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MCAT Diaries: My Journey From Film Director to Medical Student

 When it comes to the medical school journey, everyone has their own story, but there’s one big challenge most of us have to tackle: the MCAT. In this new series, our Blueprint MCAT alumni share how they crushed the MCAT and made their med school dreams come true!

Alissa had a thriving job in the film industry before deciding to pivot and switch careers. Read this nontraditional medical school applicant’s story to learn how she scored a 522 on her MCAT and secured an acceptance at Case Western University School of Medicine. 

Discovering My Passion for Medicine

I am a nontraditional student with a previous career in the film industry where I pursued film directing. I had the opportunity to work at production companies, a literary agency, and on film sets in a number of roles, from boom-mic operator to production designer.

Through these demanding jobs, I developed not only my own filmmaking skills, but my ability to work through grueling hours as a leader and a member of a team. I channeled these lessons into my own directorial work which focused on early childhood experiences of bullying, especially from a female lens.

On the side, I became a tutor for middle school, high school, and college students in a range of subjects. My favorite subject to tutor was Spanish, because I felt that I had a direct impact on the student’s engagement with a class that is often only taken because it is mandatory.

Although I was proud of the artistic projects I was pursuing, I was dismayed by the timeline of the projects, as well as the unpredictability of an audience. After carefully weighing the decision, I decided I would prefer to work in a field where I could make a direct impact every single day.

In 2020, I joined a post-baccalaureate program for career changers to complete the prerequisites for medical school. Throughout this time, I continued to tutor, while also volunteering at community health centers that were providing COVID-19 vaccines. Once I completed my prerequisites, I began working full-time as a scribe and Spanish-English interpreter in a neurology and sleep center while applying to medical school.

Conquering the MCAT

I began using Blueprint [MCAT] when I finished my last prerequisite.I chose to use Blueprint because it had been recommended to me by a friend. I had also heard that the practice exams were harder than the actual exam. I would rather be overprepared than underprepared!

For me, the most crucial element of Blueprint was the flexible calendar. By using it as a checklist, I felt confident that I would cover all necessary material. I also felt that the curated lesson plans were helpful in distributing the information in an interesting and educational way.

Try our MCAT Study Planner Tool today when you create a free Blueprint MCAT account!

Blueprint encouraged me to analyze my own way of thinking as a means of improvement. This skillset was critical to improving my score over time, and to facilitating my professional development. This method helped me achieve an MCAT score in the 99th percentile, and to eventually be accepted at Case Western University School of Medicine.

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Advice for Premeds

I would advise other premeds and future medical students to remember that we are entering this field because we want to be life-long-learners. Studying can be difficult but it is a privilege to learn this material.

Stay curious and connect with the lessons in whatever way is meaningful to you!

I hope to incorporate my life experience into my future career. I have learned that I thrive when working with people in teams, that I am rewarded by individual relationships with my students and patients, and that I blossom in environments where I can learn something new.

I currently plan to work in primary care in underserved communities, where I hope to use my skills to connect with and empower others to reach their full potential. I imagine that teaching will play a great role in my future career, whether that be for residents, medical students, or young people just beginning their journey. I truly believe that each person can achieve whatever he or she wishes.

Want more inspiration? Check out more success stories from Blueprint MCAT alumni!

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Noor didn’t let imposter syndrome or Sauron the MCAT stop her from following her medical school dreams!

Prepping for the MCAT as a Parent: Morgan, a non-traditional student and incoming MS1 at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine-Greenville had to figure out the best way to balance MCAT prep as a new parent.

How I Stayed Motivated During My MCAT Prep: Daniela, an MS1 at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, used her gap year to discover how medicine can combine all her interests and passions. She also achieved a 23-point MCAT score increase!


Conquering the MCAT as a non-traditional student may seem daunting, but you don’t have to face it alone! Whether you need the flexibility of a Self-Paced Course, the instruction of a Live Course, or 1:1 attention of a private MCAT tutor, we have the MCAT prep option that works for your learning style! With resources such as a powerful AI-powered MCAT QBank, representative full-length practice exams, and more, you’ll get all the practice you need to reach your goal score.

Blueprint MCAT is here to provide the support and flexibility you need to reach your score goals. Start your journey today by creating a free Blueprint MCAT account.

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