I'm not terribly anonymous on here, which is a bit concerning, but I figured I'd try to help others as much as I can by maintaining a detailed MDApps. There are some profiles on here that are the same, and those were extremely helpful for me and continue to be - thought I'd pay it forward and help anyone with similar stats/interviewing at the same places as I did/will be.
Disregard the writing score; I took the MCAT in 2014. Score is between 30-34, and both cumulative and science GPAs are >3.6.
Taking a gap year working as a research fellow. Career changer, though younger than most in my situation. I've been told that my school list is a bit too top-heavy for my stats, but I'm taking a risk with the good stories I'm telling in my application.
Research: Second-author publication, animal behavior research, medical humanities research, and two summers at a research internship working with the same PI* Awards: a mix of awards from school and an abstract award for a major conference presentation Clinical Experience: volunteering (~300 hours), shadowing (~40 hours, various specialties), project leader for public health initiatives* Employment: student assistant for organic chemistry teaching labs, retail employment Other: college quidditch, resident advisor*, TA for a laboratory class, pep band
*Most meaningful experiences.
SR= Secondary Received, SS=Secondary Submitted, AC=Application Complete (via e-mail or portal or both), II=Interview Invite
// Applications //
Application Cycle One: 06/06/2015
Undergraduate college: SUNY
Undergraduate Area of study: Biological/Life Sciences
Total MCAT SCORE: 509
MCAT Section Scores:
Overall GPA: 3.60
Science GPA: 3.60
Combined PhD/MSTP: No
Secondary Completed: No
Interview Invite: No
Interview Attended: No
Summary of Experience:
Never received secondary. Rejected 11/5.
Summary of Experience:
SR 7/13, SS 7/13, AC 7/14, II 9/10, Rejected 3/2.
Highly recommend staying with a student host and arriving a day early. I was able to attend one of my hostâ€™s classes â€“ heâ€™s an M1 under the new Pathways curriculum, and I was able to attend an Immunology session in which clinical cases were discussed to reinforce the basic science concepts that students learned on their own the day before. A case will be presented, students go over questions in groups of four, and then the entire society (of around 40 students) will discuss their answers, with an instructor moderating their discussion. Having that insight really got me even more excited about HMS. Iâ€™m not really much of a lecture-goer, so that was more my type of learning environment. The pizza dinner the night before was very informative and I recommend attending that as well.
Classes/sessions run from 8am-12:30pm and are mandatory. HMS Pathways students are randomly assigned to one of four societies (thereâ€™s a fifth one for HST), and discussions are conducted separately for each society, going over the same cases/concepts. My host said while most of the time youâ€™re with your society, but everyoneâ€™s been chill and you definitely still interact with/be friends with people in other societies.
There were 9 interviewees on my interview day, and everyone had such interesting backgrounds. Of note: almost all of us were taking at least one gap year â€“ 8 out of 9, if I remember correctly. The 9th might also be doing a gap year, I canâ€™t remember. There was a short presentation on curriculum and the admissions process in the morning, with coffee and some fresh-baked muffins (they were really good). We were given our interview schedules and taxi vouchers for going to Mass Gen Hospital (if needed). Both my interviews (both faculty members, one in the morning and one in the afternoon) were at MGH, unlike others who had interviews in Gordon Hall (the administrative office where Admissions is), Brigham and Womenâ€™s, Beth Israel, and Dana Farber (all hospitals surrounding the HMS campus). Schedules were highly variable, some of us got done before lunch, while others had interviews til around 4 or 5. I personally was done by 2:30, but chose to request a tour (~30 minutes). It was led by an admissions staff member, and was a quick walk around the HMS campus â€“ the hospitals were also pointed out to me, along with the Public Health and Dental schools.
My interviews were very relaxed, no ethical dilemma or behavioral questions. Just a lot of conversation regarding my background, why I chose to switch to medicine, and my experiences since making that decision. I was paired with faculty members who shared some of my interests, so it was easy to strike up a conversation and go from there. I have to say though, they both really took the time to go over my app and then some â€“ we talked about some things that were not in my AMCAS primary or in my secondary, but can be easily found with a quick Google search of my name (they did not specifically say they Googled me, but I figured that out based on the things they brought up). Nothing terrible, really, just some things I did not think were pertinent to my application, but they obviously thought otherwise. It was actually nice to be able to address those parts of my background. I guess what Iâ€™m saying is, be mindful of your online presence, and make sure thereâ€™s nothing floating around that you do not wish to talk about.
HMS is a giant in the medical world and I know Iâ€™ll receive top-notch training there, should I be fortunate enough to be accepted. There are a lot of new initiatives I would like to be part of, and a lot of really cool stuff Iâ€™d like to pursue there. I came in trying not to have too many expectations, and despite the unstructured nature of the interview day (which I liked very much), I was still blown away by the facilities, the curriculum, and the people there. Faculty, students, and staff were all very nice and accommodating, and I could see my interview group as my classmates too. Iâ€™m really, really happy to be considered by HMS, and Iâ€™m hoping to receive good news in early March.
Summary of Experience:
First-tier Waitlist 01/28. Really hoping for good news come spring.
SR 7/6, SS 7/6, AC 7/6, II 8/6.
I stayed with a student host the night before, and I highly recommend it. I was able to listen to an M2â€™s perspective on Pitt, and saw some things they did for fun and to help out the M1s, who had an anatomy exam the next day.
There were 12 interviewees on my interview day, and it started with a welcome from the Assistant Dean of Admissions. She had us go around and introduce ourselves and tell everyone something we did for fun, which was a nice touch as it allowed us to initiate conversations with each other easily throughout the day. My interview group was really chill and everyone was very supportive, no abrasive gunner types there. I can definitely see all of them as classmates and friends.
