Class of 05, 1/20/04

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Class of 05, 1/20/04

Finally, the year to apply has arrived!  Now the games really begin. It is very important that you read and follow through with the information below:

  • Please let Dr. Lewis know if you DON'T think that you are a Class 05 applicant.

  • Please make an appointment ASAP to go over the process with her, and make sure that you are 'ready'.

  • SEND A DRAFT OF YOUR ESSAY NOW!! It is important that you start working on your essays now, before the MCAT really hits, and before you get caught up in other things. (Send it 72 hours before you have your appointment with Dr. Lewis so she will have a chance to look at it.)

  • When you send information, please make sure you title the actual document with your last name, date and subject i.e. "Campbell 1/20/04 Essay Draft1" This means we can keep track of all the information that you send us.

  • For any Essay Drafts that you send, please allow 72 hours for Dr. Lewis to respond, it may take a little longer, or it may be a little quicker, but Dr. Lewis becomes very busy at this time of year, so please be patient.

  • When Dr. Lewis Edits your essays, you will see " //_ CAPS" This is what they mean: CAPS to show inserted text

  • // to show deleted text

  • __ to indicate changed punctuation

  • After Dr. Lewis has edited your text, please REFORMAT into normal caps and lower case letters.  Dr. Lewis will NOT look at essays which have not been reformatted.

  • MCAT TAKERS: There is a handout at (the password is: class2004 all lowercase all one word) called "MCAT Self Assessment Worksheets", this is VERY useful in helping you understand areas of weakness, and what may be helpful in improving your performance.

  • And, there is TEST TRACKING SHEETS (at the bottom of this web page)  there are 2 - the DAILY and the WEEKLY tracking sheets. The DAILY tracking sheets are for you to track your study, and the WEEKLY tracking sheets are for you TO SEND TO DR. LEWIS AND ME EVERY SINGLEWEEK!  Yes it is MANDATORY to send us your tracking sheets with your studying progress EVERY SINGLE WEEK.  This is so Dr. Lewis can see what you are doing, how you are doing in the process, and discuss things with you a long the way.  if you don't send them to us, I will be hounding you for them!!

  • If you have any questions about any of the above, please call or email me.  But to reiterate:

    • Send a draft essay NOW

    • Make sure you label emails and documents as outlined above

    • Start tracking your MCAT study and send it to us WEEKLY

    • Make an appointment to talk with Dr. Lewis

    • Remember to breathe and take it one step at a time, earlier is ALWAYS better.

This is going to be an interesting and challenging year, which is taking you one step closer to your ultimate goal.

Class 2005 1/29/04

It's almost February, which means we're starting to gallop towards submitting your application!  It's vital, that you are early in the application process.

Having said that, this is what we need from you:

  • 1st Draft of your essay!! If you have done it - great, if you haven't send us the first draft NOW. Because if you haven't, we are adding to your list with:

  • Your first draft of EXPERIENCES!! Here is what you do. Go to: and scroll down to the bottom of the first bunch of files where it says "Post Secondary Experiences", download this file (remember it's a read only file with the password of "class2004" You will see how to fill the experience sheet in with the example.  DON'T limit it to 15 experiences, Dr. Lewis will help you consolidate them later - write as many as you can. There is room for 6 on the page, just add rows until you exhaust your list of experiences.

  • We also need you to Calculate your SCIENCE GPA, as of the present date.  How do you do this?  Again go to the above website go to the 5th document called "GPA Calculation Sheet" and fill in the blanks to get your GPA.

  • If you are doing Post Bac, or Graduate work, send us your GPA WITH the number of units.

  • When do we want ALL this information?  Friday February 6th 2004!

We know school is getting busy, we know studying for the MCAT is taking up time, but in your 'study breaks' work on this information.

You only want to go through this Application Year once.  It's hard work, it's draining, but oh so rewarding when you get the "Acceptance Letter".  So stick with it, keep to those deadlines, and you'll be breathing easy when it comes time to submit!

Class 2005 2/19/2004

Watch your email.  We assume that you are able to communicate by email as a member of the Class of 2005.

