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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pre-meds: Medical school admissions committees are looking at your social media sites!

We all knew it was coming. Prospective employers are already doing it. Other admissions committees do it. And now it has arrived in the pre-med world - medical school admissions committees are looking at your social media sites as part of the admissions process, as evidenced but his recent article.

Thought that Twitter handle filled with expletives was funny? Hope its super funny if it keeps you from getting into medical school. Even if your Facebook settings are private, you still may be tagged in photos posted on someone else's page. Though college students rarely consider their social media presence seriously, every pre-med must diligently check your online presence to ensure there is nothing posted that will hurt your chances of getting accepted to medical school.

Here are some suggestions for how to prevent social media from hurting your medical school application:
1. Turn your Facebook settings to the most private ones possible. Then search for your name and check that no inappropriate pictures or posts exist on other pages. If they so, ask the person who posted the less than flattering content to take the photo or post down. If they refuse, ask them to untag you.
2. Check your Twitter handle. Does it say something like "Premed Bitch" or ""Premed F-up" or "Cougar Premed." When you are sick, would you want to go a doctor who tweeted from "Premed Bitch?" Doubt it. Create a professional Twitter name and pretend that every tweet you send could be viewed by an admissions committee.
3. Ensure your Instagram photos are all appropriate. Again, would you feel comfortable showing all the pictures to a medical school admissions committee? If not, delete them.
4. YouTube. Did you know YouTube is one of the three most searched sites in the world? Are you included in any videos that might make you look less than professional? Have you posted videos that could be thought of as inappropriate? Check your presence on YouTube and delete any videos you wouldn't want an admissions committee to see.
4. Create a professional LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn has escaped the frivolousness that plagues much of social media. Create a respectable profile and obtain recommendations. Think of it as putting your resume online for all to see.
5. Look at your Blogger/Tumbler/Wordpress pages if you are a blogger. How does it look? All good? if not, delete it.
6. Remember all of the other sites you are on (Google +, Reddit, etc.) and apply the same rules as above - what would a medical school admissions committee think of the content? Do you look professional? Do you look like an aspiring physician?

Social media is fun and can be an excellent source of obtaining news and maintaining friendships. But it can also sink an otherwise outstanding medical school application. Manage your social media presence now as a pre-med and continue these practices throughout your entire career.

Good luck and get in!

Suzanne M. Miller, MD, FACEP
Emergency Physician
CEO of MDadmit Medical Admissions
www.MDadmit.com, 415.939.5251

Author of:
How to be Pre-Med
The Medical School Admissions Guide
How To Get Into Medical School with a Low GPA

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