College Updates For The 2023-24 Admissions Cycle:
Nova Southeastern MD has been granted full accreditation, allowing its students to take the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam and be eligible for residency.
Columbia University is now the first Ivy League school to announce its future as a fully test-optional school moving forward.
College of William & Mary will remain test optional for first-year students applying for Fall 2024.
Common App Essay Prompts
For juniors considering getting started on their college essays ahead of the game – you’re in luck! The Common App, the application most students use to submit their college applications, has announced that the Personal Statement prompts will remain the same as the last admissions cycle. The Personal Statement on the Common App is the main essay every college will see before reviewing the school-specific supplemental essays. Even if students do not plan to use the Common App, most college applications will ask for a personal statement, with prompts closely mirroring the Common App essay. Some schools allow the essay to be optional, but still require a personal statement to be considered for Honors programs, scholarships, or applying test-optional, like The University of Pittsburgh. So this essay is a big deal; every college will see it! Here are the prompts:
Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
Thankfully, the mentors at Moon Prep are experts in helping students write outstanding essays to match these prompts, as evident in the high success we are currently experiencing in acceptances to every top direct medical program and prestigious traditional colleges.
To AP or Not To AP?
In a college admissions world that is inching away from SAT and ACT exams due to many schools moving forward as test optional, direct medical hopefuls are often caught in the middle. This is especially true when it comes to AP classes and AP exams. While there are many arguments debating the holistic value of the exams, the truth is when it comes to direct medical admissions, AP exams are a green flag. In short, getting a 5 on your AP Chemistry exam supports the high standardized score you received on the SAT or ACT, further proving to the highly selective direct medical programs that you have a high aptitude for science. This is seen as reassurance that the direct medical program is taking less of a risk when they invest in your success and accept you into their program.
From a Moon Prep perspective, we encourage our students to take the AP courses and subsequent exams. There are also many other benefits, like earning college credit, as recently outlined by Study Info Centre. We also encourage students to properly prepare for these exams, as they will likely only have one chance at their desired score before applying to college, as they take place in May.
At this point in the year, younger students are focused on summer plans. The students at Moon Prep know how essential it is to maximize their resume activities over the summer as they progress toward applying to competitive colleges and direct medical programs. For underclassmen and juniors, March is the perfect time to seek our advice for your summer plans. In fact, many prestigious summer experiences have deadlines already passed us by, so don’t wait any longer to sign up!
Interested in tech? Check out these 10 Tech-Focused Summer Programs For High School Students. Med school hopefuls might also consider attending a Mini Medical Programs For High School Students.
If you want a more tailored list of more rigorous, challenging summer experiences, that is what our expert counselors are focusing on this month with their students in one-on-one guidance. Internships are also popular choices for building an outstanding resume for competitive colleges, but they are notoriously difficult to find, especially paid ones. Here is one place we recommend looking for internships, the 80,000 Hours job board.
Schedule a complimentary meeting to see how we can help shape your younger student’s resume for college. Add a Moon Prep mentor to your side early while there is still time to make important adjustments. We have consistently seen the results year after year: the right resume activities have a direct correlation to the most college acceptances!
Financial Aid Offers
As students play the waiting game for their final remaining schools (UC’s: we are looking at you!), March is the time many students start to turn their attention to scholarships. There are a significant number of external scholarships with deadlines in March, April and May. External scholarships offer a great financial opportunity to recycle college admissions essays and are a great place to spend a few hours, as they can be used at any college- perfect for students still deciding between a few schools! Beyond external scholarships, there are often funds to be uncovered at the college you have committed to early, in departmental scholarships specific to certain majors. Moon Prep actually offers a free course to help you discover every possible financial funding available to you, helping students graduate college with minimal debt: Sign up here.
As college choices are being made, the financial aid offers can play a big role in those final decisions. If you were proactive in applying for financial aid, you likely have already received a financial aid letter, or it will be arriving soon. Read more about how to make sure you have not missed any vital college financial aid step before accepting an offer and committing to a college.
Stony Brook University Highlight
Applying to a highly selective direct medical program is not the only early pathway to medicine. There are more options than ever before for future doctors to realize their career dreams, especially at schools that are actively meeting the demand for doctors by creating new routes to medicine. Their Scholars for Medicine (SFM) track is open to current students (even though the wording is a bit confusing) at Stony Brook participating in the Honors College, WISE Program, or University Scholars Program. Accepted students have a secured seat waiting for them in Stony Brook University’s School of Medicine, in this eight-year track. Students apply by January 15 as Stony Brook freshmen, are notified of interviews in March, and are accepted by April 1. Stony Brook is already a school we often see on our student’s direct medical lists, and this pathway will likely be responsible for moving the school higher on pre-medical college lists as well.