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Hunter logo Pre-Med Listserv: Click the Hunter logo and signup for the Pre-Med ListServ.
Please be advised that the listserv is for Hunter students only, and you must register with a Hunter email address.

Joining the listserv will give you up-to-date information regarding the health professions, special events, and the Pre-Health Office.

 

Successful Student Profiles


Medicine

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Harvard Medical School.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: Medicine unites two elements that I love: discovering and underrstand the mysteries of the human body and working closely with people. I'm a people-person through and through; being able to treat patients directly and work alongside other health professionals in a team-oriented environment are exciting. I aim to pursue academic medicine and hope to remain engaged in research throughout my career.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: New York Cares (as a volunteer and team leader), various hospital volunteering positions across different departments at Sloan Kettering and NYP-Weill Cornell, and an advocate for victims of violence/abuse at the NYP-Weill Cornell Emergency Deopt. I was also performing neuroscience lab research for over a decade since high school (including: Summer research at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Stem cell research and Parkinson's disease/regenerative medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering throughout and post undergrad).

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: Variable: Between 10-20 hours depending on exam schedules/deadlines.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes, but I did not find it helpful. I generally would not recommend prep courses as they can be a money/time sink and create a false sense of security.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes, to continue working on my projects in lab, strengthen my personal finances, and study for the MCAT.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: Extensive research, and my experiences in service/volunteering. I pursued a diversity of activities across research, volunteering, and public health.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes, lots and lots of schools.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: Committee Letters are essential for building a strong application. I think in-person advising was so helpful as the medical school applications process (in the years leading up to it—reom pre-reqs to essays/interviews) can be mentally very taxing. The pre-health advising website and listserv also has a wealth of information that can be helpful to students.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: I'd like to believe that “where there's a will, there's a way.” With dedication, optimism and a clear set of goals, (and guidance from wise/compassionate individuals around you), even the unimaginable can be achieved. The path to medical school was not easy, straightforward one, but I believe that persistence and hard work can make a great difference. I am extremely grateful for many things and I truly could not have done this alone.

 


 

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: Mainly, a natural interest in science. More personally, living in an underserved minority community in New York City, I experienced friends, neighbors, and others dealing with health issues with not much in the way of a plan of treatment. Addiction, obesity, and poor sexual health were prevalent and continue to be where I live. With this being my environment, I became interested in these health issues going on around me. This is what eventually led to my interest in science and medicine.

Q: What erxtracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Volunteering in my local emergency department as well as in the community (events like City Harvest, soup kitchen assistance), working in research, which I began in my senior year of college and continued after graduation.

Q: How many hours on average did you spenmd studying for your courses per week?
A: At least 30; I viewed this like a full time job.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: No, I did not have the financial resources to pay for a course. I used second-hand reveiw books, and saved to purchase question banks and full-length exams from Next Step and AAMC.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes. I took multiple gap years. Working on top of school obligations and clinical volunteering left very little time for MCAT studying or community service. I took time to focus on understanding content tested on the MCAT as well as doing local volunteering through the Red Cross.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: Perhaps my strength is my background and my personal narrative. I come from a lower middle-class, single parent household in the heart of Harlem. Despite my hardships, I worked hard and was resourceful until I was able to get my foot in the door. I do not mean to imply that you have to come from a difficult background or major adversity to be a strong applicant to medical school. What I am saying is that if this is something you truly want to pursue, something you have a passion in, you should go for it despite the struggles.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes. I applied to 18 medical schools in the East Coast and 2 medical schools in the Midwest. In the end I chose to attend one of the two schools that I applied to in the Midwest.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: Having the drive and determination to attend medical school isn't always enough. The Pre-Health Office gave me some much-needed direction. They've been in y corner and they are experts in this procdess. There is no doubt that I wouldn't have gotten this far without them.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Listen to the advice of your pre-health advisor, especially the director of the Pre-Health Program, Kemile Jackson.

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Weill Cornell Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: There is no field like medicine. As a doctor you have the opportunity to get a unique insight into a patient’s story and, sometimes, become a part of it. As a Latino from the Bronx, I know how healthcare is not always accessible to those who need it most. The more I realized this, the more I felt compelled to make a difference.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Association of Hispanic Healthcare Executives, LMSA+, Heads Up!, Mentoring in Action, Office Manager at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), Clinical and Translational Research at HSS, Basic Science Research at the Population Council.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: 20-30 hours spread out throughout the week.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes, but I found it mostly helpful as content review.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes, I took a gap year to continue the research I was involved in and study for the MCAT. I am definitely glad I took this gap year.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: Research and leadership experiences.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes, and I would recommend applying nationally; you may be surprised how much you like a school and its city.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: Kemile Jackson is an amazing resource for all Pre-Health students at Hunter College. From my first week at Hunter College to my last, she helped me select courses, decide to take a leave of absence, prioritize extracurriculars, apply to medical school, and much more.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Find mentors! Establishing mentors who are doctors, medical students, college students, etc., will help you achieve your goals. Having great mentors is invaluable at any stage of your career. I would also suggest being a mentor for others. Whether it be lowerclassmen or high school students, they could really benefit from your knowledge and experiences.

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: SUNY Downstate College of Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: Medicine was the perfect career for me when trying to combine two of my passions—social work and science. I wasn't able to make up my mind about which path I should choose, so medicine was a career that combined both in the best way possible. I am from Lithuania, and we have to choose our careers while still in high school, with no undergraduate studies before entering medical school. I completed four out of six years of medical studies there, which put my decision to become a doctor to the test countless times.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Clinical volunteering and shadowing, research (bench research at Hunter College and clinical research at NYU Langone), math tutoring, and pre-health mentoring.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: 20 hours.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: No, I self-studied.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: No, I did not take a gap year.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: No, I applied to 12 schools total, all on the East Coast.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The most helpful aspect for me was the advisors' availability whenwriting my personal statement and crafting secondary essays. English is not my first language, so it was very reassuring to have someone available to look over my written material. Also, I had a great experience when preparing for medical school interviews. The mock interviews were very useful and helped to build confidence.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Prioritize your GPA and your MCAT scores. Those are the first two things the admission offices will see. Make sure you're involved in meaningful extracurricular activities that you are passionate about, and can talk about in great detail. In a pool of applicants with great GPAs and great MCAT scores, your extracurriculars and your personal experiences are what will set you apart from others. If it's too hard to maintain a high GPA and be involved in extracurriculars, take a gap year so yu can focus on one thing at a time. Lastly, do not get intimidated. It is easy to undermine your own achievements when comparing yourself to others. The truth of the matter is, no two applicants are the same. You have your own story, your own obstacles that you had to overcome, your own strengths and achievements. Make sure you recognize what sets you apart from others and emphasize it in your application. Best of luck!

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Medical School of International Health (at Ben Gurion University)

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: I have been interested in medicine since I was a child, but I only began to understand what the field really involved right before starting college. Personal and professional experience confirmed my interests and led me to where I am now. I am passionate about medicine and global health and hope to one day combine these interests in my future career. This medical school program has a specific focus in global health, and I am truly excited to study both much needed fields.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: I was the president of the Society of Bioethics and Medicine and the treasurer for the Gift of Life Club at Hunter. I have volunteered in the Bellevue Hospital (PAVERS program), AlYN Hospital, and Hadassah Hospital. I also served as a senior first responder for Megen David Adom, the national ambulence service in Israel. I shadowed physicians in Greece through the Atlantis program and was a volunteer in Costa Rica for the Foundation of International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC). I was a campus ambassador for Gift of Life and a campus representative for FIMRC as well. I was fortunate enough to be a research intern in Dr. Nancy Greenbaum's biochmesitry laboratory at Hunter College and volunteer in the Heart to Heart program through Weill Cornell.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: Depending on the course and time of semester, I would study around 5 hours a week per course, including the time it took me to complete homework and assignments/papers.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes, I used the Princeton Review Course for the MCAT that I found through Hunter's Pre-Health Office in the fall of my Junior year.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: I took a “gap” year before starting college to study abroad in Israel and am matriculating to medical school straight after graduating college.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I consider my strengths to be my letters of recommendation and my personal statement/essays. Standing out with diverse interests and a true and clear passion for medicine (or any career aspiration) is important and I believe my application demonstrated who I am and what I want to accomplish.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: I applied nationally and internationally (to programs affiliated/based in the U.S.).

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: Their constant advice on my application and its contents was extremely helpful and they were approachable for any small question I had throughout my college career. Mock interviews were also an incredible opportunity for me to practice and allowed me to feel comfortable expessing to schools who I was and why they should want me at their institution.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: My advice would be to take it slow and breathe. This is a long and grueling process that I have no doubt, with some determination and positivity, can be achieved. Take everything step by step and try to plan out what you should work on one step at a one time. Constantly remind yourself why you are putting yourself under immense stress and do not forget to relax and make time for yourself.

School-wise, definitely try to create close relationships with professors since you never know what opportunity might present itself to you. Letters of recommendation are always stronger when the person knows you and can talk about how hard working you are, and not just that you earned an A. I would also say ask around if possible, to network and find research or other volunteering opportunities. There are so many places happy to train new students that are eager to learn.

In terms of applying, research schools that best fit your interest because they will see right through your trying to fit yourself into what you think they want their student to be. Try to find somewhere that gets you excited thinking about all the opportunities you could have, and a place that can set you off where you want to be in the future while also being realistic! Basically, keep up the amazing work you are doing, and I am sure you will do great!

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: I am interested in medicine because it is the ideal combination of science, research, education, and service. I am drawn to this profession as it integrates all of these interests—medicine encourages scientific inquiry and innovation through research, allows for the continuous improvement of scientific knowledge, and provides the unique opportunity to use this knowledge to make human connections by caring for patients.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Laboratory research in the Department of Biological Sciences at Hunter College, CDCB Summer Research Program at Oregon Health and Science University, teaching health education through Peer Health Exchange, clinical volunteering at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, volunteering for the Weill Cornell Heart-to-Heart Outreach Program. I also participated in mentorship programs as well as physician shadowing, served as a Biochemistry Peer TA at Hunter College, and was part of the McNulty Scholars Program.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: The number of hours that I spent studying for courses varied each week, but I would always make to-do lists to organize my time and make sure to prioritize courses for which I had upcoming exams or deadlines.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: No, I did not use a test prep course to study for the MCAT. The resources I found to be most helpful were: all of the AAMC materials, Kaplan reviw books, ExamKrackers review books, as well as NextStep practice tests.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes, I took one gap year, during which I worked at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, because I was interested in further exploring scientific research and working in a lab full-time. It was a great opportunity to build upon my research skills and experience, all while learning so much about another field of science and contributing to cutting-edge research. During this time, I was also able to focus on my medical school applications.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: My strong interest in research as well as my involvement in a wide range of community service experiences. Additionally, I believe that forming relationships with my mentors and advisors was incredibly valuable, because they not only served as a great support system but were also able to convey my strengths well in my letters of recommendation.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Advising Office has been such a significant source of support throughout the entirety of my undergraduate career as well as throughout the medical school application process. Early on, the pre-health advisors helped guide and encourage me in pursuing extracurricular and research opportunities, ensuring that I was on the right path to becoming a strong applicant. During the application process, the pre-health advisors were especially helpful in reviewing my personal statement and all other application materials, as well as conducting mock interviews. I am very grateful for all of the mentorship and support that I have received from the Pre-Health Office!

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Applying to medical school is a long and challenging process, so seek out mentors and a strong support system. Be proactive in identifying and engaging in extracurricular opportunities, and don't be afraid to explore a broad range of experiences. However, dedicate your time to the activities that you gravitate most towards and are truly passionate about. Seek out guidance and feedback from advisors throughout the process, make sure to apply only when fully prepared, and stay focused and confident!

 


 

Iovana Bonfante Gonzalez Photo Name: Iovana Bonfante Gonzalez

Major: Human Biology, Track I: Body, Mind & Health

Minor: Chemistry

Overall GPA: 3.85

Graduation Year: 2018

Matriculation Year: 2020

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: Loyola Stritch School of Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: My own personal immigrant experience, community outreach, and familial history in nursing sparked my curiosity in understanding the connection between quality of life, socioeconomic status and health disparities. As I pursued different opportunities in community advocacy and health care, along with my academics, I realized my true passion was being on the front lines of medical innovation, healing and advocating for others.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Research: SCORE Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Clinical research experiences at Maimonides Medical Center Emergency Department, NYP-Methodist Hospital Internal Medicine & NYP-Weill Cornell Emergency Department.

Community Outreach: Tutor for Harlem Renaissance High School through Hunter Liberty Partnership Program, Bronx Oncology Living Daily Program Intern & Bilingual Consultant at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Shape Up NYC Volunteer Group Fitness Instructor.

Extracurriculars: Hunter College Women's Basketball Team, High School Sports Coach at Cathedral High School: Varsity Volleyball, JV Basketball, Varsity Lacrosse and Track & Field, Bronx Music Heritage Center Conga classes, Academic Coach and Science Learning Center Tutor at Lehman College.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: 10-15 hrs./week.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes, I utilized Princeton Review to help guide my self-studying. I also tapped into other resources such as: Khan Academy, daily MCAT questions & Jack Westin CARS passages.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes, I took 2 gap years to study for the MCAT, prepare for AMCAS and pursue additional community engagement opportunities.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: My academic history, my personal story and clinical experiences.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: As the first in my family to go to medical school, learning to navigate pre-med courses, studying for the MCAT and application prep felt very overwhelming. I am grateful for the Pre-Health Advising Office's workshops on time/stress management, MCAT study schedules, walk-in advising appointments, personal statement editing, interview prep, medical school decision options and more. Thank you, Pre-Health Advising Team!

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Overall, enjoy the process and inform yourself as much as possible by attending workshops and seeking opportunities that are at par with what you are most passionate about. Remember, even if you feel you have taken two steps back or failed at something, do not give up. Refledct on your experience, create a plan (possibly re-draft multiple times along the way) and go for it. Do not be afraid to ask for guidance and be kind to yourself. Everyone's journey is different so identify what makes you unique and hold on to that. What you want for your life is in your reach.

 


 

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: Penn State College of Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: My passion for medicine had its roots in my childhood. From a young age, I was fascinated with anatomical atlases and learning about the human body. Having doctors in my family further sparked my interest. The most important figure in establishing my love of medicine was (and still is) my father. As a teenager, I often joined him in the hospital as he rounded on patients. Through seeing my father help so many women discover the joy of motherhood, I was able to fully understand how important the role of physician is. Witnessing the gratitude of his patients, I quickly came to admire the impact he was able to make on their lives. The idea that I can give health and healing to a person forever set my career choice, and I don't recall ever wavering from that.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: 1) Reach Out and Read program, Bellevue Hospital; 2) Research Associate Program, Emergency Department, NYP; 3) English Summer Camp Volunteer, Ukraine; 4) 2017 SCORE (Summer Clinical Oncology Research Experience) Program, Department of Neurology, MSKCC; 5) Research Lab Volunteer, Dr. Joyner's Lab, MSKCC; 6) Clinical Research Coordinator, later Specialist, Department of Neurology, MSKCC; and 7) Foreign Language Advisory Group (FLAG) Coordinator, Division of Quality and Safety, MSKCC.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for courses per week?
A: During my undergraduate years, I was almost always employed full-time, so time management was a crucial skill I learned. I would say that I spent between 15-20 hours per week. When there was an exam, the time would go up to 30 hours.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes—I took Princeton Review prep course offered by Hunter College.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes—I planned to apply before graduating Hunter College, but as the time to take the MCAT approached, I did not feel that I was ready. Also, most importantly, I did not think I was mentally ready for the application process. I am very happy I took a gap year as during that time I improved my application immensely—for instance, I added my Nature publication co-authorship and my recommendation letter from the Chair of the Department.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: It is hard to say objectively, but I feel that my application had an interesting story (apart from a good GPA). My undergraduate experience is somewhat unique because I had to financially support myself throughout college. Fortunately, I was able to have a job through which I was introduced to the world of practical medicine and met an extraordinary team of clinicians. Also, my communication skills helped me to build connections with multiple physicians. Thus, they, in return, were able to write very personal, touching recommendation letters. I feel that all of this in combination characterized me as a person who is ready for medical training.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: I applied to East Coast schools only (from Vermont to Florida).

