NIH Research Programs!!!

I’ve had several inquiries from premeds saying they don’t know what to do for a Postbac program or that they need a more robust research experience. I personally did the Medical Research Scholars Program in medical school and it was a year long enrichment experience that solidified my CV and helped since I didn’t have honors in my rotations. I matched my first choice program and I attribute it partially to this year at the NIH. I saw the process in a way I didn’t know existed.

Medical students: here is the link. This program can really set you apart in the difficult to match specialties.

Premeds: there’s good news! There’s the corollary program for premeds that lasts 2-3 years and gives superlative research and clinical exposure. Find the link describing the requirements here.

Don’t underestimate the power of the National Institutes of Health on your CV. I published 3 papers 2-3 years later and it has helped my career trajectory. I’m not academic but do have research in my background and this is a boost.

All the best premeds and medical students!

Residents: they have programs for you too once you graduate!

Candice Williams MD

Premed Consultants

Retake Courses vs. Post Bacc? What is right for me?

Hello there premeds!
I get this question all the time and I want to give you the short answer. If you are a non science major or have major work to do in terms of fixing your GPA, look into post bacc programs. They cost money and sometimes you have to travel, but it’s worth the time and investment IF you commit to doing your absolute best (A’s and B’s but mostly A’s.) Some of these programs have conditional admission upon completion of the program. Others are considered Special Master’s Programs and they may have a conditional admission provision if you do well in the program.

Please note if you retake a course, AMCAS averages the retake score with the original grade. It doesn’t replace it. Here is the source:…/section-4-course-work/

You should retake courses if the following apply:

  1. You did poorly in premed prerequisite courses
  2. You don’t plan to do a postbacc program
  3. You don’t have many upper division science courses

The AMCAS GPA provides the medical schools with a standard way to compare each applicant’s background. The BCPM GPA is comprised of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics courses. All other coursework will be calculated in the AO (All Other) GPA. (see source above)

I generally recommend retaking courses such as calculus, physics, organic chemistry or chemistry if you’ve done poorly to demonstrate that you can do the work. It doesn’t really change the BCPM GPA BUT taking further upper division courses at a state university or extension can help in this effort.

Best wishes in preparing for medical school and crafting your best application,

Candice Williams MD

Premed Consultants

*Post any question in our forums

Are taking courses at a Junior College OK?

Hey there Premeds!

This is a sensitive subject as many students cannot afford a state university or extension courses in order to fulfill medical school prerequisites. These courses entail

  • One year of Biology with lab.
  • One year of General Chemistry with lab.
  • One year of Organic Chemistry with lab.
  • One semester of Biochemistry.
  • One year of Physics with lab.
  • One year of English.

These apply at most schools. Some also require Statistics. Please refer to Medical School Admissions Requirements for more information on what each school requires.

See link below:

As for whether it’s ok to take these courses at a junior college, it depends on your situation. If you went to a junior college prior to university and took most courses there, then do not fret. If you did well, there is no reason to retake these for any reason. However, if you are in the position of most students, they need to correct a grade or two. This means coursework with C or below. If you are in the position where you have to retake courses, I think this is acceptable if the goal is simply to demonstrate that you can do the coursework. You must get an A or a B at least.

As an overall strategy, if you need to increase a science GPA, I recommend taking the other coursework at a university, extension or post bacc program. Other coursework that helps your science GPA or those that are upper division courses in Biology, Biochemistry, or other sciences such as advanced organic chemistry or physics. Most students focus on additional courses such as physiology, microbiology and genetics. These types of courses help raise a BCPM GPA if taken outside of a formal program after graduation. If they are taken as part of a graduate program, it is listed as a separate GPA.

What questions do you have on how to raise your science GPA?

Post them at our forum

Happy Premeding!

Candice Williams, MD

Premed Consultants

Buying My Time Back: Lessons from Renting my Home

Check out my blog post on buying my time back through renting my home.