Please provide by email to

1. We should be working on your draft application essay and experiences right now.  See our template to input experiences and the how to write your essay handout on our website.  I will provide feedback within 1-2 days of receipt of your drafts.

2. Your 5-10 page, double-spaced autobiography written only for me to read is due by mid May.  It should include your personal history and background, not just why you wish to become a health professional; see the handout provided to you on our website.  This will help you for all your secondary essays and if I am writing a letter of evaluation for you, I must have it.

3. Your back-up plan is also due in mid May: a half page description of what specific strategy you will employ if not accepted for the “Class of 2005.”Wise people always have a backup plan—be specific.

4. A photograph of yourself.

Your last year GPA is absolutely critical for application.  Yes, schools turn down students whose GPA has declined in their last year.  Because the applicant pool is increasing this year (and last), it is very competitive.  Students who apply with disadvantaged status (minority, financial, first in family to attend college, etc.) may be evaluated differently at some schools, but you will generally need a 3.5 overall AND sciences GPA and double digit MCAT’s or 18+ DAT’s or 80th percentile GRE’s in order to be competitive.

I encourage every premedical student to observe and get a strong letter of recommendation from an Osteopathic physician.  It is to the advantage of most applicants to include Allopathic and Osteopathic schools and to fully understand the Osteopathic philosophy.  I always have students whose MCAT scores are not competitive for allopathic school, but Osteopathic schools would consider them seriously…and they do not prepare for or apply to Osteopathic school, thus eliminating themselves from consideration by any school.

Several of you already have some letters of recommendation/ evaluation in your file!  YAY!  You should gather all of your letters NOW.  My expectation is that all of your faculty letters will be in your file BEFORE spring finals week.   Remember that many faculty are GONE after finals week.

If your GPA-MCAT/DAT/GRE profile does not fit the above description, it is crucial that you and I have developed a sound application strategy for you.  Some of you may wish to change to Class of 2006 in order to give yourself the chance to significantly improve your GPA or to earn the $3500 you will need in reserve in order to go through the entire application process. Please keep your appointments, as my availability is in demand during this busy period.

As a rule of thumb, you should spend a minimum of 300 hours over 3 months time in preparation for the MCAT, DAT, or GRE.  The MCAT and DAT should be taken in spring while taking a light course load and a light work schedule that I have personally verified as reasonable.  

I believe that students who do not test well may have one of several problems, some of which I list:

1. You must be able to synthesize and analyze science and non-science information quickly.  

2. You must be an excellent reader of English with reasonable speed, good comprehension and excellent vocabulary.  If English is your second language or you do not have a personal history of reading lots of non-science material, you are at risk for not doing well. All of you should be reading non-technical information voraciously starting yesterday!  If this is a concern, you are much wiser to wait a year and get your reading skills well developed before trying to take the MCAT, DAT or GRE—all of which test reading skills.  
3. Your critical thinking skills must be well developed. It takes time to learn new skills and you MUST practice them—just like you learn a new game or technique.  
4. Fear—you must have the self-confidence to take this exam.  
5. Lack of a test-taking strategy.  
6. You must be reviewing the material, not learning it for the first time while preparing to take the exam.

Be prepared to focus on test preparation all spring—if the test is not your first priority, then you are not preparing appropriately.  

Luck has nothing to do with acceptance into health professions school.  It is due to hard work, appropriate planning and outstanding communication skills.  I am serious about helping you.  Please communicate your problems and questions to me in a timely fashion.  

Class 2005 5/6/04

Another Update on AMCAS.

AMCAS indicates that you will be able to submit your applications ‘On or About’ June 1st’.  However, please work closely with Dr. Lewis to determine the exact date when she indicates appropriate time is for you to personally submit YOUR AMCAS, AACOMAS, AADSAS, CASPA, etc.  It is very INDIVIDUAL.  Everyone is different, so your strategy will be different to other Class of 2005 applicants.
But please, start filling in the areas that you can NOW!  It takes time. Last year one of our advisees inputted all of his information in one very long night (minus the essays/experiences), it took him about 18 hours!! This was with NO interruptions.  So the sooner you start, the sooner you will have questions for us to answer.  Soon, you will be able to work on AACOMAS, AADSAS, etc. too.