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you to achieve your goals?
A: As an immigrant to this country, the medical school application process was very foreign to me. Kemile Jackson helped me to understand what is required in order to become a successful candidate and she always made sure I stayed on the right track with extracurriculars. During the application process, the Pre-Health Advising Office was simply a magical support tool, and I don't think I would have ever been successful if it wasn't for their guidance and close review of my application materials together with mock interview preparation.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Please think very carefully when you choose medicine as your career. You must be truly passionate about it because it requires many sacrifices. Once you have made that important decision, I suggest that you take a practice MCAT test immediately (if you have completed Organic Chemistry), as you need to understand early in the process that this test is nothing like what you have been dealing with so far. When you choose your activities, always go with what you really like. Further, try to find a mentor—it is as important as having a 99th percentile MCAT (at least for me it was the case). And the most important thing is as you go through this amazing journey, do not forget to have some fun— you will remember this time with warmth in your heart!

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: My initial interest in medicine started in childhood with my mother and grandmother, who were both formally and informally involved in healthcare. I was also very interested in science classes from an early age. I leaned into these interests and pursued various clinical and research opportunities as a high school student. In college, I pursued biology and psychology degrees and sought new clinical and research experiences. These experiences solidified my desire to pursue a career in which I can help people at their most vulnerable moments, contribute to the advancement of medicine, and be an educator.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Research—Cold Srping Harbor Neuroscience Lab, Columbia/NYSPI Psychiatry Labe, Yale Cardiology Lab. Clinical—Nassau University Hospital volunteer, Cardiology shadowing abroad, Internal Medicine shadowing, Mount Sinai SRA. Volunteering—Skirball Biology tutor, General Chemistry TA, Soup Kitchen, Columbia Special Needs Clinic.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: I think it’s highly dependent on what and how many courses you're taking. As a rule, I always aimed to attend all my classes and tried to give 100% while there (phone off, front row, and participate). I then reviewed things that were challenging and attended office hours if needed. No matter the hours invested, I always wanted to go into an exam confident in my understanding.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: No, I made use of Kaplan books for Biochemistry, Khan Academy 100-page packet for Psychology/Sociology, Jack Westin daily passages for CARS, and Exam Krackers' books for Physics and Chemistry. I dedicated the majority of my time taking and reviewing practice exams (Altius, Next Step, and AAMC exams). Once you have the content down, I think it's vital to understand how the MCAT tests the content and build your stamina for the exam.

In my personal experience, and that of people I know, if you take your AAMC FL exams right before your MCAT, your scores will be VERY indicative of your actual score—don't expect huge deviations, positive or negative.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes! I wanted to put my best foot forward in my application. I worked to complete my second major and pursue some amazing research activities during my senior year. Furthermore, I obtained a postgraduate opportunity at Yale for my gap year, which proved to be an incredible academic and life experience.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: Long-term consistent dedication to medicine. I think my experience abroad, along with my extensive research involvement, made my application unique. Finally, all the wonderful recommendations of my professors and mentors.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes! I had a preference for the Northeast. However, I applied to schools all over the country, and I would encourage future applicants to apply broadly in order to maximize their chances in this very competitive process.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Hunter Pre-Health advisers have been an invaluable source of knowledge, support, and mentorship at every step in my journey as a pre-medical student, and I could not be here without them. They genuinely want to see you succeed. I encourage everyone to make use of the Pre-Health Advising Office as it is a tremendous resource.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Knowledge is power. Always make every attempt to stay informed and reach out to others for help. You have a lot of resources and very knowledgeable people at your disposal (Pre-Health advisors, professors, mentors, upperclassmen, etc.). Take advantage of these things, and you will have a much easier journey through your pre-health years. Also, be consistent in your efforts no matter what you're facing at the moment. If there's a will, there's a way, and you will find it with enough effort—believe in yourself.

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Cooper Medical School of Rowan University

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: Having viewed vast health disparities in both NYC and my home country of Pakistan, I wanted to one day help fight against these inequalities. I eventually realized that becoming a physician would provide me with the most optimal way to do so.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: 1. The Pre-Health Organization; 2. Summer Medical and Dental Educational Program; 3. Mount Sinai C.A.R.E. Volunteer; 4. Rescuing Levtover Cuisine; 5. Clinical Research with Heart 2 Heart at Weill Cornell Medicine; 6. Neuroscience Research Icahn School of Medicine; 7. Surgical Oncology shadowing at North Shore LIJ; 8. Teaching at my mosque; 9. Hunter College Student Ambassador and 10. General Chemistry TA.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: This usually depended on the course and how much time I also needed to devote to my extracurriculars. I would say typically each week I would study approximately 10-15 hours.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: I did use a Kaplan test prep course, but due to also taking a full course load, I did not gain much from it aside from study strategies (I wouldn't recommend taking a course unless you are a bad test taker). After taking the course, I experimented with different studying strategies and eventually found the ones that worked best for me. My biggest score improvements occcurred when I bagen to use UWorld, which highly, highly recommend. Other than that, Khan Academy and the AAMC materials were really helpful. I recommend using them, especially since they are free.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: I did end up taking a gap year mainly so I could help raise my GPA, keep building my application portfolio, and have time to take the MCAT without feeling too much pressure. During my sophomore year, I had received a C in one of my science classes, which really lowered my science GPA. So I used my junior and senior year to take as many science classes as I could and ace them to not only bring up my GPA, but to show medical schools that I learned from my mistake and became a better student because of it. I was also able to use my junior year to really build upon my experiences and complete all of my pre-requisite courses. Although I still ended up taking the MCAT while taking classes, I had already taken the majority of my required classes and, thus, was able to lessen my credit load, having more time to focus on the MCAT. Additionally, I was able to manage my extracurriculars better by senior year, only focsing on the ones that were most important to me.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I believe my strengths were in my extracurricular experiences. I chose to pursue activities that not only added to my story, but also that I actually interested in. This allowed me to enjoy them and to do them consistently over long periods of time, adding longitudinal depth to my application. This also allowed my recommendation letters from these activities to be very strong. Additionally, thanks to the Pre-Health Office and many of my friends who helped me edit my personal statement. It turned out to be very strong.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: I mainly applied to schools in the Northeast region since I wanted to stay relatively near my family, but I did apply to one school in Florida and one in Michigan because they seemed to be match schools.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Advising Office has been extremely helpful throughout my years at Hunter College. I remember back in my freshman year, I was hesitant to travel and live in Cleveland, Ohio for a program I was accepted into, but Kemile Jackson erased any doubts I had, urging me to go. She help me like this numerous times and was always proud when I was able to achiee something or pursue an opporunity, giving me great confidence to continue on my path. I am also thankful to Nina Ledis for always making time to provide feedback during mock interviews, building my confidence that allowed me to really nail my medical school interviews whether they were traditional, MMI, mor mixed. She also greatly helped me by revising my personal statement multiple times, forcing me to iron out small details, allowing me to wrie one I am really proud of and that I could not have written without her feedback. Although J.D. Blanco is no longer with the Pre-Health Advising Office, he also helped by always letting me know which events I still had to attend for my committee letter file and help make sure my file was up-to-date. Thanks to all the mentioned members of the Pre-Health Advising Office, my Yalow advisors, Dr. Klein, Dr. Eckhardt, Dr. Alliger, and major advisor, Dr. Steiper, and countless other mentors, I have been able to achieve my goals.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Aside from obviously making sure you stay on top of your academics, college is a great place to network and explore new interests. Take the time to explore what you are interested in so that by the time you apply, you are certain you actually want to go innto the healthcare field. This will also allow yu to develop your own unique story. Make sure to surround yourself with a small group of individuals who are also driven and who make sure you stay on track to reach your goals. In addition to all this, don't forget to take time out to do things you enjoy for fun and relax.

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Volunteer at NYP-Weill Cornell Medical Center, Lenox Hill Hospital, and Coney Island Hospital, Teaching Assistant for Statistical Methods in Psychological Research, Behavioral Neuropathology Lab Intern, Assistant Interviewer for Prospective Macaulay Honors Candidates.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: Although it varied, I spent 30-35 hours studying per week on average.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes, Kaplan.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes, I took two gap years. I utilized my time to study for the MCAT, volunteer at NYP-Weill Cornell, scribe full-time at an urgent care center in Manhattan, and complete medical school applications.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: My personal statement, MCAT score, and extensive clinical experience.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes, I applied to schools on the East Coast and Mid-West.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health advisors were an incredible support network! They provided informative workshops, primary and secondary application feedback, mock interviews, and encouragement throughout the admissions process.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: With respect to the MCAT, take as many full-length practice exams as possible to familiarize yourself with the passages/questions and to build endurance. Carefully review each test afterward to determine your strengths and weaknesses and to learn from your mistakes. Regarding undergraduate coursework, begin studying your lecture notes soon after lecture is over, preferably the same day, in order to cement the knowledge you learned. This will also help determine early on what topics and areas you don’t fully grasp so that you’ll have sufficient time to work on them before exams. Attend office hours to clarify misunderstandings you have with the material. Office hours are such an excellent resource! Overall, on your path to medical school, celebrate your achievements, see failures as opportunities for personal growth, and keep trying your best no matter what!

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: From an early age, I had a profound interest in science. My parents always told me I would never stop asking questions. I only felt intellectually satisfied when I studied science, since it was the only subject that truly fulfilled my curiosity. However, it was not until high school that I developed a passion for health science courses. After a close family member of mine was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, I observed the fantastic team of health professionals that took care of them, and I knew then, that I wanted to join the health field. Throughout my undergaduate career, I volunteered and conducted research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell, where I witnessed the health disparities facing many communities in NYC. My experience at MSKCC and Weill Cornell solidified my decision to become a physician in the future and desire to serve marginalized communities.

During my sophomore year of college, I changed my Primary Care Provider to a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). I was fascinated by the way she practiced medicine. She asked questions that at first seemed unrelated to my physical health. However, I realized that she wanted to asseess different circumstances that could potentially put me at risk for certain conditions. My doctor also manipulated the bones and muscles in my right wrist, to fix a constant mild pain that bothered me for months. I was intriguued by her approach to medicine. When I asked her about her unique way of treating me, she told me to read about Dr. Still. In a few days, my pain was fully gone, and after reading about the philosophy of osteopathic medicine, I knew I wanted to become a DO.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: 1. I volunteered at Memorial Sloan Ketting Cancer Center's (MSKCC) Urgent Care; 2. I shadowed Dr. Aragones, who worked at the Immigrant Health and Cancer Disparities (IHCD) Department at MSKCC; 3. I conducted Public Health Research at MSKCC's IHCD department; 4. I volunteered at Weill Cornell and their Hear to Heart Community Outreach Program; 5. I held board positions in Pre-Health Organization (PHO) for three years. During my first year, I was the Social Media Manager. Then I became the Secretary. During my last year, I served as the Co-President of PHO; 6. I was also a Student Ambassador at Hunter College providing tours to prospective students and their families; 7. I mentored pre-health students with the Pre-Health Mentoring Initiative; 8. I also received certification as a Mental Health First Aide; 9. I volunteered with the Rescuing Leftover Cuisine to donate food to homeless shelters and 10. I was a student mentor for the Hunter College's Unibuddy initiative where I spoke with and mentored prospective college students who shared similar interests with me.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: I spent about 25-30 hours studying per week. I studied more for exams, less when I did not have as much work. However, I am not someone who can sit and study for hours at a time. I always broke up my studying with short breaks.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: I used Princeton Review.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: I used the year after graduating from Hunter to complete a Master of Science at TouroCOM to improve my resume and increase my chances of getting into medical school. In addition to completing my MS program, I also applied to other medical schools via AACOMAS during my gap year.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I would say that one of my strengths in my application was my extracurricular activities. I know that as pre-health students we can get caught up in increasing the number of extracurricular activities we do to boost our resumes. However, it is equally as important to do extracurricular activities that we enjoy. It is easy to forget that we must talk about these activities in our application. If we just did the activities to check things off of a list, it will show in the application and hurt our chances. Luckily, I was able to seek out and participate in activities I had a genuine passion for, and I believe it showed in my applications and during my interviews.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes, I applied to 14 osteopathic schools all over the country.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: To be honest, I would not have made it this far without the Pre-Health Advising Office helping me every step of the way. As a first-generation college student, I had no tangible plans for navigating the complex pre-health path. However, from the first day of college, Kemile made sure that I did everything I needed to do to make myself a competitive applicant. I frequently visited the Pre-Health Office, sometimes for advice, and sometimes just to talk about my day. I really appreciated how Kemile and JD would speak to me about my day and make sure I was always doing okay academically and personally. Additionally, thanks to the Pre-Health Office, I was also able to take a Princeton Review MCAT Course for a reduced price.

In addition to the invaluable personal support and academic counseling they provided me with, they were instrumental in making my application strong. I had multiple mock interviews with Veronica, where she provided me with countless feedback. Before an interview, she always took the time to help me craft my story for each school. Nina edited my essays numerous times to make sure that they were solid. I am extremely gratful to the Pre-Health Office for always supporting me and going above and beynd to help me achieve my goals.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: USE THE PRE-HEALTH OFFICE. I cannot stress this enough. They are there to help you and will go above and beyond to make sure you feel supported. However, you must seek out the help yourselves. They won't always tell you things you want to hear, and instead, at times, they will tell you the hard truth. However, please remember, it is much better for Veronica to give you feedback on your interviews than to do terribly in your real interview. It is much better for Nina to mark your essays red than for medical schools to think they are not well written. It is much better to let Kemile direct your application and help you get into your third-choice medical school than to fly solo and not get into any medical school.

Lastly, remember that this is your journey. Please, do not compare yourself to others. Just because your friend had a hard time getting in with a 4.0 does not mean you have no chance with your 3.5. Just because your friend will finish medical school two years earlier than you do does not make you less successful. We all have our own journeys and face unique challenges. No matter where you are in your journey, you have successfully come this far. Please, do not let other people's journeys deter you from taking a leap of faith. Be a little kinder to yourself.

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: Raised within a family of first-generation and undocumented immigrants, I have witnessed and firsthand experienced the fears and barriers that hinder immigrants from seeking asylum and healthcare. These experiences have prompted a sense of urgency to facilitate access to social resources and services for these underserved communities and dedicate a career to advocate for those who slip through the cracks of a faculty system, who bear the extra load of being labeled as an “alien, refugee, undocumented, and immigrant.”

