Submitted 9:37:26 AM on June 2, 2015. Transcripts received prior to submission. Ready to go, y'all!
Underrepresented due to low-income status, obviously not because of race. First-generation college student from rural area with shortage of health-care providers. PS will focus on being first-gen and low-income, overcoming obstacles to achievement.
Obviously I didn't take the MCAT that included a writing sample. MCAT: >30, <34
EDUCATION: Graduated cum laude Founder's scholar award from alma mater Award for excellence in major
RESEARCH: 3.5 years in neuro bench research, including thesis receiving high honors 1 year (ongoing) clinical research at major hospital Independent project: youth healthcare access, poster presentation
CLINICAL: 1 (ongoing) year of clinical research coordination, heavy on patient contact Hospice volunteering (ongoing, 3+ hrs a week for at least 1 year)
VOLUNTEERING: Hospice Youth shadowing program College-prep and career development mentor for two first-generation college students
LEADERSHIP Peer Health Education (1.5 years) Planning committee for national health summit Youth Board for LGBTQ research Board Member for hospital employee group
WORK EXPERIENCE Worked 2-3 jobs throughout college while balancing course load (and athletics for first 2 years of college) AMCAS submitted: 6/2/2014
// Applications //
Application Cycle One: 05/31/2015
Undergraduate college: Top Liberal Arts College
Undergraduate Area of study: Biological/Life Sciences
Total MCAT SCORE: 511
MCAT Section Scores:
Overall GPA: 3.60
Science GPA: 3.60
Summary of Application Experience
Update 5/4/16: I have updated my stats because my cycle is over, and because I have never seen anyone on here with stats like mine, but I know that they had to exist! I hope that this brings someone hope! There is a role for character, personal growth, and overcoming obstacles in the application process. I was not convinced that it would be true, but it was for me and I hope that it will be for you too!
Okay, so now I've officially been accepted to three schools, and waitlisted to two others. My waitlist schools are easily my top 2! Going to keep waiting and working and hoping but also making plans to move to DC!
Well, this is nervewracking and it's barely a month in... 7/17/15: Well, now I've gotten 20/21 secondaries! I am so pumped, especially for the ones that actually screen. Figures my #1 would be the last to let me know but I'm not letting myself worry this early in the game. 7/27: now I officially have 21/21 secondaries! Just three more to complete before I sit back and bite my nails for II's!
9/16: I have been offered three interviews, and I'll attend all three! I haven't received any rejections, but I'm on hold for further review at Case. Really hoping for more interviews!
9/18: HOLY MACKEREL. Interview #4, and at my top choice! Pardon me while I take a minute to remind my lungs how to work. =D I jumped for joy and then possible cried over this...
9/22: Interview #5, at Harvard! This is so unreal. I never in a million years imagined that this would happen. I actually cried in the office over this invite, and my hands are shaking and this is just so unreal. Is this real life??
9/23: My first rejection, from CWRU. I am mostly interested in the CCLCM University Track anyway, so I am not too upset. Also, it is hard to be upset after interview invites from Vanderbilt and Harvard.
9/29/15: Also rejected from OUWB. Rough. I really loved that school...
Some date in between these... Rejected from UCSF. Super rough as this was my favorite after Vandy. Have loved UCSF forever. But, I am very lucky and cannot be too upset as my II's have given me cause shift the focus of imagining my new life towards the East coast and East-ish (Nashville) again.
12/16/15: So, here I am, incredibly fortunate to have 3 acceptances to choose from... This is a luxury I never expected, and I am so grateful and thrilled and in a fluctuating state of disbelief.
I seem to still be in limbo at a lot of places. On SDN, I see people dropping likes flies from schools I applied to, but I haven't heard anything. No more II's, no more rejections so far. It's a funny place to be, because I can't be all that worried (and I'm not), but the silence is weird! I expected more rejections by now! In any case, I don't tend to worry and panic and stress out like a lot of folks on SDN, which is why I don't bother to post... The best use of SDN is to track the progress of various schools in the application process, but beyond that it can make you crazy.
I'm crossing all my fingers and toes for the other 2 schools I'm waiting to hear from... Will be interesting to see how this all pans out!
My best advice is to get an airline rewards credit card and put your application costs on that. The value will come back to you! I used the Southwest credit card, which gives you (if you apply at the right time) 50k points for spending $2,000 dollars. I got three roundtrip flights and a (personal) one-way flight out of those rewards points. I don't get anything for saying that; it just worked well for me since money is always tight. And Southwest points go a long way since their flights are often cheaper than most and don't show up in searches from sites like Orbitz, etc.
