Prisha Shashikant Patel

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I always heard my fellow friends and classmates complain about financial burden from taking the MCAT and applying to multiple schools. I applied to almost 20 schools for free; most of my secondary application fees were waived, so I did not have to worry about that either.

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Prisha Patel Headshot

Medical School: University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Expected Graduation Year: 2024
Undergraduate Institution: Belmont University
Major: Biology with Pre-Medical Emphasis

Why I’m becoming a doctor

I was first inspired to be a pediatrician by my very own pediatrician, Dr. Pravin Vafai. From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a doctor because many doctors have helped my family. Not long after birth, I began having recurring shortness of breath and pneumonia, which caused many admissions to the emergency room. My parents had endless, scary nights. To further complicate the situation, treatments were confusing because their lack of English-speaking skills prevented them from communicating with the doctors. During the journey to my diagnosis, my family met pediatrician Parvin Vafai, who changed my family’s life and coordinated an entire healthcare team with allergists, dermatologist, and ophthalmologist to address health concerns. Although language barriers were an issue, Dr. Vafai learned how to communicate with my parents and became our support system. Even when transportation was unavailable, she willingly rushed to my home to treat me. Until retirement, she continued to check on me, and I am beyond thankful for her. My pediatrician was my family’s backbone, and we will forever be grateful for that, but in return, I am determined to be a pediatrician that serves the underprivileged areas to reduce the burden of inaccessible care and language barriers.

My experience with the AAMC Fee Assistance Program

I used the following benefits during my premed journey: 

I found information on the AAMC website when I first made my account and applied to the program before registering for the MCAT. I used the reduced MCAT registration fee twice and studied with a name brand Self-Study Course and The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam. 

Free access to the MSAR is a game-changer; you know where your stats fall in regards to each school so you can weigh your chances of getting in. I used MSAR to see how my statistics compared to the schools' incoming class and I looked at schools' mission and diversification information. 

Applying to medical school is hard, since you really have to apply to multiple schools to have a chance of getting into one. I applied to 20 schools in hopes of landing into one. Therefore, having a waived AMCAS primary application and receiving waived secondary application fees were the most beneficial to me.

Advice to future applicants

I would recommend starting early. The application requires information that is similar to what the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) requires, so it is pretty easy. Make sure you look at the website because there are so many resources that are listed there.

Also, most of my secondary application fees were waived. If they were not waived, they were at least discounted. Most of the time the schools would include a disclaimer like sentence at the bottom of the secondary application invitation, which is why it is important to read the entire email. Again, make sure you read the emails in their entirety.

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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