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PhD Admission Consultants: Why you Need Them

PhD Admission Consultants

Are you wondering if you need to work with PhD admission consultants to get into the program of your dreams? You're not the only one. PhD admissions are getting increasingly competitive, so you need more than a good GRE score and some research experience to secure admission. Your personal statement and  research interest statement  need to be outstanding, and the rest of your application needs to be just as compelling. PhD admission consultants can help you make that happen. In this blog, we explore the different ways in which they help candidates strengthen their applications, thus significantly increasing your chances of getting into post-graduate programs. So, keep reading if you want to find out more about their services and you can decide if working with one is right for you.

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Article Contents 8 min read

Why are phd applications challenging, competition.

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is considered to be the highest awarded degree for most fields of study. In Canada and the United States, these programs are extremely competitive because they are typically smaller than master’s programs and much smaller than undergraduate degrees. Additionally, they are highly coveted by both local and international students, which means that there is a very high number of applicants for a limited number of spots available.

That said, the level of competition for doctorate admission varies dramatically between different programs and institutions. Because there are so many different fields that offer postgraduate study options, it can be difficult to calculate precisely how competitive PhD admissions are overall. However, if you look at the admissions information for specific schools and programs, you will find that even though their admissions rates may not be as low as law school acceptance rates , for example, they suggest that there is quite a bit of competition to get into doctorate programs. This is especially the case for top institutions, such as Ivy League Schools .

Getting into PhD programs requires careful planning, time, and effort. Schools generally want to admit students who are likely to thrive academically and socially in their programs. This is why schools often have a list of requirements that they need you to meet before you can be considered for admission. For example, if you are hoping to get into medical school, you would have to meet the  medical school GPA requirements  and other thresholds that your chosen school may set.

PhD school programs are no different. In fact, because PhD programs are so selective, they usually have very challenging minimum requirements that applicants have to meet. Keeping in mind that meeting the minimum requirement is not enough to guarantee a spot in the program. You need to be a competitive candidate if you want to get in.

PhD admission consultants are trained admission professionals who help students navigate the process of applying to and interviewing for PhD programs. Their services are comparable to those offered by  graduate school advisors.  Depending on when you contact them and what you reach out to them for, PhD admission consultants can provide a variety of different services. From application review, where they look at your already completed application packet and provide feedback about different components, to essay consulting where they help you write a more compelling admission essay, or even interview coaching. PhD admission consultants can offer all of the above and more, but ultimately, their aim is to help you maximize your chances of getting accepted to a PhD program.

Most PhD applicants don't just decide to get a doctorate degree on a whim. One of the many reasons for this is the admission requirements of PhD programs. For example, if you've decided to pursue a PhD, and you want to  apply to Canadian universities , then you'll need to have a master's degree. You will also need to secure letters of recommendation from the right sources and get relevant research experience.

Furthermore, you may need to prepare differently depending on whether you are pursuing a PhD with the intention of remaining in academia or if you want to conduct your research and work in a different field altogether. Applicants who intend on staying in academia need to focus on getting published to build their profile, while the other applicants can simply focus on their areas of interest.

In other words, planning for doctorate programs is not a straightforward process. Students aren't always sure which research or work experiences are best for the PhD programs they want to get into or who they should get a  graduate school letter of recommendation  from. That's where PhD admission consultants come in.

While some can argue that applicants can now find a lot of information online, you need to remember that while the information online can be beneficial to you, it is not specific to your situation. For example, as I write this blog, I do not know your academic background. I can advise you on the general admission requirements for a PhD program, but if you want to know if your GRE score makes you a competitive applicant, the general information I provide will not be helpful to you. On the other hand, one of our PhD admission consultants could look at your entire application and provide a more personal service. Their feedback and advice would be based on what they have seen in your application.

In addition to providing information about your application, if you contact them early enough, they can actually help you plan for this process and set you up for success. For example, let's say that you are hoping to pursue an  MD-PhD program  in the future, PhD admission consultants can help you figure out which  clinical research experiences for premedical students  would look best on your CV.

The process of applying to PhD programs can become overwhelming if you're going through it alone. Sometimes students assume that if they could figure out  how to get into grad school , they can easily do the same with Doctorate programs. This may be true for a few students, but not for most. Keep in mind that PhD programs as much smaller and, therefore, even more selective than graduate school programs. This means that in addition to the fact that the process is different from an application to a master's program, you are also dealing with more competition.

