This is an exercise in poor planning and time management. Applied all MSTP. There aren't many detailed MD/PhD applicant profiles so I hope this helps someone like it would have helped me. Started slacking with my impressions, but I'll try to get them all up eventually.
AMCAS Activities 1. Hour-long podium presentation on my thesis work 2. Conference poster presentation on my thesis work; won one of the major awards 3. Science outreach, 40 hours over ~1.5 years* (Thankfully it didn't raise any eyebrows that one of my most meaningful activities was one that I was involved in for a short time.) 4. Senior thesis project, ~1.5 years (and full time during gap year)* 5. Dance team, 2 years 6. Summer research program for pre-MD/PhDs, prominent cancer/neuro lab, 10 weeks 7. Campus jobs, ~200 hours 8. Research assistant, DNA repair lab, one year 9. Free clinic volunteer, 100 hours over 3 years* 10. International clinical volunteering while studying abroad (not one of those medical service trips), 4 weeks 11. Shadowing, 30 hours 12. Research assistant, cell bio lab, 7 months 13. Board member/president of campus cultural organization, 4 years 14. Intramural sports/team captain, 4 years 15. Public school health educator, 4 years
Application weaknesses: -By far my greatest weakness was my GPA. My AMCAS GPA is inflated by some college courses that I took in high school, so I actually performed worse at my university than it reflects (I actually finished with a 3.6/3.47, complete with a D in one of my BCPM courses). However, I was very forthright in most of my secondaries about why I performed so badly my freshman/sophomore years (basically wasn't prepared academically or socially for my school's environment), and I had a very strong upward trend (3.94/3.93 my senior year with a science-heavy courseload) that showed that I got my shit together. I actually probably would've been fine not mentioning it at all since the schools where I didn't talk about it in my secondary didn't seem to care.
- I was pretty short on shadowing hours, but my sustained clinical volunteering made up for it.
-No pubs, which nobody really seemed to care about anyway. It's true that they're by no means a requirement.
-Could've submitted things earlier, but the only place that I was truly "late" at was Harvard (and maybe WashU). Finishing secondaries by the end of August is a pretty good rule-of-thumb.
Application strengths: -99th percentile MCAT score, which I took the summer after my sophomore year (before finishing second semester physics). This also made up for my bad GPA. I was told by an interviewer that my score was right at the point where scoring any higher doesn't matter, and my verbal score made an impression on one of my interviewers. Not sure how relevant this is after the new MCAT, but here's how I studied: http://bit.ly/1MiCZU9
-A risky (based on the subject matter) but powerful and heartfelt personal statement that was brought up in many of my interviews. Was told that I was a great writer and that it was one of the few where they actually wanted to keep reading.
-3 years of research experience, and I'll have 4 upon matriculation. My most significant experience was a really unique project that I built from the ground up and worked on as my senior thesis and over my gap year. Interviewers were enthralled by it and it showed that I can be an independent researcher. Plus I've been interested in the MD/PhD route since high school, so I was able to make it clear that I know what I'm getting in to.
-Very strong rec letters, including one from an HHMI professor. I didn't read them but they were brought up in a few of my interviews.
-I think I was pretty good at interviews overall. I knew my research project like the back of my hand, and I always made sure to ask smart questions about my interviewer's research, even if I wasn't really interested in it. Some of my interviewers went out of their way to walk me to my next location just so that we could keep talking, let me know how the adcom scored me, sent personal congrats emails after my acceptance, etc., so I think I left a very good impression on people. I didn't send any thank you notes or emails, since that question often comes up.
