7/8/09- I just submitted my AMCAS on Sunday, 7/5. I am still waiting for AMCAS verification, but I have received Columbia and WashU secondaries via email. It\'ll be a whirlwind couple of months completing 22 secondaries!
12/1/09- It took me until December to finish my secondaries because I spent the summer at UCSF and took a full load of classes in the Fall- not wise! I would recommend saving 15 hours or so a week for at least a month to devote to secondaries during app season if you are planning to submit early and apply to 20+ schools.
Summary of My Interview Experiences:
Mt. Sinai- Invite mid-September, Interview October 19-20. This was the first interview of the season for me; I was very nervous and may have over-prepared. The school has a lot to offer- interesting location (right between an affluent community and Spanish Harlem, adjacent to Central Park), faculty seemed very enthusiastic to be there and compassionate, and the student housing was very nice. I personally love NYC, and the school has a very New York feel to it. They have an interesting breakdown of their departments, with specialized interdisciplinary focuses such as personalized medicine. They are also in the process of building a huge new research facility. The only thing that struck me a little odd is that your degree comes from NYU, technically, but they said that they are working on becoming credentialed as a degree-granting instiution.
NYU- Invite in early October, Interview Oct. 23. Location is a little more industrial, but 31st street is very close to many attractions downtown Manhattan. The med school is in a bad location for subway transportation, but a new line is being constructed at 2nd Ave. I had mixed emotions about the school...wasn\'t my best interview, either. I loved the students and the feel of the campus. I also sat in on an immunology lecture and found it to be very engaging. Not sure if the school is right for me, though.
UCLA- Invite in October, Interview November 12. Wow, what a school! Gorgeous location, impressive new hospital and research buildings, upbeat staff....just wow! The students were very friendly and helpful in answering questions about the school. Student housing was a bit pricey, but the apartments in Wayburn Terrace were beautiful! Their curriculum was interesting- the first two years are arranged in an integrated fashion, you learn about the basic science and diseases of a system concurrently. I sat in on a lecture about the kidney and found that I loved the way they arranged the information- much different from traditional med school lectures. They also have a lot of PBL and the curriculum is designed for people who are comfortable studying independently. The researchers were amazing also...every interview lasted nearly twice as long as it should have and one faculty member took me into her lab to show me stem cells under the microscope. I also saw the CEO of the hospital walking around greeting patients- a testament to their commitment to patient care. I could be very happy here- loved it!
Dartmouth- Invite in October, Interview November 17-18. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this interview! The town is very small and I have never lived in snow before, but otherwise, I liked the small class size and the supportive/collaborative feel of the school! It\'s like a big family, and students often go to faculty members homes for dinner, etc. Everyone seemed to know each other\'s names...very friendly environment in general. P/F the first year, grades after that. They have quizzes every couple of weeks the first year- great for people that need to be pushed to stay on top of their studies, but not so great for the independent learner. This may also be the reason they have such impressive board scores and match lists. The location is beautiful, but rural. Students spend time hiking, rafting on the river, biking, etc. during the summer and snow-shoe hiking/ cross-country skiing in the winter. They also have a great program for international clerkships and medical missions (with funding for both). Additionally, you have the option to spend parts of your 3rd and 4th year at sites all over the country, including PUC in SF. The DHMC hospital was very nice...it doesn\'t even look like a hospital inside (they call it \"the mall\" because they replaced the normal hospital decor with little shops, pastel colors on the walls, wood railings, etc.), which makes for a great healing environment. There is also a student lounge with a gym in the hospital for the times you\'re stuck there late. The school does seem to go out of its way to promote a healthy lifestyle. If I can come to terms with living in a tiny rural town, this school may be a great fit for me!