Lewis Associates e-Newsletter
Volume 3 Issue 12
Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, Phd., Editor
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
=>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
=> Our Services
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
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
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
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 email@example.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
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
||Most recent score
||Average all scores
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
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
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
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
—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
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 "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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
lewis associates advising
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
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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
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