Medical School Admission – By the Numbers

By Anne Reedstrom

Some of the most frequent questions we receive from pre-med students are about the numbers. You know the ones I mean – “What GPA do I need to get into Penn Med?” “What MCAT score do I have to get in order to have a chance of being admitted to schools in the top ten?” “Is my (insert GPA or MCAT score here) enough to get an interview at (insert school name)?”

All of the questions above are, for the most part, unanswerable, because there are no magic numbers for medical school admission and admission committees consider your entire application, not just your GPA & MCAT, when they make a decision. But there are statistics which might be helpful to you as you evaluate your readiness to apply to medical school or make a list of schools to which you will apply, and we are happy to provide those to you!

You can find some basics on our new Medical School Admissions Statistics page on our website, such as the percentage of Penn applicants admitted within a certain BCPM GPA range or the percentage of applicants who have taken time off. For even more detailed information, you can peruse the binders of statistics that we have in our office and discover the average GPA and MCAT of Penn applicants admitted to specific medical schools, the schools which have admitted international students, and how many applicants waited more than three years after graduation to apply to medical school, among other scintillating items! Luckily, this information will also soon be available on line as well.

Here are a few tidbits to whet your appetite:

  • The University of Michigan admitted 9 Penn applicants for the Fall of 2014, none of whom were Michigan residents.
  • UC-San Diego, UC-Davis, and UC-Irvine admitted 1, 3, and 4 Penn applicants, respectively, all of whom were California residents.
  • 147 Penn applicants for the Fall of 2014 were women, and 115 were men.
  • In Fall 2014, 10 students matriculated at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 7 at Einstein and 7 at NYU.
  • More Penn applicants (180) applied to Perelman (Penn Med) than to any other single medical school. (I know, what a shocker!) The school with the next highest number of applicants is Jefferson with 148, followed closely by NYU with 143. We even had 24 students apply to the newest medical school at Quinnipiac University.

Use your knowledge of the numbers wisely, remembering that what we give you are averages, not absolutes, and always, always discuss any concerns you have with a Pre-Health Advisor before having a complete meltdown!

The Penn Internship WHAT?

Anne Marie Gercke, Associate Director

One resource in Career Services that is seemingly underutilized yet highly useful is the Penn Internship Network.  As a current student, you may be familiar with our annual pleas to fill out our Summer Surveys to tell us what you did with your summer whether it be travel, intern, take coursework, etc. We then compile extremely robust reports with the data for students to use as a point of reference for their own exploration and search. What we ALSO do, however, is ask the students who complete the surveys to indicate if they’d be willing to be an information resource for future students interested in the same type of opportunity. If they say yes, we include them in what is called the Penn Internship Network. The quickest way to find the tool (aside from clicking the hyperlink I just provided) is to type “Penn Internship Network” into the search box on our website. It’s usually the first thing that will pop up.


You only need your PennKey and password to access the database and once you do, this is what you’ll see:


Notice that you can search by multiple fields including industry, job type, major and more! Are you a freshman wondering what types of internships other freshman have gotten in the past? Use the ‘Choose Class Status’ dropdown to sort by class year! Want an internship this summer but know you need to live at home in California? Search by location! Once you select your criteria and hit search, you’ll find a list of students who have agreed to be contacts for other students interested in the same type of summer opportunity. We’ll provide their email addresses and you are more than welcome to reach out to them to do some informational interviewing. (For tips on informational interviewing, click here.) The point of this process is to learn from your peers and perhaps get better connected and acquainted with various opportunities through networking. One of the greatest perks of coming to Penn (aside from your stellar education, of course) is the personal and professional network that you will build over your four years here and beyond – and there is no time better than the present to get started! For questions on better utilizing the Penn Internship Network or anything else career-related, feel free to stop in to see us so we can help!



The after-party: some advice for after the career fair

Dr. Joseph Barber

There is always a lot of advice given to people about to attend career fairs, but here are some thoughts for those of you going through that post-career fair period.

The essentials:
For every resume you gave at the career fair, you should have tried to take a business card so that you can follow-up with the representatives that you spoke with. Make sure that you do this soon, and do it for the majority of representatives that you had interactions with. Do it even for those employers that aren’t in your top 5 list, because it is never a disadvantage to make a good contact. Your email doesn’t have to be long. Here are some topics to cover:

  • Thanks for representing your employer at the fair
  • Thanks for chatting with me about x, y, and z
  • You may recall me as the student who had the a, b, c, experience
  • Please let me know if I can provide any additional information
  • I look forward to hearing back about the job/internship

Some of you may have used the career fairs for more general networking – interacting with representatives to learn more about their company or their experiences (as Penn alumni). In some cases the people at the career fair weren’t the best people to answer your specific questions, but you can still follow-up with the representatives who did attend to see if they would be willing to put you in contact with someone who can help answer your questions. In which case, you message covers much the same topics as above, but also includes your “ask”:

I had mentioned my interest in the R&D department, and you said that you were not the best contact, but might be able to connect me with someone. Please do pass on any contact information for colleagues at your organization that you think I might be able to reach out to with my questions”.

