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Hey guys, I'm brand new to this fourm and I'm glad I signed up...for the last hour I've been reading about all sorts of threads posted and I feel like many are helping. Im a second year undergrad at the University of Iowa(if anyone else is shoot me a PM) I starting to wrokout all the detials of getting a handle on the admissions but I know I have a long while to go. I really wanted to ask all of you out there your #1 tip for me. Can be anything from taking a certain class that helped, to taking some sundays off to crack and beer with the guys. Anything that will either help me get a jump on what is coming for my future along with keeping me mentally healthy.

Another side note any DO-students here know anything about barbiturate-induced coma's? I've been doing reserach and from what I can find most doc look down upon this, I feel it has many pratical uses and should be pushed more for those last few days with terminal patients. thanks guys


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get your app in as early as possible!

the day that the aacomas opens up start filling it out!


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There are a lot of tips to be given, but I'll start out with one very important one.

APPLY EARLY! For DO and MD applications you can submit the primary application as early as May or June. If you can be prepared and ready by then, then DO IT! It can make the difference. People here will contest to that. Admissions is rolling, so the sooner you apply the better!!!

One more tip: If you are going to apply DO, definitely shadow a DO! You have plenty of time, so depending on where you live, it shouldnt be too difficult to accomplish. Your doc may also be willing to write you a letter of rec, which DO schools always love to see. Here is a mentor program that sets students up with DOs who have already agreed to shadow. I used it to shadow a DO and i konw many others who have as well. Its very useful! Just make sure tha twhen you search for a doc, you search with minimal criteria. For example, only type in the City and State, b/c if the doc doesnt match your search perfectly then he/she wont show up as a match. You wanna make your search as broad as possible and then you can choose which speciality youd like shadow from there.

Good luck! I'm sure others will have helpful posts as well.
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Another side note any DO-students here know anything about barbiturate-induced coma's? I've been doing reserach and from what I can find most doc look down upon this, I feel it has many pratical uses and should be pushed more for those last few days with terminal patients. thanks guys

I'm not sure what you mean by "looked down upon" by physicians. It seems to me that there are at least two considerations here. First of all, you kind of don't want your patient to have a severely diminished level of consciousness, if you can help it, or at least be compromised as least as possible. The reasoning behind it is that it's good for the patient to be conscious and alert enough to communicate and be present with loved ones and health care workers as they are dying. It's an important transition for all involved. Of course you have to consider overall pain, too, that needs to be managed. Sometimes you have to balance level of consciousness, alertness, and pain management.

The second consideration kind of follows the previous. As a physician, you want to reduce your patient's pain and suffering, so you give pain medication to manage it. In dying patients, it is generally considered ethical to give the appropriate level of medication for the pain, even if doing so would potentially and incidentally (unintentionally) hasten the inevitable, although there is, as one report indicates, a paucity of evidence to suggest that narcotic-induced respiratory depression or death is an important consideration in these situations (1). Anyway, there's a fine line here between relieving a patient's pain and intent to hasten death. So, yes, we give the appropriate amount of pain medication for the pain, but you have to be careful about the ethics of intent and appearing too active here. This is a touchy subject for many doctors, even to the point where dying patients have their pain under-treated, which isn't good.
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My tip: get all your prereq classes taken care of, then go ahead and start studying for the MCAT. Take at least 5-6 full length practice tests... each time, going back through and trying to identify weak points.

If you can have your MCAT taken care of in your junior year, it will make your application process a LOT faster and easier.


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I feel like a lot of posts that intend to help people through the premed career usually hit the large points.

Some not-so-large points to consider:

I never dropped a class in 4 years. I can name at least 3 instances I wish I had dropped. Don't be afraid of dropping a class -- but really, really think about the negative effects such as not having the opportunity to take a certain professor next semester or being behind in your major because you dropped a prereq, etc.

If you're not already doing so, use sites like pickaprof and ratemyprof to find the 'better' profs...sometimes you have to weigh out good GPA %s or good teaching style with a bell curve.

