Undergraduate Area of study: Biological/Life Sciences
Total MCAT SCORE: 472
MCAT Section Scores:
Overall GPA: 3.80
Science GPA: 3.80
Summary of Application Experience
9/12: Haven't heard from any schools re: II. I'm driving myself a little crazy, and hoping that there will still be spots after all the hardcore people interview soon. I'm doing a lot of asking myself if I should have submitted earlier or whatever--but I think that July after writing 2 more essays than the MD-only folks is actually doing pretty well. I guess we'll see--this is stressful!
9/24: One II (BU), three moves to MD-only (Stanford, Yale, University of Michigan) and one rejection (University of Washington). I suppose hearing from 5 of the 19 I applied to is not a terrible record, but I would really love some interviews to come my way pls.
12/2: Four interviews (UNC, Tufts, Vandy, BU) and waiting to hear from 12 schools. It's good news to not be hearing more rejections! I'm hoping but not counting on more news before Christmas.
2/11: This is almost done. I'm under consideration at six schools: UNC, Tufts, BU, Vandy, U of A, and Baylor. I saw on SDN someone has a Baylor acceptance--I'm wondering if they're a Texas resident, as most folks with Baylor IIs seem to still be in the dark. I'm hoping to hear within the next month. Emory was originally one of my top choice programs, and I feel kind of bummed they left me out to dry.
2/23: Such movement so quickly! I'm still waiting to hear from UNC and BU, although UNC admitted people last week and I still haven't heard anything. It makes me wonder if a rejection letter is in the mail to me--yikes. I was waitlisted at Tufts and Vanderbilt, and rejected at Baylor. I was originally kind of upset, but I see how many people have multiple acceptances, and I think there'll be more movement than I would have guessed!
3/30--This is over, y'all. I'm attending one of the schools I was waitlisted/accepted at, and I'm so pleased with the results. I met a lot of people on the interview trail who had 12+ interviews, and I wasn't one of them. I met a lot of people with 3+ acceptances, and I wasn't one of them. I'm still going to one of my top choice schools.
I know that I didn't apply as early as I could have, and that maybe is a reason for why I got fewer interviews and they happened later in the game (I attended 4 in January!). To be honest, I don't know if I could have done more than the six I did unless they were wayyyy spread out. I met a lot of people who had interviews at schools that had rejected me and who had been rejected by schools that had interviewed me. It reinforced how random this all seems--it's really hard to know what qualities each place is looking for, and it was good for me to remember to not take it personally (especially hard when Baylor rejected me after meeting me!). I loved seeing the same people at various interviews, and I hope wish them the very best. It's a small enough career choice that I think we'll run into each other over and over throughout our lives--and I hope we do!
On a different note, I think I was rejected from the two schools I applied to MD-only (Wake Forest and Brown) because my letters all said MD/PhD and I didn't think to get another set. Oops.
University of Washington
Combined PhD/MSTP: Yes
Secondary Completed: No
Interview Invite: No
Interview Attended: No
Summary of Experience:
Completed additional MSTP primary ~2 weeks post verification.
Rejected by physical letter in the mail on 8/18. I'm also ineligible for MD-only consideration, as I'm not a resident of Washington nor one of the super-achievers they allow to continue in the process from OOS.
Summary of Experience:
Moved from MSTP consideration to MD consideration on 08/11/2014 after submitting secondary. (Via email) This is a bummer because there were so many extra essays for MSTP, but I'm excited to still be a contender for MD-only.
Summary of Experience:
Interview day: Baylor doesn't provide a hotel for MSTP interviewees, which is kind of a bummer. There was an option to stay with a current student, which a lot of folks did. I didn't, so I can't discuss that.
We met up at the school on a Thursday for a quick presentation. Dr. Plon gave an overview of the program, and two students presented about their MSTP pathways and their research. I would have liked to have heard more about the student's paths and less about the research; at this point, it's so much more about finding out which school is a good fit than what some grad students were studying. We were driven to a dinner at the directors house. They served barbecue, which I guess is supposed to be quintessentially Texan. I love dinner at director-houses, but it felt a little cramped and forced. This was, I suppose, my first sign that Baylor might not be for me.
Friday was interview day, and a long one at that! The morning begins with a presentation about the Baylor MSTP from a current student. I thought this was well done--it's more fun hearing from a student than hearing from a director. Then onto four MSTP interviews, one of which is with a student on the committee and one of which is a director/assistant director. Although I wasn't asked who I might be interested in interviewing with, the program did an impeccable job of picking faculty that matched my interests. By and large, I enjoyed my interviews; the student was a little tired and had a hard time pretending to be interested in what I was saying.
In the afternoon, you join the med student interviews. Baylor did this kind of odd thing where they told us we had to get into the med school in addition to the MSTP and so we should downplay our research interests in the afternoon interviews. I did a really poor job of this, and fumbled when an interviewer asked me how much time I wanted to spend seeing patients. I couldn't decide whether to answer honestly (10-20%) or pretend like I had more of an interest. There are two half hour interviews somewhere in a 3 hour block, so there's a lot of down time. They have tours that you can hook up with while you're waiting, but I seemed to miss all of them. After MD interviews, a student gives another presentation, and folks are released.
