Starting this application cycle 6/1/09. Applying broadly, sent in my application on the very first day AMCAS opened and I was tweaking my personal statement and extra curricular info for the application since February. Went on 11 interviews so far as of 11/05/09. Will not go on anymore interviews unless I hear back from some of the other NYC schools. Tired of traveling especially after 11 interviews, I hate flying. I did enjoy meeting so many applicants, students and faculty and seeing some really great schools. Will add information on each school, fees for the cycle and interview as things get a little less hectic. Comments are welcomed and appreciated! Will release my anonymity and add my stats once I decide on a school at the end.
SUNY Downstate Interview- My first interview of the season. I was really nervous about it and probably studied for it way too much in order to relieve my nerves. The interviewees were sat in a pretty cozy room. All the other students interviewing seemed pretty nice. My interview was really laid back and didn\'t ask any really difficult questions, it was very conversational. My interview was held in a small room off to the side of the waiting room which made me a little nervous but my interview was early and no on else had arrived yet so it was fine. The admissions staff was very friendly. We went on a tour of the facilities, which were decent. The library was pretty nice and all of the students I met seemed to be very happy and they were a pretty close bunch. We didn\'t get to see much of the hospital. One of the major selling points that they emphasized was the cost which is like 26K a year in state and the very good clinical experience and preparation that you will gain. The area is what it is. Being raised in Brooklyn, it is the norm for me but many of my peers see it as dirty and dangerous and not representative of the \"city\" even though NYC has 5 boroughs and is not confined to manhattan. Overall after speaking to the students and viewing the facilities I have a good feeling about Downstate and I could picture myself being there. Wish they would have told me that the lunch would be tuna fish because I don\'t eat tuna and I had to go get some West Indian food after the day because I was starving. Also would be nice if things were pass/fail but it seems that the students are still very cooperative even though it is not a true pass/fail. The dorms were also decently sized and located right across the street from the facilities which is great. Most people move away from the area after first year to find cheap housing in areas such as Park Slope, Williamsburg and other neighborhoods around Brooklyn. It would be nice to be close to home but that is not one of my major restrictions.
Yale- I really really enjoyed this school. It is definitely one of my top schools and was very pleased to get an interview here. I stayed with a host and talked to him about his time at Yale. I was already familiar with the school from spending a summer there but it was nice being back in New Haven. The atmosphere there is great and I really like the area. The interviewees sat in a room adjacent to the admissions offices. We were greeted by the Dean and he spoke to us about Yale. We had a financial aid presentation and one of their physician rockstars came to talk to us about yale. I had two interviews with faculty members, which were an hour long each, yikes! But they were both very personable and really great people so time sort of flew by. The lunch was really good, we sat with med students in the cafeteria and talked about Yale and they answered questions and spoke about why they thought Yale was great. We took a tour of the hospital and facilities which were all great! The school is pass/fail which is a plus and the options and resources there are amazing. At the end of the day, I was very very happy with Yale.
Albert Einstein- The trip in the morning for the interview from Brooklyn to the Bronx felt longer than it really was. Took about 2.5 hours but felt like almost 4. Was a little lost on my way but made it there in good time. The staff in the admissions office was very nice and handed out packets while telling us directions on how to get to our interviews. The campus is pretty spread out and some of the interviewees had to take shuttles to their interviews. My interview was at the very end of campus at Jacobi Medical Center. It took some time for me to get used to walking around the area but after a few minutes it wasn\'t that bad. My interviewer was great. We talked about sports, school, life and my motivations. I felt really comfortable talking to her. After my early interview, just 1 for the day, we went for lunch. There were about 15 or 20 students interviewing that day. Lunch was in the cafeteria and we were able to get a dish and a drink. There was tilapia and veggies which was pretty good. After the lunch with the med students we took a tour of the facilities. The facilities were nice, saw the lecture hall, student areas and gym. Then we took a tour of the dorms. Very cheap, around 400 or 500 a month if I remember correctly. The dorms were also pretty spacious and definitely very nice for nyc prices. The diversity enhancement office has great staff, whom I met before. There is also pass/fail which fosters that sense of community and collaboration that I\'m looking for. There is also a minority scholarship for half tuition, which is amazing! The students seemed to be very happy and not as stressed as some schools that I have inquired about. It was a good day.