Find friends who have already taken classes you are going to take--sharing notes and old labs is awesome.

Exercise. It really helps everything in life, even studying. Really.

It's late and I can't think of anymore but there are definitely lots of missed tips and hints on SDN.



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OP, I snagged this for you from another thread over in allo. "General Rules of Thumb". I agree with the vast majority of it.

1. If you have one or two "C" grades it does not really matter as long as you have nothing lower and make more A's than B's. (Exception may be top programs: WashU, Hopkins...)
2. An upward trend is good for your GPA (if you messed up your freshman/sophomore year)
3. Better to take your premed prerequisites at a 4-year university than at a community college; however, if you cannot, just make sure you take a few higher level science courses at your university afterwords and do well on the MCAT
4. Club membership=crummy EC
5. Apply EARLY, as in the first day it opens. Yep, the very first day
6. If you go to an accredited four year college/university, its not going to be deterimental to your application if it doesn't have an ivy league name.
7. When it comes to your personal statement, revise revise revise revise revise and revise some more.
8. Take the MCAT only when you know you will have enough time to study and when you know you will comfortably achieve your target grade.
9. Keep in contact with other pre-meds, your advisors, career centers, etc. (not just SDN...), it will pay itself back to help others.
10. Start your clinical volunteering and shadowing early to show dedication and interest, not a few weeks prior to submitting application.
11. Get a strong letter of recommendation from science profs and MDs.
12. A double major will not give you any significant advantage.
13. Letters of recommendation should come from people who know you well, rather than people who seem "impressive" in some way.
14. Repeat number 5.
15. If you have a low GPA, YES you can still get into medical school; HOWEVER, you must have something else in your application (work experience, MCAT score, ECs) that shows your dedication to hard work and medicine.
16. Don't underestimate the importance of a good personal statement!!! Make the reader remember you (or at least glance at your application twice)
17. If you think you have even the slightest chance, try for the Fee Assistance Program (it can save you thousands!).
18. Don't get discouraged by long secondaries. You'll finish them... eventually...
19. Unless financially crippled, go to ALL interviews until an acceptance is achieved. It would be foolish to throw away good odds "just because."
20. Did I mention apply early?
21. Note that 5, 14 and 20 apply doubly to secondaries.
22. Everyone knows someone with a 40/4.0 who didn't get in anywhere and someone with a 3.0/30 who got into his top choice. It doesn't mean anything. Just do your best.
23. Spam filters are your worst enemies.
24. Re: #22, that being said, apply broadly and reasonably. It's ok to have a couple dream schools, but don't make your entire list top-heavy.
25. If you have any worries about your competitiveness or intend to apply to a broad range of schools (and you should), in addition to 11 you should also get a letter from a humanities professor.
26. Take everything you read on this website with a grain of salt, though it can be useful.
27. Numbers are the most important part of your application.
28. They want real-people doctors, not just the best resume in their stack. And hey, guess what! You're a real person! Show your humanity, your genuine interest, WHY you're passionate about medicine, and show them that, given the chance, you'll do wonderful and impressive things. You'll be fine. Really.
29. Seriously. You'll be fine. Calm the eff down.
30. Be patient. There are 1,000,000 (estimation) applicants just like you waiting for their secondary/interview invite/decision letter too.
31. You're not "too good" for any school. You're not "entitled" to a top-10. Get over yourself. Any acceptance is a blessing, and more than 60% of applicants can hope for.
32. Rankings are basically useless unless you're going into academia (and even then, they're arguable). USNews = the devil.
33. You do not want California residency.
34. Grades and MCAT scores no longer matter once you're at school- everyone starts off the same.
35. "First choices" are a tricky thing. Stay open-minded. You might be surprised at which schools fit.
36. Your case is NOT unique.
37. People on SDN do NOT represent the "normal" application pool
38. If you have a 32/3.7+ and someone says you are not very competitive at mid-tier schools then you are likely on SDN.
39. Don't let the numbers of the applicants on this site make you feel inadequate. These people are in a high percentile, and are not an accurate representation the total applicant pool.
