Senior at UT San Antonio on a pre-Health Track: ASK ME ANYTHING!

Dewan began applying for college in the summer prior to the start of her senior year of high school. She knew that she wanted to attend a public university in Texas, since that decision would allow her to better manage her tuition costs and be close to her family. She was a 4.00 GPA student all throughout high school and held many leadership and volunteer roles.

Statistics: Top 3% of high school graduating class (class size was 670)

Extracurricular Activities (High School):

  • President of Toastmasters International Club (High School chapter)
  • Hospital ER volunteer
  • Library aide
  • Varsity choir member
  • Junior Air Force ROTC cadet
  • Literary magazine poet

By late August 2017, @drp6134 was accepted to 9 of the 10 universities that she applied to and chose to finalize her decision between her top two universities. She was even flown out to the University of North Texas (UNT) to participate in an interview for a prestigious scholarship. After much deliberation, Dewan chose the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) as her first choice and UNT as the alternative. Based on her requirements, she chose to attend UTSA for her bachelor of science degree. This decision was life-changing since UTSA offered her a seat in a pre-health professions/certification program after she finalized her enrollment into the university.

Current Major: Microbiology/Immunology

Extracurricular Activities (College):

  • Founder/Project Manager of HERO Cards' virtual volunteer project
  • UTSA Leadership and Volunteers Services Department Intern
  • UTSA Pathway to Health Professions' program member
  • UTSA/Texas A&M University Community Health Worker Certification program trainee
  • Texas Biomedical Research Institute V-LEAD program Intern
  • Chromosome 18 Registry and Research Society Community Development Intern
  • UTSA Health Education program (Health Nest) Peer Mentor/Educator

Career Aspirations: @drp6134 is hoping to pursue a career in the healthcare/biotechnology fields after attending graduate school. She is also interested in finance and business management.

@drp6134 will be our Guest Student of the Week so make sure to ask all your questions.

Do you have any information on pre med advice in terms of applying to schools for a rising senior?

4.35W GPA / Top 10% class / Test-Optional / Several large leadership positions (President - NHS / President/Founder - HOSA) and lot of volunteering (Rescue Squad, Hospital, Good Grief, NJ, Food Bank, and several others.

Do you think I am at a disadvantage as a rising senior wanting to be Pre-Med but I’ve only taken two AP sciences (AP Environmental and AP Chem) and my higher maths will only be Precalculus and Statistics AP?

I’m applying to a broad range of schools with the top programs being PLME at Brown and Med-Direct at Wayne State. Of course I’d love to be able to take AP Bio and Physics and Calculus, as they are offered at my school, but I just know that it would be difficult for me and the programs are notoriously bad at my school. Also, my counselor said I can’t switch my math for an advanced level calculus (not AP) because it wouldn’t work with the other classes in my schedule

My schedule for the fall will include 5 AP’s out of 8 courses and at the end of my senior year I’ll have taken 9 AP courses.

In general I just feel so inadequate during this whole college season! Everything is so uncertain and I feel like my stomach is about to drop every couple of hours.

Any advice for calming my nerves during this process and do you think I am at a disadvantage?

Because I screwed my junior year up—poor attendance, no community service hours, poor networking, no extracurricular activities, no hobbies—I am now a rising senior at a continuation school. One fact about me is I do not want to just work a 9-5 job, for the rest of my life, after graduating early from high school. Please, I ask for advice on what should I do next. Thanks.

@JaiXAmin That’s a great question! My best recommendation for you (a rising high school senior) is to research on specific universities and colleges that focus on the healthcare field. If you know that you are interested in medical schools, look for degree programs that combine the bachelor of science with the medical degree. That dual degree (BS/MD) could save you the trouble of applying to multiple medical schools, and it can save you an extra year, and you can also save some money.

Your stats look great. Keep up the good work. However, be aware that when you start your college career, your path to medical school could be very different compared to your pre-med buddies. So, if you have not already, I would encourage you to also learn how to network (speaking to different types of people in different positions), so that your career mindset broadens and the list of references (for medical school) grows over time.

Best of luck on your studies. Please let me know if you have any other questions!

@Liiroyalty Take a deep breath. You will be fine. My best recommendation for you is to start by writing down your short term and long term goals. Doing that simple task can help you get a perspective of your own aspirations. Although, you may have “lost” a year due to different factors, you can still move on and have a successful senior year of high school. How are your academics? If your GPA is decent, and you have the time to gain some volunteer hours over the weekend (library, food bank, clinic etc.), I would recommend you start with that.

High school students who have good attendance, community service hours, networking skills and hobbies all have to start somewhere. As for your attendance, think back to why you were tardy or not in class for those days. Are there any adjustments you could make to your day, which would reduce any signs of poor attendance? Also, networking is just a by-product of trying different tasks like volunteering. For example, if you were to volunteer at a local library, you will have to work with others (supervisors, librarians etc.) and those individuals will then introduce you to other volunteer opportuntities, summer programs etc. Networking = Amount of people you know.

I believe in you and your tenacity. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Please let me know if you have any other questions!

