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Sunday, July 29, 2012

You Are Not Cheating

In the business of ghostwriting, time and again - let's face it - more often than not, clients feel guilty about using a service to get help in writing, be it a resume, statement of purpose, or application responses. To date, I have aided almost 500, mostly, international medical graduates, students of many nations, get into the universities and or medical residency programs of their choice. And it is perfectly legal. Let me tell you a brief story: Hilary Clinton was on Larry King Live, toting her new New York Times Bestselling book. Larry asked her, "Did you get any help writing your book?", to which Clinton responded, "I got a lot of help." No one batted an eye. Where is the difference? On a legal level, if you apply to a university, you obviously have not been accepted yet. If you have not been accepted yet, then you cannot be in violation of any of their codes. Getting online writing help is not a crime. What is more, I feel very strongly about international graduates coming to the U.S., especially international medical graduates. Many of these people are highly-skilled doctors, nurses, dentists, social workers and more in their own countries. When they come to the U.S., they have to basically go back to school again. The first hurdle: string 300 to 600 words together in a statement of purpose. This is not testing their medical skills, it is an exercise, one that I find to be unfair. What I do is level the playing field for them, help them get into the programs of their choice. And why? These people are passionate about their work, about selflessly helping others. And this is from experience: most - almost 100% - international students feel more strongly about giving back to their communities than U.S. applicants. This is why I do it. For them. For their communities. I'm not a doctor, and I never will be. These are good people, who need a helping hand to get to where they need and should be. I help them get there.

Best Books: Writing Statements of Purpose, resumes, cvs, & letters

1. Graduate Admissions Essays: Write Your Way into the Graduate School of Your Choice by Donald Asher A great reference. Develop your own formula for writing success, but don't be formulaic! Create a list of points you want to hit, and then create your 10-15 Statements of Purpose, customizing each one for a particular school or program. Or you can look me up at 2. Resume Magic: Trade Secrets of a Professional Resume Writer by Susan Britton Whitcomb A good reference. Nowadays you need a great resume visually ‘and’ informatively. Employers do not have ADHD, they simply need to be able to scan your resume quickly to get the intel they are looking for. Look at DK (Doring Kindersely) books to see cool layouts, and then stick your resume into one. Visual impact is incredibly important. Make your own or look me up at 3. Essential CVS (Essentials) by Jennifer Vesperman A good reference. Nowadays you need a great cv visually ‘and’ informatively. Employers do not have ADHD, they simply need to be able to scan your cv quickly to get the intel they are looking for. Look at DK (Doring Kindersely) books to see cool layouts, and then stick your cv into one. Visual impact is incredibly important. Make your own or look me up at 4. Instant Recommendation Letter Kit - How To Write Winning Letters of Recommendation (Third Edition) by Shaun Fawcett Don't get trapped in the cookie cutter! If your letter looks like a copy/paste from a list of nice things to say about anyone and no one, you need to rethink your process! Be thoughtful and specific. You owe it to the person you are writing about or yourself. Employers & schools don't want to read dry impersonal letters. Write your own, or look me up at 5. 1001 Letters For All Occasions: The Best Models for Every Business and Personal Need by Corey Sandler 6. Cover Letter Magic: Trade Secrets of Professional Resume Writers by Louise Kursmark 7. How to Write a Great Query Letter by Noah Lukeman The list author says: 8. How to Write the Perfect Personal Statement: Write powerful essays for law, business, medical, or graduate school application (Peterson's Perfect Personal Statements) by Mark Alan Stewart Peterson's has some of the best advice on creating a winning Statement of Purpose, giving loads of examples and advice. It's a daunting task, and it's never easy to write about yourself. Tackle the task with this book or you can look me up at 9. Perfect Personal Statements, 2nd ed (Peterson's Perfect Personal Statements: Law, Business, Medical, Graduate School) by Mark A. Stewart Another of Peterson's amazing guides! Best advice on creating a winning Statement of Purpose, giving loads of examples and advice. It's a daunting task, and it's never easy to write about yourself. Tackle the task with this book or you can look me up at 10. Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning an M.A. or a Ph.D. by Robert L. Peters Some of the best advice on creating a winning Statement of Purpose, giving loads of examples and advice. It's a daunting task, and it's never easy to write about yourself. Tackle the task with this book or you can look me up at 11. Get Into Graduate School: A Strategic Approach for Master's and Doctoral Candidates by Kaplan Another of Kaplan's amazing guides! Best advice on how to get into grad school including how to create a winning Statement of Purpose, giving loads of examples and advice. It's a daunting task, and it's never easy to write about yourself. Tackle the task with this book or you can look me up at