Additionally, PhD admissions require several different written components that can be hard to get right when you do not have the right information. For example, many applicants struggle with preparing their admission essays such as  statements of intent  or  research interest statements.

PhD admission consultants can help you prepare these application components. Please understand that this does not mean that they will write the essays for you; that would be rather unethical. Instead, they give you the tools and strategies that you need to write compelling statements. This way, not only will you be preparing your application documents with the guidance of an expert who can help you edit and polish your essay, but you will also be developing and improving your research and writing skills.


The interview is one of the most important steps in the PhD admissions process. This is your chance to speak with the admissions committee directly, show them your communication and interpersonal skills, and convince them that you are the ideal candidate for their program.

Preparing for interviews is essential, but not all candidates see it that way. It can be easy to dismiss the need for preparation when you have already gone though several academic and professional interviews, but you should keep in mind that each interview is different. PhD interviews will include questions about recent topics in your field, expectations for post-graduate work, and so many other topics that you likely haven’t discussed in previous interviews. It’s important that you have a plan or a framework for how to tackle these questions.

Furthermore, many applicants may have a strong academic record, but unbeknown to them, their interview skills may be lacking. PhD admission consultants can work with them to learn better answering strategies, interview etiquette, how to sound more confident, and so much more. Good PhD admission consultants will also give you a chance to participate in mock interviews which give you a chance to familiarize yourself with the setting of your interview and practice your answers in a way that will be more impactful.

Lastly, but certainly not least, working a PhD admission consultant will teach you lifelong skills. In order to help you, a consultant will give you tips and strategies for answering questions that are specific to your specialization, but they will also teach you how to structure your answers, and approach general questions like " tell me about yourself " or " what is your greatest limitation? ". These are very popular questions that tend to come up in different interview formats, and having the right tools to answer them can help you succeed long after submitting your PhD application.

It is no secret that doctorate programs can be expensive. Students are often looking for ways to supplement their income or get funding that will alleviate some of their financial burdens. PhD admission consultants can help with this. They can help applicants research, find and apply for different scholarship opportunities. Most of the time, admission consultants have gone through the process of looking for funding opportunities in the past, either for themselves, their students, or both. This means that they know where to look for various types of opportunities, and they can help you highlight your strengths in a way that will make it more likely for you to land those scholarships or financial aid opportunities.

Curious about the similarities and differences between Masters and PhD? Check this out:

The process of preparing for and applying to doctorate programs can be lengthy, complicated, and overwhelming. Not only does it require a lot of careful planning, but it also involves a lot of application components that are easy to mess up when you do not have the right information and strategies. That's where PhD admission consultants come in. They know this process inside and out, having been through it themselves and having helped multiple other students get into their chosen programs. Working with a PhD admission consultant is your best bet if you want to maximize your chances of success. The consultants can guide you through the planning stage; they can help you strengthen your application to ensure you are a competitive candidate, help you prepare for PhD admission interviews, and secure financial aid opportunities. Ultimately, they help you put your best foot forward and significantly increase the chances of you getting into your chosen program.

PhD programs are very selective, and the competition to get in can be fierce. That said, some programs are more competitive than others, so the level of competition you will have to face depends on your field of study and the program and school to which you are applying.

Not necessarily, but that depends on your location and field of study. For example, you don't necessarily need a master's degree to get into a PhD program in the US, whereas you need one in Canada.

Yes, you certainly can. Many students are able to get into their programs of choice without the guidance of an admission consultant, but there are also many students who face rejection because of simple mistakes that a consultant could have helped them avoid. At the end of the day, no two students are the same, so it is really up to you to decide whether you want that extra support or not.

The typical timeframe to complete a PhD in the United States and Canada is five to six years. However, it takes longer than that for many students, so it depends on each student and their chosen program.

You will need a competitive score on a graduate admissions test such as the GMAT or GRE, an admission essay, a research proposal, letters of recommendation, and a writing sample.

You can improve your application by securing recommendation letters, getting relevant experience, and giving yourself ample time to prepare your written application components.

Getting into a doctorate program with a low GRE score is possible, but you will need the rest of your application to be impressive enough to make up for a low test score.  This means writing an impressive admission essay and acing the interview.

It is not impossible, but this question is hard to answer without more information for context. If you are in the United States and you’re applying straight to a doctorate program from undergrad, it may be challenging to get admission with a low GPA. While if you also have a graduate school degree with a high GPA, then that would significantly boost your chances.

PhD admission consultants are admission experts who help applicants navigate the long and complex process of applying to doctorate programs.