While at Hunter, I sought various opportunities to be actively involved with supporting medically underserved populations. I eventually became more knowledgeable of the platform that a healthcare provider holds in these communities and recognized the core elements that a physician can have in development efforts.

My vision is not only to practice medicine but also to cultivate a workforce that reflects the communities we serve. The privilege of having access to opportunities that my family did not have due to the limits of class, education, and legal status propels me to pay tribute to the programs that have supported me in my journey.

As a future healthcare provider and advocate, I strive to continue to promote programs to address the need for a diverse representation of healthcare providers in underrepresented communities and build opportunities for individuals of various backgrounds to achieve their career goals.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: I did not become involved in extracurriculars until my junior year of college. My first actual volunteer experience was volunteering as a health educator in Ecuador through EduAmistad. I also volunteered in the American Red Cross, Let’s Get Ready, and RockEdu. After graduating from Hunter, I spent the summer participating in the SCORE program at MSK, and continued participating in clinical research at Harlem Hospital through NYC H+H research internship (the Prehealth listserve advertised all of these opportunities, so keep your eyes open!). I was also a member of the Bronx Community Health Leaders (BxCHL). In this student-run organization, I came to a safe environment that fosters peer support for students underrepresented in medicine.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: I studied an average of 15-20 hours a week studying for courses. Of course, more before an upcoming exam.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes, I used the Kaplan test prep course for the first attempt! However, I relied on self-studying for the second attempt (UWorld, Kaplan,AAMC, NS).

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: : I took two gap years post-graduation. After graduation, I took the MCAT exam and did not score near my target score. Hence, I decided to take another gap year and gain more clinical experience while studying for the MCAT retake.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: My journey to this point was filled with adversity and challenges that I was able to overcome. I was a college student in the morning and transformed into a restaurant hostess at night. My path to medical school was filled with days that I thought would never end, and my dream is one that I thought I would never survive.

Without the initial guidance and the lack of a support system, admittedly, I was not a college-bound student. I was raised in a household where my parents did not have a college or even high school education, so enrolling in college was not a straightforward decision. I enrolled at LaGuardia Community College and eventually transferred to Hunter.

I was fortunate to have mentors and access to the Pre-Health Advising Office at Hunter, who have fostered a supportive environment and taught me the value of networking and advocacy; their generosity and determination instilled in me the qualities that propelled me to be optimistic. With my transcript, the idea of getting into medical school seemed impossible. During this application cycle, I learned that you do not have to be the picture “perfect” applicant. Schools do evaluate your application holistically.

I worked 15-40 hours weekly throughout my undergraduate years and maintained full-time student status. The limited time I had to study took a toll on my academics, and I had multiple C’s on my transcript. Despite the uncertainties of not having the “ideal” application, I unexpectedly had a successful cycle.

I believe my application’s strength was the personal statement and work and activities section that offers an opportunity to tell your unique story, explain your circumstances and showcase the activities that you are
involved in.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes, I applied to 30+ schools, mainly on the East and West coast.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: I want to give a special shout out to the advisors at the Pre-Health Advising Office. I especially appreciate the continued support after graduation by Kemile, and Nina for the fantastic interview prep.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Do not feel deterred to pursue a dream that may seem so abstract. Meanwhile, you want to aim high stat-wise, do not feel discouraged if you do not have that 515 MCAT and 4.0 GPA like “everyone else” on SDN/Reddit or even your classmates, you can still get in. Diversity in your volunteer and research experiences are essential.

Be persistent and determined. I applied to 15+ volunteer research positions before landing on one. Seek role models and mentors early on. It takes just one role model in existence to override every reason to doubt.

The takeaway is to continue to seek guidance from your peers, mentors, and advisors; don’t compare yourself to others, and please don’t forget to share your journey while you’re at it to encourage others who are pursuing
this path.

Keep in touch with those who have supported you along the way, and even a simple email will do! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions: jessica.juarez22@myhunter.cuny.edu

 


 

Nicholas Brutus Photo Name: Nicholas Brutus

Major: Biochemistry

Minor: N/A

Overall GPA: 3.54

Graduation Year: 2018

Matriculation Year: 2020

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: Albany Medical College.

Q: What drew you to this particular field?
A: Shadowing in Harlem Hospital and forming connections with patients. Also, finding mentors who showed me the versatility in the medical field.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Scholar All-American, All-State, and Team Captain for the Hunter College Wrestling team.; Vice-Commissioner of the Hunter College Residence Halls; Resident Asistant for the Brookdale Residence Hall; SAAC Wrestling Representative; Volunteer Wrestling Coach at Bay Shore; Sears Shipping and Receiving Supervisor—Part-time job; and Gap year: Qualituy Team Leader at Chembio Diagnostics Systems (Medical Devices).

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: Approximately 2 hours per day, 10 hours per week. The week before an exam, I studied around 15 hours per week.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: The first time that I sat for the MCAT, I self-studied. The second time I sat for the MCAT, I took the Princeton Review prep course and my score improved by 11 points.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes, I took a gap year to focus on my MCAT and to become financially situated for medical school.

Q: What did you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: My resilience showed in my MCAT improvement and overcoming my financial circumstances; finishing my undergraduate years with a strong GPA; my commitment to serving my community; my research and volunteer experiences in undergrad show my dedication to service; my athletic accolades; and strong letters of recommendation.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes. The farthest school I applied to was Wayne State SOM in Detroit, Michigan.

Q: How did the Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Advising Office kept me on the right path. They gave me a tangible plan to obtain my goal. Every semester, I would check in with Kemile, who was one of my biggest motivators. They were honest and told me not only what I needed to hear but what I needed to do. The guidance brought me 7 medical school acceptances and mentors who are sitting deans/chairpersons at medical colleges across the City. The Pre-Health Office is a gateway for knowledge and connections.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: I have three tips to share: 1) Find your “why” and let that be your personal source of motivation; 2) Learn to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations, and 3) Don't be afraid to reach out for help.

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine—Middletown Campus.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: Coming from a background of nurses in my family, I was exposed to the ideas of health-care and patient service from a young age. I came to appreciate the very involved role a physician plays in managing one’s health and their commitment to having a strong command of the biological sciences.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: I was a Pre-health Mentor for Hunter College’s Mentoring in Action program. I was also a Peer-Health educator for Peer-Health Exchange. I volunteered at NYP Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and participated in their Summer College Intensive Program (SCIP). I was also a Research Associate for NYU’s RA Internship Program.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: 10-12 hrs per week. It depended on the semester.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: : No. I self-studied using Kaplan review books, Khan Academy, and AAMC official materials. I also found that Reddit.com and SDN online forums offered helpful studying plans for those looking for a place to start.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: : I did. I wanted to use this time to prepare a little more for a MCAT retake. I also used this time for self-growth and reflection.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I think my personal statement and letters of recommendations were my strongest features. My letters came from those I believed I had a meaningful relationship/connection with me at certain points within my college career.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes, I applied to several schools outside of just NY. I applied to many newer schools and those with a history of accepting applications with my stats/student profile.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-health Office did an excellent job of keeping in contact with me and reviewing my personal statement. They also kept me in the loop with pre-health opportunities via their focused emailing system. Additionally, Kemile Jackson directed me towards Touro College’s Special Masters Program after an initial unsuccessful application cycle. I was informed of my expectations for this challenging program and was guided by words of encouragement by Kemile.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Don’t give up. Its normal to have doubts along the path to medicine as to whether you’ll make it or not (I’ve had several). It’s about staying positive, taking advice from those who can give guidance, being committed and honest as to where you wish to be professionally, and believing in yourself. Each challenge you come across should be looked at as a learning experience to propel you in the right direction.

The MCAT is very important but is not the be-all and end-all. Take your time when preparing for the exam. Try your best to understand the content and limit memorizing. This will make the process more fruitful and manageable. This idea will also carry over into medical school and allow you to navigate the vast amount of material. Additionally, practice tests, practice tests and more PRACTICE TESTS. You always want to commit to doing more practice exams/questions and analyzing them closely vs. mainly reviewing content.

Lastly, it's important to take breaks and maintain a connection to activities/hobbies that bring you joy. Your mental health is the most important part of you and should always be protected. Rest and recharge as you see fit. Don't feel guilty about it. Your future-self and patients will thank you.

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: The need for good medical care and advocacy for health equity in underrepresented communities is what drove me to this field.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: The need for good medical care and advocacy for health equity in underrepresented communities is what drove me into this field.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Volunteered at the Consulate of Ecuuador in New York for five years. Volunteer patient feeder at Lenox Hill Hospital and shadowed at the same hospital. Member of the Provost Search Committee at Hunter College in 2018. Research Associate at the Ogunwobi Laboratory, Hunter College, since 2018.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: Depended on the course. For basic science courses, about 10-15 hours.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: I used the Princeton Review Pep Course offerred by the Hunter College Pre-Health Office.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes, I took a gap year. I was working full-time to become more financially stable and to continue working on research.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: The strengths in my application were my extracurricular activities. While my GPA was average and my MCAT score was on the lower end, I had a lot of volunteer work and research experience. By the time I interviewed, I had my first author article published. I also believe that in my personal statement and my experiences section, I consistently highlighted the motivations and attributes that would allow me to succeed in this career path.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes, but mostly to institutions on the East Coast.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Office was helpful through my application process. The advisors helped me with my personal statement, experiences descriptions and practice mock interviews.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: If medicine is your passion, do not let anything get in the way of it. Push through the undergraduate hardships, the MCAT, and the application process.

During the undergraduate career, surround yourself with people that want you to succeed. If you are surrounded by competitive people, it can be a motivation but it can easily become toxic. Have a good relationship with your professors. At some point you are going to need recommendation letters and if they can genuinely advocate for you, it will make your application stronger.

MCAT—first things first, take a practice exam! Often, we want to see a good score and wait until we are “ready” to take the practice exam. Realistically, you are not going to be ready ntil you experience it (type of questions, material, the 7 hours). Review the material you were the weakest on and work from there.

Application Process—Do not wait to apply until you have a perfect application. Like the MCAT, you may never be truly ready to apply, so just go for it. Make sure different people review your personal statement and work/activities descriptions. For this particular setion, make sure you are selecting meaningful experiences because you should be ready to talk about them during interviews. They prefer quality over quantity. Once you submit your primary application, begin working on your secondary applications. The prompts often repeat themselves so you can begin rough drafts before they release them. In my opinio, this was the most tedious part of the application process, so be ready and work smart.

Best of luck to all future applicants!

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: NYU School of Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: I am drawn to a career as a physician because I hope to work at the intersection of science, health, education, and research. I am particularly interested in working with underserved communities and would like to be part of a multidisciplinary effort to improve human health at the individual level while also contributing to the advancement of public health at the global level.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A:Peer Health Exchange, Laboratory Research, Clinical Research, Domestic and International Community Service, Scholars Cohorts, Social Organizations, Mentorship Programs, Physician Shadowing and Athletics.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: I tried to spend a least a few hours every day reviewing material, and increased my amount of studying based on my exam schedule. I'm not a fan of cramming for exams or pulling “all nighters”!

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: The most useful resources I used for the MCAT were: all of the AAMC materials, ExamKrackers Review Books, Tests, and 101 Passages, CARS, Altius Prep 10 Test Bundle, Jack Westin Daily CARS Practice, and the Khan Academy PsychSoc 100-page summary available on Reddit.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes, I wanted to expand upon my research skills and to use the year to explore an area of science that I found particularly interesting. I believe that there is a tremendous benefit to having and “application year,” however, it is not absolutely necessary, nor is it right for everyone.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I think my strengths were my longitudinal and in-depth involvement in my extracurricular activities, my GPA, and my MCAT score. I also believe that forming lasting relationships with my professors and mentors was a tremendous asset, both personally and professionally.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A:Yes (MD).

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Advising Office was indispensable in my application to medical school. The members of this office were especially helpful in reviewing my personal statement, work/activities descriptions, and secondary application essays. They were also an incredible source for support for practicing mock, traditional, and MMI interviews. I definitely would not be where I am today if it wasn't for them!

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Plan ahead and have a solid support system. Applying to medical school is a daunting process, so it is important to do your part so that you are as prepared and informed as possible. Certain aspects of this process seem like they are designed to make you question yourself and your abilities; however, please remember that you are amazing and that you have accomplished so much more than you recognize. (It is such a privilege to even have the opportunity to apply to medical school!) Take time to self-reflect on what you have learned from your past activities and experiences, and to contemplate what you would like to accomplish in the future. Try not to worry about what other people are doing or what they have accomplished—be yourself and your own story! During this time, it is very important to prioritize your well-being, and to spend quality time with friends and family. You got this!

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Duke University School of Medicine

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: I was drawn to medicine for its unique ability to integrate scientific problem solving, creative thinking, and social responsibility in one profession. Medicine provides the opportunity to communicate with people; discover the circumstances causing their pain, discomfort, or disease; and use this knowledge to advocate for and provide necessary care to patients. This is a privileged position that exemplifies the type of connection I wish to have with people in my career—and maintains my interest in and excitement about the field of medicine.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Hunter College Fencing Team, Peer Health Exchange, Mount Sinai Hospital CARE Volunteer, Mount Sinai Research Associate, Weill Cornell Heart-to-Heart Outreach Program, Visual Psychophysiology Research Assistant, Molecular Pathology Research Assistant, McNulty Scholars Program, Brooklyn Hospital Center Volunteer, Global Health Brigades.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: 30-35 hours per week.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Examkrackers 3-month spring course

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes, I took two gap years. My first gap year was spent living abroad in Taiwan and working as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. I wanted to take the time and opportunity to grow as an individual after graduation, to reconnect with my cultural and ethnic roots in Asia, and to experience life in a different country. During my second gap year I focused on my medical school applications and interviews; during this time, I worked as a medical scribe and medical assistant to obtain experience in the emergency department setting, observe the styles of various attending physicians, and build a foundation in patient interaction and writing a comprehensive patient chart.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: My application has a strong and consistent internal narrative that is present throughout the personal statement, my descriptions of extracurriculars and most meaningful experiences, and my secondary application essays. I focused primarily on telling my story and reflecting on my reasons for pursuing medicine, which I believe infused my application with humanity and honesty. I also take great pride and care in my writing and consider my writing style and attention to detail to be contributory factors to the strength of my application.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes, I applied to a variety of schools in different states along the East Coast of the United States.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Hunter Pre-Health Advising Office was incredibly supportive and present throughout the application process. Starting the Committee Letter application process early helped me organize my thoughts and write about my experiences in a way that made tackling the AMCAS application far less intimidating when it came time to start. Kemile's willingness to read over and provide feedback on several iterations of my personal statement and secondary essays allowed me to constantly make improvements to my writing and gave perspective to my experiences. Especially when I was writing my application from thousands of miles away in Taiwan, being able to schedule calls with Kemile despite the time difference helped me to stay focused and committed to the process ahead of me. When it came to interview preparation, Veronica was an absolute joy to practice interview skills with and, particularly with MMI preparation, she took the extra step to research the process extensively and make the mock interview prompts as realistic as possible. The thoughtful conversations I had with her allowed me to enter my first few interviews with a sense of confidence and calm that only improved with further practice. I would not be where I am today without the encouragement, advice, and genuine care of the Pre-Health Advising Office!

