Read this for general application tips, followed by information for those in a similar situation to me to help gauge their chances.
General Information Most important thing I learned from this----fit is very important (what makes you suitable for the schools curriculum, location, patient population) Deans and some of my interviewers all mentioned this. This also seems like the best way to answer the (why should we choose you over other qualified applicant questions, by answering why you are the right fit for the school. I only got this question once btw) For example, Dean of Northwestern emphasized how they want people who are right for their distinct curriculum, how they want team players, active learners who ask a lot of questions, because those are the type of people that would thrive in their PBL heavy curriculum) Top schools want the world beaters, those heavy on research... This is why an acquaintance who got in HMS and a bunch of other top 10s either didn't interview or was waitlisted at UC Davis (focused more on the community), and why Tulane loves TFA and Peace Corps kids (big emphasis on serving community of New Orleans.) I think that's why I got so much love from NYC (4 interviews), because I wrote a lot about my passion of learning languages and how I like to learn from new cultures, and New York is one of the most diverse places in the world. Show how you fit in your secondaries and during interviews.
2nd-Its a long cycle. In October and November I started getting worried about lack of II, felt like so much time had passed, it was so late. And a lot of time had passed, but what's important is that there is still a lot of time to go. They're still handing out II in February.
3rd I learned that its hard out here in California...
Also, save your secondary essays somewhere on your computer, some of the schools don't allow you to see what you wrote after you submitted. I think its helpful to read the secondaries to prepare for interviews.
See below to see some tips on interview prep.
plane flights--I've found that flights.google.com and skyscanner give really good prices. flights.google.com is very convenient to use, its really helpful to plan your trip I think, and also to see what interview date to choose that will have the cheapest plane flight.
I thought the book by Suzanne Miller ""guide to medical admission" was very helpful. Gives you a timeline in preparing your secondary all the way to the end of this crappy journey, I think it clears up the process a alot. She also includes Personal statements and sample secondary essays from people she has guided before and her comments on them. Makes this process less sucky.
My Application situation and how it turned out Asian male, applying summer after junior year, good stats, poor EC's (got the cookie cutter ones checked off though). Pretty late interviews, not by my choice. Studying abroad during tail end of interview season (program starts in beginning of February) Primary submitted 6/29/2014 Primary processing complete 7/22/14 Secondaries submitted early August Assume I was rejected at all the schools pre Interview invite where I haven't listed that I interviewed at. Added 4 schools in October (was worried because I was holding only one II in early October). Got one interview out of these 4(SUNY Downstate and my only acceptance so far 4/25/14) 11/03/14 Updated most of my schools about a publication where I was a contributing author. (attached pdf in email or through secondary app portal,) I also asked them to interview me before February if they chose to do so because i was going to study abroad. There is a list of schools receptive to updates on the SDN forum
Interview Invite dates 8/26/14 NYU 10/14/14 UCSD 11/05/14 Wash U St. Louis 11/14/14 SUNY Downstate 11/24/14 Cornell 12/03/14 Mt. Sinai 12/11/14 Northwestern
Work/activities-weak (basically research, shadowing, community service, thats it) No leadership, little commitment I wrote alot about my community service though. had some good experiences. The hours weren't anything impressive. I'd grade it a D
Letters of Rec I'm pretty sure they were very strong. I got multiple comments about my letters. I had 1 letter from my PI, 2 biology professor letters, one spanish TA letter (cosigned by professor. The TA was the one we saw every day). Grade: B to A depending on the letter. . A+ would be this guy's letter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Forbes_Nash,_Jr.#Education
Personal statement Maybe I'll upload it someday. I think I did a good job on it. UCSD UNDERGRAD STUDENTS READ THIS----> ucsd career services center will give a professional critique of your personal statement (this is a one time critique, so give them an almost finished draft) in the following link, in the get critiqued section http://career.ucsd.edu/undergraduates/consider-grad-school/Essays.html Maybe a B+ PS
Interview prep (also helps for the why this school secondary question) From my 5 traditional interviews, I answered the following questions the most: Why this school, why medicine, talk about research. Also spent alot of time talking about my community service stuff, plus other questions (pretty much all that are mentioned in the "medical school interview question" websites. Nothing too wacky. Didn't ever touch Obamacare. Maybe did in MMI. I prepared by reviewing primary, secondary, read about the curriculum, mission statement. Read Sdn looking for comments that current students have about the schools. So annoying to go through all the posts, but sometimes you get some golden nuggets from the students about pros and cons about the school. Then figure out how I fit into all of this stuff. http://schools.studentdoctor.net/schools/index <--a goldmine where you can see what questions schools ask the students. Usually pretty accurate. too see, click the school, then click "view results"in the interview feedback section. Some people say preparing for MMI's didn't help them, I found that it helped me quite a bit. I read up about medical ethics, how medicine is changing (see patient centered medical homes), plus other stuff. I think the readings helped prepare me to answer some of the questions during the MMI. I don't think I interview too well. Maybe average at best. Depends on the interviewer too. Grade-C+ to B. Edit: after rejections and waitlists at 6/7 interviews, maybe my interview skills are lower than I estimated. Maybe a D or C
// Applications //
Application Cycle One: 06/28/2014
Undergraduate college: University of California
Undergraduate Area of study: Biological/Life Sciences
Summary of Experience:
I didn't fulfill one of their letter requirements (supposed to have one letter in a science besides Biology because I am a biology major.) Probably be a factor to why I didn't interview, because I got an interview at NYU, Sinai, Cornell, and Suny downstate.
Summary of Experience:
plug for the med school--I go to UCSD undergrad, played basketball with the med kids a few times. They seem really tight with each other. They are also really good at basketball. UCSD has a wealth of research opportunities. Large immigrant population from Mexico, many illegal. Their clinic is very well developed.
Our interview was on a thursday. My jaw dropped when the dean told us we would get decisions the following tuesday. I had a strong secondary. Thought I would get in due to home school advantage, was pretty disappointed with the rejection.
Summary of Experience:
I was scared of the interview at first because my interviewer was seemed like a big deal in the cancer research world. I thought I would get grilled on my cancer research. It turned out to be super relaxed, conversational. I wrote a really good secondary essay (optional one about challenge), and my interviewer really liked it. Im not sure, but I think that essay got me the interview.
Interview right before Ferguson decision released. drats, missed out
Summary of Experience:
45 min interview w/ 1 faculty another 45 minute interview w/ 1 faculty 45 minute interview together w/ 1 fellow interviewee. Interviewer is 4th year student. The interviewer pretty much takes turns asking each applicant stuff.