About The Scholarship

In order to make MCAT test prep more accessible we offer two MCAT Test Preparation Scholarships for two Students every quarter. We offer one free spots in our MCAT Fundamentals Program and also one spot in our MCAT Elite program which includes 20 hours of free tutoring with an MCAT expert. If you’re interested in applying, please write a two page essay addressing the prompt quoted below and fill out the application below. All undergraduate student’s are welcomed to apply.

Over the years we have continued to expand our MCAT program to give access to quality MCAT test preparation to students interested in attending medical school but may not be able to afford the $2500 to take MCAT classes through other private companies. I believe this has been an important service. The MCAT is such a difficult and competitive exam that it requires organized preparation to master the necessary content knowledge (physics, chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology, research design and interpretation, and verbal reasoning) and learn valuable test taking strategies. Disadvantaged students get selected out from potentially being doctors because of their inability to afford MCAT preparation. This is one of many reasons that those from disadvantaged backgrounds are underrepresented in the medical field. This contributes to skewing the demographic of doctors towards those from more wealthy socio-economic backgrounds with pernicious effects.

Application for Session Starting January 21st 2017 are due by January 10th 2017

Essay Prompt: “How have you struggled, suffered and/or sacrificed and how will these experiences make you a better doctor?”

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Meet Some of Our Current Recipients

Daniela Carbajal Diana Frainey

Even though, I was born in the United States I was by my grandmother in Honduras while my mother stayed in the United States to work as a housekeeper in order to support our family. These experiences shaped my heart for service I was able to witness and experience extreme poverty which sharpened my intense desire to one day become a positive force to improve my community.

Honduras lacks vital human necessities like health care, education and at times even food. The lack ofproper health care, especially, diminishes the opportunities of the members of the Honduran society to progress, work, grow and learn. While growing up in Honduras with my grandma there were days when we had no money for food, no running water nor electricity, but my experience was not even comparable to the unfortunate economic and housing situation of our closest neighbors. I lived among barefooted children without parents roaming the dirt roads of Tegucigalpa, Honduras just trying to survive without opportunities and support. I want to be able give them opportunities for a better fortune by providing basic health-care. My desire to study medicine grew out of my experience working with Baptist Missionaries while still in High School in Honduras, where I worked as a translator and interpreter for doctors from Alabama. These experiences enabled me to recognize the intense needs in other undeveloped countries and inspired me to further my education in order to one day make a difference in world.

I was able to eventually attend college though immense sacrifice on my behalf and my family. My mother is an immigrant and a single parent who still works as a housekeeper to support our family. After arriving in the states five years ago and I wanted to maximize the use of opportunities given to me in order to use my profession to change the life of the disadvantages especially the for the people in Honduras. Although a native Spanish speaker, I was able to work hard to drastically improve my English when I started living the States be being an avid reader and interacting with native English speakers. When I started studying in the United States, I was immediately both challenged and captivated by the superior scientific and technological advancement than what I was exposed to. I never was even able to imagine myself being able to explore hidden life through the lens of a microscope or or thought I'd be able to gaze at the beautiful immensity of the stars in our galaxy. Without this inspiration, I doubt I would have been able to adapt to the challenges of my new environment. And without my desire I possess the tools to change the lives of the disadvantaged I may have never been able to make the sacrifices to study full time


I continued to work with the undeserved through my internship at the local clinic for the poor, Bond Community Health Center. I was able to use my developing proficiency in in English and earn a NHA medical assistant certification. I was able to put my clinical skills into practice, shadow doctors while also translating for immigrants who could not speak English. After these experiences and gaining the necessary certifications I was able to work as a phlebotomist at Capital Regional Medical Center, and as a medical assistant at the Florida State University Health and Wellness center where I've been able to further gain valuable medical experience I've been able to persevere through physical and mental challenges of working 10-hour night shift with an hour in the bus commute while being a full time student without financial aid often times running on 2 hours of sleep.

I aspire to one day be a physician working with the undeserved. I acknowledge that although I have great opportunities reaching my goals will be a challenge. What helps me keep going is looking back how far my family and I have come. From being raised by my illiterate grandmother who never had the opportunity to receive an education and who worked since she was 6 years old, to my mother who herself never had the means to pursue higher education, to myself having so many opportunities in front of me. My grandmother and my mother have inspired me by teaching me the me the value of perseverance. They inspire me to not give up on my dreams and and to continue hoping with conviction that the seeds I sow will reap the fruit in the future.

