Skip to main content

Student Testimonials

Photo of Meredith Achey

Meredith Achey

Duke University School of Medicine ’19

Meredith Achey

Duke University School of Medicine ’19

“I chose the Hopkins post-bac program for several reasons. First, I felt that completing the coursework in one year was the most efficient and cost-effective way to ensure I had met all requirements for applications. Second, I was impressed that the program had such a high rate of success with attendees being admitted to medical schools and receiving merit scholarships. Third, the reputation of both the medical center and the College as world-class training institutions for both premedical and medical training made me feel that I was sure to get an excellent education. Finally, I knew that I would need a fair bit of guidance to most effectively navigate the admissions process, and I found the advising at Hopkins to be second to none. The post-bac team is friendly, kind, encouraging, and always available to help with questions and applications, or just to listen when the going gets tough.

After arriving at Hopkins, I also found that the camaraderie among the post-bacs was a huge advantage to the program. The strong emphasis on reducing competition and fostering collaboration not only creates a more pleasant working environment, but also builds the “soft” skills that competitive medical schools are working hard to foster in their students.”


Meredith Achey graduated from Eastman School of Music at University of Rochester where she studied voice and French language. She worked as a voice and piano teacher, performed as a soprano, and volunteered at University of Rochester Medical Center before coming to Hopkins. For her medical tutorial, she worked with a faculty mentor at Hopkins School of Medicine on clinical research concerning voice disorders.

Photo of Alice Chapman

Alice Chapman

Tulane University School of Medicine '15
OB/GYN Resident, University of Maryland Medical Center

Alice Chapman

Tulane University School of Medicine '15
OB/GYN Resident, University of Maryland Medical Center

“I was looking for a program in which I could complete my premed studies in a condensed fashion, but more specifically, within a supportive atmosphere and with good guidance. Hopkins stood out as a  program with excellent statistics for getting students into medical school, but it wasn’t until my interview that I realized how welcoming and community oriented the program was. I immediately felt at home and comfortable with the students that I met and the administrators I interacted with. Additionally, I was excited by the tutorial program that offers students the opportunity to shadow physicians or work on research throughout their post-bac year. No other program that I was considering offered the same number and variety of opportunities to interact with medical professionals and patients during the post-bac year.

“In addition to the great friends that I made, my tutorial was the most memorable and enjoyable aspect of the program for me. I shadowed a maternal fetal medicine specialist at Hopkins and was able to observe in her clinic and on the labor and delivery ward. Going once a week to my tutorial, interacting with patients and learning from a physician mentor, reminded me of my end goal and kept me inspired even during difficult times in the year. I gained experiences that many medical students might not have until their second or third year—interviewing patients, observing births and surgeries, and learning one-on-one from an attending physician. Since beginning medical school, I have realized even more how unique that opportunity was, and how lucky I was to experience it during my post-bac year.”


Alice Chapman graduated from Fordham University Lincoln Center where she studied dance and French language and literature. After graduation, she danced professionally in New York City and worked in arts administration. Alice also taught yoga and volunteered at the physical therapy and burn centers at NY Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Photo of alum Kimberly Fiscella

Kimberly Fiscella

School of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Rochester '20

Kimberly Fiscella

School of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Rochester '20

“I worked with a pelvic reconstructive surgeon for my medical tutorial because I am interested in women’s health. My mentor’s unique perspective, shaped by extensive volunteer work and research abroad, combined with her willingness to let me jump in to help with research, was invaluable. I learned so much about conducting clinical research, about the conditions she treats, and how she makes decisions. I also had the opportunity to shadow her in the operating room. Going into clinic with her, as well as shadowing in Labor and Delivery with her colleagues, was exactly what I needed to keep me excited and motivated to pursue medicine amidst the challenge of taking the premed courses. I also had the good fortune of connecting with her as a professional role model and friend. She and I have kept in touch, and she will give Grand Rounds at the University of Rochester Medical Center because I invited her through the OB/GYN interest group there.”


Kimberly Fiscella is a graduate of Dartmouth College where she had double majors in English and psychology. She received a Post-Baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award from the National Institutes of Health and worked on biomedical research in behavioral neuroscience at the National Institute of Drug Abuse before coming to Hopkins.

Photo of Michael Harper

Michael Harper

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine '20

Michael Harper

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine '20

“When I first started thinking about going into medicine, I reached out to a doctor at Hopkins. His research had truly inspired me and was a large part of the impulse pushing me toward the medical field.

I explained my situation to him, and to my surprise he was very interested in meeting with me. We talked at length about my dilemma–should I continue down my path in music performance, or should I embark upon a lifelong journey in medicine. In a very unbiased way, he helped me reason through the decision to figure out what would be best for me. His insights confirmed my newfound passion for science, and I left our meeting feeling inspired to begin my transition to medicine.