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 Some really good links to explore - Practice tests and information for high school, college and graduate tests SAT Prep - Free practice tests for students taking the SAT GRE Prep - Free practice tests for students taking the GRE GMAT Prep - Free practice tests for students taking the GMAT - Practice tests and information for high school, college and graduate tests

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Using the Internet as a source of references

Any school will tell you that first and foremost, you should use their library’s own battery of databases, indices, texts of abstracts and journals, collections of statistics, maps, paintings and photographs, and other resources, often organized by field. All electronic sources are chosen by your school and information professionals for scholarly authority and reliability. The thing is, they are right, and you are also paying for this access as a part of your tuition, so use it as a jumping off point, if not entirely. You will find your library personnel highly approachable and if not, there will be explicit instructions posted everywhere, like through your library’s portal page, which show you how to first find the sources best suited for your search and then how to best search them for the information you want. Your library may even have research guides printed or accessible online for various disciplines and even specific courses. Oftentimes, reference librarians are readily available, at the reference desk, sometimes by e-mail, depending on your school.

Generally, use Web sites and other non-journal and non-print materials from the Internet only to supplement other sources. When you do use them

• Give priority to those that list their sources (so you can verify the information) or at least list an advisory board of professionals who vet the material.
• If the site doesn’t list its sources but still seems serious (i.e.,shows no breeziness, carelessness, or bias, and isn’t a commercial [.com] site), check out the author’s professional position and what else he or she has written, and whether the site has a respectable institutional base or is an outgrowth of a long-standing professional organization. You can also directly e-mail the author about the status of a particular piece of information—or post a query.
• Don’t use as a source a site that gives no author or supervisory editor.
• When the text on a site is subject to change or erasure, and thus may not be consultable by other readers, try to find a more stable source for the information. If you must use it, either print out the text or have the author send it to you as a personal communication—which you can then cite as such and attach to your paper as an appendix. If you include non-journal Internet sources in your paper and you have, or think your reader may have, concerns about their reliability or verifiability, include an explanatory note.

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Writing a good Letter of Recommendation

Professors, bosses, etc are all notoriously busy people. When you approach them for a Letter of Recommendation, they may ask you to write your own and then they will sign it. This doesn't necessarily mean they cannot remember you, or think of anything nice to say about you, it's one more chance for you to sell yourself to your prospective school, clients or potential workplace.

Warning: the professor/boss is going to read what you want them to sign. If you lie or exaggerate, you're going to be writing it again. They will allow some "poetic license", but it is their reputation on the line if they allow you to lie/exaggerate. If all you did was fax some press releases for them, saying that you were "the cornerstone of the department's communications and PR" is a big fat lie. What you can say is that you "provided administrative support in a consistently reliable and professional manner". See? Easy, right? Read on.

Secondly, this is where you get to do some role-playing. You have to put yourself in the professor's or boss' position, and write about you. Yes, it's you again, but you can do it.

Here's what needs to be covered:
(for the purposes of this blog, we're going to pretend it's your professor who's "writing" the letter of recommendation)

To start with, the reader is going to want to know how enthusiastic your professor is about recommending you for PhD Thermonuclear Research. You want to use words like:
strongly recommend, recommend, recommend with reservations, I do not recommend for admission (If you choose the last option, you can go back to your daily life and not worry about sending the letter in the first place).

Second: describe how long the professor has known you and under what circumstances he/she has known you. If you've only known the professor about two hours, choose a different professor. Talk in terms of months/years, or say, "It was a pleasure having Peggy Sue in three of my advanced brain surgery courses, from 2006-2009." You do not necessarily have to pick a professor you took courses with. If you work for a university as a work/study student, professors may know you from work you've done for them or others in their department. If all they can say is, "you should see John collate and staple!", then choose another professor.

Third: evaluate yourself for the reader in comparison with others in your class in terms of those your professor has known or may have known during his/her professional career. Describe the comparison group you are using. This means, you would say something to the effect of, "John was a pleasure to have in class. In my 30 years of professorship, I never knew a more energetic or engaged student." You have then identified yourself in their class and out of 30 years worth of students in a professor's career.

