When the ADEA AADSAS® (ADEA Associated American Dental Schools Application Service) application “soft opens” on May 14, two new dental schools will join the 2020 cycle: University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry and University of British Columbia Faculty of Dentistry.
A total of 69 U.S. and Canadian dental schools now participate in ADEA AADSAS. Plan ahead to get your application ready for submission on June 4. This extra time lifts the pressure to submit same-day!
Many medical schools choose to pre-evaluate applicants by asking them to take an online situational judgement test and UVM College of Medicine is the latest school to require CASPer evaluation. The CASPer® (Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) test is a 90-minute online situational judgment test (SJT) created by McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. The test was originally established as a screening tool to assess prospective medical school candidates’ non-cognitive skills prior to the interview. Applicants are not tested on any explicit subject knowledge and spelling/grammar mistakes are not factored into their results.
Some medical schools find the evaluation of non-cognitive skills (personal and professional qualities) is a crucial component of any medical school admissions process. What has traditionally been assessed through the submission of personal essays, autobiographical submissions, and interviews, can now be evaluated through this online test.
Structure & Format
The CASPer® test consists of 12 sections (8 videos, 4 non-video) lasting a total of 90 minutes. Each section contains either a short 1-2 minute video (video-based) or a short prompt (word-based), followed by three open-ended probing questions. The examinee is allowed a total of five minutes to answer all three questions for each section. Given the short 5 minute time constraint for each section, spelling mistakes and grammar are not explicitly factored into an applicant’s score. There is an optional 15-minute break halfway.
How to Prepare
As an applicant you won’t receive your actual CASPer® test score because unlike other standardized tests with established pass/fail cutoffs, CASPer® is not a pass/fail test but rather a standardized tool for ranking a large number of applicants based on their personal characteristics. The CASPer® test is administered without providing applicants with explicit learning objectives to prepare for the test in the hopes that examinees will take the test “blindly” without any prior preparation.
However, the current research shows that applicants benefit from advance preparation for the test. To prepare for the test, we recommend applicants complete the following tasks prior to taking their CASPer® test:
- Ensure they can type a minimum of 40 words per minute, free of major errors and distractions.
- Self-reflect on their own personal experiences around conflict, personal weaknesses, and personal failures, and be comfortable sharing lessons learned from these experiences concisely.
- Complete at least one full-length timed practice CASPer® test to ensure they are familiar with the time constraints and expectations of the test. Click here for sample CASPer® content.
CASPer has specific dates and times and it can helpful to check this off the to-do list when students are finished with their primary application and waiting for the secondary applications to come through.
Where do I go to take the test?
You complete the CASPer test on a computer and location of your choice at takecasper.com. Check the technical requirements page and the run through the sample test here to ensure the computer and internet connection is suitable for smooth test operation.
Gaining clinical experience is an important part of the medical school application. But to be a competitive medical school applicant, some have questioned if it’s necessary to shadow a doctor. It’s true that shadowing is great experience, as it exposes you to patient care in a clinical setting and gives you an idea of the day-to-day demands of a medical career. But as a pre-med student, you’re often balancing a rigorous academic schedule, along with extracurricular and personal responsibilities, so shadowing may not be a possibility. Click here for the full AAMC article on gaining experience without shadowing.
- Become a Hospice Volunteer – find hospice locations in your home town, or if you are in Middlebury, contact Hospice Volunteer Services
- Become a Certified Nursing Assistant – learn more about CNA
- Volunteer as an EMT – apply for the winter-term EMT course here at Middlebury, or take a course over the summer in your home town
- Become a Hospital Scribe
- Serve as a Caretaker – with the help of our colleagues in the Center for Community Engagement, we often cross-post local caretaking opportunities for students to apply to. You can also follow their blog to learn more about opportunities.
“Preparing for dental school is a lot like driving a car, making adjustments to your speed and direction,” says predental student and Army Reserve Engineer Officer, Matthew Manly. “For example, while you’re driving your brain takes the information from your speedometer, views of the road through the windshield and mirrors, gas gauge and any light indicators (e.g., Check Engine light, etc.) to help you determine how you will get to your destination safely. While preparing for dental school, I created a spreadsheet grid to eliminate some of the ambiguity in the application process and to help me know which schools might be the best fit and offer me a higher chance of acceptance.” Read the full article by Matthew Manly here.
