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 Whitley P. McIntosh…
Accepted: Tell us a bit about yourself! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?
Whitley: I am from a small town in southeastern Kentucky and received a BS in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Eastern Kentucky University.
Accepted: What motivated you to pursue a career in medicine at this point in your career/life?
Whitley: I have known for some time that I would pursue a career in medicine. Aside from being truly fascinated by the capabilities and functions of the human body, there have been several personal incidents in my life where doctors were truly involved in saving the lives of those I love and I want to be able to do the same for someone else.
Accepted: What are you up to now? We would love to hear about Emory’s Juris Master Program.
Whitley: I just completed the Juris Master Program with a concentration in Health Law and will begin medical school at the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine in August.
Accepted: How did you originally hear about the program?
Whitley: I heard about the program when I met Dr. Lynn Labuda at the American Medical Student Association National Convention in Washington, D.C. during my final year of undergraduate study.
Accepted: Were you always planning on taking a gap year before starting medical school?
Whitley: I had not always planned to take a gap year, but I knew I would be about a year and a half before graduation.
Accepted: We’d love to hear about what lead to that decision.
Whitley: The timeline of my undergraduate completion was a major decision-maker for me. There were courses I wanted to take before taking the MCAT that weren’t necessarily required, but recommended (they are actually necessary for the new version of the MCAT, though). I could have still submitted an application later in the cycle, but it would have limited my options and the quality of my application so I chose to wait and make sure I gave it my best effort.
Accepted: What are your plans for next school year? We hear you will be attending medical school. What school will you be attending? How did you select that school?
Whitley: I will be attending the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pikeville, KY. The decision to choose an osteopathic school over an allopathic school was difficult in some ways, but those aspects were not significant enough to deter my choice. I think every student is different and interview days are invaluable in choosing your school. It is so important to ask all of the questions you take with you and truly try to get a feel for the people and atmosphere fostered at each institution so that you find a school where you will flourish and be nurtured at the level you require and desire.
Accepted: What are your top 3 tips for surviving the med school application process?
1. Do not get worked up over the tiny details that you cannot change. If you realize during the application process that you have a not ideal grade in a course or less research experience than you think you need, don’t stress out over it because the rest of your application most likely makes up for it. Still, if you feel that your application overall is not strong enough, after consulting with your trusted advisors, there is nothing wrong with waiting for the next cycle. As long as you do something valuable and unique with a gap year (whether it is another degree or scuba diving) schools will probably see that as a positive.
2. Be very gracious to those who help you along the way, especially when you get your acceptance. Write thank you notes to those who wrote your letters, allowed you to shadow, and advised you along the way. They will continue to be valuable resources and friends throughout your journey and career.
3. Be honest. With yourself and with your application. Don’t be overconfident, but don’t be too hard on yourself. You know you have done great things so embrace yourself and you will feel and perform better. Also, honesty in personal statements and experiences is a must! Interviewers will ask you questions directly from your application at the interviews so you want to ensure you are showing them the real you.