This interview is the latest in an Accepted blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Allie of LoveForMedicine…
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what are you studying as an undergrad? When do you graduate?
Allie: Hi! I am from the Washington, D.C area. I attended Frostburg State University in Maryland and graduated in 2011 with a Major in Psychology and Dual Minors in French and Health Promotion. During junior year of college, I realized I wanted to pursue the premed track, but decided to graduate and pursue a career-changer postbac program after graduation. I recently finished my postbac career-changer program, which I did on a part-time basis at the University of Maryland, College Park. During my time as a postbac student, I worked full-time in various positions in the medical/health field.
Accepted: If you could meet any famous person – past or present – who would it be and why?
Allie: Kanye West! I’m not a huge fan of any celebrities but I would be pretty excited to meet him. Though he is controversial and seemingly impulsive, I admire that he believes in himself so fiercely. I think if we all emulated that quality, it definitely would not hurt!
Accepted: What’s your favorite non-school book?
Allie: My favorite non-medical book would be Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I love autobiographies and love reading about how people have overcome struggles in their life. I think these types of stories are very inspirational and find that they help put difficult moments into perspective.
Accepted: What stage of the med school application process are you up to now?
Allie: By now, I have taken all the prerequisite pre-medical courses and recently took the MCAT.
Accepted: When and where do you plan on applying to med school?
Allie: I plan on applying to medical schools next year for entrance in Fall 2018 and would preferably like to stay on the Northeast Coast. However, I am open to attending medical school anywhere outside of this region! 🙂
Accepted: What motivated you to pursue a career in medicine?
Allie: I was motivated to pursue medicine at many different points of my life for different reasons at every stage. However, I would say seeing the impact my physician had on my family initiated the decision. Eventually, learning about how all of the social determinants of health shape our overall health started my curiosity about how better care could be delivered as a medical provider. Having an interest and curiosity in the sciences was just a nice coincidence!
Accepted: Can you tell us about your experience taking the MCAT? Were there any surprises? What were your most and least favorite parts of the exam?
Allie: As far as my MCAT experience, I had a hard time simplifying what resources I wanted to use. I definitely recommend trying to simplify to using only a couple of resources as your main ones. There were really no surprises on the MCAT since I followed the AAMC topic outline. My least favorite part was the Chemical and Physical Foundations section, since it tends to be my weakest section. As far as favorites go, I was pleasantly surprised that the reading material for the CARS and Psychology section on the test was pretty fun to read. That definitely helped take a bit off the nervousness away during the exam.
Accepted: What are your top three MCAT tips?
Allie: My top 3 tips would be:
1. Take higher level science/biology courses if possible! I felt that just by having a lot of exposure to more advanced material and taking classes like physiology where I had to analyze to arrive at an answer on a test really helped me become a better critical thinker overall!! I have zero doubt this skill helped me a lot during moments where I wasn’t sure what the answer was on the test!
2. I would recommend purchasing ALL of the AAMC material (section banks, question packs, flashcards etc) and starting out with some practice using AAMC early on to get the best sense of what the test will actually expect of you. A lot of people wait until the end to get the “best use” closer to the exam, but I found it much more helpful to start using it earlier on.
3. My biggest tip is to mentally prepare as best as possible for both the studying portion of the process and the actual test day. By mentally preparing, I mean finding a way to believe in yourself despite common opinions on how to go about preparing for the test. Trust your gut instinct on what will work for YOU and only YOU.
To keep up with Allie’s journey, check out her blog LoveForMedicine, or follow her on Instagram (@loveformedicine), on Twitter (@loveformedicine) or on Tumblr. Thank you Allie for telling us your story and for sharing your advice with us – we wish you much success in your applications!
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• What do Medical Schools Look for in Your Application Essays?