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: The path to medical school and to becoming a successful physician is a long-term commitment; it is a marathon that does not begin and end with just this application process. Practice patience and cultivate endurance as much as possible. Be kind to yourself, share your successes and failures with your loved ones, and find activities outside of medicine that will develop your humanity—these are what will keep you sane throughout the application process and your career in medicine. Always start early when you can (i.e. try to submit your primary close to the AMCAS opening date and keep your turnaround time on secondaries to 2 weeks or less) and give yourself time to address errors, misunderstandings, and the inevitable unfortunate situations that will be outside of your control. Applying to medical school is an extensive, arduous process—treat it as a learning experience, avoid comparing yourself to others in the process, and stay confident that you are a worthy applicant. Best of luck!

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: The Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: The way I see it, studying and practicing medicine allows one to satisfy the craving for scientific curiosity and exploration, and at the same time have the ability to guide patients on a path to health and longevity by teaching them about the world around them and the world that exists within each of our bodies. This is the aspect of medicine that I find unique and rewarding.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Research: 1) Chemistry Lab at Queens College; 2) Biology Lab at City College; and 3) Sinai Research Associate

Mount Sinai Hospital ED C.A.R.E Volunteer

Shadowing: 1) Emergency Medicine Physicians at Mt. Sinai; and 2) Local Pediatrician

Community Service/Leadership: 1) Founder of BRIDGE Program at Jewish Institute of Queens—Exposing young children in religious environment to scientific experiments; 2) Founder of College Insider at FHHS—Helping students with their college applications; 3) Senior Legacy Committee at Hunter, and 4) Pre-Health Mentoring Initiative at Hunter

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: Outside of going to classes, ~10 hours per week for science courses; 1-5 hours for other courses

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: No, I self-studied. I think anyone who has good study habits and discipline can self-study and do well!

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: No.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: Aside from having solid extracurriculars, a definite strength of my application are my GPA and MCAT score. When I got a 509 on my first MCAT exam, I knew I had it in me to score higher. I studied harder and more diligently for the second time and scored a 519. My MCAT score jump was a big topic of discussion in my interviews and med schools seemed to like it. However, it's important to remember that GPA + MCAT only get you through the door. Your extracurriculars and your letters of recommendation take you the rest of the way.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: I applied mostly in the Northeast area. I did apply to 20 schools, though.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: Since the first day, Kemile made sure that I was on the right track with volunteering, research etc. For example, I started my volunteering at Sinai in my freshman year because of the workshop that the prehealth office held that introduced us to this volunteering opportunity. I always felt that I could come in and talk to any of the advisors about any question or concern that I had. Additionally, Nina and Veronica helped me tremendously with my application (essay, secondaries, mock interviews, etc.).

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: It's never too early to get involved in extracurriculars. You don't want to have to do volunteering, research, shadowing, etc. all at once in your fourth year or in your gap year.

It's easier to maintain a high GPA than to start off rough and have to work your way back up.

Try to retain as much information as possible from your science classes, as this information WILL show up again on your MCAT.

It’s never too early to start accumulating letters of recommendation from your professors into your prehealth file. It's a lot tougher to ask for a letter a few semesters later (when the professor doesn't remember you as well)

Avoid burning yourself out by living a balanced life, exercising, and having good friendships/support system!

 


 


Q: Which school are you attending?

A: Weill Cornell Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: My fascination with the meticulous design of the human body and my love of science, along with my desire to be of help to the ill, are all reasons I decided to pursue medicine.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Metagenomics research at WCM; Biochemistry and organic chemistry adjunct lecturer at Hunter College; Chemical education research at Hunter College; Volunteer at Methodist and NYU Langone hospitals; Shadowing physicians in the ER and in clinics; Student government rep at Macaulay Honors College; President of Macaulay Pre-health Professions Club; Studied sociology abroad in Florence, Italy

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A:15-20 hours.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A:Yes—but in retrospect, I think I shouldn't have. Self-studying would've been best.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: YES!! Best decision I've ever made! Highly recommend. Undergrad, MCAT, and the application are all very exhausting and lead to burnout. A year off to reset, travel, or get a full-time job are all great reasons to take a gap year. It also helps build discipline, maturity, and character.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I think my first-author publication was a great strength in my application, along with my letters of recommendation and my personal statement.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: I applied mainly on the East Coast to 14 schools in total.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The pre-health advising office has a lot of experience with past students applying. They know what is required of you as a student. Kemile has been a great mentor during my undergrad career, always available to discuss my plans and guide me. Veronica and Nina were instrumental during the application cycle—proofreading essays and conducting mock interviews to help prepare me.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: The entire process is difficult and exhausting—and you will have setbacks along the way, whether that is a course you didn't do well in, a research position you wanted but didn't get, a high MCAT score that seems impossible to achieve, etc—and that is okay. Just remember that in the grand scheme of things, if this is what you are really passionate about, you'll always find a way!

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending
A: Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: Physicians have a rare opportunity to provide assistance to individuals in a wide range of environments. Apart from the obvious clinical applications, physicians have the flexibility to engage in scientific research, medical education, and public policy, if they so choose. I thought that pursuing an MD allowed me best to pursue all of my interests.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: I engaged in a wide range of extracurriculars: Senior Health Educator for Peer Health Exchange, Undergraduate Researcher in Dr. Pereira's Neurobiology Lab, CARE I and CARE II at Mount Sinai Hospital,New York Cares Volunteer, and Hunter College Student Government.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: It depended on the semester, and more specifically on which science courses I was taking. The low end was 10 hours a week, and the high end was 30 hours a week.

Q: Did you use a test prep course for the MCAT?
A: Yes, I used the ExamKrackers online course, although I did have some concerns regarding the course. The books were fantastic, although the Psych/Social book should definitely be supplemented with a Kaplan book for increased terminology, and the course kept me on a convenient and timely schedule. However, the course itself was largely unhelpful, as the material was not taught in significant enough detail.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: I did take a GAP year. I took the gap year because I didn't feel comfortable taking the MCAT during my junior year, when I had some of my toughest coursework. I felt much better studying for the MCAT the winter of my senior year, when my most difficult course was Biochemistry. The GAP year also allowed me to work a little , and save some money, while expanding my clinical repertoire.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I think that I had a generally strong application, but my grades (3.94) and MCAT score (523) certainly helped my application stand out against a sea of strong applicants.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: I did to some extent. I applied to two schools on the West Coast, two schools in the Midwest, and 156 schools on the East Coast.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: For me personally, the Pre-Health Office was most useful during the application process, when it was able to give me assistance with interview preparation, application editing, and school selection.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Two pieces of advice come to mind: On Studying for the MCAT—Everyone is going to be different, but I think that it is crucial to study for the MCAT with as little stress as possible. That sounds difficult, but it can be done by putting yourself in a good situation with coursework, and suppressing your personal stress as much as possible. One of the primary reasons that individual grades differ substantially from their AAMC practice tests (other tests are not as reliable), is because they panic on test day. Remember that all tests are standardized, and should theoretically give you similar scores, as long as you remain calm and take it in a similar mindset as when you take your practice tests. In addition, on study for CARS: CARS prep is crucial, but studying for it is meaningless if you don't find a method that works for you. Everybody is going to have a different technique to maximize their CARS section. Spend your initial CARS studying trying out different methods, and find the technique that works for you. Only then, focus on consistently doing CARS practice.

On Applying to Medical School—Your primary application should emphasize the strongest aspects of your application, but in your secondary essays and interviews, you should discuss the topics that are special to you. Personally, I discussed my LGBT background and passion for medical education, but honestly, it can be anything, as long as it's important to you, and you can discuss it passionately in an interview. It helps you stand out, and leaves a stronger impression on your reader/interviewer.

 


 

Q: What school are you attending?
A: The Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: A series of childhood experiences is what initially drove me to explore a career as a physician. Growing up, I saw my mother treat patients for free in rural Bangladesh and saw how grateful people were to be able to see a physician. Moreover, as a child with severe asthma, I frequented hospitals and begun to have the same appreciation for doctors. Additionally, I gained a deep appreciation for the natural sciences as a chemistry major while an undergraduate student. The opportunity to participate in a field driven by evidence based research and scientific innovation, while also serving people in a very direct and personal way in a time of vulnerability is what ultimately cemented my decision to pursue medicine as a career.

Q: What Extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Research: Two wet-lab research experiences (one multi-year experience at NYU School of Medicine, and one summer research program at New York Stem Cell Foundation) and multiple teaching experiences (TA for physics 110, co-founder of a volunteer tutoring. organization)

Clinical Shadowing: Surgical oncology at NYU Langone.

Clinical Volunteering: Summer College IntensiveProgram at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and Vice President of the South Asian Health and Development Initiative at the Macaulay Honors College

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A. 10-15 hours.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes, I used the Princeton Review Ultimate Course Online. I felt that the course was very useful for me as I was studying for MCAT while also a full-time student. The course organized all the content for me and since it was an online recorded class, I could pause and rewind the lecture at any time to take notes. The Princeton Review Course also came with all the AAMC practice exams, which were extremely helpful.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: I did not take a gap year.

Q: What did you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I think my MCAT and GPA certainly helped me stand out in the national pool, enough to obtain an interview. At the interview stage, I believe my passion for my extracurricular activities, namely teaching and research, really showed and helped me stand out. Additionally, my interview preparation and general interview performance is something I believe to key strengths. It's really important to be a genuine and personable human being during these interviews.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: I did not apply nationally. I applied mainly throughout the northeast and to one school in the South.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Advising Office helped immensely with reading and editing my AMCAS application, with interview preparation and mock interviews, and just with overall support during this long and stressful process.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Preparation is key. Know what you're getting into when you apply: know all the deadlines, general timeline, and common practices and tips for the AMCAS. Anticipate the financial costs of applying. Submit everything as early as possible WITHOUT compromising on quality. Try to find multiple people you can send your application to for edits (sending your application to the same person multiple times is not recommended as they are likely busy as well). Be very smart when creating your school list; in order to maximize acceptance offers, apply mainly to schools with average MCAT and GPA numbers that are close to your stats. Prepare thoroughly for interviews; use online forums and websites to research interview questions and then practice answering those questions and selling yourself. Above all, take care of your mental and physical health. This application process is a marathon, not a sprint.

 


 

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: The field of medicine uniquely offers a career of life-long learning and discovery in the biomedical sciences, the opportunity to dedicate one's service to people suffering pain and enduring challenges to their health and quality of life, and the ultimate opportunity to serve as the focal point on the top of the proverbial pyramid for patient care and treatment.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Research: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Dr. Glenn Schafe's Lab of the Hunter College Psychology Department, and poster convention presentations

Clinical Volunteering: Volunteer Intern at Bellevue Hospital Psychiatric Department

Shadowing: Local Podiatrist

Community Service/Leadership: Eye-to-Eye Mentor for Students with Learning Disabilities, Math/Science Tutor, Summer Camp Counselor at Hebrew Academy for Special Children, Volunteer for the Homeless Outreach Population Estimate, Member of Hunter Hillel, Member of Hunter College Pre-Health Organization

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes, I used Kaplan.

Q: Did you keep a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes, I graduated in December 2017 and strategized to spend approximately four months afterwards to MCAT studying, application preparation (personal statement, work/activities, etc.) and some light extra-curricular work, such as shadowing. After adequately preparing for my MCAT and scoring well, I shifted to putting the finishing touches on my application, selecting the schools I would like to apply to, and ultimately submitting at an optimal time in the cycle in mid-late June. Afterwards, I dedicated time to preparing my secondary applications in order to complete and submit them as soon as possible. Upon completion of the application process, I secured a position working in a local pediatric practice, where I worked for the majority of my gap year. In addition, I supplement my work in the pediatric practice with hospital volunteering and shadowing. My extra-curricular work during my gap year was always a point of discussion during my interviews.

I detail my activities post-graduation like this because I felt it was integral to my success as an applicant. I strongly felt that my well-planned MCAT and application preparation along with my consistent, meaningful extra-curricular engagement allowed me to present the best version of my application to admission committees.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I feel that my strong MCAT score and GPA are what got me noticed by admission committees. However, I believe that the passion and narrative illustrated through my personal statement, extra-curricular work, and letters of recommendation are what set me apart from other applicants and allowed admission committees to determine whether I was the best fit for their particular school.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes, but the schools I applied to were exclusively on the East Coast and primarily in the Northeast.

Q: How did the Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: One of the highlights of this journey was the relationships I developed with the Pre-Health Advising Office, who I often refer to as my “team.” The mentorship, guidance, and support they provided me throughout this entire journey was absolutely pivotal to my success. They helped point out weaknesses in my application that I would not have caught otherwise, they worked closely with me in constructing my personal statement, helped me select schools to apply to, coached me in preparing for interviews, and much, much more. I implore every pre-med student to meet with them regularly and keep them close throughout the process.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Prioritize your GPA and MCAT score. While extra-curriculars and letters of recommendation are very important to your application, your GPA and MCAT are the meat-and-potatoes. These two components should be prioritized before everything else. Pursue your passions. Find extra-curricular activities that you will truly enjoy and grow from. They will provide the framework of the narrative of your application. Try to avoid ones that are merely box checkers. These can be unmotivating and do not provide you nearly as much as value, both extrinsically and intrinsically, to your application. Construct a plan and set realistic goals. Map out your application from coursework and MCAT prep to extra-curricular work and school selection. This will provide you a roadmap to guide and keep you focused on what you need to accomplish to reach the ultimate goal of getting into the school you are striving for.

Establish a foundation to deal with the inevitable and understandable stress of this process. Whether it's exercise, spending time with friends and family, or just “taking a break,” develop healthy coping strategies that will allow you to keep forging forward in the face of different obstacles and challenges. These types of habits will be invaluable to your success.

Lastly, not only should you trust the process, but never forget to ENJOY the process. With all the twists and turns, mountains and valleys, my personal journey to getting accepted to medical school has been the most rewarding and meaningful process of my life. I have developed invaluable skills, learned life-long lessons, and experienced unforgettable moments. Enjoy the ride.

 


 

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Research: A biochemistry cancer lab at Hunter College, an HIV and drug abuse lab at Hunter College, and a bioengineering orthopedics lab at the Icahn School of Medicine.

Clinical Volunteering: Hospital volunteer at New York Presbyterian–Weill Cornell Medical Center, and Sexual Assault and Violence Advocate at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Extracurriculars: Ballroom dancer, Co-Editior-in-Chief of The Pre-Halth Diaries blog.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: It definitely varied, but between 20 to 340 hours a week.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: I self-studied for the MCAT and used the Scott Roberts (ThinkMCAT) course.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: I took 2 gap years, during which I worked in an orthopedics lab. I decided on taking 2 gap years in order to fully develop my application and to gain full-time working experience.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I believe my strengths were my letters of recommendation, my personal statement, and my extracurricular activities.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: I applied to medical schools in the Northeast region.

Q: How did the Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health office helped me with personal statement editing, interviewing practice and with keeping my morale high throughout the medical school application process.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Pursue what you are PASSIONATE about, seek out mentorship and always believe in yourself.

