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Applying to Graduate and Professional School

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Title: Applying to Graduate and Professional School


1
Applying to Graduate and Professional School
Kent L. Barrus Pre-professional Advisor
2
Academic Factors
Your Chosen Major
  • No major is better than any other major for
    professional school.
  • Major can matter for graduate programs.
  • Advantage of Biology and Chemistry Majors.
  • 140 Credit issue.

3
Academic Factors
Prerequisite Classes
  • Medicine.
  • Dentistry.
  • Optometry.
  • Podiatry.
  • Other.

4
Academic Factors
Other Required Classes
  • University of Utah Diversity Requirement.
  • Books MSAR, ADEA, OPTED
  • Online Resources
  • Data Sheets.

5
Academic Factors
Recommended Classes
  • The value of additional upper division classes
  • Biochemistry.
  • Liberal Arts Classes
  • Only doing the minimums.
  • Calculus

6
Academic Factors
GPA
  • An extremely important quantitative measure.
  • A great GPA does NOT guarantee admittance.
  • Cumulative vs Science GPA
  • GPA from a competitive vs non-competitive
    school.
  • GPA trends and standardized test scores.

7
Academic Factors
Standardized Test Scores - Other
  • Medical MCAT
  • Podiatry MCAT or GRE
  • Dental DAT
  • Pharmacy PCAT or GRE.
  • PT/OT/Other graduate level programs GRE.
  • Veterinary School GRE.
  • VCAT no longer available.
  • Chiropractics Usually not required.

8
Non-Academic Factors
The reward goes not to him with the greatest
ability, but to him with the greatest
determination. -Voltaire
9
Non-Academic Factors
  • University of Utah Example-
  • As important as grades and test scores are, by
    themselves they do not predict who will be
    successful in medical school. The demands of
    medical education and life as a physician are not
    for everyone. We consider how the applicant
    balances outside activities and responsibilities
    with schoolwork as an indicator of ability to
    deal with the rigors of life as a physician. The
    committee is interested in motivation for
    attending medical school and understanding of the
    medical profession. Commitment to community
    service, ethical behavior, compassion, leadership
    ability and communication skills are important
    characteristics of physicians. We expect
    applicants to be courteous, respectful and
    professional at all times.
  • Dean of Admission
  • University of Utah Medical School

10
Non-Academic Factors
University of Utah Example- The three guiding
principles for selection
  • Overall Excellence
  • Humanitarian Skills
  • Diversity of Experience

11
Bio 311 - Professional School Preparation
Extracurricular Activities
  • The more diverse your background and experience,
    the more interesting you will become to the
    admissions committee.
  • Dont avoid out of fear of a lower GPA.
  • Make sure your participation is Active
    participation.
  • Personal anecdotes in your application.

12
Personal Statement
Personal Statements Common Topics
  • The five common topic areas
  • Your motivation for a career as a physician.
  • The influence of your family / early experiences
    in life.
  • The influence of extracurricular, work/volunteer
    activities on your life.
  • Your long-term goals.
  • Your personal philosophy.
  • Description of irregularities in you record.

13
Personal Statement
Attributes Committee Look For
14
Personal Statement
The Most Common Essay Mistakes
  • Underestimating the Importance of the Essay.
  • Using Excessive Detail
  • Failing to Make the Essay Personal.
  • Embellishing the Essay.
  • Failing to Proofread the Essay.

15
Application Process
Allopathic Medical Schools
  • MD/Ph.D., MD/JD
  • Individual Applications.
  • AMCAS vs non-AMCAS
  • 115 out of 125 schools participate in AMCAS
  • Online AMCAS Available around May 15
  • Processing 1st to middle of June.
  • Early Decision Program
  • Deadline August 1st
  • Application Fees
  • 160 for the first school
  • 30 for each additional school.

16
Application Process
Allopathic Medical Schools
  • Deadlines
  • MCAT Scores
  • Transcripts
  • Secondary Applications
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • TMDSAS / OMSAS

17
Application Process
Osteopathic Medical Schools
  • AACOMAS vs non-AACOMAS
  • 20 out of 21 schools participate in AACOMAS
  • University of North Texas at Fort Worth
  • Online AMCAS Available around May 1
  • Processing begins June 1.
  • Application Fees
  • A graduated scale

1 - 155 5 - 275 9 - 375 13 - 480 17 - 580
2 - 185 6 - 295 10 - 405 14 505 18 - 605
3 - 220 7 - 315 11 - 430 15 - 530 19 - 630
4 - 250 8 - 345 12 - 455 16 - 555 20- 655
18
Application Process
Osteopathic Medical Schools
  • Deadlines
  • MCAT Scores
  • Transcripts
  • Secondary Applications
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Sample Application

