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Lewis Associates e-Newsletter
Volume 6 Issue 11
November 2007

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

What's inside:

Welcome to Lewis Associates!

Big news! Our move into our permanent Templeton, California office will take place during the last 2 weeks in November, 2007!  Our email and phone system should be working throughout the move, but Dr. Lewis will be physically moving the office and her residence those 2 weeks and not taking phone or in person appointments. As of today, the driveway is one-third poured.  Our tentative moving date is now November 17, 2007.  We will be establishing all our new communication lines, packing, moving and unpacking and cleaning during this period.  Hopefully, Meagan will only be away from the phones for only a couple of days.  So, Advisees, plan accordingly please!

Future Site of Lewis Associates

The fall has been exceedingly busy, with all of the application cycle "stuff to do"; essays, tests, letters of recommendation, etc. Contact us to find out how we can support YOUR application or help you plan for a future application to be successful.


Permanent Mailing Address 1885 Laguna del Campo, Templeton, CA 93465
Phone 805-226-9669 Fax 805 226-9227

Lewis Associates now absorbs Long Distance Charges
All appointments/phone conferences are made from our office to you. Meagan, our Administrative Assistant, calls YOU at your appointment time and transfers you to Dr. Lewis.

Faxing documents to Dr. Lewis, Lewis Associates 805-226-9227
When faxing documents during office hours 8am to 4pm, (PST), you must first call the office 805-227-9669 so the fax can be connected. During non-office hours, the fax is automatically connected.

Overnight/Express Mail Packages
At this time Lewis Associates is only able to receive expedited mail from the United States Post Office, no special Ground Services like UPS/FEDEX/DHL

When sending an expedited package, please use usps.com. Click on mailing tools, then mailing products & services. The standard overnight pricing begins at $14.40. Please remember to give this information to your Letter of Recommendation writers!

Changes in Services
Dr. Lewis has been providing high-quality services for applicants and prospective applicants for 22 years. In the coming months, there will be a few changes that potential advisees should be aware of

  • Lewis Associates' New Price Lists
  • After September 1, 2008, Year-Long Packages will be discontinued for new Advisees. Applicants will still be able to choose from our highly effective Assessment, Essay, Hourly, and Interview Packages.
  • Current Advisees will be able to continue working with Dr. Lewis until Matriculation.

Where are you in your journey to a health profession?

In high school? (yes, we advise high school students, particularly, those interested in BA-MD programs)

Just starting college?
This is a scary time.  Everything is new…and how do I meet all those new expectations?

Moving into your difficult upper division sciences as a junior? Possibly, the "dreaded organic chemistry"…

Re-entering as an "older" non-traditional student? Re-establishing academic discipline…

We help prepare those of you submitting applications for medical and dental residency programs, too!

Whatever niche you fit, we advise students just like you.

Class of 2008:
If you haven't yet gotten all of your letters of recommendation/evaluation to your letter service or written your application personal statement, then you are way...BEHIND!

Are you REALLY ready to apply this year?
How do you know?
Use our Personal Assessment--and you will be given your personal strategy and path to your future!

Many whom I advise may not yet be ready and need to develop some aspect of their background to become competitive. Best to apply when you are ready, be competitive, and do it ONLY ONCE!

Let's work together to make that one-time application successful…earlier is better so we can develop your strategy and address all those difficult problems…months or years prior to application. Why not set yourself up for success, rather than toy with the proposition of failure?

Ariel Chairez, Scholarship Awardee, University of Wisconsin Medical School Class 2004
2 May 2004
Dr. Lewis, I would like to thank you for all of your help. I have decided to attend the
University of Wisconsin at Madison. I have withdrawn my applications to the other medical schools.  I will be taking anatomy in the summer to lessen my course load for the
first semester. Without your guidance, I would not have been accepted into medical school this year. Though at times I questioned your instructions, the advice you have given me Has definitely worked out for the best.

I am extremely happy to have been accepted to one the top medical schools in
the country, and on top of that to have received a scholarship of $130,000. For any student who questions the value of your services, I can say that they have saved me $130,000 in tuition! If I can help you in any way in the future, I would be more than happy to do so. I would also like to thank Alice for always being so exceptionally friendly and helpful.
Thank you, Ariel Chairez

Thanks from an Ex-Prosecuting Attorney, now medical student
John was an Assistant State's Attorney (prosecutor) in Chicago, Illinois, when he contacted me in 2004. Now in his 4th year of medical school, he says: "I am really enjoying med school, and I am thankful to Dr. Lewis for her help. Her methodical, disciplined approach to the med school application process, as well as her insight into the transition to med school were right on target."

