Tag Archives: Admissions

Tips From an Interviewer: How to Ace Your College Interview

How to Ace Your College Interview (from a College Interviewer)


You submitted your college applications a few weeks ago and had just received some fantastic news: you have received an interview invitation! But that raises a few questions: how do you go about preparing for your interview? What are the most important topics to discuss? What should you wear? Here are a few tips to get you started – our private Irvine college admissions consultants are only a call away.

1. It’s Better to be Overdressed than Underdressed

Since I recently graduated from college, I tend to be a little more laid-back when I am interviewing a student to make them feel a bit more comfortable. But this does not mean I expect them to show up in jeans and a t-shirt. A good rule of thumb for all interviews is that it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. When I was going through my own college interviews, I would usually wear a dress shirt and slacks and bring a blazer in case my interviewer seemed like she meant business. During my time as an interviewer, I have interviewed students in all types of outfits, from full-on suits to board shorts and sweatshirts. And even if the students who were more casually dressed had amazing things to say, my opinion of them was definitely affected by their outfit of choice. And vice versa, even when my conversations with the suited students were not the best, I appreciated the effort they put into their appearance, and that reflected in my report (READ: College Admissions Essay Crunch Time).

2. Be Conscious of your Interviewer’s Schedule

I am aware that many of the students that are applying to these top-tier schools have a million things on their plate so I try to be flexible with interview scheduling, but often students don’t return that flexibility. I’ve emailed students with a few possible interview dates and students only to have them respond “I can only do X time on X day.” Now, there is a better way to go about asking for a different time slot, and that is not it. Many of the people who conduct interviews are busy professionals who have been kind enough to volunteer their time to meet with you, so be conscious of that. Remember to be respectful of your interviewer’s time and if you cannot do the time/date they offer, apologize and offer other options always making sure that you are not inconveniencing your interviewer.

3. Bring Only a Copy of your Resume/CV

The only thing you need to bring to an interview is your CV/resume in a nice folder and yourself. As much as I appreciate you bringing the 20-page paper you published on why soda is bad for you, am I going to read it? No. Interview reports are usually written right after the interview so I do not have time to read any additional material. If you want me to know about that paper you published, bring it up during the interview!

4. Give Specific Reasons as to Why you want to attend that particular school

I cannot stress this specific point enough. I attended a college in a big city with many other colleges, but whenever I asked students “Why X school?” They only ever answered: “Because I want to live in X city.” Well… what about all of the other schools in that city? You could use that argument for any of the other schools in that city.

Give me a specific reason as to why you want to go to X school. Maybe you want to go into architecture and you know that X school, in particular, has an amazing architecture program. I am especially impressed when students cite a specific class or professor that they are interested in taking or working with. The more specific you can get, the better because that shows that not only do you know what field you’re interested in, but also that you’ve done your research.

5. Bring Specific Questions about the School

Again, relating back to doing your research about the school, bring school-specific questions. Don’t ask me generic questions that you could ask about any school. Or, if you do, pepper them in between specific questions. I volunteered to be an interviewer because, as a recent graduate, I can give students a very clear idea of what the school is like and answer questions about the curriculum, specific classes, the learning environment, etc. This is especially helpful to students who are unable to visit the campus, so try to take advantage of that! I know it’s harder to do this with older interviewers who graduated 20+ years ago, but some things do tend to stay the same so don’t be afraid to ask them specific questions about a class or professors! I remember during my interview I asked my interviewer who had graduated in the 90s about a specific professor and, lo and behold, I had that same professor in college!

I know the idea of an interview can seem scary and daunting, especially if it’s the first ever interview you’ve had, but don’t worry! Just remember to research the school, your interviewer, and common interview questions beforehand. And, most importantly, be yourself!

Book your private San Diego college admissions consultant today! Our admissions tutors are experienced and have a 97% success rate.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.

Coping with Rejection: College Notification Letters

College Notification Letters: Tips On How To Cope With Rejection

college_notification_letters_rejectionCollege notification letters are due to arrive in a few short weeks. Most high school seniors are on edge at this point in the year, hoping that they were accepted to their first choice school. Although most students will get into college somewhere (especially if they seek the guidance of one of our Irvine college admissions consultants), they will also receive a rejection letter.

Students are advised to think about reasons why they may or may not be accepted to a particular university before they open their letters so as not become overly discouraged.

1. The statistics were against them

If the student applied to a university with a less than 10% admittance rate, the reality is the statistics just weren’t in their favor. Searching for a specific reason as to why they didn’t get into an Ivy League or near Ivy League school is not helpful and will lead to excess frustration. Students should not worry too much and know that it’s not necessarily a reflection of them as a student or person but rather the university’s picky admissions requirements.

Lesson learned: Resilience is powerful and is actually one of the best qualities a young person can have. People will receive multiple rejections before they land their dream job or get into the graduate school of their choice (READ: “8 Reasons Applicants Fail to Get Into the College of Their Choice”).

