Non-traditional applicant with extensive clinical, research (several publications, including first author + oral and poster presentations), and non-medical volunteering experience. Upward trend in GPA after sophomore year of college + much higher post-bacc GPA. PS focused on the fact that I knew I wanted to be a doctor after years of careful consideration, thoughtfully eliminating alternatives, and real exposure to the practice of medicine. I emphasized that this was an educated decision, that I had taken time to mature after graduating from college, and that I am ready for this challenge. LOR were strong, from professors/mentors that know me well.
Note: No writing score from my MCAT
I probably could have turned my secondaries around quicker, but I work full-time and spent a LOT of time making sure I was happy with my responses. I tried to insert personality into my secondaries whenever possible and spent a lot of time organizing my thoughts while writing. My goal was to make sure that the responses were personal and thoughtful, while also highlighting traits I felt I possessed that matched well with their mission statements. I highlighted the fact that I worked A TON during undergrad to help support myself, and the lessons I had learned from my first (horrible) MCAT score about achieving life balance etc etc.
My MCAT and GPA aren't super competitive, and considering I got interviews at some fantastic schools, I'll bet that my secondary responses helped quite a lot.
I after I received my first II, I sent in-area notices with or without updates to all schools that accepted updates within a 6 hours driving distance. I'm pretty sure this helped a LOT with getting II to Wake Forest and Maryland. I sent an update regarding a website I started in late August, and another update in mid September-mid October regarding the provisional acceptance of a first author paper to any schools that accepted updates.
I prepared answers for "Why do you want to be a doctor" and "Why our school" for every interview. I had 2 school specific and 3 generic questions questions to ask each interviewer. I hand wrote and delivered thank you cards to each interviewer + the dean of admissions (if he or she took the time to meet with us) to the office of admissions before leaving campus that day. I included anecdotes from our conversations, re-iterated why I felt I was a good fit for the program, included any information I forgot to mention, and thanked them again for their time.
MMI: I reviewed the ACA, current medical or medically-relevant news (ebola, immigration, etc). I made sure to note if the state had adopted the Medicaid expansion and how that had gone over.
During the MMI, I tried to use the following format for ethical scenarios (though at U of A I rambled)
1. This is an interesting question because there are multiple angles/sides/opinions: ___ and ___
2. While some might believe ___ to be true because of ___, I personally would argue/do/proceed with ____ because of ___, ___, and ___
3. Explain each idea I wanted to highlight
4. Summarize that there are many viewpoints to be considered, summarize my points in one sentence
After the MMI, I hand wrote a thank you note to the dean of admissions/office of admissions and dropped if off before leaving campus that day. For Duke, I was instructed to email Richard Wallace rather than hand write a note, so I did that.
Still numb, sent thank you emails to each office of admissions, cried, danced, and drank a lot of celebratory wine.
6/07/2014: AMCAS application submitted
Mid June: Added Dartmouth and U Pittsburgh
6/18/2014: AMCAS application verified