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The Dartmouth
April 16, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Mangold '99 remains committed to medicine

As part of its 'Help Wanted' series, The Dartmouth plans to follow a diverse group of seniors throughout the year as they determine what they will do after graduation. This is the first of those features.

Karen Mangold '99 said she first told her parents she wanted to be a doctor in sixth grade.

Mangold, a genetics major from New York, is one of the many seniors applying to medical schools this year. Mangold said she is looking at medical schools with a clinical, not a research focus.

Medical schools across the country are extremely competitive, with an average acceptance rate of 30 percent, Mangold said. In-state residents have a better chance of acceptance to schools in their home state, she said. Of the 15 medical schools to which Mangold is applying -- an average number, she said -- 10 are in the state of New York and require the same common application, she said. She also applied to the Dartmouth Medical School, she said.

Although medical schools are highly selective, there is not as much of a hierarchy among them as there is among undergraduate colleges, Mangold said.

Mangold, who is working as an undergraduate advisor this year, said she is interested in pursuing a career in pediatrics because she has always loved children. At the College, she said, she has participated in programs that give her the opportunity to work with children. Mangold has also had experience with pediatrics for most of her life, as her father is a pediatrician and her mother works as a pediatric nurse, she said.

Mangold said she had to think about her decision to study medicine for every step of the way, but the internships in medicine she has had as well as "shadowing" a doctor have always reaffirmed her choice. Pursuing the pre-med program at Dartmouth was not more difficult than she expected she said, but the process of applying to medical schools was very strenuous.

Mangold said she started working on her applications a year ago, when she began studying for the Medical College Admissions Test and putting together her file. This file includes a resume, a transcript, an autobiographical essay, any citations the student received, and recommendations. Three of the recommendations must come from two professors in science courses, and from one other professor. The student is free to include any other recommendations.

This file is then sent to a professor of the student's choice, called a composite writer, who writes a letter summing up all the information in the file, Mangold said. This composite letter is then sent to the medical schools in the second application round, she said.

Mangold said she took her MCATs in April and spent last fall and winter collecting recommendations and finishing her file at Career Services. In the spring, she completed the American Medical College Association, or primary application, which includes a current transcript including grades from spring term, MCAT scores, a personal statement and a short list of the candidate's activities. By the end of spring term, she had completed the primary application and had her composite letter written.

After screening the application, the medical schools send out secondary applications to some applicants. These are due in January but are based on rolling admission, so it is best to complete them as soon as possible, Mangold said. At this point, the professor also sends the composite letter as part of the application.

Mangold received secondary applications from all 15 medical schools to which she applied. She said she completed 12 of the applications earlier this year and sent in the remaining three later.

Currently, she has finished the second round of applying, and she said she is waiting to hear which schools have invited her for interviews. Medical schools contact the applicants they choose between October and February, and Mangold said she already has four interviews set up and has not yet heard from the other schools.

A month after the interviews, Mangold said, medical school applicants receive a letter telling them whether they have been accepted, rejected or wait listed. It is possible to be accepted off the waitlist up to the first day of medical school, she said.

Mangold said she loved the college experiences that led her to apply to medical school. Although the application process itself was extremely stressful, she said it was good to reflect on her college career when she wrote the personal statements.

Taking the MCATs three weeks into the spring term was arduous, but she managed to complete the bulk of the applications this summer when she was not taking classes, she said. In addition, she also worked with children as part of an Americorps program.

If she should not be accepted by any of the schools to which she applied, Mangold said she would take a year off to do community service work and take math classes before applying to a program leading to a master's degree in public health.