One thing all students should consider before even starting their summer internship is “what do I need to do to become a successful intern?” Getting an internship is just the beginning, and it isn’t the most important part of the internship process. Sure it may have been tough finding an internship and getting an offer, but the truth is that the value of doing an internship is based mainly on how you decide to handle the internship based on what you have to offer. That’s right; the burden is on you to make the internship successful and to perhaps even turn your internship into a full-time job.
It’s not about the company telling you what to do; it’s about you showing your value through your own initiative, motivation, and personal and professional skill set.
- Read important literature and trade magazines about the field
- Take time to review the company’s website
- Get yourself a mentor
You may also be interested in watching these Internship Tips from Former Peer Career Advisors.
Congratulations to Morgan Nakatani for being awarded the 29th Annual T. Ragan Ryan Award for Excellence!
The award was established in 1990 by Emily and Thomas C. Ryan in memory of their son, T. Ragan Ryan ’91. The award is bestowed upon a junior, senior, or alumna/us who “best exemplifies the spirit of humanism and excellence in premedical studies exemplified by Ragan Ryan”. The recipient is chosen by the Ryan family and Dr. Phil Johnson after reviewing nominees provided by the Health Professions Program at Middlebury College. Morgan joins a distinguished group of former recipients who have gone on to make significant contributions to the field of medicine. For a video highlighting all of the previous winners, click here.
The 2019 nominees are:
Joseph O’Brien ’19
Kathleen Wilson ‘18.5
Kevin Zhang ’19
Our congratulations to all!
From Peter Dykeman-Bermingham ‘18.5:
Affinivax, a Cambridge, MA based vaccine development startup, is looking to hire a Research Associate for its development team. Your role would further the development of their novel vaccine platform through in vivo testing.
A successful candidate should have experience working with mouse models as well as all the other good stuff that Middlebury teaches you along the way!
Please reach out for additional information, with any questions, or with a resume you’d like me to pass along. My email is email@example.com.
Great opportunity for
Our friends at the Adult Stabilization Program (ASP) at the Counseling Service of Addison County (CSAC) are looking for a volunteer to help a community member prepare for a move.
You would be working with a woman in her early 70’s who is starting the process of reducing her possessions in order to prepare for a potential move to a warmer state. She has difficulty moving heavy objects due to a back injury and doesn’t have close family or friends nearby. She is easy to work with and having a helper (especially a student), would be an amazing motivator for her and the only way she could tackle the beginning stages of moving on her own.
Interested? Contact Nicole Grubman, MA, LMHC at 802 388 6751 X666
The Pre-Health Society’s latest update:
Please, join the Pre-Health Society and the CCI in welcoming Jennifer Mailey, Director of Admissions at the Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine, to Middlebury! Ms. Mailey will be visiting via Skype on Tuesday, May 7th at 12:30 P.M. in the Adirondack House. This is a fantastic opportunity to ask questions and network. This event is open to all students. We highly suggest that students interested in veterinary medicine attend! Please, RSVP with the link provided here.
Nick Lovejoy, the CEO and Founder of Staple Health, will be giving a presentation on Wednesday, May, 8th at 5:30 PM in MBH 430 on how his company combines both social and structural determinants of health with machine learning algorithms to assess patient risk.
This will be the second iteration of this trip (the last one was WT 2018). The experience will be structured as internships for academic credit.
ROC has several years’ worth of history with this community in Ghana and works in partnership with local health leaders. Summerwood Dental Brigades will be providing dental services. Students will help to organize the dental and medical clinics (students will obviously not be providing any clinical services), and will also improve sanitation by constructing toilets for community use.
Interested? Come to the Information Session Friday, May 3
Friday, May 3, at 3:30 in Axinn 219.
Our goal is to make this experience accessible to everyone, regardless of personal financial circumstances; some scholarship funds will be available.
This trip is offered in partnership with Middlebury College’s Global Health Program.