Archive for June 2013

A Manifesto for Fiber: “Is Everything Coming Out OK?”

A Manifesto for Fiber : “Is Everything Coming Out OK?”

“Is everything coming out ok?” I yell through the bathroom door to my relative who always steals my stuff.

“It’s NOT funny!” My cousin screams back.

She then comes out of the bathroom, still buckling her britches, and displaying a seemingly permanent scowled countenance.

She knows that I know what happened, but all the same, she is still angry at me for poking fun at her. See, my wife recently bought this new box of fantastic Breyer’s CarbSmart vanilla ice cream – it contains 4g of fiber per serving! We told my cousin not to go sneaking into our ice cream, as she has had a tendency to do in the past whenever she gets up for a late night snack. Sometimes we catch her, but sometimes we do not. And, even though she knows we will inevitably find out, she is usually long gone by the time we do.

Anyway, to make a long story short: This relative always eats our food and asks for anything we have. I don’t mind giving her stuff, but it had gotten to the point of ridiculousness. This was her last time spending the night with us, and I told her not to eat my ice cream because it was part of my diet – one of the few late night snacks I could eat. I adhere to a high-fiber, high-water, low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet.  I don’t know if she didn’t believe me or what, but when my wife and I came back from our evening out, we found the empty ice cream box in the sink, full of water.

I kept my cool and went to bed. However, I awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of thunder. Thor was not wielding his thunderous hammer, but my cousin was the source of the kabooms! Apparently, the ice cream did not agree with her stomach. See, whenever you start on a high-fiber diet, it’s always best to being little and work your way up (concerning the daily intake amount).

The daily recommended fibrous intake amount is about 24 grams according to Harvard, but this average adult only consumes roughly 15grams of fiber daily according to WebMD. However, this container of Breyer’s contained 48 grams! So, my cousin literally inhaled twice the amount of daily recommended fiber, and more than triple the amount of fiber that the average adult consumes in one 24-hour period within a few hours! Unintentional payback is so sweet! Dul-ce!

In all seriousness though, few people understand the importance of adequate fiber in a daily diet. In short, fiber acts like an internal brush, sweeping away build-up of all sorts. There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is digested, then goes throughout your blood vessels, sweeping away cholesterol and other harmful build-ups that could cause dangerous conditions like atherosclerosis.

Insoluble fiber is not digested and goes throughout your colon, sweeping away fecal matter and other wastes to help prevent colon cancer, constipation, indigestion, hemorrhoids, and many other issues. By the way, colon cancer is the third most prevalent form of cancer among both sexes with 1.2 million new cases in 2008 according to the World Cancer Research Fund International. Many ways exist to easily increase your daily cancer intake. I recommend beginning with a nice cold glass of Metamucil three times a day to get both soluble and insoluble fiber. But, be sure to drink plenty of water with it! And, if you wake up in the middle of the night, have some Breyer’s CarbSmart vanilla handy…but, please don’t eat it all at one time!

Here are some nice pdf-files explaining more detail about colorectal cancer for you:

American Cancer Society Article on Colorectal Cancer

Great Document from Case Western Reserve Univ. on Colorectal Cancer

 

                                                                                                                                                                                

When Flaw Became Awe

The Following is an excerpt from my forthcoming eBook titled: “Lessons from the Village…”

When Flaw Became Awe

Many readers will remember growing up with left-handedness being viewed as a stigma. People once scolded their children into using their right hands, thereby forcing them to do things the “right” way. For instance, Ronald Reagan was forced to use his right hand after being born a left-hander. Languages across many cultures speak for themselves concerning the right way of doing things. For instance, the Latin word for left is sinistra (which has come to mean evil), and in French it is guache (which translates into awkward or clumsy). In the English language we use left-handedness in phrases with negative connotations such as “a left-handed compliment” (which nobody wants) or someone smoking “left-handed cigarettes,” which no parent wants to hear of his or her child. In contrast, the Latin word for right is dexter (the root word for dexterous), and in French, the word for right is droit (the root word for adroit).  During Medieval times, one always shook with the right hand, for the left hand was used to do – let’s just say euphemistically – the “dirty” work. Therefore, attempting to touch or lay hands on people with the left hand was not right, or courteous. Left-handed people, although they are in their right minds (biologically anyway), were once viewed by society as possessing wayward, cursed qualities.

