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Profile and Perspective for Maria Reyes                  Viewed 27659 times

General Information
Name:Maria Reyes
School:University of Utah School of Medicine
Graduating:2009, MD degree
Gender:Female
Marital Status:Single
Scholarship:None
Nontraditional:Yes
Second career:Yes
Posted:5/10/2007
Contact prefs:You may contact me.

Pre-Med Info
Pre-med:psychology & biology, university of utah & westminster college (2nd BS)
GPA:3.6
MCAT:26
Number med schools applied to:1


Read questions I have been asked
by readers and my responses.

Currently 8 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 Utah School of MedicineYesYesYes

Profile Questions and Answers
Question Answer  
Why medicine? What is your story?I, as a bonified musician/former sciencephobe, decided on medicine after having cancer.read other replies on this topic
Are you in any special circumstances? Anything unique?I am a non-traditional student in terms of being 30 yrs old when I started med school. I also come from an "economically disadvantaged" background. That said- I'm "different" from most of my classmates (whom I adore) in that they are 20ish and, generally, adding to the professional legacies established by their families.read other replies on this topic
What was the hardest part in preparing for med school?The hardest part of preparing for medical school was learning to think like a scientist.read other replies on this topic
How much did you work while going through pre-med?I always maintained at least 30 hrs employment while an undergraduate. I typically had 2 jobs: 1 job in retail and another as a "tech" in the medical field (usually PRN (aka as needed)). I cannot stress enough how much working in the medical field, at any capacity, helps you decide whether medicine is right for you. If you're serious about medicine, then for God's sake, take a PRN job (they are easy to come by). Medical school's dig this!!!!read other replies on this topic
What did you do for MCAT preparation?I suck at standardized tests. I studied diligently for the MCAT for 2 years,did Kaplan...the WORKS, yet only scored a 26 (13 pts was due to the VR section which I didn't do a lick of prep for!!). All I can recommend is to do your best (vague, I know), but realize that med schools aren't solely basing admission on MCAT scores. I got in!!!read other replies on this topic
How much did you shadow physicians?Prior to med school, I was a clinical research assistant for 3 years. This was a full-time job, thus I "shadowed" physicians for 40 hrs/wk for 3 years. Can you say OVERKILL! If you have competitive MCAT scores (eg 30), grades (eg 3.7) and have shadowed a physician for about 10 hrs, then you're still in the game. On the other hand, if your MCAT scores and grades are so-so (by medical school standards), then shadow your butt off!read other replies on this topic
How much did you volunteer?Volunteering because you care (as opposed to doing it because you want to go to med school)is the definative factor of whether you'll be happy as a physician. I say this because a career as a physician is a lot like volunteering (despite the whole myth that Docs are rich). The fact is physician's spend a lot more time inside and outside of the clinic than they are compensated for. I'm not saying you'll be poor, I'm just aquainting you to the fact that medicine is a time demanding profession. Your time expenditure need be motivated by caring passionately about the welfare of your patients with less regard toward financial compensation. This is why medical school's look heavily upon the amount of time you've volunteered. I volunteered for 5 years at about 3hrs/week for the Cancer Wellness House. When considering where to volunteer, find a cause that you care passionately about and stay there. Med schools look much more favorably upon a long-term commitment to a cause/organization rather than some scattered jestures of altruism.read other replies on this topic
What clinical exposure did you have?Get a job as a PRN tech in a hospital (easy to get). I was a psych tech for a year and an anesthesia tech for another year at a local children's hospital. I was also a clinical research coordinator in ID for 3 years. You need not do all this, that's just where my life circumstances led me. Although, I'd recommend a hearty 2 years at 10 hrs/wk for your med school application (more if your grades/MCATs aren't competitive).read other replies on this topic
What did you do for research?I completed an Honors Senior Thesis for my bachelors. I also participated in an undergraduate reseach program one summer. My undergraduate thesis took about a year at 15 hrs/wk to complete (you get easy A's for thesis research). During the summer research program I got paid about $4,000, got free MCAT prep classes, and free room/board for working about 30hrs/wk. Sure as Hell beats working at Star Bucks!read other replies on this topic
