Advice for applicants:
(1) Get your application in EARLY. They don't say that just because they feel like making you sweat - the chances of you getting an interview at your state school is enormously higher.
(2) Apply only to schools that you would go to. Don't end up getting accepted somewhere only to think that you could have done better if you waited, improved your applications, and then applied. One extra year is not that long in the big picture.
(3) Location and price at the end of the process are more important than you thought when you started the whole process.
(4) Use every connection that you can in this process. Even if they can't get you in, they might be able to get someone to at least look at your application.
(5) People won't give you numbers, but get a 35+ MCAT and a 3.7 GPA and you should be able to get an interview anywhere (decrease the MCAT/GPA threshold a little if you went to a top school...decrease the GPA a lot if you went to MIT, CIT, or any place that doesn't just hand out B+'s). Obviously people will get interviews with lower scores, but if you're the average applicant don't expect more.
(6) For interviews, go out of your way to talk to other applicants! They may know things about the school that you didn't, they are often pretty cool, and it will put you at ease for your interview.
(7) Even if a school says it doesn't give stress interviews, it probably does. It all depends on the specific interviewer. Don't change who your are during the interview because the person is being mean or obnoxious. They are testing you! Just laugh a little, get them to laugh, be truthful and you will do fine.
(8) In your thank you notes, make reference to something in your interview that was memorable. You want to jog their memory for when they have to fight for you during the AdCom meeting.
(9) Don't be that guy who writes letters of intent to everywhere they interviewed. On the other hand, DO write letters of interest to places you were waitlisted. It works!
The rest of this is boring - just me keeping track of my application process:
GPA isn't anything great - doing a Master's for a year. I'm hoping that an upward trend in my science grades will count for something.
We'll see...nothing you can do but be confident in yourself, be humble, and work hard.
5/17/08 - Goal is to have my application in by a little less than a month from now (June 13th). Need to start working hard on my personal statement, too.
5/20/08 - Started my PS, and it's about as hard to put into words as I thought it was going to be. Originality...it lacks.
6/13/08 - Well, it looks like my composite letter won't be ready until the end of July. I'm thinking about submitting my primary application a little later...like the 30th.
6/19/08 - Just about finished writing up my extracurriculars. Need to revise my PS this week.
6/24/08 - Primary application equals done-zo! I think I was pretty happy with my PS...It's not that original, but it flows well, and I think I got my point across. Sucks that the only school that could actually reject me is Wake. Everyone else will unfortunately be receiving more cash-money from me :( I wish the secondary apps would get here. I thought I would want a break, but I want them oddly enough. Like, now.
7/2/08 - Secondaries started coming in...
7/14/08 - AMCAS verified. I guess the way my credit hours are calculated is odd, so I'm thinking that might have taken them extra time for them to sort through. All together, it looks like it took three weeks for them to verify. Makes sense considering how many applications must be coming in now.
I'm on vacation right now and I just can't bring myself to work on secondaries in spite of receiving even more after I left. The only time I have to work is in the car, and the thought of booting all over my computer from the motion sickness is too unsettling. At least RWJ and UMDNJ don't require much of anything.
I'm debating whether to withdraw from Yale and Brown. I'm not too into research (slash Yale), but I do still really like the atmosphere at Brown.
Still waiting for my composite letter...*teeth gritting*
7/18/08 - Just got dumped with secondaries. There goes the next month.
7/29/08 - I received an email from Wake Forest today with a website to check my application status...although the website has been having problems and wasn't working when I tried it today. I'm assuming that means that I got a secondary invite, but I guess they could just want to get my hopes up so they can crush them in a week!
8/7/08 - I'm pretty sure Wake Forest just gave me the thumbs down to the secondary invite, but I haven't gotten the official email yet. They seem to be extremely slow. It is the South, I guess. The irony is that I leave to NC tomorrow for vacation.
Tufts just sent me their secondary and an apology for being late with it. I hope this is not what I have to look forward to in the coming year.
8/11/08 - Wake rejection was not particularly remorseful or drawn-out. I guess it's good like that - quick, like a bandaid.
8/14/08 - Got an email from Loyola today saying that they wouldn't review my application because my classes at Tufts would overlap with their orientation. This isn't exactly the case, so now I have to get a letter from Tufts saying so. They couldn't just take my word for it...?
