So You Wanna Go to Med School?

Four years of hard work lead up to the medical school application process. Applying for medical school can be, as one would assume, a strenuous and long process. 

The steps to applying to med school include gathering recommendation letters, filling out applications,  interviews, taking the MCAT and sometimes an additional test called the CASPer test. Not to mention, setting up physician shadowing opportunities early on in your undergrad career, so you have that all under your belt when it comes time for the application process.

The University offers many resources for pre-health students. The Health Professions Organization (HPO) sponsors weekly events during the year to help pre-health students navigate through the process, such as mentor hours to assist students with study strategies, finding summer programs, reviewing personal statements and understanding the application process.

Dr. Mary Engel, who is director of Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Professions Advising, expanded on what HPO offers as well as other resources pre-health students have access to at the University.

Katie Donnelly

Among the resources available to pre-health students are dozens of programs sponsored each year by the HPO, volunteer opportunities in the Leahy Community Health and Family Center and an annual retreat with students and medical alumni focused on Medicine as Service. The Medical Alumni Council sponsors two events on campus each year and, every other year, students will have a chance to participate alongside professional alumni in a MAC-sponsored Medical Education Symposium,” Dr. Engel said.

We spoke with two Scranton students who have been admitted to multiple med schools to discuss the process itself and any words of wisdom they have to offer. Below, find their answers to some common questions about applying to medical school. 

What is the hardest part (or parts) of the process?

Katie Donnelly: I personally struggled studying for the MCAT. It takes a lot of daily work, and you have to constantly keep yourself motivated. You have to persevere through bad practice test scores and days you don’t feel like studying. You just really have to work up the confidence to know you can tackle an exam of this caliber. I definitely felt really relieved when it was all over!

Kate Musto: The process itself can be demoralizing because you work so hard for four years and medical schools can just never respond and never formally reject you. The spring semester of junior year is the most mentally challenging because you have to balance biochem and physics with MCAT prep and writing application essays. It takes a lot of organization to stay on top of the process while also giving yourself time to have fun and enjoy college.

How did you prepare for interviews?

Katie Donnelly: I would research the school’s mission statement, research and service opportunities, or other aspects that interested me and I may want to bring up in my interview. I would be very familiar with my resume and try to have different examples of questions. If someone asked a time you experienced a new environment and a time in which you failed, I wouldn’t use the same example for both. Also, if you’re applying to a DO school, you should definitely have an idea of the distinguishing factors of an osteopathic doctor and what Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy is. 

Kate Musto

Kate Musto

Kate Musto: The best prep for interviews is the on-campus HPEC interview because they will critique what you need to work on right after the interview (and they are very honest). There are also questions you can Google online to prepare such as “Why do you want to be a physician?” “What is your favorite community service project and how will it help you in your career?” and other generic questions. In my opinion, you should have answers to the basic questions so that you don’t blank on interview day due to nerves. A question I received at every interview was “What do you do for fun?” so making sure you pursue your passions outside of school will help you in the interview process.

What types of work or service did you do that you included in your application/resume?

Katie Donnelly: There are a couple of categories of stuff that are great to have on your application/resume. That includes clinical exposure, academic achievements, research, community service, teaching experience, leadership experience and other extracurricular activities that make you unique. For clinical exposure, I wrote about the three different medical practices that I had shadowed extensively. For academic achievement, I wrote about my experience in SJLA and joining multiple honors programs. For research, I wrote about working with a faculty member on campus. For community service, I wrote about the service trips I have attended and also my weekly volunteer hours at the Leahy Clinic. For teaching experience, I wrote about being a TA, a tutor and working my breaks as a teacher’s assistant at a language development preschool. For leadership, I wrote about being a peer facilitator, a club officer in multiple clubs and training to be an RA. For extracurricular, I wrote about my involvement with a cappella, the philosophy club and HPO.