Lastly: (here's the "body" of the Letter) Addressing your abilities to pursue graduate studies and research, if applicable. Address your ability to work with peers, supervisors and subordinates; teaching potential; any outstanding abilities, talents, liabilities and weaknesses; and oral and written communication skills.

This is where you "blow your own trumpet" where you show off all that you are and more importantly what you are capable of. If you say you can "handle the pressures of graduate study” and your professor remembers you crying during pop quizzes, you may want to highlight your other skills. If you gravitate towards group leadership positions, then mention it. Do not be afraid of using your accomplishments.

Above all! This is your chance to talk about you in the best light possible, and as someone in authority. Use your boss'/professor's position, seniority and experience to work for you. You've worked hard to get where you are, so do yourself justice! All those times your boss made you feel like an idiot, well, it's payback time, baby! Show them that you know that they know how awesome you are!

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Medical Residency - Presidential Advice!

Presidential Advice for Medical Residency Applicants:

The President of the NRMP took time from his busy schedule to give you his unique insights into what makes a good personal statement for Medical Residency applicants:

Arthur Maron M.D. was President of the NRMP from 1998-99. Please note his words:

“A good personal statement will not guarantee a residency, but a poor one will certainly lose the position.”

1) Grammar, typos, spelling mistakes or instances of obvious stylistic awkwardness are fatal. The MUA staff does not have time to correct your grammar; get several proof readers.

2 Limit is 1 page: training directors read hundreds of statements. Be concise. (We realize that the statement is ultimately put into a format generated by ERAS and not uploaded as a Microsoft word document; however, the document should be one page with normal formatting in Microsoft Word, such as size twelve (12) Times New Roman font.)

3) The first paragraph should clearly focus on your choice of a residency in a medical specialty. It is recommended that you do not use detailed case examples in this particular paragraph, nor open with questions or quotes.

4) Do be confident and dedicated, but also humble and sincere. Definitely make your statement personalized so that it avoids appearing like a “boiler plate,” or generic statement.

5) The statement should reflect your in-depth knowledge of the medical specialty- its philosophy of patient care, the knowledge base and skills needed, contemporary issues and innovations in the specialty, etc.

6) Do talk about your core and elective clerkships- any unusual procedures, presentations or research projects- especially those that relate to your choice of a residency.

7) Do not write the same general statement that you wrote to get into medical school. Example: “Since I was a child I wanted to be a doctor,” “My grandfather was my role model,” “I excelled in sciences so therefore I decided to become a doctor,” etc.

8) Do not tell your life story; it’s on your C.V. Your prior career is not the focus, even if it was in the medical field.

Quite possibly the best help available online: MyStatementofPurpose

CV Writing - they're not all the same!

Writing Different Kinds of CVs

What is a CV?

The term “curriculum vitae” comes from the Latin Curriculum (course) and Vitae (life): The course of one’s life. "It is vitae (not vita) because "life" in the phrase "course of life" … is in the genitive singular….” - Eric Daniels,

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) resembles a resume in many ways, but is more specifically focused on academic achievements. A CV summarizes educational and academic history, and may include details about teaching experience, publications (books, articles, research papers, unpublished manuscripts, or book chapters), and academic honors and awards. Use a CV rather than a resume for teaching or research opportunities, applying for fellowships or for further academic training. Some research positions in industry may also prefer a CV rather than a resume
CV’s are frequently longer than resumes, since the emphasis is on completeness rather than brevity. While there is no single correct format or style for writing a CV, the following types of information are generally included, and typically organized in this way:

• Name and Address
• Education
• Dissertation
• Fellowships and Awards
• Prepared to Teach or Areas of Research Interest or Areas of Specialization or Areas of Competence/ Expertise or Principal Research and Teaching Interests
• Teaching Experience
• Research Experience
• Publications and Presentations
• Works in Progress
• Related Professional Experience
• Languages
• Other
• References
• Dissertation Abstract
Additional Tips:
• Fields of Interest or Teaching Competencies: CVs may begin with a short section specifying Fields of Interest or Teaching Competencies (instead of a statement of Professional Objective with which resumes may begin). If you do include this optional section, make your categories as broad as possible to cover a variety of potential opportunities but don't be so broad that you appear unfocused.
• Teaching and Research Experience: On a CV it is appropriate to describe both teaching and research experience in detail (on a resume this is usually not appropriate). If applying for a position that primarily involves research, describe research experience first; if the reverse is true, put teaching experience first.
• Work Experience: Work experience not directly relevant to research/teaching/academic opportunities should be omitted or described only briefly on a CV.
• Other: This may include miscellaneous personal information such as membership in professional or scholarly associations, travel or study abroad, or personal interests. Include only if you feel that some aspects of your personal history may be relevant and of potential interest to your readers.
• References: If you list references, provide title, university affiliation, and phone number
• Your Dissertation:
• If you are working on or have recently finished your doctoral degree, at least include a brief, clear summary of your thesis topic in the Education section.
• Including a separate one- or two- page abstract of your thesis at the end of your resume is recommended, but optional. In this attachment, concisely summarize your thesis work, placing it within its scholarly context, and noting its contribution to the field. Your summary should be comprehensible to people outside your field, but scholarly enough to interest people within your area of expertise. Looking at theses on related topics, in Rotch or Dewey Library, may help you write yours. If you do provide an abstract, write "(See Abstract Attached)" in the Education section of your CV, after the name of your thesis title.
• Cover Letter: A CV should always be accompanied by a cover letter.

