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A few years ago, Urology intern Ed Chang was one of hundreds – perhaps thousands – of undergraduate pre-med students at UCLA. He was pretty sure he wanted to be a doctor. Like many would-be medical students, Chang wanted to help people.

But when it came to obtaining guidance and support for navigating the rigorous and confusing process of medical school applications, Chang and his peers couldn’t find much help. At the time, UCLA did not have a single academic pre-med adviser.

Instead, pre-med students relied on the advice of older undergrads and current med students – generally enticed by free beer and/or food –  for advice on course selection, taking the MCAT, research opportunities and extracurriculars that would look good on an application.

“It was often a situation of the blind leading the blind,” Chang said.

Online advice about preparing for and applying to medical school was murky at best. Discussion forums were dominated by what Ed calls “fear-mongering trolls”: frequently anonymous avatars trying to capitalize on young applicants’ anxiety and confusion.

Frustrated by what he saw as a lack of transparency and legitimacy – not to mention usefulness  in this online content –Chang began writing. At first, it was a stream-of-consciousness chronicling of his experiences. During a gap year (“highly recommended,”  Chang notes), while he worked as a researcher studying prostate diseases,  his writing coalesced into blog-style posts reflecting his take on applying to medical school.

Fast-forward a couple years. Chang is a med student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, having successfully navigated the process and still writing about his experiences. Apparently he wasn’t busy enough already because he convinced a friend in the startup world, along with three of his peers at Geffen, to pursue his vision of creating a website dedicated to providing current, vetted, searchable content on the process of preparing for, applying to, and being successful in medical school.

After a 2 a.m. conference call to discuss the site’s name, Prospective Doctor was born. Supported by modest advertisements, all content on the site was and still remains free.

The site has been hugely successful in its mission to educate its global audience – undergrads, academic advisers and guidance counselors, helicopter parents of high-schoolers, even first- and second-year med students – about the perils, pitfalls and rewards of pursuing a medical career.

In fact, the site has been so successful that it was purchased this past July by By no means did Chang get rich, but this “seasoned entrepreneur” can say he both finished medical school and sold his first company in the same summer.

As Director of Operations,  Chang remains a (nominally) paid employee for the site, managing many of the backend processes while continuing to guide the vision and content. He still finds time to contribute articles, too. Recently he has written about dating in medical school, Osteopathic vs Caribbean Medical Schools, and the seven deadly sins of a third-year medical student.

Of course, Chang is also a urologist-in-training, and his experiences during his UW residency will no doubt find their way into posts on the site soon. He encourages guest posts, too. And though you won’t get paid, you will, as the site notes, “have the opportunity to impact future physicians.”

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