My daughter is left-handed, and I even found myself trying to correct her a time or two as she began taking preference during her developmental years. I just wanted her to be like the other 85% of people in the world and have it easy; however, I was reminded of a good war story. Now, whether you are a Christian or not, everyone loves a good unsung-hero war story. Therefore, I share with you Ehud from the Bible (Judges 3:12 – 28). First of all, he was a Benjamite who was left-handed. An irony exists here which further highlights the point, for Benjamin (his parental tribe) literally means “son of my right hand.” Therefore, the Bible wants you to know that something is different about Ehud. There is a unique quality about him that is unlike most others.

When Ehud went to face the sinister king of Moab, he had to first sneak past the guards. The guards frequently checked the left thigh of people upon entry, for most people were right-handed (even back then). Any war veteran knows that you do not want to draw either a sword or dagger from the same side as your fighting hand, but the weapon (unless a gun) should be placed on the opposite side. Therefore, the Bible notes that the left-handed Ehud strapped his dagger to his right thigh. Thus, he would now be able to go in undetected. Ehud and the children of Israel entered the courtyard to bring a present to the King of Moab, named Eglon. After delivering the present to Eglon, Ehud asked the others that came with him to leave, for he had a secret message for the King.

The King then dismissed all that were with him as well, and Ehud was able to approach Eglon alone. As the King stood up, Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” Ehud then proceeded to draw out the dagger from his right thigh and stab the dastardly King Eglon in the belly, and the fat enclosed the blade; the Bible apparently also wants us to know that the King was fat, among other gross things if you read one line further.

But, my point is this: Ehud’s supposed societal “flaw” afforded him the opportunity to do something no one else could accomplish. In fact, it was his “flaw” that enabled this great story of “awe.” Perhaps my daughter’s left-handedness is alright after all. Of course, I am joking. I love my daughter just the way she is. Our own unique differences afford each of us an opportunity to accomplish tasks that others cannot. As it says in I Corinthians 1:27, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (NIV) So, I encourage everyone to find his or her weakness, or perceived flaw, and see how it can in fact be a hidden strength. We all know left-handers smear ink when writing, can’t use non-electric can openers, and have a harder time learning to drive a stick shift than righties; however, southpaws are also more intimidating in the ring and always in their right minds. I personally would take these positives over the negatives any day!

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Get Into Medical School Pt. I – Medical School Requirements

Getting Into Medical School Pt. I: the Least You Need to Know

The following is the first part of a five-blog series on being accepted to medical school. Throughout this series you will learn:

                a) What medical schools look for in a candidate

                b) What you can do to make yourself a stand-out (in the right kind of way) candidate

               c) Everything you need to know about each step of the process from applying to the getting the acceptance letter

“To know the road ahead, ask those who are returning”Chinese Proverb

                Now that I am a medical student, I neither think nor claim to know everything there is about getting into medical school. However, I have learned many tips, tactics, and strategies from those who have walked this path before me. Therefore, I am more than happy and willing to share them with any potential med school applicants…er, matriculants! Yes, let’s call them potential med school matriculants, because I believe if you’re serious enough, you WILL succeed! Likewise, I will also share a few of my favorite rules of the game that I learned independently.

                The terms “tricks” or “secrets” to getting in are used often but may be misleading; I believe you’ve either earned the right to get in or not. Yet, this does not stop many books from being sold by placing these “alert words” in the title(s). I have broken down the admissions process to a science for you by explaining the reasoning and importance behind each step and what you need to know about each decisional component.

                This is a five-part series that should give you the nuts and bolts of the process, as well as the knowledge that you need to sell yourself as best you can to the admissions board. After all, you SHOULD be able to sell yourself – it’s the product that you know best and SHOULD believe in most of all. I am just here to give you the inside-track on how to fine-tune your overall appeal, pitch, and application. Email me if you need to or are interested in me proof-reading any of your application materials (including the all-important personal essay), and Good Luck!

The Main Evaluation Components for the Med School Admissions Process:

1. GPA, Science GPA, MCAT:

                NO MATTER what anyone tells you, there are two things you can count on in this category:

                1) They are NOT the final deciding factors or predictors of your med school admissions fate

                2) They ARE very important (and sometimes the sole reason) for getting through the initial         proverbial door

Many applicants have no idea that there are two different GPAs that medical schools consider:

-          Overall GPA: This is your overall grade point average for ALL courses taken at ANY accredited post-secondary institution

 

-          Science GPA: This is your GPA for all of your science AND math courses. That’s right! MATH is included in this calculation, as well as a few courses like biomedical engineering (with certain qualifications) at times. But, here is the least you need to know: If the courses fall within the context of BCPM (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Math) for their classifications, then count them as being part of you science GPA calculation.

