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 4 Issue 6
    June 2005

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

    What's inside:
    Welcome to Success Stories Newsletter!

    Important News: AMCAS and AACOMAS now Accepting Submissions; Medical School Admissions Requirements for 2006-2007 now available; Stress Reduction with Dr. Allman

    Useful Links: Financing your Medical Education

    Dates and Reminders: Paper OAT ends October 15; AADSAS 2006 goes live

    Success Story of the Month: Dr. Robert Carpenter

    Question of the Month – Foreign Course Work and Post-Secondary Experiences

    Our Services


    Welcome to Lewis Associates!

    June is the month when the AMCAS and AACOMAS and AADSAS open their electronic online applications for submission for the Entering Class of 2006. Hopefully, those in the Class of 2006 have input most of their grade, essay and other data during the month of May but applicants can continue to do so into June and beyond. Class of 2006 applicants should have been working very hard to collect all appropriate letters of recommendation, working diligently on application essays (you may have more than 1!), and developing a draft of post secondary experiences -- all this balanced with working (for pay), doing research, clinical experiences and perhaps full time class work.

    Hey--that is a ____ of a lot to do!! You're right. So, having a specific personal strategy makes all the difference so one does not collapse due to the sheer enormity of it all. I predict that the Class of 2006 application process will be FASTER this year than the accelerated Class of 2005 process. So, Class 2006 applicants beware - your preparation should be well underway already!

    89% of our Class of 2005 applicants have been accepted, and are hearing from some last minutes programs.

    Our 29 Class of 2005 applicants have interviewed at 175 schools (that is more than 6 interviews per applicant!) including the Texas schools, Harvard, Vanderbilt, Hawaii, UCLA, UCSF (and MANY more). This year's applicants have been accepted to many schools, including Drexel and George Washington Medical Schools; Western University and NOVA Southeastern Osteopathic Medical Schools; UCLA, Mayo and Baylor's MSTP program; Boston University and Case Western Dental Schools; USC and Penn State/Jefferson BA-MD program; and several MPH, Postbaccalaureate, and MS programs. This year a Naturopathic applicant was accepted into her first choice program--National University of Naturopathic Medicine!... and the list goes on!

    In order to be a competitive applicant, one needs to have submitted a quality (as evaluated by your experience and your GPA/MCAT/DAT/GRE etc. profile) application in a timely fashion---this requires a well-thought out strategy to carry you through the difficult application process. You should complete all secondary applications, and submit your letter packets to complete your files at all your schools by October at the latest. Your competition did! 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!

    Class of 2006 applicants, we are now running out of time....a very precious commodity: Time to plan, to locate and use new opportunities, time to live up to your potential! Many times, I locate clinical or service experiences for my Advisees…but they need the time to DO them!

    For those who choose to wait to begin these tasks in June, or even later, you do yourself a big disfavor. Who do YOU know who can whip out an essay in a week on top of gathering many letters of recommendation (remember that the writers may not be at your beck and call, nor even be in the US when you get around to asking them) and developing your experiences, while deciding if you need to take the MCAT or DAT in the summer---these tasks hold your future in the balance!

    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 during the last 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), received the 1990 NACADA Outstanding Institutional Advising Program in the U.S. and directed her own Health Careers Opportunity Program grant for 6 years, bringing $1 million to her university.

    Dr. Lewis 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 imaclewis@lewisassoc.com or call 805-226-9669 and ask Zakiya to set up your first appointment.

    Eric T. Lee, one of our Class of 2004 applicants who previously applied without success wrote to us:
    "ÄI would just like to send along my eternal gratitude. The medical school application process is daunting, 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 this year, which means my medical school dream has actually come true. Ä Once again, thank you so very much for your time, patience and guidanceÄ"

    Carly Gardner's parents recently wrote, "Thanks for all your help - we would have been lost without you! The final decision is probably the toughest! Carly should be so lucky! Thanks again. -Roy and Sue Gardner" Carly was accepted at 8 schools including USC, Case Western, and UT Southwestern (50K Scholarship), and was waitlisted at Vanderbilt.

    n e w s & l i n k s

N E W S-HOT TOPICS for premedical students:

AMCAS and AACOMAS are ready to submit now!

