Lewis Associates e-Newsletter
Volume 4 Issue 8
Published by Lewis Associates. Dr. Cynthia Lewis, Phd., Editor
with your comments. Enjoy!
Welcome to Success Stories Newsletter!
Paper MCAT Will Become a Thing of the Past
Dates and Reminders:
Criminal Background Checks for Applicants Accepted to Medical School
of the Month: Eva Correa and Adam Carewe
the Month: Non-Traditional Acceptance
Welcome to Lewis Associates!
August is the month when your application should be SUBMITTED or you should
already be receiving secondaries. . . and pondering how to respond! As I predicted,
based on the "speedy" turnaround with medical/dental/etc. school
online applications last year, this year looks like it will be a whirlwind.
So get ready to ride the tornado. . . or roller coaster, as I like to call
it. . . for the Class of 2006. .
96.6% 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! Schools include 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, you need to submit a quality application
in a timely fashion as evaluated by your clinical, service and other experiences
and your GPA/MCAT/DAT/GRE, etc. profile--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! Don't forget that once your application is submitted.
. . even if ALL transcripts are already received at the application service,
it may take up to 6 weeks to verify and process it!!!!
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
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 alumni now practicing in medicine 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
Contact the experts! For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 805-226-9669 and ask to set up your first appointment.
From Liana (Olszewski) Au
on July 13, 2005:"I wanted to thank you so much
for all the help you gave me as I was applying for medical school. I am in
the med school of my dreams and having the time of my life! Your efforts are
truly appreciated and I am excited for all of your clients who get to feel
the same joy I feel to finally be here living the dream."
n e w s & l i n k s
N E W S
MEDICAL COLLEGE ADMISSION TEST WILL CONVERT TO COMPUTER-BASED FORMAT
Washington, D.C., July 18, 2005 - The AAMC (Association of American
Medical Colleges) announced today that it will convert the Medical College
Admission Test (MCAT) to an entirely computer-based format within the next
two years. The AAMC has signed a contract with Thomson Prometric, part of
The Thomson Corporation, to deliver the computer-based MCAT to locations in
the United States and around the world. The paper version of the test will
be administered only through 2006.
The upgrade to computer-based format will provide examinees and medical schools
with more test dates each year, faster score results, a more controlled testing
environment, and a shorter test day. As the exam is converted to the new format,
the number of questions on the MCAT will be significantly reduced.
Thomson Prometric currently administers the MCAT in computer format at selected
test centers as an alternative for examinees who prefer a computer-based test
to the "fill-in-the-bubbles" paper version. This pilot implementation has
allowed the AAMC and Thomson Prometric to develop effective systems and processes
for the computer-based test and will be continued through 2006. A trial implementation
at all testing locations will occur during the August 2006 administration
of the MCAT.
"Our goal is to enhance the testing experience for examinees and the usefulness
of the results for the medical schools and other professionals schools that
use the MCAT," said Ellen Julian, Ph.D., associate vice president for the
AAMC and director of the MCAT. "We have taken the time to do this right and
are pleased with the project plan, the timeline, and our partnership with
The new MCAT will also include technology that can capture an examinee's thumbprint
electronically, rather than on paper as is the current practice. This innovative
verification technology will shorten pre-test check-in time and will enhance
test administrators' ability to verify examinees eligible to take the test.
The AAMC currently administers more than 60,000 MCAT examinations each year,
at more than 600 locations around the world. The
MCAT is a standardized, multiple-choice exam designed to assess facility
with problem solving, critical thinking and writing skills in addition to
knowledge of science concepts and principles that are prerequisite to the
study of medicine. Medical college admission committees consider MCAT scores
as part of their admission decision process.
The MCAT should be offered during several windows spread through the year,
each consisting of two to seven test days after it becomes entirely computer-based
in 2007. Scores will be available about 30 days later.
L I N K S :
Worried about the August MCAT?
Dr. Brian Alman gave a free workshop in late July in San Diego for
Dr. Lewis' advisees especially for August 2005 MCAT and other test takers:
How to beat anxiety of the MCAT, DAT and other tests. . .
