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Application Cycles: 6/4/2008
Demographics: Female, East Asian
Home State: California
Last Activity Date: 3/19/2013
SDN Handle: Shemarty

Undergraduate College: Stanford University
Undergraduate Area of Study: Biological/Life Sciences

MCAT: BS 15, PS 14, VR 9, R
Overall GPA: 3.78
Science GPA: 3.80

Brief Profile:
Leave me a message if you visit my MDApps profile! :)

My "blog" contains advice for applicants & my overall application timeline. Check it out!


I completed my undergrad requirements in 3 years and 1 quarter, so I spent my last 2 quarters on research, teaching, volunteering, etc, instead of enrolling in more classes. I graduated in June 2008 and took one 'year off' while applying.



The duration of some activities was shorter on my AMCAS, since I continued some activities during my year off.

MCAT instructor/tutor for The Princeton Review - 1 yr

Outcomes research in vascular and cardiothoracic surgery - 2 yrs

TA for vascular surgery elective for MS1/MS2's - 1.5 yrs

Medical education research resulting from above TA-ship - 1.5 yrs

TA, head TA & administrative coordinator for undergrad biology lab - 3 yrs

Shadowing program coordinator - 1.5 yrs

Premedical association - VP 1 yr, president 1 yr

Volunteer & steering committee member at free clinic - 2 yrs

Misc. volunteering at elementary schools - 1.5 yrs

Neurobiology research - 2 yrs, undergrad honors thesis

Study abroad in Australia - 1 quarter junior year

Shadowing various physicians - ~500 hrs total

Research lab scut monkey (summer job after freshman year)



Our premed advisers do not write committee letters. We had a career center service which scanned the LORs and mail them as a packet. I wanted to include a LOR from each major EC that I held a leadership role in. I called schools' offices and was told that I could exceed the maximum if the letters all arrived in one packet, which they did. It was overkill in retrospect, but I felt that all my letters were strong and spoke to a different aspect of my application.

I included some detail about each LOR so you can see which activities I chose to back up with a LOR and how I 'fulfilled' my science and non-science letter requirements.

1. Surgical oncologist I shadowed for ~275 hrs. He focused on my performance in a clinical setting compared to the other med students / residents he works with. I wrote about this EC in my PS.

2. Vascular surgeon I shadowed for ~50 hrs. Took his vascular surgery elective and subsequently TA'd the class for 1.5 yrs. He became my PI - conducted surgical education research & outcomes research. He focused on my leadership, TA-ship, and research. I wrote about this EC in my PS.

3. Faculty adviser for premed shadowing program I coordinated. He focused on my role in rebuilding this program from scratch. I wrote about this EC in my PS.

4. Prof from my Writing & Rhetoric course Sophomore year. My project was about medical residency. She focused on my written and oral communication skills and collaboration with my classmates. I didn't know her as well as my other LOR-writers, but this was my 'non-science professor letter.'

5. Attending ophthalmologist at the free clinic where I volunteered several weekends per month. He wrote about my clinical skills, interaction with patients, and leadership roles at the clinic. I wrote about this EC in my PS.

6. PI from my undergrad honors thesis research. Worked in his lab for 2 yrs and took an upper-div class with him. He probably focused on my research rather than my performance in his class. Nonetheless, this was one of my 'science professor letters.'

7. Surgical fellow I met while shadowing and subsequently worked on a few cardiac surgery outcomes research projects with. I knew him better than the actual PI, so I asked him to write the letter.

8. Course director for undergraduate biology lab. Took the class as a sophomore, subsequently TA'd it for 3 years, became a head TA, and administrative coordinator for the course. She probably focused on my leadership, teamwork, and commitment to education rather than my performance as a student. Nonetheless, this was my other 'science professor letter.'



I took the MCAT the summer after my junior year. I studied from 6/26 - 9/6 (about 10 weeks) for a 9/7 test date. I did research and shadowed during the day, and studied most nights/weekends. I used The Princeton Review's books, which I borrowed from a friend who'd taken the course. I took all the full length online practice tests.

AMCAS submitted: 6/4/2008

Application Complete, Rejected

University of Pennsylvania - "Never gave me a chance, oh well. Maybe I annoyed them with my "I'm in the area; when might I hear ba..."

Attended Interview, Rejected

Harvard University - "The students I met were friendly and nice. Dorms for MS1s are conveniently located across the street..."
Duke University - "Decided to apply because I was intrigued by the condensed curriculum and research year. Plus, they h..."

Attended Interview, Withdrew

Baylor College - "I wasn't going to apply here because I had no ties to Texas. I wasn't seriously considering moving t..."

Attended Interview, Waitlisted, Withdrew

Columbia University - "I was hesitant to apply because NYC is such a metropolitan place, and I'm used to the suburbs. Also,..."
Johns Hopkins University - "I was hesitant to apply because I had heard rumors about how competitive and cut-throat it was. Most..."
Stanford University - "There will always be a special place in my heart for Stanford because I went to undergrad here. I wa..."
Vanderbilt University - "I applied because they interview early, begin accepting in Oct, have great merit scholarships, and ..."


Yale University - "The Yale System makes Yale students really really happy. They love their school and it shows. They h..."
Washington University in St. Louis - "Applied because they have good merit scholarships, a strong reputation, and an easy secondary. Stude..."
University of Michigan - "I applied at the recommendation of my premed advisors, because Michigan interviews early and begins ..."
University of California, San Francisco - "Matriculating here!!! I'm from the SF Bay Area, so UCSF is close to friends and family. In-state..."
University of California, San Diego - "It was risky, but I treated UCSD as a "safety school" b/c they interviewed early and began accepting..."
University of California, Los Angeles - "Westwood's a nice area. Student housing for the first year is convenient. Students seemed really nic..."

Summary of Application Experience

Total Costs:
$210: MCAT registration fee
$530: AMCAS fees
$1015: Secondary fees
$1795: Interview costs
$400: Revisit weekend costs
Total: $3950


Went to second look at UCSD, UCLA (unofficially), Yale and UCSF.
Matriculating at UCSF!