Schools

How the Medical School Interview Has Changed — And How It Might Affect You

0 Written by: | Tuesday, Nov 06, 2012 10:37am

Interviews are becoming more like speed-dating. Is that a good thing?

If you look online for information about medical school interviews, you’ll find a lot of advice about how to answer questions like “What made you want to be a doctor?” and “What’s your greatest weakness?” But medical schools nationwide have been changing up their interview process to better evaluate applicants’ social skills. At these schools, candidates undergo as many as 26 (!!) two-minute interviews with 26 different interviewers. Yes, that does sound a lot like speed-dating — and no, it doesn’t sound very fun.
Read More →

Schools

Do College Interviews Matter?

0 Written by: | Tuesday, Oct 25, 2011 12:00am

Not really — unless they do, seems to be the frustrating but honest answer.

“They are one more part of the folder. They are not a significant factor in the vast majority of cases,” says one of Johns Hopkins’ admissions officials — but then he turns around and notes that there have been situations where borderline students had an amazing interview that pushed them over the edge… as well as rare cases where a “arrogant or nasty or ill-informed” student’s interview tips the scale in favor of a “no” vote.

Where it really seems to make a difference is at smaller schools, where admissions offices closely track a student’s communication with (and visits to) a school. A prospective student who visits campus, sits in on a class, and opts for an optional interview seems more engaged and interested than someone who just e-files an application. (Does this result in a socioeconomic bias in favor of students whose families have the means to make college visits? Some admissions officers think so.)

Really, though, it all depends on the school. Amherst stopped offering interviews a couple decades ago; Bard has an “Immediate Decision” program where candidates participate in a faculty-led seminar, interview with an admissions officer, and find out whether or not they got in the next day. Ultimately, it seems like the best thing to do is to shine those shoes, practice your handshake, and be as charming as you can — whether it’ll get you anywhere is another question.

Schools

Do College Admissions Interviews Matter?

0 Written by: | Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011 12:00am

Not really — unless they do, seems to be the frustrating but honest answer.

“They are one more part of the folder. They are not a significant factor in the vast majority of cases,” says one of Johns Hopkins’ admissions officials — but then he turns around and notes that there have been situations where borderline students had an amazing interview that pushed them over the edge… as well as rare cases where a “arrogant or nasty or ill-informed” student’s interview tips the scale in favor of a “no” vote.

Where it really seems to make a difference is at smaller schools, where admissions offices closely track a student’s communication with (and visits to) a school. A prospective student who visits campus, sits in on a class, and opts for an optional interview seems more engaged and interested than someone who just e-files an application. (Does this result in a socioeconomic bias in favor of students whose families have the means to make college visits? Some admissions officers think so.)

Really, though, it all depends on the school. Amherst stopped offering interviews a couple decades ago; Bard has an “Immediate Decision” program where candidates participate in a faculty-led seminar, interview with an admissions officer, and find out whether or not they got in the next day.

Big Fish, Money & Power

Q & A With "Modern Family" Star Julie Bowen

1 Written by: | Monday, Sep 19, 2011 12:00am

In honor of the native Baltimorean’s big Emmy win for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Claire Dunphy on the hit show “Modern Family,” we re-post our interview with Julie Bowen, originally published May 4, 2011. The Emmy Award winning actress is the honorary chair of “Pumpkins on the Green” on October 1, from 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. at the Irvine Nature Center. Click here for tickets or more information.

We asked Modern Family star and Baltimore-girl-done-good Julie Bowen (nee Leutkemeyer) a few questions about life, the secrets to her success and growing up in Baltimore (in Woodbrook) and learned the funny, self-deprecating, flawed-but-lovable character she plays on the hit TV show is not just an act…

Sum up your life philosophy in one sentence.
If everyone gets to bed with a clean diaper and minimal whining, I win!

When did you define your most important goals, and what are they?
I thought my most important goals were career related, and in some ways they still are.  I love working and get (overly?) excited about new jobs and the opportunity to work with creative people.  Having three kids in two years, however, has forced me to shift a great deal of focus outside of myself and my own goals which is, frankly, much more healthy.

What is the best advice you ever got that you followed?
My parents told me to get an education, whether I “used” it or not, and I did.  It is still the greatest thing I have ever done even if I rarely dig out Neoplatonism in cocktail conversation.