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Research work at NYU and Memorial Sloan Kettering, the SCORE Program, the EnCORE program, global volunteer mission and community service work. I also served as an art curator, volunteer art therapist, community service volunteer through NY Cares and Operation Smile and H2H, and founder of a summer art camp. I presented my research through poster and oral presentations at multiple conferences.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: 40 hours per week.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: I used a combination of materials to prepare for the MCAT. I studied the Kaplan and Examkrackers book and took the Examkrackers course. I also used Next Step and AAMC practice exams.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I was able to integrate my passion for both science and art and show how they both function together in medicine. I focused on ensuring that my academics were strong, both GPA and MCAT wise. I participated in activities not for the sake of checking off a box but because I was passionate about them and demonstrated how that shaped my decision to pursue medicine.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: No. I only applied in the Northeast.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Focus on all aspects of your application and make sure you form a cohesive narrative about how your past, present and future come together in the pursuit of medicine.

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Harvard Medical School

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Research: Two chemsitry labs at Hunter College, Six Week Nuclear Fuel Cycle Summer Program at UNLV, Research Associate in the Emergency Department and New York Presbyterian Hospital, and Research Technician at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Clinical Volunteering: Patient Escort at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Cardiac ICU volunteer at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Shadowing: Emergency Medicine physician at NYP, Critical Care surgeon at NYP

Community Service: Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen volunteer

Leadership: Organic Chemistry TA at Hunter College and Treasurer of Chemistry Club at Hunter College

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: It was dependent on the course and whether I had an upcoming exam. If there were no exam, I would generally just review my notes before class; if there were an exam, I would study somewhere around 30 hours a week leading up to it.

Q: Did you use a test prep course
A: I did not use a test prep course for the MCAT. Instead, I self-studied.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: Aside from my GPA and MCAT score, I consider the strength of my application to be my letters of recommendation. Generally, most (if not all) medical school applicants will have some sort of clinical volunteering, research, and community service experience, but, in my opinion, what separates each applicant is the relationship that he/she develops with his/her mentors/advisors, which becomes apparent from each letter of recommendation. A positive and meaningful relationship will only help you in the long run.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: I applied broadly (27 schools), however most of the schools I applied to were in the Northeast region.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: This is a very stressful process, but thousands of applicants go through it every year and thousands of applicants are accepted to medical school every year. There is no reason why you can't be one of them. In order to be successful, however, you must make sure that you do not rush. Do not rush to take the MCAT and do not rush to apply to medical school. If you need to, take a gap year (best decision of my life). Apply when you are ready: only you will know when the time is right.



Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Q: What extra-curriculars did you participate in?
A: Volunteering at senior centers, flag football, CHF patient education, community mapping/outreach, pancreatic cancer research, public health testing, global health service trips.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: 10-12.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Kaplan course and books, Examkrackers books, AAMC practice tests.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: My extracurriculars.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: I applied mainly to the Northeast, but pretty widely across states. I also applied to Texas schools through TMDSAS.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Show medical schools what you are passionate about through the activities that you dedicate your time to. Make sure your extracurricular work reflects things that you are genuinely interested in.

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: I will be attending George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?

A: I was in a position financially where I had to maintain close to full time employment during my undergraduate studies at Hunter. During my first two years at Hunter I managed a halfway house for young women struggling with substance abuse and mental health problems. After that, I moved into a job in the service industry, but continued to serve as a mentor to young at risk women.

I spent a year volunteering in the burn ICU at Weill Cornell New York Presbyterian, and another year participating in the Emergency Department Research Associate program at the same hospital.

I tutored high school students in biology and chemistry, and I dedicated my remaining spare time to artistic interests like playing guitar and songwriting.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: The amount of time I spent studying really varied based on the courses I was taking and the amount of hours I had to work at my job. If I had to guess, I would say that I spent an average of 15 hours a week studying.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes, I used a Kaplan course and I also took some online classes through THINK MCAT.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I would say that the strengths in my application were my personal statement and meaningful experience essays. I think this is due, in part, to my background as a non-traditional pre-med student. I wasn't able to go to college right out of high school, and by the time I made it to Hunter I had already had two careers (one in the performing arts and another in fashion). I feel as though the experience I gained along my non-traditional path to medical school set me apart from other applicants. Because there were certainly plenty of applicants that had better grades and MCAT scores than I did, and who had more time to devote to gaining clinical and research experience. Yet, I got into multiple medical schools!

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes, but mainly I focused on the East Coast.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Work hard and do your best, but also don't obsess about measuring up to your fellow pre-meds (that means at Hunter and on all of those message boards that no one admits to reading). What you might think of as a personal shortcoming, may be the thing that sets you apart from everyone else come application season.

Make time to meet with your pre-health advisors regularly, and get to know them! I know that this can seem like a daunting task at a school the size of Hunter, but it only takes a little extra planning and coordination of schedules. They are experts at preparing students to apply to medical school, and they want you to succeed. Listen to them!

Form relationships early on with professors that you respect and want to learn from. Your work will improve for it, and you'll be building the connections necessary for getting solid letters of recommendation come application season. Also, ask for your recommendation letters as early as possible!

Take an MCAT practice test early on, even if you don't plan on taking the MCAT for a year or two, just to see what it is like. Kemile gave me this advice and I wish I would have taken it because the experience would have definitely informed my study habits for the hard-science courses I took.

Don't give up.


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: I am attending Harvard School of Medicine

Q: What extra-curriculars did you participate in?
A: Pre-Health Organization, Pre-Health Student Advisory Council, Organic Chemistry TA, Hunter College Liberty Partnership Program, Science-related HS mentoring program.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: 40.

Q: Did you use a test prepK course?
A: Yes—Kaplan with instructor David Elson.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: My recommendation letters and my personal statement.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: To work diligently and stay focused, to listen to the advice of your mentors and advisors, to apply only when you are in the position to have the strongest application, including a successful MCAT score, and to remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

 


 


Q: Which school are you attending?

A: SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: Growing up in a community that was regularly losing women to childbirth.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: I volunteered as a teacher at my local mosque; I was a member of the Muslim Student Association; I was an intern at the Staten Island University Hospital; I also served as the Vice President of the Out-In-Two Club and a tutor/peer mentor

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: 15-20 hours.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: No.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes. I took 2 gap years. I was interested in doing research and gaining some experiences beyond the classroom. I volunteered as a research assistant during my first gap year. For my second gap year, I took the MCAT, applied to medical schools and traveled. Fortunately for me, I developed a passion for watercolor art during this time and was able to show my paintings during my medical school interviews!

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: My personal statement and letters of recommendation. I spent a long time preparing my personal statement and getting it reviewed. As for the letters of recommendation, one of my interviewers said to me “your professors love you.” I think that statement says it all.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: While the workshops and the deadlines might seem like a lot of work, especially for a transfer student, don't let that scare you. Applying to medical school is a huge investment both time wise and money wise. Having some guidance along the way could really determine whether or not you get into a program. I truly believe that the workshops and appointments helped ease the overall application process for me.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Don't hesitate to reach out and ask for help when you need it. You are definitely going to encounter some challenges and it makes the journey less lonely when you have people to rely upon. In your application, make sure every single aspect is a piece in answering the question “why medicine?”

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Weill Cornell Medical College.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: The quick answer is destiny! Starting in middle school, my science teacher realized that I excelled in science so he encouraged me to explore this “gift.” At the same time, I enjoyed shows like House M.D. and the medical aspects of Grey's Anatomy. I simply loved how health science was such a relatable and applicable field to everyday life. Going forward, I ran across peers, professors, and friends who continued to mentor and cheer me on. When I began to think more broadly about the world and the direction I wanted my life to take, I decided that I want to have a positive impact on my family and my community by becoming a doctor. There is nothing more important than your health, and I would like to help patients change the way that they view their bodies and the vast impact that small changes can have on their health.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: I wrote pre-med articles for an online magazine from time to time. I volunteered at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in Tampa, Florida, and at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. I was also part of a woman's empowerment group called Phenomenal Women Latina, which provides mentorship and guidance. Most of my experiences came from various jobs that I held throughout high school and college.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: It depended on the semester and the job that I held at the time but I will say 6 hours per week. I used the long commute times and gaps between classes to get most of my studying done.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes. Princeton Review. However, in my opinion the course was not worth the money except for the books. The practice exams were too difficult and not reflective of the actual MCAT. The best resource I used was the AAMC material (all of their question packs and exams) and discussing questions with peers who were also studying for the MCAT.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes, I did because once I graduated from Hunter College I realized that I did not have much experience outside of the classroom. Up until that time, all I had was a few jobs under my belt, and zero clinical and research experience. Luckily, I managed to get a job at NYU-Langone, which offered all the enriching clinical and research experience to strengthen my application for the 2018-2019 application cycle.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: My personal statement and letters of recommendations. Although I did not read any of my letters of recommendation, I believe that the people I chose to write on my behalf know me better than I know myself, and were able to convey my strengths.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A:No. Only schools in New York City and one school in New Jersey.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: Fortunately, I took advantage of the services that this office provides. All of the Pre-Health staff were supportive and provided constructive criticism that I took seriously. Without the advice of the Pre-Health Office, I know I would not have been accepted this cycle.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: You may hear this many times just as I did but my advice is to be your true authentic self! When writing your personal statement and experiences, when answering secondary essay questions, and when interviewing—be yourself. You know how we all get that hunch when someone is not being genuine? You best believe that interviewers can see that too. During the interview process, I came to recognize that all medical schools are really looking for is real human beings who are going to succeed and contribute wonderful things to their program. So do not misrepresent yourself on paper, and do not misrepresent yourself in person!

One other important thing is to trust the process. What I mean by this is that I counted myself out so many times because I knew my metrics weren't the best. However, once I received medical school interviews, I realized that the selection process is truly holistic, which I was completely skeptical about in the beginning. During interviews, I knew that this was my opportunity to shine, to be myself, and to show these schools that they made the right choice by giving me this opportunity.

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: VP–Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Hunter College (Fall 2015-Spring 2016); VP–Chinese Student Union, Hunter College (Fall 2014-Spring 2016); Volunteer/Intern, Wellcome Health Clinic (May 2014-May 2016: over 300 hrs); Voter Registration Volunteer, AALDEF (Spring 2015); Junior Senator, Hunter USG (Fall 2014-Spring 2015); Undergraduate Researcher (Matsui Group), Department of Chemistry at Hunter College (Summer 2013-Summer 2015); Public Health Intern, APICHA (Summer 2014); FSDC member, Hunter USG (FALL 2013-SPRING 2014); MARKETING TEAM MEMBER, CUNYfirst (Fall 2013-Spring 2014); Volunteer, NYPH-WCMC (August 2013-July 2014: over 200 hrs); and Employment: SHSAT tutor, RiteAid cashier, Chinese dessert preparer

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: I spend an average of 15 hours a week studying for my courses at Hunter College.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: I did not use any test prep course for the MCAT. I used the ExamKrackers MCAT Review and did the practice MCAT exams available through the AAMC.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: There are three things that I believe are the strengths in my application: my GPA, my MCAT score, and the diversity in my extracurricular activities. My GPA (3.89) and MCAT score (96th percentile on the old MCAT) helped me secure an interview. From there, the diversity of my extracurricular activities offer multiple talking points throughout my interviews.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: I applied to 20 MD programs throughout the US; 10 are in New York State and 10 outside of New York State. I received 7 interviews; 6 were from programs in New York State and 1 outside of New York State.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: My biggest advice, aside from securing a solid GPA, above average MCAT score, and leadership opportunities through your extracurricular activities, would be to apply as early as possible during the application cycle. By having your completed application in as early as possible, it will be one of the first batches that the admissions committee look at. If they give you an interview, you would get one of the earlier ones (as early as late July). If you do well enough, you will get an early acceptance (as early as mid-October). After completing that first interview, subsequent interviews will feel like a stroll through the park; after securing that first acceptance, do I even have to tell you how happy you will be? However, applying late does not mean the end of the world. I finished my secondary application in October, got interviews in February and March, and still got into medical school. But it was a stressful period when my friends were getting acceptances while I was still waiting for interviews. So, be smart and apply early!

 


 


Q: Which school are you attending?

A: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?

Interning, Volunteering, and Research at New York Presbyte3rian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine; The Macaulay Messenger (online newspaper for the Macaulay community); Hunter Health (a website for Hunter pre-health students to contribute writing/visual art pieces); The MacZBlog (A Macualay Hunter student blog); and poetry and photography as hobbies

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?

A: It varied from week to week. I became a better studier as my undergraduate studies progressed. I would make sure to do at least a light review of each lecture as soon as I could after each session so that my studying never became too overwhelming and to avoid cramming the night before an exam.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?

A: Yes, Kaplan.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?

A: My clinical exposure and my ability to speak about my experiences from a patient-centered perspective. My ability to tie in my love of writing and storytelling into my passion for medicine. The fact that I put in a lot of time to make sure that the narrative that I was portraying was clear, concise, and an honest reflection of my experiences.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: No, I only applied to schools in the Northeast.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Participate in extracurricular activities that you're actually interested in. Don't do anything just because you think the admissions office will like it. Experiment with different study methods, and develop good, consistent study habits. Experiment with different study methods, and develop good, consistent study habits. Create a good support system of family, friends, and mentors who will help guide you over the course of your journey.

 


 

Rochester Early Assurance Program (EAP)

Q: What school will you be attending?
A: University of Rochester School of Medicine (Early Assurance Program).

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: In short, my curiosity is what first sparked my interest in science. As I navigated through high school, opportunities to volunteer or participate in hospital programs became available. My curiosity for science then merged with medicine and it was not long before I not only wanted to be able to explore the human body and all its functions, but also to use that knowledge to treat patients.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Summer Health Education Program—Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; C.A.R.E. Volunteer—Mount Sinai Emergency Department; Undergraduate Researcher—Dr. Likhtik Biology Lab, Hunter College; Organic Chemistry Tutor—Skirball Science Learning Center; President of Latino Medical Student Association +; Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship—University of Rochester School of Medicine.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: I usually spent between 20-30 hours a week studying. As I progressed through college, I learned to create study plans which would include breaks to avoid feeling burned out. Something as simnple as taking a break to eat a snack can make a difference.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: The early assurance program at the University of Rochester School of Medicine does not require the MCAT.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: This early assurance program lets you matriculate into medical school after graduating from college.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I consider my personal statement, recommendation letters and extracurricular activites to be strengths in my application.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: N/A.

Q: How did the Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Advising Office informed me about the early assurance program. They also provided me with feedback on my personal statement for medical school as well as preparing me for my interviews.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: I would recommend getting involved with the Pre-Health Office early on. All the pre-health advisors are there to help you reach your goals. I would also advise all premed students to do their best to take care of their emotional health. This track can be very stressful but having strong support systems and/or hobbies can help alleviate that stress. Lastly, do not be afraid to ask for help! You will not know everything and that is fine. Look into the various resources Hunter has to offer such as free tutoring, office hours, TA's, advisors etc. and turn to them for help.