UPDATE 3/24: If you want to get the 50k points bonus, you can sign up (they sent me a link to share; I get a points bonus if you sign up and use the card) here: https://applynow.chase.com/FlexAppWeb/renderApp.do?PID=CFFD2&SPID=FHV5&CELL=601C&MSC=1523711231
Also, you should obviously stay with students or friends if you have the chance. You'll save money, learn more about the program, etc.
Clothing: Flats: gifted to me by a kind friend Suit: $70 from H&M Socks: $5 Tops: $90 for 3, different colors so I have options for multi-day interviews Skirt: hand-me-down from same kind friend Shapewear: $30 Lint roller: $1 Appropriate jewelry: $12 TOTAL: $307
Primaries: $900 Secondaries: $1960.50 Flight to Davis: $0 (points) Davis food, airbnb, car rental: ~$215 Flight to DC: $180.00 Flight to New Orleans: $0 (points) Flight to Nashville: $0 (points) TOTAL: $3255.50
CYCLE TOTAL: $3562.50
Just want to say this is more than 10% of my income. That is.... a lot.
Saint Louis University
Combined PhD/MSTP: No
Secondary Completed: No
Interview Invite: No
Interview Attended: No
Summary of Experience:
Just won't be completing the secondary... The Catholic part wouldn't bother me, but the "sanctity of life" statement in the mission was a problem for me. I definitely am not a good fit for a school that still has anti choice language in their mission.
Summary of Experience:
7/14/15: Saw their students compete in a clinical diagnosis and treatment tournament at a convention and was blown away. I would really love to attend... The clinical training is truly mind blowing.
Summary of Experience:
5/3/16: Something happened today that I NEVER in a million years could have realistically imagined. I am overwhelmed, bowled over and incredibly grateful. Check in with me a few months from now and see if it has even sunk in by then!!!
7/14/15 - working on secondary. Professional connections here too. Affiliated hospital. I think the Pathways program is really interesting. Obviously would love to interview!
9/22: IS THIS REAL LIFE?
Going in to the dinner that they offer the night before, I was really nervous. I was 10 minutes early, so I chilled outside Vandy Hall on a bench until I was 1 minute late. To no avail, however, because I was the only one there.
I wasn't sure how much to believe them when they said "casual dinner" but they really did mean it. I came directly from work and was overdressed, as we just hung out with some current students in what seemed liked a common room with a ktichen. We ate pizza, drank soda, talked a little bit. Very informal. The students were remarkably friendly, normal, and down to earth. They also seemed very candid about their experiences at Harvard. It was actually a really nice time. Also, the student housing in Vandy is pretty awesome. They have a courtyard! And fancy common rooms! It was gorgeous.
The actual day of the interview, I drove a rental car and parked in the garage at Children's hospital. Fair warning, it cost me $37. Ouch. Take an uber instead (I didn't have enough time to wait for one).
I walked in early to find most of the other applicants there waiting in front of the admissions office. Everyone was pretty friendly too. A couple folks seemed nervous, but in general not unpleasant. One guy took the lead and had all of us introduce ourselves at the table which was premature since we had to do that about 6,000 times throughout the day.
The whole day was really very free-range. They gave us a shiny packet of information about Harvard, our interviewers names, and excellent directions for how to find them. Heads up - you may need to take a taxi (they'll provide a voucher) to another hospital to meet your interviewer. Thankfully I didn't!
They also provided a schedule of classes that we could attend (really only one optional option), and notable events during the day. We also got invited to the diversity office just to chat (also optional), and a tour (still optional). I did all of the above, because OBVIOUSLY. YOU GUYS. The class was fabulous, the students were friendly, and the lecture was very clear. It was really exciting to see everyone's focus and targeted questions about the material. The lecturer evidently knew what he was talking about, was excited to be talking about it to students, and shared really interesting cases based on his own practice.
Then, I hung out in the applicant lounge which they provided. There were some snacks and water. Shortly thereafter, I went to my first interview, at Brigham and Women's. Gorgeous hospital, and my interviewer was abrupt but friendly. He welcomed me in, asked me a number of direct questions, commented on the strength of my application and said "well nice to meet you." It felt... ok. It paled in comparison to my second interview at Children's. The questions were fine but it felt more like an interview than an attempt to get to know me.
My Children's interviewer was friendly, outgoing, talkative, and very conversational. She was clearly trying to get to know me, and she is someone I would seek out in a heartbeat if I got in. I would love to shadow her; really interesting practice, and wonderful personality with lots of interesting stories. I felt like we got to know each other, and I got to really go in deep as far as my character and motivation. Awesome.
