Your Path to Med School

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Your Path to Med School

  • Andrew McLemore, OMS-I
  • Pre-SOMA
  • Michigan State University
  • November 2, 2009

Taking the Osteo-Path

  • As you prepare your application, ask yourself these four questions:
    • What draws me to my chosen career in health care?
    • Am I making an informed career choice?
    • Do I have a good head?
    • Do I have a good heart?
    • Am I prepared to spend the time?

You are your resume!

  • Purpose of application process is to tell admissions committee who you are
  • More than grades, admission test scores, extracurricular activities
  • How do you differentiate yourself from others applying for the same spot?

You are your resume!

  • Be ready for the transition:
  • Student -> Applicant

How to be a Successful Applicant

What draws me to my chosen career in health care?

  • Desire to help and to serve is true of all applicants
  • Each person has a unique personal journey
  • Osteopathic Practices and Principles
  • Would make a good introduction to any personal statements you must make on your application

Am I making an informed career choice?

  • Do I know what it’s like to be a patient?
    • Personal or family experience
  • Do I know what it’s really like to be a physician?
    • Paid or volunteer activity in serving others
    • Keep a journal or blog
    • Be a part of relevant communities

Do I have a good head?

  • Do I have the intellectual capacity?
    • High GPA
    • High scores on admission tests
  • Do I have an open, creative mind?
    • Can you examine all the information, draw a conclusion, and ask if there is another way to look at the problem
    • More than being a “walking biochem book”

Do I have a good heart?

  • Do I understand the meaning of empathy?
    • Must have good interpersonal skills
  • Do I appreciate the importance of the doctor-patient relationship?
    • Career is built on relationships
    • Not the “Dilbert” lifestyle

Am I prepared to spend the time?

  • Am I prepared to spend the time required for the practice of my profession?
  • Am I prepared to spend sufficient time with each one of my patients to meet his or her needs?

Standardized Test: The MCAT

Standardized Tests

  • Veterinary, PT, OT, masters – GRE
  • Dental –DAT
  • Optometry - OAT
  • Pharmacy -PCAT
  • Medical (allopathic and osteopathic) – MCAT

Standardized Tests

  • Usually taken a minimum of 1 year before you plan to matriculate
    • This cycle’s test-takers are applying to begin in fall 2011
  • Application to medical school is done during summer between junior and senior year.

Preparing for the Exam

  • Critical to doing well on the test
  • Learn as much about the format and content before you take the first test
  • Think of this test as the single most important one in your life
    • Do it once, do it right
    • Material vs. Methods

Preparing for the Exam

  • Make sure you have taken the required courses before attempting the test
  • Need an organized, systematic review of the topics
    • Form study groups
    • Commercial review courses
    • Practice exams
    • Self-preparation

Preparing for the Exam

  • Start studying well before the test date, sometimes as early as 6 months before
  • Make getting in “game shape” a routine
  • Study 1 to 2 hours/night for the duration
  • Do not cram


Choosing which schools to apply to:

  • What type of city do I wish to live in for the next four years?
  • Is it important for me to be near friends and family?
  • What is the “culture” of the professional school?
  • What about financial considerations?

Application Forms and Services

    • Online, central clearinghouse for DO admissions
    • May apply to all 29 osteopathic campuses
    • Parallel system for MD schools
    • You may apply to both DO and MD programs

Application Forms and Services

  • 11742 applicants in 2008 cycle

Personal Statement or Essay

  • Your first chance to go beyond the numbers
  • No universal formula
    • Personal journey
    • Important experiences
    • Strengths you possess
    • Goals for education and career
    • How you will contribute to class diversity

Personal Statement

  • Can also be used to explain anything in your background
    • Difficult semester
    • Bad year due to illness or family problems
  • Have your advisor give you critical feedback on essay
  • Begin thinking about it now!

Supplemental Application

  • Once your target school receives your application and evaluates it, you may be sent a “secondary” application
    • Answer more questions
    • Another essay (different)
    • More $

Letters of Recommendation

  • Will this person write a strong letter?
  • Make sure your professors know more about you than your grades
  • Have a good mix of science/non-science professors, volunteer mentors, physicians
  • Furnish your evaluator with a resume or list of college activities

Application Timetable

Freshman, Sophomore, Junior

  • Visit your advisor each semester
  • Take relevant core science courses at a reasonable pace
  • Get some experience in your anticipated career and its community
  • Perform community service
  • Plan to take MCAT

Junior Year (spring)

  • Take standardized test
  • Keep grades up
    • Last chance to make an academic statement
    • Upward trend is great
  • Register with centralized application services (AACOMAS, AMCAS)

Summer after Junior Year

  • Complete application
  • Request transcripts from ALL schools be sent to appropriate schools or application service
  • Arrange letters of recommendation

Senior Year (Fall Semester)

  • Complete supplemental applications QUICKLY
  • Send updated transcript at the end of the semester if requested
  • Begin preparation for financial aid
  • Go to scheduled interviews

Financing your Education

  • In-state/out of state issues
  • 98% of professional school students receive some form of assistance
  • 86% of graduates have debt this is manageable!

Financing your Education

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Grants and Scholarships
  • Service Commitment (military, etc)
  • Underserved areas
  • Loans
    • -Subsidized vs. unsubsidized

Be Aware of…

  • Federal loan limits
  • D.O./Ph. D circumstances
  • Dependency from parents
  • Health Insurance
  • Rate of loan repayment

Life in Medical School

First Two Years

  • Classroom-Based
  • Final dose of Basic Science
  • Anatomy, Physiology, Biochem, Genetics
  • Doctor-Patient Relationship, Clinical Skills, OMM
  • COMLEX Level I

Years Three and Four

  • Hospital-Based
  • Rotations through various disciplines
  • Family Medicine, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, Orthopedic Surgery
  • COMLEX Level 2-CE and -PE

Internship and Residency

  • AOA or ACGME?
  • Your first work as a paid physician
    • Approximately $45,000 in PGY-1
  • PGY-1 through PGY-7
  • COMLEX Level 3
  • Board Certification

Life as a Med Student

  • Work Hard, Play Hard
  • Caregivers Must Be Careful
  • Lean on Each Other
  • Remain Objective
  • Be Good to Yourself
  • Remember the Number One Symptom

The Two Kinds of Students in Medical School

  • The “next thing to do = 17th grade
  • The “good kind”

What do you mean- Go another way??

  • Public Preprofessional Persona
  • The Power of Inertia
  • The School of Hard Knocks
  • It Happened to McLemore

Contacting Me

  • 517-803-7324
  • Facebook: Andrew McLemore
  • AIM: andrewmclemore

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