Kate Musto: I volunteered weekly at the Leahy Clinic and Food Pantry since my first year of college. This was a great experience because it opened up my eyes to the issues with access to medical care in my home community. I also am involved with the Center for Service and Social Justice Domestic Outreach Service Program, which also exposed me to different needs within our country. Lastly, through my American Sign Language classes, I get to volunteer with students from the Scranton School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing through outreach events. Community service is so important. Medicine is a service field so it is important to make sure you love service before you commit to a career in medicine. I recommend finding a long-term service commitment freshman year and sticking with it.

What did you learn through the process? 

Katie Donnelly: I learned to not compare myself to others. I think everyone has to work on the timeline and apply to the amount/types of schools that make the most sense for them personally. Every person is on their own journey with this process, and while it helps to get feedback and vent with others going through the process, it doesn’t help to try and mirror others’ actions. I also learned that having a support system is so crucial. My mom was my rock through this whole endeavor. She helped me by proofreading my essays, reminding me of things I forgot to put on my resume and was always there to cheer me up and comfort me. Without her, I wouldn’t be as successful or happy now. 

Kate Musto: It is a long, draining process but when you get your first acceptance letter to medical school it all is worth it. I learned that you really have to want to be a doctor or else it is not worth all the sacrifices you have to make in college for it. Also, don’t sign up for stuff just because you think medical schools want to see it. All of my friends are completely different, and we have received interviews at many of the same schools. Med schools want to diversify their classes, so just be yourself!

Overall, what is the biggest piece(s) of advice you can offer about the process?

Katie Donnelly: Get things in early! Timing matters more than you think, and it will be a confidence boost if you can get interviews early rather than wait. I also think that it helps a lot to have friends who are going through what you’re going through. It helps to talk things out sometimes with someone who truly gets it. Also, be proud of yourself at every step of the way. This process is not for the faint of heart; you put in so much work along the way from freshman year to now, and you should be proud of all you’ve done no matter how many acceptances there are. You’re a hard worker and will soon enough have the career of your dreams! 

Also, I prepped for the MCAT by studying a different portion of the exam on a certain day of the week. I would consistently take a practice exam on the same day I was planning on taking my actual exam, Friday. I kept a running Google Doc with concepts that I consistently struggled with. I made index cards and Quizlets and took those on walks in order to just get a change of scenery. I would try and draw on whiteboards as often as possible because I am a very visual learner. 

Kate Musto: Build a support system of other pre-meds! Your other friends won’t understand why you can’t go out every weekend when it is MCAT study time. It is refreshing to talk to other people who get you. Also, schedule meetings with Dr. Engel at least once a semester. She was my biggest support system on campus and made sure I was prepared at every stage of my journey.

May 17

Each week, our campus correspondents are out and about taking photos and collecting stories for Campus Corner. Read their articles and highlights below! Browse photos on Flickr.

Seniors! Use #USGRAD17 for all things Commencement-related, including photos of your decorated caps. For more about Commencement, check out

Please note, this is our FINAL Campus Corner of the semester. Thanks to Rob Bauer, Kayla Johnson and Kelly Lappin for all your hard work this semester.

See you in the fall!!

U of S Humans #USGRAD17

Senior Lauren Conniff runs the U of S Humans Instagram account. Read a Q&A we did with her in this issue of Campus Corner. Conniff recently interviewed several seniors to get their stories and she featured them on her Instagram account. Check out what they had to say about their time at Scranton below.


 Iggy Spreads Cheer on Dead Week

Students get a #ScrantonCoffeeBreak

May 10

Each week, our campus correspondents are out and about taking photos and collecting stories for Campus Corner. Read their articles and highlights below! Browse photos on Flickr.

Festival of Nations

By: Kelly Lappin
Students traveled the world all in a day at the recent Festival of Nations on campus! Students visited each nation’s table and sampled different activities and food. Some of the nations that were represented were Poland, Italy, India, Ireland.

Check out photos from the event on our Flickr.




