Sarah Baldree ’21

Kaplan MCAT DIY Course, Professional Development Course

This summer, I took a professional development course offered by Kaplan Test Prep to help prepare for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). This course, rather than being taught by an instructor or tutor, was a self-paced online course. I was provided with a general study plan, as well as many videos, practice problems, full length tests, and content review books. Then over the course of the summer, I worked through these materials at my own speed. I brushed up on my prior knowledge of chemistry, physics, biology, biochemistry, psychology, and sociology. Although I have taken several classes in these areas, I was surprised that there was a fair amount of information which I was learning for the first time.

This fall marks the beginning of my senior year, and I will begin the process of applying to medical school this coming spring. Being able to take this prep course will have a direct impact on achieving my career goals. Having a competitive MCAT score is a vital part of applying to medical school, and the necessary investment of time and effort helps ensure that I am ready for this strenuous process. Furthermore, establishing a wide base of knowledge and sharpening critical thinking skills will no doubt aid me later in life as I work through medical school and become a practicing physician.

An unexpected impact of this course was gaining a deeper appreciation for my education thus far. At the beginning of the process, I felt very intimidated by the amount of content I was expected to have memorized in order to do well on the MCAT. However, as I progressed through the content review this summer, I realized how much I have learned over the past three years at Williams. I am proud of myself for everything that I have accomplished, and I am so thankful for all of the wonderful professors who have made a difference in my academic journey.

Though this course was pretty rigorous, and sometimes motivation to study was hard to come by, I was able to enjoy this opportunity. I love learning, and it felt empowering to watch my score on practice assessments rise. When it came to my test day, I was very nervous and felt uneasy, but after taking the test, I was enormously proud of myself and the time I have put into my future. I look forward to retaking the MCAT and improving my score even further, and I am excited to begin the application process with a score that makes me feel confident.

I am incredibly thankful to the ’68 Center for Career Exploration and to the Estate of Bruce C. Davey for this amazing opportunity. Without this support, I never would have had access to such wonderful preparatory material—and it has made all the difference.