They help applicants by assisting them in preparing the various application components required for PhD applications and preparing for PhD admission interviews.

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Rupali Deshpande

I am a working professional with 17 years of experience in tech industry, i am exploring possibilities to pursue PhD. Would like to have a discussion on this topic

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Grad School Road Map


Grad school road map is here to help you navigate the graduate school research and application, from a to z. dr. don martin and his team collectively have over 50 years of working with thousands of master’s and doctoral applicants from every continent around the world. for more information about us, please see below.,   click here to schedule your free 30-minute consultation. we hope to hear from you..

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Dr. Don Martin, Founder and CEO

  • Has coached over 470 graduate school applicants in arts and sciences, business, law, medicine (master’s and doctoral), with a 97% acceptance rate
  • For over 28 years, served as Admissions Dean and/or Dean of Students at Columbia University (Teachers College), The University of Chicago (Booth School of Business), Northwestern University (Medill School of Journalism), and Wheaton College (IL)
  • Wrote and published Road Map for Graduate Study: A Guide for Prospective Graduate Students in 2008; second edition released in 2018; wrote and published an international Supplement for Road Map in 2009
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Dr. Yi Wang, Admission Consultant

  • Former tenured professor in Public Health at Indiana University
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For more on Dr. Wang’s professional background, see his   LinkedIn Profile


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" dr. rothman was very helpful in my application process for a masters program and i appreciate it greatly. he was able to walk me through all the steps in a patient and easy to understand way. i needed the most help with my statement of purpose and research abstract and i definitely felt like i could not have written them without dr. rothman's help. even though organic chemistry was not his area of expertise, he was still able to understand my writing and help me improve the written portions. i also really appreciated the prewriting questionnaire he sent, as it was a great way for me to organize my thoughts and essay. some other parts that he helped with were deciding on programs and asking for recommendation letters. overall, i dr. rothman provided an invaluable amount of help and resources in this process and i would not have gotten to where i am without him. ", graduate school admit, " karin was a ray of sunshine in an otherwise anxiety-inducing journey that is graduate admissions. as a non-stem major applying for a stem graduate program, i knew i had to get all aspects of my application just right. karin helped me to do that by carefully going over my application materials, suggesting edits and strategies, and generally answering any questions i had. thanks to her help, i got into top mscs programs, including columbia and uchicago. i am incredibly happy with my result, and it wouldn't have been possible without karin's help. ".

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I can go on and on about the great and precise service i received from jamie, but the truth is simple; she knows her stuff and her background serves her excellently. most importantly, it seems that she really likes and enjoys what she does – this made it a wonderful experience working with her as it not only means that my resume and essays turned out much stronger but it feels like i’ve made a new friend., i would recommend jamie any day of the week".

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Our one governing principle for graduate applicants? That’s easy. You must know what you wish to study. We are not a life coach!


Ivy Coach offers a free 20-minute consultation to prospective graduate students via phone (or Zoom audio for international students) to learn about our grad school counseling services.

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Brainstorm A Compelling Narrative

How you position your story to graduate admissions committees is critical in the admissions process. We’ll help you zero in on what story you should be telling, based on your experiences to date, and what story you should not be telling.

Offer Recommendations on Testing and Courses

We’ll let you know which tests you should take (or take again) to optimize your case for admission to highly selective graduate programs. If you’re still in college, we’ll offer feedback on your course selection to better position you for admission to top graduate programs in your field of choice.

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You’ll find out which programs you should have in your sights and which programs you should rule out based on your CV, college transcript, testing, and more.


Through the Deliverables option, each graduate applicant receives a personalized package depending on the student’s individual needs. We assist with graduate school applications and the many essays that often go along with these applications. You may need help with one essay, or you may need help with multiple complete applications. Our package will depend on your needs. Some common areas we assist with include:

Statement Of Purpose

We’ll help you craft a narrative that will wow graduate admissions committees.

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The Top 20 MBA Admission Consultants Of 2021

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Top 10 MBA admission consultants of 2021

Top 10 MBA admission consultants of 2021

When it comes to customer satisfaction, it’s hard to beat Susan Cera, one of the MBA admission consultants at Stratus Admissions Counseling.

After spending nearly a decade on the admissions committee at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, she joined Stratus Admissions Counseling in 2015 and has never looked back. Over the past half dozen years, she has helped her clients overcome the odds to gain acceptance at Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Haas, Kellogg, Booth, and MIT, among many other leading business schools. And judging by her glowing reviews, they are falling over themselves with praise for her efforts.

