Haley Zweber '17


Name: Haley Zweber                                                           

Graduating Class: 2017

Major: Biology

Your Story: I chose Gustavus after just one visit to campus. There wasn't any exciting moment or big speech that persuaded me, I just stepped on to campus and I knew that this was where I wanted to be. The students were so nice and I felt the sense of community even before I became a part of it. That sense of community is something I have grown to cherish and something I have hoped to create in all of my activities, relationships, and even my future school.

Even before Gustavus I knew that I wanted to pursue medicine, but my time here definitely gave me opportunities to make that dream a reality. Gustavus allowed me to travel and teach abroad in multiple countries, play college volleyball, coach volleyball, and to be a part of (and hold leadership positions) multiple extra-curricular groups. I learned time management through balancing my busy schedule and other qualities like leadership, compassion, and resilience through my many experiences.

Every single experience I have had at Gustavus has helped me solidify my decision to pursue medicine and has shown me the skills that I have to achieve my goal. The January Interim Career Exploration especially allowed me to confirm that medicine was the right path for me, after spending 40 hours a week shadowing a physician in three different hospitals both in clinic and in the operating room for an entire month. That experience allowed me to truly realize why I want to be a physician. And of course, Gustavus has given me mentors and friends that have helped me achieve my goals and supported me through everything during my career at Gustavus.

Applying for medical school was definitely not an easy task, but I felt confident because of everything I had been through and accomplished during my college career. After completing the AMCAS and 11 secondary applications, attending many interviews, and receiving multiple acceptance letters, I was accepted to the University of Minnesota and I was definitely excited and relieved to finally be done and take a break for a little while. 

Top Five Activities/Experiences: (in no particular order)

  1. Volleyball (both playing at the collegiate level and coaching at the high school level)
  2. Shadowing physicians in multiple fields
  3. Teaching English abroad in Ecuador and Peru
  4. Tri-Beta Biological Honors Society
  5. Big Partner Little Partner


  1. Don't do things just to check boxes off of a list, do them because you want to. In the long run, you'll be able to speak more passionately about the things you wanted to do, rather than things you did because you felt you had to do them.
  2. Shadow shadow shadow. There's no way to truly know what it's like to be a physician, but through shadowing you can get a pretty good glimpse. Find physicians in as many fields as you can and try and create connections with those physicians. Letters of recommendation are a big part of your application and if a physician can speak for your ability to excel in the field, that says a lot.
  3. Don't stress too much. There are a lot of things we have to think about: classes, grades, extra-curriculars, the MCAT, the list goes on. Grades aren't the only things that medical schools want to see; they also want to see what experiences you've had, they want letters of recommendation and they want to know who you are as a person and why you feel you want to be a physician. So, don't stress out! Medical schools want a well rounded applicant and they want someone who is committed to become a physician. If you can show commitment and passion for your activities and for becoming a physician, that is what schools want to see. Experiences and letters of recommendation can make up for grades, but good grades can't always make up for experiences.

Future Plans:  Attending the Univeristy of Minnesota Twin Cities Medical School, starting Fall 2017.  I am currently hoping to pursue a career in the field of pediatric surgery, but I am excited to begin school and explore all of the options with an open mind. Before I begin this August, I will be taking the month of June to explore Europe, and the rest of the summer to spend time with friends and family.