2.  It just wasn’t the right fit

Some students apply to school because they felt pressured or because of the school’s reputation. However, many students will not have conducted extensive research to see if the university was really the right place for them to spend four years. If the admissions department feels that they are not a good fit for a student, the student is not likely to be admitted.

Lesson learned: Students who attend a school that is not the right fit for them may struggle for the next four years; they should look at the schools they were accepted to and think about which one would truly be the right place for them to flourish.

3. Similar applicants

Many universities would like to provide a diverse student body so that admitted students can gain a broadened life perspective. A diverse population is a great thing and offers admitted students more opportunities to become multi-talented world citizens. However, this can sometimes play against an applicant if their application was similar to many others.

Lesson learned: It’s important that a student is able to stand out on their college application and offer something that their peers cannot. College juniors can learn from their older peers by thinking about what would make them stand out next year. Examples would include a unique volunteer or community service experience, taking AP exams outside of the norm, and fully developing a hobby or interest that is unique (READ: “Navigating the Basics of the College Application Process”).

4. The student didn’t apply to a diverse range of schools

Students are always encouraged to apply to a range of schools. Regardless, many students apply to several schools that happen to be very similar. Students who apply only to Ivy League schools, only to large public universities, or only to small specialized schools may find that they have more rejection letters than expected.

Lesson learned: High school seniors should look at the places they were accepted to and choose one that will be the best fit for them. High school juniors can learn from their older peers by remembering to apply to a range of schools when it’s their turn. The more the merrier when it comes to college applications.

On a rare occasion a student will find that they are not accepted to any of the colleges they applied to. This usually isn’t because of the student’s grades and test scores but rather because they only applied to “reach” schools or did not choose a “safety” school. Students who find themselves in this situation are advised to sit down with their academic counselor at school as well as with their parents and review how best to spend the next 12 months. Students who are not accepted to college at all should know that they are not doomed to a life without a bachelor’s degree. Students can always apply next year, but they should think about what didn’t work out the first time around so they can remedy these issues in the 12 months that follow (READ: “Tips from an Irvine College Consultant:  International Scholarships 101”).

In short

Although getting a rejection letter is emotionally difficult and frustrating, students should be advised that resilience is one of the best qualities they can have as a young person and try to move on as best they can. Students can then look at the list of schools they were accepted to and start focusing on a positive and productive academic future.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

Ask a Nerd! “Community College”

Ask a Nerd!

Question: Is it a bad idea to attend a community college and then transfer to a 4-year university? Should I go straight to a 4-year university?

Brief: There is not a simple yes or no answer to this question. Where you should attend college is based on what your personal educational and career goals are.


Many students in California chose to attend a community college before going to a 4-year university. In my opinion, as an Orange County college admissions consultant, It is not good or bad to attend a community or junior college before a 4-year; it depends on what you want as a student.

Top 3 reasons students attend a community college and then transfer to a university.

  1. Money! Attending the University of California, for example, will set you (or your parents) back around $15,000 a year and that’s assuming that you live at home, eat for free at mom and dad’s kitchen and don’t buy any text books. Let’s be realistic and bump it up to around $18,000 per year or a grand total of $72,000. Attending SOCCCD (South Orange County Community College District), which consists of Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College, costs about $60 per unit. (12-15 units is considered full-time.) You’re looking at about $3,600 for two years of education, add in books etc… and you’re spending about $4,500 instead of $36,000. $4,500 is a realistic number for a person who is working their way through college or who is not able to face the amount of student loan debt that they would accumulate.
  2. Work. Many students pay their way through college, which means that they need to be part time students and work part time or they need a really flexible school schedule so that they can make earning money a priority.
  3. High School Transcripts. Many students didn’t get into the college of their choice (or any college) due to lower than average SAT scores, lack of AP classes, an unoriginal entrance essay, grades or other factors. Community college is a great opportunity to raise those grades and transfer to either the University of California or California State University.

Students who attend a community college can absolutely get a great education and transfer to a fabulous university (READ: “How Should I Start My College Essays“). Although there are some advantages to starting at a 4-year (assuming money is not an issue). Students who attend a 4-year from the beginning are essentially forced to get it together and make the adjustment to university life within one to two quarters (or semesters). Students are allowed to be on academic probation (a GA below 2.0) for one, and only one, term. After that, they are done. 4-year students must take college life seriously. This reality pushes many students to make their very best effort and not waste time on non-academic distractions. 4-years also offer excellent research opportunities to undergraduates who maintain a high GPA (usually 3.5 or above) (READ: “8 Reasons Applicants Fail to Get Into the College of Their Choice“).

Students who do decide to attend a community college should look out for a few pitfalls.

  1. The “7-year Plan”. Many community college students have every intention of transferring after two years but end up spending up to seven years as an underclassman. This can be a very bad thing and most students on this ‘plan’ eventually drop out.
  2. Lack of commitment. Some community college students don’t feel the pressure to do well and end up with grades that are not transferable (shoot for a 3.0 to a 3.5 minimum in order to transfer).
  3. Not planning ahead. Community colleges offer many classes that suit the community, such as yoga and website design. As a traditional student, these classes may or may not transfer to a program at a 4-year. Check with a career or transfer counselor at your local community college to make sure that you are taking the classes that you need, and only the classes that you need.

