Summer Opportunities: Medical Shadowing
CollegeAdvisor.com presents its summer opportunity series webinars on Medical Shadowing in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with college students and alumni. Our CollegeAdvisor panelist will share their insider perspectives on specific summer opportunities, how these opportunities impacted their college application, and how these experiences shaped their interests. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2021-04-13 Summer Opportunities Medical Shadowing
Hi everyone. My name is Hannah. Welcome to the college advisor webinar in medical shadowing. To orient everyone with the webinars timing, we’ll start off with a presentation, then answer your questions in the live Q and a on the sidebar. And in the public chat, you can download our slides and you can start submitting questions in the Q and a tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists. Hi everyone. My name is Maria Costa and I’m an alumni from Harvard university. What I, where I studied sociology and public health. I also did three years of pre-med while I was at Harvard and have a lot of experience both in the natural and the social sciences there.
And I’m really excited to be talking to you all today about medical shadowing and volunteer opportunities.
I first wanted to talk about the some opportunities the summer programs analytical showing that I did in high school. So I think something that I was really lucky to have was a nearby clinic in hospital. And so I was able to have a lot of doctors and positions at my disposal to speak, to, to talk about their experiences, but also to.
Shadow them as they did their different duties. So I did over 200 hours of volunteering at Baptist hospital, which is a nearby hospital in Miami, Florida. They’re very generous with just allowing high schoolers to come in and to shadow different physicians to also be able to Give up their time to really just try to orient you to the different departments that are in the hospital.
And so I was able to work with in the telemetry unit delivering meals, delivering different gifts, but also got the opportunity to speak to a lot of the people who were who worked there. I also volunteered at a low income immigrant clinic and that was a really great opportunity where I had Just a lot of people who spoke Spanish instead of English.
And so being bilingual was really helpful there. I helped a lot with the intake of different patients and also just some of the general monitoring. And then I also did a surgery shattering program which is again another really great opportunity for high schoolers at the hospital near me, where I was able to do rounds with different surgeons and then also able to go into.
Operating rooms to actually watch surgeries. So that was really exciting. Where did I find these opportunities? I think the number one was Google. If you look at clinics and hospitals nearby, they usually have programs where high schoolers can come in and just learn a lot from either volunteering or from shadow.
And then just having the proximity to those medical centers, it was really a plus. Just because again, it was really easy for me to get there for me to a lot of times when there’s surgery scheduled, sometimes there’s a change in plans. And so it was really helpful to know that I could always go back home and come back to the centers whenever there was a surgery I could shadow.
And again, a normal day in these programs. So for example The summer volunteering. I was doing a lot of shattering again, the telemetry unit in neuro in maternity. And so again, volunteering sometimes seems you’re just maybe doing paperwork or maybe not really having a lot of experience to exposure to doctors and patients.
But the truth is a lot of times you’re, running around the hospital running errands. And so you get a chance to really meet people from lots of different professions. You can get to talk to people who are not just doctors, but also physician’s assistants, nurses. You get to see how, like the breath of the different types of jobs that you can find in the medical field.
And then when I was doing internal medicine shattering I was seeing patients all day. Also like helping the nurse take vitals. So again, something that’s a little bit different with smaller clinics is that sometimes there’s even more opportunities to get more patient exposure. And then when I was doing the surgery shattering program, it was a full day.
So in the morning we did rounds and we got to see the different patients who had either. We’re about to go into surgery. Or had planned surgery later that week or had just come out. So it was really an opportunity to see the entire process. We grabbed lunch with the different surgeons, so that was really helpful because you get a chance to ask questions about what’s going on why certain surgeries were necessary and just hear more.
The patient file and then we usually had surgeries in the evening. That could be a very simple surgery that was like maybe two to three hours. But the longest surgery I saw was like seven hours. And so it’s really just depending on what you’re comfortable with, but I really encourage yeah.
Having the opportunity to go into an or, and see the different protocols there. And then a big part of why I did these was not just because I was going to college and I needed experiences, but because I think as I was thinking about what I wanted to study in college, what I wanted to do with my life, I just needed to have a better understanding of what that looks.
Apart from the movies or apart from what my own family like told me. So I think when he actually did come to the college application, in retrospect, I realized it really helped to highlight diligence, work ethic and character because high school is hard. You’re dealing with lots of different classes.
You’re dealing with lots of different extracurriculars standardized testing. And so when college admissions officers. You took time to like actually invest in getting to know the career that you’re saying you are so passionate about in your essays or that you’re applying under. It just shows that you did your due diligence that you were able to really time manage a well and be able to take time.
Look into things, not just because it looked good on paper or for a college, but because you actually wanted to know more about the career that you say you’re passionate about. It also helped provide evidence to my mentions of medical school in my essays. So for example, I did apply saying that I was really excited to be a missionary doctor and that I wanted to study medicine and this was my life passion.