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Resumes - They're not all the same!

Resumes - they're not all the same!

All kinds of resumes require different content. Here are some great tips for specific resumes

General Information:

- Name/Contact info/incl website if appropriate: address, tel, cell, e-mail, http

- Education — List all schools post-high school attended and the corresponding academic degrees earned, noting honors. Also include periods of study at schools or universities attended without completing a degree or where credits were earned, even if not transferred to the next educational institution. List workshops or classes attended and notable teachers you have studied with. Incl symposiums, conventions, professional education courses etc attended/completed. The latter may be listed under honors/awards/grants if preferred.

- Note about education versus experience: if you feel you do not have the relevant experience or enough of the relevant experience; indicate which courses you took were particularly relevant to your career track. For example, if you want to go into Environmental Management, indicate that you took environmental biology.

- Related Experience/Related Work Experience/Professional Experience – List all applicable employment in chronological order beginning with the most recent. If you are going for a residency assignment in Internal Medicine, feel free to omit your restaurant serving experience. Instead, if you have not had paid employment, put your assistantships, externships, observerships, research assistant work, tutoring, or volunteerism. No matter how small the involvement, even if it was only 10 days of volunteering at a bowling alley with physically challenged children, please mention it here. Volunteerism can also be work you’ve done in your community outside of an agency. For example, if you speak a foreign language and have helped people in your community translate their medical forms, this is volunteerism. Taking initiative is admirable and your chance to shine, so mention it.

- Internships, externships, observerships, shadowing, unpaid work-experience. Also put how many hours, or hours per week if the information is available.

- Volunteerism – No matter how small the involvement, even if it was only 10 days of volunteering at a bowling alley with physically challenged children, please mention it here. Volunteerism can also be work you’ve done in your community outside of an agency. For example, if you speak a foreign language and have helped people in your community translate their medical forms, this is volunteerism. Taking initiative is admirable and your chance to shine, so mention it.

- Honors and Awards/Grants — list all recognitions of merit, prizes won in competitions, grants, fellowships, scholarships and other special recognitions.

- Publications – Are you published? Do you have articles/reviews that are awaiting approval for publication? Even if you are a contributing author, or research assistant, this area is for you

- Skills – for example computer-related experience. Are you Microsoft Office proficient? Are you Windows proficient? What other operating systems, platforms, computer languages are you proficient with? Do you have html experience? List all software packages you are familiar with, especially any you have used professionally such as SPSS, Premiere, QuarkXpress, PhotoShop, FrontPage, etc. If your workplace or school used a particular communication package, list it, for example Eudora for e-mail or Outlook. If packages are discipline specific, please put them. For example mechanical engineers should indicate their proficiency with Abaqus, Solid Work, AutoCad, Mastercam, Ansys, Matlab, etc.

- Lab skills: if you have laboratory or research experience indicate the equipment you are proficient in the use of, such as electro-spectrometer, or Micro-Scan machine; media preparation, steak plate isolation, bacterial identification tests (stains, API-20e strip interpretation), blood extraction,

- Professional licensures: any current licensures you possess. For example professional dentists may want to put their NBDE Part 1-80, ECFMG can be listed here.

- Professional Affiliations — List the professional organizations, national, regional, and local, to which you belong. If you held a position within the organization or served as a volunteer, note this as well.

