Final Decision: Vanderbilt University School of Medicine! Addendum: Mayo vs Vanderbilt [Disclaimer--This section is my personal opinion]
I decided on Vanderbilt for multiple reasons, some personal and some more objective. First off, thanks to generous scholarships from both schools, the price would likely have come to less than a $10,000 difference after four years. I felt that both were "equal in prestige" and that and that both schools provided superior clinical teaching. From my research, I concluded that doing well at either school would not hinder me from any choice I might make later on for residency. Also, both schools heavily emphasized student support, which I really liked. With that said, I felt that Vanderbilt offered more resources for the development of an academic career. I am also interested in working with/researching population and community health, and I felt that it would be more accommodating to do this in an area with an actual population. Mayo also has required attendance, while Vanderbilt has a very nice audiovisual+powerpoint streaming system and attendance isn't recorded. Both are unranked P/F preclinical, with Vanderbilt having a 1.5 preclinical curriculum. With all of this, I couldn't convince myself to freeze in Rochester for four years when I could spend it in Nashville.
Remember, it isn't so much about what you do, but rather how you are able to convey what you did. What is the point of volunteering 200 hours at a hospital when all you write about it in applications and say about it in interviews is "I volunteered for 200 hours at a hospital."
11/14 The Committee on Admissions reviewed your application but has not invited you for an interview at this time. Additional reviews will occur and any change in your status will be communicated to you.
1/??/2012 Your application continues to be reviewed but there is no change in your status. Reviews will continue.
1/16/2012 Update letter of interest and unofficial transcript sent. Received automated reply email.
1/25/2012 Rejected by email/online status update. Unfortunate but highly expected.
My impression of the school changed from the interview more than at any other school, Davis showed itself very well. MMI was intense but I can\'t say it wasn\'t interesting. 7+ student run clinics seem to be really well done. The medical school campus is well integrated into the (large) UC Davis Medical Center, a large plus over Irvine. Most students are from in-state and stay in California for residency. Emphasis on producing primary care physicians that will serve the (California) community.
2/6/2012 Rejected. Probably because I pretty much only talked about research in my secondary. Surprised but not too disappointed as I am lucky to have some other very good options. Although my rescheduling twice from my initial Sept 2 interview date may have had something to do with it. Honestly, I would have probably cancelled the interview had I not already bought a ticket and had so much hassle rescheduling. Definitely recommend this school for people looking to stay in California!
Summary of Experience:
Secondary Received: 6/20/11
Great school, UPMC is a monopoly. Really stress research, you can feel the buzz of academia even though the building is kind of old and dark. Strong clinical rotations are a high point as well as a terrific match list. Possibly biased (was first interview, arrived late due to earthquake...ha ha right), but looking back, I felt that the students weren\'t as happy/relaxed as at some of the other schools. Didn\'t quite get that \"fit\" feel. I was also neutral about Pittsburgh.
Solid school in a great area. 90% of graduates place into CA residencies. Large focus on Latino and community health and outreach. Research was barely mentioned at all during the interview day. Personally, from all my interviews, this was the school that I felt was the worst fit for me.
10/28 - placed on \"Alternate List.\" For some odd reason, I had a three hour gap between my two interviews, where I sat there as my brain melted from tiredness. Of course, I then proceeded to tell my second interviewer that my biggest challenge in medicine would be working with people...whoops!
Amazing NYC view from the hospital and school, it is in upper east Manhattan standing on Central Park. Standalone medical center without affiliated university seems to put a lot of focus on the med students. Seems to offer great rotations, as well as a true p/f unranked pre-clinical curriculum. Tests are also done on an \"honor system\" where you take them when you want, where you want. Provided student housing is quite nice and affordable. Personally, I am not as hyped as a lot of people about being in NYC. Although I do think it has the \"nicest\" location of of all the NYC schools--right on central park!
Not really relevant (nothing to do with MSSM specifically), but I had what is so far the worst flight and one of the worst nights of my life on my cross-country trip back from here. Uggghh. I ate a lot of soft pretzels to keep from crying.
Summary of Experience:
Nice people, facilities, great match list, Nashville seems like a great place to be for 4 years. A hybrid 1.5 year preclinical curriculum looks great. Left with a very good impression. Definitely a top choice.
2/07/2012 Woken up at 8AM by a call from Nashville. 75% tuition merit scholarship for all four years!!! Too excited to go back to sleep.
Honestly you should apply just to go to second look.
Summary of Experience:
Secondary Received: 6/21/11 LoR Request: 7/1
Incredible school with incredible opportunities. Main clinic looks like a super nice hotel. Collegiality between students and the rest of the attending staff. Selectives seem great, as well as a well designed curriculum. Small class size. Rochester gets cold but otherwise is nice.
As someone else so eloquently put it, \"I don\'t know how long I could live in the middle of nowhere in a frozen tundra.\" However, if accepted, I will have to seriously reconsider.
10/5/2011 Application Ranked
January 26, 2012 Placed on Alternate List
5/31/2012 Received an odd \"touch base\" email. Guess it means something!
6/1/2012 Accepted! With 15k scholarship! 1 week to decide. How exciting!
Ended up receiving scholarship and grants equaling ~75% tuition.
6/7/2012 Regretfully withdrew. Mayo is very unique in culture, opportunity, and location. Wish I had been able to attend the second look to learn more before committing.
Summary of Experience:
Secondary Received: 6/17/11
Dartmouth would be an adventure. Some cons are long class hours the first two years and lack of patient diversity at DHMC compared to some other places. Rotations are on a lottery system, and there is no consistent \"home\" site. Hanover seems nice if a bit small, and apparently it gets very cold. New Hampshire is beautiful though, and lots to do outdoors. Small class size and the students all seemed friendly.
FIRST ACCEPTANCE....SO EXCITED!!
5/15/2012 Withdrew. Never got financial aid information due to no parental income tax forms. Would have been 100% loans. Also not sold on no consistent home rotations and being so isolated.
USC+LAC hospital is pretty amazing. Strongest draw for USC for me would probably be their rotations through the county hospitals. Faculty and student environment seems supportive and cohesive. Campus is nice, nothing amazing but you definitely get the \"We are USC\" feel. Housing is mainly all off-campus about 10-15min away. I don\'t know if the hospital itself is enough to sway me from my other options though.
1/17/2012 Decided to withdraw at this point because they only give you ten days to decide and require a non-refundable deposit.