Bottom Line: You can get a great education as a transfer student or as a traditional student; commitment, dedication and persistence are key.

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tutor logo Ask a Nerd! How Should I Start My College Essays? All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

Applying to college this year? Don’t go it alone. As college becomes harder and harder to get into, it’s crucial you take the admissions process seriously. Let our Orange County college admissions consultants get you into your dream university. Our experienced consultants have a 97% success rate!

Ask a Nerd! “What to Consider if You Plan on Going to Grad School”

Ask a Nerd!

Question: I am starting my last year of college. What should I consider if I want to go to graduate school in the near future?

Brief: If you have taken on the arduous but rewarding task of applying to graduate school there are a few things that can help you along the way (like one of our Orange County grad school consultants) and, as an experienced student, there are more options afforded to you.



There are several options for potential grad students but the first thing you should think about is when you want to go to grad school. Many students are in fields that require them to have a MA/MS or even a PhD prior to entering their professional field; however most professions offer some sort of paid work prior to earning a graduate degree. If you are choosing to work for two years or so in order to gain professional working experience in your field then your application timeline is more relaxed. Alternately, if you want to go to graduate school straight away after you receive your undergraduate degree then there are a few things that you should start right now.

Step 1

Take the GRE (or LSAT or MCAT)

It is better to get this test out of the way before you get too far into the application process – our Irvine GRE tutors are here to help. If you are also in your senior year of undergrad, this means that you will be spending a lot of time studying. Most likely, you won’t have taken a standardized test since the good old SAT or ACT, so I recommend getting a tutor to help you get started and buying a test prep book to help you get back in the mental grove of standardized exams.

Step 2

Make a list of at least 5 schools that you wish to apply to

Now that you are in your 20’s, moving across the country may not be ideal. If you already have a good job, you may want to look at local schools as well as schools that offer blended learning (both online and on campus options). Many highly reputable universities also offer 100% online programs for working adults, so that is another good option to look into. Look for programs that will get you closer to your professional goal. You will want to start working as soon as you can after grad school so it’s extremely important to pick your program and your school wisely (Ask a Nerd! “How Many Colleges Should I Apply to?“).

Irvine-grad-school-consultantImage via: effectivestudentmarketing.com

You will also want to have a fabulous entrance essay. If you were an English composition or a creative writing major, then it’s no sweat. If not, look into an essay tutor for some guidance.

Step 3

Consider your current lifestyle

After the end of your senior year, you will no longer be a full time student in the traditional sense. Although anyone can go back to school at any point in their life or career, the 20’s bring on a new set of responsibilities. There are more bills to pay and more responsibilities, along with new privileges and freedoms. Think about what your lifestyle will be like for the next 5 years or so.

  1. Are you planning to work full time from 8-5 in a traditional office environment?
  2. Are you planning to take out a loan and pay it back later?
  3. Will you be living in your current city or are you willing to move to another state?
  4. Will you be working part time or from a home office, where your schedule is relatively flexible?
  5. Are you planning to start a family or add other social responsibilities into your life in the next few years?

Additional “ifs” to consider

If you are working a traditional office environment, a blended or online program might be the right option for you.

If you are planning to take out a loan, you may want to be a full time student once again and get through your program in the minimum amount of time so that you can start working full time in your field right after graduation.

If you want to stay in your current city, you should look at local universities or online programs from out of state schools. If you are working part time or from a home office, you may have the flexibility to choose any of the options that suit your needs.

If you have a family or other social responsibilities, you may want to look into blended learning where you can completely focus in an on campus environment part of the time while still enjoying the convenience of a part time online educational program (READ: “Best Libraries in South Orange County for Studying“).


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tutor logo Ask A Nerd! How Many Colleges Should I Apply To? All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at info@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

Applying to grad school this year? Don’t go it alone. As grad school becomes harder and harder to get into, it’s crucial you take the admissions process seriously. Let our Orange County college admissions consultants get you into your dream university. Our experienced consultants have a 97% success rate!

Ask A Nerd! “How Many Colleges Should I Apply To?”

Ask a Nerd!

Question: How many colleges should I apply to and how do I know if the school is the right fit for me?

Brief: As an Orange County admissions consultant, I recommend applying to about ten colleges, looking at region, state and campus size as well as the program that you are looking for.


There is no doubt that applying to college will be one of the biggest decisions of your life. However, it can be a fun and (somewhat) low stress decision if you follow some basic guidelines.

1. Apply to about ten colleges or universities. At least five of these should be mid-range or target schools (meaning that you have a pretty good chance of getting in). Choose two or three dream schools (ones that you would absolutely LOVE to go to but are perhaps a bit of a reach based on your current grades and test scores). Also, pick two or three schools that you are pretty much 100% sure that you will get into.