And it would have been really difficult for me to say that unless I had said I actually did. Or even though, I don’t know, through my own experience, I was able to shadow a lot of people and could see what their lives were like. I was able to see the drawbacks that were really difficult and say, okay, my desire to be a doctor is more than all of these, like quote-unquote cons.
And so yeah, the pros outweighed the cons. It also showed that again, I took more initiative to learn more about About what I was saying I was going to apply to. And so I think that also shows a little bit of character of if you did this for this for your like career choice, then maybe you also have, it shows that you also are willing to.
Put in more time into the things that you’re thoughtful, that you’re reflective. Again, all character traits that are really good for a student applying to universities. It also helped me get letters of recommendation. So a lot of the connections that I made with physicians and people in the hospital was just really helpful for my recommendations, whether that was for college or for scholarships or anything else that helped in my college application process.
I I was actually in school. I took a lot more like classes than I did shattering. I noticed that it was a little bit hard. So Harvard is actually in Cambridge, which is across the river from Boston. And sometimes it was really hard to balance school and shadowing then. And so I only had a couple opportunities one semester to shadow at Boston children’s.
And during that time I also just got a chance to. I think shadowing in college was important in that I was in a different stage of life. I had already gone to college, which meant I was taking classes that, made me reevaluate whether I wanted to be a physician or not. And so I think shadowing in different stages of your life is just really helpful because different questions pop up about what you want to do and whether you actually want to be a physician or.
And a note about that is also shadowing is actually something that medical schools do look for in students who are applying so shattering during college, once you realize that you really do intend to go onto medical school is really important. I did not end up going to medical school. I made that decision my senior year, but I did all of my pre-medical pre-requisites.
But that is an important point to make And then, yeah, so I think a lot of these programs just helped me to get a more grounded perspective about what being a doctor looks like and make more informed decisions about my career track. And again, in high school that helped reaffirm that my passions were for practicing medicine.
I think in college, I looked a little bit different in that I realized I cared a lot more about the American healthcare system and the policies that go into healthcare. And so it helped gear me more to. I realizing I wanted more of a policy role than a clinician role, but I think in both, it just helped me have a better understanding of what the medical field is.
And then w would these summer programs might look like during the summer because of COVID-19? I think that two things as more people get vaccines, the shouting programs will open up again for students who have been vaccinated. And I think alternatively, something that I’ve seen looking at summer opportunities for different of my advisees and for friends is that there’s a lot of virtual shutting off.
Shadowing opportunities available. And so even if you don’t live near a medical center something that’s not sorry now available to you is that you can actually see physicians, operating live, or you could see there’s also programs where you can like work with physicians and it’s more interactive.
You are following them on their grounds. And so that’s something that maybe wasn’t available before then now is because of COVID nights.
And then what is my advice to someone who wants to apply to these type of programs? I think my number one advice is a lot of the people who are working at hospitals are already really busy on their day to day and they all, they often don’t have the time to work with high schoolers to help them come onto their shattering program.
Or to talk about volunteers and volunteering opportunities. And so sometimes it’s really just better to make like call connection instead of an email connection. Sometimes those can get lost. So I ended up calling a lot of the people. That or a lot of the departments when I was volunteering at hospitals, I would say that doesn’t necessarily that isn’t the case with doctors.
Doctors are much more likely to respond if you’re emailing them. And so I did cold email, a couple of physicians, some who got back to me, some who didn’t. But regardless of what your approach is, I think something that’s really important to have a spreadsheet where you can really organize the opportunities that you have available where you could put the contact information.
So just having everything really organized for yourself is really helpful. And then if you don’t have a local health care center near you, if you reach out to any health professionals, you may know, even if they’re not necessarily physicians, they’ve probably worked with physicians. And sometimes those like personal connections can sometimes be more helpful than reaching out to an entire hospital department.
And the like plan Z, which worked for me a couple of times was just cold cold emailing physicians. And just expressing interest and there’s really great resources for templates for that online and just like expressing your genuine interest in learning more about their careers and seeing it as, you want to learn from them rather than you, rather than making it like, oh, I want to take up your time.
So I think how you phrase it is really important and making sure that you’re feeling like they’re, they will be a mentor to you. Yeah. And so I think that summarizes my experience with some opportunities.
I want to let everyone know about the college advisors, summer opportunity database. So this database has opportunities in various fields that are remote in person paid and unpaid that are there to boost students’ resumes and involvement in careers that they’re interested. It’s a jumping off point for freshmen through seniors to start to familiarize themselves with what opportunities are out there.
