What things were you looking for while searching for a graduate or professional program?
I didn't look into too many other options besides the College of Human Medicine at MSU due to location, family circumstance, and familiarity with the quality of the program.
What advice might you give to an undergraduate about their graduate or professional school search or application process?
Make a decision about location/program that is consistent with your personal goals. It's easy to fall into the trap of pursuing programs that are ranked higher in a variety of publications, but your personal goals are the most important and may not align with the criteria used for rankings.
What opportunities did you take advantage of to help prepare yourself for graduate or professional school?
My undergrad grades were the most important. Without these the future opportunities dissipated. In addition to this, volunteering and research were also a priority as both of these are important for medical school admission. I also participated in several leadership opportunities that turned out to be a topic of discussion during my medical school interviews.
How did you distinguish yourself from other candidates applying?
The culmination of my experiences made me unique. I tried to demonstrate a consistent goal and coherent story that highlighted these experiences in my personal statement. Everyone applying for medical school "cares about people" or "wants to help people" so try to say this less and prove it with your CV.
What approaches and techniques did you use to prepare for a standardized test? How often? Did you find that successful?
Exam krackers and practice tests. If you are smart and willing to work hard, you don't need to spend thousands of dollars for MCAT prep courses. I took the MCAT once and got a score that did not limit my admission to MSU.