Through 25 years of helping students faced with difficult tests
that could make or break their careers, Dr. Brian Alman has found some simple
strategies that allowed students to cope well and successfully pass their
tests. He has also learned the consistent behaviors that caused students to
test badly. Everyone feels performance stress but how one copes does effect
the results. One needs to learn how to block negative thoughts, use breathing
exercises, gain better perspectives of situations and learnt how to utilize
self-support approaches. These strategies can generally be described as gaining
a sense of control over the situation (as compared to the strategies that
fail are associated with a sense of losing control). It's the difference between
feeling relaxed and confident as opposed to rushing, allowing negative thoughts
to interrupt concentration, or finding that stress controls those thoughts.
Here are some free samples of relaxation/visualization exercises to do for
d a t e s & r e m i n d e r s
Criminal Background Checks for Applicants Accepted
to Medical School
On June 14, 2005, the AAMC Council of Deans, Council of Academic Societies,
and Council of Teaching Hospitals and Health Systems Administrative Boards
considered a recommendation, resulting from a yearlong study by the Group
on Student Affairs (GSA), that criminal background checks be completed on
all applicants accepted annually to medical school entering classes. This
recommendation was based on several factors: patient health and safety, student
access to affiliated clinical facilities and eligibility for licensure, limiting
school and hospital liability, and ensuring school involvement in decisions
about the content and process of these checks. On June 15, 2005, the AAMC
Executive Council endorsed this recommendation.
In addition, the Executive Council requested the initiation of what will likely
be a multi-year implementation process. During this process, schools will
be encouraged to look to their own traditions, current experience with employee
(and, when applicable, student) background checks, local laws and regulations,
and requests from affiliated institutions in order to draft locally appropriate
policies and procedures for criminal background checks. This school-specific
information would then be examined using the initial, comprehensive set of
guidelines proposed by the GSA as a resource document by a broader segment
of the AAMC community in collaboration with other groups (e.g., the Department
of Veterans Affairs, the American Hospital Association), in an effort to make
recommendations about the content and process of these checks for future consideration
by the AAMC governance.
Dental School criminal checks:
The AADSAS application does not have a section that asks about felonies
or misdemeanors. After much discussion among dental school admissions officers,
the AADSAS Task Force and attorneys, they made the decision not to collect
information about such legal actions. However, many dental schools do ask
about felonies and misdemeanors as a part of their secondary application process.
s u c c e s s s t o r i e s
by Dr. Cynthia Lewis
UCLAS Drew Entering Class of 20055
and Dr. Lewis
I met Eva Correa as the wife of one of my Alumni who was in 2002 attending
medical school. Eva subsequently separated and divorced, and started her own
journey to medical school, which I have supported the last 3 years. Here is
part of her story…
Eva was born and raised in Merced, California. Her father’s parents
were corn and cattle farmers with land in Mexico and her mother’s parents
were farmers in Mexico without land (very poor). Her father immigrated from
Zacatecas in 1974. He was a seasonal migrant farm worker in California with
a Green Card and died when she was age 10. He was alcoholic and abusive to
her family, but not to Eva. Eva’s mother married at age 19 and had 14
children, 10 are living; Eva is the youngest. Eva’s mother speaks no
English, even today. She was born in Texas and moved to Mexico with her family
at age 5; she is a US citizen.
Eva’s siblings include: an Episcopalian priest in Fresno, an abusive
alcoholic, two truckers, a brother with some community college who works in
a factory, a sister who does Cingular customer service, a dental assistant
with 4 children, a brother with some community college who lives in Mexico,
and a sister in Fresno.
Spanish is Eva’s first language; she learned English in kindergarten.
The Catholic Church and prayer were important to her mother. Eva had no outside
activities growing up. Eva did babysitting fulltime in summers, then from
ages 15-17 she worked as a restaurant cashier about 15 hours per week in high
school; she has worked since age 11. In summer 1993, after high school graduation,
she worked fulltime in the Youth Conservation Corps at Yosemite and again
in summer 1996 when she became a crew leader.
Eva attended public elementary school and English was difficult, but she enjoyed
math. Eva’s mother did not speak English, understand the school system,
nor was she able to advocate for Eva. In 4th grade, Eva began to enjoy English
and started reading, thus she became more confident. When Eva’s father
died, she was in 5th grade; her family went to Mexico and she was out of school
for a few months. She enjoyed math and science, and did a science project.
Eva wrote articles for the school paper for two years, which improved her
Eva attended public high school where she focused on social development. She
still enjoyed math, but only took the basic classes to graduate: geometry,
biology , no chemistry or physics. Eva took 3 years of French, still struggled
with English and liked drama. She graduated just passing and did not take
the SAT. Eva entered Merced Community College directly from high school without
a career direction, working 15 hr/wk (clerical) and 10 hr/wk in youth ministry
for the first 2 years. She lived at home, earned a 3.7 GPA at Merced and was
in 2 honor societies.