And what’s required to apply. Unfortunately, at this time, this database is available only to college advisor.com clients through their advisor. If you have an advisor or would like to get an advisor, this is a wonderful perk at this point. Okay.
So that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar we got through that real fast. And I hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the slides from the handouts. Moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, paste them in the public chat so you can see and then read them out loud.
Before our panelist gives you an answer as a heads up. If your QA tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. So our first question is, was all of this in the United States. And if so, which state?
Sure. Yeah. So it was all in the United States. It was in the state of Florida specifically in Miami and south Florida. Although I do think there’s a lot of opportunities internationally to shadow as well, and actually. I had several friends in college who had opportunities to shadow in different places in Latin America in Southeast Asia, in west Africa.
And a lot of times sometimes restrictions on high school students volunteering and shadowing or a lot. Sometimes it can be lower. And so I actually had friends who were able to like help in an actual in the maternity ward, like during the C-section and it very obviously low wage.
Not risky ways, but just ways that were more acceptable policy wise than here. And so really different opportunities in different times. That’s a great segue into the next question, which is how old were you when you first started and were there any age limits or liability issues since the medical field is highly regulated?
Yeah, absolutely. So I would say, especially in the U S it is very highly regulated. And so I was able to start a volunteering when I was 15. And that was again, more of the. Like doing different errands getting like less surgery exposure. It was much more in like telemetry units where patients are usually much more stable and doing really low.
Tasks. And then once I was 16, I was able to join the shadowing program. And during the shadowing, again, like something that they take really seriously is like HIPAA and identity. And so we weren’t allowed to take notes on like any identifiers or any other information that could give away patients Yeah, personal information.
And when we were in surgery, we went through like protocols of like classes of, things that you can do, things that are, they can’t do. We had to take I think two different courses on just like lab safety or or emergency room safety, operating room safety. And we were also not allowed to get near like any of the tools or we were had like a special place where we could stand just to make sure.
And we had to all gear up so that we weren’t introducing any pathogens into the room.
Our next question is what was the process of applying to. Sure. I think that really depends on where you’re applying to. So for example, when I was working at a local clinic, it was just reaching out to one of my mom’s friends who was a nurse there, and then she spoke to her supervisor and asked if I could come and help.
And volunteer my time. And so that was a very like informal process. When I volunteered at a hospital, it was much more formal. I had to submit we’ll usually go on the website and you had to assign or apply through a really formal like portal. You had to submit recommendations.
You had to write like an essay about why you wanted to do it. And so it was a lot more regulated than I had to come in on orientation week. And so it really just depends on where you’re applying.
All right, our next question. Sorry. Our next question is how did you record your hours? So colleges could see what you did in high school. Yeah. Every time that I would finish a program of volunteering, I would ask for a printout of my hours and usually so for example, with the the local clinic that I worked at or I volunteered at I, that was.
Like only a couple of days a week. And so I was actually able to ask each time that I was there. I was there a couple of times a month. And so I asked each time when I was volunteering at the hospital, it was a couple of days a week. And so they actually had you got your own ID and you got to swipe in and out every time that you came in.
And all of that in their database. And so I just got that to be a printout. And so that’s helpful, if your school once verification of that, but when you’re actually applying through your common app, there is like an honesty and expectation of honesty where you are like putting in your hours.
And a lot of times you can also. Put in like contact information of someone who can verify that. But really I didn’t submit like my hours in like a physical copy when I was applying to college.
Okay, our next question is, how else did you express your interests in the medical field and through what other activities? Sure. So I think I took apart from that, I also took a lot of classes that were related to the medical school. So I took so part of my high school experience was I moved to a high school schools for advanced studies where they, you were able to dual enroll.
And so I took college in the morning and then high school in the afternoon. And my elective classes for college were usually within the medical fields. And because I wasn’t like. Community college or local college. A lot of the classes branched out to more than just like biology or like chemistry.
So I was able to take anatomy and physiology and like different labs. And so I was able to say that, I had experience in a wider range of medical related classes. So I think that’s one way. I also just talked about my personal experience, having people in my life who had been like affected by a medical condition or just my experience being on like the patient side of the medical fields is also like a reason why I wanted to go and practice medicine.
Our next question is Maria, what do you do? So now I am doing government consulting. So it’s a little bit different than the medical fields. I can give a brief synopsis of how I got there. So when I did apply, I was, when I applied to college, I was dead set on becoming a doctor. I had met lots of doctors before had a ton of experience like seeing doctors.
And I just thought it was just a really tangible way of helping people. And I was to this day, my favorite classes, even at Harvard were my medical related classes. But I just realized that for myself as I ended up majoring in sociology and learning more about the healthcare system, I cared a lot more about the macro level issues that were causing a lot of these root issues in the first place.
