Student Testimonials

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Anna Warren, Pre-Physical Therapy

Name: Anna Warren
Major: Health and Human Performance (HHP)
HSPP Plan: Pre-Physical Therapy
Hometown: Medina, TN
High school: South Gibson County High School
UTM graduate: May 2016

 

Why did you choose HHP as a major?
I chose Health and Human Performance because it lined up well with the prerequisites for PT school, gave me experience in the field, and had an approachable and helpful staff.

 

What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I like to play sports, teach my dog new tricks, and go to the lake.

 

Were you a member of any organizations at UTM? If yes, which organizations? Did you hold any important roles? If yes, what were they?
I was a member of several organizations while on campus, but the things that made the biggest impact on me were being a PEP leader, being in SGA, and being in the S.H.A.P.E. Club President. All of these positions helped me know my university and department even better, gave me an opportunity to network, and all the while help my university.

 

Where will you be going this fall?
University of Tennessee Health Science Center

 

What was the hardest part of the application process?
The hardest part was probably constructing my personal essay. The rest was mostly just entering in my information. A tip I would give is to write down everything from freshman year and on because sometimes it’s hard to remember community service, stuff you were involved it, etc. when it comes time to put it all in the application. I had an upperclassman helping me with the application, but if I didn’t have her I would probably be lost.  You have to be on top of it and realize when it is time to start applying. It was really beneficial for me to have that upperclassman when I had all those little questions about the application that come up.

 

How many schools did you apply to?
4

 

How did you choose the schools you applied to?
I wanted to stay in state, or closer to home. Affordability also played into my decision. I also know several alumni from UT Health Science Center, all of which are excellent physical therapists. That is part of the reason why UT Health Science Center was my top choice.

 

What advice would you give to pre-PT students?

  • Grades are very important from the very beginning. Slacking off in the beginning will be very hard to make up later. The standards are so high now, you almost have to be blemish-free to get into school.
  • Pay attention to the professors you decide to take. A professor could make all the difference according to your learning style.
  • Get experience early. You want to be sure this is what you want to do before it’s too late. Don’t waste your time and money.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors. Build a relationship with them.

 

The 2016-2017 application cycle will begin in July. What advice do you have for students who are applying?

  • Go ahead and be searching out schools before the application cycle starts. Make sure you have all of their pre-requisites.
  • Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone when applying to schools. That one you almost didn’t apply to may be the only school you get in to.
  • Get your stuff in as soon as possible.
  • Get your personal statement proofed by several other people.

 

How did you prepare for the GRE?
I used the Kaplan study book. Reviewing the quantitative portion was more useful to me because a lot of the math is stuff I learned in high school but had forgotten. The qualitative is so off the wall that you almost can’t prepare for it. I also got apps on my phone to look at flashcards during my spare time (between class; waiting for something).

 

What advice do you have for students who are preparing for the GRE?

  • Take it early enough where you will have time to take it again before the application is due if you need to.
  • Use the study book and get the apps.
  • Start studying as far ahead of time as possible. Even if it’s just a little bit at a time.
  • Focus on quantitative. Your score can be more greatly improved by studying it than it could be with the qualitative.

 

What other information do you think pre-physical therapy students should know?

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions- no questions are stupid.
  • Get volunteer experience as soon as you can- to figure out if this is in fact what you want to do and to build up the hours you will need to apply.
  • Get experience in more than just one setting.
  • KEEP YOUR GRADES UP. That’s something you can’t go back and change. They can’t ignore the numbers.

 

 

Ben Reeves, Pre-Medical

Name: Ben Reeves
Major: Cell and Molecular Biology
HSPP Plan: Pre-Medical
Hometown: Knoxville, TN
High school: Bearden High School
UTM graduate: May 2016

 

Why did you choose Biology as a major?
I had a strong interest in biology in high school, plus the biology degree requirements matched up well with many medical schools’ required courses.

 

What do you like to do in your free time?
I was a 4-year member of the UTM men’s golf team, so golf definitely occupied much of my free time, but I loved every second. I also enjoy reading, hiking, and spending time with my awesome fiancé!

 

Were you a member of any organizations at UTM? If yes, which organizations? Did you hold any important roles? If yes, what were they?
I was a member of the UTM men’s golf team, and I served as team captain during my last three years. I was an active member of the UTM Pre-Med Scholars, and I was also very involved with the Baptist Collegiate Ministry during my four years.

 

Where will you be going this fall?
ETSU Quillen College of Medicine

 

What was the hardest part of the application process?
I’d say waiting. It is extremely difficult having to wait almost two months to hear back from your dream school about a secondary application. Patience is key, because it really is a long, drawn-out process. But don’t give up!

 

How many schools did you apply to?
13

 

How did you choose the schools you applied to?
I used the fishing net approach for my med school application process: throw a big enough net out, and surely you’ll catch at least one fish. That explains the relatively large number of schools I applied to. I realize that approach isn’t the best for everyone, but it paid off for me. I applied to in-state schools as well as many out-of-state schools directly surrounding TN. I only applied to programs that I had a strong desire to attend and would have been excited about going to had any one of them been the only acceptance I received. I believe the second worse thing behind not getting accepted at all is getting only one acceptance and it being to a school that you don’t completely love.

