How I Got Accepted to Emory School of Medicine
This is the sixth in a series of blog posts that will feature students telling the story of how they got into medical school. Last time, we heard from Jessica about how she got into UT Southwestern Medical Center. Today, Will shares his story with us, including how he got accepted to the Emory School of Medicine.
Will, tell us more about yourself. What initially attracted you to pursue medicine?
I am from Dunwoody, Georgia (outside Atlanta) and went to Vanderbilt for undergrad. I love to run and go out with friends. My dad is an anesthesiologist, so I was exposed to the field of medicine my whole life. My dad didn't push me to pursue medicine, but I saw how it could be a stable and rewarding profession. Like a lot of people, I saw medicine as a way to combine my intellectual abilities with a desire to help people in a very real way.
In college, I majored in Biology and Art History. The Biology degree helped fulfill a lot of premed requirements, and the Art History was mostly for fun and maybe to stand out from the crowd (plus I got to study in Florence for a summer!). For extracurriculars, I was involved in a fraternity, honor council, tour guides, and a couple volunteer organizations that did teaching and mentoring. I had one summer research experience that resulted in a poster presentation at the end.
Right now, I am finishing my fourth year of medical school and applying to residency for Emergency Medicine.
“In college, I majored in Biology and Art History. The Biology degree helped fulfill a lot of premed requirements, and the Art History was mostly for fun and maybe to stand out from the crowd (plus I got to study in Florence for a summer!).”
When and why did you apply to Emory?
I applied to med school while still in undergrad. Applying straight from undergrad made me a "traditional" applicant, but I think over half of my class at Emory took time before starting med school. I was looking at schools in the Southeast and ended up interviewing at Emory and Medical College of Georgia. I loved Emory because it is a well respected school and in my hometown. Also, Emory was the school my dad went to for med school and the place where my parents met during undergrad.
“Applying straight from undergrad made me a ‘traditional’ applicant, but I think over half of my class took time before starting med school.”
What are three 3 reasons why you think you got accepted?
The first step to getting in has to be strong grades and MCAT score. I had a GPA good enough for magna cum laude at Vanderbilt and an MCAT score right around Emory's average. I struggled a bit with a calculus class freshman year. I ended up retaking the course to replace a C with an A. I'm very glad I did. For MCAT prep, I bought one of the online courses and studied for about a month straight. I know some people try spreading out the studying over a semester or two, but I tried to concentrate it all over the summer when I didn't have other classes.
The second thing that I think helped was demonstrating a passion and interest in humanities that goes beyond the typical pre-med boxes to check. I remember writing my personal essay about running my first marathon with my buddy in college and also about a special connection I had with a high school student that I mentored. Being a doctor is so much more than making a diagnosis or prescribing a treatment. Med schools want to see that you have passion, empathy, and interpersonal skills. Finding a way to show off these traits in the application and interview is important.
The third reason that may have helped me at Emory is a little more unique. My family has very strong personal ties to the university, including three people who have attended Emory med before me. From Emory's perspective, this history may help demonstrate that I am very interested in their program and I understand what the school is all about. Having family in the area and also family who understands medicine ensures that I will be well supported during the stressful times in med school.
“Med schools want to see that you have passion, empathy, and interpersonal skills. Finding a way to show off these traits in the application and interview is important.”
How did you feel after the interview?
I felt great after the interview. The school of medicine building was beautiful, and I was impressed by the Dean of Admissions who rattled off fun facts about each applicant. We took a tour of Grady, the hospital downtown where we do most of our rotations. The student tour guides are always energetic and proud to show off their school. I had a one on one interview with a faculty member and a three on three group interview. I thought the interviews went well, even though the group interview format was a little different. It seems like they want to see if you can "play nice" in a group setting.
How did you feel when you got the acceptance call?
I got a call in late May that I was accepted off the waitlist. I was ecstatic and accepted the offer immediately. I would have been happy at Medical College of Georgia, but Emory was definitely my first choice. About a week or two later, I was meeting my future classmates at the housing weekend. Don't be discouraged if you haven't heard back from schools until into the spring.
How can others imitate your success?
Put the work in to score well enough to make yourself a competitive applicant. Be realistic about where you have the best chance to get in. Consider other career paths in healthcare if you are a less competitive applicant. Stay positive and remember why you want to do this. Keep in touch with mentors and friends who can support you along the way. Write a compelling personal statement that highlights your best qualities so that schools are dying to meet you.
Stay positive and remember why you want to do this. Keep in touch with mentors and friends who can support you along the way.
Will is from Dunwoody, Georgia, and attended Vanderbilt for his undergrad where he studied Biology and Art History. Will is in his fourth year of medical school and is applying for residency in Emergency Medicine. In his free time he enjoys running and in his time at Vanderbilt was part of a fraternity, honor council, was a tour guide, and participated in multiple other capacities as a volunteer.
Check out more of our stories and resources for pre-meds below: