Database!
How will you pay off the overwhelming amount of tuition and fees in medical school? Should you take out loans? Which ones? What about scholarships? Can you negotiate with medical schools? What are the do’s and don’ts of medical school financial aid? You’re not alone in this difficult journey. Here are 8 testimonies from a diverse set of students to help you avoid mistakes and give you a baseline of advice.
With new deadlines announced recently, we’ve highlighted the crucial dates to submit your 2021-2022 AMCAS, AACOMAS, TMDSAS, and CASPer so that you survive the application gauntlet.
Time is a precious commodity for pre-meds, which makes TikTok a pretty interesting choice for their energy and focus. On one hand, the social media app’s video format is short, so TikTok might be conducive to a pre-med’s busy, on-the-go lifestyle. But on the other hand, the app is literally named after the sound of a ticking clock, representing the passing time that’s potentially wasting away as you endlessly scroll. So, should pre-meds be spending time on TikTok? And if so, what’s the content that’s worth watching?
The holiday break can be a time of blissful unproductivity - lazing around, eating hearty meals, tinkering with new presents - but it can also be a good time to put in some work on your medical school application (hopefully it’s a little bit of both!). So, if you’re feeling ambitious, how exactly should you spend your holiday break? Well, that depends a little bit on how far along you are in your pre-med journey. Regardless of whether you recently applied or won’t be applying for a few years, we wanted to give you 6 possible options for holiday productivity.
As plastic, steel, and carefully crafted artificial intelligence (AI) continue to steal jobs and make professions obsolete, modern life can feel a bit like a Black Mirror episode. And now, the medical scribing profession is the next job being threatened by machines and AI. Whether you’re a current scribe, a hopeful scribe, or an aspiring physician who will eventually work alongside scribes, it’s important to consider the future of this profession (and other ‘nonessential’ medical staff), especially in our current COVID-19 era and in the coming age of telemedicine. Here’s what you need to know.
For each medical school, only about 10-15% of applicants are offered an interview each year, let alone placed on a waitlist. So, if you’re on a waitlist, you’re in rare company! It’s actually quite an accomplishment. Okay - sorry - we know that’s not much consolation. The waitlist is the medical school equivalent of “being in limbo,” so we’re sure you have lots of anxious questions. Let’s get them answered!
Have you recently interviewed at your dream medical school? Were you just placed on its waitlist? Is interview season over, and you’re still waiting to hear back from your top-choice program? If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, it’s likely time for you to write a letter of intent. This letter is quite high-stakes, so you want to get it right! This article will help you write an effective letter of intent that gets noticed and moves the needle.
Professors are busy, and they don’t get paid to write letters of recommendation. Other than effectively lecturing in their classes and offering a certain amount of office hours, they don’t owe you anything, so you need to meet them more than halfway and have realistic expectations of them. In other words, the onus is on you to make them care about you and your future. Here are some useful tips that will endear you to your professors, especially during these COVID times of virtual learning.
Canceled MCATs; online coursework; in-person shadowing restrictions; virtual interviewing - COVID-19 undoubtedly shifted the medical school admissions process in 2020 and created unprecedented challenges for pre-meds. But how will it impact medical school admissions moving forward? What will COVID-19’s legacy be in the 2021-2022 cycle?
Capstone projects are a great way for pre-meds to stand out from the pack and be memorable to admissions committees. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated this type of endeavor. So we wanted to give some examples of pre-med virtual capstone projects to show you that it’s still possible to accomplish this kind of initiative, even amid the restrictions and limitations of the virus.
Whether you’ve already applied and are looking for gap-year activities, or you’re a younger pre-med who’s trying to meet requirements, you’re facing an unprecedented challenge in finding meaningful volunteer experiences. Beggars can’t be choosers, but you shouldn’t just sign up for the first available thing you find. Why not? Because your choices will be measured against all the other pre-meds who are in your same position. So, what defines a “quality” volunteer experience during the pandemic, and which ones will make you stand out to admissions committees?
The MCAT has undoubtedly been the most controversial COVID-related topic in medical school admissions. Rather than moving the test online or making it optional, the AAMC maintained its normal in-person procedures for 2020. And guess what? In-person MCAT testing will continue into 2021, despite projections of not getting a COVID-19 vaccine until mid-2021. Find out everything you need to know here.
Based on what we can tell, most medical schools will accept virtual shadowing and clinical hours. That’s good news for pre-meds who have been deemed non-essential during COVID-19. However, not all virtual shadowing platforms are created equal, so you’ll need to carefully choose which ones you pursue. What makes a virtual shadowing experience worthwhile, and which platforms are the best?
Hospitals and clinics have mostly banned pre-med students from shadowing and volunteering, but medical school admissions committees continue to require hundreds of clinical hours (~300 total, 100 shadowing) in order to get in. You could opt to get an EMT or phlebotomy certification, but those essential jobs typically require 20+ hours per week, not a time commitment that most full-time students can keep. So how do you get clinical experience when you're not "essential personnel?"
Selecting medical schools that fit your goals and credentials is one of the most significant decisions during the admissions process. After all, having a well thought out list of medical schools will make a difference between being denied acceptance or becoming a first year at your dream school. So what tools are out there to help you create your list of medical schools? Well, we can tell you this right off the bat: it’s NOT just the MSAR!
