Regional Medical Schools and Sidney’s Premed Path

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Session 166

Session 166

In today’s episode, Ryan talks with Sidney who’s been part of the Academy. A traditional premed student, Sidney had some MCAT issues and some personal health issues but she was able to successfully apply to medical school.

Sidney shares with us a wealth of tips and information about preparing for the MCAT, what you should be doing during your gap year, a touch on the WWAMI program, and the biggest lessons she learned during the interview. Ultimately, Sidney got interviewed in four places where she has gotten three acceptances so far and now waiting on the fourth hopefully.

Here are the highlights of the conversation with Sidney:

When Sidney knew she wanted to be a doctor:

  • Has always loved science since middle school
  • Loves being able to apply science and helping people

Choosing which route to take to (physician or other career fields):

How Sidney went about choosing her college:

  • Went to Idaho State University and majored in Biology
  • Being unsure of which route to take until Sophomore year getting involved with the pre-health club

Preparing for the medical school application:

  • Consulting with a prehealth advisor
  • Basing it on the University of Utah’s School of Medicine guidelines
  • Realizing that she needed to volunteer with things that she had a passion for

Taking the MCAT:

  • Sidney took a Kaplan course and had 2.5 months to study for it
  • She focused on the wrong things (memorizing facts and equations)
  • Took it the first time and did awful
  • Took the old MCAT the second time (January 2015)

Preparations for her MCAT the second time:

  • Kept doing the things she enjoyed doing
  • Focusing on the next semester and not worrying about the MCAT score
  • Did shadowing experiences and consulted with mentors
  • Focused on taking practice tests and questions
  • Took the Kaplan quizzes

Narrowing down her list of schools:

  • Applied to a total of 14 MD and DO schools (7 and 7)

How Sidney is preparing for medical school:

  • Not worrying about it
  • No sense of stressing about it when you’re in your gap year
  • Relax and take time for yourself.

Her biggest lessons during the interviews:

  • Interviewers just really want to get to know you.
  • They aren’t trying to intimidate you.

Factors in narrowing down the school to say “yes” to:

  • Cost
  • Location
  • Seeing the campus and interacting with students

On the WWAMI program:

  • University of Washington accepts students from Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho
  • You get to do your first year in Idaho and the remaining 2.5 years spent all over the 5-state region.

Resources that Sidney used to help her in her journey:

The Premed Years Podcast

Small group of students in Idaho State University

Sidney has got the perfect outlook in applying to medical schools:

“I’m different. I’m different from anybody else. It’s okay if I don’t get accepted because maybe I’m just not the right personality for that school and that’s okay. I just need to show the best part of myself and there’s really not much I can do after that.”

Links and Other Resources:

Go to and share your feedback and insights as Ryan is writing this 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.

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

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.

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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