-Re-applicant, applying to 28 MD and 5 DO schools. -My LORs were sent at the beginning of August, so my applications weren't complete until then or after.
-I have written about my interview experiences at each school I visited, which can be found if you click on the individual school name below. I hope they can be helpful to any current or future applicants reading this, but know that some things are purely my opinion based on my experiences, and other things I say may not be true about a school because I have misinterpreted something (I'm human) or they have changed since I interviewed.
-Last cycle I applied to 20 MD programs, interviewed at 2, waitlisted at 1, and was eventually rejected everywhere. So far this cycle, I have gotten a lot more love from schools with interview invites. I think this is due to having full-time employment experience, completely changing my personal statement and description of activities, and school selection. I'm incredible grateful for the interview opportunities and acceptances I've gotten this cycle.
4+ yrs paid research, multiple presentations, multiple publications 2+ yrs EMS volunteering 1 yr ER Scribe work Lots of shadowing - multiple specialists, 1 surgeon, and 1 PCP Musician Not a lot of leadership Other random hobbies and extracurriculars
// Applications //
Application Cycle One: 06/04/2012
Undergraduate Area of study: Biological/Life Sciences
Summary of Experience:
8/31 - Received the infamous "further" status. I had the same status for the majority of my last application cycle until I was rejected in March...
The "further" status:
"The committee's file review indicates that they would like to consider your file further. We are now in the process of scheduling interviews and will continue to do so through February. Unfortunately, the committee indicates interest in far more candidates than we are able to interview. Since we are dependent on the Committee member's schedules for interview spaces, we are unable to predict when or if we will be able to schedule you this year. Please continue to check this site to learn when further action has been taken."
Summary of Experience: First rejection, ouch. But I\'m not too surprised since this school has a small class which is about 70% in-state (according to their website). I\'m guessing my stats weren\'t competitive enough for the few OOS seats.
Summary of Experience:
9/17 - Placed into the "Continue to review" category via snail mail. Before I opened it, I thought it was a rejection letter. I guess its good that I'm still in the running, for whatever this hold is worth.
Summary of Experience:
10/9 - Status changed to "small pooled":
"Your file is complete and has been preliminarily reviewed. You are within a pool of applicants from which an interview may be extended. Please note that this does not guarantee you will be offered an interview and you may not see an update to your status for several months."
10/1 - Finally my status was changed to complete, 8 weeks after submission... I know I'm OOS, but wtf UVM? Status reads:
"We have received all application materials that you have submitted. Your application is under preliminary review. This review of your file may take 6-8 weeks. Once the review of your file is complete your status will be updated." _______________________________
My status is:
"Your supplemental application has been received. Please note that it may take 6-8 weeks for all materials to be processed. You should continue to periodically check on the status of your file through the Online Applicant Center. We appreciate your patience!"
"Your file has been reviewed by the Committee on Admissions. The review process is continuous from now until the conclusion of our interview season in mid-April. If you are granted an interview, you will be contacted by phone and/or e-mail." - looks to be some kind of hold.
Summary of Experience: I didn\'t expect to get an interview here because I have no prior military experience, but I look forward to seeing what this place is all about.
10/17 - I withdrew from the invite. I talked to some current students and decided that I couldnt make the long commitment and want to give someone else a shot here. I still would like to pursue military medicine someday and think the FAP program may be a better alternative for me personally.
Summary of Experience:
10/9 - I will most likely decline the interview invite. This is supposed to be a great school, but I currently have a DO acceptance and traveling costs are already hurting my bank account. If I got this interview instead of one at CCOM, I probably would have made the trip.
Summary of Experience:
UC wins the award for coolest medical school building (CARE/Crawley). I really loved everything else about the school too.
12/6 - And another waitlist. I feel like every school I interview at is just hoping they can get someone better than me.
5/6 - Ranked in lower third of the waitlist. __________________________________________________________________________________________
University of Cincinnati
Interview summary: Very, very nice interview day at UC. It starts with a detailed and informative presentation about the MMI by Dean Manuel, who was extremely open about why they use the MMI, the metrics on how applicants are evaluated, and how admissions works. After this is a short break and then the MMI, which was structured similar to my other MMIs but included one station where you had to act (which I thought was really dumb). The rest of the day included more presentations (finaid, admissions, curriculum, etc.), a tour of the CARE/Crawley and medical science buildings by current students, and lunch. Although most of the day is sitting around in a conference room, I left very informed and very impressed by UC. This seems like a great place to learn with a ton of resources. One heads up though, if there are interviewees who go/went to UC undergrad, don’t take anything they say about the medical school as fact. There were a couple of UC undergrads at my interview day who thought they knew everything there is to know about the UC medical school, when in fact much of what they said was completely wrong (verified by the medical student tour guides). However they were pretty informative about the Cincinnati area and what areas are nice and whatnot.
Pros: -Facilities are top notch. The CARE/Crawley building is incredible; it has a library, study rooms, fitness center, dining areas, etc. all available to the med students and lots of research labs too. The medical science building is very nice and there are several buildings about the campus purely for research as well. They didn’t give us a tour of the University hospital, but I walked around the campus myself afterwards and saw it and the Cincinnati children’s hospital too. -The main UC campus is right down the street (there’s a shuttle between the 2) and all of their facilities are available to you as a UC student (eg. Huge modern recreation center, libraries, etc.). -Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital is one of the top peds hospitals in the nation and is on the campus/affiliated with UC. -OOS students can get in-state tuition for years 2-4 or for all 4, depending on your living preferences. 1-You can live in Ohio your first year (while paying OOS tution) and gain residency for years 2-4. 2-You can move to and live in northern Kentucky and pay a special tuition rate for all 4 years (which is IS tuition + a couple hundred $ per year). Cincinnati is right on the Ohio/Kentucky border so it is possible to do this and only have a 15-20 minute commute to the UC medical campus. Either way seems like a pretty good deal. -Systems based, integrated, block curriculum for preclinical years. -1&1/2 months for Step 1 prep, (mean 230s, pass rate 96-99%). -Most textbooks are available electronically through the library. -Grading is P/F for MS1-2, but class rank is determined each block. MS3-4 is H/HP/P/F. -Lots of research going on. Several buildings on campus dedicated solely for research. -Several unique scholar programs available for medical students (child and adolescent health, geriatrics, neuroscience, nutrition). -Cost of living in Cinci is more affordable than other large cities. -Students were awesome and didn’t seem stressed.
Cons: -The area surrounding the medical campus is ehh, but you obviously don’t have to live there. Students said they either live right next to campus or in nicer neighborhoods within driving distance and some in downtown Cinci.
Other: -Be aware that their tuition and fees are different depending on the year of study. 1st and 4th years are ~$28k for IS and ~$46k for OOS. 2nd and 3rd years are ~$43k and $69k. Tricky tricky UC! Despite this, UC is still less expensive than many others for me.
Summary of Experience:
12/5 - Put into the competitive applicant pool (CAP aka waitlist). Nothing like waiting 2 months for a decision only being told to wait a lot longer and maybe you'll be accepted. I'm just racking up waitlists, eff. I'm now writing an LOI to send in because Gtown explicitly said you must do this to even be considered off of the waitlist.
