In today’s episode, I talk to Ben, a non-traditional premed student who now has an acceptance to medical school. He’s got an amazing journey to share with all of us, recovering from a bad MCAT score as well as a low GPA.
What’s crucial in the premed journey is your ability to surround yourself with the right people and work together to benefit both of you in your journey to medical school—collaboration, not competition. You don’t have to knock down the person next to you. You’re in it together. There are plenty of seats available. This episode shows that message.
Ben and I talk about how overwhelming the medical school application process can be time-wise (you need ample time to prepare). We also discuss how you need to understand your uniqueness and be able to convey that during the interview.
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
Why Ben thinks he is an unorthodox premed student:
- Going to a public school that has a medical school attached to it
- Not knowing that he wanted to be a physician until after graduating with a communication degree
- Liking a biology class
- Shadowing a physician who treated his broken finger
What led Ben to medicine:
- His interest in the field of orthopedics as an athlete
- No one in his family is a doctor, nurse, or any position in the medical field
Making the switch to medicine:
- School not coming easily to him
- Not having the confidence to pull the trigger (initially)
- Dealing with financial challenges
Ben’s shadowing experience:
- His physician inviting him to shadow him
- Shadowing the physician for 4 years
The biggest thing he did right during shadowing:
- Trying to just be a sponge and absorb everything
- Asking questions
- Looking up information online
- Reaching out to a premed advisor at his school
Going back for a postbac program:
- Taking a chemistry class for the very first time
- Dealing with self-doubt issues
- Working smarter
- Collaborating with people who have the same goals as you do
- Struggling with a bad MCAT score
Collaboration vs. Competition
- Surrounding yourself with awesome people
- Getting more courage and inspiration to study more
The hardest thing during the application process:
The hardest part of applying to medical school for Ben was the time it would take to do everything:
- Filling out the forms
- Choosing what schools to apply to, how many schools to apply to
- Writing all the secondary applications
Applying to medical school:
- Applied at around 30 schools (both MD and DO)
- His life experience as the greatest asset in his application (shadowing, interning, etc.)
- The importance of telling your story—you’re more than just a good GPA or a bad MCAT score
[Related episode: Your MCAT and GPA Don’t Matter as Much as You Think.]
Preparing for medical school:
Start building healthy habits now, so when medical school starts you can just focus on doing the work.
Some pieces of advice for premed students:
Ask questions when shadowing: Regardless of what specialty you’re shadowing, just ask as many questions as you can and absorb as much as you can.
Just pick up the phone. Call the medical schools. Call the people who make the decisions. Ask questions and get answers right from the horse’s mouth. Advocate for yourself.
Don’t panic: There are going to be things along the way that will get you down. Just ride that wave and make sure your work ethic and dedication are consistent. Just keep your eye on what your ultimate goal is.There are going to be things along the way that will get you down. Just keep your eye on what your ultimate goal is.Click To Tweet
Links and Other Resources
- Check out my Premed Playbook series of books (available on Amazon), with installments on the personal statement, the medical school interview, and the MCAT.
- Related episode: What MCAT Score Do I Need to Overcome My Low GPA?
- Related episode: What If You’ve Applied and Your MCAT Score Is Bad?
- Need MCAT Prep? Save on tutoring, classes, and full-length practice tests by using promo code “MSHQ” for 10% off Next Step full-length practice tests or “MSHQTOC” for $50 off MCAT tutoring or the Next Step MCAT Course at Next Step Test Prep!
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