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Lewis Associates e-Newsletter

Volume 1 Issue 4
February, 2002

=> Welcome to Success Stories Newsletter!

=> Important News and Useful Links - AMCAS 2003 Updates  

=> Dates and Reminders - Gala CUHRE Conference in San Diego Feb 9th

=> Important People, Schools and Programs - Western University

=> Success Story of the Month - Getting off the Waitlist

=> Question of the Month - Interview Preperation

=> Focus on a Health Profession - Physician Assistant Interviews

=> Our Services

=> Contact



Welcome to Lewis Associates!

Congratulations to the Class of 2001 advised by Dr. Lewis! We had 94% acceptance for our premedical applicants all over the U.S.!

February - the month for Presidential birthdays and lovers… and the time when it is crucial to begin preparing for application if you are in the entering Class of 2003. This is a busy time with classes, preparing your application essays, studying diligently for the MCAT, DAT, or GRE, and cramming in some additional research or clinical experiences before trying to request those important letters of recommendation.

We hope you attend the CUHRE annual Alumni Conference on February 9th in San Diego if you are in Southern California - or even if you are not, please visit! You will meet some incredible people with great stories who will let you know that if "I could be successful in acceptance to health professions school, so can you!" If you want to change your career or reach your career goal, but do not know how to begin or how to jump all those hurdles, Lewis Associates can implement strategies that will change your life. Read about it in the newsletter and register by email.

Developing YOU to your potential is our goal, and people are our "most important product". Dr. Cynthia Lewis has been advising Pre-health students with an overall acceptance rate of 85% since 1985. Lewis Associates was launched in 1998 to provide long-term personalized advising services to students across North America, specializing in Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, Dentistry, Physician Assistant and Veterinary Medicine. Our success is real. You may be like our Advisees---highly motivated and intelligent, but needing focus, guidance and specific technical expertise. Dr. Lewis is a trained biologist, having taught and directed her own research programs for many years at two universities. She received two postdoctoral fellowships (one at NIH) and received the 1990 NACADA Outstanding Institutional Advising Program in the U.S. She teaches Professionalism, Leadership, and Quality and sets high standards for her Advisees.



n e w s a n d l i n k s

N E W S :

"AMCAS 2002"

Begun as an application service in 1971, the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) has assisted its 116 partner schools and programs with applications to 30 entering classes and hundreds of thousands of applicants.

On January 29, 2002, Pamela Cranston, Interim AMCAS Director and VP of Student Services, AAMC, moderated a teleconference about AMCAS. The following are some highlights:

Cranston called the AMCAS 2002 web-application a ‘disaster’ and apologized to Advisors and Applicants (as well as the user schools and AAMC staff). She indicated that AAMC "grossly underestimated the infrastructure and staffing needs" to implement this project. She went through a timeline with the AAMC responses to problems that occurred during the 2002 application process through the present. A new leader, Mr. Joseph Keyes, JD was directed to designate a leadership team for AMCAS last fall. In addition to the electronic transmission of AMCAS applications, unverified paper (August 2001) and verified paper (October 2001) applications have been sent to the medical schools. Cranston indicated that the large number of new staffers (AMCAS is now the largest group at AAMC), much larger infrastructure, and current focus on data reliability and stability are reasons why the 2001 problems will NOT re-surface for the Class of 2003.

What should the class of 2003 applicants expect? Cranston indicated the there may be a few changes that they are considering, but generally, a similar web-based application after upgrades will be used this year. Only the web-based application will be available. The exception to this is for applicants who believe they cannot access the web. They are directed to submit a written request for AMCAS to input their application data into the web application. If their request is granted because of a compelling reason for not accessing the web, AAMC will input their data. Remember that the Application Outline and Application Worksheet will be available in March. These applicant tools provide many applicants who plan on traveling abroad the opportunity to prepare their applications in advance of their travel plans. The Outline provides a map of the application, including notes about which fields are required. The Worksheet is designed to help applicants who want to prepare in advance of the application going live and those who need to minimize the online time it takes to complete the application. The rate of inputting your application information should be much faster than last year--especially if you complete the AMCAS worksheet (to be revised) in advance, including having your essay the correct length in a word document to paste into the web-application. AAMC will email applicants to verify receipt and to indicate certification (no paper is being sent from AAMC). No increase in fees!!! Yea!!!

There will be a .pdf instruction booklet to mirror online help in the application.