Interview summary: At first I was underwhelmed here because their facilities weren’t the greatest, but the faculty and my student interviewer really sold me on how good of a school this is. My day started out by hanging out with the other interviewees in the room they called the “fish bowl”, because it had glass windows all around so people could see us. They then brought us downstairs to a student lounge for some light refreshments (bagels and juice) and we were able to talk to a few students. We were supposed to go to a class after, but students didn’t have class at the time that was scheduled so we couldn’t see a class. We basically just talked to current students and then were brought back to the fish bowl to wait longer. An admissions rep then talked to us about the rest of the day and answered more questions. After, Donna Sullivan came in to talk to us about the Georgetown curriculum, cura personalis, and other things; it was pretty great (read my description below). We then had a financial aid rep talk to us about how we need to sell our left kidney to afford this school. After that, we got a student tour from several students who showed us around the med-den building, library, and a little bit of the hospital. We then ate a decent lunch talked with Dr. Schwartz on the adcom which was also really awesome, he’s a really interesting guy. He gave some facts about the school but also talked about everything from Georgetown’s great clinical education to his opinions on healthcare reform/effects, dealing with student debt, being a primary care physician, and informatics projects. Ask him anything and he’ll answer you honestly. After lunch, we were brought back to the fish bowl and the interviews started. Most of the interviewers came to our room and take us to a room to interview in the med-dent building, but a couple interviewees were given directions to find their interviewers in other buildings around campus (I forget the those locations). Luckily my interviewer came to the interview room to get me and I didn’t have to get lost wondering around the campus. The interviews are a one-on-one style and can be with either a physician, science faculty, or current med student. Interviewers have access to all of your essays from primary and secondary applications, but do not have your grades or MCAT scores. I interviewed with a MS4 for about an hour and I have to say it was the best interview I’ve had. While I don’t think I answered questions the best, we had a very good conversation about what Georgetown has to offer, how to adjust to med school, what med school is like, etc. I feel like I learned a lot more about the school from the MS4 because of their first-hand experience as a student than I would have with a physician or science faculty member. They explained that the people are the best part of Georgetown, and gave examples of his experiences with leading experts in medicine giving lectures and interacting with students. I was asked some difficult situational questions which seemed to examine my critical thinking abilities and also about healthcare reform, but I feel that I answered well. Overall I was very impressed with their teaching style, curriculum, students, and faculty.
Pros: -Ms. Sullivan’s talk on the cura personalis, Georgetown, and medical school in general was incredible. I could listen to her talk for hours. I don’t really know how to explain it, but she described in detail and with examples how they teach students to focus on the person as an individual and care for them as a whole. She also made it clear that there is no such thing as “Catholic medicine”, they teach you the same evidence based science curriculum of any other medical school in their own way. It was also a no bullsh*t talk. She really wanted to explain their teaching style in detail and if its not for you, don’t go to Georgetown. -Holy crap match list. Again, I’m no expert when it comes to match lists and what hospitals are best for each specialty, but Georgetown students match at big name places in everything. Seriously take a look at them. -There are several different tracks which students can participate in to supplement the medical curriculum (or not). Social justice, international health, and research track. Each of these seem really cool in their own way if you think you can handle the extra work. There are also every type of dual-degree programs except for MD/MPH. However, students can arrange time for an MPH at another school and Georgetown will accommodate them. -You can take any other course at Georgetown for free (ie factored into your tuition) if you can fit it in your schedule. -Elective rotations in MS4 can be done anywhere if you set it up. -They recorded all lectures and put files online. -Great opportunities for research. NIH is minutes away and has stuff going on in any and every area you have interests in. You have to set any research up yourself by contacting PI’s, but if you want something specific, you’ll be able to do it. If you prefer research on campus or clinical research at the hospital, that is available to you as well. -Location is sweet. The Georgetown area itself is a very nice, wealthy area of DC and there are endless opportunities and downright awesome places to see, eat, and go out in DC.
Cons: -Expensive everything. Tuition + fees is around $51k and the cost of living in DC is insane. The location comes at a price. The school has no merit based awards but does have need-based institutional aid in the form of scholarships and federal perkins loans (5% fixed IR). The finaid rep said they give out average scholarships of $15k and the average debt of students when they graduate is $212k. -The facilities are very old and not as nice compared to other schools I have visited. I like shiny new fancy facilities as much as the next guy, but where you learn shouldn’t have an effect on the quality of education. -MS1’s have exams very frequently, every 1-2 weeks, and then less as MS2’s. They explained that this is to force students into good study habits their first year, so it may be a good thing but it seems stressful. -Both MS1&2 classes had an exam the week I interviewed, and a few seemed very stressed. One looked and talked like he hadn’t slept for days. -Grading system is Honors/High Pass/Pass/Fail. They explained the grading system as a way to keep yourself informed of how well you know the material tested compared to the class as self motivation. They also mentioned to not be fooled by pass/fail schools, saying that all schools internally rank their students passed on number grades regardless of the grading system. It is each schools choice whether or not to release that information to residency programs, and Georgetown does not release the rankings. My interviewer explained that preclinical grades are also very low on the totem pole in how residencies programs review your applications, saying that other factors are way more important (Step I scores, clinical grades, research, etc.). Personally this system may be more stressful, but I liked that they explained their reasoning for it and I probably shouldn’t feel more stressed about it.
Other: -The curriculum is 60% lecture/lab, 20% small group, and 20% independent learning. -The curriculum is an integrated, systems-based, block system (look on their website if you don’t understand what I mean). I think I prefer this style rather than a course based system that isn’t integrated. -For MS3-4, there are 17+ affiliated rotation sites in the DC, VA, and MD area. Rotation sites are determined by preference and lottery. I am not a fan of the lottery systems, but it seems most schools do this if they have many rotation sites. My interviewer said they were able to do most of their rotations at their top choices, and they can do their electives anywhere. -They explicitly told us that in order to have a shot at getting off their waitlist, you MUST write them a letter of interest. They divide their waitlist into two groups, ones who write LOI’s and ones who don’t, and only make acceptances off of the letter group. I thought it was weird that they are so upfront about this, but I can understand that they only want to accept people who really want to go here.
Summary of Experience:
1/10 - Put "on hold for spring consideration":
"This means that the Admissions Committee chose not to render a decision on your application at this time. The Admissions Committee will re-review your application in late Spring for a final decision on your admissions status."
4/2 - Got an email saying they would give me a final decision sometime in late March.
Interview summary: My interview day was fine, included an open file faculty interview (which lasted a little over an hour), a short general talk by one of the assistant deans, a student led-tour, and lunch with the tour guides. They also give you a writing exercise that must be completed before you leave for the day (surprise!) They basically give you a large photo and you have to write a couple paragraphs describing the image and what you think is going on in the scene. I have no idea how much this factors into the admissions decision, but I can’t imagine it is very much at all… Anyway my faculty interview was first and most of his questions were specific to my experiences in my application and why Downstate. Nothing out of the blue here; we had a good conversation and I think I learned the most about the school from this interview. Time spent between interviewing and the tour/lunch was spent in a small room with ~10 other interviewees, and it was nice talking to them. The student tour guides were awesome and the admissions people were very friendly too. Overall an easy day so don’t stress if you interview here.