When deciding which post-bac program to attend, my choice was easy. If such an esteemed doctor could be so encouraging and genuinely interested in someone who wasn’t even a student at this university (not to mention someone with no medical knowledge whatsoever), I could only imagine how supported I would be as a student here. My experiences at Hopkins, both during the post-bac program and now as a medical student, have confirmed this observation, and I continue to be inspired by my faculty mentors each and every day.”


Michael Harper earned his Bachelor of Music in cello performance from Vanderbilt University and his Master of Music in cello performance and chamber music from the University of Michigan. While pursuing his musical studies, Michael was involved in music outreach and volunteered in the University of Michigan’s Health System. For his medical tutorials, Michael shadowed an otologist in clinic and surgery and assisted with research on music and Parkinson’s disease.

Photo of Olivia Killeen

Olivia Killeen

University of Michigan Medical School ’17
Ophthalmology Resident, Michigan Medicine

Olivia Killeen

University of Michigan Medical School ’17
Ophthalmology Resident, Michigan Medicine

“I chose Hopkins because of its reputation as a science powerhouse and the opportunities for involvement at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. I wanted to start medical school with a deep foundation in science as opposed to merely learning information for the MCAT, and I knew Hopkins would give me the rigorous background I was looking for. My Hopkins foundation has already served me well in medical school.

The post-bac community at Hopkins is very supportive. I appreciated having a small, close-knit group of peers because we helped each other succeed throughout the very challenging coursework. I loved having lunch outdoors with classmates during the summer term, meeting up with classmates at the farmer’s market every Saturday morning, and exploring Baltimore nightlife. Each person in the program brought a unique background and interests, and that diversity really added to my experience. For example, one of the most formative parts of my post-bac experience was shadowing physicians at an Indian Health Service hospital in South Dakota over winter break, an opportunity which was conceived, initiated, and organized by my classmate!”


Olivia Killeen attended Carleton College where she pursued political science. After graduation she taught English in China as a Princeton in Asia Fellow, then worked as a legal assistant in Hong Kong where she represented pro bono clients in their refugee applications to the United Nations. For her medical tutorial, Olivia studied the impact of global food systems on human health, which furthered her goal of making social justice and human rights a focus of her medical education and career.

Photo of Scott Pfirrman

Scott Pfirrman

The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University ’20

Scott Pfirrman

The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University ’20

“When I decided to go to medical school, I was looking for a refresher in academics and an introduction to the medical community. I can indubitably say that I achieved both through the Hopkins Postbac. From the rigorous, tough academics and renowned faculty to the wonderfully accessible medical practitioners and research at JHSOM, the program opened countless doors for me to succeed and to explore my personal areas of interest.

The advising team was thoughtful and effective in helping me realize my goal of attending a top-tier medical school. With its guidance, we worked through the application process in “bite-size” chunks, timelines and scheduled feedback. They made the process less daunting and the application more approachable. The team is encouraging, candid, manages expectations, and truly cares about the students.

If the postbac year doesn’t test your mental stamina, perseverance, time management skills, and academic work ethic, you’re not going to the right program! Medical school is challenging, and the Hopkins Postbac prepares you for the first year. The school and community have so much to offer. Be prepared to dive in to your studies and try to enjoy the time you have on campus. It goes by fast.”


Scott Pfirrman is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and served in the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions of the U.S. Army. Scott then earned his MBA. from the University of Notre Dame. For his medical tutorial, he assisted with clinical research in neurodegenerative disorders.

Photo of Ashish Thakrar

Ashish Thakrar

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine ’17
Internal Medicine Resident, Johns Hopkins Hospital

Ashish Thakrar

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine ’17
Internal Medicine Resident, Johns Hopkins Hospital

“I chose Hopkins because of the strength of its premedical coursework, the various medical opportunities outside the core curriculum, and its record of getting students into top medical schools. Coming in without the basic science coursework, I knew I wanted to take rigorous classes with professors dedicated to teaching and engaged in research. I also wanted to take advantage of the shadowing, volunteering, and research opportunities at Hopkins medical school and hospital. Finally, the program’s record of helping students get into medical school spoke for itself.

“The advising is phenomenal. The advisers have years of experience working with post-bacs and know the medical school application process inside and out. Their doors were always open, and I felt like I had access to them whenever I needed advice about anything—classes, medical school visits, my application, interviews, or even how to take advantage of all Baltimore has to offer. They were a fantastic resource for me.”


Ashish Thakrar graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a BS in economics and a BFA in music performance (piano). His Hopkins medical tutorial at AIDS Linked to the IntraVenous Experience (ALIVE) Study Research Project built on his experience as a volunteer with the Prevention Point Pittsburgh Needle Exchange. During his post-bac year, Ashish organized a trip for fellow students to the Indian Health Service Hospital on Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.