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Jake Carpenter-Thompson

Fifth year Student in Medical Scholars Program MD/Ph.D., Neuroscience Program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Jake Carpenter-Thompson

 
 

What things were you looking for while searching for a graduate or professional school program?

I was looking for a top institution in my field (medicine, neuroscience, brain imaging) and a collaborative, supportive atmosphere among student and faculty.

What advice might you give to an undergraduate about their graduate or professional school search or application process?

For graduate school, have a good understanding of what type of research you would like to conduct, and how you would like to be trained. This is critical when it comes time to choose your mentor and can also help in choosing a school based on what school excels in the area of research you would like to conduct.

What opportunities did you take advantage of to help prepare yourself for graduate or professional school?

I discussed my career path options with the pre-med advisor (at the time was Amanda Cuevas) and she provided me with the information necessary in the application process.

How did you distinguish yourself from other candidates applying?

I graduated college with a perfect 4.0 GPA earning the coveted title, Summa Cum Laude. While in college, not only did I excel in the classroom but I also led a productive extracurricular life. My extracurricular life included: winning 3 national dodgeball championships and being the lead actor in many plays. These experiences afforded me the ability to discuss a wide range of topics with those that interviewed me and leave a positive lasting impression. I detail how I did this in my book which is available on Amazon titled “Your Summa Cum Laude, MD/PhD, Cooler Than You Big Brother's Guide for Success in College.” There will be a new edition of the book published within the next few months under a different title. The new version of the title we are working with is “College Success: Advice from a 4.0 student.” However you can find both version of the book by searching Jake Carpenter-Thompson in amazon or Google.

What were the main factors you considered important when comparing grad/professional schools?

  1. National ranking in my field of study
  2. How the faculty treated students i.e. supportive atmosphere
  3. I wanted to be at a university that stressed interdisciplinary work so that I could work with scholars outside my expertise and be exposed to a wide range of ideas.

Was there a process or strategy that you used to narrow down your top schools of choice?

After deciding my top choices I looked at where the schools were located and tuition to narrow down the list.

What approaches and techniques did you use to prepare for a standardized test? How often? Did you find that successful?

Briefly, I studied the notes from the classes that were stressed on the exams, namely Biology, Chemistry and Physics 3 months in advance. Yes, I found this to be successful. I would also recommend studying review books published by test prep companies as well as their test prep courses.