Pros: -NYC location is amazing. Sure, the school itself is in a not so nice part of Brooklyn, but most of the students live elsewhere in nicer parts of the borough and said they never have had any safety issues. There is also some on-campus housing available to students that is right across the street from the med school. The students who gave our tour live within a 10-20 minute commute via car or subway. Another student said they live in Manhattan’s upper east side and it takes them over an hour to commute. You can live wherever you want/can afford. Judging by their match list, most students seem to say in NYC or the north east for residency. Students seem to match to very good programs as well. -OOS students can get in-state tuition for years 2-4. NY residents can get away with some low debt after attending SUNYs. Its ~$53K for OOS and ~$27k for IS. There was no finaid presentation so I can’t comment on their availability or scholarships/grants or anything. -I was very impressed by my faculty interviewer and they had nothing but good things to say about the rest of the faculty. He was very open and honest about everything the school has to offer. He also mentioned that the dean of the school is extremely available to both student and faculty concerns. -P/F grading for years 1-2 (first 18 months). Clinical years are H/HP/P/C/F -Special program called “Clinical Neurosciences Pathway” that includes clinical activities, mentoring, and research in the neurosciences if that’s your thing. -New curriculum for classes entering 2013 with somewhat shortened pre-clinical years. Pre-clinical studies take place in 6 integrated systems based units/blocks and are graded P/F, the last block ending in February of your second year. Clinical clerkships then start in April. The incoming class will be guinea pigs; the changes seem for the better but there may be kinks. -Clinical sites are mostly located in Brooklyn, and there are also some in Staten Island, Long Island, and Manhattan. Core clerkships are done at those sites (based on lottery) and electives can be done anywhere. -All lectures are recorded and put online and attendance isn’t required. -7 weeks for Step 1 study/vacation -4 weeks of electives in MS3 and 18 weeks in MS4. -Clinical experiences sound superb and very hands on. The students and my faculty interview both expressed this. You are rotating at extremely busy hospitals in NYC and med students will be involved a lot because of this. -Every student I met was very chill and didn’t seem stressed. -Plenty of research going on that students can get involved with. Our tour guides said they get emails weekly from various faculty asking for help from medical students with projects. My interviewer also told me to take the usnews research rankings with a grain of salt. Downstate is unranked because they don’t give usnews data and spend very little money on marketing. They may not be a research powerhouse, but there is still a lot of research going on. They also have dedicated summer research fellowships for summer between years 1-2. -Decent student center with gym and pool on campus. Not huge but seems convenient for students.
Cons: -NYC location comes with a high cost of living, everything is expensive but most notably rent. As far as car expenses, some students say a car is necessary for living in Brooklyn but others said they do without just fine. -The med schools facilities seemed old and not very nice. -Those are my only cons. The more I think about this school the more I like it.
Other: -Just one comment here. The admissions people don’t really try to sell the school to you at the interview, but the students (and my interviewer) do and you can tell they really like being there.
10/19 - Called in to ask for my decision and found out I am in the top 1/3 of the waitlist. They also told me that they usually wait to fill the class first before accepting anyone off the waitlist, and that movement usually starts in the spring. Bummer. 2nd waitlist this week.
Interview summary: The interview day lasts from 10am to whenever you get out of your scheduled interview (about 3-5pm I’d guess). After hanging out and chatting with other interviewees in the student lounge, we had a presentation about the curriculum and specifically the clinical learning through standardized patients and simulation. They brought in a standardized patient during this to demonstrate the training process. It was really cool to see them act out certain disorder and then complete change back to their normal self after the demonstration was over. After that they gave us a tour of the Children’s Hospital, which was super kid-friendly fun. The inside is very colorful and doesn’t really seem like a hospital, so the kids are more relaxed. To give you an example, one floor housed a rehab center and is space themed, with stars on the ceiling and lego space ships built by NASA workers on display. Lots of stuff like that. The children’s hospital is not part of the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital (or the Sentara network), but they are physically connected and have a great working relationship; most children who go to the ER at Sentara end up being transferred to Children’s, etc. We then got a tour of the ERB and Lewis Hall by many current students, and were divided up into small groups of ~5 for each student guide. Next was lunch, and while we ate we listened to presentations by current students about student life, the dean for admissions about the school, and an admin about financial aid. After lunch the interviews began, but each interviewee had a scheduled time (2, 2:45, or 3:30), lasting about 45 minutes, and we were free to go after. EVMS uses an open file panel interview consisting of a clinical faculty member, a science faculty member, and a current student. One of these interviewers is on the admissions committee and will be the one presenting your app to the rest of the adcom, but they don’t reveal who and each has a say in the evaluation. I think my interview went really well and it seemed that each of the interviewers read my file because they had many specific questions. They also asked things like why EVMS, why medicine, and my opinion on healthcare reform. One interviewer really kept pressing me about my research by asking me a ton of questions. I know my research stuff inside and out so I feel like I did well there, but be prepared if you have research experience.
Pros: -The facilities were incredibly nice and modern. They have a brand new Education and Research Building (ERB) finished in 2011 where students spend most of their time in class and studying. The other building called Lewis Hall was also recently renovated and was impressive as well. -The school is about 20-30 minutes away from Virginia Beach. It seems to be a popular destination for students after exams or whenever; a couple students even said they study on the beach. Freaking sweet. -Very impressive clinical training throughout all 4 years. They use standardized patients and simulation center heavily from day one in order to perfect the clinical skills of students. They claim they’re graduates are extremely prepared for residency because of it. -Anatomy class includes training in portable ultrasound and students have the option to become certified. -The students and faculty were all incredibly friendly and welcoming. While we were waiting in the morning and before our interviews, students kept stopping to talk for a few minutes to tell us about the school and wish us good luck. All of them were very down to earth too and have many social events throughout the year. It also seems like they find every excuse to dress up in costumes for any reason. Look up their match day videos to see what I mean. It looks so fun. -The Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters is the only dedicated children’s hospital in Virginia; perfect if you are interested in Peds specialties. -Most rotations are done at Sentara Norfolk and Children’s, so you can stay in the Norfolk/Va Beach area for all 4 years if desired. -Great if not best location for medical students doing the HPSP for the Navy. The naval base and Medical Center Portsmouth are both minutes away from EVMS. -All lectures are recorded and posted online and histo slides are available digitally. -Tuition is ~$29k for in-state students.
Cons: -Tuition is ~$56k for OOS students for all 4 years, ouch. -I’m trying to think of more cons for this school, but I really loved it. I’ll update this if I think of something I don’t like.
Other: -Location is in Norfolk, VA on the coast of Virginia. Small city but seems to have a lot going on. Students said the cost of living is very affordable too, but I don’t remember if any gave examples of their rent costs. -There are talks going on about margining with William & Mary and changing the school name to the William & Mary school of Medicine. If this ever happens, it could only be good for EVMS. W&M is one of the oldest schools in the country and the merger would give EVMS more resources, possibly more state funding, and even the name recognition of W&M. No idea if or when that would occur though.
Summary of Experience:
11/15 - App put on hold via email notification. I got this same exact on hold email last year, sent in a few updates, and then was rejected in February. Probably will be rejected this year too.
1/30 - Interview invite!!! Pretty surprised to say the least, i thought the hold was a death sentence. Scheduled for March.
4/20 - Waitlisted via snail mail. I expected as much this late in the process.
5/3 - Ranked in top 200 of the waitlist. Guess the WL is huge, bummer.
Summary of Experience:
Awesome interview day, people, and campus. I would really love to go here.
10/17 - Waitlisted by snail mail. My student host said that almost all of the OOS applicants will be waitlisted at first, so I shouldnt be surprised. I really like this school though and hope I can get off of it sooner rather than later.
Withdrew from the WL. Too expensive if I got in and I prefer my acceptances.
