Back in 2015, Leslie Cachola was having difficulty getting accepted into medical school.
She had a B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University. She had full-time work experience in clinical operations at a small biotech company in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sounds like a shoe-in, but the offer letters weren't coming her way.
How to make her application stronger? Leslie recalled having a positive experience when she took a biochemistry course with us in 2013, which allowed her to fulfill some pre-med requirements for those 2015 applications. But this time around, instead of just taking courses, Leslie chose to take advantage of all the benefits that the Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Program offers.
And today, she’s got her pick of seven(!) different osteopathic and allopathic medical schools.
The biochemistry, molecular biology and chemistry courses enabled me to achieve my intended MCAT score.
Congratulations on having so many acceptance letters!
Thank you! As of this week, I've been accepted into a total of six osteopathic and allopathic medical schools. I am also waitlisted at another osteopathic school.
I received offers from:
- Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine in New Mexico
- A.T. Still University in Arizona
- Midwestern University in Arizona
- Touro University in California and in Nevada, and
- California Northstate University College of Medicine—where I am currently heading to!
Extension prepared me in a multitude of ways. The biochemistry, molecular biology and chemistry courses enabled me to achieve my intended MCAT score. More importantly, I was able to determine my best method of studying, something I wasn't quite able to achieve as an undergraduate. The varied modalities of teaching provided by the instructors—such as student-led lectures, group projects, independent research—facilitated this process. I became a more confident student at Extension.
I realized I would benefit from an adviser overseeing my personal statement, experiences and full application.
Take me back to your time in our Post-Bacc program. Why did you choose to register for the program as opposed to just take courses to fulfill your pre-reqs?
After not being accepted into medical school in 2015, I sought to improve my application by applying for your pre-health program, among others. I ultimately chose Extension due to its proximity and campus in San Francisco, cost and flexibility in course selection.
I considered my specific needs for improving my medical school application from the first cycle. In addition to proving my ability to excel in upper-level science courses, I realized I would benefit from an adviser overseeing my personal statement, experiences and full application. Additionally, my undergraduate institution did not offer pre-med committee letters, though they are highly recommended for medical school applications. Extension's Post-Bacc program offered a composite letter, which I thought would also strengthen my application.
What was your experience like interacting with other students in the classes?
My experience was incredibly positive.
Learning alongside other students with similar goals and interests made the process of taking classes and applying much smoother. There was less of a competitive atmosphere and more of a collaborative one—all of us were either seeking to improve our application or make a career transition.
I found fellow pre-meds who were also willing to share their experiences applying to medical school, which was helpful for me going through the process.
My instructors were professional, kind and knowledgeable. I had no issues finding time outside of class to ask questions, and all my instructors were supportive of my career goals.
I can't thank my pre-med adviser, Jo Scullion, enough. Jo has played an instrumental role in everything: my course selection, school selection and application. She provided support and additional resources when it came to the MCAT, essay writing, interviews and student networking.
I left my full-time job to enroll in the program full time, and while it was scary to do so, I have no regrets as it has enabled me to matriculate into medical school.
Is there an area in medicine that you want to focus on or is it too soon to tell?
Based on my previous experiences in clinical research, I'm interested in emergency medicine and critical care. However, I have an open mind and will see where medical school takes me!
Where can we find you in five to 10 years from now?
I will be a physician—hopefully in the middle of my residency in California. In addition to patient care, I'll be conducting clinical research on conditions that disproportionately affect the underserved, such as traumatic injuries and mental health disorders.
What advice would you give somebody who is thinking about applying to the program?
Go to an informational session, think about your goals and talk to as many Extension students as possible. I left my full-time job to enroll in the program full time, and while it was scary to do so, I have no regrets as it has enabled me to matriculate into medical school.