By her third year, she transferred to UCSD because it was a school she could
afford with financial aid which was far from home. But, Eva’s mother
developed high blood pressure and hypertension. Her siblings were NOT supportive
of Eva leaving home to attend college; they expected her to stay home to care
for their mother. Eva’s mother had a heart attack and Eva withdrew from
UCSD to care for her. A Latina faculty supported her request to transfer to
UC Davis due to this family emergency. An American Chemical Society minority
scholarship from UCSD transferred to UC Davis. Eva spent winter through summer
of 1997 taking care of her mother and working, and in fall, she moved to an
apartment and her brother took over her mother’s care giving.
Eva struggled academically in her first year at UCD due to working 20+ hr/wk.
In fall 1999, Eva was hit by a car while riding a bicycle. She was out of
college for almost 3 weeks, but was told that she must complete a full 12
units that term to maintain receipt of her financial aid even though she was
on crutches and worked 10 hr/wk. Eva could have taken a medical leave of absence,
but did not. She felt discouraged and just wanted to graduate.
In high school, Eva was in the drama club and directed a play; she went to
the state level of competition for monologs and earned the Assistant Director
award, and was in a play at Merced College. Eva worked in youth ministry for
2 years in college, then at the Newman Center. She worked fulltime teaching
at the Challenger Learning Center, which had flight simulations from winter
through summer 1997 and again in summer 1998. She was a math and science tutor
for a year and a chemistry lab assistant at Merced College.
In fall 1997, Eva began to volunteer at the UC Davis School of Medicine free
clinic, Clinica Tepati, as a computer programmer, where she worked for 3 years
with patients and medical students, doing Spanish translation, health screenings,
lab work, and training others on computer programs. Eva became a leader in
CHE, Chicano Health Education, where she worked in immunization of migrant
camp kids, held health fairs for Latino community, etc.
Eva began working as a lab tech in the UC Davis veterinary hospital 20 hr/wk
in cell biology. In summer 1999, she worked with UC Davis SOM epidemiology
and preventive medicine faculty on a project to study migrant farm worker
women’s understanding of why they should have Pap smears and continued
working at the veterinary hospital, each half time. She presented a poster
to a women’s Health conference in 2001 for the migrant farm worker research.
Eva worked 50 hr/wk at the UC Davis SOM in an internal medicine clinical research
program testing the memory of the elderly, funded by the NIH Institute of
Alternative Medicine—Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory Study and Cardiovascular
health study; she did health screen evaluations, ECG, phlebotomy, memory testing,
Eva considered becoming a teacher or theater director in high school. In summer
1993, she went with a youth group to see the Pope in Denver. There were 250,000
people from around the world and she made friends with people from diverse
cultures. Eva spent time with a Monk and some medical missionary Nuns and
considered becoming a medical missionary. She felt empowered to have her own
sense of a future for the first time.
Eva took human anatomy in her first year in college for Pre-nursing/PA. A
Merced College counselor suggested Eva could actually become a doctor. By
her second year in college, Eva gained the confidence to start working toward
becoming a doctor. Her chemistry teacher took students to Baja California
to repair a medical clinic there and Eva knew that she wanted to help these
people. Eva has supported the disadvantaged Hispanic community in a variety
of ways for most of her life, including scholarship development at her old
community college, health, tutoring, etc. Eva has had supportive Caucasian
pediatrician role models who helped Latino children (like her when she was
small); they didn’t even speak Spanish.
Eva is mature, a strong self-advocate and has learned from the “school
of hard knocks” how to take care of herself. She is a “bootstrap”
student--intelligent, hard-working and now focused on becoming a doctor. She
has recently nurtured a love for learning and for science. It has taken many
years to build confidence in her academic abilities—primarily because
she went through a protracted phase of supporting herself, and not having
strong, positive role models. Eva gained confidence in her academic work at
the community college and more recently at the UC Irvine First time applicant
Post-baccalaureate Program, and is the first in her family to complete college.
She has overcome significant social, educational, financial and disadvantages.
