Lewis Associates
Lewis Associates
Subscribe to Newsletter Order Brochure
Go To Book Recommendations

Pay your bill online with PayPal

Subscribe to our Monthly e-Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust
Search Newsletter Archives


Lewis Associates e-Newsletter

Volume 3 Issue 12
December, 2004

Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, Phd., Editor
Email imaclewis@lewisassoc.com with your comments. Enjoy!

=> Welcome to Success Stories Newsletter!

=> Important News: Applicant Pool Increasing; MCAT Updates; 2003 Admissions Officer Survey

=> Useful Links: Resident study: Hours worked do make a difference

=>Dates and Reminders: Rules for the 2005 entering class

=>Success Story of the Month: Dr. Tim Francisco—Bay Watch Ski Team Director Gets A New Breath of Air

=> Question of the Month – Interview Questions that Make you sweat.

=> Our Services

=> Contact



Welcome to Lewis Associates!


November 17, 2004- From Darcy Thompson: "Thanks for the good news about George Washington University (Darcy was accepted....as well as to the Uniformed Services Health Sciences School..and to Eastern Virginia Medical School to date and she has more interviews to come). I really could have never accomplished this gargantuan task without your assistance. Thanks again. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!"

December is in the middle of interview season. It is terribly important to get all letters plus secondaries in ASAP.....even more so this year, than last. And, I predict that it may speed up more next year. So, Class 2006 applicants beware - begin your preparation NOW!

To date, our 27 Class of 2005 applicants are interviewing at 108 schools (that is almost 4 interviews per applicant!) including the Texas schools, Harvard, Vanderbilt, Hawaii, UCLA, UCSF, and MANY more. They have been accepted at many, including Drexel, George Washington Medical School; Western Universityand Kansas City University COM; Boston University and Case Western Dental SchoolsÄ..the list goes on!

Being ThankfulÄ.See this monthęs Success Story about Tim Francisco, alumnus.

Also thankful is Nick Cahanding, currently an alumnus at Midwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago. He traveled to Tibet on a medical mission last year and got altitude sicknessÄanother story in a future newsletter. And, when I visited Boston twice last month, I was able to have lunch with Julia Endrizzi, my alumna attending her first year at Harvard Dental School, had hot chocolate with Andrea Dalve-Endres, my alumna attending her third year at Harvard Medical School and I attended the wedding of Glenn Valenzuela who is in a transitional Internship in Boston after graduating from Stanford Medical School last year.

Class of 2005 applicants are now being accepted everywhere! In order to be a competitive applicant, one needs to have submitted a quality experiential and numerical application in a timely fashion---this requires a well-thought out strategy to carry you through the difficult application process. You should be completing all secondary applications, and submitting your letter packets to complete your file at all your schools now. Your competition already has! This is the most intense time you will experience as a pre-health student. It is a roller coaster ride. Let us know how we can assist you. . . . sooner is now!

For Class of 2006 applicants, we have TIMEÄ.a precious commodity. Time to plan, to locate and use new opportunities, time to live up to your potential! I am working with my Class of 2006 students now, drafting application personal statements. Is this what you are doing?

If you are serious about making your dreams to become a physician, dentist, physician assistant, veterinarian, optometrist or pharmacist a reality --- Lewis Associates can help you. We have made the difference for over 700 students over almost 20 years.

What are your chances? If you want to change your career or reach your new career goal, but do not know how to begin or how to jump over all those hurdles, Lewis Associates will implement strategies to change your life. Read about it in our newsletter and website, then phone or email us directly to get started with your personal Assessment!

You may be like our Lewis Associates Advisees---highly motivated and intelligent, but needing focus, guidance and specific technical expertise. Dr. Lewis solves problems for her Advisees and finds opportunities for them. Dr. Lewis is a trained biologist, having taught and directed her own research programs for many years at two universities. She earned 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.

Lewis Associates will save you money and heartache on your application process. Contact The Experts for more information imaclewis@lewisassoc.com or call 805-226-9669.

Eric T. Lee, one of our Class of 2004 applicants who previously applied without success wrote to us: "...I would just like to send along my eternal gratitude. The medical school application process is a daunting one as I am sure you know and I obviously had little success at it until I began working with you. I received 2 acceptances and several wait-list options, which means my medical school dream has actually come true. ... Once again, thank you so very much for your time, patience and guidance..."



n e w s   &   l i n k s

N E W S:

Congratulations to Inbar Saporta who was the "next" student who established an Advising year with Lewis Associates ®she received the book, Anatomy of an Illness by Norman Cousins.

I attended the AAMC meeting in Boston in early November 2004. I attend this meeting annually to bring my Advisees the most up to date information while keeping in contact with many Deans and Directors of Admissions to medical and other health professions schools.