Just read snippets from Cera’s most recent MBA admits to the Class of 2023:

Susan Cera Helped Me Get Into M7!!

Could Not Have Done It Without Her

She Helped Me Get Into My Top Choices (Wharton and Sloan)

Amazing Experience With Sr Counselor Susan!!!


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Susan Cera of Stratus Admissions Counseling had the most perfect client satisfaction scores last year

More than collecting raves, however, Cera did something that no other Top 20 admissions consultant achieved in the past year: She racked up a perfect 10.0 score on client satisfaction. While there were other perfect scorers, no one was able to accomplish a 10.0 with as many client reviews. Some 15 clients in the past 12 months could not have been more grateful to her for their outcomes.

Cera, a Fuqua MBA herself, sits atop our fifth annual ranking of the most favorably reviewed MBA admission consultants in the world. Right on Cera’s heels in second place is Fortuna Admissions’ Karen Hamou, with a nearly perfect score of 9.97 over twice as many reviews, while Candy Lee LaBalle in Spain, notched third with a 9.95 based on her 22 reviews. Rounding out the this year’s top five are Menlo Coaching co-founder Alice Van Harten, Gatehouse Admissions founder Liza Weale, and Rebecca Heath Anderson, also from Menlo Coaching.

We’ve singled out the best of the best on the basis of reviews they have received in the past year ending June 1. In the past, we ranked the consultants by the number of positive reviews they garnered. For our 2021 list, for the first time, we are listing them based on their client satisfaction scores. The number of positive reviews still count because every MBA admissions coach in the Top 20 had to have a minimum of 13 assessments to qualify for the list. But each person’s place on the ranking is determined by their overall rating given by the clients who reviewed them on Poets&Quants .


Kellogg MBA Rajdeep Chimni, founder of Admissions Gateway in India, is this year's top-ranked MBA admissions consultant for the second consecutive year

Kellogg MBA Rajdeep Chimni, founder of Admissions Gateway in India, racked up the most positive reviews of any MBA admissions coach in the world for the third consecutive year

If we calculated our ranking as we had in the past, India’s top MBA admissions coach, Rajdeep Chimni, would have won top honors for the third consecutive year. Over the last 12 months, Chimni had more positive reviews than any other MBA coach in the world: 35 in all, scoring an impressive 9.86 in client satisfaction. No less impressive, he has more reviews than anyone: 206 in all in the Poets&Quants ‘ directory , the most extensive accounting of MBA admission counselors in the world.

Either way, it’s not easy to make the cut. All told, there are now a record 536 consultants in our directory from 111 firms . And there are more than 4,500 reviews from clients. So making the Top 20 means that every coach on the list is among the top 3.7% in the world. These are the professionals who are most likely to shift the odds in a candidate’s favor. That’s especially true when a consultant accepts a client who isn’t a no-brainer for a highly selective MBA program.

In fact, one recent admit to both Columbia Business School and the Yale School of Management noted that he had reached out to several admissions consultants who, he felt, were not all that keen on his chances before choosing Cera. “Susan was the only one who saw potential in my profile, connected with me at a human level and gave me hope, whilst everyone else just gave me their opinions and were marketing to me,” wrote the Class of 2023 admit. “Susan was there for me every step of the way, pushed me to get the best out of me, gave me tough love when needed, motivated me and cheered for my success at every turn! Susan did not accept anything less than extraordinary from me on any essay, resume or application requirement. Her attention to detail is mind-blowing. I thank my lucky stars every day that I met Susan.”


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Candy Lee LaBalle is the highest rated and least expensive MBA admissions coach based on her hourly rate of $250

Cera, of course, was hardly the only MBA admissions consultant who won effusive praise for her work. A non-traditional applicant who won admission to Columbia Business School’s Class of 2023 found Fortuna Admissions’ Karen Hamou to be his ideal coach. “Talking with her felt like speaking with a person who lived, breathed, and dreamed about the application process and understood what the adcom would be looking for in a student,” he wrote. “During the consultant evaluation process, there were others who would not work with me because they didn’t think I could pull off admittance to a top program due to my limited quant background and an OK quant score. Karen never wavered in her belief in my ability to gain admission into an M-7 program during perhaps the most competitive cycle in history.”

