Make a list of the qualities that you would want in an ideal medical school advisor:
1. Someone intimately familiar with your academic background and educational pedigree.
2. Someone with a strong grasp of the residency applicant pool against whom you’re competing and a knowledge of the qualifications needed for a successful match.
3. Someone who is familiar with the logistics of the Match process.
4. Someone capable of giving critical feedback (even/especially when it’s not what you want to hear).
5. Someone who has the time and attention to focus on you.
6. Someone who offers discretion when discussing failures or shortcomings in your candidacy.
Only a small fraction of medical students have a dream advisor. The majority of will need to identify an outside mentor who can offer what their medical school cannot.
Whether you pay for a professional consultant or pursue the counsel of a trusted acquaintance, seek excellence in the mentor whose services you retain: Hold out for someone experienced, accountable and available. This individual should advocate for you and should provide the sometimes-brutal honesty to enable you to get your foot in the door with a compelling application and then dazzle your dream program once you interview.
Although friends may not be willing to make you uncomfortable in a mock interview scenario, faculty may have no qualms about doing so during your actual interview. During a residency mock interview, the proper guide can show you how to strategically navigate treacherous interview topics and how to answer open-ended questions so that you distinguish yourself from the masses.
I encourage you to make a list of those people who might help you with your candidacy for a competitive residency. If personal contacts fall short, considering hiring a professional. Ask around, check with fellow students, and look for a service where you know what and whom you are paying for.