Click here for OFFICIAL MCAT info

Click here for MCAT scores percentage break-downs for previous years

Click here for the OFFICIAL MCAT book to purchase and MCAT practice tests!

2. Personal Statement:

The all-important personal statement – this is the one part where you give the admissions committee a first-impression look at yourself straight from “the horse’s mouth.” Just be sure you have it proofread as many times as possible to eliminate it sounding as if it came straight from the horse’s behind instead! Seriously, I have read some poorly-written personal statements. This is not the place in which you want your application to look lackluster. I will go into more detail about this personal statement later. And, once you get to this stage, feel free to email me if you want me to proof-read and make suggestions on your personal statement for a small fee. (Heck, maybe free if you just ask!)

3. Experience in the Field/Job Shadowing Hours:

If you have never worked in the field of medicine, then what are you waiting for? You have no idea what it’s about, how you might react to blood, sputum, etc., or if you are even resilient enough to handle some of the long hours on foot or derogating comments some residents, patients, or clients might throw at you. Do you even know the difference between a resident, patient, or client?

I’m not being mean, but these are the very basic questions the med school admissions board might hurl at you – and they are legitimate questions if you have never experienced any first-hand work in the field. I want you to succeed, so don’t take my comments as me being demeaning. But, trust me – some of those interviewers are ruthless! More on that later.

4. Letters of Recommendation

Typically, there are three letter-writers that you need:

                1) A physician that you have job-shadowed

                2) A science professor who has taught you (and can write you a STRONG academic letter)

                3) A humanities professor who has taught you (and can write you a STRONG academic letter)

Believe me, you DO NOT want to get a professor who has a great reputation but no knowledge of you as a person to write your letter of recommendation. All too often, people fall into the trap of thinking they’ve scored big because a distinguished professor wrote their letter. Only later, they find that this distinguished professor might not have a better choice than the Biology 101 professor who knew them from Freshman to Junior year as a professor and mentor. The Biology 101 professor might have known enough about them to pepper his or her recommendation letter with personal overtones, whereas the distinguished professor kept to strict, vague, non-emotional academic evaluation language. Always ask if the professor feels comfortable writing you a STRONG letter of recommendation!

5. Community Service and Extracurricular Activity  

Health clinics, health fairs, Toys for Tots, the Special Olympics, Council of the Blind…what is your passion? If you have a passion for anything, then there is a volunteer organization for it! Get involved. The days are long gone when medical schools looked for cookie-cutter doctors – the kind that majors in Biology, gets a 4.0 GPA, 36 on the MCAT, and has no people skills. You know the type!

 No, medical schools now want interesting people with a wide variety of interests, hobbies, and swag! Well, I’m not sure I totally know what that last one means in this context, but hey it’s a modern term that seems to fit and contrast the seemingly older synonym “charisma.” No, we want exciting and different. Why you ask? because people are unique and different! We are a cultural salad here in America, no longer a tossed salad, and as such, our health professions should reflect such changes. Read more next time on Blog 2 of this series.

CONCLUSION:

After step 1 above, the rest of the steps (2 – 5) are of concern to you during the actual application process (AMCAS or AACOMAS). I will explain all of this in detail later. But, know that for this blog, here is the least you should know:

Think of the admissions process as such:

a) The GPA and MCAT get you through the initial screening phase (call it “Phase I”) – a look at your packet

b) The application packet (the AMCAS or AACOMAS and your all-important personal statement) gets you through to “Phase II” – a secondary application

c) The secondary application packet gets you through to “Phase III” – The Interview!

d) The interview makes or breaks you to get you through to the final “Phase IV” – Acceptance!

*NEXT BLOG* I will show you charts on the best undergraduate major for medical school and review the best courses to take to make you STAND-OUT!