Interview summary: The interview day was relatively short, non-stressful, and enjoyable. The day starts at 10am and ends between 1-4pm, depending on when you get out of your interview. There were about 10 interviewees there and the day included videos about each of the 3 clinical campuses (Morgantown, Charleston, and Eastern Divisions), a student tour, lunch, and the interview. The interview was open file with 2 MD clinical faculty members. It was very conversational, about 30min long, and the interviewers really seemed like they wanted to get to know you. They mostly asked specific questions about my primary application, one about healthcare problems, and why WVU. Overall, I had a really good day and would be very happy going here if accepted.
Pros: -Cheryl, an assistant working for student services. She is a super friendly, hilarious, sassy, black, southern woman who made all of us feel very welcomed and took the edge off the day. -Choice where you want to rotate years 3-4, which is a plus for WV residents who may want to live closer to family/friends. -All the resources of WVU are available to you, including the undergrad campuses (libraries, rec center, requesting sports tickets, getting involved with research, etc.). -Medstay program. I stayed with a MS2 the night before the interview, so I didn’t have to pay for a hotel and they told me a lot about the school and interview day. -2nd year ends sometime in April, leaving plenty of time to prepare for step 1 (4 weeks +). -Preclinical grades are Honors/Pass/Fail (top 10-15% get honors, depending on the class). -All lectures are recorded and posted online (can watch at 1.5-2x speed). -Attendance isn’t mandatory for those who prefer learning on their own. -Lots of cheap hosing close to campus and cheap cost of living. -Gorgeous mountain landscape and lots to do in the area if you’re an outdoors person. -Lots of residency programs at the WVU hospitals.
Cons: -The student tour was pretty unorganized and the students kept asking us what we wanted to see... I don’t know I’ve never been here. -The interview day could be very long and boring, depending on when you interview in your group. -OOS tuition is pretty high. -The students said most OOS applicants are initially waitlisted, and there is no telling when you may be accepted (but the class is 30% OOS).
Other: -Requires 100 hours of community service in order to graduate MD program. -Required 4th year rotation in rural medicine (although they explained that all of WV is rural so you may be able to do this rotation with any primary care doc). -Location of Morgantown is a small mountain town, but has a large population of students. -Required laptop program. Most of the current students got lenovo thinkpads, but one of our guides said that incoming classes will get macs.
Interview summary: This is possibly the most laid back interview ever. The day is very short depending on your interview time, and includes an interview, lunch, and student tour. On my day, there was only 4 applicants interviewing, and each had a time slot with the same interviewer (at 10, 10:30, 11, 11:30). My interview lasted about 30min and was with 1 basic science faculty. The interview was more of a conversation and my interviewer only asked a few questions which led our discussion (Why medicine, why UMDNJ, what leadership experiences have you had, what do you do for fun, etc.). Everyone basically just chilled in the Admissions office and chatted until the last interview was finished. We then ate pizza for lunch around noon with 2 OMS1 students who also gave us a tour afterwards. They showed us the entire Academic Center building and parts of another, including lecture halls, classrooms, library, study rooms, anatomy lab, histology lab (no microscopes because its all digital), etc. All of the information I learned about the school came from the students themselves, and there were no organized information sessions. The day ended after the tour around 1:30-2ish. They informed us that the committee meets once a month on every 3rd Friday, and informs applicants of their decision the day of or the week after.
Pros: -The facilities are very nice, although smaller than other schools. -The class size is small compared to other DO schools and the students say the professors are extremely available and accommodating. -OOS students only pay OOS tuition their first year, and the IS rate years 2-4. -All lectures recorded and posted online. -Option of applying for PBL program (about 30 students apply and 8 are accepted in each class) -Rather than lectures, the PBL class meets on M/W/F from 9-12 and they only take 2 tests a semester (midterm and final), which is geared towards board prep. They study cases with a faculty preceptor that is more present to guide discussion and learning between the students. -Lots of research fellowships and scholarships available for summer between years 1-2. -Elective rotations at away sites are encouraged by the SOM and are easy for approval. -Large OPTI network. -Location is very close to Philadelphia, and is only a short train ride away. Our guides said that many students live in the city and surrounding areas of Philly and commute in.
Cons: -This school has a lot going for it, but because of the short interview day I’m not sure I know as much as I’d like about the school. I wish we were able to talk to some 3rd or 4th year students to get a better idea of how rotations worked.
Other: -The SOM is merging with Rowan University in July 2013 and will adopt their name, but my interviewer assured me that the quality of education at the SOM will remain the same. They said they cannot predict the effects it will have on the school, but they may lose some rotation sites in North Jersey. -Laptop program, students are forced to get Dell’s (which our tour guides didn’t seem to like) with learning programs installed. -Location in Stratford is ehhh. Its a typical New Jersey town with plenty of strip malls, restaurants, and whatnot, but nothing all that exciting.
Interview summary: The interview here left me very informed about what this school offers and doesn’t offer, some good and some bad. The day includes information sessions, a student panel and talk by the chancellor all while eating lunch, the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI), and a tour of the campus. The info sessions in the beginning of the day were pretty informative, talking about the area and history of the school, the curriculum, the MMI process, and financial aid. They did these in the school of health sciences, which the medical students don’t really use. 3 MS2 students answered questions for us during lunch. The chancellor (dean of all the deans basically) also talked a little about his background, future plans for NYMC, future of medical education, and answered questions. All of the applicants were divided into 3 groups and had the MMI at different times, and tours either before or after the MMI. There were 8 stations total where you read the prompt for 2 minutes, then discussed with you interviewer for 6 minutes. A couple of my interviewers really controlled the discussion by asking me rapid fire questions and cut me off from answers several times. Other interviewers really wanted me to lead the discussion and elaborate on my thoughts by asking me only a few open ended questions. It was an interesting style that they claim is a less biased way of examining applicants than a traditional 1on1 interview. I thought the MMI process was fun, but it left me not knowing sure how I did. The tour let us see the entire MEC building and we also walked over to the outside of the student housing buildings, we didn’t see the hospital. I could definitely see myself learning here and be pretty happy (as long as I lived in White Plains), but I’m not sure it’s at the top of my list if I have a choice.
Pros: -The facilities aren’t too shabby, but not the best I’ve seen. Most study happens in the MEC building, which is very modern and has plenty of studying space, a library, small café, student lounge, classrooms and lab rooms, and a spacious anatomy lab that is on the top floor of the building and is naturally lit by windows very nicely. -The students were pretty cool and down to earth. I stayed with an MS1 student host who was super busy studying for exams and seemed stressed, so I mostly talked to his MS2 roommates. They seemed much less stressed and gave me a lot of info about the school, so definitely do the host program if you’re traveling in from far away. -4 year MD/MPH program. MPH classes and requirements are spread out over 4 years in addition to the regular MD curriculum, rather than completing the MPH degree in 1 year in a typical 5 year MD/MPH program. This is pretty cool but is additional coursework that might have a negative impact on you MD study. -Free parking on campus! -7 weeks in year 2 for step 1 study (99% pass rate). -Friendly student community. And this really is a community with med students as the majority, since it is a graduate school with no undergrad. I’m still not sure which environment I prefer (med school with or without undergrad resources/population), but the students here are very tight-knit community. -Harvey simulators that imitate every heart sound there is; I’m not if they do anything else though.
