ECs: Research: Basic science in a pathology lab for an academic year. No projects, no publications, no presentations. Just found out how much I dislike bench research
Clinical: -Medical Internship in South Africa for 3 months; 40 hrs/wk shadowing every specialty they had, plus some hands-on work.
-Hospital Volunteering in a Trauma Surgery Recovery Ward for 1.5 yrs
-Free clinic shadowing, 80-100 hrs
-Volunteer medical outreach & screening with the homeless (vitals, BS, etc.)
-Volunteer medical assistant for free clinic 1 summer (+++ patient contact, histories, vitals, shadowing, etc)
Americorps VISTA: Working as a Health Initiative Coordinator in a rural area. If you’re looking for something to do during your year off, I highly recommend Americorps, even if it isn’t health related.
Bunch of random jobs to help pay for school: Retail electronics, Law Office, Medical Examiner, Genomics Lab, etc...
Other Volunteering: Tutoring in a transitional housing neighborhood downtown
\\\'Clubs & Avocations\\\' Fraternity, 3 yrs; some leadership stuff Student Government: Elected to represent fraternity Mountain Climbing Club (+++ awesome)
7/2/09: AMCAS primary submitted (I meant to submit on June 1st, but my personal statement held me up for a solid month)
7/3/09: Secondary Robo-invite received from Cincinnati & GW. Cinci submitted next day, GW two weeks later.
7/13/09: AACOMAS submitted
7/23/09: AMCAS Verified! Woo! Anddddd here come the secondaries...crap.
9/1/09: (Second to) last MD secondary sent off, first D.O secondary received
9/4/09: First interview invite! TCMC!
10/5/09: Second Invite: Western COMP. *singing* “I’m goin, goin. To Cali, Cali…”
10/6/09: Awesome day: Invites from U.W and NYMC in a 4 hr span. Guess somebody up there likes me. That makes 4 D.O invites so far, 3 M.D to make a grand total of 7. My bank account is going to hate me.
10/15/09: Interview at Western didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. Got really dry interviewers, Pomona wasn’t that nice, and the presentation made it seem like they put all their emphasis on leadership and awesome residency placements and virtually none on community service and primary care, which is what I’m into, so that turned me off.
10/26/09: Phone call from Albany inviting me for an Interview. Apparently they read my “In the area” email, and wanted to schedule me for that week, with 2 days notice. Already had 3 interviews scheduled over the course of 4 days that week, 4 would’ve been too much. So I scheduled it for my NYMC trip
10/26-31: Interviews at Nova, Erie went well. Everyone was really friendly, but the Florida humidity is pretty nasty, and Erie’s a pretty depressing place (To a California native anyway)
11/1/09: First acceptance! Western COMP Northwest track. Pretty sweet, although I couldn’t shake the feeling that they just needed to fill spots in their new track, which kind of cheapened it.
11/5/09: Interview at UW went…unbelievably. I don’t know how I came up with the answers I did, honestly. The school was everything I’d imagined and hoped it would be, the students were the most enthusiastic out of anywhere I’d been. UW is just the perfect school for me, which I made sure to convey in the interview with conviction and enthusiasm.
11/9/09: Un. Be. Lievable. Got a call from my ExCom member at 2:47 pm offering me a seat in the UWSOM class of 2014. Absolutely a dream come true. I would’ve cried or screamed or something on the phone, but I was really too numb. I couldn’t stop shaking for hours afterwards.
11/10/09: Canceled my interview at PNWU, hope the spot goes to someone who really deserves it.
Final remarks: So, the outcome of this cycle was pretty improbable. I was a hard luck story, and I had some mitigating circumstances for my grades (Broken ankle + complications), but what really saved me were my experiences and my ability to write well about them. I’m pretty sure my PS is what got me at least one of my interviews, as well as my narrative-style descriptions of my activities on AMCAS. My advice to future applicants on both of these counts would be to read over the primer on SDN about PS writing and AMCAS activity descriptions. I also picked up one of those “How to write a PS” books, which helped a bit with the pre-writing phase.
As far as my success at UW goes, it should be known that the school is really big on life experience and the degree to which an applicant ‘fits’ with the school’s mission. I’m really interested in primary care, so I spent a lot of time shadowing in free clinics and volunteering in those types of settings. I think the type and quality of my experiences, combined with my ability to frame them in a way that matched up with the school’s mission really helped my application. Also, if you’re still in undergrad, and you’re on the pre-med ‘track’ (Hospital volunteering, research, etc), get off. Go find experiences that interest you and that you enjoy. Studying/volunteering abroad, artistic endeavors (dance, art, music, etc), research OUTSIDE of medicine, are all great experiences that make you grow as an individual and ultimately make you a more mature, well-rounded applicant.
Random pieces of App. wisdom:
1. Apply early (early = June 1 – Mid-July). Seriously, if you had to read 10,000 PS’s every year, how fast do you think you’d burn out? 2. Be realistic with your applications. This means applying broadly (Look at your school list as you would an investment portfolio. Diversification is a good thing!). 3. RESEARCH your schools ahead of time. You should be able to make a STRONG case for why you want to go to THAT specific school. Aspects such as clinical education, community outreach opportunities are good places to start. Do this for both secondaries and interviews. 4. When writing secondaries, read the mission statement and “Pitch to it”. This means framing your experiences to mirror what it seems like the school is looking for. This does NOT mean pursuing experiences based on what you think the school wants. You want the reader to think “Hey! This guy sounds like he’d be perfect for our school!”. Explicitly saying you’re “A good fit” doesn’t count. Try to be more subtle. 5. Interview scheduling: If you can afford it, try to arrange your interviews in order of increasing desirability. “Meh” schools first, leading up to “dream” schools. I found that as you interview, your answers get better and come more naturally. 6. Interview answers: Relax and speak from the heart. You\\\'re there because they think you\\\'re qualified to go there. Now, they need to see who you are as an individual. Also, make sure you convey how interested your are in attending your school. Enthusiasm and passion are your friends.
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now. If you’ve got a question, want some advice, or need your PS read, find me on SDN.
// Applications //
Application Cycle One: 2009
Undergraduate college: University of Washington
Undergraduate Area of study: Biological/Life Sciences
Total MCAT SCORE: 514
MCAT Section Scores:
Overall GPA: 3.48
Science GPA: 3.25
Summary of Application Experience
Costs so far:
MCAT class + Fees: $2179.00 Primary Application Fees (34 schools, M.D & D.O: $1306.00 Secondary Application Fees: $2310.00 Travel Expenses (FF mile value not included): $1140.33 Interview Attire (New Suit Included): $454.47 Miscellaneous (Mailing supplies, postage, Rec. Letter Fees): $129.12
Application Total: $5339.92 Application Total (Including MCAT) $7518.92
Getting in to UW: Priceless!
Rosalind Franklin University
Combined PhD/MSTP: No
Secondary Completed: No
Interview Invite: No
Interview Attended: No
Summary of Experience:
Couldn\'t find a reason to \'love\' this school, hence no secondary submitted