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William Benjamin Smith

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Receiving AAMC Fee Assistance benefits turned my dream into a practical enterprise. The AMCAS fees, secondary fees, and MCAT prep would have put an inordinate strain on me and my family’s finances otherwise. I’m truly grateful for this program enabling me to focus on becoming a better applicant and essentially giving me the chance to matriculate to the special institution I now call home.

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Will Smith Headshot.jpg

Medical School: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Expected Graduation Year: 2024
Undergraduate Institution: University of Notre Dame
Major: Neuroscience and Behavior

Why I’m becoming a doctor

My motivation to become a physician stems from the desire to reduce gaps in health disparities. I plan to serve vulnerable communities through primary care and empower my patients to live the healthiest lives they can.

My experience with the AAMC Fee Assistance Program 

I used the following benefits during my premed journey: 

I initially heard about the AAMC Fee Assistance Program from upperclassmen friends in college. Gaining this rich insight from my peers allowed me to apply for fee assistance benefits before I even began studying for the MCAT exam. This was extremely helpful as I was able to utilize the study guides to focus my time and maximize the high yield content I learned. Then, I used the sample tests to check my progress, which was also very helpful since the practice exams are written by the actual MCAT developers. Accessing these resources early and being intentional with how I integrated them into my MCAT study schedule prepared me well enough to only use the benefits and take the exam once.  

As I entered the application phase, I used the MSAR benefit to discover various aspects of the medical schools that I was interested in. Thankfully, the MSAR provides tons of useful information including many of the topics that were super important to me, such as the average GPAs/MCAT scores of accepted students, the average debt load of graduates, the components and implementation of curriculum, and the degree to which schools accepted out of state applicants. Having this information readily accessible and conveniently located in the MSAR made listing my choices very simple. 

Ultimately, I found the AMCAS benefit to be the most useful for me, as it allowed me to apply to 16 schools free of any AMCAS fees due to fee assistance benefits. I likely would not have applied to that number of schools without the financial help, as the resources were not readily available to do so. Meanwhile, receiving the benefit of waived AMCAS fees and the added benefit of waived secondary application fees, allowed me to keep hundreds of dollars in my pocket that I was able to reallocate toward other important aspects of the application process, such as professional attire and travel expenses for the interview, and other resources that helped me represent myself in the best way possible.

Advice to future applicants

I have two key pieces of advice that I believe future Fee Assistance Program applicants should consider before applying for Fee Assistance Program benefits and hopefully, after being approved to receive them.

First, I recommend that applicants prepare financial documents beforehand to streamline the process. Being able to document and verify your family’s income level is a critical component of receiving these benefits per program requirements. If you can easily reference these documents once you begin your application, it should allow you to complete it in a timely and efficient manner.

Secondly, once awarded Fee Assistance Program benefits, I believe that it is extremely important to sit with your pre-med committee, advisor, or a mentor to walk through all program benefits and develop a plan of action to use them strategically and optimally. This was critical for me, as both applying early in my process and mapping out my use of Fee Assistance Program benefits once awarded, allowed me to take advantage of resources that have ultimately made it possible for me to pursue my dreams of becoming a doctor who cares for and saves, lives. 

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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As of April 16 the Fee Assistance Program is:

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