My passion for medicine, health care, and the human body began at the age of eight, when my father hospitalized my mother from a beating. That day, I saw doctors as the people who saved my mother’s life and even then as a young child, I thought and wished I could do the same for someone else. Since that day, my family consisted of three- my mother, my older sister and me. As a single parent, my mother raised us on the wage of a cashier and at the age of fourteen I began working to help support myself and family. The experience with my mother helped me recognize my devotion to helping those in need and the hard work ethic required to do so, but it wasn’t until a few years later when I truly understood medicine as the art of coupling human interaction with science. 

A few years after my mother’s hospitalization, my sister became ill with meningococcal meningitis and we again sought the help of physicians who did not turn us away. We spent two weeks in the hospital with my sister in critical care for a majority of her stay. The physicians who treated my sister for meningitis fought to save her life and despite complications in treatment, they continued to fight for her, so that the following week our family could spend the Christmas holiday together in the hospital. Their spiritually and professionally rewarding work, in addition to their dedicated persistence, deepened my desire to pursue medicine and offer the same support and comfort to patients and their families. When my sister developed a drug addiction a few years later, as result in part of lingering problems from her illness, I was especially inspired. Both the miracle of her life and the need she had for help so that she could live that life in a good way, made me realize how many people there are whose needs I could help meet as a physician.

The experience has shown me first-hand how a disease first impacts the patient, but then can hurt everyone around them as well. It has taught me that as a physician, you are treating much more than just a patient. The art of medicine has potential to treat patients, in addition to their families and loved ones. I realized how much I truly enjoyed the study of science and the human body. I also discovered how dedicated I was to learning, practicing, and teaching good health. Instead of allowing previous disadvantages to prevent me from pursuing medicine, I learned to never give up on my dreams. My hope is that someday, some one’s life can be positively impacted as a result of my hard work, determination, and persistence. It is with this mentality that I desire to devote my entire life to medicine and the holistic treatment of the human body, mind, and spirit.

Sonia Audrey Aku Addoo Mahshid Jami

My grandfather always quoted Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who said that “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept were toiling upward in the night.” This quote has remained a major source of inspiration for me during my entire academic career. My inspiration to become a doctor comes from two people. A catholic priest from my high school called Father Campbell and a doctor who lived in my neighborhood called Dr. Akuffo. They are selfless people whom I continually look up to as role models. Father Campbell is an Irish priest who came to Ghana with the aim of helping the underprivileged in society. While in high school, my classmates and I helped him to raise funds to build a surgical unit for the Princess Marie Louise Children’s hospital in Ghana. Most of these children suffered from the deadly malaria which can be cured with early diagnosis. Interacting with the children at this hospital inspired me to pursue a career in medicine. Dr. Akuffo is a medical doctor who provides free medical consultations in his home to those who cannot afford it. My family and I have benefited immensely from his services. This inspires me to do the same for others once I also become a medical doctor. As a first generation college student in my family, life has not been an easy road for me. It has always come with lots of struggle and sacrifices. The opportunity and decision to leave home and come to America to pursue a career in medicine was no easy one. I spent a lot of time at the library of the United States’ Embassy in Ghana, my home country. It was during these visits that my interest in studying in the United States grew. I however, never believed that this dream will materialize considering that no one in my family has ever been to college and also that my family could not afford such an education for me. Nonetheless, I never gave up on this dream because my grandfather always told me that all I needed to achieve my goals were hard work and determination. I continually visited this library where I studied for my SATs. I managed to save up enough money working as a home tutor to younger children to register for the SAT exam. With the help and guidance of the educational advisor at the US embassy back in Ghana, I applied to a number of schools. I gained admission to all these schools but was offered very little financial aid. Finally, a Presbyterian affiliated college, Missouri Valley College, in a small town in Missouri offered me admission with a good scholarship. However, my family was in such a poor financial situation that I almost missed this opportunity. My father had just lost his business and been affected by a stroke. My mum’s salary was supporting my family which included my two aging grandparents. My grandfather had just been diagnosed with a rapidly progressing prostate cancer. All of this was both emotionally and physically draining. I was the one helping to take care of my grandfather while tutoring to be able to support my mum to care of the family and save up for my plane ticket to come to the United States to study to become a medical doctor. I gave up my social life and had no time to be with friends. All I did was work and take care of my grandfather. One of my mother’s cousins offered to help me for my plane ticket to America upon hearing about my admission. Once I got to the US, there were still major hurdles I had to overcome. It was particularly rough as I had no means of transportation and there is no public transportation system here in Marshall. I had to find a job to pay for my upkeep. As an international student, the job opportunities were few and very competitive. I found a job in the school cafeteria. I was also offered the position as a Biology tutor at the Learning Center at Missouri Valley College during the spring semester of my freshman year. All these twists and turns my life has taken has shaped me into the person I am today. I have come to the realization that everyone has a story, the story of their life in which they are the heroes. This has taught me to respect everyone because no matter how small or big someone’s achievements, they struggled and worked for them. As a doctor, I will view my patients as individuals with daily struggles who deserve all the respect and attention I can give and not just as sick people who need medical attention. Carl Jung sums up my life, hopes and dreams beautifully in his words saying, “The doctor is effective only when he himself is affected. Only the wounded physician heals.”

