Planning Ahead for Medical School

On this week’s episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, host Elizabeth Heaton explores the idea of a “distinguishing excellence” in highly selective college admission (especially relevant for ninth and tenth graders), and then, targeting high school seniors and their parents, spends two full segments discussing the intricacies of this summer’s transition from high school to college.

Beth’s first guest, former MIT admission officer Zaragoza Guerra, introduces the idea of a distinguishing excellence, or a DE—a necessary piece of a successful application to a highly selective college. Zaragoza and Beth begin by defining what a DE is and how it might develop over time. They also discuss at length why it matters, and how to start developing a DE early in your high school career, offering some useful examples along the way. If your goal is to be admitted to an Ivy League university or college of similar selectivity, you won’t want to miss this episode, or next week’s, when we will talk through how to present a DE on a college application.

For the last two segments of the show, Beth welcomes college admission expert Tova Tolman and college finance expert Jan Combs to offer advice about the various aspects of transitioning from high school to college. They cover a wide array of topics, including:

  • How to submit the final high school transcript and Advanced Placement scores to the college;
  • How and when the first bill will arrive and get paid (always a favorite!);
  • How to register for courses;
  • How to submit health forms forms and health insurance requirements, and what legal documents might be required for you to have access to your student’s medical file in an emergency;
  • What is covered during orientation, and the importance of attending if it is offered during the summer;
  • Some tips on setting your student up for financial success in their college years;
  • The importance of self-advocacy when academic support is needed, and the myriad of support systems available in most colleges; and
  • Some tips to make Move-In Day go smoothly.

We hope these discussions will help make your transition to college as worry-free as possible—be sure to tune in to get the scoop about each topic.

And don’t forget to tune in next week as well, when guest host Sally Ganga, in addition to covering how to present a DE on a college application, will also discuss how to get started on an activities list and how to find a campus job.


Written by College Coach
College Coach® is the nation’s leading provider of educational advising, offering expert guidance from the best college admissions consultants on the college admissions and finance process. Our goal is to help each student maximize his or her chances of success through services focused on their personal desires, goals, individual strengths, and accomplishments.