2. Look at the states and regions of schools that you are applying to. Think about whether or not you love snowy weather, love to surf on the weekends, want to be around arts and culture in your free time, relish the urban lifestyle, or prefer the limited distractions and peace and quiet of a small town experience. For example, if city life makes you stressed out and homesick, then the urban colleges might not suit you. On the other hand, if you live for art museums, big sporting arenas, shopping and dining, then a small town college might not offer you what you are looking for (READ: “5 Things to do Before You Go Away to College“).


3. Campus culture and size can also play a big role in your decision. I was dead set on a ‘medium’ sized campus in a sunny state. This ruled out about half of the country’s schools and helped narrow down my decision. If you are planning to live on campus and won’t have access to private transportation, larger campuses often provide an amalgam of entertainment, food and study areas located conveniently on campus. Student’s who want to safely and securely wander off campus may find that smaller universities better suit their needs.

4. Let’s talk specifics. If you want arts, culture, and dining, schools in LA, San Francisco, New York and Chicago are popular choices. If you want culture but these cities seem too big, look at colleges near cities like Charlotte, Boston, or Phoenix. Schools that start with ‘University of…” or such and such “State University”. Are usually fairly large, while liberal arts and private colleges are often smaller in size. Look at the number of enrolled undergraduate students to get a feel for the size of the campus. If it reads “50,000”, then it’s a big campus and if it reads “3,000” then it’s pretty small.

5. Choose a university that offers the program(s) that you are thinking about. If you are thinking about majoring in either, business, literature, or biology, then it should be mandatory that any and all of your potential colleges offer all three of these subjects as a major field of study (READ: “8 Reasons Applicants Fail to Get Into the College of Their Choice“).

6. Visit the campus! It is really important to actually visit the campus before enrolling in school there. Website pictures can give you a general feel for the campus, but you will get a much more accurate feeling of what the next four years of your life will be like if you actually walk around the campus as well as the surrounding areas (CLICK: “Colleges with the Lowest Acceptance Rates“).

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tutor logo Ask a Nerd! Taking the AP Exam All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at info@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

Applying to college this year? Don’t go it alone. As college becomes harder and harder to get into, it’s crucial you take the admissions process seriously. Let our Orange County college admissions consultants get you into your dream university. Our experienced consultants have a 97% success rate!

Ask a Nerd! “Are the SAT and ACT Similar?”

Ask a Nerd!

Q: I am thinking of taking both the SAT and ACT; are they pretty much the same?

Brief: No! The SAT and ACT are two very different exams with two different test prep strategies. The essay structures are extremely different, the timing of the tests is different and the scoring is completely different. You should definitely tell your Irvine private test prep tutor if you plan to take both exams in the same year so that s/he can help you separate the two (READ: “Ask a Nerd! ‘What Kind of Tech Should I Use to Study‘”).


The SAT and ACT are two very different exams. Although there are several differences, a few are highlighted here to help you get started:

The SAT vs. the ACT essay

The essays require different structures and are graded based upon different criteria (READ: “8 SAT Essay Tips“). Many students find the ACT essay to have a simpler format but this doesn’t necessarily make it easier. How you will perform on each essay depends upon who you are as a writer. Ask your Orange County test prep tutor (schedule yours now before it’s too late!) to explain the differences to you and help you go back and forth from one writing style to the other. I don’t recommend taking both tests in the same month. It is too easy to get the two exams confused.

The timing of the sections

The SAT has 25 minute, 20 minute, and a 10 minute section. You will need to switch back and forth from math to English several times throughout the test, meaning that your right and left brains need to work in unison. The sections of the ACT are longer; writing, reading and English are between 30 and 45 minutes while the sole math section is 60 minutes long. This means that once you are done with math, you won’t have to go back and do it again (our Irvine math tutors will increase your confidence).

Mad Science (Reasoning Section)

The ACT has a science reasoning section, which the SAT does not have. Many test-takers and Irvine science tutors view the science reasoning section as a logic test that has nothing to do with science. Each student will attack and conquer this section differently and I suggest that you ask your tutor for special test prep techniques that are unique to this section (READ: “ACT Aspire: What is it?“).


The highest score (a completely perfect score) on the SAT is a 2400. The current average score is around 1500 to 1550. Most universities (including the university of California, Irvine) are looking for scores around 1850 for acceptance. Of course this varies by state. If you want to get into an Ivy League school or a school just below the Ivy League, you will need to shoot for a 2000-2300 (Yikes!).

irvine-test-prep-tutor                                     Image Via Michael Jung

The top score you can get on the ACT is a 36 (READ: “A Timeline Study Guide for the SAT“). The rumored score to get into university of California, Irvine is 23. If you want to get into Harvard, the rumored score is between 31 and 35 (Yikes!).

A few things are the same

To do really well on your SAT and your ACT exams you will need to do a few things.

