MedEdits | Medical School Admissions Consulting

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Importance of Mentorship

An article published today in Academic Medicine outlines an innovative program at The David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles. Everyone in medical education understands the importance of role models, advisors and mentors yet many students have a difficult time identifying them. In an effort to help this situation, the medical school developed an innovative "College Program" during the fourth year with a curriculum focusing on mentoring. Participants in the program were more likely to identify faculty mentors and felt better prepared for residency than students who didn't participate.

Click Here to read the abstract.

At MedEdits, we understand the importance of excellent advising and mentorship throughout your medical career.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Competition For Residency

A client who is applying for dermatology brought to my attention an article addressing the competitiveness of the specialty. Even though the focus is derm, there are many aspects of the article that apply to all residencies.

While objective data such as grades and board scores are sometimes used to screen applications, stellar letters of reference and knowing people in the field to which you are applying also increase the chances of an interview invitation. Personal statements also help program directors determine if an applicant is a good fit.

The time to really shine and stand out from other applicants is during the interview. "During those 20 minutes, evaluators look at communication abilities, interpersonal skills, initiative and the ability to get along with others."

This article is a great read not just for derm applicants but for anyone applying to residency. Click Here to read the full article.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Dermatology: Two Tiers of Service

A somewhat disturbing article in the New York Times today discusses the two tiers of care that exist in many dermatology practices. Patients with real medical problems such as psoriasis or possible cancerous skin lesions often spend more time waiting and less time with the doctor than patients being seen for cosmetic procedures.

"The message is that the cosmetic patient is more important than the medical patient, and that's not a good message," Dr. Praiser said.

Click Here to read the full article.


The Business Side of Medicine

Incorporating business and customer service training into medical practices has become more commonplace today. Because there is so much to learn during medical school and residency, these aspects of "real life" medical practice are often not incorporated into training curriculums.

"It is a service industry; by and large, we have to measure the quality indicators and we have to do our best to meet those expectations."

Understanding these realities of medical practice during medical school and postgraduate training will decrease the learning curve once in the real world.

Click Here to read the full article.


Ross University to Open New Campus

Ross University plans to open a new campus in January 2009 in Freeport, Grand Bahama to accommodate the growing number of students who wish to attend the school. The primary medical school campus will remain in Dominica and the veterinary school campus will remain in St. Kitts.

Click Here to read the article.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Academic Medical Center in Palm Beach County?

Palm Beach County, Florida health leaders are meeting to discuss the possibility of opening a multi center academic medical center that they say will be a "powerhouse." Representatives from The University of Miami (UM) participated in these discussions. What does this mean for medical students and residency applicants? It means more residency positions and more doctors to serve the community.

"UM hopes to sponsor as many as 250 medical residency programs in a various specialties in Palm Beach County. That would increase the supply of doctors in the area because most physicians stay in the area where they train."

Click Here to read the article.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Integrity of Medical School Admissions Decisions

Stephen L. Kanter, MD published an editorial in Academic Medicine this month about medical school admissions.

"Getting accepted to medical school must be about what the applicant knows, not who the applicant knows. And it must be about the applicant's potential to master a set of complex skills, to cultivate a professional habit of mind, and to develop into a creative and independent thinker-not the applicant's dependence on the influence of prominent individuals."

The Liaison Committee on Education publishes suggestions to ensure the integrity of the admissions process and Dr. Kanter proposes three ways to improve the way admissions committees make decisions.

"..while well-crafted accreditation standards and time-tested guidance from the GSA Committee on Admissions are key strategies for making sound admission decisions and minimizing inappropriate influence, they are not enough. Assuring the integrity of the process also requires leadership from the dean, who is the role-model-in-chief for all faculty, students, and staff of a medical school."

Click Here to read the article.


