Today, Ryan talks with a premed mom, Ashley. Listen in to this inspiring conversation. With sparse extracurricular activities, struggling to find someone who can write her a good letter of recommendation, a weak personal statement, and submitting her application super (VERY SUPER) late, find out how Ashley finally managed to land a seat in medical school.
Here are the highlights of the conversation with Ashley:
When she first knew she wanted to be a doctor
- She wanted it ever since she was a kid
- Getting involved in the Medical Magnet High School Program
Going to Florida State University
- Speaking with an advisor on the first semester
- Navigated through the process herself and ended up doing work-study in an organizations helping HIV/AIDS positive people
Some challenges Ashley faced:
- Dealing with family issues while keeping up with her courses
The timeline of her AMCAS applications:
- Opened up her AMCAS in August
- A professor wrote her a letter on why he won’t write her a letter of recommendation
- She had to find somebody who knows her better and where she did better in class
- Realizing how weak her personal statement was, rambling about childhood dreams
- She submitted her AMCAS at the very last minute, literally
Some issues she faced with her application:
- When she filled in her coursework, she only inputted the courses she thought needed to get into medical school and not the others
- Getting a score of 23 on her MCAT
Did she get into medical school the first time she applied?
How Ashley changed the course of her journey
- She applied for 2 forensic science programs and didn’t get into either
- She ended up in Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University’s Masters in Public Health program for two years putting her medical school dreams on hold
What she did to help strengthen her application:
- Getting active in organizations and community services
- Gaining shadowing experience with two doctors
- Preparing her AMCAS while taking a review course for the MCAT, and taking more practice exams while she was pregnant – wow!
- She tweaked her personal statement
- Submitted her application mid-October (STILL VERY LATE! but better than her first time)
How she improved her GPA:
- She got accepted to Barry University in Florida and did two years of the bio-medical sciences program and maintained 3.6 GPA
The reasons for her previous low GPA:
- Overloading her semesters
- Dealing with family issues and death in her family
- Poor study skills
Choosing what schools to apply to (the second time around):
- She paid the best $30 she spent on AAMC’s MSAR where she got to every MD school in every single state and you get to see their stats for the average GPAs, selection factors, and demographics, etc. so she was able to decide who her numbers fit with
- So she applied to schools where her numbers fit within their ranges
- She applied to 25-30 MD and DO schools
- She submitted her AMCAS in July (YAY!!!)
Resources she used for her personal statement:
- She consulted her advisor in Florida State University
- Showing her personal statement to her friend who underwent a PhD program and asked for his opinion
- Result: She got two interviews (one from MD and one from DO school)
Preparing for the interview at the MD school:
- Asking help from friends
- Checking out online resources
- Ashley waited for 8 weeks only to find out she didn’t get in
What she did to course correct her performance during the interview process at the DO school:
- Planned out the questions.
- Made sure she was comfortable in what she was wearing (previous interview wore her mom’s suit)
She got in at the Georgia Campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine!
Some pieces of advice for premed students:
- You need to get strong letters of recommendation from somebody who knows you or somebody you’ve performed very well in their class. Don’t just send random emails.
- Don’t give up on your dream. Utilize resources that can help you with what you need to do to get into medical school.
Links and Other Resources
- 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.
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- Check out our partner magazine, www.premedlife.com to learn more about awesome premed information.
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