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Medical School Interview (cont’d)

You should straight out ask them to write you a STRONG LOR. They should be professional enough to let you know if they can do that. If they can’t they should have enough common courtesy to straight out let you know they can not. However, usually professors with classes of 300 are used to writing such LORs and they will usually ask to meet with you in person for about 1 hour to interview you and get to know you better before they actually write it.
Do you think its a good idea to supply your personal statement or a CV to the recommenders?
Absolutely. This is usually a must.
Is there a golden rule to deciding which clinical setting to pick?
There is no golden rule. As far as clinical settings, free clinics, hospitals, and hospice care are concerned, they are all important. EMT and paramedic work are also impressive.
Nonscience vs Science majors? Which one is preferred and why?
Admissions committees look to have a class with diversity and a wide range of backgrounds, so one major isn’t particularly preferred. Statistically, if you’re not a science major, you have a better chance as a very minority of applicants are non science majors. That is where the MCAT comes in. It is a very important test that normalizes everyone as some colleges have grade inflation which blows people’s GPAs too high.
What about non-traditional applicants? Is it looked at favorably? What kind of advice would you give to students looking to take a year or two off before applying?
You go to show them you have the capability. Medical schools usually want to teach you all the science you need to know. If you are going to take time off, it should be for a good reason or you should be working at making your application stronger if you take time off because of your own illness or someone ill in your family. It is understood if you go and volunteer that year in the peace corps, that’s impressive and shows true dedication. It also goes to show your true spirit and sense of community service versus taking time off to lounge around.
What is the role of secondary essays in the application process?
If you pass the primary screen, you obtain a secondary application and it’s a chance to prove to the committee how and why you think. It is yet another screening process once your numbers are strong enough to get know people better on an individual basis.
What can an applicant do or not do to help them during this period of uncertainty?
Send letters of genuine interest and let them know why you want to go to their school and perhaps why it’s your #1 choice. Genuine reasons are obvious and help set you apart from the crowd. Update the committees as to what you’ve been doing since you interviewed with them. The more info they have, the better.