I found this website to be very helpful when I was applying. I'll try to put as much info as I can here while still maintaining some degree of anonymity...If you have any specific questions, feel free to inbox me and I will try to answer them as best I can!
A little about my application (LizzyM is about 70): ---Research: This was a large focus of my application. I started working in a basic science lab during my freshman year and continued throughout college. I ended up with a few publications (I'm a first author on one of them), a few poster presentations, and a senior independent thesis. During my gap year, I did clinical research.
---Service: I did a lot of work (>100hrs/yr) with a health-oriented organization. This involved working in a community health center interacting with patients and physicians. I didn't really have any significant amount of true shadowing, so I used this and my clinical research experience to compensate for that. I also held some leadership positions within this organization.
---Random: Spent a semester abroad focusing on global health policy, biology tutor, on sports team during college.
// Applications //
Application Cycle One: 06/11/2014
Undergraduate college: Top 50 Private
Undergraduate Area of study: Biological/Life Sciences
I arrived in DC the night before my interview and stayed at the Georgetown University Hotel. Though the hotel was probably not the cheapest housing option, it was certainly most convenient and I would highly recommend staying here. It is actually on the GU campus and less than a 5 min walk to the office of admissions. I was paranoid about getting lost and ended up finding the office super early, so I got a coffee at the hospital Starbucks outpost and killed time until it was acceptable to check in.
Based on the tone of the emails received from Georgetown, and on the school's quick rejections of many seemingly qualified applicants, I was expecting the interview day to be rather intense. The day started with a financial info session (yikes) and then Ms. Sullivan gave a slightly scary speech. She made it very clear that Georgetown is a pretty unique school and it will not change to fit any of us; if we are accepted, we would change to fit it. At first I was a little turned off, but I think this is actually true of all schools, and if the school is a good fit for me, I wouldn't mind changing myself a little bit for it. Though her talk was blunt, she certainly laid the truth out for us and I learned a lot about Georgetown as well as the application process in general.
We then had a tour of the campus led by an admissions employee. Ladies, we went up and down many flights of stairs so make good choices with footwear! I wore my heels and did just fine with the walking but spent the whole tour praying I wouldn't tumble down the steps!
Lunch was definitely my favorite part of the day. It was the only chance we had to speak with current students. They seemed really down to earth and gave candid answers to all of our questions. And the food was delish so there's that...
We were then taken back to the waiting area and given little slips of paper with a brief bio of who would be interviewing us. I was really expecting a stressful interview, but my guy was really nice and the conversation was much more relaxed than I had anticipated. He said there were a few questions he had to ask--Why medicine? Why Georgetown? and something about professionalism. The rest of the interview was really just a conversation. Of note, the interviews are technically open file (though the interviewer can't see GPA or MCAT scores) but they don't receive the packet with your information until just before the interview. My interviewer hadn't yet had a chance to look at my file when I arrived, so it seemed more like a closed-file interview I guess, no detailed questions about activities or anything like that.
All in all, I actually ended up liking Georgetown a lot more than I thought I would. All of the students I met were so nice and seemed to really love the school. There are a ton of support systems in place to help students not just survive but to thrive, and it shows.
They said we can expect a decision between late October and mid November, so now the waiting begins......
Summary of Experience:
This was the first school I really fell in love with post-interview. The people at Brown were so friendly and welcoming--they must have put a lot of time into memorizing personal details about us before we arrived (Writing it like that makes it sound creepy, but it really put all of us nervous interviewees at ease). The actual medical school building is new and shiny and beautiful. There's even a roof-top area where apparently there are school sponsored champagne toasts after some exams #wellness.
The actual interview day was pretty typical. Long day of talks about the school/financial aid/etc followed by 2 pretty standard open file interviews. They mentioned that everyone chosen to interview had some teaching experience listed on their app. They really value the teaching aspect of medicine, with opportunities for students to teach each other integrated into their curriculum. In retrospect I probably should have tried to stress my own interest in teaching etc more during the interviews...
Summary of Experience:
Was 100% certain I had no chance here, until I got the interview invitation in March. I got in on the last interview day of the cycle and was totally blown away. Stanford is another world; it's in a totally awesome league of its own, and I can't even figure out how to articulate how amazing the place is. I actually left the interview feeling kind of depressed, knowing my chances of an acceptance were so so so slim (especially so late in the cycle!) and having seen this awesome place I'd never get to attend. If anything, it gives me motivation to do my best in medical school so I could maybe try to match there for residency. I just have so much respect for this school and the truly amazing students/faculty there.
Summary of Experience:
I think this interview was my earliest start time, with a 7:30am arrival (rough). There was an introduction and history of the school given by the dean and then tours and a Q and A session with a BMC physician.
In the packet given to you at the start of the day, there is a CV of the person you are interviewing with. This is written by the actual interviewer, so some people had a ton of information and background while others barely had any. I fell into the latter category and mine said something along the lines of: "Graduated Harvard Medical School. Enjoys reading and fishing." Not super helpful, but it was a start and kind of gave me an idea of what to expect from the interview.
The actual interview was very conversational, and it was clear my interviewer had reviewed my file thoroughly. There were also some standard-seeming general ethical/medicine questions. ie What do you think is the biggest problem in health care today? He also asked me about the most recent book I had read.
Overall, BU is a great school and Boston is an amazing city. But I'm not certain that the fit for me personally was quite right....I guess the feeling was mutual because I ended up on the WL.
Summary of Experience:
Interview Day: I was invited to interview in the winter, so I gladly accepted the opportunity to escape the snow for a few days (I flew down for a Monday interview on Friday, so I got to spend the weekend before on the beach :p). The interview day was pretty typical**, lots of info sessions and then one open file interview. **Actually lunch was far from typical, there was a taco buffet, and there was guacamole. THERE WAS GUACAMOLE If that's not reason enough to attend I don't know what is...or maybe this is a sign I should re-evaluate my undying love of avodados. . . .
Interview: My interview was actually a little bit more tense than I had expected. I don't have much (read: any) true shadowing experience. I think I spent like 20min of the interview explaining that a large part of my volunteering and research experiences were spent following doctors around and observing what they did with patients. Finally I just gave up and said that after the app cycle was over, I would try to fit in as much "true" shadowing as I could. I think Miami's admissions process is fairly quantitative so I'm guessing shadowing gets you a certain number of points and you can't really double dip from clinical research experiences or something.
They also had a list of questions that I think they asked of every applicant, something along the lines of: --Have you had any experience with someone suffering from a mental illness? --What would you do if you were running late and found a confused patient wandering the halls in a hospital gown? --What would you do if you had a test to study for and one of your patients asked you to sit with them as they were dying because they had no family? ______
I really really liked Miami. The location is fantastic and all of the students I met were awesome. I know when applying for medical schools it's easy to just compare stats/facts/programs/etc, but I think it's important to factor in the happiness element. Everyone I met here seemed genuinely happy. Yes, they were stressed and competitive med students, but at the end of the day I do believe that they were happy. I know none of us are going to med school to have fun, but I don't think the general vibes of a school should be taken lightly.