MedEdits | Medical School Admissions Consulting

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Medical School Interview Ebook

It is finally here. The Medical School Interview ebook is a must read for every medical school applicant. Based on my experience as an admissions officer and as a private advisor, I offer guidance on what to expect on interview day, how to influence what is discussed during your interview and what you can do to ensure that you have a stellar interview performance. I also write about what goes on “behind the scenes” after your interview and provide a transcript of a sample interview. Be the first to download a copy of this book before it is published!

The Medical School Interview book is 68 pages and is a pdf file. Cost: $45.

Purchase below. After your payment is confirmed, you will receive a link to download the book.

Add to Cart

If you are interested in doing a mock medical school interview with the author, Dr. Freedman, contact us.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Too Early To Start Working On Your Medical School Application?

I encourage all applicants who are applying to medical school in 2010 to start working on their personal statement and application entries over the holiday break this December. This doesn't mean that you must complete your final drafts now but applicants should start thinking about their most meaningful experiences and the themes in their background. Ideally, applicants should have first drafts of all documents completed by the end of January and should work on these documents throughout the winter and spring. 

If you are interested in receiving help for the upcoming application season, please contact me soon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Physicians Working Part Time

An interesting article in the New York Times today outlines the findings of a survey study done by the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2006, 1 in 4 pediatricians were working part time; 36% of women were working part time and 8% of men. These physicians reported greater levels of satisfaction in their work, personal and family lives than their full time colleagues. With more women entering medical school, part time practice may become commonplace and I believe that more men may join this trend.

On a completely anecdotal level, most of my female physician friends and colleagues who have children, work part time. A career in medicine offers flexible options -- a luxury that most of my friends in business and law do not have.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

What Is The BCPM GPA?

For those of you applying to medical school in the future, you should be aware that your grade point average (GPA), will be broken down into 3 categories on your medical school application:

1) Total: This is your average GPA for all of your courses.

2) BCPM: This is your average GPA for all courses that are considered biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics.

Sometimes it is not obvious which courses are considered BCPM. If you are unsure, you should refer to the American Medical College Application Service Instructions (specifically, pages 43 - 48).

3) AO (all other): This category includes all courses that are not considered BCPM.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Acing Your Residency Interview

Read my latest article about residency interviews on the Student Doctor Network!

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Discussion About The Doctor Shortage on NPR

Listen to this discussion with Dr. Atul Grover from the Association of American Medical Colleges on NPR about the looming doctor shortage. He mentions many topics including the importance of increasing the number of residency training slots, medical students specialty choice and the implications of an aging population.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

When Do I Register For The MCAT?

Recently, medical school clients have asked where they can find the deadlines to register for the MCAT. This table also provides tentative score release dates. Remember to register for your MCAT exam early and don't wait until the deadline!

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Medical School Letters of Reference (LORs)

If you are applying to medical school in 2010, now is the time to start thinking about who will be writing your letters of reference. If you already have some definite ideas about whom you will ask, you should approach those individuals now and ask if they would write a strong letter in support of your candidacy to medical school. Letter submissions often delay the completion of applications so the earlier you get started (before your letter writer is bombarded with requests from other students), the more likely that your letter will be completed in a timely fashion and written with care. If your college has a prehealth or preprofessions office, they can hold your letters for you. Alternatively, you can use a letter service to keep your letters safe until it is time to apply.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Premedical Committee Letter

Some clients ask if it is necessary to get a premedical committee lettter. If your school offers this composite letter from the premedical advisor, you should include this in your application. It is sometimes considered suspect if your school offers a committee letter and you don't have this in your application. That said, not every undergraduate college offers a committee letter in which case it is fine not to have one.

For help with your 2011 medical school applications, please contact me soon.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Medical School Interview Thank You Notes

I recently blogged about residency interview thank you notes and realize that a similar entry would be useful for medical school applicants. In general, the same rules apply and, while these notes demostrate respect, they are never used to evaluate your candidacy. It is acceptable to compose a hand written note or to send an email if your interviewer gave you their email address. These notes should be brief; you should thank your interviewer for their time and express your interest in the school. If you discussed anything specific or "connected" on any topic, you can also mention this. Write these notes/emails within a week of your interview.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Residency Interview Thank You Notes

I receive many queries from clients regarding thank you notes after residency interviews. The most recent program directors survey done by the National Residency Matching Program suggests that such follow up notes do not impact ranking but I still recommend that applicants send them. Expressing gratitude suggests that you are courteous and professional and therefore I always advise sending them. Since most faculty are hooked on email, it is acceptable to send thank you emails unless the program specifically instructs otherwise.

On a personal note, when I was a residency admissions officer and received such letters from applicants, they often ended up in the recycle bin even though it made a good impression. These notes never impacted the decision that I made regarding an applicant's candidacy or ranking.

So, what should you write? These notes should be brief (one or two paragraphs) unless you discussed something specific and unusual with an interviewer. You should thank the interviewer for their time, try to mention something specific from your interview and discuss what you liked about the program.

You should wait to tell a program that they are your #1 choice until the end of interview season and then write a letter of intent.

Do you need help with your interview season strategy or letter of intent? Contact MedEdits.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Medical School Acceptances

I wanted to offer congratulations to all MedEdits medical school clients who have interviews and medical school acceptances. As of November 3rd, 2009, many of our clients have multiple interviews and accpetances. Below is our impressive list of where our clients have interviews and where they have received accpetances (bolded).

I will be attending the Association of American Medical Colleges meeting later this week to stay up to date on all of the advances and trends in medical education and will be out of the office.