Monday, July 21, 2008

New Medical Schools: FIU and UCF

Florida International University has received 1200 applications and the University of Central Florida has received 1600 applications to date.
“I am delighted with the number of applications we have received and the quality of the students who are applying,” said Dr. John Rock, founding dean of the FIU med school. “This bodes well for the caliber of our inaugural class and the first-rate doctors who will graduate from our College of Medicine.”

Click Here to read the full article.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Nontraditional Medical Student

Sandeep Jauhar, MD, PhD wrote an interesting article in the New England Journal of Medicine about nontraditional medical students. Ten percent of first year medical students are 27 or older and many have had other careers before medicine. While the medical school leaders he interviewed agreed that students who take a circuitous path to medicine are generally more confident, ask more compelling questions and have a broader vision of the world, they also may be more challenging for medical educators. The other issue is the fact that older applicants may not be able to practice for as long as their younger colleagues. In keeping with this theme, women are more likely to work part-time compared with their male colleagues so, while diversity may benefit a medical school student body, how does this impact society as a whole? Click Here to read the article.


Evaluating The Premedical Curriculum

An article today in the New England Journal of Medicine by Jules N. Dienstag, MD, evaluates the current premedical requirements. These requirements have not changed for decades and the necessity of these courses is being questioned. Do the physics, chemistry, biology and organic chemistry courses that premedical students take help them care for real life patients? The author suggests a more "focused" premedical curriculum with an emphasis on biologically relevant material and more rigorous cross-disciplinary science courses. The Association of American Medical Colleges and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute are jointly assessing the premedical curriculum. If these requirements change, the MCAT will also need revision. Click Here to read the article.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Long Island Hospital Welcomes International Medical Students

The American University of the Caribbean (AUC) on St. Maarten will pay $19 million dollars over 10 years to Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC) on Long Island which will allow their third and fourth year medical students to rotate through the teaching hospital. This money will also benefit the underserved, the population to which NUMC caters. AUC students will also have the opportunity to prove themselves on US shores which may open doors when it comes time for the residency match. Medical students from Stony Brook and the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine already rotate through NUMC. Click Here to read the full article.


New Medical Schools

The University of California (UC) hasn't opened a medical school in 40 years and plans to open two new medical schools to help train more physicians for underserved areas. UC Merced plans to open by 2013 and UC Riverside plans to open by 2012. The existing UC medical schools are also planning on increasing their class sizes to further address the growing doctor shortage. Click Here to read the full article.

Other new medical schools that are in the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accreditation pipeline:

Applicant School Status:

Scripps University, La Jolla, California
Oakland University Beaumont Medical School, Rochester, Michigan
Touro University College of Medicine, Hackensack/Westwood, New Jersey
Hofstra University School of Medicine, Hempstead, New York
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke, Virginia

Candidate School Status:

The Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton, Pennsylvania

Click Here to access the LCME website for more information.

Visit: We offer comprehensive medical school, residency and fellowship admissions consulting

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Letters Of Recommendation

When applying to medical school, residency and fellowship, you must carefully select your letter writers. The rules are different depending on your stage of medical training. I will outline the basics that apply to all letters and then discuss individually what is important for medical school, residency and fellowship applicants.

The Basics:

1) Your letter writer must know you well to write a strong and convincing letter.
2) If possible, try to have people who are experienced in admissions write your letters. Writing a strong letter of reference is an art and not everyone knows how to write a great letter even if they think you are a fabulous applicant.
3) Your letter should mention your intellectual abilities, motivation and interpersonal strengths.
4) It does not help to have someone with "a big name" write a letter if it is obvious this person doesn't know you.

Medical School Applicants:

1) The titles of your letter writers are less important as medical school applicants. Most people reading your letters know that, especially in large universities, you may not have much contact with your professors. A teaching assistant, for example, may have more insight regarding your intellectual abilities and motivations than your professor.
2) If your school offers a committee letter, submit it. If you don't, this will be seen as a red flag.
3) Submit a minimum of three letters of reference with at least two from scientists. You must convince the admissions committee that you can handle a rigorous science curriculum.
4) Letters should also mention your suitability for a career in medicine at this stage.

