Hanel Watkins

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The Fee Assistance Program helped me stay out of debt when applying to schools, and I was able to apply more broadly without having to worry about the cost. Although I applied a bit late, I’m so glad I did!

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Hanel Watkins Headshot

Medical School: Penn State College of Medicine
Expected Graduation Year: 2024
Undergraduate Institution: Brigham Young University
Major: Neuroscience
Minor: Russian

Why I’m becoming a doctor

I have always been interested in how science influences the human experience. Part of why I studied Neuroscience was because I wanted to understand what makes us behave the way we do. I performed an abundance of research during my undergrad years on this topic. As I shadowed physicians and volunteered, I realized I wanted a career that would bring together research, patient care, and daily problem-solving. I am currently thinking about surgical specialties, especially, plastic surgery or pediatric surgery. I had the opportunity to perform surgeries on rats in a previous research lab and I’ve shadowed in the Operations Room. I love being immersed in the environment and working with my hands.

My experience with the AAMC Fee Assistance Program

I used the following benefits during my premed journey: 

I was very overwhelmed after seeing how expensive applying to medical schools would be. I heard about the AAMC Fee Assistance Program from the website and decided to apply even though I had already submitted most of my primary applications. It turned out to be extremely helpful and saved me thousands of dollars in secondary fees. The MSAR online-database was helpful for comparing the dates and deadlines for schools, their median MCAT and GPA, and mission statements when I was submitting secondaries and preparing for interviews. 

Other ways I benefited from the AAMC Fee Assistance Program

From the 34 schools I applied to, I received 34 secondaries and waived fees for 30. 

Advice to future applicants

The most important advice I would give is to apply early, not just for medical schools but for programs like the Fee Assistance Program, scholarships, FAFSA – anything! If I had known about the Fee Assistance Program even a couple months before applying, I would have saved even more money on my primary applications. This means you should be prepared well in advance – have your tax documents and bank statements ready to go, ask for letters of recommendation early, and pre-write your essays. 

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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Learn about the Expanded Fee Assistance Program
Application Processing

As of May 24 the Fee Assistance Program is:

Processing applications that were “Submitted and Pending Verification” on May 23.

2024 Fee Assistance Program Essentials

Understanding the 2024 Fee Assistance Program Essentials is the first step in applying. This is required reading before completing your AAMC Fee Assistance Program application and necessary for a smooth application process.

2024 Fee Assistance Program Application Workbook

This resource is designed to help you prepare your materials for the 2024 AAMC Fee Assistance Program application but does not replace the online application.

Financial Aid Resources

The AAMC's FIRST (Financial Information, Resources, Services, and Tools) program provides free resources to help you make wise financial decisions. 

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MCAT Official Prep Hub

The MCAT Official Prep Hub is where you can access your products received through the Fee Assistance Program, purchase new products, and view free resources.