Go to Our Links Page for the AMCAS 2006 worksheets, very long instruction book, tips and cycle in pdf format and for the link to AACOMAS.

Visit the power point presentation about how to use the 2006 AMCAS on our website!

The Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) for 2006-7 is OUT…and it is the first time for a major overhaul in my memory. I advise all serious Class 2006 applicants for allopathic programs in the US and Canada purchase it ASAP. At $25.00, it's a steal.

    Changes include:
    Chapters 1-9 were completely updated, presenting a chronology of events in the life of a medical school applicant and student, from required premedical coursework to pre-application considerations, to application, matriculation, graduation and beyond. Website references are provided and Chapter 5 gives voluminous applicant and matriculant data about performance on the MCAT, GPAs, major, gender, age, etc. MD-PhD programs and training of physician-scientists is in a new chapter (11). School-specific pages now include a batch of very informative graphic and tabular information about required courses, MCAT scores, even residency matches of graduates. A plethora of really helpful stuff! I advise getting it ASAP.

Stress Reduction
I work with so many students who have significant fears and anxieties about their abilities, their goals, their future. I believe that Dr. Brian Alman's self-hypnosis tools can be extremely valuable to you. In fact, I am using Dr. Alman for my own weight loss and stress management. Dr. Alman is the author of 5 self-help books. His newest book is called, Keep It Off (Dutton 2005). He is in private practice in Encini
tas, California and he has taught workshops to Apple Computers, Harvard Medical School, Kaiser Permanente, Kraft Foods, NFL, Novartis, Pfizer, Positive Choice Wellness Center, Procter & Gamble, Scripps Clinic, Sprint Telephone, University of California, University of Paris, etc.
keep-it-off.com 800-217-7001.

From Dr. Alman's 4/29/05 workshop at Kaiser Permanente Positive Choice "The Power of Self-Mastery" Techniques for weight loss, pain control, stress and healing. Dr. Alman taught a group of 40 people 4 techniques; here are 2:

1. The simplest technique that can be used anywhere, anytime to quiet a "busy" mind, and look for answers inside yourself: Count from 0 to 100 and back to 0 again with 1 goal in mind, taking about a minute.

2. Breathing patterns: Cravings have a specific breathing pattern e.g. rough or shallow. If you change your breathing pattern consciously, the craving goes away. Inhale and at the top of the inhale, have a quiet moment where you focus on a goal, then exhale during which say your name or another short word, and at the end of the exhale, find a peaceful feeling. Repeat this for 5 to 10 minutes.

    L I N K S :

    Financing Your Medical Education
    The latest student financial aid resource is now contained on the recently updated, Financing Your Medical Education Web Page. It is jam packed with debt and other financial calculators and help for premeds to medical students and residents.

    d a t e s   &   r e m i n d e r s

    Last Chances for Old Rates:
    For the first time in over 3 years, Lewis Associates is raising its prices. On July 1, 2005, the following prices will go into effect:

      Assessment $300
      Preparation Year $2400
      Application Year $2600

    For a full description of services and rates visit our Services page.

    Paper OAT ends October 15, 2005

    The last administration of the written Optometry Admissions Test (OAT), will be October 15, 2005. Now that the computerized version of the OAT is available, the written version is being phased out. After October 2005, the OAT will ONLY be available in a computerized format. A computerized version of the OAT is available now, with testing available year round where an examinee can select the date, time and place to test. You receive your scores immediately after the test at the test center: www.opted.org

    AADSAS 2006 available

    May 16, the AADSAS 2006 application became available online.
    One week later, more than 4,000 individuals already created online accounts to initiate their AADSAS applications and 300 applications already were submitted! AADSAS has begun transcript verification as part of the service that it provides this year, and is off to a fast start receiving official transcripts and large numbers of letters of recommendation. It appears that the cycle is getting off to a very fast start, and that applicants have heeded calls to "apply early." www.adea.org/aadsas

    Applicants with questions should contact ADEA Customer Service at 800-353-2237, 202-289-8123, or email csraadsas@adea.org

    s u c c e s s s t o r i e s
    by Dr. Cynthia Lewis

    WOW…May has been another Alumni month:

    I attended the graduation of Dr. Jonathon Bloom (see December 2001 Success Story) in Pittsburgh, meeting many of his very proud extended family who share his well -earned success. Jonathon is off to do a transitional Internship year at Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh and an Anesthesiology Residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

    Congratulations to Olga Rosito, who enters a doctoral program in clinical psychology this fall, and her husband, Michael. They just had a baby!