A lot of people who were, there’s a lot of inequities in who gets access to care. How much people are paying. And even if they do get helped in the medical system, like now they’re left with a lot of debt. And so I started focusing more on policy and that led me eventually more to government.
And so now I, I do a lot more policy work than I do. Yeah, I do more policy. I don’t do any clinical at all, but I still have a big passion for medicine and and health.
Our next question is, how do you what are the steps to apply for medical volunteering locally and what. What basic things did you do during your time volunteering in hospitals? Sure. This might be a recap of an answer from before and a little bit of what I presented. But really good question. I again, it depends on like your local.
Institution as well. So if, again, for me, I knew somebody who was in that local clinic. And so I had access to talking to the supervisor themselves and they didn’t have an established volunteering program, but there were things that they needed help with. And so I was able to do that. I think the number one step is just reaching out to the HR department, human resources, or if they have a volunteering department maybe those are the two key words that would be helpful.
When you’re looking into a local healthcare center on the day-to-day again, like it depends on which opportunity you’re talking about. So for example, in the local clinic, I was able to do a lot of more of like patient intake and getting their information and like typing it down the computer, helping with some Like vitals things that weren’t any like intrusive procedures.
And then when I was in the hospital, I was able again, to follow physicians through their rounds, being the operating room and then volunteer with several areas, which was again in telemetry neuro in the maternity ward doing running labs or like sending labs from one department to the.
Our next question is, would you say that the pre-med program at Harvard is good slash well-organized? Yeah, absolutely. So I think something that was really hard for me to capture before I actually was in college, is that a lot of schools, it’s not like you go in and you are studying like your major.
Pre-medicine or like medicine, it’s more like you can major in whatever interests you, and then you have a pre-med advisor who helps you take classes in the pre-medical classes and like to do the things that you need to do to apply to medical school. And so for example, I was still dead set on going to medical school my sophomore year.
And it was in my sophomore year when I changed from my original major was molecular and cellular biology. And then I changed it to sociology. And through all of that, I was still making sure that I got in, my chemistry’s, my genetics, my biology’s, my physics. And I was, I would say that Harbor had a really great structure for, just providing you with great advisors and people to help you, regardless of what major you wanted to do, that you would still be able to be.
You would still be able to have the best preparation possible to take the to do. To be a good applicant for medical school and an additional, thing I would say about Harvard’s just has a fantastic network of physicians and hospitals nearby. So it’s right next to Boston, which is a huge healthcare hub with amazing hospitals and opportunities to do research, to partner with physicians who like are writing papers.
And so I was able to have really good research opportunities starting freshman year. So I would say, yeah, D making sure that when you’re looking at colleges, you also see if you’re interested in medicine. Are they near medical centers? Do they have partnerships with hospitals where you can start doing research?
So that was really helpful at Harvard.
All right. Our next question is it possible for me to shadow at a hospital for surgery, but maybe decide on another pathway in the medical field after the. Absolutely. Probably. Yes. Yeah, absolutely. So I would say, yeah, I’m a big example of that again I’m not sure when you joined in, but a quick recap is I was like pre-med for three years at Harvard did a lot of shadowing experience in my, in high school, did some in college and ultimately decided that even though it was still pat, you can still be very passionate about medicine.
Still really care about people. Love science of biology, chemistry. Instilled decide that’s not necessarily the career path you want for yourself.
Our next question is when did you start looking for programs in high school? So I started looking pretty much my freshman year. I had some, I don’t count like my, like the summer before high school is like in my high school hours more just because. Sometimes it’s when you get into high school that you start getting to the mindset of you want to volunteer, but I had volunteered at like red cross events.
I had volunteered at different just when you give blood. And so I think like all of those hours added into the eventual, like 200 hours, but I, it was like over the course of like entire summers where I was doing programs over the weeks that I was like maybe I would spend an entire afternoon there after school.
And then a lot of times these volunteering programs, it’s not like you’re doing something every single moment of the day. It’s like you’re in the volunteering office, in the volunteer office. And then someone makes a call that they need something to be like training. And so then you go, you like stop reading your book, you stop doing whatever you’re doing.
And so with high school personally, I had a lot of homework. So I would sometimes take my homework there. And or if I had I was preparing for a test, I was able to do some of that in the downtime.
Our next question is, did you get credit for those dual enrollment classes at your university? If so, did you redo the classes you took at the community college at Harvard? Yeah, so I did not. So that was a little bit rough. I got, I ended up getting my associates degree by the end of high school, but none of those credits counted in terms of Like credits that I got for undergrad.
I think it did count a lot towards Harvard’s decision to accept me. Like I think a lot of people focus on, I want to get this dual enrollment so that I don’t have to take the class later on. And two points that I have towards that is one you have, if you’re going to a school, who’s not letting you use the credits.
