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Points to Ponder

To any who may be interested:  

Near the end of each academic year all of our senior medical students are brought back together for their last class in medical school, known as the Keystone course.  The final block in the arch and the one that holds everything together.  The last class session of this course is known as “The String of Pearls”.  In this course the graduating students select up to eight of their faculty members, considered to have been outstanding role models and mentors, who are invited to impart their last bits of wisdom to the students before they move on to residency.  The String of Pearls lectures are no more than 15 minutes each and generally have nothing to do with the course or clerkship materials normally taught by these faculty members.  They are instead invited to impart some thoughts and wisdom to their charges as they move forward.  These talks are, without exception, thoughtful and from the heart pearls of wisdom, worthy of consideration and thought. 

Having now had a fair number of years in the admissions business it occurred to me that even I may have learned some things which could be considered as “pearls” to those seeking to gain admittance to medical school.  Although it scares me to think I have achieved an age where I might have some wisdom, it may just have happened.  It has been said by someone much wiser than I that “wisdom comes from experience, and all too often, it comes from bad experience.” I’ve had some of both kinds and I think I’ve learned some things that I’d like to share.  Thus, following in no particular order of importance, I commend the following as my “string of pearls”.  They are stated plain and simple.  Don’t make them harder than they are. I hope they help.  Check back often as I intend to add to these as we go along.  Best wishes and good luck!

- Doug Taylor, Associate Dean of Admissions and Records


Pearls of Wisdom



In regard to our new requirement for the 2017 entering class, if you are a serious applicant, go ahead and register for the CASPer™.  Your application will not proceed to interview without this officially reported score.




Visit medical schools which interest you ahead of time.  See what they have to offer and which one would be the best fit for you.  After you decide which place would be the best fit, find out what they are looking for in their applicants.



The best time to apply to medical school is when you think your application looks the strongest.  



The best time to take the MCAT is when you are ready.  



When referring to our school, get the name correct.  It is East Tennessee State University, not Eastern.



Ask for help when you need it and don’t be afraid to admit that you did.  Who would want a physician that wouldn’t ask for help when they needed it?



Have an opinion and be willing to share it and able to tell why you think as you do.



Always use your full and complete name on your application document and all “official” contacts with MCAT, AMCAS, NBME and the AAMC in any respect.  Having your full and accurate name is very important to you later as you graduate and apply for licensing and privileges.


Updated 06/28/16