The M4-led tour took us around Oakland, and there were only three interviewees in our tour group â€“ needless to say, all our questions were addressed. During the admissions office presentation we were told that there are 15 students on the admissions committee (5 vote at a time) and 30 faculty members. The curriculum overview was very thorough, which I appreciated. P/F for the pre-clinical years, and the administration is very open to feedback for improvement â€“ each class has four student representatives in the curriculum committee. There was a lot of talk about the required scholarly project, which to me is not a big deal breaker as I anticipate doing something of the sort anyway, required or not. A lot (~60, spread out between Fall and Spring) of cool mini-electives throughout M1 and M2: languages, medical drawing, natural history of medicine, etc. All P/F as well, and students can also take/audit up to 6 credits of undergrad courses per semester. Definitely something to look into if I end up matriculating here.
Hot lunch was very good, best so far of my interview cycle. Soup, pasta salad, and quite a selection of things to make your own sandwich with. There were some students during lunch, but we had to cut it short for interviews (our curriculum/admissions presentation ran long). Everyone seemed happy about Pittsburgh and had a lot of positive things to say about the city and the school.
Two interviews, one student and one faculty. The student interview started out a bit scattered, but mostly because of my non-trad status and the timeline of my experiences. However I think I recovered well, and really enjoyed my interviewerâ€™s take on Pittsburgh and the opportunities available to everyone. My faculty interviewer was very conversational. She asked me questions that were very insightful and showed she really went through my application materials. Towards the end she asked me about quidditch, and that extended my interview a bit â€“ Iâ€™m gonna say thatâ€™s a positive thing.
There was a short PBL session after, which was very enjoyable and was a great look into how such sessions are conducted. It was an ethical case, but we were told that PBL sessions are conducted pretty much the same way for the basic science blocks. A financial aid session followed (very informative), and the Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid stopped by to say hi/answer any questions we might have. There was also an optional session for PSTP, which is a really cool 5-year program, but only 3 of us stayed for that.
Pittsburghâ€™s a great place to live in and the school is amazing and has a lot of resources for everyone â€“ you canâ€™t go wrong with 20+ hospitals in one city, and lots of funding for research and medical education. All of the people I met there were friendly and supportive, and treated us as colleagues rather than interviewees looking in from the outside. I sort of got lost on my way to my faculty interview, and a total of three medical students and a staff member all came up to me and offered help, before I even asked. I guess I just looked that lost. I can definitely see myself going to Pitt and taking advantage of everything the school and the city has to offer. Hoping for a good decision come January!
I arrived right on time, but was one of the last people to check in. Definitely something to consider for my future interviews. There were around 25 people in my interview group - about a third went to UB for undergrad. Mr. Rosso, the admissions advisor, delivered a short, passionate, and inspiring welcome address, and then it was off to the tour we went.
Having been to UB before and seeing the facilties, I wasn't expecting to learn much from the tour. Boy was I surprised. We went to the gross anatomy lab and got to talk to MS1s doing dissection - everyone was very chill and emphasized the collaborative culture that UB promotes. The MS1s were very excited to meet interviewees and kept pointing out cool things they're dissecting/learning about. The lab seemed well-ventilated, and the formaldehyde smell did not stick to my suit as much as I thought it would, so that was a plus. We also toured the Simulation Center, which was really, really cool and state of the art, but from what I understand med students don't really get to visit/use until their third year.
After the tour Dean Severin welcomed us back in the conference room and played a video that showed all the exciting new changes happening to the school - primarily the construction of a new medical campus downtown, closer to most of the clinical sites for rotations in MS3/4. The building looked really cool and is set to be opened in the Fall of 2017, so if I do end up attending UB my MS2 classes will be held there. This move downtown seems to be a big positive for the med school, as it would (literally) connect the clinical and basic science researchers and labs. The downtown campus would be a hub of integrated medical education and basic/clinical/translational research, and that sounds more appealing to me than the current setup (which I know for a fact has been working well, but the various departments of the medical school seem a bit disjointed due to the geographical distance). Dean Severin also emphasized the value of collaboration in the school, and upon meeting more medical students during lunch it became even more apparent that this is something they don't just preach - they actually practice it. Everyone was so nice and welcoming, and I could see them all being good friend and colleagues of mine. Same goes for the folks in my interview group. I really think UB did a good job of putting together a group of individuals that were all friendly and supportive of each other. Going into interview day I was told by friends who are already in med school to take into consideration the group I'm interviewing with and see if these are people I'd be happy to spend at least four years with. I think UB had the perfect mix of individuals that day, and it was apparent that they do a holistic review of everyone's applications and look at applicants beyond their numbers.
Speaking of numbers, our interviewers had access to all of our application materials except for our GPA and MCAT scores. I had two interviews: one with a pharmacology professor, and another with an internal medicine physician and professor. Both were very conversational. They offered a lot of insight about the school and the many positive changes going on, and mostly asked me about things that interested them from my application. There were standard questions ("Why UB?" "Why medicine?") but honestly, both interviews felt more like casual conversations, not just back-and-forth question-and-answer scenarios. I was asked some clinical/ethical questions, which I was not expecting but still prepared for. Other than that, no surprises - whatever people said on the SDN Interview Feedback section was basically it.
Overall, I'd love to attend UB. With so many good things going on for the school (including a recent $30 million donation by the Jacobs family), I can definitely see myself enjoying my time there and getting a lot of opportunities to better myself as a future physician. I can't wait for decision day.