Student Spotlight: Rachel Becker
Undergraduate: UC San Diego
Major: Human Biology
Program Track: Clinical
Future Health Profession: Medicine
Since completing the UC Davis Health Professions Post-Baccalaureate Program in 2022, Rachel Becker has been manufacturing cell therapies used in clinical trials. She says her medical school application process has significantly improved since completing the program. So far, she has received three acceptance letters with more decisions to come.
Why did you decide to pursue a post-bac?
I decided to pursue a post-bac because my way of getting into medical school did not work as planned. I struggled for years thinking I could read Student Doctor Network and take advice from my friends who had already enrolled in medical schools. However, I realized everyone is on their own path, and asking for help is okay. After one unsuccessful application cycle, I applied to multiple post-bac programs. I needed the guidance and the structure of a program to help me pinpoint what I needed to improve upon and how to position myself strategically as an applicant.
Why did you choose UC Davis for your post-bac studies?
UC Davis’ responsiveness and competitive offerings were reasons why I chose to attend. The UC Davis Post-Bac had the best commitment to helping me evolve as a student and helping me fix my study habits that didn’t work in undergrad. They gave me the tools and the support to best set me up for success as a medical student. Lastly, no other program offered comprehensive multi-month MCAT studying or EMT training.
What were your goals going into the program, and how did our program help you achieve them?
My general goal was to be a better student and learn how to study effectively. I was able to accomplish both goals through the program seminars and with the help of counselors who went above and beyond. An unexpected outcome of the program was the confidence it gave me in the classroom. Previously, I struggled with speaking up or asking questions. However, this program helped me see that maximizing my education and finding how I learn best is the most important thing I can do to prepare myself for medical school, and asking questions and taking in as much as I can is a valuable and powerful skill.
What did you find most valuable about the program?
The most valuable aspect of this program was meeting with my counselors regularly—they catered to each student and their needs and adjusted their counseling based on each individual. I loved being able to have a strong connection with my counselors. They helped me make decisions about my classes, how to strategize extracurriculars and build a network. The program staff went above and beyond to get me what I needed and make me feel supported, and they continue to support me during my application and interview process.
How was the test preparation?
The testing preparation was a huge reason I came to UC Davis. Most programs do a short period of MCAT prep, but the UC Davis Post-Bac has an extended course to make it possible to take a full set of classes and study for several months. Studying for the MCAT is challenging and emotionally taxing, but having all the books, online materials and counseling available made the process much more bearable. I had a 10-point score increase because of the preparation I did in the program.
Why did you choose the EMT Track, and how has this experience helped you?
I loved the EMT Track. Learning all the physiology throughout the year and then taking the 11-week EMT course was incredibly challenging and rewarding. Translating what we learned in the classroom into practical skills and understanding why we were performing those skills was a very empowering experience.
This program taught me valuable skills and knowledge I will use as a healthcare provider. I had my biggest learning experiences during my shadowing shifts in the hospital and on an ambulance. It’s very eye-opening when learning how to provide care to people of different circumstances in the privacy of their own homes. Ultimately, the EMT program lays a strong foundation for future providers and helps drive a message of the self-awareness and level of skill needed when acting to save lives in emergency situations. After finishing this program, I feel prepared to competently help others during times of a healthcare emergency.
Would you recommend the UC Davis Post-Bac?
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I highly recommend joining this program. It empowered me and helped me find the confidence I needed to continue in the healthcare field. This program changed my life for the better and I’m thankful to have been a part of it.
What advice would you give to others considering pursuing a health professions post-bac?
Don’t stop believing in yourself! Some days are harder than others and it’s easy to lose sight of the finish line. The process of getting into a health professions school is financially draining, emotionally exhausting and overwhelming. I have lost count of how many times I have felt so small in this process, but the sooner you realize you are valuable and unique, the easier this process becomes. Have confidence in your abilities and the story you bring because no one else will advocate for you like yourself! Ultimately, invest the time, energy and money into your education and be ready to work hard for the goals you want to accomplish.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
I hope to be serving as a community healthcare provider. I haven’t completely decided where I want to end up. However, I can confidently say that wherever I do end up, I will take advantage of the opportunities I have available to learn as much as possible and constantly try to improve the lives of those around me.