Residency and Fellowship Applicants:

1) Titles matter now. You should have at least two letters from attendings in your chosen specialty. It is best to choose attendings with academic titles who are known in the specialty to which you are applying.
2) Letters must also mention your clinical excellence at this stage.

Visit We offer admissions consulting for medical school, residency and fellowship applicants.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Application and Personal Statement Tips

When writing your application entries and personal statement for medical school, residency and fellowship it is important to consider the following:

1) Your application entries and personal statement must complement each other. It is important to consider your entries and personal statement as a whole.
2) Your personal statement should say something new that isn't stated in your application entries.
3) "Show" rather than "tell." Examples and anecdotes to illustrate your values and accomplishments keeps the reader engaged.
4) Delve into your background and experiences to say something unique in your personal statement. Oftentimes, applicants shy away from the very things that make them stand out.
5) With the new emphasis on a holistic approach of reviewing applicants for medical school, it is essential that you emphasize how you would contribute to the overall diversity of the student body.

MedEdits can help your written materials stand out from the pile. Visit us: for more information on our personal statement and application editing services.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Assessing Medical School Admissions Policies

The Association of American Medical Colleges has released a compelling report that assesses medical school admissions policies based on two Supreme Court affirmative action decisions. This report outlines suggestions for race and ethnicity conscious policies for medical school admissions committees. What is the implication of this for applicants? Applicants will be evaluated in an "individualized" and "holistic" fashion so that race and ethnicity are only one of many factors that are taken into account. Admissions committees may also be restructured based on these considerations. Click Here to read the report.
Visit us:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

How are interviewees selected?

Understanding the process

The first step in navigating the medical admissions interview is to develop a clear understanding of the interview process. Knowing why you were selected for an interview and what will go on during your interview day minimizes surprises and leads to a calm state of mind and optimum performance.

How are interviewees selected?

For medical school admissions, application screenings are done by a wide range of people; medical students, attending physicians and basic scientists. For residency, one to three people, typically physicians on the residency staff, are responsible for screening all applications and deciding who should be invited for an interview. Some schools and programs have minimum cutoffs for grades and standardized test scores, and if you do not reach these levels your application does not even make it to the screening process. Some schools and programs assign “points” for everything: extracurricular activities, board scores, and letters of recommendation; you are invited for an interview only when your score meets a minimum number. More often, however, a great deal of subjectivity goes into the decision to invite an applicant for an interview. Even though bias does not exist in the ideal world, the screener’s personal interests and outlook often play a part in the review of your application--especially if you are a “borderline” applicant. For example, if reviewer A always had to struggle with board scores yet managed to succeed while reviewer B always had board scores in the top 5th percentile, reviewer A is much more likely than reviewer B to screen in an application with lower-than-average board scores.

The person reading your application might have years of admissions experience or he or she could be a novice, such as a medical student or current resident. Both the level of experience of the screener and their own biases and preferences often determine whether or not you are granted an interview. Also, although the person reading your application might have hours to peruse through all of your materials, it is more likely that she is tired and rushed and has a large pile of applications to review. If your application follows one that is more stellar, yours may pale in comparison. On the other hand, if the pile contains mostly mediocre-to-poor applications, yours may stand out.

For all of these reasons, making your application as distinctive as possible increases the likelihood you will be invited for an interview. If the application bores the person reading it, you will likely end up in the rejection pile. But you must also understand that there are many qualified applicants to both medical school and residency and that many steps in the selection process are out of your control. This is a difficult concept, especially for students who tend to be “type A” and relish control of their fate.

MedEdits can help your written materials stand out from the pile. Visit us:

Welcome to the MedEdits Blog

We are happy to introduce the MedEdits blog. We will offer words of wisdom related to the medical school, residency and fellowship admissions process. In the meantime, be sure to visit us at