Allopathic Medicine


Success Story Josten

Josten Overall

Major: Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior
Overall GPA:
3.85
Graduation Year: 
2016

Which school are you attending?
I am attending the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
What UC Davis extracurriculars did you participate in?
I was involved in the Pre-Med AMSA club, and served as a mentor for two quarters. During my Freshman year I completed an internship at the UCDMC General Pediatric clinic. The majority of my final two years at Davis was spent with the Resource Desk program at WellSpace Health clinic, in Oak Park. 
How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?
An average of 35-40 hours per week.
Did you use a test prep course?
I was not enrolled in an official test prep course, but I did use the Kaplan MCAT 7-book review series to study on my own. It was sometimes challenging to balance MCAT studying while in school, but I usually dedicated a few hours of MCAT review in the mornings before classes, as well as additional hours during the weekend. If I could change one thing about my studying, I would have taken and reviewed more full-length practice tests—they make a significant difference!
What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?
I think one of the major strengths in my application was my excitement and passion surrounding the activities I participated in. Although I did not have an abundance of extracurriculars, I was able to detail how much the activities I did participate in, shaped me and reinforced my interest in medicine.
Did you apply nationally?
Yes. I applied to 21 schools in states ranging from California all the way to New Hampshire.
What advice do you have for others?
Try your best and do what makes you happy! This is especially important when deciding which extracurricular activities you engage in. Clinical experience and shadowing are very important; however, students should also feel encouraged to participate in other activities that can similarly highlight their unique qualities and strengths. Echoing the advice of my colleagues, students should work hard to maintain a strong GPA and achieve a great MCAT score. It's true that metrics are just one component of the application, but they are integral in helping the rest of your application stand out even more. Also, be sure to thoroughly research each school you're interested in so that you can strengthen and personalize your secondaries. Finally, for students who are preparing to apply or are in the middle of an application cycle, be patient and don't get discouraged! Although the application journey can be long and extensive, remember: you are great and you can do it!

Anas Tresh

Anas Tresh

Major: Neurobiology, Physiology & Behavior
Overall GPA:  at Davis 3.7, overall about 3.9 
Graduation Year: 2016

Which school are you attending?

I will be attending the University of California San Francisco Fall of 2016.

What UC Davis extracurriculars did you participate in?

ASUCD Senator, Minority Association of Premedical Students Program Director, TPMP Co-founder and mentor, Muslim Student Association mentor, Arab Student Union Social Chair followed by Co-President and Shifa Community Clinic Volunteer

How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?

On average at Davis, I probably studied fifteen hours a week. 

Did you use a test prep course?

I did not use test prep courses. I knew I had the ability to sit down and study on a daily basis and felt my grasp on the content matter was strong. I purchased all the test subject books and created a schedule in which I broke down how I would spend each day of the week making sure I included my rest days. Every week I took a practice test and towards the end, I began taking two a week. All in all, I took 18 practice tests. Practice tests in my opinion are the key to success on this exam! 

What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?

My strengths in my application were definitely my GPA and my MCAT score. However those did not suffice without combining them with appropriate extracurriculars, strong letters of recommendation and a compelling personal statement. A term I've heard over and over again that couldn't be more accurate is "holistic". Your application can't just be one dimensional. 

Did you apply nationally?

 I did apply nationally. I applied to 29 schools. 

What advice do you have for others?

If you're in a position where you're still in school, focus on your GPA and study hard for your MCAT! Getting into medical school is your hardest task, but you can do it if you work hard! Make sure that you work on your extracurriculars, but don't ever let them affect your grades. I think clinical experience is especially important! Apply when you're ready and feel most prepared. When getting ready to apply, understand the application thoroughly and know the timeline! Get your letters of recommendation and transcript well in advance! Apply early and tackle your secondaries consistently as there will be many. Best of luck!


Natasha Cowan

Natasha Cowan

Major: Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior
Overall GPA: 3.99
Graduation Year: 2014

Which school are you attending?

UC San Diego School of Medicine

What UC Davis extracurriculars did you participate in?