Cons: -The “graduate” housing is more along the lines of crappy undergraduate dorms. You have the option of unfurnished or furnished, and 3 or 4 bedroom shared apartments; ie each student gets their own room but shares living room and kitchen; prices are like 790+. I believe they also have some married couple housing that are 1-2 bedrooms. I stayed with a host in a 4 bedroom share that was pretty gross and dirty, complete with shitty, university provided furniture. The walls were paper thin and I could hear everything that everyone was doing in the apartment AND apartments adjacent. Sure, I was perfectly fine living in a place like this for a few years in college, but I really don’t want that now. They said about 80% of 1st and 2nd year students live in this campus hosing because it is so close and convenient to campus and Westchester medical center, but I would definitely prefer living in White Plains which is 10-15 minutes away. -Clinical rotations are decided on a lottery system, and students said it changes a little every year so it would be pointless to give more details. The admissions staff claimed everyone gets one of their top 3 sites for each rotation but the some students said they got their top picks on some and like 5th picks on others. -Grading system is not pass/fail; basically A/B/C/D but I forget the exact terminology they use.
Other: -Location is also hit or miss depending on what you like. Valhalla is suburban New York and doesn’t have much at all going on, and the students confirmed this. However, there is a train station 10 minutes from campus that takes you to NYC in about 40 minutes. 3rd and 4th year students potentially can live in NYC if most of their clinical rotations end up in the area. White Plains is the closest small city and many students live there as well. -Their curriculum is mostly lecture and lab based with some small group learning, and they explicitly said that they do not use any PBL. MS1 is basically in trimesters (3 blocks) and MS2 in semesters (2 blocks); courses are integrated as well. They use clickers in lectures, -finaid said average debt is $185K, about 70/200 students receive need based grants (avg. $8K), and nymc offers scholarships as well. -Research opportunities are available on campus. According to the staff, many students do research between years 1-2; according to the students, not many do research. Regardless, the opportunities are there but this isn’t a research powerhouse if that’s what you’re looking for.
Interview summary: I’ve been fortunate enough to have many interviews this year, but this one was by far my best experience. The day included a continental breakfast, info session about OUWB (admissions, curriculum, etc.), a tour of the school campus, an interactive demonstration of TBL (team-based learning), bus ride to Beaumont Hospital (Royal Oak), lunch with current students, interviews, a tour of the hospital by students, and bus ride back to the school. At the beginning of the day, the admissions staff all introduced themselves and told us a little bit about them and then we went around and introduced ourselves to everyone. This was pretty cool and I saw that the majority of applicants were from Michigan, but the OOSers like me were from all around the country. During the campus tour, they showed us the O’Dowell building, the library (where most of the day is held), and the recreation center, which were all great. For the TBL exercise, we were split into small groups, given info about HIPAA as an example, answered a few questions about it individually and discussed them as a small group, and then discussed them more with all the groups. It seems like an interesting and active way to learn and I can see its uses in their medical curriculum. During the bus rides, Dean Grabowski and a student talked on a loudspeaker to answer any questions we had. The hospital tour was fantastic, they took us around everywhere, which many schools for me did not do. My interviewers were great as well, one was very conversational and I probably asked him more questions than they asked me, and the other was the opposite with more rapid fire questions towards me, but in a non-confrontational way if that makes sense. The interviews are semi-open file, as the interviewers have access to your essays and experiences but not to your grades and MCAT. Food wise, they fed us all day long and being a guy, I thought it was awesome. They had Panera bread bagels, danishes, other goodies, coffee, and OJ for the breakfast; they had the hospital food service cater lunch which was chicken parm, spaghetti, salad, etc.; and they also had snacks for us throughout the day like cookies, brownies, chips, granola bars, etc. I didn’t expect all this as I had never been so well fed at an interview. In truth it was a very long day but it actually felt short because I was having a great time and was relaxed throughout. I think I would be very happy here.
Pros: -Very nice modern facilities. Although they do share the O’Dowell building with other schools at OU, they are renovating the building currently to include brand new lecture halls, anatomy lab, student lounge, and study rooms, all to be finished by fall of 2013. -Beaumont Hospital. They have a great reputation, are ranked in many specialties, have 37 residency/fellowship programs, and have been a teaching hospital for over 50 years. The hospital had very impressive facilities, all very modern and well kept. Some might call it a community hospital but don’t be fooled, it is a major academic and referral center and the clinical training here is superb. -All your rotations except for FM are at the main hospital at Royal Oak, FM is at the Troy location. Electives may be done anywhere if arranged. I think this is a big pro for me because you can stay/live in one area all 4 years rather than being bounced around between hospitals that are far away for clinical rotations like some other schools. At the same time, experiencing many hospital environments may make you more rounded. I’m kinda torn on what would be better. -Surgical simulation center at Beaumont (Royal Oak). I feel like this needed its own point because it was so cool. This thing was the most impressive simulation center I’ve seen, complete with 2 simulation OR rooms and a larger room to practice other clinical skills. There was even a surgical team there doing a mock procedure on a human cadaver during my tour. Although the current MS1&2s said they haven’t used it yet, they said they will during clinical rotations. -Capstone project – required 4-year scholarly project which seems incredibly flexible for any interest. Can be based on research, public health, healthcare systems, policy, service, etc. They give you dedicated time for this project dispersed throughout all 4 years. -4 weeks of electives as MS3, 12 weeks as a MS4. Again, can be done anywhere. -4+ weeks for Step 1 prep. They also make the Kaplan question bank available to students for step 1 prep. Also the questions used for exams throughout MS1-2 are from the NBME. -Grading is H/P/F. >90% is H, >70% is P (for most classes). I prefer this system over letter grades. Also classes aren’t curved, it is possible everyone in the class can get honors. -All lectures are recorded and posted online. -Free parking! -Nicest, friendliest admissions staff ever. -Very impressive faculty. I was especially impressed by my interviewers who were both clinical faculty at the hospital. They were both extremely accomplished physicians who were also completely down to earth. -Systems/organs based, integrated, block curriculum. The first 2 blocks are a composite of basic sciences and after that, systems blocks begin. Basic anatomy is first learned throughout those first 2 blocks and then more detailed anatomy is taught block by block specific to that system. Most of the curriculum is lecture and lab based but also has TBL sessions about once a week or every other week depending on the block. -Very early clinical exposure. MS1&2s are at the hospital once a week. -Beaumont and Henry Ford hospital systems are supposed to be merging in 2015. While the details obviously are still being worked on, they assured us that OUWB’s relationship with Beaumont will not be changed and this could only lead to more clinical and research opportunities for OUWB students.
Cons: -Required attendance for all classes (~70%). Students said that last year it wasn’t required and then eventually fewer and fewer people showed up to class, so they changed to required attendance this year. The admissions staff mentioned they could change the policy further (eg. To a lower % of mandatory attendance). -The OU campus and Beaumont Hospital (Royal Oak) are ~20 minutes apart. -The school is very new (class of 2017 will be the third class), but due to their association will Beaumont I think students will match fine.
Other: -Mandatory laptop program. Students get 13” mac book pro’s, not too shabby. -They have a lottery system for the order of clinical clerkships. -OUWB is located in a very nice suburban area of Michigan, about 30-40min north of Detroit. I’m still not sure if I would prefer to live in a suburb or a city during medical school, I think I would be happy in either and I’m indecisive, ugh. The cost of living for this area seems to be very affordable though.
