There are several things you need to get into medical school. Anyone who has been or is going through the process can name many of them in their sleep – a high MCAT score, good grades, clinical volunteering, and shadowing, etc. However, there are some intangible, less concrete, factors that can also be important for anyone hoping to get in. One such factor is mentorship. Knowing older individuals who have been through the same process and who can give you relevant advice and support is invaluable for any premed. As we entered college, all three of us relied on the advice of older friends when it came to things like choosing a professor for a class or elective for a major.
This mentorship was incredibly helpful for all three of us. However, as we graduated college and began applying to medical school, we began to find our options for advice limited. The medical school application process can be rather overwhelming, and there were few options for us to seek advice from. We had several older friends who had done the same majors or taken some of the same classes as us, but fewer who had successfully applied to medical school. In addition, those who had already made it to medical school were too busy to reply to our messages. Websites like the premed subreddit of Reddit or Student Doctor Network certainly offered helpful advice but, being anonymous and online, obviously sometimes lacked specific information that would be applicable to our unique situations.
This challenge was most apparent when we reached the interview stage of the application process. The medical school interview is undoubtedly important for how your overall application is considered and we wanted to knock our interviews out of the park. Thus, we thought it might be best to practice with a professional education company like Kaplan or Princeton Review. However, given the already exorbitant cost we had paid in applications, we could not afford the expensive prices ($750 and $300, respectively) of such services. Our college did offer mock interviews for medical school for free through the Career Center. However, it was only open during business hours. We had begun our gap-year, working full time jobs and living hours away from college. It was simply unfeasible to drive back to college for a mock interview. We adjusted to our situation by simply practicing with friends and family. Although we are grateful for their help, there are limitations to how much they could assist us due to their inexperience in the application process, particularly in MMIs and panel interviews.
After going through interview season, we decided that we wanted to address this challenge in receiving mentorship for the medical school application process, particularly for interviews. We created MedPrep, a company devoted to connecting premeds to current medical students, who have successfully been through the process and are passionate about mentoring younger premeds. As of right now, our focus is on interviews. Premed clients can sign up for mock interviews with our medical student contractors. To address the downsides with current options, our mock interviews are priced to be affordable for the majority of premedical students and, for convenience, are performed online through video chatting services, like Skype. We provide options for a wide variety of interview types: student vs. faculty, traditional vs. MMI vs. panel, closed vs open file, etc. We also have created a standardized rubric for the medical students to grade the client’s mock interview performance, allowing for a more quantitative and detailed critique. We hope that our company will be an affordable, convenient, and helpful resource for any premed concerned about their interviews. We hope to eventually expand to providing consulting for other aspects of the application (e.g. the primary application and creating a school list). To that end, we host a blog on our website and Instagram account, both of which include helpful (and free) information on other topics useful to premeds.
If you are interested in our company or want to learn more about us, please feel free to check us out at our website, Instagram, and Facebook.
By: Kunal Debroy, Surya Gourneni, Charith Ratnayake