APRIL 15, 2010

Dr. Danielle Desroches, Biology Department

MAPS advisor, LSAMP coordinator

(973) 720-2329

Ennid Gonzalez,PASS-MAPS

WPU graduate, 2009,

MAPS officer, 2007-2009

Recipient of First MAPS award 2009

Starting Medical School , Stony Brook, NY- Fall 2010

Ennid was asked to answer the following questions:

1. Some reasons you think you got into the Med School , although your application was late.

                        2. Do you think, besides your grades, your internships helped?

                        3. The letters of recommendations? How many did you have besides mine and from whom?/

                        4. How was your MCAT a factor?

                        5. Your interview??? Do you remember the questions they asked?

                        6. And anything else you could think of



I was debating on whether to apply for this year or wait one more. However last year ( 2009) I had the opportunity to be a part of the Medical Pathway Program.( see below) This was a program that met every Saturday for about 7 hours. In order to take part in this program, I had to fill out an application, fax my transcripts and receive a letter of recommendation. Upon

acceptance into this program, so many doors opened for me. Participants were assigned a reading coach who developed our verbal reasoning skills. When I first started the program my average score was a 6, and when I took the MCAT I was able to obtain a 10 on verbal. Kaplan MCAT Study books and supplies were also provided free of cost.

During my time in the program I met Dr. Dannis and Dr. Holden who were the program mentors. While preparing my primary application, I asked Dr. Dannis for his opinion and he responded with, “I should try”. So I met with him for about two hours and he went over my primary application in detail. He provided helpful suggestions on how to improve it, and he also read my personal statement. I was able to obtain a letter of recommendation from Dr. Holden, and this program has stood out the most for my interviewers. Most asked me about the Medical Pathway Program and were impressed with the caliber of the program.

Back in September, 2009 I started to volunteer for Hospice which provided insight to my compassion. I have shared some of my experiences while visiting Hospice patients, in which one story stands out. The personal relationship I was able to build with a senior citizen who only spoke Spanish, but who was staying in an English speaking nursing home. I went to visit him and we would talk for hours about his life in Cuba and when he moved to the U.S. These personal experiences demonstrate that you can connect with others in a humble way, showing that you truly care for them.

Of course, grades are very important. It’s not that you need to have a 4.0 G.P.A., but I have, had interviewers ask me about some courses I have taken and then ask about my grades. My MCAT wasn’t as strong as I would have liked it to be. I received a 26Q, where my physical sciences were the weakest, and I have been asked why when I received two “A” letter grades for physics in college, but then scored low on the physical sciences. I was honest and told them that I had gone to tutoring for both chemistry and physics that my college offered and is why I did well in lecture, but that it was harder for me when it came time to the test. They appreciated my honesty; Making up some excuses for why you did poorly, is not acceptable at all. The bottom line is that you are weak in a particular section(s), if that is the case, and that is no one else’s fault.

I tried to obtain as many letters of recommendation that I could. Although most schools say they only want three letters or so, I have had many interviewers tell me that they read everything that they receive from the applicants. I asked Dr. Martus for a letter of recommendation because I performed well in his physics classes. I asked Dr. Gilley as well as Professor Snyder for the same reasons. As well as the two letters from Dr. Dannis and Dr. Holden. And of course, there was the letter from Dr. Leonard, who is the head of the Pre-Professional Committee.

Dr. Leonard letter was a composite of letters written by the various faculty including one from Dr. Desroches, my ISSBB mentor and MAPS advisor. I have been told that some students do not get a cover letter from their pre-med coordinators and that this puts a red flag in the interviewer’s mind. Why would the student not ask for a letter from them??

During my interviews, I have been asked a variety of different types of questions.

Most interviews have been like a conversation and a few have been more of direct questions asked to me. I have had ethical scenario questions asked.

