Profile Questions and Answers
|Why medicine? What is your story?||I knew coming out of high school that I wanted to go into medicine. The problem was how to pay for school--my family is not well off. I decided to join the Army Reserve as a pharmacy specialist and field medic with the hope that the Army would help pay for school and that I could find a decent job that would support me through school.
After a year in the Reserves, I served two years as a missionary in Texas for my church. After the mission, I married my wife and we moved to Arizona where I found it difficult to work full time and go to school time.
I ended up starting a business with the hope that it would support us financially and allow time for school--it only half worked. The money was great but there was no time for anything other than work as the business grew from just my partner and I working to a full-time staff of 35-40 employees. After 6 years, my partner felt like he wanted the chance to run the business by himself and offered to buy me out--I said yes and retired at the ripe old age of 30. The buy-out gave us enough money to live on for about 8 years, so we did some planning and thought about our future and I decided that I really did want to become a physician. I had only completed two semesters of undergrad, so I enrolled at the U of Arizona and completed my degree. When it came time to apply for med school, a friend in Tucson recommended MCW. I was impressed by how well they ran the application process/business side of the school and when I got the offer I accepted (after my wife told me I could). Our family really likes it here in Wisconsin and the school is excellent.||read other replies on this topic|
|Are you in any special circumstances? Anything unique?||No special circumstances--unless you consider being older (32 when applying), being married (13 years this year), having 3 girls (6,9 and 10 years old), 2 dogs (a lab mix and a newfie puppy), 1 cat (my wife's), 1 rat (pretty complacent sitting in its cage all day), 20 million guppies (increasing daily), and a successful previous career as unique.||read other replies on this topic|
|What was the hardest part in preparing for med school?||Sorry to have to say it, but school is a piece of cake compared with running your own business. I had so much time for my family and hobbies while I completed my undergraduate degree that it always felt like I was on vacation. After a year of medical school, it still feels that way.
If anything was hard about the process, it was not knowing if we were going to have to sell our house and move--and if we were moving, where we were going.||read other replies on this topic|
|How much did you work while going through pre-med?||The first year I worked full-time (graveyards or second shift) as a pharmacy tech.
I did not have to work when I went back to complete my degree.||read other replies on this topic|
|What did you do for MCAT preparation?||Getting a good score on the MCAT really depends on timing. For me, my timing sucked! I had just returned to school. It had been 8 years since I had taken the basic chem/bio courses and I had only taken one of the substantive courses from my major. I was very unprepared.
The only thing that saved me was taking a lot of practice tests. For a few months before the actual test, I would spend each Saturday in the library and go through a practice test.||read other replies on this topic|
|How much did you shadow physicians?||Fortunately, I have a few friends that are finishing or recently finished their residencies and I was able to shadow them. If you get a chance to shadow a surgical intern on trauma call, do it!
I also had a few connections with physicians that had treated my 9 year old daughter. She has a genetic disorder which required close medical supervision for many years. Her pediatrician was invaluable in helping me decide to return to school.
||read other replies on this topic|
|How much did you volunteer?||Other than volunteer service for my church, the majority of my volunteering time went to a health care clinic on the Arizona/Mexico border that catered to special needs children from Mexico. I translated for pediatricians and helped out where I could.
The clinic was run one day a month. I volunteered for almost a year before we moved.||read other replies on this topic|
|What clinical exposure did you have?||With the Army, I was trained as a field medic (basically EMT/paramedic level) and a pharmacy technician. For my reserve drills, we would spend the weekend in the VA hospital working with the nurses.
||read other replies on this topic|
|What did you do for research?||I did not do any bench/science research. My research interest is with anthropology, specifically health disparities. For my honors thesis at the U. of A, I spent time at a clinic (for Mexican children with special needs) on the Arizona/Mexico border interviewing patient's families and some clinic volunteers. The thesis dealt with the clinic as a site of cultural interaction--where American healthcare practitioners and their views directly interacted with indigent Mexicans and their dramatically different perspective. The paper also dealt with the disparate outcomes of Mexican and American children with special needs.||read other replies on this topic|
|Do you have any leadership experience?||Running my business provided plenty of leadership experience. Serving in the Army and as a missionary for my church provided additional experiences.||read other replies on this topic|
|What suggestions do you have for the personal statement?||Same old stuff:
Think it out. Write a draft. Re-write it. Have a few people that know something about grammar and the english language review it.||read other replies on this topic|
|What suggestions do you have for the secondary applications?||Just get through it and get on to the interviews.||read other replies on this topic|
|What suggestions do you have for the interview?||Be yourself. They should know that you are pretty well qualified--but they don't know how you conduct yourself. Let them see a little bit of your personality and what you have to offer the school.||read other replies on this topic|
|Describe your pre-med schedule, typical day and week||Typical undergrad school schedule (up to 18-20 credit hours). The rest of the time spent with the family and working on the house. Plenty of time to relax.||read other replies on this topic|
|Did you do any other extracurricular activities?||In Tucson, I would go mountain biking with some friends every Saturday morning. Running a few times a week. Basketball Thursday nights.
Church on Sunday and usually Tuesday/Wednesday nights.
Family time in between.||read other replies on this topic|
|How did you choose your med school?||Our first choice was based on location--if Arizona had offered me a spot, we would have stayed in Tucson.
We looked at other schools based on the advice of friends that had attended the schools as well as the location.||read other replies on this topic|
|Did you take any extra coursework in preparation for med school?||I minored in Anthropology--mostly cultural anth. I would recommmend it to everyone. It really helps broaden your perspective about people and the way they view the world.||read other replies on this topic|
|Any open-ended advice?||Good luck!||read other replies on this topic|