 

What advice would you give to pre-medical students?
If medicine really is your passion, then don’t give up! Some undergrad classes really can be difficult, but it is all completely doable. Also, make sure you are getting into medicine for the right reasons. Medicine isn’t as candy coated as TV and movies make it seem. But, if your heart is right, I believe that it is the most fulfilling profession out there!

 

The 2016-2017 application cycle will begin in May. What advice do you have for students who are applying?
Apply as early as you can! Nothing beats getting that application in on the first day and having it verified in a matter of days instead of weeks. And don’t allow yourself to get discouraged. You have worked so hard to get to this point, and that hard work will pay off! Also, don’t let a test score (MCAT) define you or discourage you… Medical schools look at so many other items on your application, and as long as you are a great, well-rounded applicant, even a below average MCAT score won’t necessarily keep you from getting an acceptance. And try to enjoy the process! There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

What other information do you think pre-medical students should know?
Apply to Pre-Med Scholars! It is an incredible tool that will give great opportunities for shadowing local physicians as well as awesome MCAT test prep.

 

 

Anita Afshari, Pre-Dental

Name: Anita Afshari
Major: Cell & Molecular Biology
HSPP Plan: Pre-Dental
Hometown: Brentwood, TN
High school: Brentwood High School
UTM graduate: May 2016

 

Why did you choose Biology as a major?
My favorite class in high school was biology!

 

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to work out to de-stress, meditate/do yoga, bake desserts, make jewelry, swim and also spending time with family and friends!

 

Were you a member of any organizations at UTM? If yes, which organizations? Did you hold any important roles? If yes, what were they?
I was a member of Mu Epsilon Delta (MED), then became Vice President of Public Relations, and now I’m President this year.

 

Where will you be going this fall?
UTHSC College of Dentistry!

 

What was the hardest part of the application process?
I think the personal essay was difficult, because you want to sound unique to the committee and you want your essay to stand out compared to everyone else’s and catch someone’s eye.  Likewise, ask for Letters of Recommendation early (I’d say beginning of May) and give that person a deadline to submit it to AADSAS so you aren’t just waiting on them to submit it.  Other than that, the rest was typing in your grades into AADSAS, sending transcripts, and just waiting around until everything was received. Applications opened up June 2 so apply ASAP. I started June 2, and submitted it mid-June because you have to wait for AADSAS to receive your transcripts and have to wait for your Letters of Recommendations to be received once the people you chose writes them.

 

How many schools did you apply to?
7 schools

 

How did you choose the schools you applied to?
I chose schools based on closeness to family and if I knew anyone going there. I recommend definitely looking at price as well, since not all out of state schools will have the same tuition.

 

What advice would you give to pre-dental students?
Aside from good grades, of course, try to do as much shadowing as you can (I had 200 hours when I applied), and also have stellar extracurriculars. Join organizations relevant to the sciences or the field (like MED!) and try to get a leadership position.

 

The 2016-2017 application cycle will begin in June. What advice do you have for students who are applying?
As said earlier APPLY EARLY. Why? Because it’s not like you submit it June 2nd and it gets sent that day. Processing transcripts takes 2 weeks, and processing the whole application takes a week or two as well. I sent mine mid-June (pretty early) and you should too!

 

How did you prepare for the DAT?

  • Do not try to study while you’re in school. Either study the month of Christmas or study after class are done in May and take it in June (but if applications open up June 2nd know that it takes a week or 2 for DAT scores to get sent to AADSAS-this is why I didn’t get to submit everything until mid June).
  • I purchased DAT Destroyer
  • I separately purchased DAT Math Destroyer (if you’re weak in math-buy this- it is well worth the $100)
  • I also did DAT Boot camp. An online website that has practice tests and PAT generators which help A LOT to show you what it’s like to actually be taking the test.
  • Also I got the practice tests that you can buy from ADA, just go on their website, and I took that the week before the test. These were the closest scores to my actual DAT Score.
  • GET FERALIS’S NOTES! They’re free and online on SDN or just google it, he made notes for the BIO section of the DAT and it is the most comprehensive thing I ever read and most helpful!

 

What advice do you have for students who are preparing for the DAT?
Do not buy 8 books, buy 2 or 3 and just focus on those 3, don’t overwhelm yourself and waste money when you just plan on skimming over the books. Also, breathe. I know it’s anxious going into a test so scared but be confident in yourself. I assure you, you will NEVER feel ready but if you studied enough then you can rock this test! Also it’s a 4 hours test with a 15 minute break, take snacks and a drink.

 

What other information do you think pre-physical therapy students should know?
Please, please, please go to Student Doctor Network’s Pre Dental Forums (http://forums.studentdoctor.net/forums/pre-dental.17/)
It’s basically anonymous chats where pre-dental students ask questions like, what to study for the DAT, what are my chances of getting in, or all the usual questions many of us pre-dental students have. This website gave me so much sound advice!

 

 

 

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