UVA dean offers tips on becoming a doctor

The University of Virginia’s Medical School assistant dean spoke to a group of 20 students Friday afternoon about the benefits of pursuing a career in the field of medicine.

Hosted by the Minority Association of pre-health students and the American Medical Students association, Moses Woode’s lecture focused on the “keys to the M.D. promised land.”

Woode also serves as director for UVA’s Medical Academic Achievement Program, a site for the Minority Medical Education Program. MMEP places pre-med minority students in summer programs to benefit their future endeavors.

“Dreaming is not enough,” Woode said. “You need to show that you worked hard and stayed focused. You have to be determined to stay on course.”

Determination, GPA and high MCAT scores are the first three steps to becoming a doctor, he said. He also explained the correlation between GPA and performance in medical school, and the importance that medical schools place on standardized test scores.

Woode also spoke about the need for interview skills and valid references, focusing on minority students.

“When they call you for an interview, it’s not because you are a minority, but because you are well qualified,” he said. “They want to see you, and how you carry yourself. They want to see someone who is confident and self-assured.”

Woode said having clinical experience is important because getting accepted into medical school becomes more difficult every year. Woode said UVA usually receives 4,000-5,000 medical school applications and accepted 139 students this year. GW receives 6,000-8,000 applications, and accepted about 150 this year, he said.

“Many apply, but few make it,” said Woode. “These facts are so you take the premed business very seriously.”

He said one of the best ways to get clinical experience is through a summer medical program.

Senior Abisola Ayodeji, vice president of the Minority Association of pre-health students, said she participated in a six-week medical program last summer through the Medical Academic Achievement Program.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to work with doctors and shadow residents ranging from emergency medics to geriatrics,” Ayodeji said. “We had so many people speak to us about what they did to get to where they are today.”

Students said that they found Woode’s lecture helpful and informative, and they will take his advice seriously.

“The lecture was very encouraging, and gave me more insight into the steps I need to take,” said freshman Grace Yi, a student in the School of Public Health. “I had been planning to attend the summer program at UVA this summer, and I am really looking forward to it even more so now.”

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