I always find thorough MDapplicants profiles to be extremely helpful! So I'll try to be really detailed when making my own. I hope this ends up helping a few people! Thank you to those that have contributed over the years!
6/30/12: I submitted my AMCAS application yesterday and it is currently "ready for review." My transcripts were received in late May, early June, I believe. My AMCAS and AACOMAS transcripts were released at the same time, but my AMCAS transcripts were logged as received long before my AACOMAS transcripts. I have applied to both MD and DO schools. When I went about picking schools, I started looking at schools where my GPA was somewhat around the norm (I don't have an MCAT score to go off of yet). Then I narrowed this list down by what the school's mission is (and various other aspects: resources, available clubs/opportunities, etc), the location, and OOS %'s. All in all, I feel like every single one of these schools, if accepted, I would attend. :) Unfortunately, I have yet to receive my MCAT score. I don't feel very confident about it. =/ I feel like the P.S. section was so difficult for me and that was the section I had the most confidence in and I was sick the day before the test. But we'll see. Cross your fingers for me! :)
UA PHOENIX MED INTERVIEW
The day started with a little bit of confusion for me. It's a tad difficult to find the front of the building, only because it's set back a few paces from the street, behind another building. When I did find it though, I was in awe. The facility is beautiful and one of the more aesthetically pleasing medical schools I've seen. To get into the building, a security guard had to open the door, which means security here is tight. I consider this a positive. I sat down and spoke with other interviewees in the lobby while I waited for them to call us. All of the other interviewees were really sweet and kind. The lobby is bright and gorgeous. There was a table with folders on it with all of our names, presented really nicely and organized. Off to the left, you can see a really large game room for students, complete with a flat screen TV, ping-pong table, and kitchen. No one was there that early in the morning, but I thought it'd be a cool way to unwind after a long day.
They called us to get our folders (which contained an itinerary for the day, financial aid papers, a timeline on when we would be hearing back for decisions, etc), and then we were allowed to a nice eating area to eat our breakfasts. There was a variety of things to choose from -- muffins, breakfast burritos, etc. We were all assigned to a team, and each team had two medical students there. We talked to our medical students about the curriculum, what they liked/didn't like, etc. Every student that I spoke to said that the administration, staff, and faculty cared about them and their input. Further, they expressed that they were happy with their choice and would choose UA Phoenix Med again, if they were given a choice. Definitely reassuring that this was reinforced by so many students. Even one student, who said that he was cynical and would be bluntly honest, stated that he is 80% happy with his decision to attend UA Phoenix Med. We also played an ice breaker game to meet our fellow applicants, which was fun.
We went upstairs, where Tara (the admissions director) gave us an introduction to Dean Flynn. Dean Flynn then talked to us about the curriculum, how focused UA Phoenix Med focuses on its students, and the relationships they have with hospitals in the surrounding area. I will say this about Dean Flynn - listening to him speak, you get the feeling that you are listening to a man with a vision. He has a goal for UA Phoenix Med and is actively trying to "stay on the cutting edge" with the UA Phoenix Med education program. You can tell that UA Phoenix puts their students first (again, this was also reiterated by EVERY medical student I spoke with and Dean Flynn himself). I really, really enjoyed listening to him speak, and this was my favorite part of the day. In Dean Flynn's discussions, he talked about the UA Phoenix Med curriculum, which I really really like. A few of the key points:
1. Pre-clinical years are Pass/Fail.
2. It's a systems-based block system, with a capstone week (a week to just be in clinic AND you get to pick what kind of capstone week you want from three major categories) after every major block.
3. Research is a requirement.
4. Doctoring experience & Longitudinal Clinical/Patient Care through all four years.
After that, we went into a briefing about the MMI process. We then lined up (there are 3 sets of group going at once), and began the MMI interview. You have 2 minutes to read the prompt outside, 7 minutes to address said prompt in the room, and 1 minute to get to your next station. The MMI interview had the potential to be a disaster, but it was SO smoothly run and organized that there were absolutely no hiccups at all. I was beyond impressed. The admissions department at UA Phoenix is on top of their game. Seriously. The MMI flies by. I can't say much more because everyone knows the first rule of MMI: never discuss MMI. ;)
We then went to lunch. Each of us had a customized meal. UA Phoenix sent out a survey a week or two before giving us a list of different options (at least 10 different options, I'd say), and we got to pick what we wanted. Lunch was fantastic! After lunch, we split into two groups. Our group went to a presentation on chest-compression only CPR. This was my least favorite part of the day. I just wasn't a fan of it, but to each his own. Then, we went to the simulation lab. The simulation lab is amazing. They have quite a few different simulators, all of which are housed in rooms that mimic hospital rooms. Very, very cool. The two individuals running the tour (the simulations staff), all seemed really excited about the different simulators (they had ones that could give birth, babies, etc).