19
Application Process
Dental Schools
  • AADSAS vs non-AADSAS
  • 54 schools participate in AADSAS
  • Non-AADSAS - Louisiana State, Medical College of
    Georgia, Northwestern U., University of
    Mississippi, University of Tennessee
  • Online AMCAS Available around May 15
  • Processing begins June 1.
  • Application Fees
  • 195 for first school.
  • 60 for each additional school up to ten.
  • 50 for each additional school from 11 to 20
  • 25 for each additional school over 20

20
Application Process
Dental Schools
  • Deadlines
  • DAT Scores
  • Transcripts
  • Secondary Applications
  • Letters of Recommendation

21
Application Process
Optometry Schools
  • Independent Applications
  • Deadlines
  • OAT Scores
  • Transcripts

22
Application Process
Podiatry Schools
  • AACPMAS
  • AACPMAS vs non-AACPMAS
  • 6 out of 8 schools participate in AACPMAS
  • New York and Midwestern University in Arizona
  • Online AMCAS Available around September 1st.
  • Application Fees
  • Application Processing Fees
  • 1 school 50.00
  • 2-3 schools 75.00
  • 4 schools 100.00

23
Application Process
Podiatric Schools
  • Deadlines
  • April 1st for Priority Consideration
  • July 31st for Final Deadline.
  • MCAT, DAT, GRE Scores
  • Transcripts sent directly
  • Letters of Recommendation sent directly

24
Application Process
Pharmacy Schools
  • PharmCAS vs non-PharmCAS
  • 42 out of 84 schools participate in PharmCAS
  • Online AMCAS Available around May 5th

25
Application Process
Pharmacy Schools
  • Deadlines
  • PCAT or GRE Scores
  • Transcripts sent to PharmCAS
  • Secondary Applications
  • Letters of Recommendation sent to schools.

26
Application Process
Physician Assistant Schools
  • CASPA vs non-CASPA
  • 68 out of 134 schools participate in CASPA
  • Online CASPA application available April 15th.
  • Application Fees
  • Graduated Scale

27
Application Process
Physician Assistant Schools
  • Deadlines
  • GRE Scores
  • Some schools may accept the MCAT
  • Transcripts sent to CASPA
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • 3 letters sent to CASPA
  • Letters may be submitted electronically
  • Sample Application

28
Standardized Tests
Why Take Standardized Tests?
  • Grades Dont Tell the Whole Story
  • The Great Equalizer of Undergraduate Education
  • More Important for Students Graduating from
    Schools not Well Known or Schools Whos
    Reputation is Less than Other Schools.
  • Determine the Test Taking Ability of an
    Applicant.
  • Will you Do Well on Medical School Exams?
  • Will you Do Well on a Licensing Exam?

29
Standardized Tests
What are the Different Tests?
  • MCAT
  • Allopathic
  • Osteopathic
  • Podiatry
  • Some Veterinary and Pharmacy Schools
  • DAT - Dental
  • OAT - Optometry
  • PCAT Pharmacy
  • VCAT Veterinary (No Longer Offered)
  • GRE Graduate Schools

30
Standardized Tests
MCAT Essentials
  • When to Take the Test
  • April 17th or August 14th
  • Deadlines March 12th or July 9th
  • Where to Take the Test
  • Idaho Albertsons College (Caldwell), University
    of Idaho (Moscow), Idaho State University
    (Pocatello)
  • Utah Utah State University, Southern Utah
    University, Weber State University, Brigham
    Young University, University of Utah
  • Costs
  • Regular Exam Fee - 185.00
  • Miscellaneous Fees ranging from 10 to 60

31
Standardized Tests
DAT Essentials
  • When to Take the Test
  • Any time of the year
  • Give yourself at least 3 weeks to register
  • Where to Take the Test
  • Idaho Boise Sylvan Learning Center
  • Utah Ogden, Orem, or Salt Lake City Sylvan
    Learning Center
  • Costs
  • Regular Exam Fee - 160.00
  • Score Sent to 5 schools, NOT AADSAS.
  • Additional score reports are 10 per school.

32
Standardized Tests
OAT Essentials
  • COMPUTERIZED IN 2004
  • When to Take the Test
  • February 7th 2004 and October 16th 2004
  • Deadlines December 29th and September 7th
  • Where to Take the Test
  • Idaho Idaho State University
  • Utah Weber State (Ogden) or BYU (Provo)
  • Costs
  • Regular Exam Fee - 130.00
  • Score Sent to 5 schools.
  • Additional score reports are 10 per school.

