Basalt High School graduate Dylan Rakowski wants to be a doctor. Before he even enters college he has a clear path to medical school.
Rakowski was one of 10 Colorado high school seniors accepted into a highly selective program at the University of Colorado at Denver. The students selected pursue their Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts undergraduate degrees and, as long as they meet certain grade-point averages and other standards, have a spot guaranteed for them in the university’s School of Medicine.
Rakowski was among 102 applicants. Forty-five advanced to an intensive interview process before 10 were selected. It’s the fourth year of the program. Each of the standout scholars has an intention to practice medicine in Colorado someday, but that’s not a requirement.
Rakowski said members of his extended family have battled their share of medical challenges, from cancer to multiple sclerosis, so he is used to being around doctors and hospitals.
He’s also accustomed to helping others. As a member of the National Honor Society, he enlisted in several volunteer efforts. He worked at a camp for kids with autism. He tutored at both Basalt High School and Basalt Middle School. He organized a Basalt toy drive for kids with cancer.
“Volunteering is just a big part of my life,” he said.
Now he is ready to take that interest in helping others to a new level in the medical field. “It’s really about helping others. That’s really who I am,” Rakowski said.
Counselors at Basalt High School informed him of the CU-Denver program. The high school beefed up its college- and career-guidance efforts this year. He credited the staff and several teachers with helping him achieve what he did academically. A chemistry teacher set up an independent study program for him in chemistry II so he would get a taste of what he will face in college. Teachers at Basalt High School helped him and other students pursue whatever level of education they sought, he said.
Rakowski was also one of the top high school golfers in the state. He has some freedom to hit the links this summer, but starting in the fall, he will be locked into studies for the next eight years. The next two summers will feature programs in a Denver hospital and a biomedical lab. He said he is eager for the challenge.
After earning his undergraduate degree, he will dive into the CU School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus. He is still awaiting word from CU-Denver on merit scholarships. He earned several local scholarships to make a huge dent in first-year tuition and expenses.
At this point, he plans to pursue a career as a pediatrician. “It always seems like I’ve been helping out with younger kids,” he said. He likes how pediatricians are there to heal rather than to treat.
Rakowski said he could think of nothing more fulfilling in a career than bringing smiles to the faces of children in need of help.