Admissions Blog

MCAT Fee Assistance Program for Canadians

By Admissions on November 1, 2017

A new MCAT Fee Assistance Program for Canadians is coming soon. This pilot program will enable Canadian students who demonstrate financial need to receive reduced MCAT scheduling, rescheduling, and cancellation fees. Students will submit financial information to the Association of Faculties of Medicine in Canada (AFMC), who will determine which students are in greatest need of the funds. AFMC will identify these students to the AAMC through their AAMC ID numbers only, so no information will be passed on to the individual medical schools.

We hope this program can bring the MCAT within reach of applicants facing financial barriers. Details are still a bit sparse, but if you are interested in this program, please check out the information posted on the AAMC and AFMC websites. Unfortunately, the Admissions Office does not administer this program and we do not have any additional information beyond what is available on the AAMC and AFMC websites, but we will pass along any updates we receive.

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October 20 – Online Information Session

By Admissions on October 4, 2017

Our first online information session went well; thank you to all of the participants! Although we could not hold an online session in September, we will be presenting one on Friday, October 20 from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Please see our Information Sessions page to register.

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Online Information Session

By Admissions on August 23, 2017

We are excited to announce that in addition to in-person information sessions, MD Admissions will now offer online information sessions and you are invited to participate! Our first online information session will be on August 30th, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. PDT. Similar to our in-person sessions, these hour-long webinars will provide you with some information about the admissions process and will give you the opportunity to interact with admissions staff members. We hope this will give those of you who live far away the chance to attend a session and gather the information you need to apply to our MD Program.

Because this is our first offering, we will host a maximum of 20 participants. More online sessions will be available later in the fall.

If you are interested in attending, please sign up on the Information Sessions page of our website. The information gathered in the registration form is for statistical purposes only; it will help us know who we are reaching and how we can better tailor our sessions to meet participant needs. Your information will not be connected to your application or used for solicitation. Once you register, you will receive a confirmation email. This email will provide you with the link to the webinar and will contain additional information on how to set up your computer for the session. These instructions can also be found on our website on the Information Sessions page.

You do not need a microphone or webcam to connect to the webinar.

We hope to see you online soon!

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Writing Tips: Non-Academic Activities and Employment History

By Admissions on

We recently saw a post on Pre-Med 101 that asked about omitting common punctuation in order to increase word count in the Non-Academic Activities section. The sample provided by the inquirer read something like this: “students&helped” instead of “students and helped.” We respectfully ask that you do not write your Non-Academic Activities and Employment History sections that way. Omitting punctuation significantly reduces the readability of your application. To demonstrate, ifwewroteourbloglikethis, you would have a hard time understanding it. The same rule applies to the Non-Academic and Employment History sections. Also, texting language is not ubiquitous, therefore we recommend against abbreviating your words. Or, you may use AYOR. TY! While we will certainly evaluate your application as best as possible, writing in this manner exhausts evaluators, and makes comprehension more challenging. If necessary, you can use a sparingly placed symbol. However, we would encourage you to spend the time phrasing your entries so that you capture the essence of your role and your primary duties and responsibilities without resorting to such tactics. If necessary, you may use action based sentence fragments like, “Led student group of 50 members,” or “Played board games with seniors.” End each phrase in a period to indicate that the thought or action has concluded.

While we do not deduct points for poorly constructed entries, it is in your best interest to ensure that your application is readable, uses appropriate English grammar, is accurate, and effectively conveys the information and tone you want the Admissions Selection Committee to see. This aspect of the admissions process lets us catch a glimpse of who you are on paper. What do you want us to see? What judgments do you want us to make about you? If you are not sure how you come across, have someone who you respect, and can provide an unbiased opinion, read what you wrote and provide you feedback. We will not be able to do this for you. If you have already submitted your application and included entries written in the manner above, there is nothing that can be done at this point. If you used a few small symbol replacements, please do not worry about it. We will contact you if we have any questions.

Happy writing!

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Verifier Questions

By Admissions on

Verifiers can be a source of confusion and anxiety for some applicants. Our verifier guidelines have not changed since the last cycle, so we hope this post from last year can help with some common verifier issues you might encounter.

Some verifiers are easy to choose: your current supervisor, your former coach, your guitar teacher. Others are more problematic. Because the Admissions Office has a responsibility to verify the accuracy of applications in order to ensure fairness for all applicants, we require a verifier for all non-academic, employment, and rural training experiences. However, we recognize that it can be hard to find a verifier for some entries. We hope these questions can help if you are struggling with a difficult verifier situation.

  1. I worked somewhere/did something a long time ago and have lost touch with my supervisor.

This is a common problem. Sometimes the organization will keep records, so you might be able to put down the current HR person. Remember, the verifier only needs to be able to confirm the details you list on the application – they don’t have to know you personally or comment on your performance. Alternatively, you might be able to reach out through social media to get in touch with your former supervisor. The ‘last resort’ is to use a coworker. You may do this at your discretion, but please note that in some cases we may contact you to ask for a different verifier. We do not accept things like certificates, newspaper articles, or other non-human forms of verification.

  1. I have a hobby I usually do on my own. You say not to put yourself down as a verifier, so who should I put?

For solo hobbies, you may choose a friend or family member who knows about your hobby.

  1. I own my own business and work by myself. Since I cannot put myself down as a verifier, who should I pick?

A business is more formal than a hobby, so we prefer that you not use a friend or family member. You might consider using someone like an accountant or lawyer who can confirm the basic details of your business. Clients are a bit trickier because they may not know the total number of hours you work or the start and end dates of your business.

  1. I work for a family business. You say not to use friends or family members as verifiers, so who should I choose?

Ideally, you could pick a non-family member who supervised you, but we understand that many family businesses are small and are staffed only by family members. In this case, if there is no one else, you may use the family member who supervised you.

  1. The only people who can verify my activity are also applying to the MD program.

Sorry, applicants should not verify activities for other applicants. Please try to find someone else.

  1. What happens if the Admissions Office thinks I put down an inappropriate verifier? Will the activity be automatically disregarded?

We will not automatically disregard an activity unless you put yourself down as a verifier or enter something like “no verifier”. As long as you have made an honest attempt to list a suitable verifier, we will contact you if we need to verify the activity and we have concerns about the verifier. We are not looking for ways to disregard activities or withhold points – we really want to reward your accomplishments and experiences. We just need to make sure the entries listed are accurate.

Ultimately, verifier choice is your decision. The Admissions Office cannot give you permission to list a particular verifier on your application or help you if you are trying to decide between two or more potential verifiers. Please use your best judgement to work within the guidelines provided.

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