– Take lots and lots of practice tests

– Get a tutor who specializes in test prep

– Work really, really hard

– Take the real test two or even three times

– Apply the techniques that your test prep tutor gives you

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tutor logo Ask a Nerd! Just started college and Im overwhelemed, what do I do? All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at info@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

The beginning of a new school year is crucial for establishing a strong academic performance. In other words, if your child wants to reach his or her potential, they can’t fall behind from the start. Hiring an Orange County private tutor is much more than extra academic help, it’s a confidence boost. Have your child be the first to raise their hand in the classroom by hiring a college educated tutor from TutorNerds. Contact us today!

Becoming a Competitive Medical School Applicant (Part III) | TutorNerds

Research work does wonders for would-be doctors

Medical school consultants adamantly agree that a strong research background is among the best means of gaining ground for any medical school applicant seeking favorable admissions decisions. Although biomedicine is the most common research subject area for premed scholars, any empirical study of medicine is quite worthwhile due to virtually identical interdisciplinary methodologies. For instance, healthcare economics research can be perceived as having equal value as the study of genetic cancer predisposition. That being said, planning and participation are key for any medical school applicant. Read on for more tips.


Decide what type of research to do

An ideal indicator of good research topics is strongest areas of special interest. If you’re a lab fiend, basic science research themes are a perfect fit. If you’re a people person, survey study participation is perhaps the perfect cup of medical research tea. Whatever medical research experiential backdrop you may decide, lay a firm foundation for advanced education. This means active participation in solving real problems with practical application of new theoretical knowledge – not mere paper shuffling and mundane peripheral tasks – is best a medical school applicant.

Optimal overall research approach

While tackling an entire project might not be realistic without prior research experience, many opportunities do exist to assist with data analysis and prepare written findings and results. This helps develop creative thinking and critical analysis skills that are highly regarded by medical school admissions committees. For that same reason, our official medical school admissions consulting recommendation is earliest, longest and most extensive research experience possible.(READ: U.S. News Best Medical School Rankings for 2015)

However, the last factor does not mean hopping around like a butterfly trying to pollinate as many plants as possible. Rather, it equates to narrow but deep concentration in fewest research directions as you can. Quality goes much further than mere quantity will when it comes to gaining medical school entry. A final research experience tip for any medical school applicant is never let publication be your sole consideration. Instead, focus mainly on quality of practical education and expert recommendation potential as the criteria of most worthwhile research activities.

Community service history comes in handy

Public and community service activities play a crucial part in medical school admission success. The chief cause is that it reflects desire to improve the quality of life on a large scale by helping the less fortunate members of your community. Prime specimens of laudable public service are volunteer tutor for at-risk secondary pupils, coaching physically challenged youth, and helping out at homeless shelters.


Following is a list of pointers to keep firmly in mind when trying to find the perfect public service fit for you:

  • Show strong interest in long-term service

Don’t become complacent after working at a soup kitchen or battered women’s shelter on three isolated occasions that coincided with spring break or holidays. By contrast, be available for volunteer community service at least once a week for a full year or longer.

  • International public service is a plus

Spending a summer vacation to volunteer for global organizations that help improve the quality of life in third world nations is worthy of serious consideration. Besides demonstrating real dedication to serve underprivileged populations, you could gain practical training next year at the same clinic you helped build last summer!

  • Combine community service with leadership

Ability to assume responsibility by taking an active role in directing positive change is a valuable attribute for physicians. Thus, your odds of medical school admission increase exponentially by exhibiting a fearless pioneering spirit. This is best done by establishing your own public service program. Rather it eventually succeeds or fails is largely irrelevant, as making the effort is what really counts.

Do double clinical and community service duty

An especially valuable benefit of volunteer clinical work with underserved client populations is heightened awareness of inherent challenges in healthcare delivery. For instance, you may discover that many elderly or low-income patients who lack transportation to local clinics and medical facilities fail to adhere to dietary and medication regimens. That might help you develop a community-based service that decentralizes prescription drug distribution and exercise facilities.

Stay tuned for part four! Also, don’t forget to read our previous medical school applicant post.  

tutor logo Becoming a Competitive Medical School Applicant (Part II) | TutorNerds All blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at info@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

Becoming a Competitive Medical School Applicant (Part II) | TutorNerds

Being a Medical School Applicant is Not Easy

As we continue our “becoming a competitive medical school applicant” series, we hope you start to pick up on the fact that it’s a collection of efforts and events that gets you into  medical school, not a single score or grade. That being said, it’s important you don’t burn yourself out or develop anxiety problems before you even start classes! Take a deep breath and know you’re not alone. With the help of your parents, your contemporaries, and an orange county private medical school consultant, you can make anything happen. Read on for more med school tips.


Cumulative GPAs can make or break medical careers

High pre-med grade point averages never happen due to random chance. However, it is not nearly as difficult as it may appear with good planning that begins even before each academic year. Believe it or not, the biggest challenge of all is striking an ideal balance between science and humanities subjects prior to the start of each fall semester.