 


 

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: University of Rochester School of Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: I was drawn to a career as a doctor as I witnessed a cultural and social disconnect of the healthcare system within my immediate family, but also realized this was a greater problem experienced by many in minority and immigrant communities. Throughout college, I became interested in careers in Public Health, which could have a greater impact on a larger community, but also realized the value of one on one interpersonal communication and how valuable that is for an individual's health. I chose to apply to the Early Assurance Program at the University of Rochester after my sophomore year and I was fortunately accepted.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Model UN, Peer Health Exchange, Hunter College Men's Tennis

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: The average varied per semester. When I was taking pre-med requisite such as Biology and Organic Chemistry, I was probably studying close to 20 hours a week. As I became an upperclassman, the course load became more manageable and I became better at time management.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: I was not required to take the MCAT as an early assurance student at the University of Rochester School of Medicine.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: As an early applicant to Rochester, I will proceed directly from graduation to medical school.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I believe my personal statement was a strength. It is important to draw from personal experiences, to not only tell a story, but to show you overcame obstacles, and highlight your experiences, while considering a career in medicine. For an early assurance program, it was important to have good grades in the sciences as they have less information to make a judgment on.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: N/A.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: When I told the Pre-Health office I was interested in applying to the EAP program and Rochester, Kemile Jackson immediately urged me to apply without any hesitation, which calmed any doubts I had about myself as an early assurance applicant. The office helped me fine tune my personal statement, and once I was offerred an interview, I was given the opportunity to practice with someone from the office, which gave me more control and confidence over an interview situation. Once I was accepted, I was again urged and encouraged to apply and win the Jonas E. Salk CUNY Research Award, which I might not have applied for otherwise.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: If I were to give advice to myself earlier in college, I would emphasize to put in hard work in the courses you are currently taking, and try to find a volunteer experience that is well aligned with your personal goals. Worrying about applications should not be done earlier in college as those things will fall into place. Focus on classes, and do not forget the little things such as course evals, and recommendations. One of the best things you can do for yourself as a pre-health student is to meet regularly with the pre-health office to discuss your strengths in weaknesses.


 

FlexMed

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: I will be attending the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. I was accepted through the FlexMed Program, which offers students admission to the MD program during their second year of undergraduate studies. Admitted students do not take the MCAT and may not apply to other medical schools.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: I became committed to joining the medical field after shadowing a doctor in my hometown of East Flatbush. I wanted to serve my community by returning to the neighborhood my parents lived in when they first came to this country. This doctor showed me the importance of treating a patient within the context of their ethnic and socioeconomic background. This experience opened my eyes to the intersection of economics and healthcare, which cemented my interest in pursuing a career in medicine.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Vice President—Students Partnering and Reaching Kids, Macaulay Honors College, March 2016-June 2018; Chief Mentor—Macaulay at Hunter Peer Mentor Program, August 2016-June 2019; Mount Sinai Research Associate, October 2016-August 2017; Summer Research Fellow—SUNY Downstate Medical Center, May 2017-July 2017; Organic Chemistry Tutor—The Skirball Science Learning Center, September 2017-June 2018; Investment Analysis Fellow—Deerfield Management ,June 2018-March 2019; and Shadowing: Family Medicine (6 months), Otolarynology (4 months).

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: I spent about 4 hours of dedicated study time daily (including weekends), with an additional 2-4 hours of non-dedicated study time, which included studying with friends or studying in a non-controlled environment (i.e. doing errands while studying in between, watching TV while completing practice sets). I think having these two study styles helped me to have more than 4 hours of dedicated study time without seeing friends or doing other things I enjoy.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: N/A.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: No, I did not take a gap year.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: My application included experiences in diverse fields related to medicine. I think it's important to show that you're well-rounded in your application because everyone has good grades, so your good grades won't necessarily be the thing that sets you apart.

I also secured strong letters of recommendation from people who could each speak about unique professional, personal, and academic experiences with me. I made sure that each of my recommenders could highlight different aspects of my character and I believe this helped my application significantly.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: N/A.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health department was instrumental in encouraging me to apply to the FlexMed Program. The office also held workshops which taught me best practices for applying to some of the extracurriculars which strengthened my FlexMed application.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Worry about the quality of your experiences, not the quantity of them. It's a given that pre-med students must check off certain boxes in order to be a successful applicant for most schools, but I think it's really important to find opportunities that fit the necessary criteria AND have a significant impact on your experience as a student. Taking the time to understand your goals and interests outside of the traditional requirements will result in a better application in the long run.

 


 

M.D./MBA

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Tulane University School of Medicine

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: Healthcare uniquely integrates many aspects of professional life that I find fulfilling. Medicine applies scientific rigor to improve the well-being of individuals in a way that supports the interests of people in their greatest need and lifts up populations through advocacy, activism, and the promotion of social justice. 

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A:During undergraduate studies I engaged in benchtop research at two laboratories, tutored sciences to students through organizations and privately. Eventually, I had the opportunity to teach MCAT prep at Kaplan, general chemistry at KBCC, spent a year as a VISTA at AmeriCorps, mentored students in middle school, high school, and college as well as career changers through various organizations, worked as a media producer at the NHL, a certified home health attendant, and a nurse tech.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: When I finally was able to get a solid grasp on the way I would spend about 40 hours a week studying.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: I studied on my own to prep for the MCAT.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: I had to take multiple gap years to entirely rebuild my application and address my low undergraduate GPA. My major gap year activities at a glance: Physiology MS at Georgetown, Americorps and teaching, a year of advanced coursework, and a fresh MCAT score. I also constantly networked and attended various medical school events.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: A strong MCAT score and great extracurriculars along with a depth of volunteerism. My general life experiences are diverse and quite unique. I demonstrated a strong upward trend and perseverance in reaching my goals.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: I applied nationally to allopathic schools.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Advising Office hosted many informative events that exposed me to networking and volunteer opportunities. Importantly, the advising I received has helped me to craft a cohesive application that was a good reflection of my personality and motivations. Specifically, I received guidance that helped me to decide which opportunities I should pursue to maximize the impact of my application in the future. I also benefitted from essay help, an improved school list, and a letter packet service for the AMCAS.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Do not give up. Identify your strengths, cultivate those strengths and address weaknesses. Learn how to improve your time management and study habits (learn spaced repetition, don't cram, etc) Take care of your physical and emotional well-being; it directly translates into your performance. Volunteer in a way that you feel is a meaningful way to give back; you will learn more and probably will make a greater impact this way. Support your peers:medicine is cooperative, and we are social creatures. It is necessary to be kind and understanding, as that will cultivate a better social circle and provide much needed support on your journey.

 


 

Physical Therapy

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Hunter College's Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: The PT profession strikes a perfect work-life balance while providing countless avenues to optimize patients' quality of life across a spectrum of abilities, motivate patients to achieve feats they never believed possible, and see patients through the course of their rehabilitation journeys.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Research Experience: 1) Burke Neurological Institute (Summer Science Scholar), 2) Hunter College Biological Anthropology Department (spring semester student researcher); Leadership: 1) Human Biology peer mentor, 2) A&P tutor at Hunter's Skirball Science Learning Center; Community Service: 1) Volunteer with Project Ezra at the Riverside Premier Rehab & Healing Center Nursing Home, 2) Volunteer trainer with Achilles Kids; Observation: 1) Alta Physical Therapy (100 hours out-patient), 2) Mount Sinai West Hospital (130 hours in-patient rehab and 20 hours acute med-surge oncology); Clincial Work Experience: PT Aide at Professional Physical Therapy.

Q: How many hourts on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: ~35.

Q: Did you use a test prep course
A: I prepared for the GRE using the ETS books, including The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test and their Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions. I also utilized ETS's free practice exams as well as the free practice exams from: Manhattan Prep, Crunch Prep, Kaplan, and Princeton Review.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes, I did. The gap year offered me the opportunity to gain further experience in the field of PT as a PT aide, to develop my teaching skills as an A&P tutor, study and sit for my GRE exam, write personal statements and complete my PT school applications.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: My strengths included: GPA, GRE scores, research experience, leadership positions, personal statements, and interview preparedness.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: No. I only applied to schools in New York.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: I worked closely with Nina in developing my personal statements for research programs, internships, and ultimately, DPT programs. I further worked with Nina on mock interviews. Kemile assisted me in countless ways during advising sessions.

Q: What advice do you have for others
A: GPA, GRE scores, and clinical experience will decide whether you are invited for an interview. But what sets you apart from the crowd of applicants? I met fellow applicants with experience as a swim coach, in athletic training, a high school math teacher, a husky dog trainer, an event planner, and the list goes on. Determine what makes you unique and how the skills you have cultivated throughout your life are applicable to your chosen profession.

Furthermore, to gain exposure to a variety of PT settings. Consider that PTs work in schools, at homes, in hospitals, out-patient facilities, aquatic therapy settings, and in nursing homes, etc. Rather than thinking about observation hours as a requirement, consider them an opportunity to determine first, is this profession the right fit for me? And second, if so, which niche do I potentially see myself in? Third, do not passively observe the session. Engage with the therapist, ask questions about what you are seeing, and establish a rapport with the patients. Keep a journal log of what you learned that day. Finally, if you have the opportunity to work as a PT aide, you will gain unparalleled experience as a team member in the field of physical therapy.

If you are unsure where to look for research experience, start at Hunter! Work as a volunteer in the lab of a Hunter College faculty member or consider applying for the Spring Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Meet regularly with your advisors: Hunter's CDS' internship advisor, Paula Wicklow, Pre-Health advisors Nina Ledis, Kemile Jackson and Veronica Mitchell, and your major peer advisors. Apply for a summer research opportunity.

Spend your summers at NYU's RUSK HCOP program shadowing PTs, at Burke's Summer HELP program, or engaging in cutting-edge research at one of many undergraduate programs across the US! Work as a tutor in one of Hunter's tutoring centers, a TA, a peer mentor, a student ambassador, or in another position where you will grow as a leader, a researcher, and/or as a teacher.

Apply EARLY! Many schools follow a rolling admissions model and fill up their interview slots on a first come, first serve basis. You're called in for an interview. What now? Schedule several mock interviews and research everything you can about the PT school before the interview date: their curriculum, faculty, research, etc., and prepare your questions accordingly.

Be proactive and never lose sight of why you want to be a PT! Good luck.

 


 

Physician Assistant

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: I will be attending Stony Brook University's PA program.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: I was drawn to the physician assistant profession by the training and flexibility of practice. Training and education to become a PA is condensed into two years. This fast-tracked training appealed to me in many ways because it would mean a lower debt burden after graduation and meant I would enter the workforce sooner. Moreover, a PA, unlike any other help professional, is capable of moving laterally without the need for retraining. This means that at one point in one's career an individual can work in emergency medicine and later switch to pediatrics if they wanted to. This versatility made me feel comfortable in knowing that I could change fields should I not enjoy a given field or simply because I wanted to learn another field or if a situation demanded it (unexpected move or over-saturation of a field).

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: I participated in research in Dr. Ortiz's research lab at Hunter College for two years through the MARC program and also performed research in Dr. Fischetti's lab at The Rockefeller University for one summer through SURF. In addition, I mentored college freshman through Sunnyside's Community Services College Readiness Program.

During my senior year and gap year I volunteered at Montefiore's Center for Child Health and Resiliency where I worked closely with the medical-legal partnership Terra Firma, which facilitates access to healthcare for undocumented minors. At the clinic, I had the opportunity to perform chart reviews and compile data as well as lead a host of youth enrichment programs.

Unlike admission to other healthcare professional programs, paid employment in the healthcare field is crucial to a successful PA application. Patient Care Experience (PCE) & Health Care Experience (HCE) are both metrics used to evaluate candidates. If your work is involving direct patient contact, it is considered PCE. However, if the work is in the healthcare field but does not involved direct patient contact, it is considered HCE. I worked about 30 hours per week as a Laboratory Assistant in a Clinical laboratory for HCE and accumulated around 2400 HCE hours at the time of submission of my application. After graduation, I focused on acquiring PCE, which I obtained by working as an inter-facility transport EMT-B and soon after as an EMT-B in 911 operations. By the time of submission of my application, I had 650 PCE hours, which is above the typical minimum of 500 hours but is still considered low as most applicants tend to have 2000 or more PCE hours. Moreover, I had not shadowed a PA, which is another critical part of the application.

These two areas were by far the weakest parts of my application and if I could do it all again, I would have worked to accumulate PCE hours sooner and would have made time to shadow a PA.

In addition, I did photography in my spare time and published some photos as well as enter and win a photo competition. If you have any hobbies that you can take advantage of and show off your mastery by way of awards or competition, I highly recommend doing so as it will make you a more rounded candidate.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: This depended on how difficult I perceived the courses. For my strong subjects like mathematics and most of my elective and core requirements, I estimate that I studied about 4 hours per week for each course. For more challenging courses like Orogo II and Physics I & II, I might have spent 10-20 hours per week for each course.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: I participated in a two week GRE prep course because it was offered through the MARC program for free. Had I not been fortunate enough to become a MARC scholar I am almost certain I would have not taken a prep course due to high cost. The pre courses offered through MARC utilized materials from The Princeton Review.

Q: Did you take a gap year? If so, why?
A: I took a GAP year after graduating because my application was not competitive at the time of graduating and had I applied I would have wasted money and time that could have been spent improving my application. At the time I had 0 PCE hours, about 50 hours of volunteering and much less HCE hours than at the time I applied. In order to be more competitive I needed to acquire more hours and have more time to prepare my personal statement and supplemental responses.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: i consider my GPA, GRE score, and recommendation letters to be the strong points of my application. My GPA and GRE scores are above the minimums and slightly above the average for most of the programs I applied to. My recommendation letters came from individuals with whom I established a rapport, and I believe they were able to write enthusiastically about me as an applicant. Lastly, I felt that my application was quite well rounded in terms of involvement in different areas of healthcare, from research to volunteer work, and work experience as a provider. Each of my experiences connected well to create an image of how I perceived and described myself as a candidate. I don't think my personal statement was one of my strong points because I believe it may be well received by some institutions but not by others, based on their mission statements.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: I did not apply nationally. I only applied to New York State programs with the exception of one program in Connecticut. My reasoning for this decision was based on my financial situation, which did not allow for me to purchase or lease a car. In retrospect, I understand that my choice not to apply nationally was a huge risk because the schools in NYC are highly competitive. Additionally, it is likely that I will rely on student loans for the duration of my program. I would highly recommend applying nationally to other applicants.

Q: How did the Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Advising Office helped me achieve my goals by offering advice on my application's strong and weak points, informing me of programs to apply to, and aiding in the improvement of my application. Most of my writing material for the CASPA application, such as my personal statement and experiences were reviewed and edited and further reviewed before submission by the Pre-Health Advising Office. Additionally, the mock interview I had helped me learn what to expect and offered me an opportunity to know if my responses were lacking in any way. Most importantly, the support from the members of the Pre-Health Advising Office kept me motivated to keep pushing and stay focused during the months-long application process. Without their help, I could not have gotten to where I am now.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: The best advice I have for others is not to rush. I know many of us want to get into a program directly after graduating, but I urge applicants to reflect on themselves honestly before committing to applying. Not only will this save you money, but it will also save you emotionally from potential rejection that could negatively affect your desire to apply a second time. I would advise doing everything right the first time around to avoid having to repeat the process the following year. Additionally, from what I've heard, if you apply to the same university twice, they will compare your first application to the second. They will make sure changes were made to writing prompts such as your personal statement and supplemental responses, and having not rewritten these might be detrimental. One of the most challenging parts of applying for me was writing these responses, and it would be unfortunate and time-consuming to have to rewrite them simply because I decided to apply when I was not competitive.