MSTP people had a "cocktail hour" (read: snack hour, as no drinks were served) for an hour and a half in the top of a building. Gorgeous views, but we had had a long day, and it was a long time to sit before dinner. We were driven to a bar, and the program had ordered mexican food to be delivered. This was my favorite part of the day: chilling with current students (no faculty!).
The next morning, there was a brunch that I missed because of my flight. I didn't feel like I really connected with the program; it was close to my hometown, so I hoped that I would like it more than I did. The students were funny, enjoyable people, but I just didn't feel the fit. I was not 100% surprised to end up without an offer from this program.
It was a very kind rejection email! I worry about what I did that I was rejected instead of waitlisted--I guess I'll never know!
Summary of Experience:
Vanderbilt has the interview weekends down to an art. I checked into the (provided with no roommate!) hotel on a Thursday afternoon, and was handed my schedule in a Vanderbilt reusable bag that also had snacks in it. This is how serious they are.
We were picked up in a bus by current students who were to be our interview weekend hosts, and driven to the director's house for dinner. There were alcoholic beverages being served, and although I didn't drink, I appreciated that because it made it seem more casual! They had a nice dinner catered, and we all sat around and chatted. I spoke to a couple current students I really liked, and one of the people on their "leadership team" joined the conversation very casually.
Friday morning were our interviews! I knew that I had five; two were with folks I had indicated research interest in, one with a student on the committee, one with a faculty member on the committee, and one with a member of the leadership team. The interviews felt very nerve-wracking but also friendly; everyone had clearly read my file, and students were summoned to walk us from place to place. Vanderbilt has one of the most confusing hospital/research buildings to ever be built (it's like a tic-tac-toe board!).
During lunch, some grad students came in and gave us a presentation on life in Nashville. I think they assume most folks aren't familiar with the city (I wasn't!), so this was really nice. I left the lunch really convinced this was a good place.
After all the interviews, some current students take us out to dinner, and we could choose if we wanted to go to a honky tonk. It would be hard to turn that down, really! There were current students who offered to drive us back to the hotel at various times throughout the night so no one had to stay out longer than they wanted to.
Saturday morning we went on a housing tour in the bus--they drove us around various neighborhoods a lot of students live in, and then to a current student's house for a catered brunch.
The whole weekend was impeccably organized--all our interviews and locations were printed on the back of our nametags, if that gives you any perspective.
Summary of Experience:
The Tufts interview begins by meeting at the school on Thursday night and then walking to a mexican restaurant with current students. I liked dinner--it was very casual, although we did have to play the "alcohol isn't included but we can order some if we want" game.
In the morning, we were talked to about the program and given a tour of the school. I really liked hearing about the program and the tour--it felt really well organized, and they did a great job of emphasizing their strengths (like being in chinatown!).
I had three interviews, all of which were MD/PhD-focussed, and all of which heavily discussed my research. I think Tufts asked least about my MD qualifications, which was a bit of a bummer--I worked hard for that too! I realize that for the MSTP my research is important, but I worry about not being selected for physician-related skills also.
We were given the option to stay with student hosts for housing. My BU interview began Thursday afternoon, with a tour of the medical center lead by current students. The tour did not seem to be particularly planned; we sort of hopped wherever they thought we might want to see. For some reason the only way to access the library at BUMC is through some very slow elevators; seems like poor planning to me! We walked to dinner at a nearby Indian restaurant; an interviewee with food allergies was very emphatic about her needs. Indian seems like a bit of an odd choice for an interview dinner, but the food was great! Two of the first year students dominated conversation, but I enjoyed talking to a grad student in my little corner of the table.
On Friday, I arrived at the medical school bright and early (like way early--7:30?). MD/PhD applicants had two hour long interviews before lunch--one for MD and one for the MD/PhD program. My MD interview here was the only one of my 6 interviews to ask me an ethics question--which I appreciated! My MD/PhD interview did not go all that well, as my interviewer was very pushy and confrontational.
We had lunch with some current MD/PhD students, which ended up being the same couple students that had attended dinner the night before. Largely, the interviewees sat at one end of the table and talked to each other. I really liked this, although I know it is far from what the program intended. They also had hot lunch brought in--much appreciated!
After lunch, we were shepherded back with the MD applicants, and treated to many different talks by faculty. I remember discussions of financial aid and the curriculum; everything else flew by me. BU is one of the few schools to not give their MD/PhD students a stipend during the med years; thus it was the only school where I actually had to think about financial aid.
We ended with a talk by the medical school Dean of Admissions, who is quirky and very lovable.
Although this was my first interview, I felt worried that I didn't love my interactions with the current students. Furthermore, the fact that there isn't a stipend during the MD years makes it seem like MD/PhD students aren't that important to the university.