3 Application Cycles, and Now, Finally a Medical Student!

Session 80

The Premed Years

In today's episode, Ryan talks with Danielle Ward as she shares about her own share of successes and failures in taking the MCAT 4 times along with 3 attempts of applying to medical school spanning over 5 years to finally get an acceptance where she is starting this Fall at the Georgia Campus of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Danielle's story is a perfect example of perseverance. Probably the biggest lesson gleaned from this episode is that you don't have to wait things to happen to you. Instead, you have to go out and make things happen for you.

Here are the highlights of the conversation with Danielle:

Danielle's journey to medical school:

  • Volunteering for the hurricane Katrina victims during her Freshman year as her defining moment to pursue medicine at the Louisiana State University
  • Mapping out her four-year plan around medicine
  • Joining organizations centered around medicine, volunteering, and community services to show her interest in becoming a physician

Danielle's challenges along the way:

  • Giving birth to her daughter during Sophomore year
  • Low GPA
  • Marital issues
  • Studying for the MCAT – working two jobs, taking care of her toddler, and attending classes so studying went on the back burner
  • Danielle took the MCAT four times

Tools Danielle used to prep for the MCAT:

How she prepared for the second application:

  • List everything to identify all your weaknesses or something you left out.
  • Danielle took a research position in parasitology and immunology

Managing everything with a child:

  • Time management – When you don't have a choice, find a way to make it happen.

Flexible grad school experience:

  • Took her masters in biochemistry
  • Took an online grad school program at University of St. Joseph in West Hartford Connecticut

On her 3rd application to medical school:

  • She was previously rejected at PCOM – Georgia Campus but she already had the research, publications, hospital volunteering plus her grad school GPA (which did the magic for her!)
  • Retook the MCAT, didn't do as well (but got her physics up)

The benefits of online classes: Accountability

  • Weekly discussion boards
  • Weekly 5-page essays (minimum)

What helped her get a high grad school GPA:

  • Structure
  • Effort
  • Independent learning

Why Danielle thinks her MCAT scores never budged:

  • Overthinking questions and not really paying attention to them
  • Burnout
  • Not doing enough practice questions

Some pieces of advice for premed students:

  • Don't get discouraged. Find a support system. Ask for help. And if you get rejected, find out what you did wrong and try to make it work and go back at it again.
  • Everybody has different learning styles. So be flexible as you progress through the ranks.

Links and Other Resources:

PCOM – Georgia Campus

If you would like to follow along on Danielle's journey, please check out her blog: www.aspiringminoritydoctor.com

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.

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

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

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

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.

Listen to our podcast for free at iTunes: medicalschoolhq.net/itunes and leave us a review there!

Email Ryan at ryan@medicalschoolhq.net or connect with him on Twitter @medicalschoolhq

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  • I really enjoyed your story, Danielle. It’s frustrating how many times I’ve heard premed advisers and other premeds tell someone that they have no shot at getting into medical school. Did you have close friends and family telling you to give it up?

    In my opinion, dedication to the pursuit of medicine is far more valuable than a point or 2 on the MCAT. At a certain point in your journey, that dedication could even become a powerful narrative in your personal statement.

    Ryan, have you ever told a premed student to give it up? What were the circumstances?

    I’m going to share this episode with a friend of mine who is having a similarly frustrating journey to dental school. I hope it will be inspiring!

    Premed Revolution

    • D Ward

      Ben, I’m glad you enjoyed it! My friends and family never told me to give up, but I could definitely tell that they didn’t believe it would happen. Those closest to me know how stubborn I can be though, so they knew it was coming, lol! Thank you for sharing and I hope it inspires your friend as well 🙂

      Ryan, thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell my story! I’ve gotten great feedback from it and I can definitely tell I’ve inspired a few people.

  • Joel

    Loved it! And Congratulations on your huge accomplishment!

    • D Ward

      Thank you, Joel!

  • Raylicia Young

    I absolutely loved this show. I have listened to a dozen of your podcast shows and they are all very informative but this one really stuck out to me. I could relate to Danielle and her story because I am also a mother and going to school. Even though I have a long way to go until I finish undergrad, these non-traditional med school students inspire me so much. After reading a few blogs and reading about the long intense hours of studying, switching majors, bad gpas, and the huge effort to pass the MCAT, its just so nice to see that throughout it all they were still able to get into medical school. Its just so encouraging. Im a mother of 3 yr old twins and a 5 yr old and I am even getting by. Soon you will be hearing from me once I get into med school 🙂

    • @rayliciayoung:disqus – I’d love to hear your success story! Keep pushing. It’s a grind, and a long journey, but as you heard in this episode – it’s worth it!

  • Keith

    @MedicalSchoolHQ:disqus Im 44 credits into undergrad at local CC due to horrible grades in HS. I am a recovering addict/alch with 8 years clean at 33 y/o. I want to be a doctor so bad i can taste it. Just applied to major University and waiting to hear back on application. Another grind story and i will not give up!

    • Keith,

      Please keep in touch and let us know how we can help! Would love to share your story one day!!




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