Yet another MBA candidate with a below-average GMAT score found success with Candy Lee LaBalle in Madrid, Spain. “Having a GMAT score lower than anticipated and with limited time to improve, my focus on having the perfect application quickly became my number one priority,” explained the MBA applicant. “Candy has the unique ability of taking a dull application and polishing it to really make it stand out from the crowd by providing purpose, color, and a clear structure. She has been super helpful and responsive and has always been available for me, no matter the day or the time! After several months of hard work, I was offered a seat in a top MBA program in the U.S. If it hadn’t been for Candy, I would have never made it in.”

A successful admit to Stanford Graduate School of Business, the world’s most selective MBA program with the lowest admit rate, heaps plenty of credit on Alice Van Harten of Menlo Coaching. “I felt paralyzed when we started the essay writing process,” confides the Class of 2023 candidate. “I had no idea where to begin and was terrified of putting pen to paper. Alice was incredibly supportive and called me every week to coach me through the process. She responded to my questions within the hour (even though she was in a different time zone). She was as invested in the success of this essay as I was, and she was never interested in throwing in the towel and settling for an essay that wasn’t groundbreaking. I could not have gotten into Stanford GSB without her.”


MBA applicants who hire coaches at the top end can expect to pay a pretty penny for their advice. The median hourly fee for a Top 20 coach is now $400 for 60 minutes. Five coaches–Liza Weale, Devi Vallabhaneni, Katharine Lewis. Debbie Choy and Lulu Curiel–all charge more than New York City lawyers at $500 an hour. Some consultants don’t even post hourly rates, preferring to sell a three-school package of advice that starts at a price of $3,000 in India. Among the top 20 advisers, the least expensive is Candy Lee LaBalle whose hourly rate is $250.

As high as these rates are, there are other admission consultants who charge even more. Jeremy Shinewald, founder of mbaMission, only works with no more than five clients a year and charges $17,500 for a three-school package. Shinewald, however, also notes that he does a fair amount of pro bono consulting work for a few truly exceptional MBA applicants who can’t afford to pay traditional coach fees. The firm with the highest rates is undoubtedly Menlo Coaching where a three-school package of advice costs $16,000 no matter which consultant is primarily assigned the client. “We have the same rates across all consultants,” maintains David White, a founding partner of Menlo Coaching. “There is no different pricing for me or for Alice. Clients who work with our other coaches often see a bit of me or Alice during the process, anyway.”

Though her hourly rate is $500, Angela Guido, a highly rated admissions and career coach who is the founder of Career Protocol, posts a rate of $16,000 for what she calls a “three-plus-three” school package. “We do three schools 100% hands on and then help our clients outline and storyboard essays for three more schools so they can complete them on their own, enabling them to apply to safer schools without needing to make painful tradeoffs against their top choices,” explains Guido. “I personally take a total of 10 clients a year (five per round), and I spend most of my time training and mentoring my team, guiding our clients through group coaching that we do in addition to our 1:1 coaching so all Career Protocol clients interact with me during the process.”


Notes: Average client satisfaction score is based on the 1,164 verified client reviews published from June 1 of 2020 to June 1 of 2021. * The majority of Kim Leb’s reviews are from her days as a senior consultant at mbaMission instead of her current job at Vantage Point.

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SPH Convocation Season 2024

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Grads Take the Stage as ‘Architects of a Brighter, Healthier Future’

‘i learn from them as much as they learn from me’ ..

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‘I Learn From Them as Much as They Learn From Me’

Veronika Wirtz, professor of global health, earned a Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching for her dedication to engaging students and integrating her research and advising work into the classroom.

Michael saunders.

Veronika Wirtz, professor of global health, joins a select group of her School of Public Health peers as the winner of a prestigious Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching, one of the University’s highest honors for faculty.

Of her approach to teaching, Wirtz said, “It’s not that you just augment their knowledge, you want them to change, you want to inspire them to become better,” an expansive perspective that reveals why one student called her “the best instructor I’ve had in my college career.”

Each semester, Wirtz requires her new students to complete a mandatory pre-course survey that asks what each student wants out of their public health education. She asks about career goals, their academic intentions, their expectations for the course, their optimal learning style, and what techniques have worked in the past. She says she does this even before she meets them in person, because she wants to know much more about them than just their names.

“I think you can only teach if you genuinely engage, if you build a generous connection with students,” Wirtz said. “I really treat them as my future colleagues, so I engage with them as my eventual peers because I want to create future public health professionals and leaders.”

Wirtz tries to foster that depth of engagement by bringing her students into her world to demonstrate that making a connection is, indeed, a two-way street. “You can’t really hide your true self as a teacher,” Wirtz said. “I want them to feel I’m interested in them as a person and as a professional, and when they leave the course, they hopefully have learned something on both levels, personally and professionally.”