Ignorance is Bliss? (Scholarship Research)

The Following is an Excerpt from: Confessions of a College Recruiter

(This will be an eBook available for download soon)

 

Confessions Chapter 3

Ignorance is Bliss…

Often times, I am actually surprised by the amount of knowledge potential college students lack. I don’t mean things like they don’t understand what angular momentum is or can’t name five digits past the decimal of pi. Heck, I’ll even forgive them for not being able to name who wrote The Great Gatsby, but I mean basic practical knowledge that you would take for granted them knowing is just not there. I’ll provide a few examples of this.

Not long ago, I was assisting some students with finding scholarships on one of the many free search engines on the internet. One particular student with blonde hair and blue eyes (trust me, this info makes the story so much better) asks me why she’s not able to register for one of the scholarships. I look at the requirements and tell her politely that it’s because the scholarship is for Native Americans only. She then proceeds to tell me that she doesn’t understand…she’s been here in America her whole life – born and bred! (True story believe it or not)I explained to her that she would need a CDIB, or tribal number, to apply for it. So, she then responds by asking me if her daddy can purchase one of those from the school!

Another example – one of my fellow recruiters was at a college fair where parents and their high school children can walk around to the various college tables together and discuss specifics to see which college/university would be best suited for their needs. One student and her mom walk up to my fellow recruiter and ask if she offers radiology at her school. The recruiter begins telling them about the requirements for medical school and then the process of residency for radiology, unless they mean radiologic tech. The student interrupts her to explain that she means radiology as in being a disc jockey on the radio! (Again, this is a totally true story, believe it or not)

Am I making fun of these situations? No, because I would rather them ask than not ask and just go through life ignorant. Of course, the stories are consequently funny, but I am not making fun of the individuals. You see, there is a difference between one being ignorant, which is definitively to simply not know something, and one choosing to stay in the dark. If you want to know something – just ask! It can’t be much worse than the above examples. Want to know something surprising? The blonde student is about to be a nurse. She graduates this year, has a 3.7 GPA, and actually did receive a pretty good scholarship (although not a Native American one).

This just goes to show, you can never count somebody out based upon a seemingly ignorant question. She asked because she was seeking something, and when she ran into a roadblock, she continued looking until she found a path suitable for her – and it paid off monetarily! In both scenarios above, I can see how the terms “Native American” and “radiology” could possibly be misleading if someone had never been exposed to them…the scary part is considering that they had gone through high school without ever having been exposed to them! Or, if they were, then they didn’t pay attention.

 

Confessions Tip #3: Here are some of my favorite scholarship search engines that are free for all of my scholarship junkies out there:

(Remember to get these and many more, plus insider tips from me and other colleges in my forthcoming book “Confessions of a Scholarship Junkie” coming out soon!)

GACollege411.org (For GA residents)

www.fastweb.com  (Great all-around scholarship search engine)

http://www.finaid.org/scholarships  (Great info about scholarship searches)

financial aid full-tuition scholarships (Some full-tuition scholarships available)

Hispanic and Latino Scholarships (Info on Hispanic and Latino Scholarships)

United Negro College Fund (Scholarships for African-American HBCU students)

Hispanic Scholarship Fund (Scholarships for Hispanic college students)

Confessions Chapter Lesson #3:

Yes, ignorance is bliss. But, unfortunately (or fortunately perhaps!), bliss is not a prerequisite for college success. So, search for answers to what you don’t know, and ask questions regardless of how dumb they may sound to you anyone else. After all, when you’ve graduated and are successful in life, how dumb you feel asking a question right now will be irrelevant. But, the answer you may never get because you were too afraid to ask could make all the difference in the world!

In other words, I must confess that some questions do sound pretty dumb. However, I would much rather you ask me and get a clear understanding of what you need rather than you not ask and make a bad decision about your future!

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things (Website Version)…

Although I too like “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,” I am revealing some of my favorite websites in this blog instead of comparing notes with Julie Andrews (Sound of Music). More are to come in the future, so stay tuned (or just get the eBook – coming soon as well). People often ask me questions like, “Where do you recommend I go to learn basic Spanish for free?” or “Where can I compare the best credit cards out there for my credit score?” or “Heck, how do I even get my credit report AND score…for free?”

Well, the answers to these questions and more (to the best of my knowledge and objective opinion) are below. Have fun with them, and please feel free to drop me an email with new suggested websites you’ve discovered or stories on how any of these suggested websites below worked for you! Thanks! And, I hope this post helps!

