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MD Applicants

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  • Leighis Capall

  • Application cycles: 07/23/2014
  • Demographics: Female, 35, Caucasian
  • Home state: New Mexico
  • Last Active: 05/07/2015
  • Brief Profile: (This app is still in progress, but all interview experiences are on here). I was a very non-traditional applicant. Many of my experiences and motivations come from my personal life rather than strictly academia. I realize that the information here is pretty transparent, but that's alright with me. I don't really value anonymity, and feel that more information could be useful to applicants, especially non-trads, so here we go. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about my experiences.

    School: Majored in biology and minored in biomedical sciences. Moved to New Mexico after graduation.

    MCAT: Used Kaplan prep course. Scored in the low-to-mid 30s on all practice exams. Wasn't thrilled about the official 29, but it seemed good enough. Can I blame that on "progesterone brain" from being pregnant? Yes. I'm going with that... (That R is just a place-holder, I didn't have a writing section on my exam).

    Work: Have work experiences as a personal fitness trainer (before college) and as a certified nurse aide in home health and group home settings (during college).

    Volunteer: Support group facilitator through the Alzheimer's Association and volunteer with my therapy dog at rehab hospitals (~100 hours, all after college). Also member of an honors volunteer club during college.

    Shadowing: Have ~ 60 hours shadowing experience in FM and IM (DO, MD, PA).

    LORs: Feel I probably had strong letters of recommendation from professors, physicians I've shadowed, and the dean of my college.

    Awards: Scholarship recipient as a junior in college. Premedica (1 awarded/year) and a merit-based (40 awarded/year), student speaker at scholarship lunchean for donors, graduated with magna cum laude distinction.

    Personal: Caregiver for both of my parents through their terminal illnesses, which was ~20 hr/ week during undergrad. Also became a parent myself during undergrad. First in family to attend a university. Significant international traveling experiences.

    Weaknesses: Will have been out of school for 3 years by the time medical school starts, my MCAT wasn't great (lol PS), no formal research experience, no jobs for longer than 6 months, only speak English fluently, and, specifically for UNM SOM, being a transplant resident.
  • // Applications //

    Application Cycle One: 07/23/2014

    • Undergraduate college: Colorado State University
    • Undergraduate Area of study: Biological/Life Sciences
    • Total MCAT SCORE: 507
    • MCAT Section Scores: B/B 129, C/P 125, CARS 127  
    • Overall GPA: 3.96
    • Science GPA: 3.96

    Summary of Application Experience

    Applications: I did not cut any corners in my primary or secondary applications. I did my best on every essay and was as thorough as possible. I submitted AMCAS toward the end of July, and AACOMAS in August.

    Interviews: No two interview styles were alike. There were group interviews, panel interviews, 1:1, 2:1, 30 minute, 2 hour, conversational, Q &A, blind, open file, etc. Some interviewers are friendly, others seem indifferent. I prepared for questions from sdn Interview Feedback as well as for some other common questions I found online, and practiced out loud alone and with a couple of other people. Questions always come up that you can’t prepare for, including “stress questions”, and sometimes even illegal ones. I was asked about my age, whether I was married, how long I’ve been married, how many kids I had and what their ages were, etc. I had to prepare the most for my first interview. I had never been to a professional interview before and, despite intentionally staggering my applications, my first interview invite came from my top choice school. :/

    Tips (for what they’re worth. These might be obvious to some of you, but I would have found them helpful): 1) Apply as early as possible (as in June if you’re going MD). I probably would have had more interviews and less wait-lists if I had applied earlier. 2) If you’re a slower writer, it may be a good idea to stagger your primary applications so that you don’t get a bunch of secondaries all at once. 3) If you have an opportunity to participate in research in undergrad, then take it. My premed adviser told me not to worry about it and to focus on clinical experience if that was what I was interested in, but I was asked about my lack of research in multiple interviews. 4) Premed advisers don't know everything! Mine was pretty much useless to me, and wouldn't even respond to my emails. Meet with them, but also do your own research. 5) If your MCAT score is below the average for the schools you're applying to, you might want to retake it. Sure, getting accepted is a holistic process, but I was only invited to interview where my MCAT was above the average for the school (There may have been one exception). The weeding/filtering done by schools pre-interview seems to be largely based on stats. They don't really have a choice due to the huge volume of apps. You DO NOT want to go through more than one Cycle- it's so expensive and, as a whole, is much more challenging than the MCAT. If you have a low score, and you have time- just retake it. It's really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. 6) This process is absurdly expensive. It’s probably a good idea to start saving the second you decide on premed.

    Keeping my family in limbo for about 9 months was utterly draining for all of us. It was exciting though, too, and my spouse being extremely supportive took some of the pressure off. Applying for medical school with all the obligatory essays, traveling, and interviewing was a significant learning experience. I learned more about why I want to go into medicine and what sort of physician I hope to be. I also learned how to interview successfully and how healthcare needs vary in different parts of the country.

    Attended Interview, Waitlisted, Withdrew

    Virginia Commonwealth University
    Lake Erie College - Erie
    Rocky Vista University
    Kansas City University


    University of New Mexico
    Touro University - Mare Island

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