Class of 2003 Calendar

  • Fee Assistance Program went live as a web application on January 30, 2002.
  • February 22, 2002 - FAP documentation receipt date for April MCAT admissions
    March, 2002 there will be updates to the aamc.org website.
  • March 15, 2002 Deadline for MCAT regular registration for the April 2002 MCAT
  • March 29, 2002 Deadline for MCAT late registration for the April 2002 MCAT
    April 20, 2002 - MCAT
  • About May 1, 2002 the AMCAS 2003 will be "launched" on the web; you are encouraged to submit ALL transcripts then.
  • Submission/certification of your AMCAS will be somewhere between June 1 and July 1, 2002.
  • Verification of certified AMCAS applications will begin in June, 2002.
  • Early Decision Plan applications are due August 1, 2002.

    AMCAS Statistics for Class of 2002 (1/11/02)

    Number of Persons initiating applications on-line: 43,234
    Number of Applicants submitting completed applications to AMCAS: 31,526
    Number of applicants for whom application(s) have been verified: 30,116
    Applicants whose applications have been withdrawn: 103
    Applicants whose applications are on hold for missing transcripts: 1231
    Applicants whose applications are in process: 76*
    *This includes applicants previously missing transcripts whose transcripts have arrived, as well as people who have recently submitted applications.

    Printing of Applications

    All regular submitted applications that were accompanied by all official transcripts were verified and mailed to the schools last Thursday, January 10th. As noted above, a trickle of applications continue to come in, and some of the missing transcripts are arriving. Consequently, processing and verification continues.

    The applicant numbers for 2001 recently released by the AAMC represent the *national* applicant pool (applicants to non-AMCAS schools as well as AMCAS schools).

    Applications submitted to AMCAS (not necessarily completed):

    AMCAS 1999 - as of 01-22-99 - 36,907
    AMCAS 2000 - as of 01-21-00 - 34,922
    AMCAS 2001 - as of 01-19-01 - 32,745
    AMCAS 2002 - as of 01-18-02 - 31,550 (-3.6%)

    L I N K S :

    Bush Creates Bioethics Council

    President Bush, by executive order, has created a White House Council on Bioethics. The 18-member council will advise the President on bioethical issues emerging from advances in biomedical science and technology, including advances in cloning technology and stem cell research. Council members will be drawn from the fields of science and medicine, law and government, philosophy and theology, and other areas of the humanities and social sciences.




    d a t e s

    C O N F E R E N C E S:

    (HCOP) CUHRE 12th Annual Alumni Conference: "Communication in Medicine"
    February 9th, 2002, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
    Casa Real, Aztec Center, San Diego State University

    Register with Chris Scott, Chair (sdsupro@netscapet.net)

    Cost: $10 non-CUHRE member, lunch included. First 100 students will be registered.

    "Do Doctors Tell Patients the Truth?"

    Keynote Speaker Dr. Ted Ganiats is professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of Family and Preventive medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and the Executive Director of the UCSD Health Outcomes Assessment Program. Dr. Ganiats did his undergraduate work at UC Davis and all of his medical training at UC San Diego. He has been the Chief of the UCSD Division of Family Medicine and has chaired the Commission on Clinical Policies and Research for the American Academy of Family Physicians. He has participated in over 20 national clinical practice guidelines with over 100 publications. His main research interests are in quality of life measurement and cost effectiveness.

    Confirmed speakers include:
    Theodore Miller, M.D. Associate Dean for Admissions and Student
    Affairs, Drew-UC Los Angeles School of Medicine
    "Physicians Who Care: Meeting the Health Care Needs of a Diverse California"

    Raymond Hruby, D.O. Chair, Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine
    Department, Western University of Health Sciences
    "Osteopathic Medicine: What You Need to Know"

    Charles Lu, (Alumnus) Medical Student Year 4, UC San Francisco School of Medicine
    "A Non-Traditional Premedical Student"

    Donna Ni (Alumna) Medical Student Year 2 Western University College of Osteopathic Medicine
    "Osteopathic Medical School 101"

    Norma Ramirez (Alumna) Dental Student Year 2 Case Western University Dental School
    "A Career in Dentistry-Doing It the Hard Way"

    Karen Babcock Nern, M.D. (Alumna) Dermatology Resident year 3 at UC Davis
    "Balancing a Family and a Medical Career"

    Houman Hemmati, Medical Student Year 4 MD-PhD, UCLA- Cal Tech, Kaplan Representative
    "Secrets of Medical School Admissions"

    Philip A. Sanderson, M.D. Family Medicine, St. George's University School of Medicine
    "Success After Graduating from a Foreign Medical School"

    Monica Gabourel (Alumna) Veterinary Medical Student Year 3, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
    "Inside Veterinary Admissions"

    Frank Melgoza (Alumni) Medical Student Year 4, UC Davis School of Medicine
    "From Economics to Obstetrics"

    Late and on-site registration is $15



    p e o p l e & s c h o o l s

    W E S T E R N U N I V E R S I T Y , Pomona, California:

    On January 28 2002, I attended a conference providing new information about Western University's many health professions schools. We are interested in their Osteopathic Medicine, Physician Assistant, and new Veterinary Medical Schools (they have a total of seven health professions schools).