My Favorite Websites to Get Textbooks for Cheap!

www.half.com (owned by ebay)

www.ebay.com

www.amazon.com

www.abebooks.com

www.alibris.com (possibly my favorite here. Email me for online coupons)

Would you all believe I actually possess ALL of my first-year med school books and only spent $230 thanks to these websites above? I remember in my undergrad years, my Anatomy & Physiology book packet alone cost me $350 at retail price! Wish I knew then what I know now!

My Favorite “Learn Spanish” Website:

Here is a link to start (begins with a basic grammar tutorial): http://www.studyspanish.com/tutorial.htm

Although there are many websites out there that just chart conjugations for you regarding Spanish verbs, I prefer this website for any beginner because it teaches the basic rules of grammar. I particularly love the grammar section on this website! (y me encanta especialmente la seccion de gramatica en este pagina…para todos mis amigos y amigas que hablan español un poco).

My Favorite Math and Stats Online Calculator Websites:

Wow! There are too many to name, but here are a few:

http://easycalculation.com/

http://www.danielsoper.com/statcalc3/default.aspx

http://www.wolframalpha.com/examples/Math.html

http://www.fourmilab.ch/rpkp/experiments/contents.html  (Great for calculating Z scores!)

http://sampson.byu.edu/courses/z2p2z-calculator.html  (Great composite site for finding cumulative probabilities from p or z!)

http://www.mathportal.org/calculators.php (from simplifying rational expressions to calculating derivatives!)

http://www.mathportal.org/calculators/rational-expressions/simplify-rational-calculator.php

Ok, so maybe I got a little carried away with this one. But, hey…l did it all for you – you academic beast, you (at least, that’s the reason I’ll tell myself regarding why I know all of these math websites!) Get your math on!

My Favorite Stock Website (Back When I Wasn’t a College Student and Had Money!)

www.sharebuilders.com

This is by far my favorite stock-trading website. Whether one is just novice or a pro at stock-trading or options, this is the place to get it done! It’s now owned by Capital One (which you will learn soon enough is one of my favorite companies in itself), and it has some of the best tools available! Plus, it only costs $6.95 per trade whether buying or selling. They just lowered the boom on their prices from $9.95 per trade to $6.95 per trade in the name of treating their customers right (according to some of their publications).

Don’t be afraid to email me about stocks. I don’t have the money to invest right now, but I still follow them all the time…really, all the time! lol. I’m part of Cramerica! (for all the “home-gamers” out there!)

My Favorite Online Banks

www.ally.com

Ok, so this bank is awesome! Any ATM fees accrued during the month are reimbursed to you at the end of each month. But, please be a good steward and use responsibly. For example, if you know the ATM around the corner from you only charges $2, but the one next to your house charges $5, please try your best to drive the extra quarter-mile so that companies like this can continue offering their services.

By the way, this bank is endorsed by many big league publications like MONEY magazine. There are some issues that I don’t like though with their joint-accounts. If you are a married or dating couple and want to get a joint bank account here, feel free to email me with questions on why I am not a huge fan of this aspect of the company. Thanks.

My Favorite Online Credit Union:

According to an article in Kiplinger magazine, credit unions: “tend to charge lower loan rates, pay higher savings yields and “treat borrowers who are struggling more sympathetically.”

www.alliantcreditunion.org

Just a good online credit union here that anyone can join. All you have to do is make a donation to one of their charity partners (I believe $5 or $10 will do the trick), and BOOM! Instant online credit union. Credit unions in themselves have their own advantages and are protected by the NCUA (the credit union-equivalent of the FDIC).

I’ve heard good things about this online credit union too, and it is open for anyone to join from my understanding:  https://www.connexuscu.org/

Although, I do not, or have not ever, had any experiences with them (Connexus) personally. Hey, maybe you can try them out and drop me a line about how they are!

If you want to learn more about other online credit unions that anyone can join, check out this article from Kiplinger magazine: http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/credit/T005-S001-7-great-credit-unions-anyone-can-join/index.html

My Favorite Credit Card Websites:

http://www.creditcards.com

http://www.bankrate.com/credit-cards.aspx

https://www.capitalone.com

These are all pretty self-explanatory websites with excellent comparative tools for you to use. “creditcards.com” is by far the best to me for credit card discovery, but “bankrate.com” is great for comparing many other different products besides credit cards. And, “capitalone.com,” as I mentioned earlier, is just a favorite of mine. They have some really great credit cards for any situation, including the following: low-income, coming-out-of-bankruptcy or rebuilding credit, college students, or no credit history at all.

