Kristin Olson '12

Kristin Picture

Name: Kristin Olson

Graduating Class: 2012

Major: Biology

Your Story: I graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in the spring of 2012. My hometown is Mankato, MN. I have been surrounded by medicine my entire life, due to my father being a physician.

I chose Gustavus because I found it to be a warm and welcoming place. It soon became a home away from home when I started here. My brother, who is 2 years older than me, also went to Gustavus. He was always talking about how great Gustavus is and that had a big influence on my final decision of where I would be attending college. Also, Gustavus is known for its strength in sciences, and I knew I wanted to major in a science so that was a big factor in my decision.

My interest in pre-medicine started in high school. When I was younger I actually wanted to be a vet! Since my dad is a doctor, I have grown up with being surrounded by medicine. I saw how passionate he is about caring for patients and this interested me. Also, I had a severe knee injury my senior year of high school, and the whole process of physical therapy and working with the orthopedic surgeon got me really interested in medicine.

My most influential experience at Gustavus confirming pre-medicine path I went to Tanzania my sophomore year for January Term. This was a health care focused class and it really reaffirmed my interest in medicine. Realizing how much of an impact I could have by becoming a doctor by not only helping people in the United States but also around the world got me excited about my pursuit in medicine.

My Class Schedule (click to view PDF)

Top Five Activities/Experiences:

  • Being a member of the sorority, Delta Phi Omega. By being a member, this allowed me to experience holding various leadership positions, including the Inter Greek Senate Co-President Position. I was also the co-chair for planning our annual Breast Cancer Benefit. Also, by being involved with Greek life, this allowed me to par-take many community service events.
  • Studying abroad for two January terms. I went to Tanzania and Guatemala. While both were very different countries from one another, I still learned a lot from both experiences. Both trips had a health care focus, which got me even more interested in medicine. I took the trips my sophomore and senior year.
  • Being on the executive board for Relay For Life. I had such an amazing experience helping plan the annual event at Gustavus, Relay For Life. It was so gratifying to know how much people care about the event and seeing the big turn out every year. I know this event means so much to many of the students on campus, so I am glad to say I was apart in planning this widely attended event.
  • Being a science major and religion minor. This allowed me to explore very different classes. My science major classes were so different from my religion minor classes and that helped give my mind a breather from all the science classes I had to take to fulfill my major and pre-med requirements.
  • Taking a January term to volunteer and shadow. This exposed me to so many great medical experiences and I was able to elaborate on them during my interview! Schools love hearing detailed and personal experiences.
  • Handbell choir all four years at Gustavus.


  • Not a lot of pre-med students are aware that there are 2 degrees physicians can have when practicing medicine. Physicians either have a D.O degree or a M.D degree. D.O and M.D degrees are equivalent to each other. The lesser known degree, D.O stands for Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Make sure to research both degrees very well in order to figure out what kind of medical school you want to attend. Osteopathic medicine focuses more on the holistic health of patients and also medical students attending D.O schools get training in manipulation therapy. Osteopathic medicine also focuses a lot on preventative medicine with their patients.
  • Give yourself enough time to study for the MCAT. I took the MCAT in the spring of my junior year, which looking back on, I regret. I was very busy with my student activities that I was involved with and also had a heavy course load. I would suggest pre-med students to take the MCAT in the summer, when you have more time to study.
  • Get involved! Also make sure you have volunteered in a medical setting. Schools love seeing this because it sets you apart from the other thousands of applicants. A good GPA and MCAT score will get your foot in the door, but you also need to be involved with great experiences.

Future Plans: Entering Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Fall 2012




Updated 10/19/2012 JMV