33
Standardized Tests
PCAT Essentials
  • When to Take the Test
  • January 24th 2004, March 27th 2004, and October
    25th 2004
  • Deadlines December 5th, February 13th, and
    September 12th
  • Where to Take the Test
  • Idaho Idaho State University
  • Utah Weber State (Ogden) or BYU (Provo)
  • Costs
  • Regular Exam Fee - 69.00
  • Score Sent to 1, 2, or 3 schools.
  • Must arrange for PCAT score to be sent to
    PharmCAS if applying to PharmCAS schools.

34
Standardized Tests
GRE Essentials
  • When to Take the Test
  • Any time of the year
  • Deadlines December 5th, February 13th, and
    September 12th
  • Where to Take the Test
  • Idaho Pocatello, Boise
  • Utah Ogden
  • Costs
  • Regular Exam Fee - 115
  • Score Sent to 4 institutions.
  • Additional Score Report 15 per Institution.

35
Standardized Tests
Test Taking Skills
  • Pace Yourself
  • Dont forgo answering easy questions because you
    spent to much time on harder questions.
  • Mark up the Test Booklet (for paper-based tests)
  • Underline important points
  • Strike through wrong answers
  • Make calculations or drawings
  • Read the Entire Question Carefully
  • Dont make an assumption as to the answer with
    thoroughly reading the question.

36
Standardized Tests
Test Taking Skills
  • Use the dot method
  • Put a small dot on the answer sheet for a
    question that will require significant time to
    answer.
  • Put a question mark next to this question in the
    test booklet.
  • If you run out of time on the test, you can go
    back quickly and fill in the answer sheet where
    you placed the dot.
  • This helps reduce the possibility of missing
    questions due to totally random guessing.
  • Helps prevent frame shifting errors.

37
Standardized Tests
Test Taking Skills
  • Answer Every Question
  • Unlike the SAT, there are no penalties for
    guessing.
  • Your first instinct is more likely to be correct.
  • Dont change answers unless it is obvious that
    you misinterpreted the question.
  • Approximate the answer
  • If the possible answers differ significantly from
    each other it is possible to approximate for
    quicker calculations.
  • Adjust the numbers to be calculated by rounding
    off or move to a close number with a known trig
    function.
  • With most problems you will be able to tell which
    answer is a reasonable estimate.

38
Standardized Tests
Test Taking Skills
  • For Reading and Verbal Tests
  • Answer the question only on the basis of the
    information given, NOT from prior knowledge.
  • Sometimes reading the questions and answers first
    can alert you as to what you should be looking
    for in the passage to be read.
  • For the Writing Sample
  • Practice, Practice, Practice.
  • Read the Op-Ed pieces in major newspapers.
  • Typical Structure
  • Explain what the statement means
  • Describe some situation in which you disagree
    with the statement
  • Provide justification for your disagreement.

39
Standardized Tests
Test Taking Skills
  • Study for the test like you would a 4 credit
    class.
  • There are no tricks or strategies that can
    substitute for knowledge of a subject.
  • Get a good nights sleep
  • Arrive in plenty of time so you are not hurried.
  • Eat well before the test and during.
  • If you are a poor standardized test taker, you
    can improve.
  • Visit the Learning Assistance Lab

40
Standardized Tests
Should You Retake a Test?
  • Are your scores consistent with your grades?
  • Did you prepare adequately for the test?
  • Will you have the time and motivation to prepare
    for a second test?
  • Doing the same or worse a second time will hurt
    you.

41
What is your job as a freshman student?
  • Work hard and get good grades.
  • Get as much out of the university resources as
    possible.
  • Get to know you professors.

42
Letters of Recommendation
How do you get to know your professors?
  • Arrive at your appointments on time.
  • Find time for extra appointments.
  • Be honest about any problems you may have with an
    application.
  • Always feel free to ask questions.
  • Have evaluators read your personal statement.
  • Let your evaluators know where you have been
    accepted.

43
Letters of Recommendation
Why are letters important?
  • Judgment of your non-academic attributes.
  • Character
  • Personality
  • Motivation
  • Maturity
  • Integrity
  • Etc..
  • Will you make a good clinician?

44
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of Recommendation Options
  • Individual Letters
  • Advantages
  • Individual letters of recommendation may be more
    favorable.
  • Less time commitment.
  • Disadvantages
  • Schools may disregard non-committee
    recommendations because they lack credibility.

