MedEdits | Medical School Admissions Consulting

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."