Albany Medical College

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Baylor College of Medicine

Boston University School of Medicine

Brown/Warren Alpert School of Medicine

Case Western Reserve School of Medicine

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

The Commonwealth Medical College

Creighton School of Medicine

Dartmouth Medical School

Drexel University College of Medicine

Duke University School of Medicine

Eastern Virginia Medical School

Emory University School of Medicine

Florida International University College of Medicine

Georgetown University School of Medicine

The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Harvard Medical School

Indiana University School of Medicine

Jefferson Medical College

Loyola University Chicago School of Medicine

Mayo School of Medicine

Medical College of Wisconsin

Mount Sinai School of Medicine

New Jersey Medical School

New York Medical College

New York University School of Medicine

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

The Ohio State University College of Medicine

Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine

Pennsylvania State University School of Medicine

Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago

State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine

Rosalind Franklin/Chicago Medical School

State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine

Stony Brook University School of Medicine

Temple University School of Medicine

Texas A & M University System Health Science Center College of Medicine

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine

Tufts School of Medicine

Tufts School of Medicine - Maine Track

Tulane University School of Medicine

Uniformed Services School of Medicine

University of Alabama School of Medicine

University of California, Davis, School of Medicine

University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine

University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine

University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine

University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago

University of Iowa College of Medicine

University of Kentucky School of Medicine

University of Maryland School of Medicine

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

University of Tennessee College of Medicine

University of Texas School of Medicine at Houston

University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

University of Toledo School of Medicine

University of Vermont College of Medicine

University of Virginia School of Medicine

Vanderbilt School of Medicine

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

Virginia Tech School of Medicine

Washington University School of Medicine

Wayne State School of Medicine

Weill Cornell Medical College

West Virginia University School of Medicine

Wright State University School of Medicine

Yale University School of Medicine

I am now starting to work with clients applying to medical school in 2010.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Residency Match: Avoid Getting Burned

See the latest entry on my Medscape Blog about the match participation agreement and how to interpret communications from residency programs.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Medical Residency Application: Letters of Reference

Read an article about letters of reference in the new edition of Unique Opportunities. I am quoted several times on pages 26, 27 and 29.

MedEdits medical school applicants are aleady receiving multiple acceptances. Congratulations!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Medical School Interviews: No Two Are The Same

Medical school applicants feverishly scan the internet for questions they will be asked at their interview for a certain medical school. It is important to understand that most medical school interviews are not scripted and therefore the questions you may be asked and the style of the interivew will be dependent on your individual interivewer rather than what is dictated by a specific school. It is good to practice and to be prepared but, it is also essential not to over-practice; you don't want your answers to sound rehearsed.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Medical School Interviews: Grouping

Medical school applicants are now receiving medical school interview invitations. It is perfectly acceptable to notify the other schools to which you applied that are in the general vicinity of the school where you will be interviewing. Unless a school specifically requests that you do not contact them, letting them know that you will be in the area will motivate them to move your file to the top of the "to be screened files" and will also communicate to them that you are a desirable candidate. I have several clients who have had success utilizing this technique and have been able to group medical school interviews in a specific geographic area.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting Into Medical School: Help for Parents

See my new article on the Student Doctor Network. This one is written for the parents (and their kids!).

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Medical School Interviews and Residency Interviews

If you do not yet have many medical school interviews, there is no need to worry (yet). Since Labor Day was unusually late this year, many medical school admissions offices are somewhat backed up. Admissions officers are human and summer vacations may have been taken into September. October is likely to be very busy and there are probably stacks of "to be screened" files waiting to be reviewed....

Similarly, it is very early for residency interview invitations. Also, some programs wait until November 1st to review applications once the Medical School Performance Evaluations are released (MSPE).

Visit MedEdits and reserve your mock interview time as soon as possible.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Medical School Admissions and Noncognitive Testing

I hear many medical school applicants lament, "If I could just get to the interview, I would do great. My low GPA is holding me back." Well, such applicants may have a chance. An article this month in Academic Medicine discusses the possibility of employing standardized "noncognitive testing" to test personal characteristics as part of the medical school admissions criteria. While the possibility of using such standardized tests in the same way the MCAT is used may be far in the future, the fact that academic leaders recognize the importance of such skills is significant.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lifestyle Specialties

Read my most recent post on Medscape about lifestyle specialites...

Work/life balance. I hear many medical students (and practicing physicians) talk about their quest to achieve a healthy balance between work, life and family. For this reason, many medical students are pursuing careers in "lifestyle" specialties such as anesthesiology, radiology, emergency medicine and dermatology. But, do these careers afford practicing physicians happier lives than their colleagues in other specialties? The answers many surprise you. Read more...

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Choosing a Specialty

There are many things one must consider when choosing a specialty and while it is good to think big, it is also important to be realistic. If you want to pursue an extremely competitive residency it is essential to start gaining experience and exposure to this specialty as soon as you make this decision. For example, if you know you want to be a dermatologist or an otolaryngologist, it is wise to start setting up rotations, doing research and joining a national organization in the specialty so you are prepared to submit a strong appiclication and letters of reference. Applicants sometimes underestimate the competitiveness of some specialites and the time that is needed to prepare an excellent residency application. Those who are unprepared or procrastinate may undermine their success (and well being).

I am an advocate of optimistic thinking but, it is also important to be objective about your chances.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Medical School Mock Interview

If you are interested in scheduling a medical school mock interview with Dr. Jessica Freedman, please do so as soon as possible. We are currently booking appointments for the beginning of October.

Visit: MedEdits Medical Admissions

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Think You Won't Be Practicing Geriatrics? Think Again.

See my latest blog entry on Medscape.

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Chicago Tribune Article

In my other life I practice clinical medicine and was recently quoted in a Chicago Tribune article by Judith Graham.

Monday, August 24, 2009

MedEdits on Facebook

Become a fan of MedEdits on Facebook.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Medscape Blog

See my latest blog post on Medscape.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Residency Match Success

Read and comment on my new article on the Student Doctor Network: Residency Match Success. This article provides useful tips for anyone who may be applying for residency in the near future.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Facebook and Medicine

Wow. Facebook made it to the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Sachin H. Jain discusses some issues pertaining to professionalism when a former patient "friended" her on Facebook.

