I hope this is helpful for those who have low, upward trending GPA and balanced/high(>90 percentile) MCAT. I have "beautiful" recommendation letters according to an interviewer, interesting nonclinical ECs/experiences, clinical volunteering/ECs, and extensive/competitive research experience (without publication).
// Applications //
Application Cycle One: 06/11/2014
Undergraduate Area of study: Biological/Life Sciences
Total MCAT SCORE: 516
MCAT Section Scores:
Overall GPA: 3.40
Science GPA: 3.30
Summary of Application Experience
3/11: Ended up withdrawing from RWJMS. Gonna wait for financial aid packages from Cooper/NJMS, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up at NJMS!!
2/1: Huh, II from RWJMS.
1/12: Still waiting to hear back from AESOM. The cycle isn't over, but out of all the schools I applied to, there are very few that I would consider over the schools that I was already accepted to: Yale, USC, AESOM, and UA-Tucson. I don't expect I will be getting interviews from those schools (minus AESOM), after stalking how many interview spots appear to be left. In addition, I've added my real MCAT and GPA. :) Some thoughts on the cycle...I shouldn't have been as worried as I was, and I really could have applied to less schools. Many of them weren't good holistic fits but my stats fit. However, I'm not a traditional applicant, and at my three interviews (thus far?), my background and "story" were very much emphasized. I knew this going in, but I doubted myself. If I considered that, I would have applied to less schools that got a large number of applicants (BU, Drexel, GW, etc), for example, and maybe considered Duke, Vandy, and other schools that are more holistic in their approach (though they are all holistic...). I guess it's easy to say that in retrospect. It's better to be safe than sorry and apply to 20 schools rather than 5, if only so you don't have to go through the whole cycle again!!!
12/15: NJMS acceptance. :)
11/03: NJMS II! I am pleased.
10/30: I am filled with BOTH excitement and relief after being accepted by Cooper!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have no words, just emotions, so here are some more exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I promise I'm going to fill out that Duke secondary...even if it is late now...
09/17: By now I've heard back from a lot of schools I finished the secondary for. I was surprised by the Tulane rejection, and a bit bummed by the Phoenix rejection, but the IIs make them palatable. Given my stats, I'm VERY happy to have two IIs this early in the game, especially from a state school and Albert Einstein (!!). Given the complete dates over at SDN, I'm thinking I have an ongoing review or silent hold/rejection at several schools, including my other state schools, Temple, Jefferson, and SUNY Downstate. Only time can tell though. At this point, I'm gonna work on finishing the Duke secondary (umm....) and start preparing for my interviews at Cooper and Albert Einstein!
09/11: II from Cooper! Now in no-care-zone about GW and Drexel. ALSO, finally complete at Wake Forest. I think they must do secondary and app completion emails in batches, because people seemed to be getting these emails at the same time.
09/04: Tulane rejection! I'm upset because I thought I matched their mission well and I like New Orleans a lot. On the plus side, I don't have to pay for airfare to New Orleans...
08/26: This cycle, there have been a lot of early applications in response to last year, and I'm sitting here, mostly complete in early August with one II. I know I should complain at all (Albert Einstein!) but most schools haven't even looked at my application yet! It's hard not to be impatient. But it's damned if you do, damned if you don't. I would feel just as crappy if they did take a look and put me on hold or rejected me at this point.
Summary of Experience:
Pre-interview hold 9/12 Application Status Update 2/2 - "Your application has undergone multiple reviews since you received your initial status update. Your application is considered competitive and we would like to give it a thorough review for a possible interview invite. The Admissions Office is still conducting interviews for the 2014-2015 application cycle. Our last interview day is scheduled for February 28, 2015. We are currently still offering interview invites." Etc
Summary of Experience:
This was my first interview, so I was super nervous. My interview was in the afternoon so I drove up the morning of from south Jersey. I arrived before the lunch/tour. There was a large group of interviewees (20-30). It seemed like half interviewed in the morning and half in the afternoon.
The tour guides were great. They were all enthusiastic, and the majority of them were MS2. Albert Einstein is a well-established program and I have no qualms about the curriculum. It's a great fit for me because I first and foremost want an excellent clinical experience, but I also want a lot of options as far as research, electives, and community outreach. Certainly, Albert Einstein and the Bronx fits the bill!
My interview was at Jacobi, a 5-10 minute walk from the medical school building. It was half an hour, and the interviewer was a pediatrician who was well-prepared as far as my application. I'm so glad my first interview was with a pediatrician because she was stereotypically bubbly and kind and enthusiastic. It really put me at ease.
All in all I really enjoy Albert Einstein for what it has to offer, though I wish my time there was more than just a tour/lunch/interview. Presentations by staff about the curriculum/area/etc would have been nice, because as it was my first interview, I didn't know what I should be asking about the school, etc. It's also too bad admissions are rolling, so I have to wait until February to hear about a decision!
Summary of Experience:
Withdrew after cycle ended.
The interview day here was a PRODUCTION. It was highly organized and they shuffled us from place to place while keeping track of us. As this interview was after Albert Einstein, it was nice to have an admissions office put out all the stops in my presence.
Ego aside, I have a soft spot for Cooper due to its location in Camden. I'm from South Jersey, born and raised. I know the town and the area and I feel comfortable there. It would be truly amazing to serve the community that I grew up in. On the other hand, Cooper is a new school, and while Cooper was the site of clinical rotations for some of the RWJMS students before Cooper-Rowan became a thing, I worry a bit about residency placement, especially in comparison to NJMS and RWJMS, which are more established. In addition, because it's a new medical school, the interest groups and student groups aren't as established either. I am not sure I want to spend my time starting a club. Finally, while there is research going on at Cooper, it is again not as established as its Rutgers brethren. I have no qualms about the curriculum or price (I'm in-state!). The facilities are brand-new and top-notch. They are very very accommodating to the students' wants and needs, and as someone who struggled very much with the transition from high school to college, I was really happy with the emphasis that they put on student wellness.
Now, as far as the interview, we had a couple MMI scenarios. They were very short, 2-4 minutes, and imo, fun, and not difficult to navigate. They were a bit of an ice breaker since we were all wound so tight. Later, we had 2-on-1 half-hour interviews with one open-file interviewer and one closed-file interviewer. The purpose was for them to "balance" each other. My open-file interviewer was a physician at Cooper while the blind interviewer was MS3. It was conversational and laid-back. The general vibe from Cooper is that if you make it to the interview, you are in a great spot.
I really enjoyed Cooper and I'm happy to have been accepted. I do have some issues with it as a new school, as stated above. However, there are many pros to this school, and it would be exciting to be a part of the beginning of its' history!
Summary of Experience:
I really enjoyed the interview day here. Besides me, there were only three others in my group. My faculty interview lasted an hour and was in the morning. It was followed by a 30-minute or one-hour long (I can't remember) student interview. Then, we went on a tour followed by a catered lunch in which all the admissions staff came by to say Hello. There was an exit interview with the assistant dean of admissions to ask how the day went.
I really enjoyed the interview day. There were no pretenses, but it was informative and really gave me a feel for what NJMS is like. Talking to the assistant dean of admissions at the end of the day was nice. I really enjoyed talking to her about how the day went and learning what she wanted the interviewees to get from it. If I were worried about it, I probably could have been less candid about my thoughts, but I found the entire staff incredibly welcoming and nonjudgmental. They really put me at ease.