It’s an awesome opportunity to actually take the courses with. Professors who like oftentimes maybe have more experience, more research experience, more connections. Like I personally really loved my professors at the community college I was at and learned so much from them. I think like maybe that would have been enough, but going and taking the same classes at Harvard just introduced me to professors who like I was blown away by their research.
Just re Inforce, a lot of the material I had already forgotten. And again, it did, the second point is it did make a big difference in, I think the Harvard’s position to accept me because they saw that I was not only taking like my high school classes and my AP classes, but I was also willing.
Go out of my way into classes at a community college. So it, it further in reaffirm the fact that I was ready for college. Yeah. And again, if you feel like, one of my colleges and accept my credits, like I wish like I, so I was one of the seniors who got senior spring cutoff because of COVID.
And so I didn’t quite, I didn’t get a graduation and I, it made me realize, like I really loved college. I really loved the classes that I was taking. I miss it all now. And when you’re thinking about it in the future You don’t necessarily want those credits filled because you want to do them at your school.
Like it’s such an amazing experience and it’s you never want to cut it short. And then when it’s over you, you wished it was longer. Definitely true. I will also say that you can look up online for the most part, whether or not as particular college is likely to accept credits from previous from dual enrollment during time.
Okay, our next question is what was the theme of your college essay? Sure. My personal essay was more about, so I’m originally from Colombia, from Bogota, Columbia. And so I talked about what did we’d like to come from Columbia and then live in the United States and be a bridge between two cultures.
And so I spoke about four main things. So I think the way I structured it. I wanted the theme of my essay to be about my identity. And that spans lots of different things. So I made a list of okay, what are the main things I want, like the admissions officer reading this to get from it.
And so I wanted them to know. I was really passionate about travel and like learning about different cultures, learning different languages. I was really passionate about medicine. I was really passionate about music and I wanted to talk about my faith, like my personal faith. And so I structured it all into.
Talking about how, when my family came to the United States they had a really difficult time. And both of my parents went from being professionals and business owners in their own countries to doing maintenance. And I, the context with the essay was in the context of the summers, when I would go clean houses with my mom and the different employers who taught me different things.
So one of the employers was a world traveler. Like love to just stay in like the most places. And so I learned a lot from them about like stories and like cross-cultural medicine and just I was able to make like an exquisite of that part of my life and those aspirations that I had to travel.
Another one was a doctor. And so I was able to learn about medicine and get inspired from him. Another one was a musician. So I learned music. Another person was a Christian. So I developed my own personal faith through that relationship. I was able to put all that in context and then say, like this is all these are all the things that shaped me to be who I am, but in between it all, I was still a bridge and innately like very Colombian and also like very American, by the way.
That’s awesome. Our next question is what advice do you have regarding scholarships? Yeah, so with scholarships I think something very specific to my cases. I’m a DACA recipient. And something that’s a, that just reflects that depending on your political status, you may have access to different types of scholars.
And for example, if you are, if you’re a citizen and a resident, there’s usually a lot of Pell grants and a lot of federal funded scholarships that, that may be available to you if you’re not a citizen or a resident there’s a lot of private funding and other sources for funding. I had to apply to a lot of things that were in Pell grant.
And so I applied. Just local community centers here in Miami. A lot of, again, as a Latina, I was able to apply to a lot of Hispanic related scholarships. I also applied to the Carson scholarship, a couple other scholarships that fit that, that didn’t have a citizenship requirement. If you’re an international listening in on this, those may also be of interest to you.
But there’s some really amazing scholarships such as like the Coca Cola. There’s I think the Jackie, Rob Robinson one is also just so many that you can look up on Google and there’s there’s many spreadsheets. I think we also have a lot of resources ourselves. But I personally applied to a lot of more private scholarships.
Our next question is, was it easy to change your major? Yeah. It was easy in that I was encouraged to change my major as much as I needed. As long as I can get the classes in. I think that it was more, it was mentally harder than it was like, requirement wise. So I think when you are changing majors, you’re often changing what you see yourself doing in the future.
And that can often be a very toxic. Thing. I went from having a big source of my identity. Be, I’m going to be, I’m going to be an MD. Like I’m going to be a doctor. I’m going to be a missionary doctor. I’m gonna be traveling to realizing like, actually I really care about domestic us healthcare system.
And so for that, it didn’t quite make sense to do molecular and cellular biology as I had originally intended. And something like a perk of studying sociology was that it was so broad that I could really take classes in so many different areas. I think a lot of times when you’re switching from a non stem field to a stem field it’s really hard just because a lot of the levels in your coursework are like built off each other.
