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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.

 


 

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?
 - Research: (1) Chemistry Lab at Queens College, (2) Biology Lab at City College, (3) Sinai Research Associate
 - Clinical Volunteering: Mount Sinai Hospital ED C.A.R.E Volunteer
 - Shadowing: (1) Emergency Medicine Physicians at Mt. Sinai, (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?
 - 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: 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: 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? 
 - 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 passions for watercolor art during this time and was able 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?
 - 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: 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, not 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 offoce 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!

 

MD/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 study, I would study about 40 hours a week studying. 

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

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: NYU College of Dentistry

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: I participated in two mentor fellowship programs, America Needs You and the Association of Hispanic Healthcare Executives. I volunteered at NY Presbyterian Queens Hospital’s post-op unit, Elmhurst Hospital as a dental outreach leader, and as a Sunday school teacher at my local church. I interned at UCLA’s Summer Health Professionals Education Programs and at NYU’s Bringing Smiles Dental Enrichment Program as well. Besides volunteering, working, and studying I enjoyed fitness, Zumba, and photography.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: I participated in two mentor fellowship programs, America Needs You and the Association of Hispanic Healthcare Executives. I volunteered at NY Presbyterian Queens Hospital’s post-op unit, Elmhurst Hospital as a dental outreach leader, and as a Sunday school teacher at my local church. I interned at UCLA’s Summer Health Professionals Education Programs and at NYU’s Bringing Smiles Dental Enrichment Program as well. Besides volunteering, working, and studying I enjoyed fitness, Zumba, and photography.

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

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: No just DAT Bootcamp and Destroyer books.

Q: What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
A: I am a first generation student, minority, female and have both clinical and non-clinical experience in Dentistry. I manage my time effectively, as I have been able to work, volunteer, intern, and study every semester in college and my grades never suffered.

A: No, just the East coast.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: Know what your goal is and strive for it. Do not let a bad grade define you; instead push yourself to do better on the next test, class, semester, and year because there will be setbacks. The journey isn’t easy but it is definitely doable and worth it. Make connections, manage your time, apply early, and smile often!

 


 

Q: Which school are you attending?
A: NYU College of Dentistry

Q: What drew you to this particular health field?
A: From an early age, I was exposed to the world of dentistry since my mother was a dentist. I fell in love with this field of medicine.

Q: What extracurriculars did you participate in?
A: I shadowed a dentist and worked as a dental assistant. I volunteered at Metropolitan Hospital. I volunteered with the New Life Community Health Center. I was a research associate at NYU College of Dentistry. I was a volunteer with the Bringing the Smiles Program at NYU College of Dentistry.

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

Q: Did you use a test prep course?
A: I used the Orgoman Prep Course, and the DAT Destroyer and DAT Bootcamp books.

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: The strengths in my application were the letters of recommendation that were compiled in my committee letter, and my personal statement.

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

Q: How did the Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: The Pre-Health Office supported me throughout my time in Hunter by advising on what steps I should take to become a stronger applicant. The advisors were always willing to answer my questions and guided me on what I had to do to make my application to dental school stronger. The Pre-Health Office also provided me with resources through their workshops that helped me be successful during my time at Hunter and will continue to be essential for me through dental school and beyond.

Q: What advice do you have for others?
A: My advice to prospective pre-dental students who are thinking of applying to dental school is to be proactive in regards to the application process and of the things you can do to strengthen your application. Even though it is important to submit your application as early as possible, it is better to submit a strong, well-prepared application a little later in the cycle, than a weak application at the beginning of the cycle. In addition, it is important to keep a record and stay organized with the extracurricular activities that you are involved in, because once the application cycle starts having all of your extracurriculars in order helps with the application and also during the interview period. Overall, if dentistry is your passion, you just have to be persistent and continue to work hard to achieve your goals. Good luck!


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:
1) Burke Neurological Institute (Summer Science Scholar), (2) Hunter College Biological Anthropology Department (spring semester student researcher)
Clinical Work Experience:
PT Aide at Professional Physical Therapy
Community Service:
(1) Volunteer with Project Ezra at the Riverside Premier Rehab & Healing Center Nursing Home, (2) Volunteer trainer with Achilles Kids
Leadership:
(1) Human Biology peer mentor, (2) A&P tutor at Hunter’s Skirball Science Learning Center
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)

Q: How many hours 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’ 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 PT schools in New York.

Q: How did Pre-Health Advising Office help you achieve your goals?
A: I worked closely with a Pre-Health advisor 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 our many 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, 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 your 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, Pre-Health advisors, 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.

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