    Dr. Robert Carpenter

    Now, the story of one of our "older alumni", Dr. Robert Carpenter, who is in the US Navy:

    "I was ready to submit my applications to medical school. I had carefully chosen about 16 allopathic schools, which I thought included a broad range of possibilities from –shoe-in” schools to dream schools. I met with Dr. Lewis for one of my final pre-med advising appointments before submitting applications; she dealt me a challenge. During this visit, she informed me that I must include a few applications to Osteopathic schools. Yikes! It was months before time to submit applications and I hadn't even thought about D.O. schools. Well, I did some research and found, of course, that I needed a letter of recommendation from a D.O. I worked with M.D.'s at Grossmont Hospital but didnêt know any D.O.s. I did some asking around at work one night and discovered that the Chief of Staff of Grossmont Hospital was a D.O.! I soon found myself sitting in his office explaining my situation. I told him how I had chosen 4 Osteopathic schools to send my application to and needed a letter of recommendation. He agreed to write me a letter and recommended that I apply to his Alma Mater, KCOM. HmmmÄok, I hadnêt thought about Kirksville until then. Where is Kirksville?

    The day came to submit applicationsÄ16 Allopathic schools and 5 Osteopathic schools (with the addition of KCOM). Weeks went by, then months. Finally, I got an invitation for an interview...rather early in the application cycle, sometime in September. It was from Missouri...KCOM. I went to the interview and was totally impressed. It felt as though the KCOM staff were selling themselves to me rather than probing me to see if I was good enough for them. Several weeks later, I accepted their offer to join the Class of 2000 and breathed a sigh of relief...my medical school application anxieties were over. I never got an invitation to interview at any of the Allopathic schools that I applied to.

    With Dr. Lewisê help and expert advice, I gained acceptance to medical school, went on to join the Navy, earned the Navy Flight Surgeonês Wings of Gold, and will soon begin my residency in internal medicine.

    Thanks Dr. Lewis!

    Robert J. Carpenter, D.O. LT, MC(FS), USN"

    More of the story:

    Rob was born in San Diego County, the eldest of 4 siblings (he has 3 younger sisters) to a Highway Patrol Officer father and police dispatcher (now legal secretary) mother. The family lived in a mobile home in a rural area where they raised chickens, dogs, horses and a cow. When Rob was age 7 he began riding horses competitively in the local gymkhanas. His family moved to a rural northern California town, Placerville, close to several relatives, when he was about 8. The community was friendly and a focal point was the lake where BBQ's and swimming occurred all summer. Rob's parents divorced, and he and his sisters and mother moved to rural Oklahoma to be near friends. There was some wrangling about child custody, but their father kept in close contact.

    Rob's mother took the children back to San Diego County where her parents lived after his mother's boyfriend became abusive. At age 10, Rob entered a Catholic elementary school with his sisters, then followed the Catholic high school. In his junior year, Rob became a representative to the student council and joined the volleyball team. He graduated with a 3.8 GPA even though he worked up to 20 hours/week as a veterinary technician, doing yard work and assorted odd jobs. Even more amazing, is that Rob has allergies to animals, but enjoyed working with them in spite of his own discomfort. Upon high school graduation, Rob rented a room from his veterinarian employer.

    At San Diego State University, Rob declared a psychology major and considered becoming a doctor, but because of lack of confidence during his freshman year, he says, "I felt that it was beyond me. I made a couple of appointments with Dr. Lewis, both of which I missed. I remember, because she wouldn't let me forget about it! But that was good because it made me be more conscientious about appointments and commitments that I make in all aspects of my life." Rob became one of my most reliable Advisees, which is why I selected him to be a Peer Advisor in my office, and a student Coordinator for my Topics in Medicine class.