Below is from AMCAS:

“The AMCAS application for the 2005 entering class is now online. Applicants may begin entering their information and will be able to submit their applications on or about June 1.”

“Applicants may find a detailed application instructions booklet, the Application Worksheet, and the Grade Conversion Guide on our Web site:

Coming Soon:  We will be posting a new Applicant Toolbox on our site, to include all of the above, plus:

-a 2005 Application Tip Sheet
-a 2005 Application Check List
-an AMCAS Application Timeline
-an AMCAS Glossary of Application Terms”

Class of 2005 Applicants 5/10/04

There will be more competition this year compared to last based on an increase of 7% in MCAT takers in 4/04 over 8/03 and an additional 3% over 4/03 exams.  So, please be in close contact and understand that we will be making many decisions together .  Alice will let you know dates in advance that I will be out of town or not available.  Please title your documents and emails to me with your last name, date and short clear title—this makes my job easier to focus just on your needs.
Common pitfalls of all applications; some are specific to AMCAS.

1. Missed deadlines.  Obviously, you  should ALL submit applications “early”…but this means you must have the  clinical experience under your belt in order to discuss it…or complete  tasks in order to put it into your essay.
2. Typos or errors in your essay and experiences sections of applications.  Once submitted, they cannot be  changed.  DON’T cut/paste from  MS Word.  Do all work and  editing in MS Word, THEN cut/paste to a notepad text only file into the application, otherwise you will see “strange characters” in lieu of question marks, apostrophes, etc.  
3. Use an email address that has spam filters removed because your application and schools will be communicating primarily via email.  
4. COURSEWORK ERRORS!!! Delayed processing due to:
* missed transcript deadlines,
* incorrect academic status e.g. high school or community college or professional school
* classes missed or inputted incorrectly or counted wrong for status,  
* incorrect course classification (should be based on primary content of the course,  e.g. chemical  engineering—is it chem. or engineering?)
* missing course work….e.g. all military courses, all W’s, etc.  Note that your application will be  returned by AMCAS if you do not list 10 or more courses on the application  that appear on your official transcripts.  
* In complete or inaccurate transcripts; if you did not attend a college, yet a reference on a transcript says you did, you will need a letter from that school so indicating
* Missing transcripts
* Unofficial transcripts
5.     Submission of your application EARLY is GOOD....but ERROR-FREE is BETTER.  Completeness and accuracy are crucial.

6. For AMCAS, use the PRINT option to check your data as a final step BEFORE submitting.  This is where you  save a copy of your application - “save as” as an html file, when in the  “print” mode.  

7. Have electronic payment information ready at the time of submission.  AMCAS is $160 first school plus $30/school  thereafter.  AACOMAS is $155  first school, $275 for 5 schools and $405 for 10 schools (see online for  the actual list). AADSAS is $195 first school plus $60/school thereafter  (up to 10, at which point the price goes down to $50 per additional school  and then drops to $20 per school)
8. We should be finalizing YOUR application essays, your experiences from the Lewis worksheet, and collecting all Letters of Recommendation NOW.  
9. You should have a complete set of official transcripts in YOUR possession, make a copy and provide to ME please.  AMCAS AACOMAS and AADSAS (as of  May 1) is now accepting transcripts.  We should have developed YOUR specific plan if you have spring and summer 2004 transcripts.  
10. AADSAS opens May 17, 2004 but accepts transcripts now and will mail first batch of applications in June.
AACOMAS is open and begins accepting completed applications to process June 1, 2004

AMCAS will begin processing in “early” June.

VMCAS goes live June 2, 2004 and will begin processing a few weeks later
CASPA is open now and will begin processing in a few weeks
PHARMCAS will open in June


Class 2005

  1. If you are applying through AMCAS and AACOMAS please make sure that you have ALREADY signed up and have entered your biographical information and requested your transcripts to be sent (pending your discussion with Dr. Lewis on when the RIGHT time for you to request your transcripts).

  2. If you are applying to both AMCAS and AACOMAS, please COMPLETE YOUR AMCAS APPLICATION FIRST!  The reason  for this is AMCAS is more time consuming and ‘draining’, so get it over with first!

