St. Mary's College of Maryland
Photo of Sophia Traven

Major at SMCM: Biology

Year of graduation from SMCM: 2011

Year of entrance to professional school: 2011

Professional school: University of Virginia School of Medicine

Professional Field: Medicine


Sophia Traven

How did St. Mary's prepare you for medical/professional school?
St. Mary’s provided a very rigorous educational program that prepared me well for the level of work expected by medical school. It made for an easier transition from St. Mary’s to UVa.

Was there anything unique about the St. Mary's education that you feel made a difference in your career or your path toward your career?
The collaboration and small classroom environment prepared me well for the teamwork of providing medical care for patients. UVa updated their curriculum to become a more collaborative learning experience. In fact, we have more group activities than lectures! Preparing for the activities ahead of time and working well withothers is essential to excelling.

In comparison to your peers in your professional school program, do you feel that St. Mary's prepared you for the rigors of the program?
Absolutely.

What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of the St. Mary's pre-health advisory program that you encountered while attending St. Mary's?

The pre-health advisory program was very helpful throughout the whole process – helping me pick the appropriate classes to take, providing feedback on my coursework and application essays, and sending in their material to medical schools in a timely manner. Each student receives a lot of individual time from the committee, so it doesn’t feel like you’re just getting “shuttled through.” The one difficulty that I encountered with the committee is in the practice interview – it was way more difficult than any medical school interview I attended. However, I suppose if you can make it through that, the rest of your interviews will be a piece of cake.

If you could give one piece of advice to current St. Mary's pre-health students, what would it be?
Enjoy your free time because soon you will have none! Medical school will consume your life. Don’t feel like you have to take all the difficult science classes just because you think it would make your application look better – do well in the required classes and use the extra credits to take something fun like art or dance or whatever it is that floats your boat. It will make you a happier and more well-rounded applicant.

Anything else you'd like to share?

Stay focused! It’s easy to become distracted but grades trump volunteer experiences, sports, and other activities in the medical school application. Having a ton of extracurriculars will not hide a below-average GPA or MCAT score.





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