In her own public health career, Wirtz has forged a path incorporating several different roles on multiple continents, centered on strengthening health systems and evaluating policy and programs to promote equitable, affordable and quality-assured access to medicines, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

She was initially trained as a pharmacist at Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany, then earned her master’s in clinical pharmacy and a PhD in pharmaceutical policy, both from the University of London. She spent nearly a decade before SPH as a researcher and lecturer at the National Institute of Public Health (INSP) in Mexico, where she helped launch a research group carrying out pharmaceutical policy analyses throughout Latin America.

Wirtz is currently director of SPH’s World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Pharmaceutical Policy, one of more than 800 institutions in 80 countries recruited to assist WHO in strengthening research and training that support national health development. Additionally, she has worked as a technical adviser for various international organizations, including the Pan American Health Organization; the World Bank; Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Alliance for Health Systems and Policy Research; Health Action International; and the Ford Foundation. 

“I see myself as an educator, for sure, but that’s not the only hat I wear. I see myself as someone who is a researcher, who is an expert and a consultant,” Wirtz said. “I try to bring my advising, my consulting and my research into my classroom, and I think that makes it really engaging when [students] hear the real-world scenarios, and what they need to deal with. It makes it relevant for them, so I never said goodbye to research and advising.”

She views each of these components of her career as integral parts of a three-legged stool, with each acting as an essential support for the others. The integration of all three aspects into her classroom management was far from planned; Wirtz says the blending of modes and methods grew organically over time. After several years of teaching, she says it became clear that, “I had to bring to the classroom what I saw in my consulting and research. You don’t leave the other part of your personality at the door of your classroom.”

Ultimately, those classroom interactions have been beneficial across all facets of her career, Wirtz explained. “When I now speak to experts and policymakers, I think I can better speak to them because I explain things to younger professionals in my classes. I have that privilege and I really think that that makes me a stronger advisor, stronger teacher, and a stronger researcher.”

Next fall, she is slated to teach a section of Foundations in Global Health , one of the department’s introductory classes, then will likely switch gears in the spring to teach a more advanced class on global health policy issues . Depending on the semester, she also teaches a course on supply chain management focused on pharmaceutical manufacturing, procurement, and distribution. “Every semester is new because you have new students, and you create, once again, a unique learning community,” Wirtz said. “I’m always looking forward to engaging with new students and learning from them because I learn from them as much as they learn from me.”

Over the past two years, SPH has hired its largest cohort of new faculty, most of whom will have teaching responsibilities. Her best advice to those new colleagues: find good mentors.

“I think it’s so important to have people around you who take teaching seriously, especially when you will hear so many voices that say other things matter more,” Wirtz said. “Teaching can be so fulfilling and having mentors who help you thrive as an educator is as important as it is in research. You need to build your skills with somebody who knows what they’re talking about.”

For Wirtz, her mentors were previous colleagues who were generous with their time and advice, occasionally sitting in on classes to offer feedback and tips or sharing a meal to discuss strategies for an upcoming semester. Nearly all were award-winning teachers themselves, including James Wolff , an associate professor of global health who won a Metcalf Award in 2018; and Taryn Vian, a former associate professor of global health who won SPH’s Norman Scotch Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2011.

Wirtz is in esteemed company: Lisa Sullivan , associate dean of education, was a 2001 awardee; Wayne LaMorte, a professor of epidemiology, won in 2011; Sophie Godley , clinical associate professor of community health sciences and director of undergraduate education at the School, is a 2017 winner. Christopher Gill, a former professor of global health, won the University’s top teaching accolade, the Metcalf Cup and Prize, in 2016.

The Metcalf Cup and Prize and Metcalf Awards were established in 1973 to create “a systematic procedure for the review of the quality of teaching at Boston University and the identification and advancement of those members of the faculty who excel as teachers.” When asked what the University might do to further advance the mission of teaching, Wirtz paused, gathered her thoughts, and suggested a possible expansion of mentoring programs such as the Emerging Women Leaders (EWL) program she co-founded at SPH.

EWL has evolved into a force for good at the School, Wirtz said, and is a supportive community that connects doctoral students with public health mentors who offer useful, actionable advice on a variety of career topics.

While EWL began as a discrete program within the School of Public Health, Wirtz says nothing precludes it from broadening the membership and offerings on the Medical Campus or expanding in some form to the Charles River Campus. There are existing connections to other mentoring initiatives in the BU community that Wirtz would be happy to explore further.