With so much personal information on social networking sites, does accepting people who aren't really your "friends" blur the lines beyond what is appropriate? Is this unprofessional? There are people out there who speculate that employers and admissions officers now scan Facebook and MySpace pages to glean information about their future proteges. Are patients also doing the same? What are the potential legal implications of this?

I advise students to be very careful with their on line personas and identities. While the Facebook generation is open and less formal than some of their more senior educators, your professional reputation starts before you matriculate in medical school and you don't want to do anything that might tarnish your image. Also, once you enter medical school, you represent the medical profession as a whole. So, think before you confirm a "friend" or post an incriminating photo. Or maybe it is time to just take down that profile.

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Medscape Blog

I have been invited to start blogging on Medscape. My first entry is for those who are about to start medical school!

Visit my Medscape blog.

Friday, August 7, 2009

ERAS Worksheet and Resources

As residency applicants get ready to submit their residency applications, they should review the materials offered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) that may help. Most important is the ERAS worksheet which outlines what is required for the ERAS application, character limits, experience categories etc.

Find your ERAS resources to download here.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Medical School and Residency Interviews: The Importance of Practice

It is essential that medical school and residency applicants practice interviewing. While it is fine to practice with friends and family, it is advisable to practice with someone who has actually served on a medical school admissions committee if you are applying to medical school or a residency admissions committee if you are applying to residency.

It is very important not to memorize your answers or to say things that you "think they want to hear." Being authentic and honest during your interviews is essential.

Members of the MedEdits class of 2010 already have medical school interview invitations. But, do not despair if you are not in this elite group. There are still many interview invitations to come and the season is just beginning.

If you are a residency applicant and need help with your written documents, please contact us soon. ERAS applications can be submitted on September 1st and it is ideal to submit as close to this date as possible.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Medical Students Choosing Primary Care

An interesting article from the New England Journal of Medicine discusses the shortage of primary care physicians in the United States. Fewer medical students graduating from United States medical schools choose to specialize in primary care, opting for "lifestyle" specialties to earn higher incomes and to have greater control over their lives. As a result, more primary care residency positions are being filled by US and non-US citizen international medical graduates.

I find that some students base their specialty choice on average salary, perceived status and the possibility of a better work/life balance. This is a common misconception, however, that choosing to specialize in anesthesiology, radiology, emergency medicine or other "lifestyle" fields will afford a better balance.

Many women choose to specialize in pediatrics and work part time. And, while these pediatricians may not make the big bucks, they do enjoy more free time. Some of my friends and colleagues who chose other specialties are not really happier than those who chose primary care. Primary care physicians often feel they have greater control of their lives and work fewer evenings, nights, weekends and holidays. Perhaps seeking out mentors who are good role models would encourage more medical students to practice primary care.

I encourage all of my clients to consider their career choices carefully. Money should be only one part of the equation to make this choice. Hopefully health care reforms will help equalize the pay discrepancies of specialists and primary providers which may increase the number of students who choose primary care.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Medical School Interviews!

MedEdits clients are already receiving medical school interview invitations for the 2009/2010 application season!

Please contact us if you are interested in working with us for the 2010/2011 application season.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Medical School Secondary Essays

I find that there are two major pitfalls when applicants complete secondary essays:

1) Applicants do not address the prompts or the questions asked.

Students understand the secondary essay is a place to convince the admissions member that you have something unique to offer. And, while this is true, do this within the context of what is being asked. Clients often write about topics or achievements that in no way relate the prompt.

2) Candidates often write too generally.

The rule in any essay is to be as specific as possible. Read each sentence and paragraph and ask yourself if someone else could have written your essay. If the answer is "yes," then you are being too general.

If you need help with your secondaries to earn medical school interviews, contact MedEdits.

Friday, July 10, 2009

University of California Budget Cuts

The University of California president, Mark Yudof, announced today that there will be significant budget cuts across the University of California totaling $813 million. While it is unclear exactly how this will impact the University of California medical schools, Yudof said, "it's imperative that we do the best we can to preserve the university's ability to deliver high-quality education, research and patient care."

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Medical School Rankings: US News And World Report

Every year I have clients say "I really, really, want to attend a top 10 medical school." When I ask them why this is so important, the answer is typically vague and unsubstantiated. I encourage applicants to put their egos aside and really think about their career goals and which school would be the best fit for them -- if they have the luxury of choice. But, these discussions prompted me to revisit the US News and World Report Medical School Rankings which are often quoted.

The most popular article on this topic is from Academic Medicine which sited many flaws in the US News and World Report ranking methodology. Among several factors, the response rate for completion of surveys sent to medical school officials upon which rankings are based was low which decreases validity. Also, confidence intervals, which account for error and are used in all respected research publications, were not used. The criteria used for evaluation were also very narrow.

So, have these standards changed since this article was written? It doesn't appear that way. This year, rankings were also based on very narrow criteria (peer assessment, residency director assessment, research activity, number of students going into primary care, student selectivity, MCAT score, GPA, acceptance rate and faculty resources). The percentage of responders is not disclosed and it does not appear that confidence intervals are used.

I encourage all medical school applicants to evaluate these rankings with a grain of salt. Also, consider your goals as you decide where you "must" go to medical school. Not convinced? Review the medical schools attended of the people who actually teach at the top medical schools. Their credentials may surprise you. I have one colleague who went abroad for medical school and now has a major role in medical student education at a top medical school from which he was rejected as an applicant.

Click Here to see the Academic Medicine Article.
Click Here to see the US News and World Report Rankings.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Doctor Patient Relationship

A study done by the Mayo Clinics in Arizona and Minnesota is the subject of a great article in the New York Times today. Researchers found that "patients want their doctors to be confident, empathetic, humane, personal, forthright, respectful and thorough.”