For example, If you have a patient who needs an expensive medication, but his insurance doesn’t cover it, but he tells you that his wife’s insurance will and to write the prescription under her name, what do you do? Of course, the answer is that you can not under any circumstances write a prescription to someone who does not need it. This is fraud. What I responded was that I would try to call the company who makes the medication and ask if they would sponsor the patient and provide the medication for free. The worst they could say was no and then we would find another way to get the patient the medication.

I have also been asked, if a female who has made a mistake and already has one child comes to you, the physician, for the morning after pill, and you are against any type of contraceptive abortions, would you give her the medication?? YES, the patient always has the last word. If the doctor feels uncomfortable prescribing this then he could find a colleague to prescribe it.

My interviewer also said that they once had a law student who was interviewing and when asked the same question, they said that maybe this isn’t the right career choice for that doctor, if he finds that his beliefs conflicts with his abilities to perform his job.

I have been asked that if I could only bring two books with me for an eternity and only those two books, which would they be?

I have been asked why it is that I want to attend that particular school? This is to see if you have done some research about the school before going to interview. I made sure to read about the schools I was interviewing at before hand and that I was informed of what that school was known for and what it could offer a prospective student.


I have been asked what are some of my strengths and weaknesses?

One interviewer asked that if I became a successful doctor, very well-known, and that if I was asked to give the opening speech at my college commencement, what would I tell the students?

If I did not get into medical school, what else would I do?

I told my interviewer that I would still want to do something in the health field. I mentioned that I would go into social work at a hospital, getting the patients to the correct medical facilities that they may need or maybe as a nurse.

She liked this answer. She said that most students say that they would re-apply, but she liked that I still wanted to do something that had to do with helping people. This showed that I truly cared about people and not just wanting to be a doctor.

I was asked what I thought it meant to be a leader?

At most of my interviews, I was also asked what is it that I could tell them that would make me stand out amongst all of the exceptional candidates. What is something that I want them to remember me in particular for.

After my first few interviews, I became more relaxed and comfortable during my interviews, I

still got butterflies, but it was easier. I was told that I was very relaxed and confident at one interview.

I also sent out thank you cards to all of the individuals who interviewed me. I was told that you could also send a thank you email, but I felt a thank you card was more personal.

Most importantly, I learned to be patient. My first few schools got back to me and told me that I was on the wait list. I started to feel nervous and anxious, but then I received my acceptance letter. You cannot let this whole process get the best of you, it is just the way it works. I have heard from current medical students that about anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of their classmates came off of the wait list. There is a deadline when students who have multiple acceptances must choose one school to attend. This year it is May 15 and when that day comes, many seats become available at which time they begin to contact people off of the wait list.

Even though my application was late, I think what helped me most was my letter of recommendations. Also, this process can be very expensive, but I applied for the AMCAS fee waiver and I qualified to pay less for the primary and secondary applications. The MCAT test would only cost you $85 as opposed to $250. For the 24 schools primary AMCAS application, I paid $450 dollars, which is much cheaper and allowed for me to apply to as many schools as I did. Also, save up some money for the hotels and transportation that you will need to get to some of the further interviews.

Clinical experience is very important as well as some type of research. They want to see that you can do research and that you have been exposed to the hospital setting and what goes on there. One interviewer told me that to say that you want to be a doctor without having any clinical experience is like asking an individual who has never flown an airplane to fly the plane.

If you can afford to not work while you are studying for the MCATs, it is a good idea. My job for almost three months was studying for the MCATs. I spent so many hours at the library studying for the exam. Also, make sure you take practice exams before hand, especially on the computer. You need to get used to sitting down for 5 hours or so in front of a computer screen since that is how it will be on the real day.

Be yourself, do the best that you can and show them that this is something you really want to do, don’t give up.


It is a program primarily for minority Students. This program is associated with Albert Einstein College and exposes students to a variety of physicians who share their personal experiences on their pursuit of the medical degree. That program also prepares students for the MCAT. Ennid discovered this program through MAPS – Check the MAPS website