“These types of programs can only be strong if they’re maintained over a long period of time, if they’re really ingrained in the DNA of an institution,” Wirtz said. “I wish that the BUSPH support continues for many years to ensure that future cohorts of students can benefit from this important mentoring program.” 

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What Premed Students Should Know About Emerging Fields of Medical Research

Aspiring physician-scientists should bone up on areas such as gene editing, nanotechnology and regenerative medicine.

Premeds and Emerging Medical Research

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If you find a field that interests you, don't hesitate to join a like-minded laboratory while training.

Premedical students aspiring to become physician-scientists will be tasked with navigating emerging fields in research and translating exciting discoveries into the clinical realm. Understanding the latest trends and breakthroughs in biomedical science is paramount for those hoping to bridge the gap between such cutting-edge research and clinical practice – a career goal for many aspiring physician-scientists.

What are these emerging fields, what should aspiring physician-scientists – including those applying to combined M.D.-Ph.D. programs – know about getting involved in these fields, and are there any pitfalls? 

This is an extraordinarily exciting time in scientific research, with recent breakthroughs in diverse fields such as gene editing, immunotherapies, nanotechnology, precision medicine, machine learning and regenerative medicine. Highlights run the gamut of the biomedical spectrum, including evolutionary genomics, novel neurotechnology, advances in cardiovascular imaging, cell-based therapies and therapeutic manipulation of the microbiome, to name a few.

Aspiring physician-scientists will undoubtedly be tempted to ride this wave of exciting discoveries and join laboratories moving the needle in these fields, many of which are still in their infancy. 

Premed students should be aware of these emerging fields, as these advances are expected to contribute increasingly to health care throughout the coming decades and will undoubtedly remain important for the duration of a lengthy career in medicine .

These fields are likely to hold long-term career opportunities for students interested in biomedical research. They also represent opportunities to contribute to innovation, be involved in groundbreaking discoveries and help shape the future of science and medicine.

Many emerging fields are exciting in part due to new or newly appreciated applications to clinical practice, with direct implications for patient care . By understanding these emerging fields, premed students will remain informed and up to date regarding novel treatment paradigms, new diagnostic tools and different preventive strategies that could benefit their future patients. 

Students’ research interests often evolve during undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate education. Many fascinating fields of biomedical science are neither new nor well known, and they deserve serious consideration. You will have multiple opportunities to change fields should your interests diverge at any point, so you should not feel locked in to the discipline of your first research experience.

However, if you do have a genuine intellectual interest in a popular scientific field at an early phase of training, don’t hesitate to join such a like-minded laboratory. 

Finding a Laboratory in Emerging Research Fields

If you are a premed student interested in an exciting field like cancer immunotherapy, genomics, AI-enabled precision medicine , etc., you may struggle to understand which laboratories would be appropriate and rewarding to join and a good fit for your career goals.

To start, assess the research landscape at your home institution through departmental web pages and note which faculty in your field of interest are involved in active research projects. Get in touch with a few faculty members and discuss the possibility of joining their laboratory.

As you learn about their research projects, you can also ask if they know of other labs in the same field that may also be of interest. Often, research faculty themselves are the best resource for understanding the current research landscape of the university, as departmental web pages and related resources can be out of date. 

Departmental administrators or undergraduate research coordinators may also be quite helpful in finding a lab in a specific area that would be a good fit for an undergraduate student. If you read a lay press article – especially from a local publication – about an area of exciting, “hot” science, pay attention to which studies and researchers they reference or quote. These investigators are often leading voices in the field. 

Use PubMed to find the latest work in a field or by a specific investigator. Explore the "trending articles" section to see which articles have had recent activity – a sign of a field gaining broad interest. If you find investigators doing work that is particularly interesting to you, use the "saved searches" function to get updates about their work directly in your email inbox. 

Appreciate that emerging fields are often a result of novel collaboration across disparate disciplines such as distinct subfields in biology and medicine, biomedical engineering or computer science .

Application of a known technology to a new field can also yield exciting advancements. A recent example is cryo-EM-mediated determination of complex structures, such as ligand-bound receptors, which could not previously be accurately determined.

Look for labs that are working in an interdisciplinary manner to tackle an important question in medicine or biology, and you are likely to find stimulating research in an important emerging field. 

Pitfalls to Avoid

Avoid presuming that only well-known fields with significant popularity and press attention are the only interesting domains of scientific research. The biggest discoveries often come from unpredictable places, and their genesis can be traced to less well-known fields.