To chart the best future course of study, most medical school admissions consulting experts suggest an equal mix of scientific and nonscientific choices. This allows your brain to develop dynamically and avoids a complete science burn out. Further, many leading minds in science, medicine, and mathematics draw inspiration and ideas from outside their respective fields. Who knows, you may find your humanities course a nice stress reliever after a morning of grueling anatomy classes. Just remember to do well in these courses. You don’t want to jeopardize your medical school admissions chances because you failed “Shakespeare 101.”

Making the MCAT mark

An excellent Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) score makes your odds of getting into medical school soar. While college-level science coursework imparts adequate knowledge to ace the MCAT’s science section, the verbal comprehension portion is trickier. This is because no single course will give you a guaranteed advantage. Rather, students must possess stellar critical reading skills if they want to do well on the verbal portion. That’s right, you might want to start reading that copy of “War and Peace” your aunt gave you for Christmas three years ago.

Competent medical school consultants agree that bookworms and testees with strong humanities backgrounds do much better on the MCAT’s verbal reasoning portion. The reason why is that the written materials presented are not like scientific texts and thus require an entirely different reading perspective. Therefore, as responsible medical school admissions consulting professionals, we strongly urge students to get an early start on admission application acceptance by frequently feasting their eyes and feeding their minds with good books and magazines (need a place to start? Consider the classics: Top 100 Books of All Time). Finally, we further recommend a lighter course load and at least three months of lead time to complete MCAT preparatory study.

Clinical healthcare exposure

Having a proven history of practical experience in actual healthcare environment(s) is critical for hopeful medical students. As already stated, med school admission committees are leery of candidates with no clue about the daily lives of doctors. Thus, the more college-level clinical learning you obtain the more likely you are to gain medical school admission.

  • Both volunteer and paid clinical boost med school admissions odds equally

Most medical school consultants advise clients to focus on philosophical rather than financial interests for the best clinical experience(s). While volunteerism ops are most voluminous opportunities in that respect, paid clinical learning experiences have their own distinct values as well. In other words, one is not better than the other, so it’s up to you to decide which route works best for your schedule.

  • Early birds get the best clinical picks

Any accurate survey of the entire medical school admissions consulting field would surely reveal an overwhelming consensus that clinical work must start as a freshman. Fortunately, this is quite doable, as it takes as few as four hours per week to accumulate significant skills to educate oneself in a practical setting. What are you waiting for?

medical-school-applicationPrimary clinical training prototypes

Below are the prime avenues to gain clinical exposure and subsequent medical school admission. We also provide a brief list of pros and cons for each path that our medical school admissions consultant staff commonly notes.

  • Hospital volunteer

This route can be very rewarding, as inpatient hospital settings provide a glimpse into a wide variety of medical disciplines from a diversity of intimate viewpoints. Medical university admissions committees find such a large range of real-life experience quite impressive. This is particularly true because medical students obtain much of their training in hospital residency settings. Many hospitals have summer internship programs, so don’t wait until the last minute to grab a spot (St. Joesph Hospital Orange, CA volunteer).

  • Clinic volunteer

Most medical school admissions consulting experts concur that outpatient clinics are optimal to gain a huge competitive edge for med school entry. Our standard recommendation for any medical school applicant who opt to take this path to practical healthcare experience is working in the back office where the real action occurs. Front office medical clinic landscapes are limited to laborious piles of paperwork. Free clinics that serve underprivileged clientele typically have more openings, due to more limited funding as well as liberal opportunities to participate in public health fairs and other community service events.

  • Scribal service

Premedical college majors are eligible for employment as regional hospital ER scribes. These positions offer an excellent opportunity for direct patient interaction and constant contact with doctors that give students great exposure to clinical decision-making processes.

  • Become an EMT

Earning a license as an emergency medical technician is a terrific tool to learn what acute treatment environments are truly like. Three caveats to keep firmly in mind before pursuing the EMT path include:

a) licensure alone is insufficiently impressive for medical school admissions committees, unless backed up with actual work experience;  b) field exposure from EMT employment must be enhanced by hospital or healthcare clinic experience; and, c) EMT training and certification entails investing considerable time, energy and money.

Stay tuned for part three of our medical school admissions series!

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A Handy Guide to Medical School Admissions Interviews | TutorNerds

Diligent Preparation: The Road to Successful Healthcare Admissions Interviews

Preparation is a student’s greatest ally when it comes to admissions Interviews.

A personal interview is the final frontier you must conquer to career entry preparation with a postgraduate medical education. Admissions committees are quite impressed by extensive extracurricular activities and high standardized test scores and GPAs. However, committee members must see candidates with their own eyes in face-to-face meetings to come to their final decision . (Read: Medical School Ranking by Difficulty of Admissions)


Chief reason for these personal interviews is that doctors, pharmacists and dentists must have good bedside manner, OTC charm, and chair side demeanor to give patients in distress the best possible care. Superb interpersonal skills are also essential to effective peer collaborations and efficient staff communications. In fact, such skills are so critical that schools use a standardized tool for facilitation of candidate pool elimination called multiple mini interviews.