Interview summary: The day lasted from about 8:30 – 3pm and there were about 25 interviewees present. In the morning welcoming, we all introduced ourselves around the table, they showed an informational video, and the dean of admissions talked to us about the curriculum in depth. Our group was then split in 2; half did their interviews and half were given a tour of the health building by 2 OMS2’s, then they switched. The tour was very organized and informational. We saw lecture halls, cafeteria, histology/pathology lab (there was a faculty member there that showed us some jarred specimens too), OMM lab, library, etc. The students were friendly, they answered all of our questions, and they even showed us a couple OMM techniques in the lab. The interview was open file and with 2 faculty members in one interview, about 20 minutes long. One of my interviewers was friendly but also kind of a douche; he kept cutting my answers off to go onto new and unrelated questions, and then he lectured me about how preventive medicine is the most interesting field in medicine and that all DO’s should specialize in it… This was a turnoff for me from the school, but he is only one of their faculty out of many. That said, the questions were all very general and I feel I answered them well (why NSU, why medicine, what problems do you see in healthcare, etc.), but I’m not sure how I did with the douchebag. After the interview we did what they called “experience NSU as a student” in their simulation lab. Students and faculty showed us the equipment and told us how they use the lab. There were also a couple standardized patients where we took turns taking their pulse, blood pressure, and respiratory rate. Being an EMT, I thought this part was retarded, but surprisingly many interviewees had never taken a BP before so maybe it was cool for them. After that, we had a nice lunch (talked to our student tour guides) and then took a bus tour around the NSU campus with a very funny and energetic tourguide. The bus tour is optional (you can leave at 2pm), but most went.
Pros: -Attractive females everywhere. Enough said. -The facilities were absolutely incredible. The health sciences building is gorgeous, relatively new, and well-kept, as were most of their buildings on campus. On the bus tour we were also able to see their main library and recreation center, both of which were amazing and pretty huge (so go on the bus tour). All of the undergraduate facilities are available to you as a NSU student. -The school is located in South Florida, about 20 minutes from downtown Fort Lauderdale and the beach. Compared to other DO schools, it may be the best location, depending on your preferences. -The Dean seems to be very involved with the student body. While he was out of town on my interview day, the students all praised him, saying he listens to and addresses all of their concerns and truly attempts to improve the school on a daily basis. -This is a very technologically oriented school. All lectures are recorded and posted online, all books are electronic, and the simulation lab was one of the best I’ve seen (reminded me of a miniature, fake ER). -Very large OPTI association, which may help in getting a residency. -Fellowship programs available in research and OMM. Both types are 1 year in length and takes place after year 2, before clinical rotations. Tuition is waived for clinical years (normal 3-4) in this 5 year program. -In my personal opinion, this has to be one of the best DO schools out there, or it will be soon. Take it for what you will, but I was impressed.
Cons: -We did not see the Dean’s epic, legendary mustache. -Rotations are based on a lottery system. They also try to keep you at the same site for all of your core rotations in OMS3 (IM, peds, surg, etc.), so you may get stuck at a place you don’t want to be or may have to move for years 3-4. (But many DO schools are like this). -Due to the population and location, the traffic is pretty bad. However, I’ve seen worse and most of the students live very close to campus making for a short commute. There are also graduate dorms available if you need to be on-campus, and shuttle buses go across the campus. -Dress code for classes is business casual or scrubs. That said, almost all the students we saw wore scrubs, which is pretty much like wearing pajamas to school. The scrubs are also color coded by each professional school to tell them apart (medicine is light blue, dental dark green, etc.). -Cost of living may be higher here than other areas, but the students said rent is affordable. -I am not judging the school on this, but I talked to almost all the interviewees there and half were pretty immature and didn’t have a clue of what they were getting into. That’s all I’m going to say.
Other: -Very large class size for med school ~250. This is a con for me, and throughout the interview day I got the feeling they exist only to crank out doctors. (LECOM has them beat though at close to 400 students) -The health building is shared between all graduate health programs (medicine, dental, nursing, pharmacy, etc.), and some classes integrate the students as well. I think it would be pretty cool to interact with students in related fields and see how and what they are learning, -Requires a rural medicine rotation in 4th year. -Florida residents pay $4k less in tuition than OOS students, even though it’s a private school.
Interview summary: This was the most organized and faculty/staff involved interview day I’ve had, which tells me they really care about their students, future and current. The day itself was from about 8-3pm, and snacks for breakfast (donut holes and juice), information sessions throughout (school facts, curriculum, MMI prep, etc.), bus tour around Roanoke, tour in the medical school building, lunch, and the MMI. There was also a reception the night before; I got into Roanoke late that night and didn’t attend, but other interviewees said it was very nice and gave them the chance to talk to current students. The interview group as a whole was very large ~44, but they split us up into 2 groups of 2 teams each. One group interviewed first and the other did tours, then switched after lunch. So about the MMI… it was actually really fun. It includes 10 stations total, 9 with ethical situations posted on the door which you read and then discuss your opinion with the interviewer (there are no right answers), and 1 station with an open file traditional interview. You get 2 minutes to read the prompts, 8 minutes to talk to the interviewers, and 18 minutes to talk to the traditional interviewer. The process takes 2 hours total, but seems to go by very fast. They make you sign a confidentiality agreement to not disclose the ethical prompts, but all of them were very manageable and don’t require any background knowledge. However, I think it is probably best to bring up any background info on the subject matter and any related personal experiences. Everyone I talked to left feeling good about the process, so who knows how we actually did. The tours and info sessions were great, and we talked to current students at lunch. Overall, I had an awesome day and was really impressed by the involvement of the faculty and staff. Get ready for a long wait if you interview though, their first acceptance date isn't until mid-January (~50 acceptances) and another in March (about 20-30 acceptances). So that sucks, but factoring all their acceptances (including off the waitlist), they accept 2.5 times their class size. They have 6 interview dates of 40-44 people and a class size of 42 students, so interviewees have a 40-44% chance of acceptance (105/264 <-> 105/240). Yeah, I'm neurotic.
Pros: -The medical school building is brand new, well kept, and only 3 classes have used them so far. It houses lecture halls, PCL/study rooms, anatomy lab, histo lab (learn with microscopes but also have digital slides available), OSCE rooms (standardized patients), a small workout room with treadmills/ellipticals, library, conference rooms, student lounge, etc. Half the building is used for medical students and the other half houses research labs and offices for the VTCRI researchers (who students can become involved with). -The charter class aced Step 1, with 100% passing and both median and means in the 240’s (national avg. in US is 94% passing and score of 225 - NRMP data). VTC is doing their preclinical training right. Also consider that the sample size is very small (only 1 class of 42 students), but very impressive for any school let alone a new one. -Tuition is ~$40k, making VTC one of the most “affordable” (Ha!) private medical schools. They also give out lots of 1 year scholarships and some 4 years. -They have received preliminary accreditation by the LCME and will be eligible for federal financial aid for students starting in 2013. -14 weeks devoted to research and step 1 prep in 2nd year, although they mentioned that this may change for incoming classes and be divided up throughout the year. -Longitudinal Ambulatory Care Experience (LACE) program gives students clinical experience with a clinician mentor in years 1-2 (once a month). -PCL (patient centered learning) cases are from real patients who students are able to meet in case wrap-ups every Friday, along with family members and the physicians who treated them. This seems really cool and brings the reality of medicine to MS1s & 2s. -Option of doing a MD/MPH program (5yrs), and they are developing MD/MS and MD/PhD programs for the future. -From the research info session, it seems they have recruited some very impressive researchers with interesting projects go on. -All clinical rotations can be done through the Carilion Clinic hospitals (most at the Roanoke Memorial Hospital), so you can stay in Roanoke all 4 years rather than moving during years 3-4. Elective rotations can be done at locations of your choice if you make the arrangements. -The location in the mountains of Virginia is really gorgeous and provides lots of outdoor activities. -The cost of living is cheap. Students said their rent was $450/month for a one bedroom apartment, another said they live in a 3 bedroom with other students for $1000 total. Students can rent apartments or houses in the area, some buy houses, and many commute to school by walking or biking. There is also free parking on campus.