My Favorite Credit Report Websites:

https://www.creditkarma.com

https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp

We all know the jingle: “Free credit report dot com – tell your friends, tell your dad, tell your mom” ’cause if you don’t watch out, then you just might “end up selling fish to tourists in t-shirts” at a pirate restaurant. Ironically though, www.freecreditreport.com is actually NOT free at all. You must pay for a service to get your credit reports from here, and it is sponsored and owned by Experian (one of the 3 major credit bureaus themselves)!

The only truly “FREE” websites I know of from experience is “annualcreditreport.com” (listed above) – which offers all 3 credit reports for free once-a-year with no gimmicks, and “creditkarma.com” – which is sponsored by TransUnion (one of the 3 major credit bureaus themselves). The TransUnion one is an extremely powerful tool in itself and is even mentioned and recommended by Clark Howard.

My Favorite Sacred Texts Website:

 http://www.sacred-texts.com/

 This website makes accessible everything sacred (scripturally speaking) from as far East as the Vedas (Hinduism) and the Kojiki (Shinto) to the West, like the Christian Bible (Christianity), and includes everything in between as well, like the Koran (Muslim) and Kitab-I-Aqdas (Baha’i Faith). I love this website, and I can’t wait to have money to donate to it and buy some of the products – especially the CD-ROM.

My Favorite “Free” College Courses Websites:

https://www.khanacademy.org/

http://academicearth.org/

This has been all the craze lately for us college students, and I have jumped right in head-first as well. Not learning well from your professor who can’t seem to keep your attention long enough to make it past the CoA step of the Krebs Cycle? Or, still can’t quite seem to grasp just how far away a light year is? Check out all of the free courses here! These two websites are excellent ways to get a variety of perspectives taught to you on the same subject, and to just watch for fun too!

…If you’re in to that sort of thing, like me=)

 

Get Into Medical School V – Joey, My Friend, I Have Special Circumstances!

Get Into Medical School V – Low GPA, No Money, Non-traditional Students?  No Problem!

In this last installment of pre-med advising blogs. I will discuss two things:

a) How to make you applications “POP”

b) How to overcome special circumstances

How to make your application “POP”:

Ok, so what to do, what to do to make you stand out? According to an article in the online magazine “medpagetoday.com”: The number of total med school applicants (including those who have applied in previous years) increased by 2.8% to 43,919 people applying for just over 19,000 open slots. Whoa! that’s crazy, and this was written in 2011! So, how do you compete with that? This means a 2.36% chance of getting in! I’ll tell you how – you must make your application packet “POP!” Far too many people dwell on making their negatives appear more positive, and they understandably do this to emit a vapor of well-roundedness. While this is good in theory, it makes everyone blend in the same. Instead, try this approach: accentuate your positives even more, and improve on these areas even more. A good people person, are you? Well, instead of trying to get a job in analytics or trying to take more math classes to prove to the admissions board that you are all “objective, analytical, and scientific,” why don’t you get a job in customer service somewhere for the summer. Although it is not med school related, it will show the board how well you are in dealing with other humans. And, hey, while you’re at it – get you a customer service certificate or rise up the ranks or something. Really accentuate your high points!

Special Circumstances:

Low GPA: This does not mean the end of the world. In fact, many MD schools will next look at your MCAT if you have a low GPA. If your MCAT is high, they figure that you can’t fake knowing the testing material, so you might have just had some hard professors for certain courses. Be sure to do well on your MCAT though if you’re in this situation! Also check this chart to see where you fall in line and evaluate your best method of attack: GPA and MCAT medical school stats

Low MCAT: This does not mean the end of the world either. In fact, if you’re GPA is high, then they may think you are not the world’s greatest test-taker. Be sure to check this chart to see where you fall in line and evaluate your best method of attack: GPA and MCAT medical school stats

Non-traditional Students: You have stability and are of sound mind at this point in your life. Your marriage(s), child or children, or age has shaped and molded you to become a mature adult student who is now focused and knows what you want. Use this to your advantage. Hey, the average accepted age for medical school students is rising! The proof is there that they want you.

Second time around Students: Remember this, it is not how you start off, but your trend towards the end. In other words, admission committees will forgive you making all D’s and F’s your first semester, but don’t let it be your last semester. Have a good reason as to why you didn’t do so hot in the beginning, but be sure that you have proof of your grades trending in an increasing manner towards the end of your undergraduate academic career. Trust me, everyone can relate to a poor first year of school or a terrible semester at some point in their undergraduate careers!