40. Learn from the experience of those who have already gone through the cycle, not those who are currently in the cycle.
41. Clinical volunteerism/work is almost like an unwritten prereq. Make sure to get adequate clinical exposure. But outside of that, do the things you love and let that shine through. You might have done something that someone did before, but it may still set you apart in that not everyone's done it and in that its a part of you and important to you.
42.Remember that one component alone in your app., whether it is MCAT, GPA, lack of a given type of EC, etc. will not make your application, but being bad in any one area will destroy your application. So keep it strong and show improvement in those areas that can be improved upon.
43. If your school has a committee letter (package) get it! It will save you time, money and some places consider it a red flag if you dont have one (if your school offers it).
44. Do not do Early Decision unless you are absolutely 100% certain that you have a shoe in, or unless the Dean of admissions owes your family some money.For the most part, its not worth the risk, even if its your state school...
45. If you have a 35+, 3.7+ and good EC's...dont bother applying to more than one or two safety schools (with average MCAT scores lower than 31) as long as you apply to an otherwise broad range of schools, because it will just be a waste of money.
46. No one cares how diffcult your major or your classes were when considering your GPA.
47. In general, med schools care about these seven things, in roughly this order: MCAT/GPA, clinical experience, research/volunteerism/leadership, PS/LORs. Having a weakness in your app in one of the "higher" importance things is not a death sentence, but you have to be REALLY strong in other areas to make up for them, especially weaknesses in the top three.
48. Don't commit crimes
49. Take interviews seriously because they're the part of the process where you directly sell yourself.
50. Remember the majority of this list is being constructed by premeds
50b. Also remember that lots of the premeds have received multiple acceptances using these rules of thumb (most rules are general knowledge)
51.Keep up to date about current issues, especially those pertaining to medicine; however, "I don't know" (phrased less bluntly, of course) is a better answer in an interview than some BS that will just make you look like an idiot.
52. Join clubs/extra-curriculars that interest you, not just to have a nice resume for med school. Part of college is having fun and discovering new things about yourself, not JUST getting into medical school.
53. If you're reading this, you've spent way too much time on SDN and not enough time studying for the MCAT!
54. Your interviewer might be able to see every flaw in your application, but he can't see why kids like cinnamon toast crunch.
56. Don't cheat so you can get an "A+" instead of an "A". The profitabilty of cheating diminishes as "actual grade" increases.
57. Ignore any thread on SDN that has, "Affirmative Action" or "URM" in the title. They all end up the same: closed!

As for my personal piece of advice.. I most strongly agree with the second part of Rule #52 for you as a sophomore. College is supposed to be FUN. While preparing an application and doing well in school are important, getting tunnel vision for something that is three years away doesn't make any sense. Enjoy every potentially booze-laiden breath of your undergraduate years, because life will never be so brilliantly simple ever again.

I thank the lord each and every night that I didn't discover SDN until just after I graduated. I have kept my friends and my sanity - so far...


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Very good list of advice. I did not join SDN till after I got my acceptance into med school. Best thing that ever happened really. I saved myself from a lot of stress by not reading the neurotic premed posts especially the one in pre-allo. I did not have the gunner's stats that you see in SDN but I ended up with multiple med school acceptances anyway. :p


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Dropping more bombs....

Anything that will either help me get a jump on what is coming for my future along with keeping me mentally healthy.

This WILL NOT keep you mentally healthy. I repeat. WILL NOT. But it opened my eyes to the realities of this career. It's only for the strong-willed.

Panda Bear, MD

Another side note any DO-students here know anything about barbiturate-induced coma's?

You are referring to terminal sedation aka palliative sedation, which is a legal practice in the United States. Medical ethics can actually be pretty interesting. Here's a good resource. Uni of Washington Ethics Website
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