Then, I skittered off to lunch with current students (they give you a lunch voucher for the cafe). Just a note - the medical education center is BEAUTIFUL. So beautiful. Everything you picture when you picture the shiny beauty of medical education and how crisp and inspiring it can be. Holy mackerel, I know why people love Harvard. And why it is so hard to turn down. The students were again very normal, interesting, glad to talk with us, and very down to earth. They were excited to talk about their upcoming intramural frisbee game. Some folks felt Harvard was irreplaceable in terms of resources. Others felt the top 10-15 schools are largely interchangeable. Notably, one student who didn't have an Ivy League background said that he - and his partner, who also isn't Ivy Leage educated - felt very welcome and comfortable there. That was really good to hear, because many of the students and MANY of the applicants have Ivy League names already attached to their application. Which was discouraging and frustrating, honestly.
After lunch, we took the tour. Which was amazing. The different societies have their own spaces in the med ed center, and they're all shiny and new. The society system seems great. The library and museum are amazing. The campus is gorgeous. The location is unbeatable. It's just... incredible.
Finally, I went to the diversity office. They were down to earth, fabulous, excited people who were thrilled that I applied because I was sent a recruitment letter for disadvantaged applicants. I have a LizzyM of 67. Just sayin'.
We will see what happens in March, but I had an incredible time, and I'm afraid to have hopes because I really really loved Harvard.
2/23/16: Waitlisted, but will continue to hope! Still my favorite of all.
Dream school #1... 7/27: I got the secondary!! So thrilled. I jumped for joy in the middle of downtown Nashville when I got this one
9/18/15: OH MY GOD WHAT WORLD IS THIS???? I never in a million years thought I would get the chance to interview here. My very top choice, close ties to the area, in love with the curriculum and the incredible community at Vanderbilt... Someone pinch me. I am so thrilled I can barely keep my feet on the ground.
11/4/15: My interview day was a dream. I remember my friend coming home from a Vanderbilt interview last year and saying "I think I'm in love" and I totally 100% agree. I cannot begin to explain the incredible sense of fit that I felt throughout the interview day.
It breaks my heart a little that "letters of interest/intent" aren't considered as seriously as I will mean the one that I plan to send. I don't have it in me to send one to more than one school. My integrity couldn't handle it. I have liked everywhere that I've interviewed (except Tulane, really), but this is different. This is the community I was looking for.
My interview day started with all of us sitting in the lounge. A woman walked in, made some small talk with us and the current students who were hanging out, and went to put her stuff down. I didn't realize until later - after she had been sitting and chatting with us for 15 minutes - that she was the Director of Admissions.
Yes, folks, the director of admissions at VUSOM was kind enough to sit down and talk casually with us about Hattie B's, Jeni's ice cream, the Nashville culture, and where we all were coming in from. This is a revelation. She was a happy, engaging, welcoming character. What a change from other places, where you don't see the DoA at all!
The shorter interview was good, reasonable questions. I drew on a book I had read years ago, ethical questions that I've pondered at work, and my experiences with various college extracurriculars.
My long interview was a wonderful person. The conversation felt so natural, happy and comfortable... We talked about my background, school, extracurriculars, my love of building things with my hands, and how you choose a specialty. Oh, and cookie butter. Yes, cookie butter.
I'm really excited about Curriculum 2.0... I loved small group learning in college because I had an established study group of my own, so I would be thrilled to learn this way in medical school. If I'm going to do something that is that hard, why wouldn't I choose to do it in the way that I learn best? I love how much you can personalize it later on. As someone with a variety of interests, I cannot picture choosing a more rigid curriculum if I had the option to focus (or broaden) my learning like C2.0 allows you to do.
I sat in on some classes with the M1s because I got there a day early and stayed with a friend. That was awesome. I got to see the students host a "Roast" of their professors from the first two blocks, and they really went hard. The professors seemed to be really good sports about it, and the camaraderie was palpable. This is such a big deal to me - the sense of community is not manufactured. A lot of the deans/professors hold dinners for students at their homes throughout the year, and the deans' offices are in the same building/floors where the students take their classes. They use the same bathroom, and walk the same hallways. They are real, accessible, and so friendly.
This was my second visit to Nashville, and I had already been to the Opry and explored the city a bit, so I felt comfortable with the idea of being in the south.
The CELA was amazing. The Children's hospital looks a lot like the other Children's hospital I've seen, but they're both super well ranked so no surprises there. The library is gorgeous and shiny; there are kinda funny floors in the hallways of Light Hall, but the study rooms and classrooms are updated and shiny and ready for learning.