Low-income Students: There are tons of scholarships out there for those of “us” in this boat. Also, remember this one thing…you have had to work with very little to get to where you are. No mommy and daddy paying for MCAT review courses of $2,000 or more, no push in the back for college success if you are a first-generation college student…you have gotten here by what you have put in. So tell YOUR STORY!

Non-science majors: Spin this in your favor by telling the admissions committee “WHY” you chose your particular major over a science major. There is no shame in this, and statistically, non-science majors have performed just as well in medical school as non-science majors. Check out to see how non-science majors did on the MCAT in the past: non-science majors on the MCAT

Well, I have had fun writing this five-part blog and hope that it has been of assistance to you all. Please remember to be yourself at all times and feel free to send me an email if you have further questions or need help with your personal statements!

Poetry – Tennessee

The following is a poem titled “TENNESSEE” that was written by me and originally published in 2012 in the Old Red Kimono…

She kicked an empty bottle along the beaten Tennessee pathway.

She though to herself, “My God, is that what I should like sometimes?”

Echoes usually don’t last that long, even in the Tennessee mountain air -

Almost as if the sound was meant to resonate deep within her soul,

Oscillating back and forth in her head,

Invading her very essence.

 

She looked on the outside of the bottle and noticed the labeling.

It said “Coca-Cola.”

What would her labeling say?

Would it say “loser,” “queer,” or some other derogatory term?

The birds continued to cackle in the background.

 

Perhaps this was just what she needed.

Sometimes, when the air is filled with cackling…

And piercing, negative thoughts -

Mixed with reverberating sounds of emptiness, of course -

A situation seems like it is just a microcosm of what life is.

Temporal moments of ridicule meant to refine – and ultimately define – an individual.

 

So what if the bottle was empty, the birds were laughing at her,

The negative thoughts were penetrating her mind, and she was supposed to be sad?

She could just simply…move on in either direction at the approaching fork in the pathway,

Leaving it all behind her.

 

If this situation, at this very moment, was supposed to represent life to her -

Then things were looking pretty good.

For, the next time someone dared to make her feel diminutive,

She would just simply move on -

Where choices are to be made, and unknowns are to be conquered.

 

But, what she would not do is,

Stay stagnant and listen to the ridicule.

Get Into Medical School Pt. IV – Allopathic and Osteopathic Admission Tips

Get Into Medical School Pt. IV – Joey, Please Make Me Stand Out!

Most of the information I would love to write in this blog will have to be available in eBook format only. So, that will be coming soon. Keep checking on my website for updates and download though, because as I see great information for you, I try to keep it all here at www.joeyjohnsondo.com

Anyway, let’s get down to it. So by now, you know the scheme:

a) MCAT and GPA are to help you get through the door.

b) Personal statement and application is to get you a secondary application (supplied by each individual medical school).

c) Secondary applications get you the interview, and…

d) the interview makes or breaks you for admittance. This is a good way to look at the whole process at this point.

What is a good GPA and MCAT score for admissions? And, maybe by now you’ve heard on Student Doctor Network or some other outlet people denigrating osteopathic schools saying that they accept sub-par GPAs and MCAT scores. Here’s the skinny on it all…

Many (but not all) MD schools focus on research and certain advancements in the field of medicine. DO schools’ primary focus is on holistic healthcare and as such, many of the DO products are primary-care focused. In fact, I would dare say that the majority of DO students (including myself) go into a primary care residency (Family Practice, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, sometimes Psychiatry is considered).

For this reason, DO schools tend to look at a person’s application as a whole and not do the GPA/MCAT pre-screening procedure as much. Therefore, non-traditional students who are starting over in life with baggage (because we all know that GPAs earned from our first college course till death are calculated) benefit from the DO admissions process.

Some DO schools actually take pride in the fact that they are frequently on the lowest mean GPA for acceptance list or lowest mean MCAT for acceptance list because it reflects their admissions process. A student with a 4.0 GPA and 30 MCAT score who has no intent of doing patient-centered practice typically will not get into an osteopathic school over a student who is non-traditional, started off poorly his/her Freshman year of college then picked it up to a 3.5 graduating GPA who wants to work primary care in a rural area. If you disagree with me, please do not attack me, check with DO admissions boards for yourself. This is information I have heard “straight from many horses’ mouths.”