Born in a poor and underprivileged Iranian village, with no actual home, I resided from one underdeveloped Iranian and European village to the next. Each experience I endured fueled my desire, passion, and motivation to improve humanity and confirmed my interest in medicine. Whether standing awestruck as a young girl in a remote free Iranian village clinic, or volunteering with the Red Cross to impecunious countries of Bulgaria, Romania as well as most recently Mexico, I devoted my life to helping the less fortunate. At the tender age of 19-years old and moving to the United States, has opened up doors of opportunities for me. For over more than a decade, I honed my skills and knowledge to become the best possible version of myself and carry out a domino effect. During my undergraduate studies, I was a full time student, while working two full time jobs in order to support my family as well as being a committed daughter to my sick father. My family’s financial struggles and set back due to my father illness has put a toll on my family and I quickly had to embark on a journey of adulthood far earlier than others my age. Despite my family’s setback and hardships, I continue to play an active part in my community. From volunteering as a mentor and role model for the at-risk youth at Vista Community Clinic, to serving the homeless populations has helped me develop a deeper and abiding respect for individuals all across the spectrum, which is a continuous joyful experience. One unforgettable experience was during my time in Mexico and a privilege to be able to work with the underserved population as a mission trip. It was my time there that I was able to bond with most of the teen patients due to the fact that we have similar backgrounds. Moreover, I thoroughly enjoyed gaining their trust and calming their fears by retelling my own story, which helps me educate them about lifestyle choices and improve their understanding of proper healthcare. Witnessing each patient's transformation fuels my passion for treating the under and uninsured in rural communities around the world. Meanwhile, I am in the process of establishing a sponsorship with a child in need. As I embark on this next phase of my life, I’m excited for the challenges ahead. With my family’s loving support, I know that my determination, persistence and dedication to excellence will help me excel as a medical student. I realize that my personal and professional experiences are propitious to a career in medicine. Since graduation, I continue to give back to my community through internships such as the American Cancer Society and San Diego North County Health clinic. Also, I hope that my own experiences will be an inspiration to those I serve. Specifically, I trust that my humble background as an immigrant coupled with my determination for overcoming obstacles and challenges will inspire others to excel in their own desired field. With the help and support of this program, I will be able to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor due to the fact that my biggest passion is helping others. I will be the first one in my family to pursue a career in medicine and I cannot wait to be a highly trained, sincerely humanistic “life saver”.

Nour Al-Timimi Linda V. Chang

In my early undergraduate career, I was diagnosed with the auto-immune disease, ulcerative colitis. Due to the unpredictability of the symptoms and unexpected doctor visits, I occasionally had to miss some of my lectures. I had always set high standards for myself, and it was very upsetting and disappointing. With the appropriate medication and a change in lifestyle, it is possible for the disease to go into remission for several months at a time.