Applicant Pool Increasing
The applicant pool to medical (and all health professions) schools goes through periodic cycles. A recent low was in 1986 was followed by a high in 1996, then another low in 2002. The Applicant pool has now increased an average of 3% per year the last 2 years and is predicted to continue this trend for the next year and probably longer. There were 35,727 applicants for 16,638 slots in allopathic medical schools in 2004, and for the first time women applicants outnumbered men (by 303!).

November 2004 MCAT update from the Association of American Medical Colleges
1. Your MCAT scores are now posted simultaneously online with THx and into "live" AMCAS when the MCAT office receives them.
2. The average scores of those taking the exam increased in the combined 2004 tests to VR 9.7, PS 9.9, BS 10.3, and essay P. The average scores of those matriculating is higher, on average about 10.0 for each section and O/P for the essay.
3. AAMC has a suit against Princeton Review for paying people to take the MCAT and to report specific questions/data to the test company without being legitimate premedical students.
4. The Turner et al vs. MCAT lawsuit to provide accommodations for Learning Disabilities in California will be heard April 2005.
5. 15 new scenarios in Communications (listening) Skills for the prospect of adding such a test is being field-tested in 2005.
6. After field-testing a computer-based test format internationally and at 7 US sites in 2004, it is predicted that full scale computer based testing will occur in early 2007. This will make the test shorter, with faster score release, more test dates, more, smaller test sites and biometric ID (electronic thumbprint, signature, photo, etc.) will be implemented. It now takes a total of about 10 hours to administer the exam including all the administrative time, although the exam is 5.75 hours long. The CBT format targets about 5 hours of testing with much less administrative time. Score reporting is predicted to take 30 days rather than 60 days now. There may be 4 test windows per year (possibly January, April/May, June and early September) with a limit to the number of times one can take the MCAT in a year. Cost may increase.
7. See Links below!

2003 Admission Officers Survey:
"If applicants take the MCAT more than once, which set of scores do you consider?" 107 officers responded (76% of 141 US and Canadian allopathic medical schools):

Most recent score 38%
Average all scores 15%
Highest score 21%
All scores 27%

More next month--HOT TOPICS:
NEW criminal background check process at AMCAS
Ability to speak Spanish important in some residencies
Launching AMCAS v2.0 for the Class of 2006 in spring 2005

L I N KS :

The 2003 MCAT format has been modified
MCAT Practice Online provides practice tests that conform to the new changes, including new content areas, overall scores, and modified test structure. Practice test 3 gives analysis and diagnostic feedback. You can buy 4 more tests.

Resident study: Hours worked do make a difference (American Medical News)
Medicine mulls a trade-off between a reduction in medical errors and less time for medical training.

Osteopathic Medicine Information
A website providing a lot of easily-readable information about the Osteopathic Medical profession.

A Nation of Hypochondriacs? (San Francisco Chronicle)
Merck's recall of its arthritis pain drug, Vioxx, because of elevated risks of heart attack and stroke has obscured another important issue that Congress is investigating -- What happens when pharmaceutical companies pitch medicines directly to consumers?

AAMC 2004 Allopathic Applicant-Matriculant data tables now available online
14 tables provide national information on sex, race/ethnicity, state of legal residence, first-time applicants, age, and MCATs and GPAs. Added a Glossary this year to assist with terms and will be updating enrollment and graduate tables in the near future.

Physician Assistant Profession Third Fastest Growing

Speakers at a recent Capitol Hill forum noted the warning signs of a looming shortage in physician supply. But, at the same time there is a growing number of non-physician practitioners said Stephen Crane of the American Association of Physician Assistants (AAPA). AAPA estimates there will be approximately 55,061 people in clinical practice as physician assistants at the beginning of 2005, compared to 37,821 in 2000. More than 200 million patient visits will have been made to PAs in 2004 and it is the 3rd fastest growing profession in the US.



d a t e s   &   r e m i n d e r s

Traffic Rules for the 2005 entering class There are 10 listed for Medical School Applicants (and 10 for Medical School Admissions Officers). Some important ones include:

— Each applicant should respond promptly to a schoolęs invitation for interview; prompt cancellation of an appointment should also be made.

—Initiate as early as possible the steps necessary to determine financial aie/loan eligibility including early filing of appropriate analysis forms and the encouragement of parents, when necessary, to file required income tax forms.

—In fairness to other applicants, when an applicant has made a decision prior to May 15 not to attend a medical school that has made an offer of acceptance, the applicant should promptly withdraw his/her application from those other schools by written correspondence.