So if you’re changing majors between stems, maybe it’s not as hard, but from non stem to stem, it could be harder. I think that the easiest transition is from stem to non stem, just because usually you may need a lot of foundational courses, but it doesn’t, the courses don’t build off each other as much as they do in the stem fields.
Our next question is what were the changes from shadowing in high school to college? I don’t think there were as many changes because of my age necessarily. I think it just goes back to, if you don’t have a medical degree, there’s just things you’re not going to be able to do. And then if you do have a medical degree, if you’re in medical school, if you’re, already have some sort of experience in the medical fields do EMS or some other medical experience where you have certification, then you can do a lot more things.
But as a college student, my status in terms of like the medical hierarchy was still the same
sort of in a similar vein. Our next question is most hospitals in my region require students to be 16 to start shadowing. What other medical opportunities would I be able to start pursuing? Yeah. So I think something that may be available right now is you may not be able to shadow like a doctor in like a hospital setting with patients, but there are still opportunities to shadow, like other medical professionals, like psychologists, psychiatry.
There’s also opportunities to shadow like chiropractors. Like I’m mentioning these specifically because I know friends who were younger, who were able to shadow people in these medical professions. You can also set up less. Maybe you’re not shadowing, but you’re still. Setting up conversations with people in the medical field.
And so I think these are informal ways that you can get access earlier on. If you have the opportunity again, to go, with COVID things might change a little bit, right? I’ve had friends who like in middle school had opportunities to help on medical missions. There may be opportunities with your local red cross.
Maybe you’re not necessarily interacting with patients, but there’s opportunities for you to be involved in the medical, like in the providing health process that don’t necessarily involve you being near patients. That’s so worth it. And maybe your only options.
Next question is, were your high school teachers or administration ever involved in your shadowing and volunteer program? Like sponsoring, networking, recommending you, et cetera. My word I think that would be really helpful to be honest, like if your school has those networks in place, like definitely use them, but if they don’t like, don’t feel like that that, that shouldn’t keep you from looking for these like yourself.
Like I definitely didn’t have them and still had really good opportunities to shadow and to to be.
Sorry. Okay. Our next question is, do colleges take all types of scholarships or certain ones? So I’m not super sure. This is more of a technical question for financial aid offices. So I think the policies probably depend on like the schools. Usually when it’s scholarships, it’s a scholar an institution is giving you money.
On to give to the university. And so I don’t see why, like the university might not take it. Again like all of these usually happen, not as cash being transferred, but like checks or like something that’s more like systematic. And so I don’t see an issue. I don’t see why there would be an issue, but I think that this is a question that you should ask specific institutions and you will be asked once you get admitted, they’ll ask you to report what scholarships what scholarship money you’ve gotten.
And a lot of the scholarships actually won’t give you money directly. But they’ll actually give you a check for you, like for your own admissions, but to, in the name of the institution that you tell them. So I think that’s as much as I know in order to that question.
Our next question is, did you consider any other colleges other than Harvard during your application process? Yeah. So I was really grateful for the QuestBridge program. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but quest bridge is a program that helps students that are like low income. So I think the maximum household income you can have is 65.
To apply through QuestBridge and they do a lot of mentoring and they it’s an early application. So if you thought early application in November was early, the QuestBridge application is in October. So I had to have a lot of my documents ready. And while a lot of their schools sometimes can be binding.
I applied to non-binding Non-binding school. So I got matched to Princeton. So like early my, my June, my senior year, like the senior fall, I knew that I had been accepted to Princeton. So once I knew that it took a lot of pressure off and then I just applied to schools, I would rather go to, and so I applied to Harvard and I got in regular decision.
So we’re going to take a quick break and I want to let you know what you can do after this webinar. If you want to get help on your college apps from any of our advisors at college advisor, we have two monthly advising plans and larger packages that come with a set number of hours. As advisors, we will work with you on college essays, choosing schools, interviews, financial aid, and more.
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One-on-one through every step of your application process. If you want to discuss this, one-on-one with an advisor, this is a great chance to work with us. Now, back to the queue. Our next question is if you could go back in time, would you still have done your associates degree during high school, knowing that those credits were not going to be accepted?
Yeah, okay. So I think the final answer is yes. I think to be super honest it was really hard and I gave up a lot of things to get that done. I was Florida’s a pretty big tennis state and I played tennis, pretty competitively growing up and a decision I had to make when I joined the school my high school where I was able to get my associates degree because they did the dual enrollment program was whether.
I had to devote more time to academics clearly. And so I gave up a lot of my time from like tennis and a big part of my identity as an athlete with that in cross country and just a lot of different things. Like the cons of it was, I did sacrifice a lot. The pros of it was I met fantastic professors who I still remember.