By: Kelly Lappin
The annual Ryan O’Malley run was held on Saturday. The proceeds of the run go to the Ryan O’Malley ’99 memorial scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to computer science students with an interest in fitness and community services who have limited resources to attend The University of Scranton. The University of Scranton’s field hockey, women’s basketball and men’s soccer teams took part in the race.

View photos from the event on our Flickr.

Springfest 2017

By: Kayla Johnson
The Scranton rain couldn’t stop Springfest this past Saturday as students came to the Byron Center for a day full of fun and games. USPB outdid themselves for Springfest 2017 — they had Springfest merchandise (sunglasses, beach balls, cups and a T-shirt), a mechanical shark, inflatable skee-ball, a basketball shooting contest, an obstacle course and a blowup football field where you can face-off with your friends. And, Springfest closed out the night with an electrifying music performance by Norwegian DJ, SEEB.

Check out the Snapchat story from Springfest on our Flickr.

May 3

Each week, our campus correspondents are out and about taking photos and collecting stories for Campus Corner. Read their articles and highlights below! Browse photos on Flickr.

Great Commons Ball Roll 2017

By: Robert Bauer
Last week, the annual Great Commons Ball Roll swept the commons with thousands of tennis balls. Students and faculty took a break from their work and studies to purchase tennis balls and watch them roll in hopes they would win a prize. There were well over a hundred winners for various prizes and gifts. Besides tennis balls flooding the commons, everyone enjoyed some pizza, Rita’s and music.

The Great Commons Ball Roll is an event that supports Campus Ministry’s International Service Program (ISP). All of the donations go toward funding ISP’s future service trips across the world. Come check out our Flickr album of the event here!

A Magical Night: The Royal Rooftop Carnival

By: Kayla Johnson
The Royal Rooftop Carnival was hosted this past Saturday by the University of Scranton’s Commuter Student Association (CSA). They had everything you could imagine — a real-life “Hungry, Hungry Hippos” game, a photo booth with all the works, a caricature artist, a performance by AJ the DJ, a towering Jenga game, the infamous “Adrenaline Rush” obstacle course, an inflatable reminiscent of the “Ninja Warrior,” popcorn, snow cones, and so much more. There was even a chance to win a Royal Rooftop Carnival T-shirt (if you completed all of the activities)! The rooftop of the DeNaples parking garage looked livelier than ever- meaning the Royal Rooftop Carnival was a success all around!

If you missed out on the Royal Rooftop Carnival, check out our Snapchat story and photos from the night on our Flickr.

For Those Ruff Days: Pet Therapy

By: Kelly Lappin
Last Tuesday, students (and staff!) enjoyed some stress-free time petting puppies. Pet Therapy Day is one of the most loved (and fluffy!) days of the semester for students! Can’t wait for next year’s event!



Make sure to check out the puppy pictures from Pet Therapy on our Flickr.

Take Back the Night

By: Kelly Lappin
Scranton’s Annual Take Back the Night (TBTN) event was held last Thursday on the Dionne Green. We talked to community outreach coordinator TBTN Megan Barr.

Q: What is Take Back the Night?

MB: Take Back the Night is an event to raise awareness and educate about the issue of sexual assault and violence. We host three components to the event which all hold specific meaning to the cause as a whole. The night starts with a pre-rally, which educate those in the community through interactive activities. We then have a rally which leads into a march. This part of the night brings the community together and is a great segway into our final event, which is the speak out. This is a space which gives those who have experienced any form of violence the opportunity to share their stories.

Q: Why is TBTN special at The University of Scranton? 

MB: While Take Back the Night is held all over the world, the Scranton community provides a great atmosphere to hold the event. I truly believe the community students often talk about on campus is seen in the best way at Take Back the Night.

Q: Why is this event special to you?

MB: This event has sparked a passion in me and has given me the opportunity to enact change with that passion. We have an amazing group of work study students and staff who devote their energy to make this possible and I am grateful to be part of that. Take Back the Night gives all attendees the chance to get what they need from the event. From education to passion, and even just being able to be heard, this is a truly special night. I will never forget the fire that ignited in me after attending my first Take Back the Night last year. Everyone has a place here.

