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 5 Issue 10
    October 2006

    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: First Acceptances for Class of 2007; Lewis Associates now using Skype; Computer-Based MCAT Updates

    Useful Links: Computer-Based MCAT released exams

    Dates and Reminders: Lewis Associates Changes Mailing Address; Medical College of Wisconsin's Entering Class

    Success Story of the Month: Dr. Adrian Miranda "Former illegal immigrant now on medical school faculty"

    Question of the Month: Why are you applying to our school?: Responding to Secondary Applications

    Our Services


    Welcome to Lewis Associates!

    This October, we have 2 accepted Class of 2007 Advisees already! (see news section) Wow. . . things are moving quickly this year. Remember when I warned that the application process for allopathic medical school is accelerating? I proposed this is due to the streamlining of electronic web-based applications and secondaries. . . no more hard copy of anything or even waiting for an email in many cases! And, now this goes for Osteopathic medical and dental schools! In any case, this is a very busy time for all pre-health students!!

    Thanks from Dr. Adrian Miranda, Class 1994, Faculty at Medical College of Wisconsin
    I have never really taken the time to express my sincere gratitude for everything you did for me. I have often mentioned your name during talks and to friends and family as the person who was the most influential in my path to success. I can’t tell you how many times my wife has answered that question right on the "newlywed" board game. Without your guidance and support I would never have accomplished my goals. I am so glad to hear you are doing well and I want you to know that I still often think of you and the years at SDSU. I am now married with two children (Alex 3 and Sofia 2). My wife Heidi is from Madison and much to my dismay, she does not plan on moving to California any time soon. . . I wish you the best and I hope that you have a wonderful party surrounded by people who love you and whose lives you have changed. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you or your family and please stay in touch.

    Your friend and Protégé,
    Adrian Miranda, M.D.
    Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
    Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatalogy and Nutrition
    Medical College of Wisconsin

    Thanks From Andrea Casillas, entering the Michigan State University ABLE Program in fall 2006
    "Dr. Lewis, Thank you so much. I am very grateful to have had you along my side during this stressful year. I appreciate all your work and patience! I wish you the very best. May God bless you always. Thank you very, very much." Andrea

    Comment from an Alumnus
    "Wow! What a website. Are you sure you want to retire? Based on what I've seen, you have to be the most successful Advisor on the planet! I owe a great debt of gratitude to your ability to encourage young people to achieve their goals. If there is anything you ever need, no matter what time of day, I'll take care of it, just call me. Joe"

    Joseph E. Allen, MD, MS, FAAFP, CAQSM
    Family Practice and Sports Medicine
    (Editor's note: Dr. Allen did a consult on my torn knee meniscus a couple of weeks ago. . . what a great benefit from having terrific alumni in the medical profession! Thanks again, Joe!)

    What's New?

    Change of Mailing Address
    Through the end of 2006, our Lewis Associates mailing address will be our office address: 2727 Camino del Rio South Suite 156, San Diego, CA 92108

    Long term Advising packages back by popular demand! Lewis Associates will continue long-term advising for the next couple of years based on overwhelming requests. We are also focusing on Personal Assessments, essay and interview packages, our new Medical and Dental Residency essay package, and hourly problem-solving advising.

    NEW FREE teleconferencing and videoconferencing. You need to register for free AOL Instant Messaging, and will get free audio and/or video contact with us!! Talk with Zakiya to set up your computer for this NOW!!

    We now have e-billing and plan on having more online services.

    In a couple of years, some new books and CD's will be out by Dr. Lewis about preparing for medical and other health professions schools. . . keep on the lookout!!

    Harvard Medical School Track Record
    We are proud that 2 of our Class of 2006 applicants were interviewed at Harvard Medical School this year and both are accepted! This brings Dr. Lewis' record to 29 Advisees accepted to Harvard Medical and Dental Schools in the past 20 years!

    92% of our Class of 2006 applicants were accepted! . . . and 2 were waitlisted.

    100% of our Class of 2005 applicants were accepted!

    100% of our Class of 2004 applicants were accepted!

    In order to be a competitive Class of 2007, 2008, or 2009 applicant, you need to submit a quality application as evaluated by your clinical, service and other experiences and your GPA/MCAT/DAT/GRE, etc. profile--in a timely fashion. This requires a well thought-out strategy to carry you through the difficult year-long application process. And, if you get advising with Dr. Lewis, you will find out that we begin preparation the year before submission of your application!!

    What are your chances?
    If you want to change your career or reach your present career goal, but do not know how to begin, or how to jump over all those hurdles, Lewis Associates will advise and implement strategies to change your life.