John Fiszer, University Of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine

Thanks from Lily Marouf, entering into Sackler University Medical school in Tel Aviv Fall 2007: 
"Dear Dr. Lewis, Thank you for all of your help the past year.  It was one of the most challenging years of my life, and I could not have been successful without you. I appreciate all of your support and patience, and look forward to sharing many memories with you when I come back to the States.  Love, Lily"

What's New?

Track Record
CLASS OF 2007... 94% acceptance to medical, dental and MS/MPH programs, one Class of 2007 applicant now accepted into 2008 class and all applicants accepted into residency programs of their choice.

Be Competitive
In order to be a competitive Class of 2008, 2009, or 2010 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. If you use advising with Dr. Lewis, you will find that we begin preparation early in the year BEFORE submission of your application!

EARLY is always better, removes much pressure, and allows time to solve unforeseen problems.

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 doing your Personal Assessment on our website, then phone or email us to get started! We spend on average 7 hours developing 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 one 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 almost 800 alumni now practicing in medicine the last 22 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. Call 805-226-9669 and ask to set up your first appointment.


Fires in Southern California.
San Diego County lost $1 Billion and several lives; Orange and Los Angeles Counties still burning also as we go to press. Schools and colleges closed in San Diego and other cities.  At least a few of my Advisees evacuated their homes and many more volunteered at the San Diego Qualcomm Stadium.  One of my advisees was speaking to me on her cell phone while recruiting refugees to stress reduction massages and acupuncture (I found this out only after I asked what she was doing!). 

Please re-read the Success Story of Ariel Chairez, July 2004. Ariel's family lost their farm and all possessions in the devastating California fires in fall 2003. I (Dr. Lewis) even had to be evacuated from my home at that time. I tried to provide Ariel moral support and Mentoring during that very difficult time when he was the anchor for his parents to rebound and rebuild. He was successful in his application process even as he was helping his parents deal with a loss of their farm!

From: Robert Metzger
Subject: Re: San Diego County Fires 4th day
Sunday, October 28
Hi all,
We did drive up to see Marco, Linda and the grandkids yesterday. Interstate 15 had been closed and I had expected to see total devastation in areas where the fire had been. In fact, we smelled the burned trees about 20 miles from getting to I-15, and we did see a number of burned areas, in many cases on both sides of the highway. We could see where the fire roared down to lay waste to many homes along the Del Dios highway along Lake Hodges, but where I-15 is at the lake, we saw burned ground and standing houses, many with scorched earth right up to their foundations. Let's give a lot of credit to our firemen; that was unbelievable. I had expected the town of Rainbow along I-15 to be razed to the ground, but most of the buildings were standing, some under the same circumstances. In fact, they stopped the fire from moving up the canyon, saving houses and some agricultural industries. The heavy destruction must have been on the other side of a hill. But the pervasive smell of burned wood was awful and there was plenty of smoke from 4 fires still only 25-30% controlled. I ended up with incredible new respect for our firefighters. Today, the television showed the burned down home of one of the firemen (Poway) who had been fighting a different blaze. I think I can predict that enough donations from San Diegans will come in that his house will be completely rebuilt.

The spirit among those who lost their homes is incredible. I saw signs on television that people from destroyed home put up. One said: "Fire Sale. Everything must go". Another said: "At least we got rid of our termite problem".

We found Marco, Linda and the kids fine and in good spirits. They are up in an enclave on a hill above Riverside. As we approached, we could look down into the valley in which it and San Bernardino lie and see that the valley was filled with a thick, yellowish smoke coming from the Lake Arrowhead fire.