View photos from Take Back the Night on Flickr.

Relay For Life

By: Kelly Lappin
The annual Relay for Life event was recently held at The University of Scranton! Students fundraised to fight cancer and had fun while doing it. We caught up with some students and asked why they Relay for Life!

“I relay to make a tangible difference in the lives of those battling cancer. I relay to remember the family members I have lost to cancer, to honor those who have fought cancer in the past, and to support those whose fight continues.” -Ashley Javitz, Class of 2017 

“I relay because I lost someone who was like a father to me to cancer and I don’t want other people to have to experience that.” -Geena Wasiak, Class of 2018 

“I relay because in my junior year of high school, three of my good friends lost a parent to cancer. I’ve seen the devastating effects cancer has on good people, so I participate for a future where more families will not have to go through this.” -Courtney Tampone, Class of 2020

Each person’s contribution helps save lives through the American Cancer Association.

Find more photos from Relay for Life on our Flickr.

April 26

Each week, our campus correspondents are out and about taking photos and collecting stories for Campus Corner. Read their articles and highlights below! Browse photos on Flickr.

O Canada!

By: Kelly Lappin

This past weekend Scranton students took a trip to Montreal, Canada! The trip allowed students to explore Montreal on their own and indulge themselves in Canadian culture. The trip begab early Friday morning with a 6 a.m. departure and ended Sunday in the early afternoon. This gave students plenty of time to look around in Old Montreal, Quartier-Latin and Chinatown. Some of the many sights included the famous and beautiful Notre-Dame church, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Olympic Park and much more. The Montreal trip was a once in a lifetime experience. Get ready to sign up for next year’s trip!

Check out some photos from the trip on our Flickr.

Spring Cleaning: Street Sweep 2017

By: Kayla Johnson
Earth Day arrived on Saturday and with it came the students of The University of Scranton, ready to clean up the streets of the Historic Hill Section, and much more. This Street Sweep introduced new elements into sprucing up the students’ home away from home — including painting fire hydrants, installing solar lights, raking out leaves from sewer drains and tidying up around Nay Aug. Thanks to the students, the streets of Scranton look great!

Check out photos from Street Sweep on our Flickr.


Maintain and Sustain: Teach-In with Mark Murphy

By: Kayla Johnson
During Earth Week, the Education for Justice hosted a series of teach-in seminars on different topics and the importance of campus sustainability, religious literacy, environmental literacy, HIV/AIDS in the world and feminist art. Mark Murphy, director of sustainability at the University, gave a talk on how maintaining sustainability on campus affects us and our environment.

Murphy stated there is an inherent importance of maintaining our campus, “If we don’t keep it clean, functional and appealing, students will go to another University.” He also stated that we need to do the same for our planet, because we only have one — and there is simply nowhere else for us to go. Things such as climate change and global warming are real and vital to keeping our earth clean — as one point in his talk stated, “Why continue dirtying our air, water and land? We live here, let’s maintain it and the other things will take care of themselves.”

Learn more about Education for Justice, here.

Holi at Scranton

Hosted by the Asia Club, the Residence Hall Association, the Multicultural Center, the Asian Studies Department, the United Colors Organization and ICA, the event was a great success. See the event in photos by Christine Cicoria ’18 here.

Scranton students took part in Holi, commonly known as the Festival of Colors, on Saturday.

April 12

Each week, our campus correspondents are out and about taking photos and collecting stories for Campus Corner. Read their articles and highlights below! Browse photos on Flickr.

Why D3: Celebrating D3 Week

By: Kelly Lappin
Last week, The University of Scranton celebrated Division III Week. Student-athletes shared why they love their sports, school and division.

