Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Masterlinks
You are here: Home Pre-Health Advising Successful Student Profiles
Coming Soon!

PRE-HEALTH STUDENT GUIDE

Pre-Med Listserv

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

 

Navigation

 

Medicine

 

David Ishakov Name: David Iskhakov

Major: Biochemistry

Minor: History

Overall GPA: 3.95

Graduation Year: 2016

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

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?

  • Research: (1) Two chemistry labs at Hunter College, (2) Six week Nuclear Fuel Cycle Summer Program at UNLV, (3) Research Associate in the Emergency Department and NY Presbyterian Hospital, (4) Research Technician at Memorial Sloan Kettering
  • Clinical Volunteering: (1) Patient Escort at NY Presbyterian Hospital, (2) Cardiac ICU volunteer at NY Presbyterian Hospital
  • Shadowing: (1) Emergency Medicine physician at NYP, (2) Critical Care surgeon at NYP
  • Community Service: (1) Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen volunteer
  • Leadership: (1) Organic Chemistry TA at Hunter College, (2) 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: 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 prep 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: Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?

  • 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)
  • 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 Presbyterian 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 MacBlog (a Macaulay Hunter student blog)
  • 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.

Q: My ability to tie in my love of writing and storytelling into my passion for medicine.
A: 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?

  • 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.
  • Create a good support system of family, friends, and mentors who will help guide you over the course of your journey.

 


 

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: 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: 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.

MD/PhD.

 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/ Sloan Kettering Tri-Institutional MD-PhD 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 3 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.

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: NYU’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)

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.

 

Optometry

 

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

Q: What Hunter College extracurricular activities did you participate in?

  • 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: 35-40hrs

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/PhD (OD/PhD).

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 are you attending?
A: NYU College of Dentistry

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: I participated in a few dental outreach programs such as Give Kids a Smile and HEALTH Now. In addition to shadowing and working in dental offices, I worked as an undergraduate research assistant in a neurobiology lab. In addition, I was one of the editors/writers for Hunter Health’s Pre-Health Diaries and became a health educator for Peer Health Exchange.

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: I studied about 15 hours per week. I would spend more hours studying during finals or while preparing for the DAT.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: Yes, Orgoman/ DAT Destoryer.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I consider my experiences to be a great strength in my application. I believe that writing about all the dental and non-dental experiences and achievements in the application helped me reflect on how valuable they were to me, and showed my passion and commitment as an applicant.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: Yes.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: If dentistry is the field you want to enter, then you must be prepared for what it entails. My biggest advice is to make sure you have significant hours of working, shadowing, and volunteering experiences in the field of dentistry to not only strengthen your application, but also to see if you want to invest your life into this field. These dental experiences must also be complemented by good academics and DAT scores. Sometimes believing in yourself is one thing, but to envision yourself in the place you want to be helps you keep moving forward and achieve your goals. There may be doubts, there may tears, and there may be failures. You must be resilient and keep working hard for what you want.

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Pre-Dental Society President; Pre-Dental Society Treasurer; Hunter College Yalow Scholar; Summer Medical Dental Education Program (SMDEP) Dental Scholar at University of Nebraska Medical Center; SMDEP Ambassador; Writer and Editor for Pre-Med Life Magazine

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: 50-60 Hours

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: For the DAT, Yes ORGOMAN

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I believed that I had a strong personal statement and a strong set of extracurricular activities

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: No

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: The most important thing is realizing whether or not you’re a good fit for the career. Once you’ve figured that out and want to move forward, you need to accept the fact that you will consistently be knocked down. The easiest thing to do is give up. It’s your job to pick yourself back up and remember how badly you want this. Manage your time properly and take a breather every once in a while. Good luck!

 


 

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

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: Research:
•    Research Assistant in Dr. Loayza’s Biology Lab (Fall 2015 – Spring 2016)
•    Research Assistant in Dr. Rothman’s Anthropology Lab (Fall 2012, Fall 2015)
Shadowing:
•    Periodontist & Implant specialists (320 hours)
•    NYHQ Dental and Oral Medicine (192 hours)
Volunteer:
•    Case Western Manot Cave Project (Summer 2016; 80 hours)
•    Intern at LSA Family Health Services (2015 – 2016; 560 hours)
•    American Diabetes Association EXPO (2015; 10 hours)
•    Methodist Hospital EMT (2014)
Clubs:
•    Pre-Dental Society (2015 – 2016)
•    Women in Science at Hunter Organization (2104 - 2016)
Employment:
•    Dental Assistant to Implant specialist (2016 – 2017)
•    Dental Assistant to Periodontist and Oral Surgeon (2017 – 2018)
•    Tutor (2012 – 2016)
Hobbies:
•    Violinist and sculptor

Q: How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
A: On average I spent around twenty hours a week studying and completing assignments for my courses.

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: I attended Dr. Romano’s DAT Bootcamp for one semester. In addition to his tutoring sessions, I used his DAT destroyer and Crack the DAT for the PAT section of the DAT.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I believe my wide range of extracurricular activities and the multiple letters of recommendation that led to my strong committee letter helped my application stand out.

Q: Did you apply nationally?
A: No, I mostly applied to schools along the East coast. I applied to 9 schools in the Northeast and 1 school in Florida.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: My advice to prospective applicants would be to get involved with the pre-health department as early as possible because they have a plethora of resources and important information. I’d also advice pre-health students to shadow or volunteer in their field of interest sooner rather than in their junior or senior year, so that they can be sure that it is a career they want to pursue. Most importantly, do not stress the timeline of most other applicants. Applying early is certainly important and increases chances of being interviewed, but it is much better to have a strong application over a rushed application. There is nothing wrong with taking a year off if an applicant does not feel prepared to take the DAT or MCAT, or if they feel like they want to strengthen certain areas of their application.

 

Document Actions
Pre-Health Advising website feedback:
Pre-Professional Suite, Hunter East 710
(212) 772-5244 | email us
HUNTER COLLEGE
695 Park Ave
NY, NY 10065
212.772.4000