Now that medical school virtual interviews are underway, we’ve talked to some applicants who have interviewed already, so that we could pick their brains and share some insider tips with you. Hopefully these insider tips will give you the edge you need, or at least provide some much-needed comfort during this nerve-racking time.
Secondary application fees range anywhere from $75 to $150, averaging at $112.5. What if we told you that you could significantly improve your virtual interview appearance for less than a single secondary fee?
Once you submit your secondaries and the summer dies down, it's time to send update letters to the medical schools on your list! Confused about how to start? What to include? When to send them off? We're here to answer all of your pressing questions and help you craft a stellar update letter that gets noticed by medical schools.
As a pre-med student, your time is precious. You’re writing your secondary essays, practicing your virtual interview skills for AAMC’s VITA, preparing for the CASPer, studying hard for mid-terms, planning your path to med school, and stressing about whether you're good enough to make it in the end. How in the world will you have time to find the information you need to succeed in this application process? The answer: podcasts. Whether you’re studying, driving, or exercising, podcasts allow you to multitask. What better way to kill two birds with one stone? With podcast popularity on the rise, podcasts offer endless options and topics, including the medical school application process, medical education, and medicine. Out of the 700,000 active podcasts, which are most helpful for pre-meds?
You’ll need to meet all the prerequisites to be considered for admission, but you’ll need to go above and beyond to stand out and ensure your chances of getting in. Since you’ll have to go above and beyond, we want this post to do the same thing. We’ll give you all the requirements, BUT we’ll also provide tips and tricks for separating you from the countless other eligible applicants.
We’re not saying that you need to be hyper-obsessive and plan out every little detail, and we’re not saying that you can’t change your mind or take time to explore. BUT getting into medical schools is HARD, and the competition is STEEP, so careful planning will be crucial to your success. And it’s not just about planning in general. You’ve probably heard the phrase “work smarter, not harder.” The same idea applies here. We want to help you “plan smarter” by offering you tips and insights that will give you a strategic advantage.
The makers of the CASPer, Altus Assessments, have decided to create their own version of the AAMC Video Interview Tool for Admissions (VITA), so that they can cash in on this new market (even though they’re a bit late to the party). Now Altus will have two CASPer tests that it can charge applicants for. Maybe they should spell it CA$$$Per…
You might be wondering if there are any strategies that can give you an edge and help you crush the VITA. It’s smart to review the AAMC’s VITA guide, but we want to offer you some additional strategies that you might not be able to find elsewhere.
Even if you practice for the VITA until you’re blue in the face, it might feel like you’re alone in an echo chamber, with no objective way to gauge the quality of your responses. That’s why we wanted to place you in the position of the evaluator by showing you a sample VITA response and inviting you to participate in our critique. By seeing the negatives and positives of someone else’s sample, you can hopefully improve the quality of your own answers.
In the AAMC VITA, you will be presented with complex questions aiming to gauge your ability to address the AAMC pre-med competencies. Don’t panic quite yet! We’re here to cover some tips for how to ace your responses.
In last week’s post, we covered how to look your best on screen during virtual interviews, including wardrobe, lighting, and backdrop. Now we’re back with more tips to ensure that your virtual interview isn’t jeopardized by faulty technology.
The AAMC House of Horrors has instituted a definitely not new and probably not improved virtual interview tool (VITA), to be used as yet another way for medical schools to evaluate you. We’re here to answer all the questions about aesthetics and appearance that you’re dying to ask.
Imagine having to record an 18-minute speech about your qualifications for becoming a physician. Now imagine that speech being sent to all the medical schools you’re applying to, without being able to make any edits or start over. Sounds pretty terrifying, right? Well, that’s essentially how the new AAMC Video Interview Tool for Admissions (VITA) is going to work… more or less.
It was recently announced that two medical schools - University of California Davis School of Medicine and University of Minnesota Medical School Twin Cities - will be participating in the AAMC’s pilot Situational Judgment Test (SJT). If you’re applying to either or both of these schools, you probably have a lot of questions: Is the pilot test mandatory? Will the test affect my admissions chances? What kinds of questions will be asked? We’re here to help get those questions answered!
When we Googled “how to talk to parents,” the results were all over the map. Some were quite serious: depression, dating, moving out, etc. What we didn’t find was how to talk to your parents about applying to medical school. In our experience, this task can range from laidback to very stressful, depending on the pre-med, family, and numerous factors like income or culture. Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, we have some helpful tips to prepare you for this pivotal conversation in your pre-med journey.
With recent changes to the MCAT start times to 6:30am, 12:15pm, and 6:00pm each day, some people may find that adjusting their biological clock has been added to the test-day preparation list. Good news - we have some tricks that will make adjusting your sleep much easier.
We’re facing a shortage of doctors in the United States, anywhere between 40 and 100,000 by the year 2030. And yet, getting into medical school is harder than ever. What gives?
Submitting your residency application is all about timing. Download our residency timeline PDF, created by residency advisor Ali Murtha.
Join The Savvy Pre-med's 30-Day “No Complaints” Challenge. This is a personal challenge that can help you focus on the big picture of what you are doing and why. It’s directly related to your mindset and success as a pre-med.