This post is related to the prior one, “It’s About Time” where I talk about the process of choosing myself and my needs above the system. I wrote this post to share a different aspect of my story at the request of a dear friend and all around smart guy. Addam Driver is a software engineer, musician, real estate mogul and expert in buying his time back. He writes about this and other insights at

We all hurt sometimes, reach out for help.

Hello all,

My heart is heavy along with our nation in light of the recent suicides in our news. Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef known for his transparency, his genuine love of people and food protrayed most recently on his CNN show “Parts Unknown”, was found this morning unconscious of an apparent suicide. Kate Spade, fashion icon and driven entrepreneur was found earlier this week. The CDC recent report shows that suicide rates are skyrocketing. Depression is a common disorder, and we all feel some psychological pain at times. These things happen more than we care to talk about, to friends, loved ones, moms, dads and children.

I write this blog to help students at all phases of their medical journey to understand they are not alone. For everyone who feels lonely, isolated, like a failure or that they are just tired of how their life is playing out – you are not alone. I’ve been there, and everyone at some point had felt these emotions. To feel them is human. It plain sucks to be on call, try to save someone and fail, comfort grieving families or see people suffer over and over again. As physicians we take, take, take and do not reach out for help. Yet we know that we need others to just hear us out, sometimes we need a neutral party to let it out! The pressure of life, personal or professional sometimes can eat us up and most times people simply internalize these feelings vs reaching out.

I’m encouraging you- if you read my blog and you feel disillusioned, depressed about your progress and your journey, please reach out to me or to someone just to talk. I’ve been a premed, a medical student, a resident, a fellow and now I’m an attending and walking out that journey. I was a non traditional student. I’m from a group underrepresented in medicine. I know what it is to feel out of place, and I’ve learned to work through a medical system that can be so difficult at times. I’m here to listen, commiserate and answer your questions regarding the medical journey, life as a physician and what is takes to be successful. I can be reached at My aim is to be a sounding board and to let you know you are not alone. Of course our conversations are confidential.

If you are in crisis please call 911. If you need to speak to someone, you feel depressed and need a listening ear, please call 

You don’t have to walk this road alone,

Candice Williams, MD

Residents – Hang in there!!


-Eh, you’re tired. Yep it’s May and if you are an intern…it’s almost over! Depending on specialty choice you will be a second year and call will get easier or you will go on to your specialty (anesthesiology and other sub specialties). Second year is a good time to look forward to in that you will learn more, grow, have more responsibility, and for anesthesia residents – you will finally be in the OR with patients. Congratulations!

Take this time of year to take care of yourself. Look at your schedule and be proactive with taking your vacation in a pattern and a way that gives you a chance to recharge. Do so with proper notice and coverage! I repeat DO NOT call off last minute if you can help it unless you are ill. This helps you avoid unnecessary problems and attention.
Right about now as an intern you have the swing of things and are likely soooo over it. As a second or third year in a 3 year specialty like Peds, IM etc. you can see the end of the tunnel and that is fantastic for you!
Those in 4 year residencies like EM, Anesthesiology, this time of year is more of the same rotations and being in the OR or ED. Sometimes each month drones on, one after the other…rotation to rotation to survive mentally. Personally, I started marking them off on my calendar physically and looking forward and cherishing rotations that I liked. These served as incentives. For anesthesia residents, there are also in training examinations and the first part of the Anesthesia Written Board exams to consider that are taken early. Also there’s USMLE Step 3 to take after the intern year. If you study diligently, like you did for Step 1, which is impossible since you are working all the time….then you will do just fine. Most of the time, since STEP 3 is more clinical, your scores may be similar to STEP 2. My main advice is to study though. Get a good STEP 3 resource like First Aid and do practice questions.

My main advice for ALL residents is STAY THE COURSE. You will finish and you will succeed. Just stay in the fight and try your best to show up and give your all to patients every day. This way you are modeling what a true physician is called to do.

Stay strong my friends,
Candice Williams, MD

Med Students- Pediatric Rotation 2018!

3rd year medical students interested in Pediatrics! There’s a great rotation for underrepresented students in DC. Check out the link! It’s at children’s national medical center.

Stay tuned for further notifications and updates on scholarships and other opportunities!