The whole team at Parros College Planning is very proud when our students gain acceptance at their first choice college. So in the case of Kyle Latack, class of 2011, after working with us to apply to 8-10 schools, we were pleased when he accepted an offer from Michigan State University. It’s even more exciting that since his time with us, Kyle has been through another application process: medical school applications. We reached out to Kyle to talk to him about the application process for undergraduate school and medical school. We found Kyle finishing his first year at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, but Kyle was happy to take a minute to reflect on his undergraduate application process and how Parros College Planning was able to help him end up exactly where he needed to be: on a path to medical school.
As we interviewed Kyle, he was quick to remember his time applying to undergraduate colleges and to discuss what he felt were his strengths in his application.
“Looking back now I believe that my extracurricular involvement during high school helped me stand out and I even mentioned some of those activities while applying to medical schools (eg working at McDonald’s)”.
Kyle felt that there are more people with higher test scores and stronger GPA’s than there are available spots, especially at competitive schools (this is true for medical school as well). Looking back he remarks that, for the most part, you cannot rely on academics to help you stand out. Kyle realized that colleges really want to see what you can achieve outside of the classroom, how you deal with tough situations, and how you reflect on your past experiences. We agree with Kyle, reflecting on your experiences can help make your applications much stronger.
Going off of this, Kyle explains, “One piece of advice I would give is to try to have a story to tell about yourself. This means relating all of your achievements and activities to a few common themes and how those line up with your future goals. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have random things in there that you do for fun, you absolutely should, but if you can tell a nice story that will go a long way. The story you tell is something that can constantly evolve (mine does), but as I mentioned, admission officers want to see how you reflect on your past experiences. Seeing how the things you have accomplished fit into the larger picture is one of the best ways in which you can demonstrate your ability to reflect back.”
From our experience, finding that story to tell can be difficult, and we at Parros can help you elevate your applications to this level and demonstrate exactly who you are to admissions officers. Writing a well crafted essay can prove to be a point of frustration for most students, and sending the right message to schools is extremely important. We have been using our essay strategy when instructing our students for over 12 years to help them tell that story and have found it to be very successful.
When asked if being at the undergraduate institute he was impacted his medical school application success, Kyle replied “Absolutely. MCAT and GPA just help get your foot in the door when applying to medical school. Schools want to see your involvement in extracurriculars like research, leadership and volunteering, especially long-term commitments where your responsibilities grew. MSU provided opportunities in all of those areas including some unique things that helped my application stand out and were mentioned multiple times in my interview. If your goal is medical school, it is important to pick a place that will not only prepare you academically, but allow you to be actively involved and support you as you pursue your passions and develop the story you want to tell about yourself. If you go to a place where you are comfortable and you participate in activities you are passionate about and convey that passion in an interview, you will be successful.”
Just like Kyle stated, being at the right undergraduate institute can make all the difference in your success when applying to graduate programs. We want to help you find the perfect school for you to be sure you get the most out of your undergraduate experience and also to put you in the best position if you decide to apply for further education at some point down the road. The summer is a perfect time to start this process--schedule your free consultation with us today to see how we can help you!