9/5/08 - My last letter finally came in! Hopefully it's still earlier enough for me to have a chance at an interview somewhere.
9/9/08 - Sending out letters to schools tomorrow to tell them that I made the honor list. Lots and lots of stamps.
10/14/08 - Interview invite, finally! UMDNJ would be amazing. Close to my friends who work in the city, close to my parents, and affordable. Trying not to get my hopes up, but I am truly excited.
10/19/08 - Tried to get the earliest interview date I could, although it doesn't give me very much time to prepare with midterms this week. Been looking at SDN for interview questions and I think I have a pretty good idea of what the UMDNJ one will be like.
10/29/08 - Liked UMDNJ even more than I anticipated! Interview was very chill and the students seem really happy.
12/17/08 - Unexpected second interview at UMDNJ. I think they want me to address my undergrad grades again, but I'm not altogether sure. At least it's not a rejection!
12/26/08 - Pretty sure I'm on hold everywhere. Some schools are not very good at updating online status, so I'm just guessing in most cases. I sent my fall semester grades to my top choices. They were not solicited, but they were pretty good, so hopefully they get looked at and not thrown in the trash.
12/29/08 - As usual, I'm wrong - Invite from Albany! Now how the hell am I going to get there...
1/2/08 - Second interview at UMDNJ was not like the first at all. Sort of a stress interview. The interviewer was essentially playing devil's advocate for every answer I gave. Couldn't tell whether he wanted me to give in, or just wanted to see how I think on my feet. I am now altogether clueless as to why they asked me to come in for the second time, but still hoping for the best.
1/15/08 - Just randomly checked my status today. First post-secondary rejection. Wasn't my favorite school, but it still stings. Ahh.
1/28/08 - Very conflicting emotions right now. Got the waitlist from UMDNJ, which I half expected considering the number of people who interviewed and got waitlisted in November and December. Ironic that I got the RWJ interview simultaneously - one door closes and another opens, I guess...
2/11/08 - Everything people say about Albany is BS. You have to go there and meet the students and physicians to realize what a nurturing environment it is. The facilities and city aren't the best, but it seems like the kind of place where students are allowed to be very hands on and become great clinicians.
2/17/09 - Checked my online status at Case. Left me on 'hold' for multiple months before the rejection. I have a feeling that most of the places that I haven't heard from yet...I will continue not to hear from lol. Still holding out on Tufts though. Heard that they interview throughout March.
2/22/09 - Literally jumped out of my seat when I got the email from Tufts 5 minutes ago! Very weird timing because I sent them a letter of interest on Friday...I wonder if they even got it before they sent me the invite. Looks like all this work has possibly paid off.
2/25/09 - I can't even remember what I was doing when I got the email from Albany. I must have blacked out. That was 20 minutes ago and my heart is still beating out of my chest. I'm going to be a doctor...and my mom doesn't know it yet!
3/3/09 - NYU and UVA - 'Throwing me out of the game? Let's make it official then!' (cue Vince Vaughn throwing chair onto the field). Have to reschedule RWJ interview because of schnow schtorm...I hear the class is already full. I guess I'll have to really impress them then!
3/11/09 - Interesting email from GW - they are keeping me on 'active status' if they have any interviews available later. Slim chance though.
4/1/09 - What an odd process this is. At times you wonder whether you would stand better chances if your uncle knew someone who knew someone at some prestigious medical school. I am so grateful for the acceptance that I have, especially being in a program with so many who have applied multiple times and probably have worked harder than me and still not gotten in. Other than hard work, patience and confidence will get you far in this endeavor.
6/17/09 - WTF?!? Dreaming or awake. Not sure.
6/18/09 - Ok, cleared my mind with some beers, slept and now I can think. Every time I got an interview invite, waitlist or acceptance, I changed what my top schools were. Ultimately, I think that means I would have been happy anywhere. Location ended up being the most important thing though, and Newark ironically is the best location for me in terms of friends, family, and where I will ultimately want to do residency (NYC). Things DO work out in the end!
6/30/09 - Received an email from RWJ today asking if I was still interested and sounding like they were going to offer me a spot. Spent pretty much the entire day pondering the decision, but ultimately decided to withdraw. I think being close to the city and my friends/maintaining my sanity is more important to me than the slight advantage in prestige of RWJ. Also, six years in NJ suburbs is enough. 3/4 from interviews - better than I expected. $50k well spent on the Master's program I would say.