And I still think where some of my best professors, I got experience like. Just taking classes that I wouldn’t have otherwise, I think there was like, there’s a breadth of classes in college, even in the community college that you might not have access to in your high school. And so I was able to do that.
I got access to labs that had way better technology than I could have expected at like my own high school. And so all those things are pros. Even if my university didn’t count the credits as part of my degree but also something extra is I will never know if I would’ve gotten in had, how big of a, of a factor getting that associate’s degree.
Wasn’t me getting into Harvard. So to be honest, like I learned a lot and I think it was a really great experience. So I would do it again.
Our next question is there a template I should use for cold emails? And if there’s not, what should I do? Sure. It’d be really hard for me to re type one of here, but I’m sure that like we will be working on like resources. We college advisor does a really great job of curating a lot of these questions from the seminars from questions, advisees ask.
And so I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s already templates. Templates are in the process of being made. But I think Google is also like your friend. I usually, I think a general, something that maybe I could speak to a little bit, it’s like a general rule of thumb is you want to be really cordial.
You want to reach out and say like a very, so a lot of the people you’re reaching out to are really busy. They’re not able to read like your resume. They’re not going to be able to read like entire paragraphs. You want to be. Max Seven seven lines of like your entire email. Like even that is cutting a kind of close, like you want to be very respectful and acknowledge that.
I think something that I did in all my emails was given now say I’m sure like your schedule is incredibly busy right now. So I completely understand if this isn’t a possibility at the moment. And so maybe. Like a small tip of like a template would be like, always give the person an out.
So they don’t just ignore you. Or don’t just say sorry, I can’t at least like you’re giving them a structure from which to like cordially say no. So I guess that would be like a tip for a template. That’s a great point. Okay. Did the programs where you shadow doctors or any other programs have this.
No, I think that the only place that had a fee was when I was working at the hospital now it’s cause I just needed to buy a t-shirt or buy something. Yeah, it was buy a t-shirt and $10 if I lost my badge or something and I had to get a new one. So it’s usually a very low fee.
I’m sure there’s programs out there that have higher fees, but usually they like want you to shadow so they won’t put them in there.
What classes would you recommend if you’re interested in medicine in high school and in dual enrollment courses? Yeah. So I’m a big proponent of anatomy and physiology just because you’ll get your biology and you would get your chemistry probably at some point in high school. But sometimes that can be a little bit divorced from like medicine in itself and so a class.
So I took it. Anatomy and physiology twice in like college. So I taught, I took it as a high school class. I took it as a dual enrollment class and then I took it at Harvard again. Just because I thought it was the most. The class where I felt the most connected to I understand the human body, I understand like pathology and like how disease works and manifests in the body.
I understand how different systems work together. I were like AB able to study like homeostasis and what gets you out of sync? What gets you back in? And so I found that really fascinating and the only class that I have found. Really did that was anatomy and physiology. And a lot of them times the textbooks include a lot of case studies.
So I, you get a chance to like, hear about these like extreme cases. And then you like read a chapter about like how, what the Mac mechanisms are and then at the end of the chapter, yeah. You got to realize, okay I understand why that case worked the way it did. And that’s the closest I found to like diagnostics and medicine in the high school field, or like the college.
Our next question is, should I look for volunteering opportunities or paid opportunities and which one looks better to colleges? So I think because unless you have a medical degree, I’m not sure how much like added value. Again, like again, your time is extremely valuable, but when you’re talking about, saving people’s lives, Being part of the health delivery process.
A lot of times like volunteers can be a bit can sometimes not add as much value because you’re needing to be trained. You’re someone who can’t deliver or like practice medicine, but yet you need to know the protocol. So if you think about it on like a cost benefit analysis, like hospitals are actually, Helping you by allowing you to come in, but using a lot of their resources, time, training, time, money.
And so a lot of times I think that the best like heart posture towards this is like the humility of just doing volunteering if paid opportunities come up, that’s fantastic. Don’t pass out on that just because, volunteering is available as well. If you get an opportunity to be paid, that’s great.
I don’t think colleges will. Care one way or the other. They, I think they care about the service that you’re giving and the experience that you’re getting. I think the money factor is not that big. The money’s not that big of a factor when it comes to writing down these activities, but good for you.
If you find that,
our next question is how did you decide what you did want. Yeah. So I think it was a mix of two things. I think it was both academic and personal. And so I think when it came to academics, as you probably noticed, when I was explaining like my favorite class anatomy and physiology, I am still really passionate about medicine.
I’m still really passionate about science. And so sometimes it makes me think. Wow, should I have just done like medical school? But then it brings me back to realizing I think something that needs to be really really well thought out is the medical field is very difficult in the sense that you will be in school for very long time.