The worst advice, and did you follow it? Or how did you muffle it?
The worst advice was never direct as much as it was implied.  Some people in my life kept saying I was “lucky” to get jobs, and I shouldn’t push my luck by asking for better salaries or even better jobs.  I spent a great deal of time undervaluing myself, and still feel I have to fight against this mentality as a default mode.

What are the three most surprising truths you’ve discovered in your lifetime?

  1. Kids are amazingly fun.
  2. Kids are amazingly hard.
  3. One person, place or thing will never meet all of your needs. Get a deep bench and keep expanding.

What is the best moment of the day?
5 a.m. Coffee, email, and a book before I go running.

What is on your bedside table?
Half a broken toy truck,  crosswords, three books to read and a picture of my dearly departed dog.

What advice would you give a young person who aspires to do what you are doing?
Get used to hearing “no” and don’t take it personally.  Auditioning is a war of attrition, and if you can resist the urge to quit when you are sure you won’t get a job, you will eventually land on your feet.

Why are you successful?
Am I?  That’s hard to accept…I suppose I have success in acting because I really love it and didn’t look at my failures (there have been PLENTY) and rejections as deterrents.

What was the best thing about growing up in Baltimore?
The Orioles and lightening bugs.

What was the worst thing about growing up in Baltimore?
The humidity!

What do you miss most about Baltimore?
My parents and old friends like Lillie Stewart, Catherine Thomas and Emily Wilson….

What is the thing you must do/place you must visit when you are in Baltimore?
The Irvine Nature Center is the best.  My dad can’t survive without a trip to Tark’s (Grill).  And for culture, the Walters Art Museum is my favorite.

What is your favorite regional delicacy? 
Berger Cookies!!!!  Oh my god!  I always thought you could get those anywhere until I moved away from Baltimore.  What a horrible realization!

Eddie’s or Graul’s?
Graul’s!  The chicken salad alone is worth it.

The creator of “Modern Family” is also from Baltimore.  Do you two ever commiserate on the best and worst of Baltimore?  Did you know each other or any of the same people growing up?

Jason Winer (Friends School alum) directed Modern Family the first season and still has strong Baltimore ties.  We didn’t talk a whole lot of Baltimore, but whenever we did, we used the full-on Bawlmer accent, hon!


Culture

Baltimore Novelist Jessica Blau Talks to the Fishbowl about Her New Book

0 Written by: | Sunday, May 01, 2011 12:00am

Jessica Anya Blau is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, where she received her Masters in fiction. Currently, she is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Goucher College in Maryland. She has been awarded scholarships from Bread Loaf and The Sewanee Writer’s Conference, and fellowships from Johns Hopkins University and Sewanee. Her stories have won numerous awards and have appeared in notable magazines and anthologies. She is also the author of the novel The Summer of Naked Swim Parties.

We talked to Jessica about her much praised sexy second novel, Drinking Closer to Home (Harper, 2011), a funny and ambitious family story inspired by her own Santa Barbara peeps.

Fishbowl: Your laugh-out-loud funny + super moving second novel Drinking Closer to Home is inspired by your real life. Exactly how much is whole-cloth true? Overweight, “lesbian” cat, Maggie Bucks, a real family pet?

Jessica Blau: All the animals are real and I used their real names. I figured they wouldn’t sue me. I did take liberties, like putting dead animals with ones that are still alive. Gumba is dead now. And so is Jasmin. Little Carl White might be dead now, too. I never ask about her. Fat, nasty Maggie Bucks is still alive and getting fatter every day. She’s the size of an ottoman. It’s gross. And there’s a new cat who came in since the book was published. His name is Fweddy Wobitzer. He’s like some rude, spoiled boy who wears knickers with a ruffled shirt, and prances around like an entitled prince. But at least he’s better looking than Maggie Bucks.

FB: Who was the most difficult character to write, and why? The easiest, why?

JB: They were all fairly easy—they were based on my family so their voices and actions are embedded in my head. Anna was the most fun character to write because she behaved so badly at times. She does the most drugs, has the most outrageous sex, and is the most outspoken. All that stuff’s pretty fun to put down on the page.

FB: How did you get so expert at writing funny and convincing sex scenes? Would you say the awesomely detailed sex scene is becoming your trademark?