And then there is FEMA. They called two press conferences yesterday, giving reporters 15 minutes notice for one and 30 minutes notice for the other. Few if any reporters got there, so FEMA had its employees ask questions. One of them was: "What would you say the greatest success of FEMA has been in this event?" and the spokesperson modestly answered. This was given to the reporters for our TV stations. The result, I think, did not turn out quite the way they expected and, in fact, is yet another black eye for FEMA. Still, things are better than they were with Katrina although I hear that there is a great deal of the State and FEMA trying to get the other to handle certain cases. Meanwhile, Schwartzenegger is still here, visiting refugee centers. Today, a lot of firemen were given free tickets to the Charger game, firemen led the team in, and the omnipresent Schwartzenegger was there saying what a good thing it was to have a game in a stadium that 2 days before was an evacuation center. He said that it would make all San Diegans feel good. Since San Diego won, he was right (and, incidentally, I agree with him). Incidentally, the people going to the game donated a mountain of money to the agencies directly in charge of the shelters and the Spanos family, owners of the Chargers, donated a million dollars.

640,000 people were evacuated and something like 19,000 still haven't been given the ok to go back. How did San Diego manage to get all those people out of harms way, losing only 3 civilians in the process (lots of injured firemen, unfortunately, but none dead)? The city and county governments decided to use tax money (gasp!) to set up the equipment to have a reverse 911 system. By this, all people in an area received calls from the emergency center telling them to prepare to leave or to leave period. That is, of course, the opposite of us calling 911 in an emergency to get help. Amusingly, one person is reported to have sought assistance using the reverse 911 system by dialing 119. Strangely, this did not work.

San Diego State educated almost all of the city and county leaders plus a few congresspeople (note the political correctness) and, it might be noted for those who are afraid we soft-brained, liberal, hedonistic professors are going to brainwash all the students into leftist anarchists, I will point out that everyone of these leaders is, at least by California standards, conservative. I might also mention that the San Diego State state of the art Imaging Laboratory, which takes satellite data and creates detailed pictures, was an important part in fighting the fires. Our guys (professors {gasp!} identified where fire hot spots were and sent that information to the people assigning firemen and equipment. The word is that this was very effective. The Department of Homeland Security uses our facilities as well and occasionally we give courses for them and vice versa. So those who think all universities provided only useless fluff (ignoring all the doctors, nurses, criminologists, armed forces officers, etc. etc. that we produce), contemplate that (if they are capable of thought!)

The biggest of the fires, the Witch Creek fire, is 90% contained and the Rice fire at Fallbrook is, I think 100% contained...There are still fires burning with less than 50% control on Palomar Mountain and I understand that more evacuations are in progress. More people to thank: saw firemen from North Las Vegas, Nevada today. Note that the West holds together.

The residents are back in Ramona but they still have no water. The water system now has electricity restored but since the pipes were emptied, the water has to be tested for safety for several days. One of the relief agencies is bringing in bottled water. We had a Santa Ana today and got a good whiff of the smell of burned wood, a little scary, in fact, because we thought another fire might be starting nearby. Fortunately, it wasn't so and the firemen were apparently not hampered in their efforts to bring these fires under control. The weather is due to be cooler with humidity, maybe even drizzle, tomorrow but there is the threat of another Santa Ana coming. That is bad; with bad luck we could go through all of this all over again. Best wishes Bob

Lawmakers at SCHIP impasse while funding ends in mid-November
Democrats pledged to introduce a slightly modified children's health bill quickly in an attempt to achieve a veto-proof majority.

Record number vied for 2007-08 medical school slots
Among allopathic applicants, MCAT scores were better than ever before, with a mean of 28 points.

Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara

I just returned from 5 days visiting the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara. I have 2 students currently enrolled and another entering in 1/08.  The UAG starts clinical experience in the first term in the neighborhood clinicas (you need to speak Spanish to converse with patients!). You learn history taking and physical exams "early".  Your basic science classes, however, are in English.

Those attending liked the idea of being in Mexico rather than another site farther from "home".  Housing prices are inexpensive, American shopping and entertainment are available, computer and Spanish language courses are helpful, the food, supportive school atmosphere and medical care are positive.  One of my current students liked in particular the idea that alternative medical approaches are integrated into the clinicas.  Peers in the NASA (North American Student Association) are collaborative. All in all, a good pick for many students. 

January 2008 MCAT registration
All seats will open at once on October 30, 2007 for the January 2008 MCAT - registration will not be staggered by region for the opening of the January exam dates.  The link to the registration system is currently available via the 2007 MCAT Essentials still on the Web.  We made the link available within the 2008 Essentials and directly on the MCAT web page.  Examinees can register for their user names and passwords, from any of these sources and then begin filling out their biographic information if they wish to do so prior to the opening of registration next week.  The 2008 Essentials are now available.