I know I focused on what osteopathic schools look for in this blog, but sometimes it is easier to contrast differences by focusing on one of the subjects. Besides, DO schools usually are the least known about in a DO/MD conversation. Learn about the history of osteopathic medicine here: A.T. Still and the history of osteopathic medicine

So, as you can see from this blog and from my previous blog with the AMA quote in it, DOs and MDs are of the same scope of practice all throughout the U.S., but they may be different in approach. The MD may treat the symptom, but the DO treats the body because he/she is more holistic in approach. Neither is better or worse. Both are just different. And, yes, DOs have all the prescribing rights that MDs do! I have heard this question one too many times, lol.

*Next Blog* I will discuss how to make your application “POP” for the admissions committee. And, remember, I am available for hire regarding proofreading and making suggestions on your personal statement. Just email me to ask about pricing.

Get Into Medical School Pt. III – DO vs MD & Medical School Alternatives

Get Into Medical (or Osteopathic) School Pt. III: Medical School Alternatives and Healthcare Careers

DO or MD?

Should one apply to an MD or DO school? Far too much information exists on the web already for me to get into this discussion. Personally for me, I had offers from both schools; but, the DO school that I chose won my heart when I first visited.  However, I do not recommend it for everyone. I have a specific purpose and mission in life – to serve those of rural and minority communities who do not have ample access to healthcare, health education, etc. Therefore, I cannot recommend someone who loves the city-life, wants a large multi-branched metropolitan office, etc. to go here over some of the other medical schools. Although, I do not think they would be disappointed once they arrived. I’m just trying to shoot straight with ya=)

Anyway, here are some good sites to help you discern between and MD and DO. But,  be warned – some people get pretty heated up still about the discussion. However, most practicing physicians will tell you that the difference in practice is minimal besides the OMT offered by DOs (which some do not even practice upon graduating from osteopathic school).

What is an osteopath or osteopathic medicine?

What is a DO?

Unparalleled Overview of Osteopathic Medicine (extracted from Dartmouth College – my favorite booklet on DO philosophy)

What is a medical physician? (FAQs)

How to be a doctor (medical)

So, as you can see from even the AMA (American Medical Association) website itself, whenever asked about the difference between an MD and a DO, the reply is quite simply: “A DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) is a physician just as an MD is a physician.” Therefore, please do not get caught up in all the hype that you may here undergrads talk about when they only have minute, trivial knowledge on the matter – instead, ask the largest association of physicians – both MDs and DOs – around (the AMA).

 

Below are the links to apply for medical or osteopathic colleges in the United States:

TMDSAS (Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service)

AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service)

2014 AMCAS instruction manual free download

AACOMAS (American Assoication of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service)

2014 AACOMAS instruction manual free download

 

Caribbean Medical Schools (most often known about; however, others exist):

St. George’s University

Ross University

American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine

- Caribbean Medical Student’s Blog: Diary of a Caribbean Med Student

 

Other Healthcare Options:

AHEC Health Careers in Georgia Online Booklet

Even though this book was made specifically for Georgians, it is thorough and replete with knowledge.

Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Health Occupations Handbook (healthcare)

This is published by the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics; therefore, these numbers are official and matter! Even if you know what field you are going into, it is always good to check the projected outlook (growth rate, etc.) for the next few years.

 

*Interesting Fact*

Some health professions allow you to enter their professional schools for licensure without having completed a bachelor’s degree (i.e. Podiatry schools and Pharmacy schools). You only need to have completed the minimum requirements and 90 semester hours. Check around and see!

 

*Next Blog* I will discuss the difference between MD and DO admissions committees,how they view applicants a little differently, and what the ideal applicant would look like for each. And, now would be an excellent time for you to read my blog on “Must Have Books and Free Downloads for Pre-med Students

Must Have Books and Free Downloads for Pre med Students!!!

MSAR (Medical School Admissions Requirements)

Preview of 2014-2015 MSAR (Free Download)

2013 MCAT Essentials (Free Download)

Download this copy of the 2015 MCAT Preveiw Guide (Free Download)

2014 CIB (College Information Booklet) on all Osteopathic Schools (Free Download)

2014 CIB available for purchase here

Opportunities for Minority Medical Students (published by AAMC)