    Getting Started
    Read about your Personal Assessment in our newsletter and website, then phone or email us directly to get started! We spend on average 7 hours working to develop an effective strategy of taking you from where you are to where you want to be.

    You may be like our other 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. Maybe you wish to use our hourly advising to solve a specific problem.

    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.

    If you are serious about making your dreams to become a physician, dentist, physician assistant, veterinarian, optometrist, podiatrist, naturopathic physician, 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 21 years.

    Dr. Lewis teaches Professionalism, Leadership, and Quality, and sets high standards for her Advisees.

    Lewis Associates will save you money and heartache on your preparation and application process.

    Contact the health career experts! For more information email imaclewis@lewisassoc.com or call 805-226-9669 and ask to set up your first appointment.

    n e w s   &   l i n k s

    N E W S

First Acceptances!

First Class 2007 Allopathic Medical Acceptance:
Omar Noor, George Washington University School of Medicine

Omar applied through the Early Decision Program.
First Class 2007 Osteopathic Medical Acceptance:
Joshua Boys, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

Lewis Associates now uses Skype!
This free service allows you to make phone calls over the internet without long distance charges.

Computer-Based MCAT Updates
Mr. Steve Barkley, Director of the MCAT technology and program development at AAMC talked at the AMSA ARC conference in Sacramento on September 23rd:

· The MCAT predicts about 35% of the basic science medical school GPA and 20% of the clinical science medical school GPA
· Fee remains $210
· You can now take the MCAT (starting 2007) 3 times per year. To change a date or location, is a $50 fee. You can reschedule up to 5 days before an exam
· 80% of college students have not taken a computer-based college test
· There are 19 test opportunities
· A free full length MCAT practice exam with diagnostic feedback of your personal strengths and weaknesses will be available at e-mcat.com in "early" October
· Two new full real released exams will be provided in 2007, $35 each
· There is a brief tutorial at the start of the exam if you wish
· There is biometric ID: fingerprinting and driver's license
· The CBT has an internal clock in the computer program with a 5 minute warning timer, and breaks are timed
· You can use noise reducing headphones or ear plugs. . . but you should practice with them too
· Yes, you can use scratch paper
· You have the full flexibility of reading everything within a compete test section, e.g. all PS passages, questions and answers
· You can highlight parts of the passage where you wish and can strike out what you believe to be incorrect answers as you decide on a correct answer
· The paper test took 8-10 hours to administer; the CBT is 4.5 hours
· It took 60 days to score the paper exam; will take 30 days to score the CBT in 2007
· There are 400 Prometric sites I ADVISE registering the earliest that you can-- 60 days in advance to get the site and date you wish as SEATS are limited!

AMCAS Updates

Mr. Steven Fitzpatrick, AAMC, answered questions at the AMSA ARC conference in Sacramento on September 22nd.

· The cost is $160 for the first school and $30/school thereafter
· Courses are to be classified based on the primary content e.g. is a physiological psychology class is mostly psychology content, then it is classified with psychology; if it is primarily physiology, it is classified with biology
· You can only select ONE state of residence for the Texas and AMCAS application services
· How do schools know to send secondaries to some applicants if the AMCAS has not even been verified? Some schools request "preliminary data" including addresses of those applying to them. Most schools, however, wait to get GPA and MCAT data prior to sending out secondary applications
· It is fine to put in progress classes into the AMCAS, even if they turn out to be incorrect
· AMCAS releases the list of all schools where you are accepted late in the process to all the allopathic medical schools

Panel Recommends Health Care Guarantee

By Kevin Freking
WASHINGTON (AP) - So what do Americans want when it comes to health care? Two things, according to a citizens group created by Congress: protection for all from high medical expenses and guaranteed coverage for specific checkups and treatments.

PCAT Changes to take affect June 2007
Harcourt Assessment will introduce several changes to the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) beginning with the June 2007 exam administration. The AACP PCAT Advisory Panel and Harcourt Assessment agreed to revise the proportions of test items per content objective, define the Writing section as Problem Solving, add an experimental Writing section, and report separate Writing scores for Conventions of Language and Problem Solving skills. These changes will extend the registrants' overall testing time by five minutes for a total of 240 minutes ( 4 hours), plus rest breaks. For more information on the PCAT. http://www.pcatweb.info

    L I N K S :

    MCAT Information

    Computer-Based MCAT released exams

    DAT Practice Test Information

    Find this and other useful links on Lewisassoc.com's Links Page.

    a l u m n i   u p d a t e s
    On July 22, 2006 Alumni from San Diego State Pre-health. CUHRE, HCOP and Lewis Associates Advisees gathered to celebrate 21 years of advising by Dr. Lewis. Pictures can be viewed here.

    d a t e s   &   r e m i n d e r s

    Change of Mailing Address
    Through the end of 2006, our Lewis Associates mailing address will be our office address: 2727 Camino del Rio South, Suite 156, San Diego, CA 92108.