JB: I’m glad you think they’re awesome!  I think that I don’t even realize I’m writing a sex scene, in a way.  So I approach them the same way I approach any scene—from an interior place, feeling the characters, seeing the movie run in my head.  I was on a sex panel at the Baltimore Writers’ Conference and so I had to actually sit down and think about how I write sex scenes. What I discovered is that writing good sex is like writing good dialogue.  More than anything else it should reveal character.  So, rather than writing a play-by-play (hand on breast, hand on penis, etc.), which would come off sounding pornographic, the writing should focus on the internal lives of the characters (someone worried about greasy hands sliding right off a breast, etc.).  The scene should show who these people are and what it’s like to live in their bodies at that moment.  Does that make sense? I guess what I’m saying is that if you’re not freaked out by sex and just write it like any other scene involving two or more (or less!) people, then the writing should be equal to all other writing in the book.

FB: Your own one-of-a-kind mom is alive and well, but she is ill in the novel — did this poignant element of the story bring your family closer, or were you already great long-distance friends (as the closing Q&A suggests)?

JB: I’ve always been very close to everyone in my family. There are periods when we’ll drift out, but we always drift back in again. It’s a “no-obligation” family—you don’t have to show up for anything, you don’t have to call on birthdays, etc. (In fact, everyone in my family seems to forget birthdays). So when we see each other, it’s because we really do want to see each other.

FB: Would you have been able to tackle this deep life material so generously and humorously at an earlier point in your life, do you suspect?

JB: That’s a good question. I do think I was ready for this story when I wrote it and certainly couldn’t have written it earlier. It took a lot emotional distancing to look back on stuff that did happen and be able to tell it as a narrator and not as a participant. For most of us, the readiness comes with the distance. If you’re too close, still feeling it in your gut and the backs of your eyes when you tell it, then it might come out sounding like junior high diary entries, ie: “Oh mah gawd!!! You’ll never believe what happened!!!”

FB: Is it less intimidating to write a story inspired by your West Coast fam from the faraway reaches of Baltimore, MD?

JB: I think it’s easier to write about California from the faraway reaches of Baltimore. The distance helps me see it from more of an outsider perspective. My brother lives in Amsterdam now, my sister’s in Boston, and my dad’s in New York City. Only my mother is still in California, in the house that shows up in the book.

FB: Is your next novel, which I’ve read has mystery/thriller flavor, inspired by your own life as well? Give us a teaser synopsis.

JB: The next novel is 98 percent fiction. It’s about a good girl, 20 years old, who does something really, truly stupid and bad. The novel is essentially the unraveling of the knot she finds herself in. It takes place in Berkeley and Los Angeles—two very different but equally cool cities.

FB: Will you write a Baltimore-based novel sometime, do you imagine, and if you ever did, what would it be called?

JB: Well I do love Baltimore, so I love the idea of a Baltimore book, but I’ve never thought of writing one. I’m not sure why. Maybe if I title it now, the book will come to me. Okay, here’s the title: High Ponytails, Hot Weaves and Headbands. Of course I’m commenting on the hairstyles that run the gamut from Hampden to Guilford. But, that’s no good, is it? Okay, how about this: Running Reds. Only a Baltimore person would get that. After 15 years here, I’m still not used to the fact that you can’t drive immediately on a green light because you have to wait for all the red-light-runners to finish flying through the intersection.
 
FB: Have you sold this current novel as an ebook?

JB: It is available as an ebook. And you can get it on Kindle or Nook. I have a Nook that I use when I travel. It’s a lot lighter than five books.

FB: Do you think that most dedicated fiction readers will primarily read electronically in 10 years, and what will that mean for the publishing industry?

JB: I have no idea. Really, there are so few things I know in this world. When I was 19 I thought I knew everything. When I was 29 I thought I knew a lot but not everything. Now I realize I know very, very little. This is okay; it just means there’s more to find out.

Recent Comments

pommefrites
What I learned from Miley Cyrus

"Good to hear that y'all had a great time and that Miley put on a good show! Kudos to her...

henry
Hampden Pizzeria Is Evicted, Ceases Operations

"Classic story of a small businessman vs the greedy landlord.(most mom and pop's can't...

Candice
Win a Pair of Guest List Tickets to the FashionEASTa Event in Harbor East

"I don't understand the winter boots with the toes cut out. Is it hot or cold?? Boot or...

planetmom
Tickets Issued to Distracted Drivers in Maryland Have Tripled

"I don't know single person who has gotten a distracted driving ticket including me. the...

planetmom
What I learned from Miley Cyrus

"No need to go. Thanks to your descriptions I felt like I was there.

 

 

 

 

Find Doctors on ZocDoc