—Immediately upon enrollment in a medical school, withdraw your application from consideration at all other schools where you are still under consideration.



s u c c e s s s t o r i e s

Dr. Tim FranciscoăBay Watch Ski Team Director Gets A New Breath of Air

Next month---Adam CareweÄ..from basketball jock to MS in Exercise Physiology to physician!

On Nov 22, 2004, Dr. Tim Francisco wrote:
"Hello Dr. Lewis,
   Well it seems like a lifetime since we have been in touch. I wanted to let you know what has been going on in my life since San Diego--quite a bit! I hope everything is well with you. I'm sure you are working as hard as ever. I finished school at MSU-COM in 2001 and started my internship at Ingham Regional Medical Center. I was accepted into the orthopedic surgery residency at IRMC. Near the end of my internship I started to have breathing difficulties. This started out as some shortness of breath with exercise, but rapidly progressed. Three months into my residency in 2002, I had to quit working due to decreasing lung function. I was finally diagnosed with obliterative bronchiolitis, a rare lung disease in which the airways become narrowed with scar tissue. This was caused by a very rare benign tumor called Castlemanęs tumor in my thigh. This tumor set up an autoimmune process in which antibodies attacked my lungs causing inflammation and scarring. This process is progressive and fatal so transplant is the only option. However, transplant had only been tried in one case and I don't think he survived. No programs would take a look at me because so little is known about Castleman's Disease and its prognosis. Finally, after over a year, the Cleveland Clinic finally listed me in their transplant program in April of 2004.
   Now the good news! On August 30, we "got the call" that lungs were available. By this time, I had been oxygen-dependent for over a year. During August, I was steadily getting worse, so we were desperate. Steph and I flew to Cleveland that morning and I received a double lung transplant that day. It is now 3 months after surgery and I am doing great. No more oxygen required and my lung function is still improving every week. I can play with my son and daughter again and take walks with my wife; something I dreamed about for the last year.
   Right now I am concentrating on recovery( I lost 25-30 lbs during my illness; after surgery I weighed 116lbs) and spending time with my family. Something that I did learn was that family is the most important thing in life and not the other 'stuff.' I have a wonderful wife. I wouldn't have made it without her. I've also got two awesome kids. Kai is four and Kali is 20 months.
I don't know what I will do in the future, but it will be in medicine. I probably won't continue with orthopedics, but I am considering other, less-stressful fields like radiology, osteopathic manipulative medicine or anesthesia. Since I will be on immuno-suppressants for life, family and internal medicine are out due to the exposure to acutely sick people. It's been a long and sometimes terrible road these last two years. I am still overwhelmed and humbled by this experience--- that's about as much as I can express right now. Our family has been blessed with my transplant and the support of many friends and from the community here in Lansing.
I would love to hear from you. We hope to visit San Diego sometime in the future."