AMA Directory

The American Medical Association (AMA) has a directory that covers the majority of what are considered "allied health" professions with online descriptions of each profession, from the annual directory.

Stress Relief
Everyone gets stressed out now and again, and it is important to know the best way of dealing with it! This link provides brief tips and tricks on how to mange stress. Enjoy.

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

alumni updates

Janelle Pieros
MSY A.T. Still at Mesa Arizona (see 9/07 Success Story)

October 8, 2007

Dear Dr. Lewis,
I would like to give you an update on my journey into medical school.  But first I would like to thank you for your help in getting me where I am today.  On August 2, 2007 I received my white coat from Andrew Taylor Still University (ATSU) - School of Osteopathic Medicine in Mesa, Arizona. 

I can’t believe how time has flown by.  I’ve already gone through my first round of exams in the Principles of Healthcare module; what a wake-up call.  In the first month, it was a struggle to get use to reviewing and studying every day, especially since I haven’t taken a heavy course load in over four years.  However, my time spent teaching students proper study skills and time management has helped me figure out which skills work best for me.   I’m also very good at keeping a balance between learning and life—making sure I exercise my body, mind and spirit.

I am enjoying the challenge of the new contextual learning curriculum.  It integrates systems and problem-based learning modules with a focus on medical presenting schemes.  We mostly work in small groups using a Simulation man.  The hands-on experience is great!  Looking at my first cadaver in anatomy lab was mind-boggling.  I first noticed the man’s clear facial features and could only think about what kind of life this man lived.  Already, I have realized the need to focus on patient history and the examination of anatomy and physiology in treating my patients as a whole.

I am also realizing my new strengths, such as my palpations and recognizing somatic dysfunction during Osteopathic Principles and Practices.  The facilitators are very supportive and open to our suggestion for improving this innovative program. 

It has been a challenging, a little stressful, but great start to my journey into medical school.  Thanks again for your support.

Janelle Pieros


Janelle Pieros
Janelle Pieros

Zaihleen Keller
MSY1 at Rosalind Franklin Medical School



Zaihleen Keller

Zaihleen Keller

Dr. Denise Zendejas
DDS general dentist practicing in San Diego, CA



Denise Zendejas

Dr. Denise Zendejas

Watch for the Success Stories coming for these alumni!

success stories

The Power of 3: Fight, Believe, Walk…don’t run
By Michelle Garrido

Michelle Garrido

Note by Dr. Lewis 10/28/07
Michelle is a second generation Cuban-American born and raised in the Los Angeles area of California. Michelle contacted me in 2004 after 2 attempts at applying for medical school. We worked diligently on MCAT preparation and all the application process (essays, new letters of recommendation after adding more experiences, etc.) trying to balance full-time high school teaching and completing a teaching credential at the same time. This was tough! And, it took longer than Michelle originally thought it might. But, her positive outcome is the most important point! After doing well in the University of Illinois at Chicago program for a year, she was accepted into their medical school Class of 2007. 

Last March, I had the opportunity to visit Michelle during a lovely dinner out while I was in Chicago for a week of meetings.  We will be keeping in touch!

Michelle's story:
"Having applied 3 times to medical school is a testament to my fighting skills.  I never gave up, despite these setbacks.  There had to be a reason for these struggles, and I was determined to understand them.  What would I do if I didn’t go to medical school?  This was the inevitable question I did not want to answer, but I had no choice.  I explored other options like teaching and research and knew I needed intellectual stimulation in whatever I chose.  I did research, earning a master’s degree in Biology.  I taught high school for 3 years after taking 2 years to earn my California secondary teaching credential.  I knew there was a purpose for my struggles, and accepting this alternative teaching career was going to make me a better doctor. Being told at age 21 that attaining my dream of practicing medicine was impossible only added fuel to the existing fire within me.  I fought like a champion, and the first two times was knocked out.  Giving up was never even an option.  So, I just got back up, regardless of the ego bruises. 

The MCAT was one of those elusive battles that seemingly got the best of me.  I studied for months, took it 3 times, and yet did not do well.  I was working full-time, didn't prepare effectively at any time, possibly not entirely focused on MCAT, and most importantly, I doubted myself.  I questioned if I could ever demonstrate my academic potential.