    In Rob's second year in college he volunteered in a hospital ER, then was selected for a Premedical Externship at a hospital where students rotate through 10 departments. He observed the birth of a baby, several deaths, gang-related injuries, etc. and particularly enjoyed assisting a hand surgeon reconstructing tendons. Then, Rob was trained in phlebotomy. He says, "I was employed by Student Health Services for 3 semesters where I enjoyed teaching other students how to draw blood. Working at Student Health Services taught me about the workings of a clinical laboratory. After I received my phlebotomy certificate, I applied for a phlebotomy position at Grossmont Hospital 3 times that year. Finally, I was called in for an interview and I began working. I learned so much more at Grossmont. The greater, more acute patient population at Grossmont demands more intensive laboratory testing and special collection procedures that I hadn't learned at Student Health Services. Also, I learned about all aspects of the hospital from housekeeping to radiology to intensive care nursing. When I started at Grossmont, I expressed a desire to draw blood from ER patients. My supervisor accommodated me and I enjoyed spending much of my time in the ER where I have a closer relationship with the doctors than is possible in other parts of the hospital. Also, I learned the jobs and responsibilities of other support staff including the unit clerks and emergency medical technicians. When I am not busy drawing blood, I help the rest of the staff with their jobs. Eventually, I became interested in the testing of blood that had been collected. At Grossmont, blood draws are scheduled in the various departments to help the medical technologists. I expressed interest, and was promptly trained in chemistry and microbiology. " At the time of application, Rob's job at Grossmont was scheduled between phlebotomy, chemistry, and microbiology.

    Rob also became active in campus politics. He was AED Honor Society Vice President, then President, and in Mortarboard, a national service organization. As AED President, Rob secured an office, computer and printer for the club, arranged a premedical externship at a local hospital and organized our annual spring MCAT lunch. He says, "As a result, I became more responsible and learned to motivate others. Through AED, I also joined the College of Sciences Student Council (CSSC) because at the beginning of the semester, AED did not have a representative to attend CSSC meetings. Therefore, I served as our representative the first few meetings, until we found another one. We did find someone to take my place, however, the CSSC did not have a secretary and asked if I would be serve as secretary the rest of the semester; I agreed. This experience introduced me to student government. I became interested in the matters brought before the council, the Associated Students election, and attended many meetings. My only regret is that I didn't start my leadership earlier. My interest was so piqued that I ran for President of the College of Sciences Student Council and won!”

    Rob joined our local Flying Samaritans group of doctors, dentists, nurses and other volunteers who treat the indigent in Mexico. He says, "The clinic where I participate is located in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. It is a new chapter, which I helped to found. In the beginning, we were holding clinics at a residence. In January, 1995, we were invited by a local physician to hold our clinics in her small hospital. My greatest contribution to the clinic was to arrange to have their laboratory testing done at Grossmont Hospital. I approached my supervisor who approached her supervisor, and to my surprise, they were willing to do the testing free of charge. In fact, they offered to donate any supplies I needed to collect specimens. My role at the monthly clinics is to collect specimens from patients as ordered by the physician, and transport them to Grossmont. I enjoy a great feeling of accomplishment when I participate in these clinics. The patients who seek our care would not get medical care otherwise, so anything that we do is greatly appreciated."

    In his Committee interview evaluations, his faculty indicated that Rob is intelligent and thoughtfully answered questions. On questions regarding abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, he was consistent with his philosophy that an individual's decision and rights should be protected. His philosophical stance on these issues comes through quite positively and he has a good appreciation of medicine. His clear commitment to being a physician is backed up with excellent experience and strong motivation. Rob had to support himself throughout college thus, he had to work many hours, which affected his academic performance.

    In his last year, when our Alpha Epsilon Delta President resigned due to family obligations, Rob stepped in to take her place. He did an excellent job of leading our Premedical Honor Society in providing service to the university and promoting professionalism and camaraderie among our pre-health students. Rob even completed ground school for pilots and was trying to find the time and earn the money to buy flying time to complete his license. Although Rob worked significant numbers of hours weekly while attending college, he earned a strong GPA and was an outstanding student leader. I was impressed with the initiative Rob showed, the follow-through and reliability he brought to each job he tackled, with his quiet assured manner. As Sciences Council President, a Peer Advisor in my office and Coordinator of my Topics in Medicine course (on top of other club membership, work and college courses), Rob took on quite a plateful in his senior year. However, he found time to setup a caller menu telephone system, a Web Homepage for my office, and an email newsgroup for my Advisees. I believe he is just beginning to hit his stride.

