William Jewell College senior chemistry major and pre-medicine minor Erin Ahart was recently accepted into the University of Kansas (KU) School of Medicine. Beginning mid-July, Ahart will be amongst the other first-year medical students in attending the medical school in Kansas City, Kan.

Ahart applied to four total medical schools across the country. These included: Creighton University, Saint Louis University, University of Iowa and KU. She was accepted in three and was placed on the alternate list for the University of Iowa. Her ultimate choice to attend KU was a combination of factors. Being a Kansas City native, Ahart will be able to accept in-state tuition costs while maintaining a close proximity to her family and friends.

“I kind of knew I always wanted to apply there because I grew up near it, I’ve always lived in Kansas City. And I knew they had the best hospital in the state, so I just thought it was the perfect choice,” Ahart said.

The opportunity to go to medical school presented itself when Ahart was still in high school. After volunteering for Kansas City Hospice House, Ahart realized that she had a passion for medicine, particularly for the healing aspect of the discipline. She found she was very influenced by the way that illness affected family members and friends alike. Although her volunteer work consisted mainly of delivering meals, Ahart enjoyed the conversations she had with the patients the most.

Ahart’s volunteer work, she stated, definitely helped her with her medical school applications.

“One thing that schools really look for is sustained commitment to some sort of volunteer service or involvement in something medicine-like or just service-like really. So, the fact that I started volunteering for Hospice in high school helped a lot. They could see that I was committed to this place,” Ahart said.

Completing a primary application was the first step for Ahart in applying to schools. This primary application is universal between medical schools, so it is accepted across all institutions. The schools then reviewed her primary application and sent her a secondary application if they were interested in accepting her as a student. This second application was geared more towards why she wanted to attend KU. Following the secondary application, Ahart was asked to come for an interview with current faculty. She had one interview with one faculty member, and a second interview with two doctors at the KU Medical Center, located near campus. It was after that that Ahart received her acceptance into the program at the end of March.

Throughout her process of applying to medical school, friends, family and faculty at Jewell supported Ahart. Her parents helped to finance the application process, traveling for interviews and tours of schools. The pre-medicine advisor, Dr. Amy Kerzmann, offered Ahart support as she became closer to the interview stage of her applications.

“Dr. Kerzmann, our pre-med advisor, was also super helpful because she would do mock-interviews with me or read all of my statements that I sent off to med school,” Ahart said.

Ahart will continue living in Kansas City while attending school and looks forward to remaining close to her friends and family within the city. She will be spending the next two years attending classes at KU. The following two years she will do rotations through different areas of the Hospital. From there, she will have to decide whether or not she wants to specialize in a particular area of medicine, which then determines the length of her residency. Ahart’s ultimate goal is to work at one of the local Kansas City hospitals.

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