My second piece of advice for students pursuing PA school is understanding that it is functionally different from applying to medical school. Medical schools strongly emphasize involvement in research and strong academic grades and volunteering and, while strong grades are necessary for PA school, research and volunteering are not necessary. Research can make you stand out, but you do not want to focus on it. Prospective applicants will want to focus on these parts of their application in this order:

  1. GPA: Keep it as high as possible. Most schools look for a GPA of > 3.5; the minimum is 3.0 for most schools.
  2. PCE: Aim for 3000 hours or more. It is also important to mention that some experiences are looked up as better than others. For instance, experience as a Nurse > Paramedic > EMT.
  3. HCE: It is not necessary to have since PCE is required and the preferred experience, but this can be used to compensate for low PCE hours.
  4. Shadowing: You can shadow an MD, DO, PA or NP, but shadowing a PA is preferred and, for some schools, is required.
  5. Volunteering: Preferably try to volunteer in a healthcare environment if you can, but volunteering outside of healthcare is also acceptable. This experience carries much more weight at schools that value working in underserved communities.
  6. Research: This is not required, but if you have this experience, it can work to your favor to make you look unique. To my knowledge, the only schools that emphasize research for PA admissions are Yale and Stanford.

My last piece of advice would be to pick one dream school no matter how far off your stats are and add it to your list, because you never know what could happen.

 


 

M.D./MPH

Rawlica Sumner Photo Name: Rawlica Sumner

Major: Human Biology & Special Honors

Minor: N/A

Overall GPA: 3.82

Graduation Year: 2020

Matriculation Year: 2020

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: I was accepted to SUNY Downstate College of Medicine as part of the Early Medical Education (EME) Program.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: My experiences volunteering with underserved populations in Brooklyn, Queens and different parts of Manhattan allowed me to connect with patients in healthcare settings, listen to their stories, and understand their struggles beyond simply focusing on their medical conditions. I also loved the fact that patient care done well puts an emphasis on teamwork. I admire that while the doctor's role is to be the head of the team, it's simply for the purpose of leading the team effectively to ensure that the patient receives the best experience possible.

Q: Which extracurriculars did you participate ion?
A: Presbyterian Senior Services Youth ServicesTutor, Manhattan Veteran Affairs Emergency Department Volunteer, National Associations of Hispanic Healthcare Executives (AHHE) Mentorship Program, Weill Cornell CTSC Heart-to-Heart Program, Pre-Health Mentoring Initiative (PHMI), Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, A.O.G. Girls Ministry, Single Ministry and Children's Church Teacher, Memorial Sloan Kettering Microbiology Lab, SCORE Program, Mount Sinai Research Associate Program.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: I studied 11 weeks in total during the summer. My studies were split approximately 60 hours per week during the first 6 weeks of the semester and approximately 40 hours per week during the last 5 weeks.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Mostly Kaplan for both content and practice questions. I also used ExamKrackers and The Next Step's practice questions.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: No, the completion of the EME program will allow me to start medical school the summer after I graduate.

Q: What do you consider to be the strengths of your application?
A: My entire application had experiences that reflected mhy interests and fit the narrative I used in my essay for the EME program. In addition to clinical research, clinical volunteering, and community volunteering, at the time of my application I had already done at least 1 year of wet-lab research at a well-known institute where I had complet3ed a summer research program as well. My application showed that I was able to balance work, school and personal activities as I included multiple jobs, scholar programs and extracurricular activities I participated in while in college.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: The EME program was an early acceptance program, therefore, I did not apply nationallly.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Advising Office was supporting me even before my first day of classes. In addition to laying out everything I needed to do in order to succeed, they gave me advice, helped me apply for summer/scholar programs and truly helped me hold it together when I felt like everything was falling apart. I wouldn’t have made it into SUNY Downstate without them let alone been able to experience some of my best college memories. They acted as a pillar in my success.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: It's great to be hardworking and determined to accomplish your goals, but don't pretend to be “all in” for something you are not passionate about. If you have the passion and you're willing to put in the work, that's wonderful! However, don't let the pre-health path become your life. You need hobbies and interests outside of research, volunteering and studying, not just for your own sanity but because you as an individual are much more than your academics. There will be periods of time where you need to be heavily focused on the books but there will also be times where you can relax and just be with friends and family. Take your studying for MCAT seriously the first time. The goal is for the first time to be your last time! It was a rewarding experience but it's not something I would willingly do again.

As you complete your undergraduate coursework, don't try to rush through your days and years for the sake of finishing because you're dedicating your life to become a lifelong learner both inside and outside of the classroom. It's a lot of hard work, but if you take it one step at a time, it's worth it!

 


 

M.D./Ph.D

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan Kettering Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: In high school, I joined a sciece research program. This was the first time I was able to truly engage in hypothesis-based science. I enjoyed learning new information, asking questions, and exploring those questions through experimentation. My scientific curiosity coupled with my desire to help others drew me to the field of medicine.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Research at Memorial Sloan Kettering; volunteering at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell; community service at Heart2Heart and Opiate Overdose Prevention Program; Hunter College Dill Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field; Vice President of Association for Women in Science at Hunter; Research Conferences.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: 15 hours on average.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: No. I self-studied using Kaplan and Khan Academy for content review, and Altius, Next Step and AAMC practice exams.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes! I needed time to develop my application. Having an extra year allowed me to improve my GPA and increase my involvement in research.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: Demonstrating a willingness to work hard, the ability to overcome adversity and be resilient, and a substantial commitment during undergrad to research, volunteer work, and physician shadowing. In addition, I don't think one can/should underestimate the importance of letters of recommendation and of establishing good and lasting relationships with professors and mentors.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes, but predominanantly in the Northeast.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals? A: The Pre-Health Advising Office has been a source of valuable information and support. In the years leading up to applying, I met with Kemile Jackson to make sure I was on the right track. When applying, Nina Ledis and Veronica Mitchell helped me to prepare for my interviews and put together a cohesive M.D./Ph.D. application.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: It is important to seek out mentors who are at different points in their medical and research careers. I received so much great advice from peers, medical students, practicing doctors, researchers, etc. This process is very challenging and filled with so many ups and downs. Whether it's classes, the MCAT, or the application process itself—you are bound to run into problems. Believe in yourself and find a support system that does too. Good luck!!

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Harvard-MIT HST MD-PhD Program

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: A passion for scientific research, and a desire to care for patients' health in a meaningful, personal, and effective manner.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Undergraduate research, physician shadowing, Hunter Physics Club, tutoring, pre-health mentoring, volunteer work at TOYS for Hospitalized Children, volunteer work at Footsteps.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week? A: The average increased over my undergraduate years, starting from about 3hr/week until around 15hr/week.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: No.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes, a postbac NIH Academy Enrichment Program Research Fellowship, to gain perspective on health disparities and to become involved with research focused on emerging techniques and technologies in biomedical engineering.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: Demonstrating a willingness to work hard, the ability to overcome adversity and be resilient, and a substantial commitment during undergrad to research, volunteer work, and physician shadowing. In addition, I don't think one can/should underestimate the importance of letters of recommendation and of establishing good and lasting relationships with professors and mentors.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?A: The Pre-Health Advising Office helped inform me about all of the fine print related to applying to MD-PhD programs. Ms. Kemile Jackson is an incredible resource and advocate who will always speak to you honestly about your options and what you can do to better them. Her experience and advice are invaluable. Ms. Ledis and Ms. Mitchell provided wonderful feedback on my written statements, and helped me prepare for the medical and MMI interviews through mock sessions.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Seek opportunities, advice, and assistance as early as possible, and be humble and receptive when doing so. Accept that sometimes (read: often) the outcomes from the former may require you to sacrifice some personal fun, but it's a worthwhile investment. Expect that not all things will not go smoothly, but also expect that if you are sincere about what you want and are willing to show that you've dedicated your undergraduate/post-undergraduate years toward achieving them, your commitment will be apparent to the admissions committees and will serve you well.

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: NYU's Medical Scientist Training Program.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Pre-Health Organization, Peer Health Exchange, Pre-Health Diaries, Journal of Undergraduate Research at Hunter College.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: 35-60 depending on the week.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: No, I used Berkeley Review and Examkrackers books and NextStep Full-length exams.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: My extensive research background, along with the leadership roles I held.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: I applied mostly to schools in the Northeast as that was where I ultimately wanted to end up.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Do not apply until you feel ready, and have received feedback from the Pre-Health Office regarding the strength of your application. Participate in activities you are truly passionate about—it will serve you incredibly well during applications and, in particular, your interviews.

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan Kettering Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Program.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: GlamourGals, Habitat for Humanity.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: 10 hours per week.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes. Kaplan.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I possessed extensive research experience and publications. One of my undergraduate lab internships spanned four years. Additionally I performed two years of full time research after graduation.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: No. I applied to schools in New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Be proactive in the application process. After the interview, follow up with thank you emails to your interviewers. Express your interest in the program that is your top choice by writing a professional and meaningful letter of intent.

 


 

Optometry

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: SUNY College of Optometry.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: I have worn glasses since I was young and slowly my prescription grew stronger and stronger and my lenses became thicker and thicker. To this day, I still struggle with my vision and other eye symptoms. I want to help those who are experiencing the same struggles that I did and help to improve their vision.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Officer of the Pre-Optometry Society of Hunter College; mentor for the Pre-Health Mentoring Initiative; I volunteered at a Soup Kitchen; and many, many hours of shadowing.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: I spent about 40 hours per week on my studies, and a month before my exams I would increase that to 50 hours per week.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: I used DAT Bootcamp, Kaplan, and OAT Destroyer.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: I did take a gap year. One of the main reasons is because during my junior year my science GPA did not meet my dream school's GPA range. I thought that if I applied during that time, I wouldn't even be given an opportunity for an interview. I wanted to boost my science GPA during my last year in Hunter to prove that I can handle many science classes at once and still maintain good grades and to be also considered a more competitive applicant. At the same time, I also hoped to do some traveling before I start optometry school.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: My strengths were definitely my leadership skills that were highlighted in my extracurricular activities at Hunter and my extensive shadowing and commitment to the optometry profession. I shadowed a variety of optometrists from different specialties and even had a chance to write about a case of a rare eye disease for a conference, which they asked about during my interview.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: No, I did not. Personally, I was looking to stay close to home because that was the most affordable for me.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Advising Office was a huge support system, providing me with an endless amount of opportunities. I always received honest feedback and guidance that I needed, along with constant words of encouragement. Even after I graduated, they continued to assist me during my application process, including editing my personal statement and conducting mock interviews.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Get your letters of recommendation in early!

 


 

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: SUNY College of Optometry.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: Our school's Pre-Optometry Club was my first introduction to optometry schools. During these programs I learned how optometrists use various techniques to care for both the ocular health and visual acuity of their patients. Be repeatedly observing doctor-patient interactions, I saw how impactful this type of work is, and I developed a strong desire to be a part of it.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: In my freshman year at Hunter, I joined the Pre-Optometry Club, Brothers for Excellence program, and the Caribbean Students Union. During my first year, I was very active in all three clubs, but as time progressed I took on greater involvement in the Caribbean Students Union as I became its secretary and then its president. Being a club leader led me to interact with many of the other clubs and student-centered organizations on campus. In my final year at Hunter, I worked at the Student Resource Center, and shadowed optometrists wherever possible.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: I usually spent 25-28 hours studying per week, but that amount easily fluctuated during busier times in my life. I often studied during my 1.5 hour long commutes to school, and dedicated larger portions of the day I didn't have classes to studying.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes. I used the Kaplan OAT Self-Guided program. This program provided me with books and practice questions that I used at my own pace. I also used free practice tests from Kaplan and other online resources.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: I took a gap year because doing so allowed me to become a more competitive applicant. I've been accumulating more experience in optometry by working at my current, part-time job as a patient coordinator at MOSCOT, where one of my main responsibilities is pre-screening patients. Another reason I took a gap year was to better prepare to take the OAT, which, in retrospect, was the right thing for me to do.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I took advantage of the fact that optometry schools practice a rolling admissions process by submitting my applications while the schools still had many seats available. I also think that the number an variety of my shadowing experiences allowed my application to show that I'm well prepared to pursue optometry as a career.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: I limited my school choices to the Northeast region of the United States.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: With the help of the Pre-Health Advising Office, I created a road map to optometry school, and finished my college career without getting lost. Over the years, I've received many helpful emails about events and activities related to Optometry, and I had many counseling sessions that kept me focused on meeting the different requirements for getting accepted to an optometry school. I also received help preparing for my school interviews, through tips and a mock interview.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: If you set a goal or path for yourself, I encourage you to make every effort to understand what you're getting yourself into. If you do that and your desire hasn't changed, then you can handle whatever work and time investment lies ahead of you.

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: SUNY College of Optometry.

Q: What Hunter College extracurricular activities did you participate in?
A: I was the founding president of the Pre-Optometry Society of Hunter College. I was also a member of the Society of Biometrics, Biology and Hillel Clubs at Hunter College.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: 35-40 hours.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes, OAT Destroyer.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: My strengths in my application are my GPA and Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) score, my completion of the CSTEP Internship at SUNY College of Optometry, my diverse array of shadowing experiences in various modes and specialties of optometry, my leadership skills, and my community service involvement.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: No.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: To be a successful student, one must have good time management skills to be able to balance coursework and other responsibilities outside the classroom and lab. I learned that dedication and perseverance is key; being able to make sacrifices is also important to ensure that you can be the best possible student and overall applicant.

To excel in your courses be sure to take advantage of all the available resources at Hunter; attend professor's office hours, tutoring centers, ask questions, become a TA for a class, etc. Also, attend the various clubs available on campus because they are a huge resource. The Pre-Health clubs provide their members with an abundance of knowledge, professional resources, experiences and skills. By being a member, you will be exposed to various internship and other pre-health/optometry related positions that you can apply for.

Beyond the opportunities that club membership offers, being part of a club is a great networking experience where you can meet students at different levels who can provide great advice and connections. Attending Club meetings and events is also a good social break from your academic studies! In regards to determining which career path is right for you, I believe the best way is to shadow different types of professionals and then determine whether you enjoy the environment. If optometry is your career choice, be sure to also shadow different modes of optometry, such as shadowing doctors in a group practice, private office, eye clinic, hospital, etc. as well as different specialties in optometry, such as low-vision, vision therapy, glaucoma, contact lens, etc.

Be sure to reflect and learn from these experiences. Although at times, being a pre-health college student can get overwhelming, remember to take breaks and know that, in the end, your hard work will pay off, and you will get the results you want.

 


Q: Which school are you attending?
A: I will be attending the State University of New York College of Optometry to obtain a combined degree in Optometry/Ph.D. (OD/Ph.D.).

Q: What Hunter College extracurricular activities did you participate in?
A: I was an active member of the Minority Students Association and I volunteered for Peer Health Exchange.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: I spent between 20-25 hours per week.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: I studied using the OAT Destroyer test prep, and the OAT Achiever.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: My strengths were my OAT scores and my research experiences as well as my unique background.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes, I applied to 3 schools on the East Coast and 1 on the West Coast.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Stay on top of your game, put in the maximum amount of work in all aspects of your application, and connect with mentors to help make sure that all components of your application are well defined.