  3. AADSAS will be up (hopefully) on Monday, please make sure you enter in your biographical information and order your transcripts using the ‘transcript matching forms!’ (again remember to talk with Dr. Lewis about the best time to order your transcripts)

  4. Please email us your ID and password for your applications today (let us know if there are any uppercase letters – it is case sensitive)!  PLEASE DO THIS NO LATER THAN WEDNESDAY  MAY 19TH!!

Why do we want your id and password?  Your application will be secure, we DO NOT give this information to anyone.  We will only access your application if you have problems and you would like our help, and we will also go through your application and make sure it is ‘perfect’ before you send it.  If we don’t not have access to your application, we can’t help you as easily as we can with that information.


Class of 2005

During this busy application season, you must keep in close contact with our office.
For most technical AMCAS, AACOMAS, AADSAS, CASPA, etc. questions Alice can answer them or find out the answer.
For all essay, text, strategy questions, I will be the appropriate venue.
Please have a weekly meeting planned with us through submission of your application.
1.    Give Alice your AMCAS ID#, and all applications have a UN and PW that we need in order to help you.  If we don’t have these, we assume you have not yet opened/registered in the application and you are several weeks behind.
2.    Tell us the date you started your application.
3.    You should have requested a copy of all official college transcripts for yourself already and should have received most of them by now.  Please confirm.
4.    You should have requested a copy of official college transcripts to be sent to all your application services (AMCAS and AADSAS have a form that you give to each school; the other services do not).  These should be all schools except for where you currently are taking spring classes.  You and I should individually decide whether you will include your spring grades.  Make sure we have made that decision as it drives the date you request these transcripts.  Please forward all AMCAS transcript receipt emails to us to let us know they are received.
5.    We should be making excellent progress on your essay drafts.  We may have MORE than one of these (e.g. AACOMAS, disadvantaged, school probation, etc.).  I will work as hard as YOU do…send me emails with drafts frequently.
6.    Letters of recommendation should be collected at the site which is going to mail them as a packet for you; this should be almost complete now, and finally complete by the middle of July, 2004.  We like to have a copy of ALL your letters whether or not we will mail them so I can evaluate their quality.  All letters stay in a confidential file in our office and you do not have access, but I can help you more effectively if I can read them.
7.    We should be making excellent progress on your post-secondary experiences worksheet. I have a method for every step….so just follow my directions, please.
8.    Please read my handouts on our website as you go through each step e.g. timetable, checklist, letters and essay NOW, understand my editing marks, and how to title your email subject line and all documents.
9.    Work on AMCAS before AACOMAS if applying to both.  AMCAS is more time consuming.
10. Phone numbers for you if you want to call the application services:
AMCAS       202-828-0600
AACOMAS   301-968-4190 or 4100
AADSAS      202-667-9433
CASPA       240-497-1895

Just a reminder:

It is IMPORTANT that when you send an email to Dr. Lewis that you put in the subject line your name (last name will be fine), date and a topic.

I.e "Rae-Flick, 5/28/04, Experiences List"

Then put the same title on the DOCUMENT too!

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLLLLLLEEEEEEEAAAAASSSSSEEEE, do this!!  it will make everyone’s life much better.

Class 2005:
Baylor and Duke only seriously consider students with the highest GPA

and MCATs--here is new info about them:


Baylor College of Medicine's Supplemental Application is now available

at Applicants

may complete and submit the supplemental at their earliest convenience.

Baylor participates in the AMCAS application process, and will honor

the AMCAS FAP. Please email or fax 713-798-5563

the FAP approval from AMCAS. We will provide further instructions at

the time of receipt. Baylor College of Medicine is located in Houston,

Texas inside the Texas Medical Center, one of the largest incorporated

medical centers in the world. We received 4208 applications for the

2004 entering class and interviewed 623. If you have any questions, or

need assistance, please email

L. Leighton Hill, M.D. Sr. Associate Dean for Admissions Baylor

College of Medicine

Duke University School of Medicine will unveil its new "Foundation for

Excellence" curriculum this Fall. It is the culmination of three years


effort by the faculty, students and staff to create an integrated,

interdisciplinary curriculum. The new curriculum consists of:
· Year 1- Basic sciences taught in three integrated courses

· Year 2- Clinical clerkships with five one-week intersessions


three elective periods woven throughout the clerkship year

· Year 3- 10 months of research/scholarly activity

· Year 4- Clinical electives/selectives ending with a 4-week

capstone course.
visit the Duke website:

Colleen O'Connor Grochowski, Ph.D.