Cons: -Not fully accredited by the LCME yet. However this will come after their first class graduates in 2014 and the LCME reps review their clinical training. The faculty assured us that they have passed the hardest parts of the accreditation process with flying colors, and that their clinical training should pass as well because the Carilion Clinic has been a rotation site for UVA students for 40+ years. In addition, I do not believe any US medical school to date has failed the accreditation process, but don’t quote me on that. I am personally not worried about this at all, they will be fully accredited by the time I would graduate. -The charter class is in their 3rd year, and therefore there has been no match to see where students will end up for residency. I think they will match great because of the high Step 1 scores and all students will have research under their belts. -Lectures aren’t recorded. -No simulation lab in the med school building, I’m not sure if the hospital has one for MS3-4’s and residents.
Other: -Small class size of 42 students. This could be a con for some, who may get sick of seeing the same faces day in and day out, but I think it’s awesome. All of the faculty and resources are more accessible -Curriculum is an integrated block system, including instruction by lecture, lab, small group PCL (groups are changed every block), research course, clinical science course, and interprofessionalism course. Blocks are 6-8 week long, followed by 1 week of exams, followed by 1 week for vacation/remediation (for those who don’t pass exams), followed by the next block. Very unique curriculum. -Mandatory research project, with the option of pursing any type of research you want related to medicine (clinical, lab, biostat/epidemiology, policy, whatever). Current students have mentors with Carilion Clinic physicians (clinical research), researchers at the VTCRI, and even researchers at VT’s main campus in Blacksburg. VTC faculty also said you may develop your own project if you want. Students said the research class itself is pretty dumb, but the fact that they have specified time for research is great and will help in achieving competitive residencies. -Roanoke is a pretty small city, but it has more going on than I thought before visiting. It depends what you like.
Summary of Experience:
10/25 - Woooo accepted!!!! I have to decide between CCOM and NSU by 12/14, because both seat deposits are due that day ($1K+ each, sick). I really liked both schools and would be happy at either one; its going to be a tough choice.
12/12 - Withdrew. I probably would of gone here if I didn't get an MD acceptance, this school is great.
Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine / Midwestern University
Interview summary: I had a pretty good day here and saw that CCOM really has a lot to offer. It began in Littlejohn Hall where they gave you an info packet and let you choose a stress ball as well (brain or heart). We had a welcome and information session by an admissions rep who went through everything in the info packet and answered any questions we had about the school. We then began our interviews which lasted from ~9:30-11:30. Interviews were 30min long each and while we waited for our scheduled time, current students were coming in and out of our room to chat with us and tell us about the school and answer any questions. These students didn’t sign up to do this or anything, they simply were incredibly friendly and wanted to tell us about the school to get us to come to CCOM. My interview was a 3 person panel with a DO, PhD, and current MS3. There were 2 other panels that day for other interviewees who had other combinations of interviewers. Because of the style, I felt that it was more like a job interview than a conversation, as each interviewer asked me different questions rotating between each other; I would give my answer, and then the next interviewer would ask their question. It wasn’t as stressful as it sounds because the questions they asked were mostly specific to my application and I could answer them without too much difficulty, but I left not feeling sure how I really did. Once all the interviews were finished, a financial aid rep talked to us for a bit and the admissions rep came back and told us about the application review process (usually hear back within 4-6 weeks blah blah). After that we had a tour led by a few current students, but it was actually really short (~20min no joke), and I really would have liked to see more of the school. We saw the library, a lecture hall, the anatomy lab, and then went to eat lunch in the café. That being said, the students were awesome and told us a lot about the curriculum and living in the area and the interview day was finished after lunch. This seems to be a great school and I would have a tough time deciding if it comes to deciding between here and NSU.
Pros: -Coolest anatomy lab I’ve seen. The students called it their anatomy penthouse. Its located on the top floor of their new science building and has windows everywhere so you can see for miles. Students spend a lot of time in anatomy dissection, and it seems nice to have that kind of environment rather than in a basement somewhere. -Located in a nice suburban area outside Chicago. Its about a 30min drive to downtown with no traffic but will take more like an hour most likely. There are also a few metra train stations very close to campus that will also take you downtown for like $5-6. I stayed a couple days and ventured around the city, but I used the CTA subway lines to travel between downtown and the area outside O’Hare airport. It was very convenient and easy to use, but I can’t say for the metra trains because I didn’t use them. -Great match list. While I’m a lowly premed and no expert on the quality of programs, it seems that students match everywhere in almost every specialty in both DO and MD residencies. To supplement that, they said about 2/3 of the class takes the USMLE with a 96% pass rate and it’s about a 50/50 split between DO and MD residencies as to where students match. -Clinical rotation sites are supposed to be superb at CCOM. I am not familiar with the area but the students and admissions staff stressed this. They gave us a list of 30 different sites in the Chicago area that are affiliated with CCOM. Core rotations must be done at these sites. -Elective rotations may be done anywhere if you set it up. -Opportunities for international healthcare trips – DOCARE program -Opportunities for research available with faculty, time in summer between years 1-2 and time available during years 3-4.
Cons: -Not cheap. Tuition + fees are about $55k, but it may be worth it for this school. It doesn’t appear that they have much/any institutional aid available to give to students. -Cost of living isn’t cheap, but it’s cheaper around the CCOM area than closer to Chicago, so it depends where you want to live. -Lectures aren’t recorded currently, but students are pushing to change this and the administration seems to be listening. -While most of the students were incredibly friendly and awesome, a few of them that talked with us just based MD schools/students and said how DO schools are superior. They mentioned a few local MD schools specifically and talked negatively about their people and facilities and said that MD schools give terrible medical education… What kills me is that when asked if the students interviewed at the schools they were talking about, most said no. I’ve worked with both MDs and DOs in several different clinical experiences and personally find no difference in their practicing techniques, knowledge, “prestige”, etc. I chose to apply to both types because I know either path will let me achieve my goal of becoming a physician. Sure, having an MD opens more doors as far as competitive residencies and specialties go and I will take that into consideration in deciding where I go, but I will become a physician either route. This was a pretty big turn off for me, but the vast majority of students I talked to were not like this. CCOM’s classes are pretty large and I just happened to talk to some who I wouldn’t get along with that day, but that will be the same for any school. Sorry for the rant, but bashing either degree doesn’t make me want to go to your school, it just makes you sound immature and insecure.
Other: -Their pre-clinical curriculum is course based and very similar to a college schedule (eg anatomy, histology, biochem, OMM: all separate courses and not necessarily integrated). I’m not sure if I like this or not.
Interview summary: This school has a very nice and organized interview day and I feel like I learned most of what it has to offer. The day includes an opening session (presentation with general info about the school), lunch with current students (was able to ask plenty of questions), a student led tour (showed us the ACH2, Green Library, and Graham Center), interviews, and a closing session (presentations on finaid and about the panther communities). There are 2 separate interviews with faculty members which are closed file and 20 minutes long. They keep you exactly to this time limit so make sure you say what you want to say during that time. I had one interview with a clinical faculty member which was awesome and one with a basic science faculty that was pretty weird. The clinician was very personable and specialized in something I am interested in, so we had a good talk about my experiences, his field, and FIU. The scientist basically asked me questions on a piece of paper and wrote my answers down shorthand, he really just nodded to everything I said without conversing and went on to the next question. In both interviews, they asked me very broad, simple questions because they knew nothing about me (closed file).
