Profile Questions and Answers
|Why medicine? What is your story?||I was taking courses towards completing my computer science degree. I had already been working as an EMT to pay the bills, but it was time to start looking for a real job pertaining to computers. It was then that I realized I could not do computer programming for the next forty years of my life. Since I was already working in healthcare I thought I would explore my options there. I considered becoming a paramedic (an advanced EMT), but thought that would not be enough for me. I further considered nursing, athletic training, and PA school. In the end, becoming a physician was the only path that seemed to fit me. After two more years of premed coursework, the MCAT, and a “wonderful” interviewing process, here I am.||read other replies on this topic|
|Are you in any special circumstances? Anything unique?||Computer Science Degree|
EMT prior to school
AHA Instructor prior to school
Have a significant other
Have a dog
Started at 25, a little older than the usual
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|What was the hardest part in preparing for med school?||The hardest part about preparing for medical school was not knowing if I would get in. Its rough devoting time and money to a career that may not accept you. I made a commitment to give it everything I had; I worked hard and I made a lot of sacrifices. In the end, I was accepted to my top two choices on the first possible day that you could be accepted (without being early decision). I was lucky, in my case the hard work paid off.||read other replies on this topic|
|How much did you work while going through pre-med?||I worked as an Emergency Medical Technician throughout undergraduate school (see clinical experience). I worked fulltime when I could handle it, but I worked at least twenty hours a week.||read other replies on this topic|
|What did you do for MCAT preparation?||If the test is foreign to you, then practice, practice, practice.
And then practice some more.
The prep course was a waste of time for me, but the course materials (practice tests and books) were very helpful.||read other replies on this topic|
|How much did you shadow physicians?||I worked in an Emergency Department with physicians for more than three years before medical school, so I guess you could consider that shadowing.||read other replies on this topic|
|How much did you volunteer?||None. I think it was sufficient to show that my time was well occupied. The question never came up, but if it did I would have said paying rent and buying food trumped volunteering.||read other replies on this topic|
|What clinical exposure did you have?||I worked as an Emergency Medical Technician on an ambulance for nearly two years and in a hospital emergency department for three and a half years. I also taught basic life support, affiliated with the American Heart Association.||read other replies on this topic|
|What did you do for research?||none. This was the weakest part of my application, but I figured my clinical experience would make up for it. It did.||read other replies on this topic|
|Do you have any leadership experience?||None. Well... I am a CPR instructor, but that's not really school related. I was too busy with working and school to be a leader in some club. Just be able to show that your time was occupied with meaningful things.||read other replies on this topic|
|What suggestions do you have for the personal statement?||I would be unique, but not too pretentious. Sell yourself, but don't brag too much.
Be honest.||read other replies on this topic|
|What suggestions do you have for the secondary applications?||Pain in the butt. These can cost $40 - $100 a piece. Be certain about what you want and how much you are willing to spend. And ... keep jumping through the hoops, it will be good practice for the rest of your life.||read other replies on this topic|
|What suggestions do you have for the interview?||Be yourself. Smile. At least think about your responses to the big questions, "Why a doctor?", "Why our school?", "What makes you so special?", etc. Know your application front to back; anything in there is fair game.||read other replies on this topic|
|Describe your pre-med schedule, typical day and week||During the school year: 14-16 credit hours per semester. I worked 20 - 35 hours per week to pay the bills.||read other replies on this topic|
|Did you do any other extracurricular activities?||Schools want to see that you can handle a heavy workload. If your extracurricular activities are lacking because you had to work to pay the bills (I had to), had to take care of a child, or decided to take 18 credits each semester, simply state that in your application and it shouldn't hurt you.||read other replies on this topic|
|How did you choose your med school?||If your lucky enough to be able to choose your school, you have to pick the school that feels most comfortable. It has to be a good fit all around.||read other replies on this topic|
|Did you take any extra coursework in preparation for med school?||People ahead of me in medical school that said the curriculum would teach us what we need to know and a lot of undergraduate preparation was not necessary. I do agree that the staff will teach us the basic science that we need to know. However, it is much easier to relearn something than to learn it fresh. As an undergrad I took biochemistry, genetics, endocrinology, medical terminology, plus others. These classes helped me immensely and made relearning the info in medical school much easier that if I had to learn the topics from scratch. The extra info always helps, whether you’re able to teach yourself or you choose to enroll in a course.||read other replies on this topic|
|Any open-ended advice?||For someone thinking about a career in medicine, I would neither encourage him or her nor discourage him or her. The path has its ups and downs and each individual needs to decide what is right for them. Things to consider are: Is the sacrifice worth the reward? Will this profession make you happy? Etc.
If you are undecided or are completing another degree program before committing to premed coursework, do forget to collect letters of recommendation. Most universities have a letter collection service that will hold your letters for you (because you will sign a waver stating that you will not view the letters). There are also fledgling online letter collection services available, but I am not familiar with them. If you are unsure about medical school, it is always easier to ask for a letter of recommendation while you’re taking a course than to return two years later hoping that the professor will remember you. If you have a non-science degree you will definitely want a letter of recommendation from a professor in that field. Also, if you work in healthcare with a doctor, have them write you a letter. A letter from a physician is always good and is sometimes required by D.O. schools. Don’t put the letters of recommendation off, they can be the hardest application component to obtain.
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