Do you have any leadership experience?This is a tricky box to fill in as your completing the AMCAS appplication. If you're like me, you've never been class president or active in the pre-med society. In this case, you need think outside the box. Medical schools value leadership in all forms (aside from the obvious granduosities). If you've TA'd classes tutored students, mentored a kid, been section leader, team captain....these are all demonstrative of leadership. I TA'd 2 classes, each for 1 semester as an undergraduate.read other replies on this topic
What suggestions do you have for the personal statement?My suggestion is to treat your personal statement as though it was the only thing that med schools are going to remember about you. Please don't make the mistake of reitorating your 4.0 GPA and other accomplishments that are outlined on the AMCAS. Your essay is not your resume (they already know about your Nobel Prize...). What they don't know is who you are, what led you here, what have you experienced that will make you a better doctor than all of the other geeks out there. The key to writing a stand out personal statement is to stand out! Take the most unique experience, aspect, talent, obstacle you've encountered, tell them what this has taught you, and how this will make you a better physician. I cannot over emphasize how important your personal statement will be. Everything else will get you as far as the interview stage; but when it comes down to deciding between Ms. Qualified and Ms. Other Qualified, the personal statement will determine your fate.read other replies on this topic
What suggestions do you have for the secondary applications?My suggestion is to resist the temptation to get cocky. Trust me, it gets far more competitive at this stage. You'll basically be reitorating your AMCAS for the majority of the application, but the essay is essential. Write an essay that describes a completely different side of you (not a boring sequel to your AMCAS essay). Be honest, creative, and candid (but relate it to how this experience, characteristic...will make you a better physician).read other replies on this topic
What suggestions do you have for the interview?BE YOURSELF AT YOUR BEST. Dress professional, be confident, maintain eye contact, and listen. Try not to ramble even though you're nervous as Hell. If you find yourself doing so, stop, and throw a question at the interviewer. Ask them what they like most about the school. This gives you a chance to compose youself and lets the interviewer know that you're not just a big wind bag that likes to hear your own voice.read other replies on this topic
Describe your pre-med schedule, typical day and weekLet's see, classes in the morning (eg 8-12). Lunch and nap time (12-2). Afternoons volunteering 2-3xwk or playing, rehearsing drums (I was in a blues/rock band). Evenings alternated with work and time with friends and family (please make time for friends/family!!). Nights studying about 3-4 hrs (eg 8-11/12). My weekends were spent working all day, but partying like a rock star at night lol. This schedule worked for me, but everyone is different. Just make sure you take time to smell the roses!read other replies on this topic
Did you do any other extracurricular activities?I am a drummer. This is part of my life and, by God, counted as an extracurricular activity. Please don't make the mistake of overlooking what you enjoy doing- soccer,woodworking, cooking, under water basket weaving...as an extracurricular activity. Just because you enjoy doing something, doesn't mean that it's not worthy of listing on your application. Your unique interests will stand out to the admissions commitee!read other replies on this topic
How did you choose your med school?My choice was simple. My family is here, and I was not willing to live away from them. Being near my family was/is MY priority (even if I couldn't be a physician). Be realistic about the sacrafices that you're willing to make to be a doctor. Also, don't get caught up on the whole med school ranking BS (you'll be called Dr. no matter where you graduate from). It's so difficult to get accepted to any med school, so make the most of wherever you get accepted.read other replies on this topic
Did you take any extra coursework in preparation for med school?Take courses that you enjoy, that will challenge you, and that encourage critical thinking. Please don't take extra anatomy, biochemistry...UNLESS you enjoy these subjects. Med schools are interested in your intellectual sincerity regarding your choice of coursework.read other replies on this topic
Any open-ended advice?My advice is to be true to yourself and understand what it is that you're getting into. Being a med student and a physician takes A LOT of sacrafice. The 2 biggest things to ask yourself are: Is this what I want (not mom, dad, spouse)? and Do I have a realistic idea of what the life of a physician is like (eg you've shadowed, worked/volunteered in a medical setting as opposed to diligently watching Grey's Anatomy)?read other replies on this topic


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