Cassandra McCray ’16

Class Year


Area(s) of Study

Major in Neuroscience and Minor in Spanish


Rockford, IL

Graduate Study

Midwestern University

How did a liberal arts education make a difference for you?

A liberal arts education gave me such a well-rounded and diverse experience as an undergraduate. I appreciated how many different courses that I was able to take and exposed to even though I was a Neuroscience major. I took English courses, women’s studies courses and a few history classes. I am very thankful for the liberal arts education because it allowed me to explore other areas of study besides the sciences.

What experiences outside of the classroom do you think helped prepare you for PA school?

I would say all of the extra-curricular activities that I was involved in helped prepare me for PA school. I was a member of the Alpha Phi sorority and held several leadership roles during my time at Lake Forest. These different leadership roles helped me to become a more confident and professional woman outside of the classroom. I also had two jobs while attending Lake Forest and I feel like juggling all of this while in school full time really helped me to learn how to manage my time and be a more independent and organized person.

How did your time at Lake Forest help you prepare to apply to PA programs?

My time at Lake Forest challenged me in a way that I never thought possible. The Neuroscience major was one of the most difficult majors at Lake Forest and I would say that being in this major really pushed me to want to be better and surpass my own expectations of myself. I never would have applied to PA school if it had not been for Lake Forest College pushing me beyond my own limits and helping me to grow as an adult woman in the healthcare field. The courses at Lake Forest were challenging and definitely prepared me for the course load at Midwestern. I felt confident in my abilities to study and put in the work in graduate school because of the foundation that Lake Forest gave me.

What skills and experiences at Lake Forest do you believe will help you be successful?

I believe my study habits that I developed at Lake Forest will definitely help me be successful as a future PA. I think that all of the leadership skills and organization skills that I learned as an undergraduate will also serve me well. I learned how to be a team player at LFC because we had so many group projects during undergrad. This is probably the most important skill that I perfected as a student because working in medicine is all about teamwork.

What advice would you give a high school student looking to pursue pre-health and is considering Lake Forest College?

I would tell them to keep an open mind when it comes to the healthcare field. Don’t limit yourself to just going to medical school! There are so many different careers in healthcare that you can pursue and it is so important to explore all of those avenues. I was on my way to applying for medical school when I decided to change career paths and apply for PA school. I am so happy that I did and I don’t regret a thing. So please don’t limit yourself to just one avenue if you haven’t at least explored all of your options. Take advantage of every opportunity and take your studies seriously because your GPA is important in any graduate program that you apply for! Lake Forest College will prepare you very well for graduate programs and I would highly recommend this school.