After this, we met up with Tara once again to discuss "what happens from here." Essentially, when we would be getting back our admissions decisions, etc. Another point for UA Phoenix: a timeline where they tell you SPECIFICALLY what DAY you will be hearing back. NICE! We then went on a campus tour, led by two medical students (we were once again split into groups for this). The campus is gorgeous. There are study rooms everywhere (including study pods), game rooms everywhere, and a nice-sized library (although most of it is digital). The lecture hall is beautiful and bright. There are flat screens everywhere so you can see the board no matter where you are. Also, UA Phoenix Med utilizes Tegrity, which means that all lectures are recorded post-lecture. NICE! After our campus tour, we were done for the day. All in all, I left in awe of Phoenix.
PROS: capstone weeks (a week off after every major block to relax and be in clinic!!), very open to student feedback/students the main priority of the campus, new facilities, P/F first two years, small class size (80 students), block system, extensive pre-clinical experience (doctoring + longitudinal patient care), cheap cost of living, cheap tuition for residents, organized and friendly staff, enthusiasm to have medical students in the Phoenix area by Phoenix physicians.
CONS: Far from home, match list is not as impressive as UCLA/Drew, no on-campus hospital, required research, OOS tuition for the first year (since I am OOS), building closes early.
PCOM- PHILADELPHIA INTERVIEW
The day started out with signing in at the front desk. After more students had shown up, we were ushered into the PCOM admissions waiting room. We were given folders which had the 2012 Match List (which was impressive), an agenda, the curricula sheet for the first two years, a financial aid booklet, and a "PCOM Perspectives" book (had student views on life at PCOM). After that, we went upstairs to eat breakfast, which was free. We sat down, where we had a conversation with Jonathan Cox. He answered all the questions that we had about PCOM and what we could expect as students from our education.
We then headed back to the admissions room to await our interviews. This was the highlight of my time at PCOM: the other students. They were all extremely cool. Further, waiting in the room with other applicants, laughing and talking, was a good way to de-stress prior to our interview. While we waited, a man from financial aid stopped by very quickly to talk about financing our education. This talk must have been less than 15 minutes, but it was helpful. I was called in and I interviewed with three persons, including the admissions director. It was a VERY relaxed interview, with the standard interview questions you would expect.
Afterwards, there was a non-required campus tour. There are some great amenities at PCOM, although the building isn't as new or impressive as other facilities. Still, you can tell that you will have everything you need at PCOM!
PROS: reputation, block system, impressive "Match List" when compared to other DO schools applied to.
CONS: Far from family, no on-campus hospital, cost of living, tuition.
MEHARRY MEDICAL COLLEGE INTERVIEW
The day started out with greetings and an introduction from Mr. Angelo Lee. He went ahead and told us how the interview day was going to work and handed us a short stack of papers (interview day itinerary, financial aid paperwork) and a name badge. We took pictures for our ID cards if we were granted acceptance, and then awaited for Dr. Jackson, the School of Medicine Committee Chair to come and speak with us. He came in and did a Q&A session. This is where I learned a lot about the school. Meharry has a great support system for students and I really felt as though anyone that was struggling in classes would not only get help, but individualized attention. Apparently, Meharry tracks the progress of its students, and if they feel like you are struggling, they will make every effort to help you succeed. Definite strength of the school! A couple of other things that I learned: Meharry is on a letter grade system and is NOT pass-fail. They have a required research project, which most students complete over the summer between first and second year. So essentially, no break. And they don't record lectures, although you can if you want (No Tegrity). Attendance is mandatory.
After the Q&A session, Ms. Gwendolyn Williams came in to discuss student life. She talked about where students lived, what activities were available to students in terms of clubs, etc. It was a very short talk (only 15 minutes), but Meharry students do put on a lot of events & even have step shows (really cool). Next, there was a financial aid presentation, which was very informative. I wish that more schools actually had discussions on financial aid. The financial aid presenter, Ms. Dianna Greer was very informative and helpful. She was very clear about when deadlines were, how to budget, and even gave examples of bad situations that have happened because students did not get their paperwork in on time. All in all, I felt as though the financial aid office really helped their students and communicates with them often about what is needed.
After this, we went on a campus tour. A historian gave us the tour. While we got a feel as to where things were located, I think we only went into one building. I left feeling as though I hadn't seen much of anything. Apparently, there is a gym and there is an on-campus hospital. Security has its own office as well and Meharry is one of the safest campuses in Nashville. We viewed the lecture hall where the first year students study. It's a bit small, and you can tell that the facilities are a little old. However, you do get the feeling that Meharry knows how to utilize what it has to ensure student success.
After the tour, we went to lunch. It was really good! During lunch, there was supposed to be a student panel to speak with us. Unfortunately, students were in the middle of finals (I believe it was finals) and only one student could speak with us. That student also ended up having to evaluate us. It's a little unsettling to be in a harmless lunch session with a student and feel as though you're being graded. Luckily, he didn't take down any notes, so maybe it wasn't too serious.