This is a must read for medical school and residency applicants. Think about these qualities as you write your personal statement.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Clinical Practice: A New Model

A new model of clinical practice is the subject of a very interesting article in the New York Times today. Some doctors, in an effort to provide better care for their patients, are changing the way they practice medicine. By taking matters into their own hands, doctors are decreasing their administrative costs, are able to spend more time with patients and have greater personal and professional fulfillment through the practice of medicine. The Obama administration hopes to increase pay for primary care physicians and has set aside money for the development of community health centers. But, until these reforms occur, some doctors are already embracing change.

On a purely anecdotal level, many of my friends and colleagues who practice primary care, enjoy the practice of medicine more and have a better work/life balance than those who specialize. I encourage all of my medical school applicants and residency applicants to consider careers in primary care.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Medical School Admission Requirements: Is Change On The Horizon?

A report released by the Association of American Medical Colleges and The Howard Hughes Medical Institute recommends significant change in the premedical curriculum. Rather than requiring students to take specific courses, the report suggests that students be proficient in a specific set of competencies. While these changes will not happen for a while, the MCAT will also also have to be modified. The AAMC has formed an MCAT review committee and that reevaluation is underway. This MCAT review will be complete in 2012 and the goal is to recommend changes that will make the exam more useful for medical school admissions.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Hippocratic Oath: For The MBA Crowd?

Graduating medical school students have been required to take the Hippocratic Oath promising to practice medicine ethically. An interesting article today in the New York Times explains that some business students are now taking "The MBA Oath" with a promise to "create value responsibly and ethically." The creators of this oath hope that "MBAs are respected for their integrity, professionalism and leadership."


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

American Medical Association: Virtual Mentor

Take a look at Virtual Mentor, an online ethics journal sponsored by the American Medical Association. A medical student and resident run venture, this resource introduces some useful and intriguing topics. The theme of the journal this month is Business in Medicine with thought provoking articles about medi spas and concierge medicine.

This journal also offers excellent editorial opportunities for medical students and residents.

Read my previous blog post on the importance of mentorship. If you would like an actual advisor rather than a virtual one, please contact me.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

AMCAS Personal Statement

Recently I read a personal statement from a medical school client that was nearly flawless and required almost no revision. Now, understand, this is quite unusual for me since I find most clients don't know what aspects of their experiences are important and many take the "tell all" approach -- writing about their research, clinical experience, volunteer experience and anything else they think admissions officers "want to hear." This client was able to write about her observations and insights regarding medicine eloquently and cohesively. The client produced an essay on her own that was unlike any first revision I have ever read.

This client's advice: "It seems that a lot of people spend so much time accruing these amazing experiences and then leave it at the last month or two (or less, eek!) to process them, and then they have a difficult time verbalizing and synthesizing them when they need to. I'm one of those people who wanted to be a doctor since I was a little kid running around in the nurses station at my mom's work drawing pictures--how could I possibly process 15 years of my motivations and life experiences and write it all out for the most important application of my life thus far in less than a month?"

When I start working with clients who are one year or more away from applying to medical school, I encourage them to keep records of their experiences by documenting their key interactions and insights since these may be difficult to recall from a distance. The client referenced above kept a journal and suggested that applicants keep a blog. I thought this was a brilliant idea. Good writing takes time and, the longer you allow your written work to simmer, the better the final product is likely to be.

I am actively working with medical school applicants for the 2009/2010 season. Be sure to submit your AMCAS application early!

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Click Here to work with MedEdits' Editors.
Contact MedEdits or call us: 201.244.6142

Monday, May 18, 2009

Reapplying To Medical School

I have recently received calls from prospective clients who have been accepted to medical school this year and want to reapply in June because they want to "do better." If your dream is to go to the University of Pennsylvania, for example, and you won't attend any school that isn't ranked in the top 10 by US News and World Reports, then don't apply to these schools.

I do not recommend turning down acceptances to reapply in hopes of getting into a "better school."

What can you do to best position yourself to get into your dream school the first time around? Hire a professional medical school admissions consultant. I can help you prepare the best documents and coach you so you perform well on interviews. Before you hire a professional, however, be sure to ask them the right questions.

AMCAS 2010 is open! Register now.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Medical School Admissions

Please see my latest article on the Student Doctor Network about medical school admissions.

Click Here to access the article.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Post Baccalaureate Premedical Programs and Special Master's Programs

I was speaking with a client today who is considering attending a special master's program to enhance his academic record and help his chances of gaining admission to medical school. He asked where he could find a comprehensive list of these programs. The AAMC provides a searchable database of programs based on program type and characteristics (post bac, career changer, academic enhancement and length etc.)

Click Here for the AAMC link.

I help clients with written application documents when applying to these programs. I also advise clients regarding their options and how these programs might increase their chances of being admitted to medical school.

Read our testimonials.
Check out our clients' success.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Doctor Shortage

Anyone considering a career in medicine should read today's article in the New York Times about the doctor shortage. The Obama administration's challenge is to increase the number of doctors needed to care for the millions of uninsured patients in our country and the increasing number of elderly individuals. Under Obama's plan, these people will all have coverage. Who will care for them?

One proposal is to shift Medicare payments to increase the fees paid to primary providers and decrease what is allotted to high paid specialists. Of course, the specialists are not thrilled with this idea. While working in the emergency department (ED) recently, one plastic surgeon was walking through the ED asking if we had any procedures. When I asked the surgeon why he was being so uncharacteristically aggressive, he said "Well, we are all about to be "Obamafied" which won't be good for my bottom line." Interesting perspective, huh?

The article also mentioned the motivation for medical students to pursue higher paid specialties (including subspecialties of internal medicine) because many students graduate with so much debt -- on average more than $140,000. Primary care providers are paid the least of any other physicians so greater financial incentives are needed to motivate students to choose this career path.

I encourage my clients to consider careers in primary care. While the financial incentives may not be as great, primary care physicians, in contrast to popular belief, often feel they have a better work/life balance than many of their higher paid colleagues who choose "lifestyle specialties." And, since many couples are now part of two income families, money should be less of a consideration. And when we all get "Obamified," as my plastic surgery colleague suggested, the gap between who is paid what, may narrow.