Case Western-I liked Case. It gave me the feel of small city living with the major resources of Case and Cleveland Clinic. Not what I\'m used to growing up in NYC but it definitely had a charm all its own. Cleveland seems kind of like a mix of suburbia and small city. They are strong in research and their ties to Metro and VA hospitals would afford good clinical experience to those who take advantage of it. I stayed with a host here and walked around a little bit to get a better feel for the city. It has its ups and downs. The transportation is not so good but most transportation systems pale in comparison to NYC. Also, the winters there are brutal...being so close to Lake Erie and all. Bright spot: Cleveland Cavs (Lebron)! Lol. My interviewer gave me what seemed to be a stress interview, which i did not appreciate. However, I just stayed calm, answered truthfully and saw it through. The staff here was really nice and the students seemed to be very happy with their choice to go there. A big draw is the Masters in Anatomy for those interested in surgery and taking on a masters degree is free! Overall, I liked the school. It would have been better if my interviewer was cool but you can\'t win them all.
Howard- My visit here can be summed up in 1 word: great! I really like DC and think its a great second option to NY, lol. Dr. Walk was a very nice lady and the staff was very cool. We met with some of the students during our tour and everyone seemed to really happy with Howard. They all seemed to be a close family there and are really supportive of each other. My faculty interviewer was great! We talked for a long time, so long that I missed lunch ;-(. But I went to Ben\'s Chili Bowl after my day was finished so it was fine!!! The other students interviewing seemed to be chill people and it was nice for a change to not be the only or 1 of 2 minorities interviewing for the day. D.C. is definitely a happening place to be especially if you have an interest in the underserved, global health or health policy.
Morehouse- First off, I\'d like to say that I really like ATL. The mix of great weather (except smoldering summers), young minority professionals, mix of country/major city, southern food, hospitality and it has its own little charm that I missed out on by living in NYC. I really liked the school. Class size is a little small but it helps everyone really get to know each other and form a very cohesive bunch. The staff was very personable. We got to sit in on a class to start the morning. I really liked the way the students and professor interacted and it was a very stimulating environment. The students seemed very happy and were eager to come and talk with us. Our tour guides were hilarious and very real. There are very strong faculty members there that are renowned for doing amazing things but I guess you can probably say that at most schools. The only thing is that these faculty members were minorities and it made me happy to see such a strong concentration of brilliant minority faculty. Dr. Roaf knew me by name and called me by name on interview day which impressed me. The facilities were nice and things were definitely improving every year there. Overall I had a good time in ATL and even stayed an extra day to enjoy the city.
Columbia- What can I say....I have very little to say about this place that I would consider to be bad attributes. Its NYC and I love NYC as I grew up here but its far enough from home that I can feel like I\'m away. Washington Heights despite what many may say is a nice area to me. The ambiance, feel, food and people make me feel at home because of growing up in a very mixed African American and Latino section of Brooklyn. The research here is abundant, expansive and awesome...they have Eric Kandel, enough said (when it comes to neuroscience-my research interest). Presby is an amazing hospital and renown in many facets of health care and the various stellar faculty members that make up many of their medical departments. I fell in love with this place. My interview here despite my exuberance was not my best and I didn\'t click as well as I would have liked with my interviewer. Dr. Hilda Hutcherson is amazing! I enjoyed speaking with her. The day was great, we had interviews, got to sit in on class and it just so happened that they had sickle cell anemia patients come in and talk to the students. It was an experience that I won\'t soon forget. After that we were able to sit in on small group with some of the students and see their interactions with their facilitators. The only thing I could see as a drawback was the dorms. Even though Bard wasn\'t expensive for NYC prices it was kind of old and needed some renovations. Other than nitpicking at that, Columbia is amazing!