Pros: -Location in South Florida is pretty sweet. It’s about 20-30 minute drive to downtown Miami or Miami Beach from FIU depending on traffic. -Very nice, modern facilities. FIU is very similar to NSU’s campus, both with large nice modern buildings in a South Florida environment. All of the FIU facilities are available to you as a student (gym, library, etc.). -They are constructing a new science classroom building (AHC 4) that will be used by med students and will be finished in Feb/Mar 2013. -All lectures recorded with Tegrity lecture capture. -They use a systems based, integrated block curriculum. -They have many opportunities for international mission trips and many of the students we talked to participated in them and shared their experiences. -Although they are a relatively new school, they will be fully accredited by the LCME in the spring of 2013 when their charter class graduates. This also means that I will be able to see where their students match before making a final decision on where to go to med school.
Cons: -Holy bejebus OOS tuition. Tuition + fees = $72k (IS is ~$40.5k total). The finaid person also told us that there is no reclassification of residency for OOS students, except for some special cases like marrying a Florida resident. However, they also claimed they have many merit and need based intuitional grants and scholarships available for both IS and OOS students, which may make it more affordable. -No teaching hospital directly on campus. They have many affiliated sites for clinical rotations though, most located in the Miami area and all within ~40miles from FIU.
Other: -Mandatory laptop program, I’m not sure what kind of computer they get but you have to return the laptop when you graduate or opt to buy it for an additional fee. I’m sure students end up paying way more than the computers are actually worth. -Step 1 is taken at the end of year 3 in April. I’m not sure how I feel about it personally, but the students said the practical experience from MS3 helps and their average score is just as good as other schools. I wasn’t told any numbers though. -Required research in year 4. -Classes are divided into 4 Panther communities that each have their own study lounges, mentors, activities, etc. I believe this is all for extracurricular stuff only, you still interact with all the students of your class in lectures, labs, etc. -This is a public research institution and there are plenty of opportunities for students. I am unsure as to how much medically related research is being done here, as the med school is fairly new but they have many established science departments. -Required service with the NeighborhoodHELP program. It’s a pretty unique program that groups students of medicine, social work, nursing, public health, law etc. together in teams and lets each team work with a family household in need. The students said this program has been hit or miss depending on the families involved. Some students were paired with families that didn’t really want them there every month or however often they visited and other students said they were actually able to help families better their health and living situations.
Summary of Experience:
Checked the status page to find an interview invite. The application page says I will receive an email invitation as well, but I was able to schedule the interview without it. I got the email invite later that day.
Since interviewing, my current status is: "Your file is currently under review by a member of the admissions committee and will be sent to committee shortly. No decision has yet been made regarding your admission status to Drexel University. "
12/26 - ACCEPTED!!! Wooohooo!!!! I interviewed about 10 weeks before. This is a nice Christmas present!
Interview summary: The interview day itself is pretty lame here at Drexel; the school didn’t put much effort at all into the day and left me unimpressed with the admissions people. That being said, I did like the school itself and would love studying and living around Philly. The day included a short 20-minute essay on an ethical situation (surprise!), an equally short presentation about drexel and the curriculum, a tour, a faculty interview, and a student interview with lunch. Each interviewee is given a specific time and place for their faculty interview, either on the Queen Lane campus or the Hahnemann Hospital campus. Luckily mine was at queen lane where the rest of the interview day was held, but the people that got the hospital interviews had to take a shuttle to the hospital and then shuttle back for their student interview. I guess it would have been nice to see the hospital, but it also would have been nice for Drexel to make it more convenient for their applicants and have all the interviews at queen lane. The essay itself was very simple and seemed to only be looking for your opinion and how you handle situations rather than a specific answer. After that, we were given a short presentation ~20 minutes long which to me wasn’t very informative at all (I learned much more about the school from my interviewers). Next was a tour of the facilities, however my faculty interview (along with a couple other interviewees) was scheduled about ~10 minutes into the tour and I had to leave mid-tour. My faculty interview was with a basic science faculty in a very traditional style; 1on1, open file, about 30 minutes long. My interviewer asked me very few questions at all and seemed more like a conversation than an interview. We talked about a bunch of random things, specifics about my application, and then they encouraged me to ask questions about the school itself. The interviewer really gave off the sense that the faculty’s #1 priority is to teach student, and everything else comes second like research or administrative duties. After my first interview, I went back to the admissions office and talked with the other interviewees for a bit until my student interview came get me. The student was very friendly MS1 and was happy to give me a tour of the school because I missed the group one earlier. This interview is blind, so they asked me many questions along the way to try and get to know me and my experiences. The “interview” is really just hanging out with a current student while they show you around and also take you to the café for lunch. It also gave me the opportunity to ask questions about the school and I probably learned the most from it. Overall, the admissions staff needs to put more effort into their part of the day, but I enjoyed talking to my interviewers and Drexel seems like a cool place to be. The admissions committee has weekly meetings on admissions decisions and they send all decision notifications by snail mail.
Pros: -Choice of 2 different curriculums for preclinical years (IFM and PIL). The IFM (Interdisciplinary Foundations of Medicine) program is mostly lecture based, with labs and some small group work intertwined. Basic science and clinical courses are integrated so that related material is being taught in sequence. Material is broken up into modules which are each centered around a clinical condition. The majority of students choose this curriculum and they have more frequent exams (every 2-3wks). The PIL (Program for Integrated Learning) is mostly cased-based learning in small groups with a faculty facilitator guiding the discussions, with labs and resource sessions (small lectures) as well. The first 2 years are split into seven 10-week blocks each centered around specific learning objectives, and basic science material is integrated with clinical skills learning. At the end of the 1st year, PIL students also have a 7wk Primary Care Practicum where they work with a PCP in the community. They said ~50 out of 260 students in every class choose PIL, and they have exams less frequently than IFM students (every 4-5wks). I think the PIL would be great for me personally because I think I learn better in small groups rather than lecture. -For 4th year, you can choose a “Pathway” that is centered around a specific specialty, where you work with an advisor to select electives (+some required rotations). 12 weeks of 4th year can be away rotations anywhere if you set them up. -The campus is located in more of a suburban area, but is close to all the resources of Philadelphia. My student interviewer lives in the area next to campus and says it is very safe and convenient, but also gives easy access to the city itself. Students live all over the place, either close to the school or city center or other areas. -There is a full-time financial planner on staff exclusively to help students with financial concerns/planning. -Very nice and big simulation center, I didn’t get to see it firsthand but my interviewers told me about it.
Cons: -Grading system is H/HS/S/U (basically A/B/C/D). -Tuition and fees is $49.5k. The sad thing is I’m not sure if this is high or not compared to other private schools or public schools for OOS students. I’d say it’s on the higher end. -Lottery system for rotations, but there are sites that you can do the whole year at if you want (not sure of the exact hospitals). Drexel provides housing at rotation sites that are 40+ miles away from queen lane.
Other: -Their main teaching hospital, Hahnemann University Hospital, is in downtown Philadelphia rather than on the queen lane campus. There is a shuttle between the 2 that runs frequently and takes about 15-20 minutes each way. -Very large class size ~260. Personally a con for me, but I am interested in the PIL program so I wouldn’t be sitting in the giant lecture halls. -Community service is required for graduation (~16 hours but students usually do more). -Research is not required but many students do research and there are many opportunities at Drexel and Philadelphia offers plenty if you’re willing to look. There are dedicated summer research programs between years 1-2.