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Profile and Perspective for Christian Becker                  Viewed 74946 times

General Information
Name:Christian Becker
School:Medical College of Wisconsin
Graduating:2009, MD degree
Marital Status:Married, 5 children
Second career:Yes
Contact prefs:You may contact me.

Pre-Med Info
Pre-med:Zoology, Idaho State University
Number med schools applied to:17

Read my med school diary.
Currently 41 entries.
Most recent entry: 10/31/2008
Read questions I have been asked
by readers and my responses.

Currently 135 questions and responses.

Schools applied, interviews, offers
This list only includes schools interviewed at and beyond, and may not include all schools applied to.
Med School Invitation? Interviewed? Offer?
University of Washington School of MedicineYesNoNo
Creighton University School of MedicineYesNoNo
Pennsylvania State University College of MedicineYesNoNo
University of Vermont College of MedicineYesNoNo
University of Nevada School of MedicineYesNoNo
Medical College of WisconsinYesYesYes
University of Utah School of MedicineYesYesNo
A,T. Still University of Health Sciences/ Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU/KCOM)YesYesYes
Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University (AZCOM)YesYesYes
Des Moines University - College of Osteopathic Medicine (DMU-COM)YesNoNo
Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine - Nevada Campus (TUNCOM)YesNoNo

Profile Questions and Answers
Question Answer  
Why medicine? What is your story?I started out in computer programming some years ago, after completing college for the first time and worked in programming for about 4.5 years total. With time, work became monotonous, less challenging and less exciting. I was in my own cubicle within the basement and stared at my computer screen all day. Although the job was pretty decent overall, this was not what I had envisioned for my life and I could not see myself doing this for another 40 years. I wanted people contact, more interaction and involvement. I am an “immediate gratification” type of a person and I like to be able to see the difference I am making. All things considered, I had chosen the wrong profession, although I was good at programming. After many long deliberations with my wife, we decided I needed to quit my job and return to school. Initially, I wasn’t sure whether medicine or law would be a better fit for me, so I researched and talked with professionals of both professions, finally settling on medicine. When I started taking the Biology courses at Idaho State University, I was fascinated and quickly embraced the sciences. I also started shadowing physicians and volunteering in a clinic, both of which heightened my excitement and verified my decision. Especially shadowing and the clinical volunteer work convinced me completely that medicine was what I wanted to pursue. I think medicine offers what I was lacking in my prior career and provides plenty of challenges, intellectual stimulation, people contact and interaction, opportunities to help people and seeing the difference I am making. read other replies on this topic
Are you in any special circumstances? Anything unique?I was born and raised in Germany until age 18 and came to the U.S. as a high school exchange student. While on the exchange, I met my future wife and immigrated to the U.S. permanently in 1995. Medicine is my second career. I am married with 5 children, ages nine to three (2 boys, 3 girls).read other replies on this topic
What was the hardest part in preparing for med school?To me, trying to do all the extra-curricular activities and attending school full time besides spending time with family was hard. Moreover, we had decided that I would complete my BS degree in 3 years (I started over at zero credits since none of my credits from my first degree transferred). To do this, I had to take a very heavy class load and take courses each summer as well. To still have some family time, I could not work and our finances suffered.read other replies on this topic
How much did you work while going through pre-med?I completed my BS degree in 3 years and took 24 credits my first semester back at school, then dropped down to 18 and a little less than that the semester I prepared for the MCAT and when I went on interviews. I had little time to work and so I didn’t during the first 2 years until the MCAT was out of the way. Then, I worked part-time (about 10 hours per week) during the semesters and full-time during school breaks.read other replies on this topic
What did you do for MCAT preparation?I bought the most current Kaplan Comprehensive Review book (about $50) and worked through it, studying and memorizing the key concepts again. I also worked all of the calculation and other examples and made sure I could do all of those (esp. all the Chemistry, Physics calculations). I memorized some of the formulas you need for the MCAT. Also, I purchased a package of 6 practice tests. These were the “real” practice MCAT tests on paper, so I could try them under testing conditions, which I did on 4 different Saturdays at the library. These tests were the best. I would highly recommend these. They gave me a real sense of what questions to expect and I learned how to pace myself. I got a good feel for which topics are “hot” as well. Tests put out by other test prep companies are not the same. Kaplan and other prep tests are much harder than the real test to scare you into taking their courses and so they can show that you have improved (that’s what I think anyway).read other replies on this topic
How much did you shadow physicians?In total, I spent 3 weeks, or about 135 hours, shadowing in 3 different offices. I spent one week with an ENT (ear-nose-throat), one week with an orthopedic surgeon, and one week in an urgent care facility, following different physicians. I shadowed from Monday through Friday, 8 am until 5 pm (or a little later) and went on call with the ENT for a couple of nights. I followed both the ENT and orthopedic surgeon into surgery, on rounds and in the office. Great experiences – they made me choose medicine for sure. I would recommend lots of shadowing. read other replies on this topic
