Interview with Non-Traditional Pre Med Torray

Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

Session 08

Session 8

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 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:

Charles Drew Post-Bac

Torray’s Research on PubMed

Atul Gawande’s Books

MSAR®: Getting Started Medical School Admission Requirements

Med School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Medical School Experience: By Students, for Students

If you need any help with the medical school interview, go to 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

For more great content, check out for more of the shows produced by the Medical School Headquarters including the OldPremeds Podcast and watch out for more shows in the future!

Check out our new sponsor, Elite Medical Scribes. Find out how being a scribe can help you grow as a premed and help you get into medical school.

Free MCAT Gift: Free 30+ page guide with tips to help you maximize your MCAT score and which includes discount codes for MCAT prep as well.

Hang out with us over at Click join and we’ll add you up to our private Facebook group. Share your successes and miseries with the rest of us.

Check out our partner magazine, to learn more about awesome premed information.

Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep): Get one-on-one tutoring for the MCAT and maximize your score. Get $50 off their tutoring program when you mention that you heard about this on the podcast or through the MSHQ website. Check out their 10-full length practice tests and save 10% using the code “MSHQ”.

Listen to our podcast for free at iTunes: and leave us a review there!

Email Ryan at or connect with him on Twitter @medicalschoolhq