And that’s amazing if you’re passionate about all the aspects and you. You see that end goal. And you’re like, regardless of what obstacles come ahead, that’s what I want to do. I think something that I realized for myself is I started the idea that I want to be a doctor came from wanting to help people in a very tangible way.
And in my experience, the most tangible way was a doctor. And I think when I went to college, I started like meeting people who are having like a great impact on people in terms of policy. Just realizing even when I was talking to doctors, they would all complain that like a lot of their patients would come in and they were really severely affected by so many policies, whether it was environmental, economic even in terms of like education.
So many things that they were frustrated that in a given day, they could only really help so many people. And so a lot of them actually end up doing more like macro level, like system, like health policy things. And so for me, I realized, I already know from the get go that I would rather do something in the policy spectrum than the clinical.
Like I’d rather work on macro level issues than micro. And so why would I spend. Almost 12 years of my life, studying medicine to get to the same place that I could get to. If I worked, if I maybe did a business degree and a policy degree, or even if I did like just a different degree. And so I realized that like the cost benefit analysis for me didn’t work didn’t work out for me to go to medical school.
It’s also extremely expensive. And so again, I think that if it is a passion of yours and that. Then go for it. Don’t let anything stop you, but be aware of the risks and be like, truthful about whether you’re willing to take them on.
So that was very good timing because our next question is at the moment, are you interested in advanced studies, like a master’s degree in. I am. Yeah, I think to be very like honest something that was very disoriented disorienting was from going, even though, again, I talked about how like being in school for 12 years, wasn’t the best, but it’s very safe, you know what you’re going to be doing for the next 12 years of your life?
So the medical path is hard but simple, like the next steps. I think something that was difficult for me was like, oh my goodness, I spend so much time knowing I wanted to be a doctor. Now I have everything like in front of me, do I want to like, do something in health still? What if I should have been looking at like computer science or like business or something completely unrelated.
And transitioning more to policy was a step of I worked that a tech travel company. I did research, I did like multiple different jobs. And so to answer the question more specifically, like I realized. I do want to go to graduate school at some point. Like I think I, I love school.
I think that it would be really helpful in my career. And I do want to go back, but knowing that I missed out on a lot of opportunities at Harvard in the policy realm, because I was so set on being a doctor made me realize that if I’m going to invest money and time into going back to school, I need to have a better idea of why I want to be there and what I want to study.
So at the moment I. I’m most thinking about getting a master’s in business. So an MBA and a master’s in policy. So a joint master’s, but that could change like about a year ago before COVID I thought I was going to get a PhD in like health policy. So it’s really up in the year.
Our next question is how are your professors at Harvard? Fantastic. I would say like any school, there were some that. I was surprised that just because I think there’s a lot of professors who are brilliant, but maybe don’t know the best ways to translate that knowledge. And so I think that’s happens at any university.
But I think Harvard specifically took a lot of care in like curating professors who had ton of research. So Harvard’s a research university. So a lot of the professors just have incredible research, just know a lot about their specific topics. And we’re also able to translate that knowledge. I was really grateful, but again, like in any school, there’s always like a couple exceptions.
Something that I think was also really good is they shouldn’t miss out on is like T S T teaching assistants. And like any other, like people who are not the exact main professor, but make your course run and who usually manage like the smaller group sections of your. The smaller group component of your class.
And they’re usually like PhD students extremely knowledgeable. And I learned so much from my Ts and my teaching assistants that I would say they also count in like that question of how my professing professors were like my teaching staff was just fantastic. Okay. I think this is going to be our last question.
So what is most interesting about your work going for. Sure. So I think in government so currently I’m doing government consulting and I think something that’s been really exciting there is well exciting and that there is so much room for growth. But I think that currently speaking in the United States, because I work with local us governments, is that there’s a lot of divisions, both political and ideological.
I think an opportunity for growth there is to really be able to bring people together through the policies that we through the different programs that we help local governments go through. Just being able to look up projects and realize, okay, like which voices are being heard in the issues that are being brought up to government how are these solutions helping people of all different ethnic backgrounds of different even Just like geographic geographical areas, like how are policies really affecting people’s lives?
And so something that was really interesting for me is as an immigrant, I think being able to see like how different immigrant communities can also be part of the U S and like just a harmony between different groups of people in the U S during the time where it’s been really divisive A really interesting part of my job.
And so I really hope that whether that translates into working more in government or going more into non-profits or business, that, that same ideology of wanting to bring people together from different spheres from different cultures will be really the focal point of my career.
That’s so cool. Okay. So thank you everyone so much for coming out. And thank you so much to our panelists. Thanks Brianna. Thank you so much, guys. So this is the end of the webinar. We had a great time telling you about stem about medical shadowing and here’s the rest of our April webinars series.
Please sign up and come out. Thank you guys for coming tonight. Have a great night.