Then…I started to believe in myself. Having a strong support network of mentors and family consistently encouraged me.  They believed in me, but I did not believe in myself.  Once I realized this, I changed my outlook; my perception of reality.  I knew I was capable.  I just needed to redirect my energy, and once I did, another battle would be won! 

Under the disciplined guidance of Dr. Lewis, I applied a third time to medical schools.  This time, UIC believed in me, and offered me a position in their post-bac program, which was a great opportunity for me, and was where I finally began to believe in myself, gaining more confidence and independence.  Moving away from my comfort zone of home to Chicago was the first step in this transformation.  I was able to prepare intensely for the MCAT without the distractions of work and family.  I studied daily and practiced problems religiously.  Eventually miracles do occur and through persistence and faith in myself success blossoms.  I believe in walking towards one’s destination, with one foot leading the other.  I have learned through my 8 year struggle what I can do, and why this is my purpose.  It just feels right.  I still struggle and question my abilities at times, but I have learned to take deep breaths, walk rather than run, and embrace life’s struggles.  I remind myself of my journey when studying for medical school exams, so I can focus, energize and smile, knowing I have made it this far, and will continue walking my path to becoming a doctor, and making dreams a reality!  Cheers!"

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

question of the month

by Dr. Cynthia Lewis, PhD
How old is "too old" to apply to medical school?
Dr. Joseph DeLeeuw, age 89
Began medical school when he was 60..."enjoyed a long medical career,  opened a clinic catering to impoverished children in Florida, worked 7 days a week, answered his own phone, and saw patients without appointments.  His son remembered his father asking him, 'You want to get repeat customers?  One, don't make them wait.  Two, remember their names.  Three, give them more than they expected.  Four, charge less than anyone else.' He created an endowed scholarship at his alma mater, helping students with financial need pay for their educations."

What do I do about "low" MCAT scores?
This is a very complex issue that requires personal assessment! Many factors could have contributed to this outcome:

   1. Unrealistic about the quantity and quality of preparation.
   2. Not taking certain components of the exam seriously, e.g. the "essays"
   3. Having significant test anxiety that paralyzes
   4. Having an undiagnosed/diagnosed learning disability, ADHD or other disability
   5. Lack of time management, prioritization, study skills
   6. Test site problems

So, we will tackle the second response this month, and then, the others in ensuing months

It is important, perhaps crucial, to take a timed "diagnostic" full length MCAT including 2 essays right before you believe you are actually going to "study for the real test".  This diagnostic test will tell you exactly where your weaknesses lie, especially if you take the free Princeton Review or Kaplan tests, which give you feedback about your weak content and question types. 

Many students realize that they are right-brained (great verbal and communication skills) or left-brained (super analytical and mathematical computation-logic skills) or are reasonably good at both, or are "poor standardized test takers".  Wherever you lie in this continuum, you are bound to have weaknesses "somewhere".  The question is, after you identify them, how do you prepare for them? If they are specific science content, it is obvious that you must review the concepts diligently, and do MANY hours of practice passages with questions, first un-timed, then timed.  It is human to err on the side of studying what you "like" most, like general chemistry, or general biology.  But, of course, you must put MOST of your effort into studying the concepts which are most difficult, like maybe genetics, physics, or organic chemistry….fill in the blank for YOUR weak area.

Or, you may find that you do well in sciences because you just completed the courses, earning A and B+ grades. However, you always were a "slow reader" or never felt you could "write well".  It is easy to convince yourself that VR and the writing sample are "not important".  However, nothing could be further from the truth.   The AAMC regularly publishes studies that indicate that the VR test is a good indicator of how students perform in their clinical years, thus medical schools care about how one does on the VR exam and take low scores to mean that you will NOT do well on the USMLE or COMLEX (Osteopathic) Board exams, thus, why should they accept you?  If your VR scores are borderline, and you have a strong essay score (alphabetic score J-T; O-P being the average), the essay score may mitigate a lower VR score.  You want ALL the help you can get so that folks who evaluate you have clues that you CAN perform well on tests. 

Next week we will give you the strategy, which took about 1.5 for one of our Advisees to increase his VR score significantly.  This will require patience, tenacity and hard work.

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.

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