Click Here to read the article.

Getting Into Residency: The Importance Of Away Electives

If you are currently a third year medical student, now is the time to start scheduling your fourth year electives (if you haven't done so already). What are your goals during your electives?

1) Do a great job! Some away electives serve as "audition rotations." If you have the stats to get into any given program, working at that program gives faculty and residents the chance to evaluate you "in action." This can work for you or against you; if you impress the people with whom you work, this is likely to help you earn a higher spot on the rank list but, if you do a less than average job, it may hurt your chances.

2) Obtain additional letters of reference. One client last year did an away elective at a program where he knew he didn't have much of a shot. But, he did an outstanding job, out-performed his fellow students, and received additional letters form well known faculty. This client matched at his first choice in anesthesiology!

I am currently working with students to help them craft their fourth year, choose the best letter writers and decide when to take the USMLE Step 2. I also coach clients to ensure they perform well during key rotations.

Click Here to see the specialties into which my clients matched this year.
Click Here to read some client testimonials.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

AMCAS 2010

The AMCAS 2010 instructions are now available. The 2010 application will open around May 5th and applications can be submitted in early June.

Click Here to access the instructions. I recommend that, at the least, everyone read the AMCAS 2010 application tips.

To give yourself the best chance of success, start working on your application now and submit it as early as possible!

With MedEdits you now have the option to work with me or my outstanding team of professional editors/writers, a more affordable option. Either way, all documents submitted to MedEdits undergo our exclusive "double read" editing process. We are currently working with applicants applying in 2010.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

MedEdits Announcement: Fees and Services Changes

We want to let our clients and prospective clients know that within the next week, we are broadening our service offerings and restructuring our fee schedule.

Dr. Freedman will continue to offer mentoring, editing and interview preparation either in packages or a la carte. Her a la carte and package editing prices will increase. However, we will now offer document editing done by our medical editors which will present a lower cost alternative.

All of our editors have at least 10 years of professional writing and editing experience and are trained in the art of medical admissions by Dr. Freedman. While the fees to work directly with our editors will be lower than the fees to work with Dr. Freedman, we will maintain the same high standards.

If you would like to "lock in" Dr. Freedman's current fees for a la carte and package editing, we encourage you to do so soon!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Open Residency Positions: Find A Resident

I have received several queries from prospective clients about finding available positions for residency. The only service I recommend to clients is Find A Resident, a service sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Click Here to access the site.

I am actively working with residency clients for the 2009/2010 application season. If you are interested in working with me, I encourage you to retain my services early.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

No Medical School Acceptances or No Residency Match?

If you are applying to medical school this year and have not yet received any interviews, it is unlikely that you will. You must consider now if you will reapply in the upcoming season and what you will do to enhance your candidacy.

If you did not obtain a residency match this year, you must also consider reapplying for the match in September. Some prospective clients who did not match this year have emailed me to inquire about available positions for July 2009. The only service I recommend using is FindAResident which is sponsored by the AAMC. Many for profit "post-scramble" companies are a scam and I do not advocate using them.

I am already working with medical school and residency clients for the upcoming application season. Based on my clients' success in 2009, I anticipate that I will become booked and encourage all interested applicants to retain my services early. As a commitment to my clients, I limit the number of applicants with whom I work.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Residency Match Day 2009

Nearly 30,000 applicants participated in the match this year making this the most competitive match in history. MedEdits is proud that we had clients match in several of the most competitive specialties based on the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) data including dermatology, orthopaedic surgery, radiation oncology, otolaryngology and emergency medicine.

The NRMP produced an excellent and informative podcast about the 2009 match. Click Here for the link to the podcast.


Medical School Reapplicants

If you applied to medical school this year and have not received any acceptances, you should think about reapplying. It is important to improve your candidacy if you reapply and should consider the following:

1) Did you apply late?

2) Are there any deficiencies in your background?

3) Do you need to improve your GPA and/or MCAT?

4) Did you select the right letter writers who know you well?

5) Did you apply broadly enough?

6) Were the written documents you submitted an outstanding representation of who you are and did they highlight what makes you a strong applicant?

7) If you received interviews, was there a problem with your interview skills?

I can identify any deficiencies in your application and help correct them if you decide to reapply. Several members of the MedEdits Class of 2009 who were accepted to US medical schools were reapplicants or third time applicants.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MedEdits Residency Match Success 2009

We would like to congratulate all of our clients who participated in the match! While we won't reveal where, specifically, our clients match because some programs are small and we want to respect our clients' privacy, we would like to announce the specialties in which some of our clients matched. If you are a MedEdits client and have not yet communicated with us regarding your match results, please get in touch.

Thus far, we know our clients successfully matched in the following specialties and most with their top choice program:

Emergency Medicine
Family Medicine
General Surgery
Internal Medicine
Orthopaedic Surgery
Radiation Oncology

Several of our Caribbean medical student clients matched into competitive specialties including Anesthesiology, Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine.

Because of our clients' success this year, we expect to become booked as the 2009/2010 match season approaches. If you are considering hiring us for next year to optimize your chances of matching, we encourage you to retain our services as soon as possible.


Monday, March 16, 2009

The Residency Scramble

Consider that you can always enter a new personal statement via ERAS for the scramble. Depending on your situation, this could be optimal. For example, if you applied to internal medicine, did not match and are now going to scramble for psychiatry, you would want to send a psychiatry focused personal statement to programs.

Keep in mind that during the scramble period you can apply to a maximum of 45 programs (30 new programs and 15 programs to which you have already applied). At 12 noon on Thursday, March 19th, the scramble period ends, this limit is lifted and you can start applying to more programs that still have open positions.

ERAS has published a scramble advisory for applicants. I advise anyone participating in the scramble to utilize this resource. Click Here to access the advisory.

