Overview of the Series
In this series of articles, I will be sharing excerpts of case studies on several of my former students (with their permission, of course). Names and other identifying information have been changed, but the material facts — MCAT score, GPA, etc. — are unchanged. The full case studies are published in my book, Pre-Med Success Stories.
I’ll present each case study in three parts (this one is an exception) — an introduction of the student, followed by an in-depth assessment of the student’s profile and chances for admission to medical school, and then finally I’ll explain what happened to the student once s/he applied.
In this article, I will continue onto part four on a student of mine named Louise.
Part IV — Louise Came Back
I was thrilled to see Louise’s file full of new experiences — and they were all very focused on her desire to become a forensic pathologist. She came to me to try this a second time around, and with three new years behind her I thought her odds were very good.
Louise was now 26 years old and finished her undergrad at the University of California at Riverside with a 3.4 GPA. She went on to pursue criminalistics at the University of California at Los Angeles and attained a GPA of 3.9. Her MCAT score was a 30. Looking through her file, I was pleased to know that her patient contact was much better than when I last saw her.
- Volunteer at Riverside County Hospital (2 years, 150 hours); part of the ICU and Surgical Prep Unit.
- Admitting Counselor at Riverside County Hospital (2 months; 30 hours); registered patients in the ER.
- Intern at Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner (21 months; 330 hours); observed autopsies, weighed and recorded weights of organs, assisted in photography of autopsies, cleaned instruments and collected samples; conferred with physicians regarding anatomy and forensic pathology
- Student death investigator, hosted by San Bernardino and Riverside County Sheriff (10 hours); conducted two searches, one in San Bernardino and one in Pomona, where body parts had been recovered and remaining body parts were sought; groups of professionals including anthropologists, investigators, and cadaver dogs were present.
Louise has also done clinical research. At the LLUMC Prenatal Clinic, she was a research assistant in a genetic counseling unit where she spent 9 months (270 hours). Here, she was responsible for transferring information from handwritten charts to computerized ones, creating electronic charts, and collating data on genetic anomalies, prenatal screening techniques, and hospital protocols. Her work went into her graduate thesis, “Exploring New Quantitative Screening Methods in mtDNA analysis.”
With over 100 hours of community service under her belt, Louise’s resume alone showed leadership. She was a student-teacher for Science Outreach to Next Generation where she designed curriculums and taught about nutrition. She was also a Volunteer Trainer at Riverside County Hospital (20 hours) where she worked with management and staff to create educational tools for new volunteers.
With an entirely new resume, Louise was now a fresh candidate for medical school. Although she still had the dedication I had known about her three years ago, she had also matured. Her prospects looked excellent.
Want to continue learning about Louise’s story? Read more here.