    Highlight this month---the new Veterinary School

    Dr. Shirley Johnston, DVM and Dean of the new Veterinary School confirmed that the first class will enter in fall 2003. They will use VMCAS; Western will have VMCAS access beginning about August 2002. The deadline for VMCAS submission is October 1, 2002. Dr. Johnston discussed what will make Western unique and what types of students they seek:

    1. Western U is committed to student-centered learning in the first two years: problem-based and principles of evidence-based learning in small groups; laptops required.

    2. Reverence for life. No killing of animals for the purpose of education. They will use computer simulations and veterinary practitioner Mentors.

    3. Strategic Alliances with Cal Poly Pomona Animal Sciences Department (beef, swine, sheep, Arabian horses…), Inland Valley Animal Shelter (28,000 cases per year) and primary care veterinary mentorships in 3-4th year clinical rotations. There is no veterinary teaching hospital. The 4th year is tailored to each student.

    4. Practice management classes will be provided in the first two years.

    There will be 77 students in the entering Class of 2003, 85 in 2004 and 100 in 2005. Their students will work well in small groups, be comfortable teaching their peers, be self-starters, and want to learn by the problem-based learning paradigm.



    s u c c e s s s t o r y

    R A J E S H   D A F T A R Y - Entering Class 2001:

    Dr. Lewis' Note:

    Raj's parents immigrated to Chicago from Bombay, India in the 1970's. His mother completed her medical degree from Nagpur University in India and did a residency in pediatrics, then specialized in allergy/immunology in Chicago. His family moved to Waco, Texas, where his mother started a medical practice that allowed her more time with her family. Raj was born in Chicago and grew up in Waco with a twin brother. He learned Gujarti at home, then English in school, and enjoyed playing sports including basketball, football, and soccer (defensive halfback) while growing up. He was on the high school varsity tennis, track, and cross country teams (ran the 800 and 3200 meters). In cross-country, his team took second place in Texas and in his junior year, he qualified for the state finals in track. He qualified for state competition in tennis in his junior and senior years.

    Raj attended a Montessori school in kindergarten, began reading early, and then entered St. Paul's Episcopal Elementary School, where he enjoyed reading, science projects, and math. He attended a College Preparatory School which was much more difficult than St. Paul's, and he had to learn how to study. By 10th grade, Raj enjoyed the small classes, especially English and earned AP units in calculus AB and English literature. In high school, Raj worked for two summers doing clerical work in his mother's medical office; in 9th grade, he volunteered in a hospital ER. As a high school junior and senior, Raj and his twin brother participated in the two week National Youth Leadership Forum in Medicine in San Francisco for about 600 students from all over the U.S. and toured UCSF School of Medicine. Raj's SAT scores were very strong, and he graduated with a 4.31 GPA.

    Raj entered Washington University and selected a major in psychology. He became a leader in fraternity philanthropic activities, organized events such as soup kitchens and Habitat for Humanity, developed strong communication skills and was elected fraternity VP. During one spring break, Raj went on a YMCA trip to the Czech Republic to work with the Missionaries of Charity and in fall 1999, Raj was the program leader for a YMCA service trip to Toronto working in soup kitchens and homeless shelters.

    Raj became EMT-certified and became a "First Respondent on Campus". In fall 1998, he joined the EST- Emergency Support Team- and, in fall 1999, he became an EST Medic I for 40 hr/week on call. Last year, Raj was the Field Director of EST and a Resident Assistant.

    Raj was interested in becoming a doctor since he was young; his mother has been an important role model. He became a strong leader at Washington University, a very competitive institution, and interacted with disadvantaged, multicultural populations and ill college students via his fraternity, EST and YMCA experiences. He is interested in entering medicine to make a difference. Raj's heavy academic loads each semester on top of significant non-academic activities indicate that he takes on difficult challenges.

    Raj's overall and science GPA reflected his priority to extra-curricular activities; he earned double-digit MCAT scores. Raj interviewed at four medical schools by the end of October 2000 and was waitlisted on two by mid- December. Then, "no acceptances until…...(see the answer at the end)"

    January 23, 2002: Raj says, "Hi Dr. Lewis and Mary Lou; I hope that the New Year is off to a good start for you. Things here are going well, though it all seems overwhelming sometimes. I have to say, it's a very different place than where I was a couple months ago. Spending all that time last summer, banging away at the keyboard to crank out one more application was draining,[Raj was accepted into a postbac program and was applying for the Class of 2002 as a backup] but I suppose it all worked out for the best. All those months of doubt and frustration vanished when I got that call. It all seems a little surreal, even now, even when I tell my peers about how the Dean of Admissions called me five days before orientation, and how he made all of my dreams and aspirations a reality, and how I spent that morning jumping on my bed, and how my father drove home from work to congratulate my when I told him the news. It’s funny, but I think the whole application process was harder on my parents than it was on me.

