KEY FOR THE ABOVE ABBREVIATIONS:
SR = secondary received
SS = secondary submitted
C = complete (secondary received + LORs received)
II = interview invite
IA = interview attended
WL = waitlisted
A = accepted
W = withdrew
R = rejected
Expecting nothing, shooting for the stars. We\'ll see what happens.
UT San Antonio (interview date: 8/30/2010)
PROS: faculty and students were extremely nice and appreciative of our presence, students seemed very happy and relaxed, every student that I talked to emphasized the camaraderie of the class and trying to work through the med school grindfest as a group rather than as a set of competitive individuals, and organ systems curriculum
CONS: facilities (they\'re quite old) and San Antonio (not too excited about going to yet another city that \"grows on you\")
Overall, the experience here was pretty enjoyable. My first interview ever was with the Dean of Admissions (yikes), so that was a pretty intimidating way to start off the cycle. The interviews were fairly straightforward and essentially consisted of asking about the stuff on my PS and supplemental essay(s).I was pleasantly surprised with UTSA and have moved it off the \"not even considering\" list to the \"a possibility\" list.
UT Houston (interview date: 9/3/2010)
PROS: Texas Medical Center (this is pretty much any health professional\'s version of a candy store), the area TCM is in and the Houston area in general, great faculty and students (got a fairly chill vibe here as well), great price, and the facilities are incredible
CONS: No significant cons
The whole process at UTH was incredible. The social the night before was a ton of fun, the tour was great and informative, albeit a bit long, and both interviews were enjoyable. Texas Medical Center alone is an incredible asset, not to mention that UTH has access to MD Anderson. What a great school. I can 100% see myself here and not have any problems with it.
Vandy (interview date: 9/7/2010)
PROS: Centralized facilities (no traveling for rotations!), students are EXTREMELY happy - you can tell they enjoy their time at Vandy, the Nashville area, stipend for summer research after M1, and the \"emphasis project\"
Surprisingly, I was a little disappointed in the interview day (not the school itself). The tours weren\'t very helpful; we never even went into University Hospital, the main teaching hospital, or any of their clinical facilities for that matter. Lunch was ok. The highlight of the day was the students and their enthusiasm for recruiting for the school. The administration clearly does everything it can to keep its students happy. I know I would be happy here if I went here and, judging by their match lists, get a pretty incredible education. Vandy definitely still remains in my top 3.
UT Southwestern (interview date: 9/11/2010)
PROS: Research-oriented institution, main teaching hospital is a county hospital, significant autonomy in MS3/MS4 years, familiar with the Dallas area
CONS: Weird curriculum, students have a reputation for being gunners (though this seems to have changed with a change in their grading system)
I thought the admissions staff did a great job on both the pre-interview information day and the interview day. Everything was well organized and very informative, if not a little lengthy. The clinical facilities aren\'t as extensive as UTH\'s, but all of the students seem to be impressed with their clinical experiences. I was surprised at the overall demeanor of the students; they have a reputation of being intense - and I definitely saw that in the MS3s and MS4s - but the younger students seem much happier and more personable. The choice between UTH and UTSW, if that choice exists, will be a difficult one.
University of Chicago (interview date: 9/28/2010)
PROS: Enthusiastic, relaxed students; the administration clearly values diversity in its class and the interdisciplinary approach of the university; really enjoyed the campus and what I saw of Chicago; small class size; great research opportunities for med students
CONS: Cost ($300k+ for four years?!)
I was EXTREMELY impressed with Chicago\'s interview day. The interviewers were extremely friendly and conversational, and all the students I talked to were pretty laid back. Pursuit of joint degrees is possible (including M. Ed.) and seems to be taken advantage of by a good chunk of the students. I\'m really hoping to get an acceptance and go back for a second look. I definitely didn\'t expect to be this impressed with the school. Based solely on what I\'ve seen thus far at interviews, this would be my top choice.
University of Michigan (interview date: 10/1/2010)
PROS: Loved the curriculum (one class at a time, flexible quiz/test times), Ann Arbor is a pretty cool city, great reputation amongst residency programs, fairly cheap housing prices
Overall, I was pretty impressed with Michigan. Students were fun, the admissions staff was fantastic, and the facilities (or what I saw of them) seemed great. Ann Arbor seems like an awesome city: very college town-like, and the entire downtown area seems to be catered to intellectual-type people (I\'m guessing that has something to do with all of the incredible programs Michigan has going for it). I got weird vibes while I was there, but I think that\'s more because I was tired than anything else. I hope I\'m invited to the Second Look weekend; I would love to see Michigan again when I\'m not as tired and run down.
WashU (interview date: 10/12/2010)
PROS: Great research opportunities, absolutely fantastic facilities, low cost of living (relatively)
CONS: Didn\'t get a good vibe from the students, seems extremely research-focused
I\'m not sure how I felt about WashU. It\'s clear that the opportunities here are truly unique, and the level of education and opportunities for research couldn\'t be better. But I got the feeling that the students were very research/career focused rather than focused on healing people, and even though the two are strongly related, I definitely think there\'s a difference that shapes an individual\'s philosophy of medicine. I hope that I get a chance to visit the campus again to get a batter idea of whether this was a fluke or not.
