Advice from Alums for Future Applicants

Pre Health Hoos who successfully gained admission to a health professional program during the 2016-17 application cycle offer reflections and tips for future applicants:

Preparation for the Health Professions
“Shadow different professionals in the health profession you are interested in!”
-Danielle Hester, UVA ‘17, Optometry
“Stay committed, don't get discouraged at initial setbacks, and reach out to upperclassmen and your physician mentors for advice.”
-Yash Maniar, UVA ’17, Medicine
“Take advantage of all the resources UVA has to offer, especially the pre-health advising office. Persistence and planning ahead of time will lead you to success in whatever field you choose!”
-Rachel Zaragoza, UVA ’15, Medicine
“It's a marathon, so get discouraged at the first obstacle! I had a C and C+ in hard science classes and still got in at multiple medical (MD and DO) schools. Also, I cannot understate the importance of playing the long game. Make a plan ASAP and follow through! Where are you going to shadow? What year will you take the MCAT? Gap year? Are my grades okay? Volunteering? Essays?  It sounds like a lot but once you beat some of it into shape (with a plan!) it becomes much more manageable bite sized steps.”
-Jack Hawkins, UVA ’17, Medicine
“Start getting involved with clinical activities early and build a mentorship team.”
-Kiera Sibbald, UVA ’14, Medicine

"Don't feel constrained to a single path. The medical school application is a package, and any unique experiences will help you along the way."
-Will Clark, UVA '16, Medicine

“Follow your dreams at UVA, even if it doesn't include a science major. Stay well rounded in the process and learn yourself in and out before applying!”
-Briana Brazile, UVA ’14, Dentistry
Application Process
“While it is important to get your application in as early as possible, do not be afraid to take some extra time to make your application/personal statement as polished as possible. Also, do not take any entrance exam (DAT, MCAT, OAT, etc.) unless you feel ready (usually indicated by a desire to get the test over with). It is okay to postpone your test and make use of the extra time to study.”
-Quang Do, UVA ’17, Dentistry
“Good GPA and test scores are important but having your individuality, enthusiasm and dedication to the field expressed through great recommendations and essays is what will make you shine among other applicants.”
-Adrienne Lewis, UVA ’17, Physical Therapy
“Do your research on schools ahead of time! Think about what area you'd be comfortable living in for the next few years of your life. Think about why you're applying to each specific school. That way, you will have points to bring up in an interview and also, so that you don't waste tons of money on applications that could go towards your education instead!”
-Ani Bournazian, UVA ’17, Occupational Therapy
“Medical school admissions committees want to learn more about who YOU are, not who you think they want you to be. I was surprised to find that many of the things talked about most in my interviews were what I saw to be relatively minor, such as my love for hiking or my involvement in musical theater. However, these are the things that best show who I am as a person and allow for a more personal connection. Celebrate what you love to do and what makes you unique; you'll be surprised how much these experiences will be helpful in building rapport and making you memorable. Your personal interests and passions will stick in the mind of an interviewer far better than another award or research project that they can already find in your application.”
-Jeremy Jones, UVA ’17, Medicine
“Be yourself and follow your heart during your applications. Show them how you have become academically, intellectually, and socially competent through your experiences. Also, start early and stay on top of everything - it will be a rough process!”
-Kevin Kim, UVA ’15, Medicine
“Don't worry about any one rejection - there are plenty of other schools!”

-Caroline Kerr, UVA ’17, MD/PhD