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Student Spotlight - Brandon

Hometown: Peoria, AZ

High School: Centennial High School

ASU Major: Bachelor of Science in biology

Why ASU?

Selecting ASU was a very natural choice for me, and my logic was very simple:

I was offered a scholarship. The campus was close to my family in Peoria. While I had no interest in leaving Arizona for college, ASU had the decisive edge of being surrounded by an active, urban environment.

    To be honest, although I did not put a great deal of thought into the question of why ASU was the right decision for me as I transitioned out of high school, I am fully confident now that ASU was the right decision.

    What activities are you involved in?

    Currently, there are three professionally relevant areas that I spend the majority of my time on campus.

    Volunteering: Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) is the health preprofessional honor society at ASU. This is the fourth year I have been associated with AED, and I am currently serving as its president. We provide volunteering, networking, social, educational and leadership opportunities, all of which are available to students regardless of age or membership status. If you have any questions regarding the opportunities we provide or our requirements for becoming a chapter member, please contact the society.

    Employment: I serve as a community assistant for ASU Residential Life at the Cholla Apartments. This position offers unique mentoring, leadership, event planning, conflict resolution and managerial experiences on a regular basis. I would recommend this opportunity to anyone.

    I also conduct research at the Biodesign Institute on campus, and am funded by the SOLUR program, which provides hourly wages for research completed, funding for research supplies and conference attendance and a unique research seminar component. I would recommend this program to any pre-health student interested or currently involved in undergraduate research.  

    Best thing about ASU

    ASU is unmatched in its diversity of campus organizations and opportunities to get connected, but each student needs to take the initiative to get involved and devote the time and energies necessary to finding their "right fit." Yes, ASU is far more interconnected than it may appear at first.  It is very important, initially, to reach out to upperclassmen and resources such as the Health Professions Advising Office. Then, focus on fleshing out your career ambitions and forming the values and beliefs that will carry you there.   

    Advice for students considering the pre-health program

    The most crucial piece of advice I can provide for any incoming student, regardless of age, is to focus on establishing your GPA from the very beginning of your time at ASU. As either a freshman or a transfer student from another university or community college, your ASU GPA will start anew, and it is far more difficult to recover from a poor semester than it is to damage a solid GPA. Secondly, I would recommend investing serious thought and time into finding one or two student organizations, service groups, leadership and/or mentoring opportunities, or on-campus employment that you can honestly enjoy. Find one or two opportunities that you can engage in fully enough to take advantage of the unique social and professional experiences they provide. Do not get caught up in the notion of padding your resume, because quality is always preferred over quantity and this is especially true as an undergraduate pre-health student. The bottom line is that the undergraduate experience is a slow building process. Forming a solid foundation now will allow you branch out more effectively as an upperclassman.  

    Test preparation

    To prepare for the MCAT, I elected to enroll in the Princeton Review Hyperlearning MCAT course. The advantage of this program is that it helps you organize your time around content-based review sessions that focus separately and intensively on each section of the MCAT. In retrospect, it was difficult to balance work, extra-curricular involvement and my course load during my MCAT course. For those students that choose to take a preparatory course, I would recommend enrolling in the course during the summer. If your preparatory course coincides with the fall or spring semesters, I would recommend enrolling in at least one elective course and BIO 390 or 490 in addition to two other science courses and no more than one lab science. I recommend this because it is difficult to maintain your GPA and extra-curricular activities while still devoting adequate time to MCAT preparation. BIO 390 and an elective course during that time would each provide much-needed changes in pace and scenery, which can make all the difference in terms of motivation and stamina when it matters the most during your preparation for the MCAT.