45
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of Recommendation Options
  • Committee Letters
  • Advantages
  • Interview experience.
  • Application Preparation.
  • Feedback on your application
  • The reputation of a committee letter.
  • Disadvantage
  • Time consuming process.
  • If you are not a strong applicant, the letter
    will reflect it.

46
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of Recommendation Tips
  • Ask potential evaluators if they can write a
    good letter on your behalf.
  • Let your evaluator know the type of health
    profession school you are applying to.
  • Be prepared to furnish information about
    yourself.
  • Get at least two science evaluations.
  • Diversity your evaluations.
  • Give sufficient lead time.
  • Collect evaluations after you finish a class.
  • Keep track of your evaluations.

47
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of Recommendation Donts
  • Dont get a letter from family member.
  • Dont get letters from well known persons unless
    they know you well.
  • Dont procrastinate.
  • Dont act unprofessional around your potential
    letter writers Ever.

48
Letters of Recommendation
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
  • Buckley Amendment
  • Your rights
  • Waived rights is best.

49
Interviewing
  • Keep up on current topics!
  • World and Local News
  • Current Industry Issues

50
Interviewing
What percentage of an applicants
overall evaluation does the interview constitute?
0-25 17 20
25-50 34 39
50-75 29 33
75-100 7 8
51
Interviewing
Why do schools interview?
  • Intellectual Curiosity
  • How you approach the unknown
  • How do you organize your thoughts
  • What is your preferred learning style
  • Do you have the desire for continuous learning
  • Social Awareness and Cultural Competency
  • Exposure to people with different interests,
    religion, culture, economics, gender, age,
    ethnicity, language, education, and race.
  • What value do you place on these differences
  • Can you modify your behavior to show respect for
    differences.

52
Interviewing
Why do schools interview?
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  • What is your perception of yourself
  • What is your response when others have
    misunderstood you
  • What are your experiences with teamwork
  • How do you handle criticism
  • Maturity
  • What have you done to explore a health career
  • What disappointments have you experienced in your
    life
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of
  • What is your definition of a leader

53
Interviewing
Types of Interviews
  • Open
  • Interviews has reviewed your application and
    personal statement.
  • Interviewer will often refer to information in
    the application.
  • Semi-Open
  • Interview has read your personal statement but
    nothing else.
  • Interviewer will often seek answers to questions
    not found in your personal statement.
  • Closed
  • Interview has never seen your application
    materials.
  • Interview will ask more open ended questions.
  • Dont be annoyed that questions may be answered
    in your application.

54
Interviewing
Types of Interviews
  • Group
  • More than one interviewer and/or interviewee.
  • Designed to see how well you play with others.

55
Interviewing
Preparing for an interview
  • Practice your responses to questions.
  • List five important things you want to make sure
    the interview knows about you.
  • List five powerful questions you want to ask
    during the interview.
  • Describe three ways you can contribute to your
    class.
  • What are your three most significant leadership
    qualities?
  • List of anticipated questions.
  • List of toughest questions you could be asked.
  • Review potential interview questions.
  • Learn all you can about specific schools.
  • Mock Interview.

56
Interviewing
Any Questions?
  • Dont forget to have some good questions to ask.

57
Masters/Ph.D Programs
What is it like in Graduate School?
  • Masters (M.S. Degree)
  • Most Graduate Schools offer an M.S. degree
  • Typically 2 years
  • Thesis usually required.
  • Ph.D Programs
  • 1/5 of graduate schools offer Ph.D ONLY program.
  • The rest offer combined M.S./Ph.D programs.
  • Typically about 5 years

58
Masters/Ph.D Programs
How hard is graduate school?
  • Attrition rate of some Ph.D programs is as high
    at 75
  • By comparison more than 90 of medical school
    students receive degrees.
  • Very few jobs in biology for B.S. degree
    students.
  • You usually must do a graduate level program to
    get a good job.

59
Masters/Ph.D Programs
Choosing a Graduate School
  • Talk to professors
  • Review graduate school posters
  • List programs that have degrees in your area of
    interest
  • Visit the school
  • Learn about and talk to researchers in your area
    of interest to find out if space is available in
    their lab.

60
Masters/Ph.D Programs
Financing a Graduate School Education
  • National Fellowships
  • University Fellowships
  • TA, Research Assistants
  • Loans

61
Masters/Ph.D Programs
Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  • Take between your Junior and Senior years
  • Important for financial awards to be considered.
  • Subject test sometimes required

62
Masters/Ph.D Programs
How do programs select students?
  • GPA
  • Reputation of undergraduate school
  • GRE scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of Goals
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