“A D3 athlete means being a student-athlete. The word student comes before athlete showing how academics carry more importance than athletics,” said Nick Denniston, a junior on the men’s swim team, “Obviously while competing, we all want to win just as bad as a Division I or Division II athlete, but we also understand that we are at school to earn a degree and better ourselves as individuals”

Randy Shemanski, the athletics communications manager, also gave us his thoughts on Division III week and what it means to him, for others and the impact of athletics:

What does D3 week mean to you?
“To me, D3 Week is a chance to celebrate everything our nearly 400 student-athletes do in their sports, in the classroom and in the community. We often get caught up in the wins and losses, so it’s definitely important to understand that there’s more to being a student-athlete at the NCAA Division III than just the competition.”

How does athletics impact the University of Scranton?
“I think it gives our students something to take pride in and a sense of identity that builds on the outstanding academic reputation of the University. It shows that our students are able to be successful in many different avenues of life.”

Why is the University of Scranton athletics special?
“I think the sense of family and commitment to a common goal that everyone in University of Scranton athletics shares is extremely special. We have been working hard to build a culture around The Royal Way, and our student-athletes, coaches and staff have all embraced the ideals within The Royal Way and are working hard to make them a part of everyday life, both inside and outside of athletics.”

To learn more about the University of Scranton’s athletics check out their website, here, and see their photos with Iggy, here.

Prepare for the Future with the Center for Career Development

By: Kayla Johnson
It’s about that time, students. Time to find a job or an internship! So we did some research for you. We reached out to Chris Whitney, director for the Center for Career Development, to ask what students should do when searching for and applying to jobs, as well what online resources the center has for students to practice for interviews and find job postings.

Here are some of Chris Whitney’s job-hunting tips:

  •  Go to your network, all the people you know- family, friends, and alumni. Anyone they know is a helpful source for finding jobs.
  •  Start sooner rather than later because no one wants to be panicking in June.

We also delved into the importance of sites like Big Interview and when it comes to a shift from in-person interactions to online interviews. Here’s what Whitney had to say:

Big interview is an online mock interview program. Students need to become more familiar with the online interview. Companies, in order to save money, have started using the online setting for first and second round interviews. It gives students the chance to practice and become more comfortable with sitting down in front of a computer and helps them notice things they may have never seen before – like if they say “um”, get really red, or play with their hair. They can also send their interview out to get reviewed by anyone they want- alumni mentors, professors, or a career services coach.”

And, this is what she had to say for the resource,

“It’s an online career library where you can get all sorts of info about an industry or company. Also, it has information about the careers a student could be interested in and job-postings. It’s a great place to prepare for interviews.”

To find out more or try out these resources check out the Center for Career Development’s website, here.

Get Ready for Earth Day

By: Kelly Lappin

As we get closer to Earth Day, there are more and more events related to sustainability. Check out the list below to plan how you’ll get involved. Don’t forget to celebrate Earth Day every day!

Earth Day Events:

April 7 – Electric City Bike Event – Courthouse Square, 5-8 p.m.

         Students enjoyed a chance to explore the local downtown area while riding on bikes!

April 18-23 – Environmental Art Show – WML

Come enjoy a taste of culture and enjoy art centered around the environment!

April 18 – Earth Day Fair – DNP patio – 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

         Find out more about the earth you live on and how you can make a difference.

April 20 – Evening of Environmental Science – LSC – 6-8 p.m.

         Learn more about the environment and discuss changes that can be made for the better!


April 22 – Street Sweep – Hill Section, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. 

         The hill section of Scranton gets a makeover when students join together to clean up!

April 29-30 – Used Book Sale – WML

Make a change in the world by buying used books and saving paper!

April 29 – Kayak Trip to Susquehanna River

         Sign up on 2nd Floor DeNaples on April 12th from 12 p.m. – 2p.m.

Get the details and more info, here.

A Bucket List

We asked seniors what they want to accomplish before graduation. Here’s what they had to say. (Oh and also follow us on Snapchat at univofscranton!)