Are you preparing to apply to medical school? With the 2020 AMCAS application cycle underway as of May 1, AAMC is sharing information about the qualifications and motivations of applicants who applied and enrolled during the 2018 AMCAS application cycle. See the full infographic here.
Articles tagged: Allopathic Medicine
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.
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!
Are you planning to go through the Health Professions Committee (HPC) this coming year (2019-2020), but will be abroad?
If so, we wanted to connect with you now to remind you that HPC deadlines begin in the FALL.
Top 6 Things to Remember:
- Email us as soon as possible to let us know you will be planning to go through committee starting Fall, 2019. We will place you on our email list.
- Keep a frequent eye on our Application Timeline on our website. If you will be somewhere where internet access is infrequent, make sure to print out the timeline or at least put the deadlines on your calendar.
- There will be an information session in early Fallso make sure you are on our email list so we can send you the pertinent information.
- November 15th will be the first deadline to join the HPC process. Your Committee Selection Form and head shot will be due.
- We are here to support you in this process and are happy to meet with you via phone or virtual appointments (Skype/Zoom FaceTime) while you are abroad. You can schedule with one of the advisors online.
- If you plan to be abroad during the Spring 2020 term, please make sure to let us know so we can schedule virtual interviews for you.
We wish you safe travels and an incredible study abroad experience.
Please let us know if you have any questions about the HPC process.
UNE COM and their Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) chapter along with Pre-SOMA National are teaming up again to host ShaDO Week for prospective medical students.
Are you curious about osteopathic medicine? Then sign up for ShaDO Week! They have a group of first year medical students hosting prospective medical students on April 9th, 10th, and 11th. You will have the opportunity to attend classes, go to lunch, and chat with current medical students.
Interested? Registration closes April 3rd. Register here.
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
7:00 pm in MBH 219
All students new to health professions are welcome to attend this information session. If you haven’t done so already, it is a great opportunity to meet with Hannah Benz, Assistant Director of Health Professions & STEM Advising. If you are thinking about pursuing a career in Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Physician Assistant or other health profession, come learn how a successful application takes more than just good science grades.
Shadowing is the act of following a professional as they do their typical work activities in a clinic or hospital setting. You might ask why this experience is so important? First, it may be the defining experience which tells you whether or not you want to be a physician. Shadowing gives you a very tangible sense of what life is like for a professional. Through working alongside a professional, you can gain unique insight into what happens in a day in the life of your career of choice. You get a sense of what it’s like working with patients, working with other health care professionals (nurses, PAs, and therapists), and what the challenges and rewards are of working in the profession. You’ll learn how a health professional organizes their day, allows time for the unexpected, stays current in the profession, integrates personal and professional life, and manage the financial aspects of their practice.
Shadowing can also be crucial for a second reason: Having clinical experience allows admissions committees know that you have some understanding of what you are getting into. It also shows admissions officers your commitment to a health career because you have taken initiative in learning about being a professional prior to applying to school.
The AAMC also has a handout on Guidelines for Clinical Shadowing Experiences.
If you have any questions, please schedule an appointment with one of the advisors.
Interact with Osteopathic Medical Students!
Visit Maine from your computer. Check out the University of New England Virtual Info Sessions:
Mid-Atlantic Prospective Student Event: Medical Student Panel on Monday, March 4 from 12:15-1:15 pm (EST)
National Osteopathic Medicine (NOM) Week: OMN Demonstration on Tuesday, April 16 from 12:15-1:00 pm (EST)
How to Apply! Q&A with Graduate Admissions on Tuesday, May 8 from 12:15-1:15 pm (EST)
From the AAMC Premed Navigator:
You may have heard about the projected physician shortage of up to 121,000 in the United States by the year 2030. As the need for more doctors grows, so does the need for a more diverse physician workforce, especially for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI-AN) populations. The Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP) and the AAMCreleased a joint report called Reshaping the Journey: American Indians and Alaska Natives in Medicine that brings attention to this critical issue in health care, and we encourage premeds to take a look.
The report highlights key data on the representation of AI-AN students in medical schools and effective practices to attract, support, and graduate AI-AN physicians. It also speaks to the importance of the integration of AI-AN culture into the curriculum and training to prepare all future physicians to provide culturally-responsive care. For matriculation to MD-granting institutions, there have been small increases in the number of matriculants reporting as American Indian and Alaska Native in combination with another race or ethnic group. Overall, though, the number of AI-AN medical students during the 2017-18 academic year was only 889 out of 91,391 total students, so there is still work to do.
Among the institutions that were highlighted in Reshaping the Journey, there were several notable efforts implemented across the medical education continuum — starting as early as elementary school and going through residency — to advance American Indian and Alaska Native representation in medicine. If you’re a student from the AI-AN community, we encourage you to look into participating in these programs that are making gains in producing AI-AN medical school graduates:
- The University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth campus (UMN MSD) is the second largest producer of AI-AN medical school graduates in the nation, and for good reason. UMN MSD sponsors several premed outreach programs for AI-AN communities starting as early as kindergarten and offers community-based STEM and career exploration programs through partnership with area tribal communities.
- The INMED program at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences includes a six-week summer academic enrichment program for AI-AN students in grades 7-12 followed by six-week summer program for students who are graduates of tribally controlled community colleges and a six-week MCAT prep course for AI-AN college juniors and seniors.
- The Med-Start Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine—Tucson has a long track record of success for its offerings to K-12 students. Additional collaborations at UA COM—Tucson include the Four Corners Medical Education Alliance, which features AAIP’s Pre-Admissions Workshop for college students primarily in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah.
- University of New Mexico Health Sciences Office for Diversity manages several pipeline programs, including the Health Career Academy, which focuses on assisting high school students with math enrichment and health career exploration, the Dream Makers Health Career Program for middle and high school students, and the Interprofessional Health Outreach Program, which encourages members of the UNM Society of Native American Health Professions Students to assist with several initiatives across campus.
Other efforts include We are Healers, a nonprofit organization focused on encouraging American Indian youth to envision themselves as a health professional, whether that be a nurse, dentist, or physician. Compelling stories featuring Native American health professionals are captured via video.
High school students may consider the National Native American Youth Initiative led by the AAIP for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors, ages 16-18. Lastly, the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) is a free, national summer program for freshman and sophomore college students interested in the health professions.
Take some time to read the report and research these programs to jumpstart your future career in medicine or simply learn about the importance of increasing diversity and inclusion in medicine.