    Reminder that the Class of 2007 and 2008. . . timeliness is next to Godliness. . . and that "numbers count!"

    Here is a rather daunting note from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 8-06:
    "Entering Class of 2006: On August 7th we matriculated the entering class of 2006. Here is a brief profile of the class:
    A. It is 204 strong, 50% are women and 50% are men.
    B. 28 represent groups who are underrepresented in medical education.
    C. It has an average GPA of 3.72 & scored a 10 in each section of the MCAT.
    D. They come from 28 different states and a number of foreign countries.
    E. They studied at 94 different college/universities.

    Entering Class of 2007: We have now begun the review process for the entering class of 2007. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis by date of completion. Those favorably reviewed are moved to a smaller pool of candidates who potentially will be invited to interview with us. Unfortunately, our interview schedule will not accommodate all who are favorably reviewed. So, selection of those to receive invitations is done by completion date and strength of credentials. You can see that date of completion dictates not only the review, but if and when an invitation to interview will be forwarded. Timely applications are encouraged."

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

    Dr. Adrian Miranda "Former illegal immigrant. . . now on medical school faculty"
    Adrian Miranda

I grew up in Tijuana, Mexico, and commuted daily to schools in San Diego. Since grade school, my day started very early in the morning because crossing the international border often took up to 3 hours. I vividly remember doing my homework in the back of my mother’s car as smoke drifted from the overheated engine. I commuted across the border every day for 15 years. It wasn’t until 2 years after graduating from high school that I legalized my status as a “resident alien” and was allowed to matriculate into San Diego State University.

The summer prior to starting at SDSU my father died of a myocardial infarction one year after suffering a stroke that left him paralyzed and non-verbal. It was also during this time that I was accepted into the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) that was in its first year of funding at SDSU. Through seminars and retreats, I became exposed to many different career opportunities in healthcare, and I was also exposed to very successful scientists and clinicians who had overcome major obstacles along their path. Just as important, I was surrounded by students from underrepresented groups who had similar goals and aspirations.

I started my first year at SDSU as a pre-vet student. My dream of becoming an equine veterinarian was put on hold after I completed a summer externship with a local veterinarian in San Diego. I realized I was just a bit intimidated by the large species and that babies would be much more fun to take care of. As Director of the HCOP program, Dr. Cynthia Lewis was extremely supportive of my new career path and paved the way for me. Early on, she was more than just a pre-med advisor; she became a friend who was truly and unconditionally interested in my success. Carefully planned coursework, MCAT preparation, mock interviews and personal mentorship put me in a position to maximize my probability of acceptance into medical school. However, the most important factor in my success was that I actually started believing in my abilities.

I started medical school in 1994 at Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) in Milwaukee. I, then, went on to complete pediatric residency followed by a 3-year fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. During my first year of clinical training as a gastroenterology fellow, my interest in children with functional abdominal pain was fueled by clinical exposure to numerous patients with functional bowel disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and functional abdominal pain since it is one of the most common reasons for referrals to pediatric gastroenterologists. Over the course of my fellowship I developed an intense interest in functional gastrointestinal disorders and recognized that the underlying patho-physiology of these disorders was inadequately understood.

During my time in the laboratory, I became engrossed in the work and began to question my long-term career directions. By the end of my first year in the laboratory, my personal career goals had evolved such that I developed a desire for a career as a clinician scientist with a focus in the basic mechanisms of visceral pain. I joined the faculty at MCW in July 2004 as a clinical scientist. Balancing a general pediatric gastroenterology practice with laboratory work and family life is challenging, but also very rewarding. In just three years of laboratory work I authored 6 scientific abstracts along with 4 manuscripts, 2 book chapters and 2 review articles. One of my abstracts earned me a “Young Investigator Award” at the World Congress of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition held in Paris, France in 2004. Most recently, I have received the 2005 Regal Award for excellence in GI and Liver research in San Francisco, California. Publishing original manuscripts, review articles and book chapters during the past 3 years has become part of my academic life. In addition, our gastroenterology clinic at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin continues to be a national referral for children with functional gastrointestinal disorders.

My protected time allows me to focus in the laboratory and to mentor young students interested in research and medicine. I realize now that part of my early struggles was related to lack of confidence in my abilities and what I thought I could accomplish. Never did I dream that as an illegal immigrant I could compete academically, much less attend medical school in the United States. I could never, however, have done it alone.