My physical health was very vulnerable and additional commitments caused instability in my remission period. Although I was physically weak, I was still mentally sharp, but in order to improve my physical condition, I had to reduce some of my extracurricular workload. I was far from ecstatic about the decisions I had to make, but in retrospect those decisions grounded and shaped my long-term career choices. I have spent numerous hours in and out of hospitals and interacting with many doctors and getting very familiar with the medical system. My family has always struggled financially and going to the doctor and purchasing medication quickly became very expensive. Throughout my undergraduate, I held at least two jobs to be able to pay for medical bills. Paying for medical bills was more difficult after I graduated because I no longer had access to my student health insurance, but I qualified for medical after the affordable care act was passed.

During my ongoing doctor visits, I noticed the health discrepancies that occurs in low socio-economic areas. The city of El Cajon, CA, for example, has a population of about 100,000 citizens. Before the Affordable Care Act was passed, a high number of families receive medical or a county subsidized medical coverage, like San Diego county LIHP (low income health program). There are also a number of clinics that offer subsidized health care for members that don't have health insurance at all. Although these resources are available, the number of people that request medical assistance is greater than the number of clinics and employees available. Often, these clinics are crowded, have a long-waiting period, and quite hectic office environment.

After professional training has been completed, I would like to work in similar locations and demographic size to better improve health care development. In the four years of my undergraduate career, I worked in a disfranchised community in Solana Beach not far different from mine. I served this community by teaching children about healthier lifestyles and future career goals. I saw medicine as a platform in which I can serve humanity as a whole, overcoming any cultural or linguistic barriers, addressing all inequalities. Being influenced by these communities and their inadequate medical attention, I have made it one of my goals to improve and eventually eradicate medical deficiencies in our system.

As the eldest of five to Vietnamese refugee parents,I became the first in my family to pursue higher education. My family line included farm laborers speaking a marginalized village dialect. My immigrant community had limited access to health services such that my parents bribed physicians with food in order to ensure that we will be treated because there were always long lines. Shoes hung on electrical wiring to signify gang territory. My classmates included pregnant teenagers and drug users. In addition, teachers openly expressed their opinion about our lack of potential to succeed. I convinced my brother to move to San Diego in order to end his involvement with gang-affiliated friends. I am paying double rent and utilities so that his main priority is to successfully transfer to a university from community college. Although I am unable to provide physical support to my two brothers in LA, I email their school administrations to voice my concerns about their well being and academic opportunities. Even with such a huge responsibility, I learned to take pride in everything I do because of my commitment to my community and my family. I aspire to make the scientific language accessible for underserved communities. I want my patients to understand their body’s processes and feel empowered in having control over their health. Since discovering my passion,I am the first in my family to pursue medicine with my commitment to the life sciences and underserved communities. Inspired by my grandmother, I devoted my college years to creating empowering spaces for disadvantage students. My passion from creating programs with the student-run center SPACES and the student organization APSA demanded my energy and time. From film screenings and poetry workshops to community forums and campus-wide rallies, I devoted myself to raising awareness about Asian and Pacific-Islander issues in health and education, and to sparking conversations about identity, community, and social justice. It was rewarding to see my work unite students,staff and shift our campus climate. With this program’s support,I will be the first in my family to pursue medicine, striving to serve as an accessible and culturally sensitive primary care practitioner for underserved communities.

Tales of MCAT Success

About two years ago, I had a very bright student who I volunteered to tutor because he was from a significantly disadvantaged background and couldn't afford MCAT prep. He was a very impressive student but the major hurdle keeping him from getting into a Medical School he deserved was getting a solid MCAT score. He supported himself in addition to supporting his family by working several jobs. Although he was very bright, I told him he had two many outside commitments and probably couldn't see the score increases he wanted without taking time off from one of his jobs. However, he had to work to feed and house himself and his family. His choice was either to have food and shelter or to study for the MCAT. He chose to study for the MCAT. He took time off for one of his jobs for three months, during those three months he went on food stamps, slept in his car, and showered at the gym. He woke up at sunrise, exercised, showered, worked 6-8 hours and studied for the MCAT 4-6 hours. He was able to get a 37 on his MCAT and is currently applying. Although this is an extreme example, the students who do well on the MCAT generally do so because they are willing to make short term sacrifices for their long term goals. It gives you an idea of the lengths some students will go to to succeed. Obviously, I wouldn't advise you to go on food stamps or live in your car but if you want to compete for a top MCAT score, you need to make the MCAT a priority over the next couple months.