We then had our interview sessions. I was interviewed by an academic medicine physician who is faculty at Meharry. She was awesome! I really connected with her and none of the questions were hard or tricky. It was very straight-forward. She made me feel like Meharry was a special place.
PROS: family-like environment, on-campus hospital, lots of support for Meharry students, cost of living.
CONS: grades as opposed to pass/fail, mandatory attendance, far from home, no tegrity, research project, match list not as impressive as Drew, older facilities, tuition is similar to DO school tuition.
NOVA SOUTHEASTERN INTERVIEW
I am going to have to do most of my Nova interview review off of my notes and memory because I can't seem to find my interview day itinerary. Nova is phenomenal. Had I not been accepted at UA Phoenix Med (another amazing school), I would have been going to Nova, despite having been accepted at an MD school (Meharry). It is, quite simply, in a league of its own as far as DO schools are concerned and I would say only the UA Phoenix Med campus rivals Nova in terms of amenities and aesthetics. The day started out with us gathering in (what might have been, I can't remember) an admissions waiting room. All the applicants started funneling in and everyone was so nice! I really felt as though Nova had pulled a bunch of amazing applicants. Anastasia, the admissions director, came and introduced herself. She was really nice and funny! We were taken to a room to watch a video. The video was great and left me with a very positive impression of Nova. We had a short Q&A session with one of the staff, where we discussed the curriculum and other aspects of the school. The talk was very, very organized. We literally went year by year and discussed what happens each year. I got the feeling that professors are constantly available for students. Also, Nova students do national average or above average on boards. There is also a lot of support if you're struggling, which is nice. Nova has rotation sites everywhere and you have a director at each site. There is a required underserved rotation. In third year, you are assigned to a site and you stay there the whole year. It's nice because it's not too much moving around. Attendance is required 70% of the time. I really liked the curriculum here (only rivaled by UA Phoenix Med's curriculum and UCLA/Drew curriculum) and felt it was very intuitive. Nova also gives you packets for every lecture to focus your learning. For grades, they have a number system (1 2 3 4). Wasn't really a huge fan of that because it's essentially like letter grades to me.
After this, our group was split in two. I was in the group that interviewed first (the second group did the campus tour). I was one of the first persons interviewed, and I really enjoyed it! I had two interviewers, both really, really sweet women. They followed a list of questions and all of them were really straight-forward. No one is trying to trick you.
After this, we went on a campus tour. Nova's resources are amazing. Everything that you could possibly need, Nova provides you with. Not only is there a dissection lab, but there are already pro-sected models available for you. There is a shark shuttle that will take you anywhere you need to go, although most only use it to get from campus to home. All of the rooms were state-of-the-art and Nova does utilize Tegrity (so recorded lectures). The histo labs are open late, which is nice. There are a lot of study areas and you can check out ipads and other devices from the library to study, if necessary. What I also liked about the Nova campus is that there are other disciplines housed in the same building. There are nursing students, dentistry students, pharmacy students, etc, and it felt really busy and lively. I liked that. Our tour guides told us that Nova students host a lot of events and I passed a poster for a Nova mixer at a club (could have been a bar or restaurant though, I couldn't be 100% sure). There are also showers for after anatomy lab and the place seems well ventilated.
After our campus tour, we met with the dean and had lunch. LUNCH WAS AMAZING. It was essentially a buffet. A good buffet. In any case, the dean went around, had us all introduce ourselves (almost everyone was from FL, one or two people from Boston. I was the only one from my state, and everyone seemed so shocked lol). The dean was very engaged and funny, although he did go over time. He seems like a great guy and an awesome presence for the campus.
After this, we went on a non-required campus tour (of the undergraduate amenities, not just the grad campus). Since the dean went over time, some people had to catch flights. We had an undergraduate student show us around. There is a three-story gym, a huge library available for your use, housing available (studios and ones with bedrooms), inside stadium, and a bar for those who are 21+. Not only do you have the graduate campus resources available to you, you have the undergrad as well, which is nice. I also got the impression that they do a lot of events.
All in all, I would have been happy at Nova. I just got a great vibe from them. I had no concerns about residency (Nova has crazy affiliations in FL!), I felt like the academics were solid, and I felt like there was a family vibe. Everyone shares notes, etc. Even though Nova has a HUGE class size, the class is split up into smaller groups (I think of 25?), so you kind of have a "family within a family." The resources are also fantastic. UA Phoenix just happened to be a better fit, overall.
PROS: family-like atmosphere, state-of-the-art amenities and resources, extensive residency connections, Tegrity (recorded lecture).
CONS: far from home (although I do have family in the area), tuition, cost of living, 1 2 3 4 number grading, 70% required attendance.
I can't really elaborate on the interview day, per confidentiality agreement, but what I will say is that Drew is amazing. The mission, the students, the faculty. Drew, and UA Phoenix Med, both exemplify the best "fit" for me, and I would be HONORED to attend Drew.