In this episode, I talk with Jessica, a nontraditional student whose path was filled with hard work. She applied to 35 MD and DO schools and got more than 11 interview invites. So far, she has 10 medical school acceptances, and she’s waiting to hear back from the 11th school she interviewed at.
Today, Jessica shares her experiences in her journey to medical school, the GPA and MCAT she had, her experience taking a DIY postbac program, factors in choosing which school to go to, and the keys to her success.
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
Jessica’s Path to Her Medical School Acceptances
- She worked as an actress and in the restaurant industry.
- Got a BFA from NYU with a double major in acting and psychology.
- Acting was her main passion, but she’s always loved science, too.
- Her dad was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer, and Jessica was inspired by her dad’s gastroenterologist.
- Jessica didn’t feel fulfilled with theater.
- Watching her grandfather pass away also inspired her toward medicine.
- She started doing yoga teacher training and volunteering at Hollywood Arts.
Choosing a DIY Postbac Premed Program
- Attended UCLA Premed Extension, which offered nights and weekends.
- Took a DIY postbac program.
- You can just sign up for classes based on your own schedule.
- She did not have access to a premed advisor.
- She didn’t have the resources that a typical postbac program has.
- Looked at the school’s website and mapped out all the classes she thought she needed to take.
Let’s Talk About Stats
Jessica got more than 11 interview invites and at least 10 medical school acceptances. So what stats did she have?
- MCAT: 31 (this was the old MCAT, before 2015)
- Science GPA: 4.0
- Undergrad GPA: 3.74
Choosing Which Medical Schools to Apply To
- Family considerations: Jessica looked at geographic regions where she’s got family, and she applied to every school in those areas.
- MD vs. DO: Applied to 35 MD and DO schools.
- Specific Schools: Looking at the school itself and the school’s philosophy, not just whether it’s MD or DO.
Writing Her Secondary Application Essays
- She cranked out one secondary per day in mid-July.
- Jessica wished she had pre-written some essays!
[Check out our Medical School Secondary Application Essay Library. This database allows you to pre-write your secondary essays based on what the questions have been in previous years.]
Jessica’s Experience with Medical School Interviews
- Most of the interviews were conversational.
- If you list on your application, also prepare to talk about it or demonstrate it!
- If you say you’re a singer in your application, prepare to be asked to sing.
The Keys to Her Success in the Interview
- Having a clear through-line from her passion for acting that ties into medicine
- The importance of having fun
- Being honest about everything
[Check out my one-on-one mock interviews to help you crush the medical school interview.]
Choosing Between Multiple Medical School Acceptances
- Going on the gut feeling she had while visiting the schools
- Being near family (where her husband was comfortable to move into)
Some Pieces of Advice for Premed Students
- If medicine is something you want to do, explore it. Volunteer. Shadow. Make sure you love science because you’re going to be spending a lot of time with science. And just jump in.
- Stay dedicated and stay passionate about it.
- There are sacrifices that have to be made. Are you willing to sacrifice for this? How much are you willing to sacrifice? What are you willing to sacrifice?
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: How Do I Transition from the Military to Being Premed?
- Related episode: Almost Everything You Need to Know About Postbac Programs.
- Need MCAT Prep? Save on tutoring, classes, and full-length practice tests by using promo code “MSHQ” at Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)!