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 our anonymous blogger, Miss Student Dr. (who will reveal her identity once she’s matched for residency)…
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?
Miss Student Dr.: I’m from the east coast (southeast). I studied at a state school which ranks as one of the top 40 public research universities in the nation. I absolutely loved going to a state school – I had my tuition paid for which is very helpful, especially now that I’ll be accruing large amounts of debt in medical school. I was a Cell and Molecular Biology major, and really loved the molecular biology focus!
Accepted: Looking at your Twitter feed it looks like you will be attending med school this fall – how did you decide where you wanted to apply to med school and how did you ultimately decide where you will be attending this fall?
Miss Student Dr.: Yes I will be starting this July! Deciding where to apply was difficult, as there are so many great options. I knew I wanted to become a DO so I was able to narrow my choices to solely osteopathic medical programs, of which I applied to 10. The key for me was applying only to schools whose mission matched my career goals.
Also, I was given great advice about applying to 2-3 “reach” schools whose average MCAT is about 4 points above yours, 4 whose average MCAT is within 1-2 points greater or less than yours, and finally 2-3 “safety” schools whose average MCAT is about 4 points less than yours. Thankfully, I had two interviews and was accepted to both programs.
Choosing between the two was simple, because the second acceptance was also my first choice school! I chose that school in particular due to their high board pass rate, stellar residency matches, family-feel on interview day, and their outreach programs both within the US and internationally. Their mission is 100% aligned with my goals in my career as a physician. It was a done deal for me!
Accepted: What motivated you to pursue a degree in medicine? Which area(s) of medicine interests you the most?
Miss Student Dr.: I’ve always gravitated towards helping the underdog, be it in school, sports, volunteer work; I always helped the kid that struggled. I think it all started there. In high school I volunteered at a hospital and that sealed the deal, I loved science and how things worked (especially anatomy) and in the hospital I was able to pair them with my devotion to caring for others.
Primary care is definitely without a doubt what I want to pursue as a physician. I want to be a lifelong part of my patient’s lives, especially for those in rural areas with little access to healthcare professionals.
Accepted: Let’s talk MCATs. Did you take a test prep course? Why or why not?
Miss Student Dr.: I did take a test prep course. I took Kaplan, and didn’t find that it worked for me. I had a few friends who succeeded using Kaplan, but I personally did not find it helpful. I recommend shopping around and finding the prep course that best fits your needs. If I could do it all over, I would buy a test bank, purchase prep books and study on my own.
Accepted: Were there any other resources you found helpful in prepping for the MCAT?
Miss Student Dr.: I really liked what the MCAT “question-a-day” offered; repetition is key with standardized tests. It was nice to have a daily discrete question to keep me on my toes, especially during the school semester. I also used the physics formula list by Gold Standard MCAT and made flashcards for each formula and reviewed them every single day.
Accepted: Out of everything you have experienced so far leading up to med school, what has been the most challenging? Why was it so challenging?
Miss Student Dr.: The most challenging hurdle in this process has definitely been the MCAT. Most universities don’t teach in a way that will help you answer MCAT questions, such as passage-style, so learning to derive the important details from a dense page-long passage was a challenge for me. For some people this comes naturally but I really had to train myself to efficiently dissect a passage. The key was that I never gave up, and I can’t stress that enough to the students I help mentor. If I can do it, anyone can do it!
Accepted: Can you share 3 fun facts about yourself?
Miss Student Dr.:
1. I sing and play guitar as a hobby
2. I am a conservationist
3. I still shoot film photography (film is not dead!).
Accepted: When and why did you decide to start tweeting about your premed/med school experiences?
Miss Student Dr.: I started tweeting in the spring time. I mentor a few premed students at my undergrad and I realized the questions I was answering for them could benefit any premeds looking for guidance on Twitter. Since starting my account, I’ve had the chance to edit a few students’ personal statements and help advise them on their applications. I’m the first in my family to pursue anything medical so being able to help guide someone the way I wish I was guided is so gratifying for me.
Accepted: What is the one piece of advice you would like to give to current premed students?
Miss Student Dr.: Don’t give up. I think I posted something like that recently on my Twitter page. It’s natural to doubt yourself; we’re only human, but you need to look ‘doubt’ in the face and tell it to back off because self-doubt is worse than failure.
I’ll leave you with the best advice I ever got, which was from my dad, and I’ll probably butcher his line but it went something like this: “Always shoot for the stars. If you shoot for a star and land on a cloud, then at least you know that you tried and gave it your all. But never shoot for just a cloud.”
Thank you Miss Student Dr. for sharing your story with us! You can follow Miss Student Dr. on Twitter (@MissStudentDr).
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Do you want to be featured in Accepted’s blog? If you want to share your med school journey with the world (or at least with our readers), email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.