We sat down with Dr. Emily Singer, MedSchoolCoach advisor and General Surgery resident at The Ohio State University, to learn a little bit more about her background and her experience throughout the application process.
Tell us a little bit more about your background.
I grew up in Seattle, Washington. I graduated from Stanford University with dual majors in Russian Literature and Economics. However, I knew I was interested in medicine so I completed my premedical coursework at Stanford and through UC Berkeley Extension to round out my science background. I then worked in health policy consulting and a small Bay Area based pharmaceutical startup during my three and half years between graduating Stanford and matriculating into medical school. I was actually a reapplicant as I first applied at the end of the cycle and subsequently received only one or two interviews and was then waitlisted. During the third cycle, I actually used MedSchoolCoach and was accepted into the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. I realized first hand how important the timeline is for the application process. During medical school, I served on medical school admissions for UCLA, both as a subcommittee member and as the sole student representative on the executive admissions committee. I especially advocated for non-traditional students and reapplicants as I was once in their exact place.
What was it that got you interested in advising students?
I really started advising students once I got into medical school. However, before medical school, I started a blog about my experiences throughout the application process because I thought it was important to share some of the information and misinformation that’s out there. That led me to work with some of my classmates on ProspectiveDoctor.com, a website that provides students interested in medical careers a reliable source of information and perspective. We tried to put out important information for people considering a career in medicine. I had limited exposure to advising during undergrad so I wanted make sure there were more resources out there.
What is one piece of advice that you wish you had going through the process?
I think there are several things I was I had known while going through the medical school application process. I cannot overstate the importance of getting exposure to what a career in medicine looks like through shadowing or talking to family friends who are physicians. You don’t need to spend all this time in a doctor’s office as an undergrad but it’s so important to fully understand what this career looks like and how much of a time commitment it is. It’s also important to view getting into medical school as the beginning of this process, rather than the end. Medical school is such a huge investment of your time, your emotions and finances. I see a lot of applicants who have trouble convincing me on their application that they’re fully committed. Getting prospective from people in the field can really help you understand what your future may look like and show the admissions committee your commitment. Another thing is the personal organization that you need to have in the process. It alleviates a lot of stress if you keep to-do lists and a running spreadsheet with notes about the different schools you’re applying to, which ones you’ve interviewed with and what assignments you’re ahead of or behind on. Everyone has their own organization tools, but keeping a spreadsheet with all the moving pieces of my application helped me to stay on top of everything!
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