- Languages: spoken, written, arterial (native), and level of proficiency

- Extracurricular activities/hobbies/pastimes: this area can be used to describe sporting activities, Greek life, or other activities you are involved in or have been involved in. If you were captain of your high school cricket team, you can put it here, or varsity sports participation. Be specific as well. If you enjoy reading non-fiction books on quantum physics, do not just say you enjoy reading. Teaching tai chi is very different than just participating. If you have poetry published, don’t just put “poetry”.

- References: include all contact information and position held, if applicable. If left blank, we will simply put “References available upon request”. References fall into two categories, professional and personal. Please indicate which are professional or personal
Nurses’ resumes usually include:

In addition to the general resume information above:

- Nursing skills/proficiencies: Please put packages you have used for medical records, or your daily work such as Cerner applications, or Meditech documentation. What equipment are you proficient in the use of? For example, ventilator care; Basic life Support, Advanced Life Support, PALS, TNCC, Triple lumen CVP; AV fistulas, Swanz Ganz Catheter: Cardiac output; NG/Sump & Peg tubes; Balloon Pump management, CVVHDF. UEXCEL Professional Practice Plan. Also include Care plan creation and administration; Patient/family education; Training and in-services. If not listed elsewhere, what units have you had exposure in, i.e.: Open Heart ICU, CCU; Surgical ICU. Please be as specific as possible, for example don’t just put ventilator if it was a Bennett 7600 Ventilator, or bedside monitoring if it was Hewlett Packard bedside monitoring, or EKG when it was 12-lead EKG, even balloon pumps can be described more specifically, such as the Intraaortic balloon pump (IABP).

- Nursing certifications: list all, but do not duplicate what is listed under skills/proficiencies. Indicate any subspecialties as well, if you are CCRN, CMC, or CSC, etc.
Medical Doctors, Dental Professionals, and other medical professionals need to include (in addition to above general information):

- Doctors: please put which USMLE’s you have taken and your scores; include which ones you are enrolled for, as well. Indicate whether it was CS or CK and which step.

- Doctor skills: list procedures you are proficient in, surgeries you’ve assisted or performed, techniques you are proficient in or have been introduced to, departments you have interned in
Artists Resume should include:
Website – your professional website if you have one, or online gallery or your work; commercial sites of your work are acceptable. If your work is included in a group site, give the most exact site possible. For example, if you are a part of an online community of artists, do not just list you are a part of Indicate’sCeramics. If your gallery requires a username and password, do not include it as a professional website!
Honors and Awards/Grants — list all recognitions of merit, prizes won in competitions, grants, fellowships, scholarships and other special recognitions. Include artist-in residences or special workshops attended.

Bibliography — Material about you in articles, reviews, catalogues, radio and television interviews, etc. Indicate any of your work that has been included in books, magazines, newspapers, and catalogues. Do not duplicate here publications you have written, this is included in the publications portion of the resume.

Professional Affiliations — List the professional organizations, national, regional, and local, to which you belong. If you held a position within the organization or served as a volunteer, note this as well.

Related Experience/Related Work Experience/Professional Experience — Include experience that is relevant to your professional art-making career: teaching art; jobs held in the field; technical experience related to your discipline; lectures, workshops and presentations given as an artist.

Exhibitions — List the title of the exhibition, the exhibition space, and the city and state where the exhibition was presented. If your exhibition experience is extensive you may want to divide your exhibitions into separate categories of exhibitions - solo shows, group shows, juried exhibitions, invitational exhibitions, touring exhibitions, museum shows, etc. As well, if notable, the curator or juror of the exhibition is often listed.

Collections — This category can be divided into private collections, corporate collections, permanent public collections, etc. It is considered proper etiquette to ask permission to list a private purchaser/owner of your work if you intend to list them on your résumé.

Other categories – indicate any commissions, residencies, and installations you have to your credit

Performing Artists Resume should include:

Performances/Recordings/Productions — Musicians should categorize their experience based on recordings, compositions, and performances. Choreographers and dancers should indicate experience with choreography, performances, and or productions. List the title of the piece, your role in the work, where performed, other collaborators or performers if appropriate, and any other relevant information. If the piece was commissioned, indicate this as well.

Collaborations — If you have extensive work with others, you may want to list your collaborative work. Indicate your role in the collaboration and list other collaborators and their roles.

Commissions — your commissioned work goes here.
Literary artists include the following:

Publications — Title of the piece(s), where published or the publishing press. Indicate fiction/nonfiction, poetry, magazine/newspaper publications, etc.

Readings — List any public readings or presentations of your work. List the title of the work presented, and the venue.