    And, of course he was just hitting his stride...more of the story:

    On Mar 27, 2005, at 5:40 PM, Rob Carpenter wrote:

    "Hi Dr. Lewis!
    Sorry for the long delay in getting back to you...work has been crazy, as usual. A few things have changed since we last spoke. I went to interview at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth in February when they told me they had a late declination at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, and asked me if I'd be interested in doing my residency there! Of course, I enthusiastically accepted...I'd rather live in the D.C. area rather than Portsmouth, VA. Also, the quality of training in Bethesda is outstanding...so I am off to the D.C. area in July. I graduated from KCOM in 2000 and finished internship at Naval Medical Center San Diego in 2001, then went to the 6 month Flight Surgeon school in Pensacola, FL, then to NAS Fort Worth where I've been for almost 3 years. Most docs in the Navy do their pay-back time as a medical officer right after internship...mostly due to the needs of the Navy...they simply need doctors (generalists) out in the fleet. We have the choice of aviation medicine, undersea medicine, or general medical officer. After the 2 or 3 year tour as a GMO, most of us then go back to residency either in the Navy or get out and do a civilian residency program. Rob"

    Email to Dr. Lewis if you wish to communicate about medical schools or other issues or to contact those profiled in Success Stories: imaclewis@lewisassoc.com

q u e s t i o n o f t h e m o n t h
by Dr. Cynthia Lewis, PhD

We will post 2 burning applicant questions this month:

How do I list my study abroad classes from last year, which are posted on my undergraduate transcript as 13 units (no grade) from X foreign university?"

It does not matter whether your coursework is listed under the foreign or domestic university, just don't list it under both. If it appears on your transcript, you still must list the foreign university as a school attended and then submit a transcript exemption request to AMCAS. If the applicant wants to ensure that the medical schools know that your courses were study abroad, then you should list them under the foreign school, but from AMCAS's point of view, listing by either school is fine.

How do I address using the 15 Post-secondary Experience section of the 2006 AMCAS now that it allows 1325 characters?

Here's one medical school admissions perspective:
We want both brevity and meaningful information. Brevity because we have to read too many applications and wish to be fair to all. Meaningful information because we can't interview everyone who is "academically qualified" and so the depth and extent of extra-curricular activities are very important -- as has been said before, the more we can find out, the better equipped we are to make decisions.

The following is just a short list made after being frustrated reading thousands of applications that didn't give me the information I wanted or asking a question during an interview about an experience I found interesting on the application and learning that the participation had been so minimal or superficial as to make the experience worthless. -Dr. Liliana Montano, Cornell University

    * Think carefully about which kind of experiences were really meaningful to you -- don't try to fill out space. We are very good at recognizing BS.

    * High school activities are important only to underline continuity during college at increased levels of participation, leadership or responsibility (e.g., you've played a musical instrument, participated in the high school orchestra and are now in the college orchestra, etc.)

    * Don't repeat what's obvious from answers to things like experience type, title description, contact name & title or organization name (e.g., don't repeat in the description that you worked on research with Dr. So and So -- that information is above the description of your experience).

    * If the organization in which you participated is not well known, give a brief description followed by the role you played there, specially if it involved any type of responsibility.

    * If you made Dean's list (or any type of honor like that) for more than one semester, use the description area to list the other semesters.

    * If you received any scholarship, fellowship or other honor that is not nationally recognizable, describe it briefly. Don't waste paper on scholarships that are awarded to half the population at the school.

    * If you were just a member of an organization, let us know how many meetings/week you attended and why you joined.

    * If you list a publication, make sure it's been accepted for publication and cite it properly. If the paper is just being "prepared for submission" or "submitted," include this fact as part of the research description in the part where you listed the research activity.

    * If listing a research experience that extends through the academic year as well as summer, use the description area to let us know the time invested during each of those periods (e.g., full time during the summer, 10 hrs/week in the fall/spring blah blah blah)

    * Remember that each experience you list is "up for grabs" if you are invited to interview -- you might be asked anything about it and it can make you or break you.

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 with newsletter question in the subject line.

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