Assistant Dean, Curriculum Development

Duke University School of Medicine

phone: 919-684-3130

fax: 919-681-8195


Class 2005
It is important that you and I individually finalize all essays and

experience sections of your AMCAS, AACOMAS, AADSAS, CASPA applications

ASAP so that it can be submitted soon.
But, an excellent application is as important as timing.
Please confirm with Alice that:

ALL your college transcripts are NOW received by the application

service and YOU.

Your academic record and biographic info is inputted into the


Your letters of rec are all received into our confidential file (or

another confidential file) for you
Some of you will need to rethink applying this year based on current

test scores--we should be developing that strategy now.

And, we can now select your schools for application...this is our next

step and should be done by end of June!

SO, MAKE your apptmts ASAP...sometimes just 15 min is needed...and stay

in close email contact!

We will work hard together! And, I look forward to your success.

Please give Alice the date of submission of your AMCAS (you should be submitting NOW or very soon) and an electronic copy.

Please note that Osteopathic medical school is MORE competitive than allopathic medical school....that is, there are more applicants per position.  Thus, getting your AACOMAS in "early" or ASAP is really the only way to remain competitive. So, wherever we are in your AMCAS process, let's now begin the AACOMAS!

The AACOMAS is SOO easy in comparison to AMCAS:
Input all biographical and academic record data and confirm with Alice that your transcripts have been requested for AACOMAS also!

The essay is 3 paragraphs:
First is your AMCAS uniqueness statement
Second is your AMCAS "why I want to be a doctor journey"
Third is NEW:  Why I am interested in Osteopathic medicine.  This needs to tie to your actual track record with an Osteopathic physician and your knowledge of the profession, as well as how you will use the Osteopathic attitude/skills in your practice.
OK? Send me a draft and we will go from there.  It is shorter than the AMCAS and we will edit as needed!  (3000 characters, aprox 500 words)

Then we will work on Questions 3, 15, 16...pretty easy!   (each are 700 characters, aprox 100 words)

And, select your schools.  Also easy.


Class of 2005

Congratulations to Hilli Katzir, Kishan Gupta and Leah Ruslen for being 'first' to have their AMCAS applications processed, and on the way to medical school!!

Please make sure you tell us the date that your AMCAS application was processed - send us the email confirmation.

You will also be able to see your GPA's once the AMCAS is populated. (Go to the print function to find them).  Then send them to us.
AACOMAS and AADSAS will mail this data to you in summary format either as a hard copy or email.  We want a copy of that too!!

Congratulations for getting through some of the application process.  Now is the time to familiarize yourself with the "Application Tracking Sheet"

Under "Tracking sheets" you will see 'Application Tracking', download this and fill in the schools that you have applied to (There are different worksheets for AMCAS, AACOMAS, AADSAS etc - look for the tabs at the bottom left-hand side to see the other options) and the date you submitted to AMCAS, etc (this will be the same for all schools, unless you add schools later).  Verification date - is the date that the application was processed and sent to schools.

We will be expecting your first application tracking sheet in about a week or two, and then request you to send this about once a week - when new information is added.

Let us know if you have any difficulties using this  tracking sheet.

For those still completing the AMCAS/AACOMAS Applications:

  1. Remember to include in your experiences template your research experiences too.

  2. West Virginia Osteo now takes 50% non-residents! Average matriculating MCAT is 23, overall GPA is 3.4 and Science GPA is 3.3.  Please add this school.