We will not be offering any scramble services but, to increase your chances of obtaining a match next year, we encourage interested applicants to retain our services as soon as possible.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

AAMC Online Admissions Resource

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has taken on many initiatives to improve the medical school selection and admissions process to create a more diverse and caring population of physicians in the future. These admissions initiatives are summarized by the AAMC and are divided into three categories: Diversity, Medical School and Physician Workforce Expansion and Student Selection.

Click Here
to access this new online resource provided by the AAMC.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Residency Match Week 2009

Read Dr. Freedman's article on the Student Doctor Network about the scramble and the upcoming match.

Click Here to read the article.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

MedEdits Employment

Recently we have had several queries regarding employment at MedEdits. I wanted to review our criteria for hiring and emphasize what makes us unique. I also want to emphasize the importance of hiring an ethical company with high moral standards. There are some companies out there who utilize shady methods and are dishonest about their credentials.

Advising and Admissions Consulting:

Dr. Jessica Freedman is the only person at MedEdits who mentors, advises and provides admissions consulting for our clients. We are not hiring any additional consultants but, if we did in the future, we would require applicants to have at least 5 years of experience in medical education and admissions at the attending level. We would also require at least 5 letters of reference from well respected colleagues. To maintain our high moral standards, we would not hire any individuals who currently serve on faculty at any medical school.

Document Editing and Review:

Dr. Freedman reviews and edits all admissions documents. Our editors, who work directly with Dr. Freedman, all have at least 10 years of experience in the writing and publishing industry. We are not hiring any editors currently but, if positions become available, we will not hire current students or recent graduates.


AMSA Annual Convention

Live from the American Medical Student Association annual meeting: Visit MedEdits and meet Dr. Freedman at the AMSA convention today until March 14th!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Official Guide to the MCAT from the AAMC

The Association of American Medical Colleges has just published a guidebook to help prepare applicants for the MCAT. This guide contains actual MCAT exam questions and passages, exam taking tips and data to help you decide if retaking the exam will improve your score.

Click Here to purchase from the AAMC site.

Visit: Visit us at the American Medical Student Association annual convention this week!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Medical School Personal Statement

Believe it or not, the next wave of applicants are starting to write their personal statements for the 2009/2010 application season.

As I was brainstorming with a client yesterday about possible personal statement topics, I was motivated to write a blog entry about a common theme I have observed in applicants written materials. Oftentimes, applicants shy away from writing about the obstacles or hardships in their lives that have motivated their choices and influenced their paths. They fear that the reader will think they are seeking sympathy or that their essay will be interpreted as a "sob story." I encourage applicants to tackle and write about these hurdles because this often provides the reader with valuable insight about the applicants' decision to pursue a career in medicine. As long as this is done in a positive and constructive style, these applicants' essays are often the ones that leap out from the rest in the pile.

It is not too early to start thinking about your application and admission strategy for 2009/2010.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Medical Education: The Basics

I recently wrote an article about medical education for an international advising organization that consists mostly of law and business consultants about the basics of medical education. While I wrote this article for that specific audience, I thought this would be a good read for those of you (and your parents) who want to know what is ahead:

When I considered what to write about for my contribution to the AIGAC newsletter, I kept in mind my primary audience. Realizing that most of you are law school and MBA types, I tried to put myself in your shoes (as any good doctor would) and consider what you might or might not know, or even be remotely interested in learning about medical admissions. As the daughter and sister of two Harvard Business School graduates, I have a perspective on the business world and some understanding of the differences between medicine and business as to higher education requirements. Long ago, as my brother and I considered our futures, I remember sitting around the dining room table and talking with our parents about our graduate educations and what they would cost. As we did the math, we realized that the cost of my brother’s two years of business school together with the likelihood of a high paying job following graduation seemed like a much better deal than my four years of medical school education followed by 3 to 7 years of low-paying post graduate training. As a physician, I would have skills that would provide me with job security, whatever the state of the economy, however. I also considered that medicine would give me a variety of paths from which to choose, such as research, patient care, education or business.

Ironically, with the turn the economy has now taken, my physician friends who used to resent the big bucks the MBA crowd was making are now gleeful about all the sales and bargains they can enjoy as their incomes remain stable. While others are concerned about decreased bonuses and losing their jobs, physicians retain their positions and career satisfaction.

But the advantages of a career in medicine compared with law or business come with many noneconomic as well as financial costs. Unlike most other professional schools, medical school requires that applicants take many challenging prerequisite courses, including biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and physics. They must also take the medical college admissions test, which tests their mastery of this basic science material. In addition to having outstanding grades, applicants must demonstrate significant experience in research, community service, clinical medicine and teaching. Despite these demands, medical school is fiercely competitive. In 2008, 42,231 applicants filed 558,053 applications, and 18,036 students matriculated at allopathic medical schools in the United States. I will do the math for you: only 42.7% of applicants matriculated at medical schools in the US. While medical schools are increasing enrollments to allow more people to attend (and to alleviate the predicted doctor shortage), many students are now enrolling at medical schools in the Caribbean because they cannot gain admission in the US.

So, you think, “whew!” If you get into medical school, you are golden. Well, not exactly. You still have most of the standardized tests to take along with navigating other important hurdles. While most schools now emphasize early clinical exposure, the first two years of medical school are geared towards learning about the basic medical sciences including anatomy, pharmacology and pathophysiology. At the end of your second year, students take the first of 3 “steps” of the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE), which tests your mastery of this material. Students’ scores on this exam are a vital ingredient in their success in being accepted to residency. The third year of medical school is devoted primarily to “core clerkships” in required specialties, including pediatrics, internal medicine and surgery. And keep in mind that during this time students must not only perform well academically and clinically but also must be deciding what specialty to pursue for residency training.

In the summer between the third and fourth year of medical school, students start a new application process to obtain a residency position. Sometime during the third and fourth year, students also must sit for the second step of the USMLE, which consists of two parts -- a written portion and a practical portion (USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge and USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills). During the fourth and final year of medical school, students complete their rotations and obtain a postgraduate residency position.