Throughout my life, I have been blessed with great mentors who have helped guide me and support me throughout difficult times. One such individual is Dr. Lewis whose advice and mentoring has been instrumental in my success. Perhaps one of her most important contributions to my career was instilling in me a sense of responsibility to mentor young students who dream of practicing medicine. I feel a great sense of accomplishment seeing young students mature and succeed in their careers. I am very proud of the fact that in the past 3 years, all 3 students from our laboratory have been accepted to medical schools across the country--a trend I hope to continue.

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

This is secondary application season for the Class of 2007. One of the most common questions asked on those applications is, "Why are you applying to 'our' school"?

Of course, this is an important question, and one which you had better take seriously.

I tell my Advisees that writing secondaries and interviewing are like dating. This is a mutual wooing exercise. Schools want to know that you care about and like them, just as they care about and like you! So, if you do NOT do your homework to understand their specific programs, curriculum, position in their community, facilities, faculty, opportunities and OF COURSE, their mission statement, then you are not wooing them!

So, #1. . . do your homework. Don't just read their website, call the school to ask to speak with a first- or second- year student about the personality of the school, or speak with a local alumnus, or visit the school if it is close.

#2. . . Discuss the specific items that match your specific interests e.g. if the school has a community outreach and education/public health program, like George Washington University School of Medicine's ISCOPES program, and YOU have a track record doing community health work, especially with the disadvantaged and uninsured, TALK about their program and how you will fit in it! However, if you DON'T have a track record in this area, all you can say is that it interests you and WHY (WHY is always the BIG deal!). . . and this is not as powerful as your personal track record.

#3. . . Try to understand their mission statement. Many are bland and unhelpful. . . like "we train the best, most effective doctors. . . ". . . but some are very specific like Stanford's:
"Stanford is committed to be a premier research-intensive medical school that improves health through leadership, collaborative discoveries, and innovation in patient care, education and research. We will identify, accept and recruit the future leaders of medicine. In particular, we seek individuals whose leadership will result in significant advances in the ability to care for patients. Whether through careers in basic biomedical research, in clinical research, in health policy research, or in community and/or international service based on original scholarship, Stanford's medical students will contribute uniquely and importantly."

Read between the lines if you can.

The key is to be specific, tie the school's mission and personality to your own needs and wants,. . . and be honest about it.

Here is the first draft by someone for New Jersey Medical School:

Q: Please describe the specific and/or unique reasons you have applied to NJMS.

A: The first reason is more small group sessions than large lecture environment. I attended community college for my freshmen and sophomore year before I transferred to UC Berkeley. In community college, the class size was small and students could get individual attention from the professor. In addition, the discussion in small size class was more comfortable for me.

The second reason is 2-year doctoring course, the Physician’s Core. Through the course, I would be able to learn the real medical practice and have the opportunity to work with a physician-mentor.

The third reason is that your program has curriculum with electives. I would be able to choose courses I am interested in. While learning science courses, I can improve my inner quality through elective classes.

The fourth reason is summer student research program. I am interested in medical research. I would really enjoy participating in the current research.

The fifth factor is that your program offers opportunity to work with students with different background to improve community condition by providing health education. I would like to help improve community health through health education.

This person started with some good ideas. . . but did not develop them.

Here are my comments for this first draft noted in
gold. A / indicates deletion. Comments are in parentheses:
I like your small group sessions rather than large lecture environment. I attended community college / my freshmen and sophomore years before I transferred to UC Berkeley. In community college, the class size was small and students could get individual attention from the professor AND the discussion / was more comfortable for me. I also value your 2-year doctoring course, the Physician’s Core. In this course, I will learn clinical practice and have the opportunity to work with a physician-mentor. I also value that your electives include (NAME THEM) which really interests me (BECAUSE??? BE SPECIFIC..ALL SCHOOLS HAVE ELECTIVES!!). Your summer / research program interests me because I wish to do clinical (?) research (IN ?? WHAT AREA? THEY ARE COMMUNITY MEDICINE AND PUBLIC HEALTH FOCUSED. . . TOWARD DISAVANTAGED COMMUNITIES. . . EXPLAIN!!) Also, you/ offer/ opportunities to work with diverse students / to improve local community conditions by providing health education(. . . HAVE YOU DONE THIS BEFORE? EXPLAIN WORK WITH THE KOREAN COMMUNITY CENTER. . .ANY PEER HEALTH EDUCATION DONE ALSO? ALWAYS TIE TO YOUR PERSONAL TRACK RECORD! )

So. . . although the submitted essay is not provided here, this example should illustrate how to think and structure your respnse to this question.

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