    Yet here I am, typing this letter the day before another big exam, on my way to being what I've always wanted to be. Things here are going well. I am keeping on par with my classmates, though I hope that my efforts will take me beyond the class average pretty soon. I guess being on the waitlist for so long motivated me to never put myself in that position again...we'll see how that goes. In the meantime, I am keeping pretty busy. I have been elected as the Class Community Service Chair, and I am helping to organize a couple of long-term service projects. Additionally, I volunteer at the local free clinic on most Wednesdays. I love gross anatomy, and I try to feign an interest in biochemistry and genetics, but lately, I find myself counting the months until third year. I can't wait until we do more clinical stuff. But all in all, things are good.

    The people here are inspiring and supportive. My classmates are of all ages, and they've helped make the transition so much easier. I guess things worked out for the best. I'm happy here, I just miss the big city. In the past few months, I've visited many of the friends I left behind in St. Louis, and New York and I finally got closure on things that I wasn't able to in the five days between being on the waitlist and beginning medical school. I guess you can say things are finally coming together…

    Again, thank you for all of your help. Looking back, I know you played a pretty big part in my being here right now, so thank you. If you get any students who are thinking about my medical school, send them my way. I'd love to show them around. A preceptorship in California is on the agenda, so we'll see how that works out."

    Footnote: Raj was accepted to medical school on July 26, 2001.



    q u e s t i o n o f t h e m o n t h

    How can I prepare effectively for interviewing?

    Well, the best way to prepare is to practice, practice, practice…especially with a seasoned coach. Dr. Lewis helps students build their self-confidence and develop a vision of feeling good during the interviewing process. One of our accepted Class of 2002 students found a book he also liked: "The Unofficial Guide to Acing the Interview" by Michelle Tullier, ISBN 0-002-862924-8, MacMillan 1999. He says, "It's a to the point, no BS guide to killing interviews. Knowledge of the process and of self is power."

    We will feature an important question each month. Please submit one that interests you for Dr. Lewis to answer. Send your questions to drlewis@lewisassoc.com



    h e a l t h p r o f e s s i o n

    P A   I N T E R V I E W I N G :

    January 27, 2002, from a pre-physician assistant Class of 2002 applicant:

    "Hi Dr. Lewis! Thank you for the mock interview it really prepared me for the real one. Last Saturday, I came early to X school. I really enjoyed it and met a lot of applicants (30 interviewees including myself).They came all over the states! I was really surprised the girl that I talked to came all the way from Philadelphia. Thank God I started with the interview before other activities. It was not a panel; it was one to one-- my first interviewer was Mr. Y, a part time faculty. He asked... why do I want to be a PA? I told him I enjoyed serving and treating patients and I found that this country needs more PAs in underserved areas. If I'm not accepted what will I do? I said I will apply again. Then, he asked what do I do for fun? Then, he asked if I have questions for him. I asked him about the academic support system of the college and what disciplines do most graduates enter? He projected the attitude "I'm just here to interview you" and talked about his experiences as a teacher. Then the next interviewer was Julie. Her interview was more substantial. Dr. Lewis, thank you very much for asking me that "favorite patient" question and making me tell more..... that's exactly the question this interviewer asked me, so I told her about my OB GYN patient. Then, she asked me to describe myself. She asked 'What will I bring to our school?' She told me that they accepted 6 international medical graduates last year. At the end, she told me that I have excellent English, I spoke clearly and spontaneously. Thank you for helping me. It was a wonderful experience. I felt I was a member of their family."

    Next month---How to get clinical experience as a pre-Physician Assistant?

lewis associates advising services

Lewis Associates specializes in personal, effective and professional premedical advising and placement for traditional and non-traditional applicants. Often, non-traditional students are older than 21 years of age, career changers, international applicants or second-round applicants for admission to health professions school.

Lewis Associates' services meet the needs of all types of students from pre-applicants to applicants, including hourly advising support for specific needs. Click here.


"It's never too late to be who you might have been."

If this is how YOU feel, then, maybe Lewis Associates is the place for you. Lewis Associates provides Mentoring and Coaching through the rigorous and often circuitous pre-health preparation and application process. Other consultants may support programs like Law and Business or graduate school -- not Lewis Associates. We are the experts in Health Professions based on 23 years of a successful track record.

Call or email today to set your first appointment!

805.226.9669 imaclewis@lewisassoc.com

Copyright 2009, Lewis Associates. All rights reserved. Please do not repost on any website without direct permission from Lewis Associates.

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