Pitt-I came to this interview hearing many great things about Pitt from friends and faculty but my time here far exceeded my expectations. The city reminded me of NYC a little bit but with some parts varying between small town feel and major urban center. The transit system seems better than some of the other cities I have interviewed at outside of NYC and DC. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is a juggernaut that takes over Pittsburgh and some of the surrounding area. It is the largest medical system in the country and has some of the largest amount of resources and funds in the country as a hospital/medical system. They have the best funded psych facility in the country (Western Psych.), which borders on some of the research that i am interested in. The undergrad campus is down the hill (really steep hill that i was not prepared for) and that will give me a real college sports atmosphere (Pittsburgh has a very good D-1 basketball team and decent football team). They have the largest simulation center in the country for a medical system that is still growing and adapting new mannequins and programs. The dorms where the med students lived were nice and decently sized (stayed with a student host). Students seem to be very nice with the school and the amount of money it has for its students and their interests. My interviewers were great, student was very nice and asked probing questions and faculty was very knowledgeable and seemed very interested in what I had to say. The facilities and the 1 or 2 hospitals that we were able to tour were really nice, some of the best that I have seen. Overall I enjoyed my visit to the school, I just wish that it was closer to NYC and that it wasn\'t so freaking cold, damn it was freezing and its not even January yet.
Georgetown- D.C. is great as I have said before. Georgetown is in a really nice (expensive) area of D.C. Almost showed up late for the interview because my cab driver decided to stop me before I got out of the car to tell me about becoming a reborn again christian, lol. I listened to him for a bit because he was really excited about me going to interview at Georgetown and was a nice guy. Sat in a room off to the left and waited for faculty to come get us, I was the last one to show up. Received by far the best inspirational/motivational speech of all my interviews from Mrs Sullivan. She spoke for 1 and a half hours without prompts (i think). I felt like I was getting a motivational speech from Vince Lombardi or something.I was also very impressed by her knowledge of everyone\'s apps as she recalled information for each person. We went for a tour of the facilities and a few jabs were thrown at their neighboring med school George Washington in the process. Someone released a stink bomb or a waste pipe burst or something like that because it smelled pretty horrible throughout the facilities. There are a decent amount of students per class at close to 200 and there are a great deal of students that come off of the waitlist to get in. The lunch was the exact same as GW\'s lunch which was interesting. The facilities were decent, at least what we were able to see. The students who gave the tour were not very exciting. There were a lot of student chill areas where you could see dozens of students studying and relaxing. Overall I will say that it was an ok experience but maybe im just a little jaded and tired after the 10 interviews before this one.
GW- I enjoyed GW. I met with one of the SNMA reps for breakfast before my interview (Georgetown\'s SNMA didn\'t even respond to my emails) with the other minority interviewees for the day. It was cool and very laid back. I didn\'t mesh as well with my interviewers as I would have liked (had another Dean again...) I felt prepared and I think (hope) that I did well. Two issues here are the cost (GW and DC in general are very expensive) and the probation issues. They tried really hard to show us that they are making strides to change their situation and get off of probation for the next LCME review. They showed us the new student lounge space and the labs and facilities. I really liked the hospital! The campus gave me a good feeling...inside of the gates it was like Penn, an urban campus with a small community feel at times and once you leave the gates you have the metro right outside and D.C. in all its glory. One of the students told me to pick my state school if given the chance to save some money over coming here for lots of money. The lunch was very good, try the lemon squares, lol. The students seem to be very happy as they spoke to us between lunch and interviews. Overall I liked GW.
Meharry- Nashville is an interesting place. Between country music and everything being spread out. There was a suburban/country feel from the moment I stepped off the plane. The place has really good bbq and I indulged a bit while I was there. The students that I met seemed to be relatively happy. Two students told me in confidence, if I get in somewhere else, I should go there but if not, come here. I didn\'\'t know what to make of that. The facilities were ok, I liked the overall campus and the hospital. There seemed to be a lot of student support for each other. Meharry seems to be making changes for the students at their request like adding a cafe to a building or two that needed them. Mr. Mosley was very nice and funny. Dr. Atwater was a very good tour guide and very knowledgeable about the school and its history. Lunch was decent, saw a couple foods that i never saw before living in NYC like a frito pie and nacho pie...didn\'t know what to make of those things, lol. There isn\'t a great deal of research here but they have a good partnership with Vandy. Everyone seemed to be very nice and the interviews went well. One of my interviewers was a little odd but the other was great and we had a really good conversation. Had a good talk with a few faculty members and the students that interviewed with me were cool. Overall it was cool.