Eva has lots of rich clinical experience, life work experience and activity
supporting the Hispanic community, including a research project with a poster
presentation. She has had several Mentors. Her work developing and maintaining
an Hispanic scholarship also indicates her interest in “giving back”
to the Hispanic community.
and her mother
Much of Eva’s academic struggle is likely due to long work hours, emotional
turmoil, and lack of family support (moral, financial, educational). Once
Eva minimized work hours, and was in a supportive academic and personal environment,
her academic strength and high level of motivation to her goal of becoming
a physician emerged, with a 3.98 PB GPA in difficult courses and competitive
Eva was accepted to the University of Utah, TUCOM, KCOM also offered interviews
Michigan State and U of Kansas which she was unable to attend due to lack
of money, and waitlisted at UC Davis Schools of Medicine this year and will
matriculate to the small, elite, community-medicine directed UCLA Drew program--which
she fits like a T!
Update: Adam Carewe
Class of 2004 (Read
the Success Story)
July, 2005: "I survived Hawaii. I just got back to NY yesterday and start
2nd yr classes on August 15th. Hope everyone is enjoying their summer! I sure
Email to Dr. Lewis if you wish to communicate
about medical schools or other issues or to contact those profiled in Success
q u e s t i o n o f t h e m o n t h
We will feature an important question each month. Please
submit one that interests you for Dr. Lewis to answer. Send your questions to
email@example.com with newsletter question in the subject line.
by Dr. Cynthia Lewis, PhD
This query was recently posted on a national advisor
A non-traditional applicant graduated from a competitive university with a
Philosophy major in 1998; Overall GPA ~3.9, Science GPA similar but based
on taking only bare minimum courses for applying to med school (no cell/molecular,
no biochem, only upper level bio was animal physiology). He did a PhD in Philosophy
at a strong graduate program, moved to a different state, is finishing the
PhD with hoped for completion date in August 06 (but can't be sure!) He is
working as a respiratory therapist 2 days per week to pay the bills while
he works on his dissertation 3 days per week. Loves working with patients.
Returned to idea of pursuing medicine rather than teaching philosophy at the
college level. Took the MCAT April 2005 and scored 12, 13, R 12 (37R). It's
going to be tough to get letters from science profs if he doesn't take any
new courses and hold off for 07. He can get good letters from his dissertation
advisor and his work experience with patients.
Here are answers from 2 real Medical School Admissions Officials (anonymous):
1. Will he need to take any science courses
since he had not had any for so long?
#1 response: YES. I would strongly recommend he take at least
2 (more if he can swing it) upper-level science classes per semester for at
least the next year. Our committee has a very difficult time in assessing
whether a person has the skills necessary (intelligence, study habits, motivation)
to fare well in our curriculum if she/he has been away from the academic environment
for the past few years. I understand that he is working on his dissertation
and that is "academic" but it is also away from the daily grind
of classes, taking notes, studying, etc. The 37 MCAT would show that he has
the ability, and the motivation to study for at least one exam, but won't
do much to convince the committee that he can handle the long haul.
#2 response: Courses in biochem, molecular bio or genetics
might make him more competitive but it is not a requirement. His MCATs are
strong enough that we would feel reassured that he is well prepared.
2. Should he apply for entry in 06 in spite of not being sure of when
he will be able to complete his dissertation?
#1 response: Personally, I think it would be a waste of time
and money. Assuming we get over the hump of him not having any science classes
for what will be 8 years by the time he comes to medical school, we still
won't know when he will be able to join our class. One year deferrals are
possible, but 2 years+ for something other than the Peace Corps is pretty
rare among medical schools.
#2 response: If accepted and he hasn't finished his PhD,
we give deferrals, so it would be OK. However, in my experience, it would
be better if he is not far along in the dissertation, to wait until he is
3. Should he hold off for 07 so that he can take more science courses
and also be sure he will finish his dissertation? He's 36 already and doesn't
really want to delay another year if he can get by without it.
#1 response: There will be some schools that will likely
not accept him because of his age (not overtly, of course), but if he concentrates
on finding schools with a large number of non-traditional applicants his age
shouldn't be an issue. We actually have two 38-year-olds starting with us
this fall. I know HE would rather get moving quicker, and can totally understand
that. He can always apply if he wants to and if he gets in somewhere, great.
But my guess is that he would have much better luck if he waited a year.
#2 response: See above - I would encourage him to wait, mainly
if he still has a lot of work to do for his dissertation. His age is meaningless
-- no difference between 36 and 37.
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
"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
Call or email today to set your first appointment!
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