LVC seniors plan to attend medical school

Photo from The Princeton Review.

By Hannah Shirey ’23, Staff Writer

With graduation quickly approaching, seniors are preparing for their futures. While some seniors are looking for jobs post-graduation, others are continuing their education at graduate school.

A select number of LVC students are hoping to attend medical school post-graduation. Christina Ward and Annette Appiah, senior biology majors, have been undergoing the stress of applying to medical school.

Applying to medical school is a lengthy process and can be very demanding. Among other requirements, students wishing to attend medical school must take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), job shadow physicians, submit letters of evaluation, complete essays and go through multiple rounds of interviews.

“The application process can be stressful, but by seeking out the right help, it’s definitely doable,” Appiah said.

Appiah is planning on attending medical school this fall. She has not yet decided where she will be attending as she is still completing interviews with several schools.

As of now, one of Appiah’s top schools is the Pennsylvania State University. She was accepted to its medical school in January.

“I had always wanted to pursue the medical field because the healthcare I received when I was younger was very limited,” Appiah said. “I wanted to grow up and solve the issues I saw in the medical field during my childhood.”

Appiah’s goal is to become a physician. She is interested in primary care but is very open to exploring other fields as well.

Like Appiah, Ward’s interest in attending medical school is because of her exposure to the medical field at a young age through hospital visits with family members.

“I truly enjoy learning about how our bodies can naturally heal themselves and that I can learn techniques to aid others in improving their health,” Ward said.

Ward also hopes to become a physician, but she would like to specialize as a cardiologist or pediatrician.

She plans on taking a gap year before attending medical school. Ward’s original plan was to participate in medical mission work overseas during her gap year, but the coronavirus pandemic has obliged her to alter her plans.

“I still hope to have the opportunity to participate in mission work and serve either domestically or overseas,” Ward said. “I am also looking to participate in clinical research and continue working as a medical scribe in the emergency department at the Hershey Medical Center.”

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the process of applying to medical school as well.

“Everything occurred much later during my cycle, including the MCAT and the wait for responses from schools,” Appiah said. “However, the deadlines for most schools got pushed back, and schools were more understanding if students did not have all the usual requirements completed early.”

When applying to medical school, applicants’ undergraduate experiences play a significant role in determining who will be granted admission.

Both Appiah and Ward agree that getting their undergraduate degree at LVC helped them prepare for medical school. Through the help of professors and faculty members, both seniors improved upon their skill sets and participated in activities that enhanced their medical school applications.

“The opportunity to join a research group in the science department was helpful for me as I looked for ways to make my application better,” Appiah said. “I got to participate in inorganic chemistry research with Dr. Ghimire, and that helped me boost my medical school application.”

Medical schools are interested in what applicants do outside of the classroom as well.

“I think I have grown professionally and personally through my involvement on campus,” Ward said. “I have developed leadership skills as a member of the field hockey team and communication skills as a Valley Ambassador and Peer Tutor.”

Becoming a physician is no easy task. Appiah and Ward suggest that students looking to apply to medical school start the process early. It can be very overwhelming if you wait until the last minute.

“It is important to be proactive and seek out opportunities rather than wait for them,” Appiah said.

Appiah and Ward look forward to their futures as medical students.