A residency is, essentially, a paid apprenticeship. A resident’s role is twofold; he or she cares for patients but also learns while on the job. So, how competitive is residency? In 2008, there were 35,956 residency applicants for 25,066 first year positions. Also, some specialties are more competitive than others. There are three general types of residency applicants: medical students of US schools, medical students at Caribbean Schools and International Medical Graduates who went to school abroad and hope to train in the US so they can practice here. The residency application process is itself complicated.

During residency, time each week is devoted to teaching. So, while residency is very much a job, it still feels like being in school because so much of residency is about learning and gaining skills in your chosen specialty. During your first or second year of residency, you take the third and final step of the USMLE. Once residency is completed, you can go through yet another application process to obtain fellowship training. And, remember, once you complete your residency training, you must pass your specialty board exam, which tests your mastery of the specialty in which you trained and, if you pass it, qualifies you as being “board certified.”

As I write this summary, I am exhausted. The number of standardized tests is overwhelming and medical training is rigorous. But, let me say that medical education is interesting, inspiring and often fun. A career in medicine is just that – it is a career (and not just a job) that allows you to make valuable contributions to the lives of others on many levels. It also gives you the flexibility and freedom to move in many directions. The path may have been long and the tuition higher than what my comrades in law or business school had to pay, but I still believe that, for me and others who make the commitment, a medical education was, and is, a wise investment.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Medical Admissions: The Importance Of Your Email Address

As I was talking to one of my medical school clients today, the issue of professionalism came up. What is often the first impression that admissions officers (and the other committee members) have of you? Your email address. Just as your style of dress on interview day gives others a sense of your professionalism and maturity, your email address says alot about you as well. As an admissions officer, some applicants' email addresses made me pause and question their judgment. Since most communications are done via email these days, it is best to keep your email address simple and professional. I suggest using an email address that has some variation of your first and last name.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Residency Match: Important Dates and The Scramble

As the 2008/2009 residency application season comes to a close, I thought it was a good time to review some important dates. Most programs have finished interviewing applicants, have had their annual "rank meeting" and are in the process of entering their rank order list (ROL). Applicants should also be submitting their ROL now.

Some dates:

February 25th: ROL certification deadline.

March 16th: Applicant matched and unmatched data posted at 12 noon EST.

March 17th (Scramble Day!): Filled and unfilled results for individual programs posted at 11:30 AM EST.

March 17th (Scramble Day!)
: Locations of unfilled positions released at 12 noon EST. Individuals may start contacting programs at this time.

March 19th: MATCH DAY! Match results posted at 1 PM EST.

As announced at the AAMC meeting this fall, the NRMP and the AAMC are jointly establishing a scramble work group to address issues related to the scramble and to propose changes for reform.

In 2008, roughly 13,000 applicants competed for 1,300 unfilled positions during the scramble. More than half of these unfilled positions were filled by 4 PM on scramble day. Many applicants (mostly IMGs) do not submit a ROL and register for the match just to receive the list of unfilled spots. Thus, the chances of obtaining a spot via the scramble is slim. For-profit companies who claim to "fax" materials to programs on behalf of clients also jam fax machines and lines of communication making the process challenging for unfilled programs.

While I will be available for my existing clients during the scramble (although I don't anticipate they will need any help!), I will not be offering any services for new clients during the scramble. We wish all of our residency clients good luck in the match this year and look forward to hearing about your success. If you are interested in hiring us to help you through the application process for the 2009/2010 season, we encourage you to retain our services early.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Medical Education: A Report By The Macy Foundation

A report issued by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to improving medical education and enhancing minority representation in the health professions, suggested reforms to improve medical education at time when medical school are increasing enrollments.

This is an interesting report and addresses three main concerns:

1) The growing amount of debt that medical students incur.

2) Medical student bodies do not represent the racial, economic and geographical makeup of society at large. Schools were encouraged to reexamine admissions policies and the reliance placed on MCAT scores.

3) Students are encouraged to maintain professionalism but, often, these standards are not exhibited by respected role models in the health care setting.

This is an important report to read for anyone involved (or soon to be involved!) in medical education. Click Here to read the report. Click Here to read the AAMCs response the report.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Getting Into Residency

Read Dr. Freedman's article on the Student Doctor Network, "Getting Into Residency Part 2."

Should you follow-up with programs after an interview? How do you pick someone to write your letter of recommendation? What is appropriate to discuss at your interview? Should you go on second looks?

Click Here
to read the full article.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Medical School Admissions Consulting: A Message From Dr. Freedman

Many clients and parents ask me why I chose to leave formal academic medicine to become president of MedEdits and advise privately. Some potential clients simply don’t understand why I would leave a thriving career in academic medicine to do what I do.

As the next application season begins and applicants start to think about who will help them succeed, I thought it was a good time to write a little about myself, my motivations, my career choice and why I offer a superior service.

After spending several years at elite medical institutions, I realized that it was not easy for students to find excellent mentors who could guide, motivate and inspire them to train at such institutions themselves. Even though many of my colleagues had outstanding credentials and clinical and teaching skills, few of them had the talent and temperament to do an outstanding job of helping and advising students.

A few years ago, as I was contemplating my next move up the ladder in formal academic medicine, I took a personal inventory of my accomplishments. As part of this process, I reviewed the faculty evaluations my students had written about me over the years. These evaluations consistently placed me as a top faculty member. I realized that my talents were unique and valuable to my students and that I could help more people if I ventured out on my own.

I started advising privately in January 2008. My clients have had tremendous success, and my former students still contact me often for guidance. My goal is to build long term relationships with clients, first helping them gain admission to medical school and then to obtain post graduate training. I currently do pro bono work on a select basis and, as my client base builds, I hope to do more of this in the future.

