I graduated from CSUF in 2009 with a B.S. in Biology. I double minored in Chemistry and Health Science. My path to becoming a physician started early in my college career. Make use of the Health Professions Office as early as possible. You may think you only need advice when you're ready to apply- don't make that mistake. As a freshman, I was given a list of courses to take and a timeline to follow. It is definitely easier when you have a plan. During my first year at CSUF, I joined SHPA to interact with other students interested in the health professions. There is a camaraderie between students at CSUF, so get involved and network with students as they can be a valuable source of information on volunteer opportunities, the application process, etc…I also joined the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Golden Key International Honors Society. In addition, I participated in two years of BioChem research under Dr. Linder, where I studied copper metabolism in relation to lactation.
Throughout my five years at CSUF, I was associated with Student Science Alliance, Colleges Against Cancer, and Flying Samaritans. I took on Flying Samaritans as my cause and became Fundraising Chair for the organization. I also volunteered at the Lennox Health Fair, Loma Linda Ronald McDonald House, VNA & Hospice of Southern California, and Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center as a Clinical Care Extender. In addition, I shadowed various physicians, both allopathic and osteopathic, specializing in Internal Medicine, Family Practice, Osteopathic Manipulation, General Surgery and Vascular Surgery. I am currently taking an EMT course as I wait to join Western University's class of 2015.
I chose osteopathic medicine because I was attracted to the holistic, patient-centered, hands-on approach to diagnosing and treating diseases. I appreciate that Osteopathic Philosophy emphasizes that the body has a natural ability to heal itself and that structure and function are inter-related. Osteopathic Physicians also put extra emphasis on health education, injury prevention, and disease prevention. Rather than simply treating patients, Osteopathic physicians stress promoting wellness by helping patients with lifestyle and attitude changes that will positively affect their health and prevent disease. Overall, as an osteopathic physician I will be able to provide my patients with the most comprehensive care as I will be trained in all aspects of medicine with the advantage of osteopathic manipulation.
Start your application early and review it with the Health Professions Office. Take advantage of the support system you have at CSUF. Dr. Goode has tremendous experience and will help you in any way possible. Also, get to know your professors. Letters of Recommendation can make a big difference when a professor knows you and believes you can succeed. I was lucky enough to have the support of Dr. DeLijser, who provided me with advice and supported me throughout the application process. The earlier you submit your application, the greater your chances are for an interview. I submitted my primary application mid July, and started receiving secondary's in August. Do not copy information from your personal statement to complete your secondary applications. The point is to elaborate and share information that you did not have room for on your primary application.
Relax and be yourself. Be proud of your accomplishments; you already look good on paper, now the school wants the opportunity to get to know you. Show your personality and answer questions honestly. Always focus on the positives and don't end with a negative impression. Have an explanation for weak points in your application, such as a low score on a portion of the MCAT or a grade that does not seem to coincide with your overall GPA. There is no such thing as a perfect applicant; just do your best.
• Try to get as much clinical exposure as possible, as it will reaffirm your desire to pursue a career in medicine. Don't do it simply to have a longer list of activities on your application. Volunteer in areas you enjoy and use each opportunity as a chance to learn something new.
• Don't under-estimate the importance of your MCAT and GPA. I was told at interviews that schools put your numbers in a computer, which weeds out students. Thus, while extracurricular activities are important, they do not outweigh the numbers.
• Don't give up on your dreams!