Your goal with any networking opportunity is to keep the conversation going beyond the initial point of contact at the career fair – there are many different ways you can do this.

Beyond the essentials:
Career fairs are intense, high-energy events, and not everyone is comfortable in these environments. They can feel overwhelming. If you had a negative experience at the fair, don’t be discouraged. Think about different approaches that you can use that might be a better fit for you. For example, you can always seek out representatives from different employers through QuakerNet or using the Penn Alumni LinkedIn Group. An advisor at Career Services can chat about the different strategies you might use – and that many others like you have used successfully before.

Taking advantage of some of the self-assessment tools like Myers-Briggs, Strong Interest Inventory, and StrengthsQuest, can also help you determine how you can use your strengths most effectively when you are trying to achieve your current career goals – whether these are finding an internship, finding a job, or finding the beginnings of a career path (or two – it is always good to have options) that eventually leads to a job/internship.

“What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

by Julie Vick, Senior Career Adviser

My husband says that his mother often recited this tidbit from a Sir Walter Scott poem to him and his siblings when they were growing up to instill honesty.  With the current cause célèbre around anchorman, Brian Williams where some say he lied outright, others believe he simply embellished the truth and still others maintain he is a victim of false memory, that maxim and another  — “Honesty is the best policy,” coined by that famous Philadelphian, Benjamin Franklin – have been running through my mind.

When it comes to the job search I do believe that honesty is always important.  Advice on writing resumes and cover letters encourages using vivid action verbs to describe experience and language that portrays qualifications in the most positive light.  This can be where sometimes job seekers get in trouble by inflating what they’ve done.  In attempts to highlight leadership or teamwork job hunters sometimes exaggerate reality.  “Coordinating” an event isn’t always the same thing as “designing and implementing” it although it can be.  It’s important to reflect on each experience and describe it in an accurate and interesting way that resonates with the job to which you’re applying.

For international students, it’s necessary to understand the conventions in American resume writing.  Receiving a Bachelor’s degree with four majors is not the same thing as being awarded four Bachelor’s degrees.  Auditing a course in the business school does not make an arts and sciences student a business student.

Most employers check references of potential employees and if there is a mismatch between the resume and/or letter and what the most recent boss says, the employer will see a red flag and question the hire.  In addition, there have been many high profile cases of people who lied for years on their resume only to be caught and fired many years later.

As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everybody else is already taken.”  If you need help telling your story in your resume and other job-hunting materials, come see a career advisor in Career Services.  We’ll be happy to help you.

Show Me Your Skills! How to Create a Portfolio that Stands Out to Recruiters

By: Tiffany Franklin

Portfolios have long been part of the job search process for artists, designers, architects, and teachers, but in recent years professionals across industries have started using this powerful tool to convey their experience. With the proliferation of free portfolio sites, it’s now easier than ever to create a web page that will demonstrate the experience you write about in your resume and cover letters. A well-conceived web portfolio will provide examples of your Knowledge, Skills and Accomplishments and offer clues regarding your design aesthetic and the way you organize information. Portfolios bring your resume to life and allow recruiters to learn more about you as a candidate.


Designing a web page yourself vs. the free portfolio sites
Consider your industry and the job to which you are applying. If you are applying for a Web Designer or Information Architect position, you should have the skills to design your own site as the best example of your work and what you could do for that employer. In other fields that will not involve designing web sites for a living, using one of the existing portfolio sites would be a viable option. Here are a few sites to check out – Coroflot, Behance Network, Carbonmade, Cargo, Dribble, Portfolium, Folionix, and Wix. Some people have even used blogging Platforms such as WordPress or to demonstrate their experience.

Experience to Include
In addition to your internship and work experiences, portfolios are great places to showcase your academic projects and other projects outside of class. Create categories of examples to support your skills. Some people list their work by project title, while others will group items under headings such as interactive design, native apps, websites, sketches, logos, and more. It’s up to you to think about your audience (dream job/company) and design your portfolio in a way that tells your story in a compelling way and shows your capabilities in that context.

Tips for Making your Portfolio Effective

• Select your best work and keep the portfolio updated

• Be sure to include your contact information

• Only include work that is your own and include descriptors that show your role in team projects

• Mention the software you use to create the projects you list (Recruiters often use key word searches to find candidates, including specific software)

• Edit every page of your portfolio (spelling, grammar, consistent look and feel); get a second opinion

• Spend time planning your portfolio – clean layout; pay attention to design, colors, and typography

• Look at other portfolios online and consider the qualities that make some stand out from others

• Show the phases of your projects where relevant, from initial sketches to final product

• Include the link for your portfolio on your resume, cover letters and LinkedIn

Remember, Career Services is here to help! Along with resume and cover letter critiques, we can also meet with you to discuss your portfolio and offer suggestions.