Dental, medical, and pharmacy school interview preparation: the basics

Dental, pharmacy and medical school admissions interview preparation is easy if planned well. A common mistake that many applicants make is wasting time to memorize stale replies to common queries. Two examples are, “Why do you want to practice medicine?” or “Why did you apply to our pharmacy program?” Rapid delivery of planned replies hurts more than it helps, as healthcare experts quickly recognize staged performances.

Thus, your main goal must be to spark conversation rather than elicit memorization. Honing this craft also comes in handy for spontaneous questions. Thus, the best idea is stating “general ideas” in broad but true terms. In other words, speak like you mean it.

Question prediction + proper diction = necessary part of interview preparation

With the above goal in mind, it’s strongly advised to devise questions well ahead of time. Focus on the most likely subjects and make a list of major sub-points. For instance, a good strategy for medical school interview preparation is review why you want to study medicine. Mentally reflect on primary motivations and commit them to memory in a flexible format. Avoid rehearsed lines that are designed to impress but fail to address the real underlying issues.

However,  one must never forget to phrase natural responses that sound like normal conversation – not defending doctoral dissertations or courtroom litigation. Preparing for surprise questions can be a bit tricky, but the biggest trick is to prevent underselling yourself. For example, an ideal task for great dental school interview preparation is to think of what you will say if asked about “Obamacare limits on reasonable and customary orthodontic fees.” Still, another excellent study subject for dental school interview preparation is “meth mouth,” a new sub-specialty developed to treat characteristic oral decay from chronic methamphetamine abuse. If you’re asked about something you’re unfamiliar about, take a deep breath to collect your thoughts and give the best truthful answer. (Read: Should medical school applicants take MCAT now, before it gets harder?)


Interview Guide

It’s crucial to understand that cramming for final exams is quite different from medical, dental, and pharmacy school interview preparation. Go through the systematic guide below prior to in-person meetings with admissions personnel:

  1. Review your list of commonly asked questions and practice answers by speaking aloud. Consult a dictionary to minimize repetition, but don’t memorize complete sentences and paragraphs!
  2. Jot down knee-jerk responses that require no prior research and then analyze comprehension, precision, correct grammar and concision.
  3. Conduct at least some cursory research into the most relevant and latest developments. For instance, healthcare is currently amid a huge paradigm shift from standardized protocols to innovative clinical interventions. Thus, medical school interview preparation should include a basic-orientation to both team collaboration and independent research technologies.
  4. Peruse news reports and scholarly publications for controversial topics typically discussed during medical, dental or pharmacy school interviews. Common examples include,  assisted suicide, human clinical experimentation subjects, robotic surgeries and genetic engineering.
  5. Get a grasp of U.S. healthcare reform as it pertains to your chosen career path. Competent pharmacy school interview preparation could include an investigation of mandatory Obamacare generic equivalents to proprietary prescription drugs. Likewise, look up new federal regulations that mandate real-time supply chain documentation and create sensations among pharmaceutical distributors.

What to do when interview day finally arrives

Mild anxiety and jittery nerves are perfectly normal when facing such an important interview. That’s why you must substitute stress with self-esteem with a constant reminder that you did something to be under the spotlight!

  • Stay cool, calm, and collected

Never let your guard down while waiting around to be interviewed. Some schools purposely inconvenience or confuse applicants with long waits or vague directions. This is done to observe how well applicants will function under pressure of actual practice on real patients.

  • Practice the “Three Ps”

Be pleasant, polite, and professional. For instance, utilize a firm handshake, bright smile and direct eye contact when you initially meet the interviewer(s). Body language conveys far more candor and volume than impeccable grooming and flawless grammar.

  •  If you must argue your opinion, be polite

If asked your opinion about a particular issue, offer polite input only. Should it elicit a strong rebuttal, don’t back down. Stay calm and respectfully disagree by supporting your position with proven facts, sound logic, and empirical stats.

Quality pharmacy, medical, and dental school interview preparation goes two ways

Medical school admissions interviews often conclude when candidates are asked if they have any questions. Many applicants wonder what to say or whether to speak at all. The former approach is preferred to demonstrate interest in their institution. Visit the school’s official website to view details about imminent changes with direct impact on your desired program. Avoid generalized subjects like standardized board certification passage and residency placement rates. Instead, pose courteous, yet probing,  inquiries into the newly constructed state-of-the-art simulated training lab, additional specialty concentrations and study abroad.  Niche practice ops like rural healthcare or geriatric clinical internships, are also good topics.

