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Elizabeth Juarez Diaz

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The journey to medical school is costly. Coming from a low-income household made it difficult to apply to all of the programs that I wanted to apply to, but after receiving the AAMC Fee assistance benefits, I could do just that.

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Medical School: MD/PhD candidate at Washington University in St. Louis Medical Scientist Training Program
Expected Graduation Year: 2028 
Undergraduate Institution: St. Catherine University
Major: Chemistry
Minor: Physics

Why I’m becoming a doctor

The decisive factor in my journey to medical school was my mother's cancer journey. Since immigrating to the United States, the healthcare experiences my family had were not ideal. However, when my mother was diagnosed and treated with cancer, my family witnessed the power that caring medical teams and organizations can have on patients' lives. I want to dedicate my life to serving others and advocating for patients. My medical interests are in oncology.

My experience with the AAMC Fee Assistance Benefits 

I used the following benefits during my premed journey: 

I heard about the AAMC Fee Assistance Program on social media and from peers in a pipeline program dedicated to underrepresented youth interested in medicine called Minnesota Future Doctors at the University of Minnesota

While I applied for fee assistance benefits before registering for the MCAT, it allowed me access to helpful study material that I used. I was able to take advantage of the MCAT Official Prep Products. I used the practice test material, flashcard, and application guide to help me prepare. I was also able to save enough money to supplement my study materials, which helped me immensely with my MCAT exam. 

Once I was ready to apply, I used the MSAR benefit to help me look over the mission statements of the medical schools I was interested in. It was also helpful to know the general statistics of matriculating students to compare to my own statistics. 

The AMCAS benefit was the most useful for me, I took advantage of the complete AMCAS waiver benefit and applied to 20 schools. Applying to more programs was vital for me because I am a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) student, and there were fewer programs even considering me. 

Other ways the AAMC Fee Assistance Program Helped Me

Applying to 20 schools, I received approximately 20 secondaries and waived fees for them all. Getting secondary submission fees waived was extremely helpful as I would not have applied if I had to pay for secondaries. My budget was limited, and FAP allowed me to expand my possibilities that ended up working marvelously.

During the interview trail, I was lucky to receive many interviews. Once programs were aware I received fee assistance, they could reimburse several expenses such as hotels and flights. I was able to receive several travel reimbursements from Cornell University, Emory, Mayo Clinic, and Washington University in St. Louis. 

Advice to Future Applicants

When you’re completing your Fee Assistance Program application, look over the requirements, and if there are questions about how to fill it out to reach out to AAMC. When I was filling it out, I forgot to send some of the required documents, but then reached out and was able to send them via email.

Make sure to take advantage of the MCAT Official Prep Products. I recommend really using the flashcards alongside the practice tests. These two resources were the closest in predicting my knowledge gaps and studying for the MCAT. 

The AAMC resources were the most helpful in my journey to applying to medical school. Definitely take advantage of them if you have the resources to do so, and if not applying to the Fee Assistance Program is a great way to have access.

These students’ testimonials were selected because they represent diverse stories. The views expressed herein are those of the students and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the AAMC.
 

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AAMC Attn: Fee Assistance Program 655 K Street N.W., Suite 100 Washington, DC 20001

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