I was on the UC Davis Women’s Rowing Team my freshman year, I volunteered in the UCDMC Pediatric ED the summer between my freshman and sophomore year, I participated in a two week medical mission trip in Costa Rica with VIDA the summer between my sophomore and junior year, I worked as a research assistant in Dr. Cheng’s lab for a year, and I was a caregiver for the elderly for 2 years.

How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?

I graduated in 2 years and 2 quarters, so I took anywhere from 17-27 units per quarter. I studied about 30 hours per week for my courses.

Did you use a test prep course?

Yes, I took Kaplan’s test prep course. I’m extremely happy that I chose to do this, and it was well worth the money.

What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?

To be honest, my metrics (GPA and MCAT score) are one of my biggest strengths. Other than that, I’d say the diversity of my experiences (both clinical and research).

Did you apply nationally?

Yes, I applied to 23 schools across the continental United States.

What advice do you have for others?

Study, study, study! Do not take school lightly (same goes for the MCAT). Medical school is extremely academically challenging, and admissions committees want an indicator that you will be able to handle this challenge. As far as extracurriculars go, I advise others to choose a few activities they stick with for a long period of time, rather than a large amount of activities they only participate in for a short amount of time. This will add depth to your application rather than breadth, which will provide you with a better platform to speak about in your personal statement and interviews.


Michael Chiok

Michael Chiok

Major: Animal Biotechnology

Graduation Year: 2014

Which school are you attending?

Weill Cornell Medical College

What UC Davis extracurriculars did you participate in?

Swim Club, Fitness and Self-Development Club

How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?

21 hours / week

Did you use a test prep course?

Princeton Review & Examkrackers

What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?

Extracurricular activities, research, teaching/tutoring

Did you apply nationally?

Yes (New York, Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts)

What advice do you have for others?

Don't just do the typical pre-med activities; get involved in things you are passionate about! Don't get stressed out, find ways to relax, and join Fitness and Self-Development Club on Facebook!


Ziman

Nathan Ziman

Major: Psychology emph. Biology
Overall GPA: 3.42
Graduation Year: 2011

Which school are you attending?

Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

What UC Davis extracurriculars did you participate in?

Pre-Med Study Abroad: Oaxaca, Mexico, Hillel House, Ultimate Frisbee Team, Center for Neuroscience: Research Assistant, Same-day Surgery Center Intern, Botanical Conservatory: Summer Internship, Intramural Sports: Soccer and Frisbee 

How many hours on average did you spend studying for your courses per week?

I honestly do not remember and I am thankful for that. When I think back to my undergraduate years (coming up on 4yrs since graduation, 6yrs from finishing most pre-med courses) I don’t specifically remember the hours in the library or at home feeling bummed about missing out. I have much clearer memories of the fun I had with my friends in between studying. Looking back, I probably could have gotten a higher GPA but I definitely do not regret the choices I made and friends I still have. However I will say that I was very focused during lecture, always attended, and learned most of the material there. If I had to estimate I probably studied a couple hours on most school days and would turn it up as midterms approached.

Did you use a test prep course?

Yes, twice. Prior to each time I took the MCAT. I personally benefitted most from the course as it forced me to make steady progression through each section. Additionally because there is so much material to know for the test, the insight into the depth you should know each topic was very helpful. Little known fact: repeating the course is free if you register within a year of the first payment.

What do you consider to be your strengths in your application?

My extensive community work with underserved populations and research experience with many publications.

Did you apply nationally?

Yes, I sent my primary application to 21 schools the first time I applied and 34 the second.
What advice do you have for others?

What advice do you have for others?

Think about what you are interested in. What area of science do you like? What is important to you? Which population would you like to serve as a doctor? Answer these questions honestly with yourself and then pursue them - whether they are directly related to medicine or not.  It will help you build your narrative and you will be much happier along the way. Plus I am fairly sure that no interviewer or committee will look down on you for following your passions, especially if you can link them to why you want to be a doctor. 

Give yourself the best chance to win, keep your options open, research each school for each secondary and KEEP your notes - I never thought I’d get an interview at the University of Vermont but I ran into the dean at the UC Davis Pre-Health National Conference. I quickly pulled up my notes on my phone before speaking with her. We had a great chat and I was able bring up my school relevant experiences...a few months later got offered an interview- I’ll never know if it was related, but I’ll always know it didn’t hurt.