DSU’s Future Doctors Apply to Medical School

By DJ McCauley
Staff Photographer

This article was originally published in Issue 9, Fiftieth Year of The Minstrel (February 18, 2016). Click here to view the entire issue.

A trip to Haiti; a CPR class at 11 years old; a genetic bone disorder – these are the reasons that some of DeSales’ best and brightest students are choosing medicine as a career.

Their interests are as diverse as their motivations. For instance, senior pre-med student Ryan Fischer is a resident adviser and Chem Demos member. Class of 2015 alumna Alyssa Brandt loves soccer and volunteer work, with trips to Panama and Zambia planned for this year. A recent interview with Brandt highlighted the role DeSales played in her journey to medical school.

Ryan Fischer (far right) participates in the 2014 Chem Demos. Photo courtesy of DeSales Flickr.
Ryan Fischer (far right) participates in the 2014 Chem Demos. Photo courtesy of DeSales Flickr.

“My education at DeSales revolutionized how I think both spiritually and academically,” said the first-year student at Penn State Hershey Medical College.

Small class sizes, diverse student groups and engaging professors allow DeSales students to become involved in ways that deeply augment medical school applications.

“The classes I took, the sports I played and the friendships I made taught me so much more than the basic sciences. I learned how to be a leader, how to work in a team and how to care for patients in a holistic way,” said Brandt.

As undergraduates, pre-medical students undergo a rigorous course of study to prepare for medical school applications and the dreaded MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). The MCAT serves as a means of equating students from diverse colleges with very different grading systems on the same scale. Fischer and another pre-med student, Nick Noverati, asserted that DeSales’ students are very well-prepared for the MCAT exam via their normal coursework and supplementary study with MCAT prep materials.

Regardless, the application process is rigorous. According to the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges), pre-med students typically apply to 15 different schools, and each initial acceptance garners a secondary application followed by an interview.

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 11.30.07 PMThe interview portion is where a Salesian education comes into play. The deeply involved, multifaceted pre-med students at DeSales have many qualities sought by medical school interview teams.

For example, Fischer used his experience studying abroad in Rome as an important touchstone for his interview. Spending a semester abroad is an opportunity few science majors receive.

Fischer is currently applying to medical school and sees the rigors of the application process as stepping stones. The prospect of four to eight more years of schooling is not daunting.

“It’s an opportunity to immediately apply what I learned. It’s not four more years, it’s two years in the classroom and two years of practice,” Fischer said.

Medical school, then, becomes the culmination of a lifetime of book learning.

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