 


 

Dental Medicine

 

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: I am drawn to dentistry because of the transformative impact it can have on patients' lives. My experience with braces sparked my interest in dentistry. I had big gaps in between my teeth and an overbite which made me feel insecure, and having braces to align my teeth allowed me to build self-confidence. So I knew I wanted to have this same impact on others. Additionally, I love the one-on-one relationship dentists have with their patients. Dentistry is really detail-oriented and I can't picture a better way to live my life than by creating healthy smiles and helping others feel comfortable and confident in the way they present themselves.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: I was a member of the Pre-Dental Society throughout my four years of college. In my senior year, I became the vice-president of the club. I also was the secretary and publicity chair of the Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honor Society. In addition to leadership roles, I volunteered for different organizations and events such as Give Kids a Smile, P.S. Alumni, SEEK's mentoring program, and the SHPEP Ambassador program.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: On average I would spend about 25-30 hours studying per week.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: I used DAT Bootcamp to study for the DAT.

Q: Did you take a gap year? If so, why?
A: I did take a gap year. Originally, I wanted to apply to dental school at the end of my junior year. However, at the time, I had not met the requirements to apply for a Committee Letter. I was advised to take a gap year in order to have more time to prepare a competitive application that included a Committee Letter. Not only did the Committee Letter strengthen my application, it was also a requirement for my dream school, Stony Brook.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I think my personal statement, extracurriculars, and letters of recommendation were the strengths of my application. My personal statement was very honest and highlighted my passion for dentistry. I also revised it many times (thank you Ms. Ledis). The majority of my extracurriculars were related to dentistry, so I think that showed my interest in the field. Lastly, although I did not see my letters of recommendation, my strong letters impressed my interviewers and were mentioned in almost all of my interviews.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: I did apply nationally.

Q: How did the Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Advising Office is amazing! I met with Ms. Jackson beginning in my freshman year and she always advised me on what classes to take, which programs to apply to, shadowing opportunities, and help with my entire application. Similarly, Ms. Ledis and Ms. Mitchell helped me with revising my essays and providing mock interviews. The Pre-Health Advising Office guided me throughout my entire pre-dental journey and the application process, and they helped me put together a competitive application.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Believe in yourself at all times. Sometimes it's hard not to compare yourself to others or to beat yourself up when something doesn't go as planned, but never stop believing in yourself, and remind yourself why you are going into this field. Continue to work hard. It will be worth it. Also, try not to rush your application or leave it for the last minute. You will need to make revisions and edits along the way. Lastly, listen to your pre-health advisors. They know best!

 


 

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: I have a long-standing interest in detailed hands-on work through model building and drawing and wanted to choose an expanding and interpersonal profession that challenges and fascinates me. I believe dentistry encompasses all of that and more.

Q: What extra-curriculars did you participate in?
A: Dental Assistant at private general dentist office for 1.5 years; Dental Shadowing at NYPBM Hospital for 1 year; Dental Shadowing at private general dentist office for 1 year; Patiet Care Volunteer for NYPBM Hospital for three months; Volunteer for AHA Heart Walk for 2 days; and Co-President of Hunter's Pre-Dental Association for 0.5 years.

(All of the above were completed throughout Undergrad. In my application, I also included other experience from high school including an architecture mentorship program, certifications and camp counselor job.)

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: When taking science courses, about 15 hours (including office hours). Assigned homework was an additional seven.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes. I relied almost entirely on DAT Bootcamp. I used DAT Destroyer problems only for the Qualitative Reasoning section. For the chemistry sections, I additionally did problems from the ACS review books (online).

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: No. I was on track (with schoolwork, extracurriculars, etc.) and mentally prepared to start dental school after college. I also took summer courses, which allowed me to graduate Hunter a semester early, leaving me with a gap semester to work as a dental assistant and focus on my hobbies.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I had an upwards trend in my GPA (~3 to ~3.7) and extensive clinical experience (~500 hours dental assisting + ~500 hours volunteering/shadowing).

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Office advisers were great in assisting me with preparation to apply and most of all in completing my applications and interviews. They significantly improved my personal statement and helped me properly organize the experiences I did and should incorporate. Mock interviews made me significantly more confident and prepared when going into interviews. They taught me to get past my nerves and structure my thoughts.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: DAT: Based on my experience, this schedule would've worked best for me if I had to take the exam again. When referring to chapters or sections, I am referencing Bootcamp. The most important part of studying is staying focused. I would start reviewing RC and PAT to months before exam day by doing free PAT generators daily (at least 5 questions of each type, look at it as a game) and reading at least one scientific article a day (free sites like sciencedirect.com). Start stduying for everything else 4 months in advance (better if you can do longer than 4 months without losing focus). Concentrate on your weak chemistry (GC or OC) section first. Since biology has a large breadth of information, review it every day, focusing on a chapter of notes every 2 days throughout the whole time (including practice questions). I forgot general chemistry almost entirely and had to relearn it so I focused on 1 section per day for about the first month (of the 4-month period) then returned to it in the pre-last month before the exam to solidify my knowledge. I focused on QR the least but it's best to do a couple of problems a day and focus on timing closer to exam day.

UNDERGRAD: I don't think my advice differs too much from that of the Pre-Health Office.

I believe you should take your undergraduate experience at your own pace (take into consideration that you should still experience some level of stress). If that means taking a gap year, then so be it. Juggling multiple sciences is extremely difficult, let alone when adding shadowing, volunteering and/or research into the mix. It is possible, but you have to be truthful with yourself and know your capabilities. You don't want to come out of the process with many regrets and you most definitely don't want to be disappointed in your career choice. You're in it for the long haul.

When it comes to the sciences, I heard many people say they're impossible. They're not. You do have to prioritize your time and be flexible in your approach to the subject and examx (notably in introductory biology). If you are planning to major in biology or chem, be ready for time-consuming classes, but don't gauge the difficulty solely based on introductory biology (it was significantly more difficult because most people, including myself, haven't experienced the multi-faceted questions).

Also keep in mind that the path that lies past your undergraduate years will not be easier. During Fall of my sophomore year, I researched when all classes were available and which were required of me and made an outline of what my future semesters would look like. It really helped me visualize and organize my future goals and how I would balance my school, volunteer and even social life.

 


 

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: The ability to work closely with patients to developed personalized treatment plans to manage, diagnose or treat dental conditions is a superb perk to the profession. The need for excellent hand dexterity to work with various state-of-the-art dental equipment, technology, and biomaterials drives my passion for dentistry.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Some of my extracurriculars include volunteering in the Mount Sinai C.A.R.E. program, shadowing dentists, assisting at various dental clinics, attending dental seminars, and working as a research associate at NYU Department of Biomaterials.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: For me, the average was 4-5 hours per week for each course I found to be more manageable. More demanding courses such as Biology, Organic Chemistry, Physiology and Biochemstry, I would say 20+ hours a week per course.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes, I used the well-known DAT Destroyer as well as DAT Bootcamp. To help with PAT, I installed phone apps with PAT questions.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: Yes, I took a gap year because I felt like I needed a stronger foundation in biological sciences (Chemistry major). The extra year allowed me to focus on building my application to be a more well-rounded applicant and improve on the GPA.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: The shining points in my application were the DAT Score (26), the strength of the letters of recommendation and the personal statement.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: No, I did not.

Q: How did the Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: By providing me with an abundance of resources such as: volunteering opportunities, research opportunities, job offers, pre-health seminars, tutoring and so much more. If you haven't, please sign up for the listserv to get emails relating to pre-health and see a pre-health advisor at least once each semester in addition to opening a pre-health file.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: It is okay to be unsure of what you want to do or if the health field is right for you. Attend seminars, volunteer and shadow to find out what's right for you. Once you have obtained your goal and have a good vision of what you want to be, motivation and persistence comes naturally. Just remember that the pre-health process examines your determination to press forward. If it is something you truly want, nothing should ever hold you back. Best of luck.

 


 

Danielle Rays Photo Name: Danielle Rays

Major: Human Biology

Minor: None

Overall GPA: 3.7

Graduation Year: 2019

Matriculation Year: 2019

Q: Which school will you be attending?
A: University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
I think dentistry is the perfect combination of art, science, and healthcare, so it really combines everything that I am passionate about.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: I shadowed various dentists over the 4 years, as well as worked as a front desk secretary and volunteered as a dental assistant; I was Research Associate at the Brooklyn Hospital Center; I conducted my own research with Professor Christopher Gilbert and I presented the research at the 2018 Hunter College Undergraduate Fair; I was a Child Life Outpatient Volunteer at New York Presbyterian; I taught Ballroom and Latin American dance, as well as choreographed and organized the annual show.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: I spent an average of 15-20 hours studying per week.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: I went to MCAT King for extra help in chemistry. I mostly used DAT Bootcamp and DAT Destroyer for test prep.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: No, I did not take a GAP year.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I've had many experiences in the dental field, and I am confident that this is the profession for me.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: I applied mostly in the tri-state area.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Advising Office helped me a lot by meticulously going over all my drafts of my Personal Statement, Works and Experiences, and doing mock interviews to make sure I had the best application I could have. In addition, I met with them every semester to make sure I was on the right track. They were always available to give advice on anything that was on my mind.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Don't give up and work hard! Create an individual study plan that utilizes all your strengths as a student and stick with it. Go to the Pre-Health Advising Office at least once a semester to make sure you are on the right track, and see if there is anything you can add to your application to become a more competitive applicant.

 


 

Podiatry

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: New York College of Podiatric Medicine.

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: I was drawn to podiatry for two reasons. The first was that I have always been interested in surgery. When you graduate from podiatric medical school, your residency is in foot and ankle surgery. This was a big draw for me because I have always had a desire to positively impact the lives of others while being intellectually engaged and constantly challenged. Foot and ankle surgery would definitely account for that. Also, the residency is traditionally three years because it is specialized. From the get-go I will be honing a precise skill set within a shorter amount of time than a general surgical residency because I am focusing on the foot and ankle clinically from my third year during clinical rotations onward.

My second reason is that the field of podiatry is dynamic. I can specialize in sports medicine working with a sports team, trauma, wound care, poopediatric (working with children), etc. While I can specialize in podiatry, I treat the whole patient while evaluating the foot and ankle. Pain in the lower extremities does not always originate in the lower extremities. Therefore, from a diagnostic point of view, I will have to piece together all of the symptoms to hopefully provide lifesaving, life-prolonging or even just pain-relieving treatment. I hope this will help anyone else interested in podiatry!

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: I participated in a multitude of extracurriculars during my time at Hunter—Pre-Health Organization, President, Treasurer; Auxiliary Enterprise Corporation, Elected Member Undergraduate Student Government; Scholar Bridges: The Hunter College Honors Scholars Leadership Council, Member; Hunter College Model United Nations, Head Delegate/Teaching Assistant, Member; Organic Chemistry Workshop Leader with Dr. Phillips—Hunter College; Food Pantry Volunteer, LSA Family Health Service, Harlem, NY; Research Assistant, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Xiu-Min Li Lab; Volunteer/Shadow, Dr. Salamat Majeed, M.D., Floral Park Medical Care, and Volunteer/Shadow, Dr. Rahul Patel, D.P.M., Manhattan, NY

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for course per week?
A: On average, I studied anywhere from 20 to 30 hours a week depending on my exam schedule and classwork.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes, I used ExamKrackers. I thought it was helpful, but studying for the MCAT is honestly about being focused and dedicated, so one could study for it with or without a test prep company.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: I definitely took a year and a half gap. Personally, I knew I needed to evaluate which road in medicine I wanted to pursue and think about my future. Taking the extra time to prepare ensured that my decision to pursue podiatry was the right one and helped me to take a breath after being on the go all four years at Hunter.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I think my strengths were my leadership skills showcased throughout my extracurriculars. my research, and my letters of recommendation. In terms of leadership skill, I believe leadership skills often go hand-in-hand with strong communication skills. Communication is an essential skill for doctors and, therefore, an important strength in a prospective medical student. In terms of research, I am published and have been active in research since high school.

From my perspective, research is a form of diagnosis. In my case, I was investigating different approaches to inhibiting the inflammatory response in allergies. Finally, in terms of recommendations, I am incredibly grateful to my recommenders and what they highlighted. Recommendations add the human aspect into the admissions eye which can really make a difference.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: No, I applied in the Northeast only.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Office was one of my two biggest supporters during this process; the other was Dr. Klein who is Director of the Yalow Scholars Program. From my freshman year, both have been instrumental in ensuring I had all the tools and information needed to succeed. Kemile Jackson worked with me to find a field in medicine I would not only thrive in but enjoy as well. They checked my applications, provided me with constructive feedback and hosted an informational event from my school that led me on this path. I think the biggest obstacle to my success is not being informed and the Pre-Health office made sure I was informed all of the required events, from the information sessions to the Doctor Speaker Series.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: I would say my best advice is to ask questions! Anything you are unsure about definitely Google to become somewhat informed but then ask in person what you don't understand. Then compile all of your information in a Google doc. As cheesy as it sounds, knowledge is power. Being aware of the GPA, MCAT, and extracurricular requirements needed is vital to becoming a successful applicant for your intended path. Having a physical representation of the steps you need to take in, let's say, a Google doc, may help you visualize your goal, which is imperative. I know it can be confusing, especially when you are just a freshman, but that's why you network, speak to upperclassmen, and utilize the services of the Pre-Health Office. If you are interested in something specific, that's even better, because then you should become an expert in everything it takes to achieve that goal.

 


Veterinary

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: University of Pennsylvania—School of Veterinary Medicine

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: As many of my family are nurses, I grew up always thinking I was going to become a nurse as well. However, I decided I wanted to become a veterinarian when I took an animal behavior class in my senior year of high school. Part of the class was held at the Bronx Zoo every other week and the other part involved taking care of the animals in the classroom; it was then that I realized I was fascinated with studying animals.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: I worked as a dogwalker for Wag! Co. and as a veterinary assistant at the Animal Medicine and Surgery of Little Neck Veterinary Hospital. I also volunteered at the Animal Haven Shelter, the New York Aquarium, and in Hunter's Psychology Department's Electric Fish Lab. I was also a member of the Hunter College Women's Swimming and Diving Team.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for course per week?
A: It varied.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: No.

Q: Did you take a GAP year? If so, why?
A: No.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: Being a Yalow Scholar, a student athlete, and having research experience definitely strengthened my application. Being on the women's swim team for four years shows dedication and strong time management skills. I also took on the role of captain in many senior year showing leadership and reliaibility. Conducting research not only added to my animal experience, but also showed me other fields of working with animals. Having research on my application showed that I was willing to broaden my horizons when it came to experiences and that I understood more aspects of veterinary medicine such as animal welfare.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: No, I applied to schools near the East Coast of the U.S.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: Veterinary Schools DO NOT want committee letters (therefore, you do not need to attend the mandatory pre-health workshops for a Pre-Health File). As a result, I did not work too closely with the Pre-Health Advising Office on my application. I would try to attend the Pre-Veterinary Club Meetings, where you can meet other veterinary student peers and successful applicants and hear about volunteer opportunities.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Being on the pre-heatlh track requires perseverance and resilience. There will probably be many obstacles and many times when you feel like giving up, but if medicine is something you really want to practice, you will find a way to keep going until you reach yur goal. I strongly believe that gaining experience in your respective field will make it or break it when deciding if what you're pursuing is right for you. Finally, never be afraid of asking for help, whether from peers, teachers, or graduates because I personally could not have done it without the immense support that I received on my journey.

If you need any advice on veterinary school applications or in general, please don't hesitate to contact me at alexa.magsuci95@myhunter.cuny.edu!

 


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