@BSMDHopeful08 Breathe in and breathe out. I think you are doing a fantastic job of researching the different BS/MD programs that different universities offer. As for the number and types of AP classes that you taking, you are definately doing more than enough, and that takes a lot of courage! You should not feel inadequate for only taking two AP science courses. A lot of the time, students enter college with the thought that their AP courses waive their need to complete the college-level equivalents. However, high school AP course material and college-level course material can be VERY different. Also, if you are truly interested in medical school, taking college-level course as a college student would be to your advantage, since the material will be more relevant.

As for your math classes, do not worry if you can only take Pre-Cal and AP Statistics. Most pre-health students have to end up taking college-level calculus.

I understand why you would feel this way, since high school is a bridge to a more successful life. Again, I do not think you are at a disadvantage, and your drive will lead you to a good future. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Life is uncertain, especially during this time. However, the best thing you can do is stay focused and be mindful.

Please let me know if you have any other questions!

What were some of the factors you looked at in schools when applying and where else did you apply? Do you have any tips for those who want a career in health care but are not sure what yet?

@Livvyxoxo Great questions! Some of the factors that I looked at when I applying to different schools were the cost of tuition, proximity to my family, degrees focused on a concentration in biology and campus culture/demography.

I applied to a total of 10 universities and colleges, which I have listed below.

-UT San Antonio
-UT Austin
-UT Dallas
-University of North Texas
-Rice University
-Texas Tech University
-Northwest Vista College (required by my high school)
-University of Notre Dame (only out-of-state school that I applied to)
-Texas A&M University
-University of Incarnate Word

As for tips for those students who want a career in healthcare but are not sure yet, I would recommend that they first ask themselves why they are interested in the healthcare field. This question is typically asked during interviews for medical, dental, pharmacy etc. schools.

When that student does answer the “why” question, I would then recommend them to do some research on different careers found in the healthcare industry. Once a student finds a set of careers which excite them, I would encourage them to find ways to contact professionals in that career field. For example, if a student came across the career of a pharmacist, they could set up a short meeting with a local pharmacist to learn more about the pharmacy profession.

Also, volunteering at a hospital, hospice, pharmacy and any healthcare workplace is a great way to determine if the healthcare industry is the right place for that student. For instance, if the student who met with the pharmacist is still confused on whether or not they should pursue pharmacy school, they could start volunteering at a pharmacy. Usually the positive hands-on experience at the workplace is a factor for determining a path for college.

Best of luck on your studies. Please let me know if you have any other questions!

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer questions! I hope that I can safely volunteer somewhere soon! Do you have any suggestions for remote/virtual volunteering in healthcare?

Hi! Your college application process seemed to be very successful - Kudos on that! I know the school that you chose isn’t necessarily the most “prestigious” university you got into. Did that have any bearing on your decision? Did you feel as though it’d be irrelevant for med/ school apps, and was UTSA much cheaper? What’s the pre-health certification? Are you considering med school at all, and have you ever had any regrets?


@Livvyxoxo Thanks for your response! There are many sites that you can go to for virtual healthcare-related opportunities. I would suggest you first go onto, since they do have a larger database. You can also try,, and On, there are options to participate in virtual volunteer opportunities and then opportunities that are related to COVID-19.

For example, if you choose the “Health and Medicine” option after clicking the “Virtual Opportunities” link on, it will take you to a list of over 1500 roles. One of those roles is a volunteer position for the Ronald McDonald House, where volunteers are able to gain hours by organizing toy drives, writing cards, and donating stamps.

Please let me know if you have any other questions!

@collegeappacc Great questions! Yes, UTSA is not the most “prestigious” school, and that was definately a decision that I made on purpose. Some of the factors that I looked at when I was applying to different schools were the cost of tuition, proximity to my family, degrees focused on a concentration in biology and campus culture/demography. UTSA matched all of my requirements.

Although a widely known undergraduate school looks good on a resume, it does not really determine a student’s chance into getting accepted by a renowned graduate school. Graduate schools tend to look more at the GPA, leadership/volunteer skills and goals of the student.

Yes, UTSA is a lot cheaper than other universities, especially if you are a Texas resident. I wanted to be “financially smart” as an undergraduate, so attending a cheaper school is to my advantage. I am able to budget wisely, and even save up for graduate school applications with the money I save.

As for my certification, I am a certified community health worker. I earned that certification through the UTSA/Texas A&M University Colonias’ CHW Program. This certification allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the public health field, and learn more about what factors affect impoverished communities in Texas (Colonias in the Rio Grande Valley).

I am going to take my Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) in March 2021, but yes, I have considered applying to medical school. I am focused on going to pharmacy school, but an MD is not off the table.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks and have a great day!

I just wanted to say congratulations and UTSA is lucky to have you. I agree that the location and resources offered make it an excellent choice for many kids… Many students from our high school attend and a lot of them are first gen and earning an excellent education!

Thank you so much for those resources! Super helpful!

@murray93 Thank you for the kind comment! Yes, a lot of first generation students do attend UTSA due to the affordability and location. Despite UTSA not being an Ivy League school or a renowned research university, it is a great place to get a very good education!

Please let me know if you have any questions. Have a great day!

@Livvyxoxo Of course! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I am here to help :smile: