Rose Desvaristes, MD
Medical School: MD, Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, 2017
Nusring School: BS in nursing, University of South Alabama, 2011
Graduate: MS in biology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2010
Undergrad: BS in biology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2005
- Introduced to medicine as a career at the age of 8 when hospitalized for a health issue
- Orphaned in early childhood
- Tutored high school classmates and volunteered during health fairs at her church
- Moved from Haiti to United States in 2001
- Inducted into Robert Wood Johnson Scholar & Sigma Theta Tau International, Nursing Honors Society
- Worked as a nurse; decides to become a physician
- Held leadership position for Minorities in medicine and emergency medicine interest groups, and member of the Diversity Council while in Medical school
- Matched to Emergency Medicine at University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville; .
Rose did not do a post-baccalaureate program, but completed a second undergraduate degree in nursing prior to enrolling in medical school. The program was 1-year in duration where she took 30 or more credits each semester.
Like many applicants, Rose worried about not having a perfect grade point average and high MCAT score, but she stated: “During my interviews, no one asked me about my unbalanced MCAT score or the C grades in my transcript, they were more interested in learning about my strengths and the strategies that I used for overcoming challenges and achieving consistent personal development.”
Rose’s path to medicine as a non-traditional student took longer than the typical applicant. As her mentor, Aruna Kilaru, PhD, associate professor of biology at ETSU shared, “Rose was admittedly concerned and weary of the long path to accomplish her dreams. She had already earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Biology and a BS in Nursing. She was also getting close to celebrating her 30th birthday. Rose was eager to ‘feel’ settled and have a family of her own and was concerned that she could be giving up too much for medicine.” Dr. Kilaru went on to further share that since Rose was academically successful in her previous studies, neither of them were concerned about her ability to handle the medical school curriculum. ”I only told her to make the best of what is at hand and not let opportunities pass.”
Growing up, Rose was very inquisitive, a quality that paid off. Along the way, she nourished her passion for helping people through tutoring high school classmates and volunteering during health fairs at her church.” Even though these experiences occurred a significant number of years before she applied to medical schools, including this information still helped to show Rose’s journey and inform admissions committees about her “distance traveled.” (“Distance Traveled” is a term often used by admissions officers to refer to any obstacles or hardships you’ve overcome to get to this point in your education, or any life challenges you’ve faced and conquered. For more information, see page 75 of The Official Guide to Medical School Admissions, 2017 edition.)
Being a nurse, completing a graduate degree, participating in research, engaging in teaching, along with proficiency in foreign languages showed how diverse and rich Rose’s background was and helped distinguished her from other applicants.
Rose added, “I am from a disadvantaged background, but despite the odds, I was determined to accomplish my goals. Previous studies helped me discover suitable learning styles and time-management skills that really prepared me for medical school,” she shared.
Rose touches on all of these experiences and has the narrative culminate in answering a question she knew she’d be asked by any medical school she applied to: what would becoming a physician enable her to do that she wasn’t already able to accomplish as a nurse. She writes:
“…I know that [being a physician] is more than diagnosing diseases and prescribing treatments. It involves major responsibilities that require excellent clinical preparation, a sincere love for people and their wellbeing, and a true sense of self. …physicians have asked …when made aware of my aspirations, ‘do you want that responsibility and are you willing to make the sacrifice?’… my affirmative answers don’t originate from youthful dreams, but from a strong commitment to healthcare borne out of solid exposure to patient care, needs for healthcare, and a strong desire to help. … with the combination of my life experience, academic preparation, clinical experience, passion, and determination, I feel prepared for this emotional, physical and cognitively demanding profession.”
Letters of Evaluation
Dr. Kilaru shared that “She not only came with more than necessary academic experience and training (three degrees under her belt, research and nursing experience) but she also came with life experiences that drove her to be motivated, and passionate. They gave her reasons and strength to become a doctor. Rose, because of her experiences, has the ability to relate to pain and suffering. And now, she also has the power to address and alleviate them for others.”
In reading Rose’s essay as well as the letters provided on her behalf, the admissions committee at ETSU “could tell that Rose was aware of our medical school’s mission. Her essay, along with her experiences, answers to secondary application questions, and letters of recommendation really influenced our decision to accept her.”
Interview invitations are often crucially important in giving confidence to applicants. This was true for Rose as well. “Once I was offered interviews, I felt more confident. To prepare, I reviewed my application in its entirety and prepared myself to discuss any aspect of it. I read books and online tips on interviewing for medical school. I also did mock interviews with friends and my mentor.”
The interview is an opportunity for admissions officers to confirm what they’ve learned about candidates through all other components of their application. As her admissions officer Ms. Cole confirmed, “Her interview solidified her exceptional personal qualities, and she demonstrated many of the competencies we look for.”
Why Rose Chose ETSU
Why ETSU Chose Rose
Commitment to the ETSU mission was also central to the admissions committee’s decision to select Rose, shared Ms. Cole. But other factors weighed in as well. “Our mission is to educate primary care physicians to serve in rural and or underserved areas, and rural and or underserved areas need specialists as well. Her application was full of these indicators.
Rose’s primary application demonstrated her ability to succeed both academically and with the MCAT, and her secondary application and personal statement provided additional insight to her level of maturity and passion.
Her interview solidified her exceptional personal qualities. Rose stood out as a compassionate, knowledgeable Registered Nurse. I would gladly choose her as my own physician.”
Note: This section helps to illustrate how multiple competencies can be demonstrated across many experiences, activities, and parts of your application.