In today's episode, Ryan talks with Torray, a postbac student at Charles Drew University (affiliated with UCLA) and a former teacher. Like Russel in Session 6, Torray shares his experience as a nontraditional premed student.
Ryan also answers a question from Delvin, a junior in college, about taking community college courses to fulfill medical school prerequisites. Back in Session 5, Rich from OldPreMeds.org and Ryan talked about community college credits where medical school admissions committees may not deem an A grade as such considering that it's not as rigorous of a course as going to a full 4-year university. Another problem is that not all medical schools accept community college credits. Should you really need to attend a community college, call the medical schools you're interested in applying to and discuss this with them.
Going back to the interview, listen in as Torray talks about his interesting nontraditional premed path, his shadowing experience, the lack of premed advising,
Here are the highlights of the conversation with Torray:
Where he is now on his path:
- Finishing an 11-year career in educations
- Still on the list as a substitute teacher but really focusing on his postbac program
- Taking a formal postbac program in Charles Drew University
What opened his path to medical school:
- Torray had a mild heart attack and was out of work for 3 months
- Although he has a rewarding career as a teacher, he wanted to do something different
- Made a list of things he wanted to do including going to medical school
- Volunteering in a trauma surgery center that cemented his decision to go to medical school
Torray's shadowing experience:
- Three volunteer assignments he has worked on
- Cedar-Sinai's Independent Student Volunteer program
- Allowed a mix of volunteering and shadowing
- His attending asking if he was interested in research and saying yes which led to the article being published and Torray being listed as an author
How his life experiences have helped him in interacting with people:
- Allowing him to ask about information in a genuine manner and not obnoxiously
- Building a relationship versus just a list of canned questions
- Doing little things to help the doctors and patients
Why he didn't go to medicine early on:
- Not getting any support from his university's department
- Feeling not having a “gunner” mentality won't get you to medical school
- Not realizing that there are different personalities in medicine and his personality would have fit
Two book recommendations from Torray:
- Medical School Confidential (talks about being a premed, a postbac student, MCAT, AMCAS, application, match day, residency, and more!)
- MSAR (gives you an opportunity to look at every medical school in the US, Canada, and the Caribbean)
Reaching out to medical schools and building relationships:
- 20 schools he was interested in applying to
- 8 schools responding back and wanting to have a phone conversation with him
- Phone conversations lasting for 30 mins – 2 hours
Realizing the skill of selling:
- Medical school is like a business. They have to find you worthy.
- You are not only marketing yourself, but your university's name as well.
- Selling is a skill that you have to think about
Torray's thought process in choosing between MD and DO schools:
- Having mentors who are MDs
- Not having enough information or exposure to DO schools
His two biggest obstacles:
- Going into the sciences coming from a non-science background – Seeing the connection between what he was studying and what he was seeing in a hospital setting
- Poor advisement
Some words of wisdom from Torrey:
- Be genuine when you ask questions.
- Asking “low-level” questions wastes that relationship that you could start with the other person since you haven't put in the work needed to garner the type of answers you need.
- Getting into medical school is not about averages because medical schools accept in ranges. Although important, medical school is more than just the GPA or MCAT.
- Listen to what other people say but at the end of the day, you have to make your own path.
Links and Other Resources:
Torray's Research on PubMed
If you need any help with the medical school interview, go to medschoolinterviewbook.com. Sign up and you will receive parts of the book so you can help shape the future of the book. This book will include over 500 questions that may be asked during interview day as well as real-life questions, answers, and feedback from all of the mock interviews Ryan has been doing with students.
Are you a nontraditional student? Go check out oldpremeds.org.
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