So what distinguishes me as an advisor and MedEdits as a company from other individuals and organizations that you might hire?

1) I have experience that is unmatched by anyone in the private advising industry. I am a physician and have experience at all levels of medical admissions, as well as an extensive background in medical education.

2) I do all advising and mentoring myself. I do not train or work with anyone else; students work with me directly.

3) I have a small group of talented medical editors who work on all documents with me. Therefore, two kinds of experts and two sets of eyes review all of your admissions documents.

4) Advising is my full time job. I do not do this as a “side line.”

5) I stay up to date with research and trends in medical education.

6) I still practice medicine on a part-time basis – mostly on weekends – so I can provide insight about the practical aspects of a career in medicine.

I am always happy to speak with you about your situation. I will limit the number of clients with whom I work next season so, please retain my services early.


Monday, January 26, 2009

MedEdits: SDN Test Prep Week

MedEdits is participating in Student Doctor Network Test Prep Week. Enter to win a free one hour consulting session or interview preparation session with Dr. Freedman. Simply write a comment to enter the raffle.

Click Here to access the thread.

Good luck!


Friday, January 23, 2009

Residency Letter of Intent

Most residency programs participating in the 2009 match are wrapping up interviews within the next two weeks. If you haven't decided already, think carefully about what program you will rank first. Then, communicate this to the program and associate program directors of that program.

Many clients ask me why this is so important. The worst thing that can happen to a program is to have open positions that require them to enter the scramble. This is devastating to a program's reputation not only with regards to applicants but also with regards to the medical school or hospital with which they are affiliated. When a program director can boast, "we matched our top 3 ranked applicants," it looks really great for the program.

Some programs may rank as the interview season moves along while others may rank all applicants on a single day based on "scores" generated during the season. Almost every program has a "rank day" when all of the faculty gather, review applications, flash your pictures on a wall and determine the final rank order list (ROL). These meetings can become pretty heated as everyone expresses their (sometimes strong) opinions. If a program knows that you will be ranking them first, this may influence your position on their ROL since you become a definite match for the program (if they rank you highly enough).

When should you send these letters of intent? The answer is now. If you send them after the big "ranking meeting" and after a program officially submits their ROL, it may be too late. Never tell a program they are your first choice if this isn't true; this is unethical and can be damaging to your professional reputation.

For programs that aren't your #1 choice, do not include language such as, "I will rank you highly." This tells the program director that the program is not your first choice which is not ideal. It is better to write something such as, "I would be honored to match with you." Don't even mention the word "rank" in your letter to a program that isn't your top pick.

Dr. Freedman helps with all aspects of the residency match process. Visit:

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Part-Time Careers in Medicine

Two interesting articles in Academic Medicine this month address the issue of working part-time. With the increasing desire for work/life balance, many women and men are seeking part-time career options.

"Studies indicate that part time faculty may enhance quality of care, patient satisfaction, resource utilization and productivity." It was acknowledged that division chiefs who allow part-timers will be able to recruit and retain better faculty.

Articles such as this in major academic journals represent changing attitudes towards part-time careers which is wonderful news for those embarking on a career in medicine. Many of my friends and colleagues drop out of other careers because they do not have such alternatives.

While I do not advise pursuing part-time work immediately following residency because it is important to establish yourself and gain experience early in your career, priorities change and, for different stages of life, the choice to work part-time might be perfect.

Click here and here to read the articles.

Dr. Freedman offers personalized career guidance and mentorship for premedical and medical students and residents. Visit:

MCAT: Test Dates and Tidbits

Clients who are applying to medical school next year have been asking me when to take the MCAT. It is best to take the MCAT as early as possible assuming you are prepared.

MCAT test dates for 2009:

January 30 and 31
March 28
April 4, 18 and 24
May 1, 2, 22 and 28
June 18
July 2, 17, 30 and 31
August 5, 6, 14, 21 and 25
September 3, 4, 10 and 12

Scores are delivered 30 - 35 days after the test date.

MCAT scores since 2003 are automatically released to AMCAS. If you do not release scores to AMCAS at the exam, you can do so via this link: Click Here.

Dr. Freedman provides personalized mentoring, advising and career guidance for premedical and medical students and residents. Visit:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Letter of Intent: Medical School and Residency Applicants

This is the time of year that medical school and residency applicants start feeling more anxious. To help guarantee your success, it is essential that you communicate with the schools and programs in which you are most interested.

Medical School Applicants:

If you haven't received interviews from your top choice schools or have been waitlisted, consider writing a letter of intent. This letter should provide an update of your activities and accomplishments since you submitted your application and should express your specific interest in the school.

You should also consider sending additional letters of reference or having someone from your school/work make a phone call on your behalf.

Residency Applicants:

As programs get ready to submit rank order lists, you must express your interest in specific residencies to program directors. These letters are especially important if you interviewed earlier in the season. If you haven't done so already, schedule a second look at your top choice program. Be sure to say hello to the program or associate program director during your visit; face time is important.

If you haven't received an interview from your top choice program, call or write them to express your interest. As applicants become tired later in the season, they may rudely cancel interviews with little notice leaving open interview slots.

You should also consider sending additional letters of reference to individual programs in support of your candidacy or have someone from your school/work call on your behalf.


This can be a stressful time of year in medical admissions. It is important to stay motivated and energized and not to get discouraged. If you think you may need to reapply next year, don't despair. Be objective and devise a strategy now for next season if it looks like this might become an issue.

Dr. Jessica Freedman provides personalized mentorship for applicants to medical school and residency. Dr. Freedman's clients have had tremendous success this season.

A recent testimonial from a client just accepted to medical school:

"I cannot tell you, Dr. Freedman, how much it has meant to have your support. Looking back on this process there was noone else who offered better advice on my essays and the interview. It was such a great advantage having your insiders knowledge of the admissions system and without a doubt it helped me greatly...I never once spoke to my premed advisors at [my ivy league undergraduate school] and I want to thank you for providing that option."