The students were so happy, and welcoming. I'm trying to think of more things to say about the interview day... The tour was really comprehensive. I felt like I learned more about Vanderbilt than you can find in brochures, and I really haven't gotten that anywhere. It's clear that Vandy works really hard to put these interview days together to give you that. Probably since people - for whatever reason - are Northeast and West Coast biased. Y'all, Nashville is fabulous!
Knocking on wood and saying my prayers... I would love love love to be at Vandy next year. I'm ready to Anchor Down!
Summary of Experience:
They're doing some great LGBT health stuff here. I'd be really interested to learn more at an interview day.
WOO INTERVIEW INVITE! SO PUMPED
So, this was my second interview of the season. I stayed the night before with a friend, and took an uber to the campus in the morning. It is literally right across from the Foggy Bottom metro though, and it was easy later on to just hop on the metro to the airport.
Most notably, the entire medical school is contained in one building that's attached to the library. It is not particularly pretty, but it does feel studious and functional. The students seem very normal! Always a good thing.
We were put in a room with the interview coordinator, and got some GW swag and the names of our interviewers. We were evacuated from the library due to some unidentified threat that turned out to be a false alarm. That was exciting.
The financial aid officer who talked with us seemed to not be super interested, but it may be that she's just rehearsed her pitch a lot. Similarly, the dean of admissions was not uninterested but she did seem very tough!
I had a student interview and a faculty interview. Both were enjoyable! Good questions, low-stress, very conversational. "Why GW" etc.
The tour was not particularly notable until we got to the simulation center on the 4th floor... Holy mackerel that was fancy. There are several rooms with a simulation bot, one for labor and delivery, and a very exciting skills lab full of disembodied artificial arms. A little disconcerting at first glance! I think we all did a double take.
This floor was incredibly impressive. It was just as shiny and new and inspiring as the Harvard TMEC, which is saying something. The rest of the building needs an update, but that floor... Wow.
Overall, I had a great time! My only concern is how expensive the area is, but they clearly have an authentic culture that supports student and faculty diversity, which is more than can be said for most places. It is evidently part of how they conduct themselves as an institution, rather than something on their checklist for the admissions brochure. They really walk the walk. And that was incredible to see.
Really, really excited about this program and really hopeful that I'll get to hear good news!!! Thinking about how much I would love to live in DC...
Summary of Experience:
4/4/16: Withdrew. It's a good school, but not the right fit for me!
7/14/15: Really into the nutrition program... The more I think about it, the more I like this school. I chose all these schools because I was excited about them, and as I write it all out now, it's so true! I would be excited to attend any of them, and for many different reasons! My second interview invite!! So pumped right now!!!
So, I am in love with beignets and New Orleans is a really cool place. The students are really laid back... To the extent that it was actually disconcerting for a minute because while I'm from the west coast, I live in the Northeast which has a very different culture.
The students seem happy, casual and authentic. The Dean of Admissions was very friendly. My interviewers were great, and it was all super low-key. It seemed pretty funny to all be in suits while the students were reliably in jeans and comfy shirts! Seems like work-life balance is a very real, tangible and consistently present thing at Tulane - that's a big deal! And obviously there's a huge appeal to the location, patient populations, and brand new hospital...
The behavioral interview was not nearly as scary as everyone thought it would be. Do you have basic social skills? You'll be fine. :)
The only red flag raiser in my mind is that Tulane is an "opt-in" for abortion education. Meaning that students have to "opt in" to learning about it, and apparently the faculty aren't thrilled to have to teach it when they do opt in. To me, this is shocking since in the Northeast everything is pretty deep blue, right to choose, etc.
Summary of Experience:
7/30/15: woke up at 4:15am for no identifiable reason and found that I got an II! My first one! Hurray!!! It was incredibly hard to go back to sleep after that!
II: Had an amazing time! Really really hoping to get a yes! I would be so thrilled to go here. The interview was really a lot of fun.
You guys, the medical education building is beautiful. It's so beautiful that it wins awards, and as soon as you walk in you can see why. Classrooms everywhere, shiny and new. Lecture halls, small group rooms, standardized patient labs... Damn.
I stayed at an AirBNB in Davis because I didn't realize the campus was in Sacramento. But honestly, the removal was good for my wallet and I loved my airbnb host. Especially her cat! Oh man.
The MMI process was a lot of fun. I am obligated not to discuss the specifics, so I won't go any further except to say that it was incredibly well done, I felt like I got to present a lot of myself in the process, and it was a really interesting and exciting challenge. I enjoyed myself thoroughly.
I am on cloud nine... This is so unreal. I did ok, only cried a little bit until I realized that this means I get to be a doctor. Regardless of how my other interviews go, I get to pursue this dream. Somebody thinks I could do this. I am going to get to be a doctor!!!! So yep, back to the joyful crying at my desk at work...