Now that you are receiving secondaries there maybe questions  about Letters of Recommendation and writing essays:

Letters of Recommendation for AMCAS, AACOMAS  & AADSAS:
1. How many letters should be sent to schools?
You will probably see that schools ask for a particular number of letters, i.e. 2 Science and 1 non-science letter. Regardless of who is sending your letters (Dr. Lewis or your school), ALL letters should be sent – unless there is an ‘unhelpful’ letter, which is why Dr. Lewis wants to see your  letters (so she can evaluate them to determine if they are ALL helpful). It is NOT a ‘black mark’ against you by sending them all.  They won’t throw them out, and it won’t mean that you ‘can’t follow instructions’.  All it means, is that the school will read more good things about you.  Dr. Lewis will put your letters in order, so the most helpful is on top. This is also why she would like to see your school letter packet, because if you have the option of putting your letters in order, you can request it. (Not all schools allow this.)

2. If a school asks for a letter that I don’t have, what do I do?
Consult with Dr. Lewis and then GET THE LETTER ASAP!

3. How should I indicate where the letters are coming from?  There are options of ‘Committee letter, Packets of Letters, Individual letters’.  Who do I say Dr. Lewis is affiliated with?

A. If your college is sending your letters and they are writing a Committee Letter, then the Committee Letter option is correct.  

B. If your college is sending letters, but does NOT provide a Committee Letter, then it would be the ‘Packet of Letters’ option.  
C. If you are using Dr. Lewis to send your letters, then it would be a Packet of Letters and she is affiliated with San Diego State University.

If the ‘right’ option isn’t given on the application, use your best judgment as what your ‘right’ option is.  Remember they are mainly asking about yourletters so they can match the letters to your application and won’t lose them.  Ask if you still have a question.

4. There is only space to write the last names of 3 of my letter writers and I have 6, what do I do?
Write the last names of ALL your letter writers in your file.  Again, schools are trying to match your letters with your application.

5. It says letters from a commercial entity won’t be accepted.
Dr. Lewis has been working with medical schools for 20 years. We know there are some schools with ‘special needs’ when it comes to letters. We also know how to handle these.  If you come across a school with ‘special needs’  then let us know.  
The list of schools (see below) have some special requirements (including separating letters into 2 packets, not including
Dr. Lewis letter, to other specific requirements.
Allopathic — UCSF, USC, U. Chicago (Pritzker), Washington U. St. Louis, Dartmouth, Einstein, Mount Sinai, Columbia, U. Pennsylvania,U. Pittsburgh.
Osteopathic — Most programs.

6. What is the process of Dr. Lewis sending your letters?
Download our Application Tracking sheet (make sure you select the right ‘worksheet’ check the bottom left hand corner for the different ‘Tabs’, the first 2 deal with Transcripts and Letters of Rec ) and FILL IT IN, then send it to us every week or two.  On that sheet, we will see when you have sent your seconndaries.  Once your secondary has been sent, we will send your letters to those schools.  Only CUHRE students will come to our office and collect letters to mail yourself.  
We will send letters out in batches as it is easier and faster for us.  We WILL NOT send your letters one at a time – that annoys schools!  So, ALL your letters must be in your file before we send any of them, which means if you are receiving secondaries now and haven’t got all your letters into your file, you better scramble to get them in because you are now “wasting” precious application time!!

7. Do schools lose letters?
Yes, sometimes they do.  That is why it’s important to verify everything.  Once everything is submitted, follow up with schools if you haven’t heard from them after 2-4 weeks to verify they received your secondary, fee and letters.  If your letters still haven’t arrived, LET US KNOW and we will resend them.  DON’T worry if this happens.  On average, we re-send probably 1 packet per person each year.

Like your primary application, secondary essays are VERY important, so send them to Dr. Lewis for feedback.  Remember the following please:

  • Title your email subject, the documents AND file names with: your last name, date and a concise title.  I.e. ‘Smith7.13.04UCSDEssay.doc’ (this is an example of a document file name)

  • Include the QUESTION at the top of the essay with the space provided PLUS the school name.  Please HIGHLIGHT it so it is distinguishable from the rest of the essay. I.e. “Why do you want to come to UCSD” 200 words For UCSD.  

       I want to go to UCSD because....”

  • Again, title the email, the document/file (at the top of the page, so when we print it, it will be at the top), and include the school name the secondary is for.

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