We hope this list was helpful starting point for your admissions interview prep. Look, this part of the process is crucial, so it’s best you don’t do it alone. A private, one-on-one Orange County medical consultant will give you an advantage over your peers. Don’t wait to call.  (Read: 4 Steps to Assembling a Top-Notch Medical School Resume)

tutor logo Medical School Admissions Consulting | TutorNerds | Irvine, CAAll blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at info@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

Medical School Admissions Consulting | TutorNerds | Irvine, CA

Medical School Admissions Consulting Advances Great Ambitions

Rapid growth of the medical school admissions consulting field in recent years is no accident or mere random chance. Rather, it offers a prospective glance into career prognoses with which perceptive M.D.s fully agree. Medical school admissions committees take their duties quite seriously. Much like good surgeons, they work with deliberation to consider each application received in a gross volume that far exceeds available seats. Need proof it’s hard to get in? 10 Medical Schools With the Lowest Acceptance Rates.


Likewise, these docs’ opinion has a direct impact that lasts a lifetime for hopeful applicants. After all, it is hardly a secret or any surprise whatsoever that wherever you go to medical school makes a huge difference. Besides long-term earnings expectations, opportunities for prime residencies, internship placements and practice in preferred field largely depend on the name next to yours on your diploma and transcript.

Thus, like competent patient diagnosis and treatment, making a positive impression entails advance preparation with attention to many details. An ideal resource for expert assistance is a professional medical school consultant. To glean more insights into both the right and wrong ways of gaining entry into the best possible post-graduate medical program, give the half dozen helpful hints below a close read – stat! In addition to the hints, start taking admissions seriously by pairing with an Orange County private medical school consultant from TutorNerds.

MEDICAL SCHOOL ADMISSIONS CONSULTING STANDARD CAVEAT: Those seeking a brief overview or glossed-over formula to guarantee med school admission should not go any further. There is nothing to gain; nothing but grave disappointment and wasted time that is best spent studying to maintain high grades.

Instead, prepare for full exploration and thorough explanation of pertinent factors that have the highest significance on admissions success. Featured medical school consultant topics encompass an in-depth list of accomplishments that make desirable candidates stand out far above the crowd of average applicants.


READ: Medical school bottleneck worries analysts, who foresee shortage of doctors

Main symptoms exhibited by good medical students

  • High grades

Despite no medical school admissions consulting expertise, you might have guessed that great grades go a long way to gain admission. If so, you are quite correct, as advanced academician physicians highly favor candidates with an impressive grade point average. In fact, that single consolidated figure can seal the fate of admissions application forms with an acceptance letter or instant consignment to paper shredder.

Medical school is a major challenge of extremely rigorous intellectual exercise. As such, admission committees must ensure that entrants are equal to the task. Undergraduate GPA is universally considered a critical predictive factor in probable graduate university performance.

  • The MCAT is where it’s at

Like its close GPA cousin mentioned above, your Medical College Admissions Test score holds major sway with admissions committees that decide whether you will likely prosper and thrive or barely survive and wither away in slow a painful death from academic dismissal. Thus, MCAT scores are regarded as great equalizers that level the playing field to reveal true colors of candidates from the same college and similar personal characteristics.

  • Prior clinical history

By itself, strutting your stuff by flexing strong scholastic muscles built with a high GPA and MCAT score is not enough. Admissions committees like medical “brawn” that extends beyond sterile classroom and lab theory into practical skills learned in actual healthcare settings. Such exposure shows that you know what everyday life is like for doctors and possess the commitment and self-discipline to put patients’ lives at utmost priority.


  • Research tendencies

The medical profession is rapidly evolving and its practitioners face many new demands and daily challenges. Continuing education ensures sustained intellectual development that expands philosophical horizons that ebb and flow agilely to meet changing needs of an increasingly diverse society.

Independent research imparts essential skills for lifelong learning with a perpetual quest for knowledge to satisfy a thirst that will never be quenched. Besides that, having deft medical research skills is definitely handy for reading scholarly journals, assessing clinical studies and applying new knowledge to improve patient care.

  • Leadership potential

Any good medical school admissions consultant will recommend a long history of leadership roles as the ideal Rx to boost immunity against rejection letters. Besides demonstrating ability to take the initiative with strong ambition to bring new insights into full fruition, leadership builds a solid track record of teamwork, collaboration and positive peer inspiration.

These desirable individual traits combine to make academic and professional career potential climb high on the Scale of Medical School Admissions Consultant Success Probability. Leadership is becoming more essential to best medical practices, as a major paradigm shift is underway from standard protocol to pioneering developments that pave the way for new breakthroughs. Novel innovation is necessary for the preservation of lives and positive societal change.

  • Public service

Prior community service and public interest involvement make a highly favorable impression on med school admissions committees. Indeed, any medical school admissions consulting industry survey would find an overwhelming consensus that proven commitment to serving one’s community is the single most influential factor in admissions decisions.

Indeed, any sincere medical school consultant can attest that intense passion for improving overall life quality in one’s local community carries far more weight than all the great grades and empirical research in the world. After all, what good is theory that is never put to the test of practical application on a grand scale?

For more help with how to position yourself to help humanity forever, contact TutorNerds for a professional medical school consultant today. A much brighter future of many better tomorrows lies just beyond a mouse click or phone call!

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