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Choosing Schools Part 2

As promised, here is part two of my four-part series on applying to medical school. In the first installment, I discussed crunching the raw numbers to find schools where you’ll be academically competitive, and we also covered some in-state/out-of-state stuff. Now, I’d like to talk about the next step, which is much more holistic. Admittedly, this part of the selection process cannot be complete until you’ve interviewed (which will be covered in part four of this series), but it is essential to narrow your list as much as possible before applying so as to save money.

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Choosing Schools

I apologize for the long time between posts this time around – I’ve been very busy moving back to Oklahoma for my gap year, applying to medical school, and attending HOSA’s 40th Anniversary Celebration and 2016 International Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. It was wonderful seeing many of you in Nashville and I can’t wait for next year’s ILC in Orlando, Florida.
 

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Standardized Tests

Some people love standardized tests. Their scale is impressive – everyone who takes a particular test is scaled against everyone else. This allows schools and employers to see at a glance how you’ve performed on these often content-based, but even more often critical thinking-based, assessments. Other people hate them, saying that they are the epitome of a system that over-tests and results in students who know how to regurgitate information but not how to apply it in day-to-day life or in a future career.

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The MCAT

This past Friday, I completed a milestone – perhaps the milestone – in my slow, steady march toward medical school. Although I know that acceptance into a school is merely the start of an even longer journey than the one that I embarked on in 2012 when I entered NYU, I can’t help but see it as a kind of finish line. Maybe it’s a self-defense mechanism as I attempt to comprehend that my collegiate life is still less than half over. In any case, I’m nearly there.
 

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Studying

During this post I’ll attempt to convince you of something that you probably won’t believe. That is: I actually enjoy studying. I know that sounds improbable, but if you hear me out I’ll try to explain. Some people actually enjoy studying on its own. A far greater number of people (at least in my opinion and including myself) like the idea of studying, but find the actual practice of it to be more of a chore than a joy. Knowledge is a powerful thing, and it says a lot that so many of us would like to think of ourselves as master scholars.

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Community Service

There’s a portion of many postsecondary school applications that trips up a lot of people – community service. After a full (and often rigorous) high school class schedule, extracurricular activities to add to your leadership and teamwork experience, and other hobbies and interests, it may seem like there’s no room in a schedule for giving back to your community. Community service often seems difficult to work into schedules or even to find; many charitable organizations don’t have the resources to advertise their need.

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The World of AP!

When I entered high school, I had no idea what AP classes were. Everyone was talking about Advanced Placement and what exactly went on in these classes. (Okay, so nobody was actually talking about them, but in my mind’s version of freshman year they certainly were.) For anyone who hasn’t come across the terminology, AP courses are accelerated programs that culminate in a test administered by a company called The College Board that also administers the SAT test.

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Why Medicine?

They say that there are only two things that are unavoidable: death and taxes. For the Future Health Professional, we probably need to add one more thing to the list – a question. This question is asked, I assume, in every interview from a local HOSA chapter officer election to the application process to become the U.S. Surgeon General. It is unavoidable, as it should be, and it’s important to be able to answer not only to perform well in an interview, but also as an exercise – that is, you need to be able to answer this question for yourself more than for anyone else.
 

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Hello!

Well, for the life of me I wouldn’t have ever thought that I would be a writer in any sort of capacity, but when HOSA calls I rarely have the power to say no. This blog is intended to be a resource for students pursuing a health profession, but my personal hope is that almost any student who stumbles across it will be able to gain something from my experiences as a high school student in Oklahoma, college undergrad in NYC, and (hopefully!) medical student.

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