How much did you volunteer?I volunteered at the Pocatello Free Clinic for about 45 hours total. At the clinic, I was able to screen patients, take patient histories, take blood pressure and other miscellaneous duties. It was fun and great to interact with both patients and physicians while being involved myself. I volunteered at the soup kitchen a couple of time and at a few other miscellaneous events. Also, I spent several years in my church teaching and working with youth and other volunteer work. Additionally, I coached my 2 boys in soccer for a season.read other replies on this topic
What clinical exposure did you have?I shadowed physicians for 3 weeks and volunteered at the Pocatello Free Clinic for 45 hours. See my responses under Shadowing and Volunteer work for details. That’s about it.read other replies on this topic
What did you do for research?I spent one semester in a developmental biology lab on campus, for about 3 hours per week. We did surgeries on chicken embryos to alter development. The atmosphere was very relaxed and I joined the ongoing project. I did not publish any papers or did any major earth-shattering work, but it was enough to list it on my application and it was fun. Research was not necessarily my strongest area in med school preparation.read other replies on this topic
Do you have any leadership experience?From prior employment, I had some mentor type of responsibilities for some time. Also, through my church service, I had held some leadership positions as Ward Mission Leader for 3 years in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and teaching youth.read other replies on this topic
What suggestions do you have for the personal statement?Try to tell your story. Don’t worry about what other people have written about. Be sure to tell your own story. Write down a quick list of events in your life from the beginning, including all the main events leading you to medicine. Think of any other interesting characteristics you have. Make a list of the three most important strengths or traits that define you and try to incorporate them in your statement. Include stories and explain through examples how you are instead of stating “I am good looking, very smart, charming, incredible, the best thing since the invention of the telephone…” Show through example and story instead of just stating your characteristics. Give an example of a situation that shows how you care about people instead of saying you care about people, for example.read other replies on this topic
What suggestions do you have for the secondary applications?Turn them around as fast as you can. Same as your application and all materials in general. Fast response is key. I would respond to all schools since you really don’t know at that point who will interview you and who will not. Maybe only leave out a school or two that really doesn’t feel right and you really don’t want to attend. read other replies on this topic
What suggestions do you have for the interview?Dress professionally, be on time. Try to get the earliest possible interview day – you’ll have much better chances to get in that way. Especially if you have done everything else early (MCAT, application submission, secondary returned) you will have the opportunity to interview early. Take the first interview day you can. Review the basic questions and learn how to handle ethical questions. You may also want to review interview feedback and some questions students were asked on the Student Doctor Network.read other replies on this topic
Describe your pre-med schedule, typical day and weekMy schedule was a bit odd since I completed my BS degree in Zoology in 3 years instead of 4. Also, I have a large family, so I tried to spend some time with them. Overall, I tried to spend 8 am until 5 pm at school or in the library studying and then again from about 8 pm until 10 pm or 11 pm. The time from 6 pm (I also had to drive one hour each way to school and back) until 8 pm I tried to be home with the family. However, during my first semester, when I took 24 credits, I saw my family less than that. Also, before tests I saw them less than that in most of the other semesters with the exception of the two semesters following the MCAT and med school application. The first two years I did not work, but took a heavy load (18 credits) and maintained a GPA above 3.95. The last year, I took it a little easier, but worked part-time as well, so I worked some of the hours that I spent studying before. Overall, my last year was pretty relaxing and I spent more time with family as well. I always took my Sundays off to relax and managed to take some Saturdays off as well. read other replies on this topic
Did you do any other extracurricular activities?Research for a semester, volunteered 45 hours, shadowed 135 hours, church service, worked at Domino’s Pizza as a driver, volunteer soccer coach, soup kitchen, miscellaneous service activities. Read in the other sections.read other replies on this topic
How did you choose your med school?I interviewed at four schools and Medical College of Wisconsin was simply the best for me. I had a great interview day, connected with the interviewers and loved the whole experience. I also received an offer there by October 15th, which enabled me to cancel all the other interviews I had. Some of the other interviews were good as well and I received some additional offers, but things at MCW just felt totally right. I knew I had found the right place.read other replies on this topic
Did you take any extra coursework in preparation for med school?Yes, I have taken some courses in preparation for med school. Part of my Zoology degree included 2 semesters of Anatomy and Physiology, Cell Biology, Genetics and many other courses. However, I purposely took 2 semesters of Human Physiology with the Pharmacy students and 1 semester of Human Pathophysiology with the Physician’s Assistant students at my undergrad institution. These were not required, but highly recommended in preparation for med school.read other replies on this topic
Any open-ended advice?Read as much as you can on this website and read many other people’s perspectives. The more you find out, the better. Also, meet with your pre-med advisor as soon as possible. Meet and speak with some successful applicants. Also, there are many things to complete outside of the classroom and many people have no clue. You need to get shadowing, research, etc. out of the way as soon as possible and you will want to take the April MCAT in your Junior year. Also, make sure you do everything in the application process early and in a timely manner – it really pays off! Good Luck! read other replies on this topic

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