The "rest of the story"ÄÄ Tim was born and raised in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, a town of 300 in Northern Wisconsin. His father is Filipino and a family practice physician, and his mother is a Caucasian nurse. Timęs older sister is a department store clerk and his brother is a biogeneticist. In the autobiography Tim wrote for me, he says "In 1965, a year before I was born, my parents, along with my older sister and brother, moved to Tomahawk where my father entered a practice with another Filipino doctor. This was a strange combination: 2 Filipino doctors, both with Caucasian wives, in an exclusively white town. However, their competency and dedication to the community soon made them an integral component to the area."
   As a child, Tim developed a love of reading. When Tim was age 10, he found a mountain of his fatheręs medical journals in the garage. He says he was more respectful of his father, but developed a lack of self-confidence that he could ever "learn that much." Tim became a dedicated athlete (even though he was small) beginning in junior high school. In football Tim says, "This little 4ę8" lineman didnęt have a chance against the larger eighth graders. In one play, though, the running back was coming through and I managed to wrap up his legs and tackle him. I knew that he had tripped over me while running, but that wasnęt going to spoil my victory. It simply motivated me for more. Competition and the winning spirit captured me. I always wanted to win."
   During the fall of Timęs eighth grade year, he developed chronic kidney disease. He was in and out of the hospital for a full year, not able to attend school. His weight increased from 85 to 120 pounds in edema during that time, and he says "The skin in my feet would get so stretched that my feet would actually •leakę fluid." Luckily, his mother nursed him at home. Tim really understands the feeling of family that a small town has as he says, "My family was not the only support I had; Tomahawkęs small community provided support whenever possible. Many people sent cards and visited me when I was able to see people. On occasion, my parents and I would have lunch at a local restaurant. The owners would either specially prepare my requests or make it the daily lunch special. In addition, prayers were said for me in church services. Itęs amazing that one boy could have so many people linked together for his recovery. I am very grateful to everyone." Then, after discontinuing several drugs, one day, his kidneys spontaneously returned to normal function.
   Tim says, "This traumatic experience taught me many things. First, I found that I could control my temper. There was no reason to get overly upset by conflicts. You can simply accept things and adjust. Second, I tapped into an indomitable will to never give up during my illness, which became an integral part of my life. I never thought of giving up. Once the illness was behind me, I did not even want to think about it much, less discuss it. Consequently, some of the most important lessons from my illness were not realized until later in life when the pain had faded."
   Tim was allowed to skip the eighth grade and enter high school with his class. He concentrated on sports, including the golf team, became regional wrestling champion and won a state medal in track and field. Academics came easy, and he didnęt learn how to study. Tim worked until he joined the local water ski club. They put on free shows in the summer, which improved his self-confidence in high school. Upon high school graduation, Tim still lacked the confidence, self-discipline and study skills to tackle a premedical curriculum. Combined with immaturity, a broken ankle from a water skiing injury and a lack of focus, he was placed on academic probation after his second year at the University of Wisconsin.
   Tim decided to –become independent” by joining the Marine World Africa USA professional water ski show in San Francisco. This move forced him to mature. For the next four years, Tim water skied professionally summers and was a snow ski technician and Christmas tree salesman winters. He says, "Those first years on my own were sometimes difficult. I had to become responsible with my money (which wasnęt very much) in order to pay the bills. One year, when I was selling Christmas trees, my office trailer, which was also my home for the month, was blown over onto a fire hydrant during a winter storm. Luckily, I was able to get out before it went over. That month was hard. I worked twelve hours a day for five weeks in which it rained more than twenty days. However, the set-backs just made me work harder. It was fun to help adults and kids pick out their •perfectę tree."
   In 1987, Tim was given the opportunity to drive the boat for the ski show. He says, "This was a major responsibility to keep every skier safe. I loved driving and tried to learn as much as I could to improve. Being able to ski and drive the show turned out to be a valuable asset, especially if you are injured and cannot ski. Yes, injuries take their toll in any sport. The first year, I was hit by a boat, which almost fractured my lower vertebrae. During the second year, I severely sprained my repaired ankle; the third year involved a major injury with the same ankle, which had put me in the boat the last few months of the season. I fractured my ankle for the second time. This time my foot needed repair on both sides of the ankle. That winter, I worked hard to rehabilitate." Through these injuries, Tim met and was mentored by several orthopedists and physical therapists, which rekindled his interest in medicine. He decided to return to college to complete a physical therapy degree. His (then) fiancee (now wife) and water ski partner and he water skied in a show in Germany, and concluded it was time for both to return to college. They applied to work in Sea World of San Diegoęs new water ski show and attend San Diego State University. Tim had to petition to enter because his GPA was below 2.0. He was accepted with a letter of support from his orthopedist, and rediscovered the joy of learning. Tim had a metamorphosis at San Diego State University in my Health Careers Opportunity Program.
   Tim had two academic lives. The first life, at Wisconsin reflected an immature man with little confidence or focus; the second life in San Diego reflected focus, self-confidence, a love of learning and maturity. He earned a 3.77 GPA in his last 117 units from 1991-95 at SDSU with Aęs in difficult sciences such as human physiology and biochemistry. He carried up to 16 units while working in the nationally-renowned Sea World water ski show, was –Bay Watch” Assistant Show Director, drove the boat, with his wife, the lead female skier.

Email to Dr. Lewis if you wish to communicate about medical schools or other issues or to contact Dr. Tim Francisco: imaclewis@lewisassoc.com




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

Coming in January 2005: What do Admissions Officers look for in Letters of Recommendation?

This month we present: The Hardest Interview Question!

An advisee recently wrote:
"I have a question about my [name of school] interview. I saw questions that were asked on http://sudentdoctor.net and one person was asked: "if you were in my place and were looking over your file, what are some reasons why you wouldn't accept yourself?" Yikes--what does one answer to that? I mean, talking about your flaws are one thing, but telling a school why you shouldn't be accepted is another.

This is how I answered this particular Advisee. The answer will be different for each applicant!
In your case, you could indicate your MCAT scores might be low for this school, but that as an English as a Second Language student who is bicultural, your bicultural sensitivity and bilingual skills might also be valued by that school.

Everyone has a weakness....it just depends on what is valued most by that school. I would indicate that your MCAT scores are strong for a bicultural, bilingual student who moved to the US in junior high school. If they selected to interview you, then they have already decided that your MCAT scores are "good enough"! You could also mention that since your file has already been screened and selected for interview, you suspect that all your flaws are acceptable...and they already know your MCAT scores...you are not "bringing it to their attention."

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

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.

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to any friends, classmates, or colleagues you feel would find its contents beneficial.

Go to Movie Page Go to Newsletter Archive