Media artists include the following:

Films/ Videos/Shorts /Digital Media /TV — Include information about completed and in-production works. Indicate your artistic role in the work – i.e.: actor, director, and writer. Was the work a video, TV, feature film, or short. List the title of the piece(s), your role in the work, other collaborators if applicable, screening location and any other relevant information.

Screenings/Festivals — If your work has appeared at several screening locations or has been included in festivals, list the various screening locations and/or festivals in which your work has appeared. You may also want to note any awards or special recognition your work received if you have not already included this elsewhere.

Architects Resume should include:

Projects: indicate size/scale of project, for example square footage or storeys; indicate the status of the project i.e.: CD development, under construction, bidding, built, on hold, mostly built, canceled, etc.

What were your responsibilities? Preparing construction documents, coordinating with consultants, DOB, SD, CD, DD, filing, bidding

Project involvement and your corresponding titles: architect, project architect, detailer, senior project architect, freelance designer, CAD designer, drafter

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Free Help! No, really!

Free Help! No, really!
Tips for creating a great Statement of Purpose

So here it is…the first "Tips" post:

Here is the golden rule about Statements:

Your Statement of Purpose is a critically important part of your application materials. Do not dwell on information in your Statement that is covered by your other application materials. Your Statement represents your humanness, what you bring to a program, not just in terms of academics, but who you are, what has brought you to this moment, and where you want it to take you. Don't just say, "Post-graduation, I want to be an attorney in a successful firm"…tell them, "Ever since I was a child, I have dreamed of being an attorney. My dad was an attorney, and I remember how people looked up to him, respected him, and how much he loved his job helping others".

Look, you are writing about your favorite topic, the subject that ignites your passion for living… so let it shine through! Let them feel your love for your work..! And if you don't feel this for your work, then it's time to reassess.

A good Statement of Purpose needs to cover five (5) areas (not necessarily in this order):

1) Who are you and what led you to the subject/discipline/degree you are pursuing?
2) What are your research interests?
3) What are your plans post-graduation?
4) What relevant academic/professional/volunteer experiences have you had?
5) Why do you want to go to this particular school?

Comments on the outline:

1) Take for example a young man who was close to his grandfather. The grandfather contracts a deadly disease which may have been treatable or his life extended, but there are no quality healthcare services available and dies. The grandson then goes on to pursue medicine, or public health, promising that people in the future that he encounters or serves in his work will never go without proper healthcare coverage, or at least get reduced pricing for medical care.
It's anecdotes like this that make you more human and endearing to the admissions group/ person. Just saying, "I want to help people" is not enough, your passion and drive needs to be explained. Don't just say, "I find medicine rewarding", tell how when you helped a small child, they gave you a hug when they felt better, that this reward was worth more to you than money.

2) Your research interests, if it is applicable need to be in line with the program you are applying to. If you are applying for a PhD Organic Chemistry program and the program's professors are all involved in Inorganic/Physical Chemistry, you need to re-think your program. If your work with pseudo hallucinogenic compound cyanogen is right up the alley of one of the school's professors, then mention it! This will make you stand out! Plus, professors are constantly trolling applications looking for free labor.

3) These are where your short and long term goals go. It's obvious you want to succeed in the academic program in the short term, so don't mention it here. Explain your dreams post-graduation. For example, a DDS/DMD student wants to work post-graduation in a group dental practice, and upon building their exposure, go on to a private practice and dental medical mission work. This is the adult version of "what do you want to be when you grow up?"

4) Relevant academic/professional/volunteer experiences: do not fall into the trap of putting your resume/CV into prose form. The school will already have your resume/CV. This is your chance to show what you have learned from your experiences in terms of skills, lessons you have learned, how you have matured, and how this will be an asset to the program you are applying to, and in your career post-graduation.

5) Every single school wants to know why you chose them. If they don't ask you in the application process, they will ask you in person. This is a critically important question, and if you are using a form letter for 10 different schools, seriously consider doing a little research into each school, and customize each letter, even if it's just one paragraph about why you want to go to each specific school. And think about it: if you hate cities, why are you applying to an urban campus school? If you love the beach, why are you applying to a school in Wyoming? Seriously, though, think about things like the teachers you want to learn from, the kind of classmates you want to interact with. Most of the information you need to answer this question is right on the school's website, or doing just a little digging in Google.

Probably the best help anywhere online can be found here: MyStatementofPurpose