Recent high-profile examples include prokaryotic genomics that spawned CRISPR/Cas9-based gene editing, and nucleoside modifications that advanced mRNA vaccines. This is characteristic of biomedical research and should lead you to explore various fields and meet with a variety of investigators to find the field, research and lab that most interest you. 

A few exceedingly popular fields – such as microbiome research, cancer immunotherapy , etc. – run the risk of becoming oversaturated, with many excellent investigators trying to solve similar problems. These fields can thus become quite competitive, with several associated challenges.

If you do join a competitive field, look for opportunities to do novel work that can separate your project from the rest of the crowd. A good strategy when selecting a laboratory is to assess which researchers are pushing the boundaries in these fields and are looking to incorporate interdisciplinary approaches, as they are more likely to be working in their own lane, away from other investigators. Use the same approach when selecting a project within your lab.

Medical School Application Mistakes

A diverse group of female medical students listen attentively while seated for a lecture.

Tags: medical school , research , graduate schools , education , students

About Medical School Admissions Doctor

Need a guide through the murky medical school admissions process? Medical School Admissions Doctor offers a roundup of expert and student voices in the field to guide prospective students in their pursuit of a medical education. The blog is currently authored by Dr. Ali Loftizadeh, Dr. Azadeh Salek and Zach Grimmett at Admissions Helpers , a provider of medical school application services; Dr. Renee Marinelli at MedSchoolCoach , a premed and med school admissions consultancy; Dr. Rachel Rizal, co-founder and CEO of the Cracking Med School Admissions consultancy; Dr. Cassie Kosarec at Varsity Tutors , an advertiser with U.S. News & World Report; Dr. Kathleen Franco, a med school emeritus professor and psychiatrist; and Liana Meffert, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Iowa's Carver College of Medicine and a writer for Admissions Helpers. Got a question? Email [email protected] .

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Delhi University Phd Admission

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    I ended up finding a husband/wife team of private medical school consultants that were recommended by several people on SDN. Husband went to medical school for a while but now does full-time admissions consulting. The wife is an MD/PhD who just loves being a mentor. The difference was mind-blowing.

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    I read that admissions consultants can be incredibly beneficial but their quoted costs are reaching $10,000 for just reading a statement of purpose. Is this normal? Currently, i'm living in Kuwait and I don't have a lot of access to people who are well-acquainted with the PhD admissions process.

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    DrGar. • 9 yr. ago. r/gradadmissions might have more for you. Generally, I would say you should ask one of your research mentors for advice. It would probably be better than a "consulting service", and has the added benefit of being free*. I don't have experience with the MBA world though, so my advice is perhaps only good for PhD types.

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    Nontrad low income/first gen MDPhD student here. I am happy to give simple advice through reddit, but I also do in depth application counseling at a reasonable rate if thats what you are looking for. Nontrad isnt bad for mdphd programs, but there are certain milestones you need to hit. What does being a research nurse entail?

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    Hello, glad to have a sub Reddit to ask relevant questions. I was hoping anyone knows a good admission consultant to get into a PhD programme that would help my profile and career. I completed a conversion course in 2022 and have been working in mental health support ever since and part time during my conversion master's in the UK.

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    This lab also has a great track record of publishing undergrads, and sending undergrads off to high-ranking phd programs. My concerns with transferring are that my chances of getting published, participating in REUs, and being a strong grad school candidate overall will be hindered by the shorter timespan I'd have at my new institution.

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    Chances for a PhD admission. Dear all, I've seeking advice for the possibility of getting a PhD position. I've been shortlisted as a candidate for the Norwegian university of Bergen with 9 other people for a fellowship of a position in math outside the 83 applicants. I had to wait after my graduation for 3 years as I was affected by a severe ...

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    PhD admission consultants are trained admission professionals who help students navigate the process of applying to and interviewing for PhD programs. Their services are comparable to those offered by graduate school advisors. Depending on when you contact them and what you reach out to them for, PhD admission consultants can provide a variety ...

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    Among the top 20 advisers, the least expensive is Candy Lee LaBalle whose hourly rate is $250. As high as these rates are, there are other admission consultants who charge even more. Jeremy Shinewald, founder of mbaMission, only works with no more than five clients a year and charges $17,500 for a three-school package.

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    Wirtz tries to foster that depth of engagement by bringing her students into her world to demonstrate that making a connection is, indeed, a two-way street. "You can't really hide your true self as a teacher," Wirtz said. "I want them to feel I'm interested in them as a person and as a professional, and when they leave the course ...

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