Baylor (interview date: 10/15/2010)
PROS: Systems-based curriculum, 1.5- vs. 2-year curriculum, TMC, plenty of research opportunities, great value (cost is comparable to the UT system)
I was much more impressed with Baylor than I thought I would be. The students seemed very happy, the resources available were incredible, and the more I learned, the more I liked. The curriculum is particularly unique and very desirable. As was mentioned with UTH, the clinical/research opportunities available at TMC are simply incomparable. No other institution is going to have a similar breadth of facilities available in such a small area. Combined with the relatively low price, Baylor becomes a pretty tempting option. If I was accepted to all of the Texas schools, this would very likely be my first in-state choice (even over UTSW).
Mayo (interview date: 10/25/2010)
PROS: Curriculum (block schedule, selectives, choice in vacation time, \"breaks\" of sorts after every block, true P/F for pre-clinical years), ability to seek second degrees from any institution in the nation (AWESOME), super small class size, students are awesome, faculty emphasis on teaching, Rochester is a gorgeous area, very low cost of living, generous living costs calculated by the financial aid office, half scholarship for all students, grants for students pursuing second degrees
CONS: Rochester doesn\'t have much going on (but the Twin Cities are nearby, and the camaraderie of the class seems to more than make up for a slow city life), mandatory class attendance
Wow - what an incredible place. The students were fantastic, the clinical facilities incredible... everything was fantastic. The only potential downside is Rochester, but it seems like a great place to be, and you can\'t complain about the low cost of living. This is my top choice by far, and I don\'t really see that changing. I would almost certainly matriculate here if accepted. This place seems to offer everything I\'m looking for in terms of educational opportunities and personal considerations.
Hopkins (interview date: 11/4/2010)
PROS: Other than it\'s THE Johns Hopkins school of medicine, I\'m not really sure, their brand new, $60 million education building is pretty incredible, fantastic opportunities to do research
CONS: Expensive with no merit aid, the surrounding area is literally housing projects
I was fairly underwhelmed with Hopkins. I didn\'t really see why it has such a fantastic reputation. That doesn\'t at all mean that the school is undeserving of its reputation, but the interview day certainly didn\'t attempt to convince anyone why they\'re awesome. I guess they feel like they don\'t have to. On the positive side, even though JHU is obviously research-focused, I didn\'t get the same feel that I did when I was at WashU. There\'s definitely a very strong clinical focus in addition to research. I think this would be a great place to train - I\'m sure the reputation is based on something - but I\'m not really sure why, other than that it \"is.\"
Columbia (interview date: 12/14/2010)
PROS: New York!, abbreviated curriculum (1.5 years pre-clinical), Step 1 is taken after the third year
CONS: Cost (in all aspects - tuition, cost of living, etc.), when I asked the dean of admissions (my interviewer) about doing M.D./Ed.D., he seemed not very enthusiastic and indirectly discouraging
Overall, I was impressed with Columbia and liked the feeling that I got here. The students seemed relaxed and normal, there\'s a big emphasis on extracurricular involvement and a holistic view of medical training, and New York is fantastic. For whatever reason, I didn\'t quite get the drop-dead-in-love feeling, but I did like it. The cost is a bit of a turn-off...
Cornell (interview date: 12/15/2010)
PROS: Love the area of NY the campus is in, fantastic housing for students, great facilities all around (you can tell this is an affluent area), like the importance of PBL in the curriculum, plenty of opportunities (and fully funded) for travel around the globe, somewhat generous financial aid, classes end every day at 1pm
CONS: Especially high cost-of-living due to the Upper East Side community, internal rankings for grades (wtf?), high sticker price, virtually no multi-institutional training opportunities (i.e., M.Ed./Ed.D.)
I actually enjoyed Cornell quite a bit; I would even say more than Columbia, though there are a couple of fairly large issues that would require some sacrifice. I loved the community Cornell is in, and I really like that all of the facilities are very close together. That would definitely make for less painful walks during the winter. The apparent lack of dual-degree programs is a little irritating, though, and I think would probably be a deal-breaker. That the school internally ranks students (albeit into quartiles) during the pre-clinical years is also pretty irritating. That said, I got the vibe that students really enjoy their time at Cornell: the curriculum and schedule afford them plenty of opportunities to be normal people, and the emphasis on self-directed learning means people choose to study as much as I want. I\'m just not sure if Cornell offers the opportunities that I\'m looking for.
Yale (interview date: 2/9/2011)
PROS: The Yale System (no grades, no rankings, no mandatory class attendance... awesome)
CONS: Cost, didn\'t really like New Haven all that much (it\'s hard to see myself living there)
I enjoyed Yale, but I\'m not sure if it quite made the jump up to the top for me like I expected. Like Columbia, I didn\'t necessarily DISLIKE anything, but I also didn\'t fall immediately in love either. We\'ll see - if I get accepted, it would likely be a serious contender. If I get rejected, I don\'t think I\'ll be losing any sleep over it. I think the main problem is seeing myself in New Haven; I don\'t feel like this is a place I would necessarily love to live in. But I LOVE the idea of the Yale system, and I definitely think I would flourish in that kind of environment.