Umar - University of Michigan - Class of 2009

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My advice to preprofessional students is to choose a school that will give you the most help to get into graduate or professional school.

My situation was different than many of my friends. First of all, I knew what I wanted to do professionally: become a doctor. Secondly, I started thinking seriously about going to the University of Michigan in my sophomore year. I had been there often with my parents and liked the campus. Besides, I am a Wolverine fan.

Hometown: Holland OH

High School: Private

GPA: 3.65 / 4.1 (weighted)

SAT: 1180*

ACT: 28

Major: Premed/Biology

Goal: Medical school

*Writing score not included



University of MichiganAttending
Case Western Reserve UniversityAccepted
Miami University: Oxford CampusAccepted
Ohio State UniversityAccepted
John Carroll UniversityAccepted
Loyola University of ChicagoAccepted
Purdue UniversityAccepted
Northwestern UniversityDenied
University of ToledoAccepted
Sophomore Year Update

Sophomore year has been a lot better than freshman year. I have fully adjusted to college, and I can't even comprehend the lifestyle of the 8a.m.–3p.m. high school schedule. I have begun to take upper level classes, and they require much more study time because the material is finally completely new to me. But this experience has strengthened my love for medicine and I am even more determined to be a doctor. I am just continuing to enjoy and survive college one week at a time!

Junior Year Update

I got accepted to the University of Toledo College of Medicine through an early assurance program, which I am really happy about. I can't say that college has not been stressful and difficult, but a lot of lessons were learned. Now that I've accomplished my ultimate goal, all I have to do is finish up my undergraduate education. I believe I got a very good education here that will allow me to become a great doctor.

Senior Year Update

Because I got into medical school last year, this year has been more relaxed. I decided to take classes in different areas to better understand the world and to think outside my usual preoccupations in daily life. For example, microeconomics gave me insight into how businesses function and how they contribute to the larger market economy. I think that's especially important to understand in these troubled economic times.

The lesson I have learned about applying to medical school is very similar to what I learned about the undergraduate admissions process: apply early! It will definitely help you get admitted and can increase your chances of having a much more relaxed second semester of senior year.

A first choice, with options on the side

Even though my sights were set on the University of Michigan, I wanted to make the best choice. My ideal college was academically challenging, culturally diverse, and able to help me prepare for medical school. I looked at a number of colleges with strong pre-med curriculums. In particular, I looked at the acceptance rate of graduates into medical schools and considered whether the college "pre-screened" who they would allow to apply to medical school. Location, extracurricular activities, and student diversity were also important to me. I researched online, talked to college reps at my school and visited colleges. My dad's a doctor, so he knew several colleges with top reputations to suggest. I quickly eliminated colleges that were quiet or had little diversity. I liked places with lots of people around and lots to do.

I reveal my true identity – Wolverine man

The University of Michigan has always been my first choice. I knew I was going to get a quality education, as well as make new friends and enjoy the amazing Wolverine pride that is always present. Ann Arbor is a wonderful college town. University of Michigan is also a highly ranked public institution that does a good job of getting its students into medical school.

Other colleges I considered were not diverse enough or were too quiet. Others were in locations I did not like. Since I liked U of M so much, it was easy to turn them down.

My ups and downs

It was a very tedious process of filling out application after application because I typed all of them. The essay was the toughest part of the application, but I worked hard to make it meaningful to me so colleges would understand who I was. I wrote about my experience visiting my roots in Pakistan and experiencing the poverty there.

Except for my dad's help, I was really on my own throughout the application process. My counselor was not enthusiastic about my attending medical school and wanted me to choose schools that "expanded my mind." Only one of my friends had a career choice in mind, so I did not have much in common with the rest of the students applying.

What I learned

I am a slow test taker. Taking ACT and SAT prep courses helped me speed up my test taking and improved my scores by a few points.

My advice to preprofessional students is to choose a school that will give you the most help to get into graduate or professional school. Don't be too concerned with getting into a prestigious undergraduate school. Also, get your apps in early to have a better shot at getting in. Some of my friends applied to U of M at the last minute and did not get in even though their grades were better than mine.

The money factor

I did receive several scholarships to some of the other universities I applied to, but I turned them down to go to the University of Michigan. Fortunately, my parents are able to support my choice.

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