#T4DWest Day 5: Just Because You Saw It On The Internet Doesn’t Make It True #KnowYourSources
As our last stop at University of Nevada Las Vegas came to a close, I found myself in a situation that completely changed the direction of what I intended to blog about. I just happened to be passing by in between sessions when I saw another mentor talking to a very noticeably upset participant of Tour for Diversity in Medicine. My fellow mentor asked me to come over and assist and upon doing so, I was so appreciative that I happened to be walking by. The participant was upset because she felt that she was not going to ever make it into medical school because of her GPA…solely based off of what she’d been reading on the Internet.
After spending about 25 minutes with her, calming her down, letting her know that her 3.5 GPA is absolutely fine, and discussing with her all of her personal attributes and experiences that make her stand out as an applicant, I began to think about how many times I do this in my office on a day to day basis. Research is key to helping you stand out as an applicant to professional school. You want to be knowledgeable about the field you are trying to get into, the process of gaining admissions, and yes, you want to have researched the metrics (GPA’s and MCAT scores) as well, but consider your sources! There are a lot of websites, forums and blogs that are giving mostly opinion and not facts and these things are often creating a barrier to success by discouraging wonderful applicants from even trying to pursue their dreams. Keep these things in mind as you are finding information on competitive applicants to health professional school:
1. Quite frankly, if the information is not on the accrediting or affiliated associations website/book or the school’s website itself, question it and take it with a grain of salt. Here are some reliable sources for you:
- Medical School Admissions Requirements (MD Schools) www.aamc.org/students/applying/requirements/msar/
- College Information Book (DO Schools) www.aacom.org/resources/bookstore/cib/Pages/default.aspx
- ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools www.adea.org/publications/Pages/OfficialGuide.aspx
- American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine Statistics http://aacpm.org/html/statistics/stats_mar.asp
2. Understand that averages are just that: averages. That means that there are GPA’s and admission test scores above AND BELOW that number.
3. Metrics (GPA and admissions test scores) are not what get you accepted. The metrics answer questions for the school about your scholastic aptitude and your ability to take a standardized test. These are largely “yes or no” questions for admissions committees and they spend more of the time discussing your co-curricular/outside of the classroom activities like volunteering, work, research, clinical experience, leadership. Metrics only tell them if you can handle school, NOT if you will be a good health care provider. YOU ARE MORE THAN A NUMBER!
4. You are a whole person with life experiences. Open up your perspective and look at how unique you are and how your experiences have shaped your personal growth and how you related to people. Distance traveled is not a part of the numbers, but it is something that matters a lot when it comes to being a successful applicant to professional school.
5. It is okay to get freaked out. Everybody has felt overwhelmed by life and aspirations and meeting goals and living their dreams at some point. When you are this passionate about something, it is easy to get stressed about the possibility of not fulfilling those dreams and that’s okay. Take a moment to deal with those feelings and get it out and then get back to reaching that goal. You’re not dumb or stupid, it’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it.