// Applications //
Application Cycle One: 06/20/2015
Undergraduate college: HYPSM
Undergraduate Area of study: Biological/Life Sciences
Total MCAT SCORE: 522
MCAT Section Scores:
Overall GPA: 3.71
Science GPA: 3.60
Summary of Application Experience
GENERAL TIMELINE ---------- 6/22 Primary submitted 7/15 Primary verified 7/17 Committee letter received by AMCAS 7/5-7/21 Stupidly went on a Eurotrip without prewriting, causing my secondary submissions to be delayed. Was it worth it? We shall see. 8/4 First interview invite 9/2 Well, clearly the 2 week rule is BS. Absolutely ecstatic about my invites do far. I hate that I'm still sitting on my Stanford and Yale secondaries though. Was hoping to be done by the end of August. Why are they so longggg. 9/8 I think I'm done with secondaries. I just don't have it in me anymore. They've done enough damage to my credit and to my social life. I have enough faith in my interview skills, so I'll try my luck with the invites I have so far. Maybe I'll throw in some last-minute applications if I don't get good news come October 15th. (Notice that, aside from UChicago, the schools with the longest secondaries are the ones I didn't complete lol. It's def a great way of weeding out applicants who aren't passionate about your school.) 10/15 First acceptance from UChicago! But there's still a long road ahead. I have a lot other top choices coming up for interviews, and I won't hear back from them all until 5 months from now. But I can definitely rest easy with one of them already under my belt. 12/10 Officially done with interviews! Time to start thinking critically about where I want to end up. brb burning my suit. 3/8 With my Penn acceptance today, I've officially heard from everyone! I'll be attending the Tri-I, Penn, and Hopkins revisits and will decide from there. Still leaning heavily towards Tri-I, but I might be surprised. 3/31-4/2 Tri-I revisit. Met with some cool potential mentors, both the MD/PhD and MD administrations seem great, students from all years seem to be happy, like my potential classmates for the most part (an exception or two but what can you do), and New York is absolutely THE place to be for the rest of my 20's. Definitely coming here unless my other revisits are life-changing. 4/7-4/9 Penn revisit. Ok turns out this was kinda "life-changing" haha. I'm pretty torn now. Don't feel like attending Hopkins revisit anymore. 4/15 Stuck with my top choice from the beginning and officially decided to matriculate to Tri-I! Though it's douchey because it's obviously a great school, I admittedly don't feel the same level of pride saying that I'm going to Cornell med as I would if I said I was going to Penn or Hopkins or some of the other places I applied to (at least for now). But I wanted to be as happy as possible for this period of my life, so those places can wait until residency and fellowship. What will make me happier than going to an extra prestigious med school is living in a city that I already I know love with most of my college friends (Philly would've been a shot in the dark), having program mates whom I clicked with the most (at Penn I generally preferred the regular MDs over the MSTPers whereas it was the opposite for Cornell), getting tons of funding for travel, and all the special little things about the Tri-I MSTP. Plus Tri-I was the best research fit, and that's what I'm here for. There were obviously things about Penn that would've made me very happy that I sadly won't get at Tri-I (their robust diversity and social justice initiatives, the benefits of a full university campus, getting a pet whenever I want, Maggie), but the scales tipped to Tri-I. So it's a wrap, folks! Thanks for watching.
EXPENSES ---------- Fundamentals MCAT: $240 Originally $270 but I got the $30 trial section Amazon gift card. Primary: $789 Letter Service: $50 Secondaries: $1140 The NYC schools are killing me here.
Attire Pantsuit: $80 Cheap and got some compliments on it. Thanks, H&M. Already had blouses and heels from a conference that I went to earlier in the year. I bought them with future interviews in mind. Flats for walking tours: $20
Travel Pitt: $255 Whyyy so expensive to get here. Even the Megabus was like 80 bucks one way. (Turns out that I should've taken it anyway.) Hotel was provided. UChicago: $23 Just airport food and a tip for my airport shuttle driver. Hotel and transportation was covered. NYU: $19 The perks of being close to New York. Hotel provided. Hopkins: $73 Student host provided. Michigan: $69 (hehe) Hotel and flight covered. The $300 wasn't enough to also cover airport transportation. Cornell: $33 Hotel provided. Mount Sinai: $30 Hotel or student host provided depending on how far you are from NYC. Penn: $31 You can choose between a host or a hotel. I did a mix of both. Columbia: $59 So many unnecessary metrocard swipes -_- Student host provided. UCSF: $360 Student host provided. Made the most out of this expensive visit by arriving a few days early to explore the city. --------------------- TOTAL: $3271 welp
Combined PhD/MSTP: Yes
Secondary Completed: No
Interview Invite: No
Interview Attended: No
Summary of Experience:
Couldn't justify writing two 500-word essays and paying almost 100 bucks for a school that I really don't want to attend. I wouldn't be able to stomach 8 years in New Haven (nothing wrong with it, just not the place for me), and I feel like I wouldn't grow as a person or even as a researcher here.
No way I was finishing that beast of a secondary by the deadline considering how slowly I write and how many secondaries I still had left to finish. Figured it wasn't worth attempting since Stanford and UCSF are probably the only schools that could convince me to move to the west coast anyway. Also really feeling the burden of secondary fees.
Summary of Experience:
SR: 7/23 SS:8/12 WD:10/15 This school has the slowest review process ever. Guess it didn't matter though. Withdrew after UChicago acceptance. That $120 secondary fee turned out to be a huge waste of money, but so is the majority of this process.
Summary of Experience:
SR:7/2 SS:8/25 II:11/30 WD:12/2
Got an MD-only invite on 9/17 (even though I indicated I was applying MD/PhD only?) then the MSTP invite two months later. I was starting to think that they put me in the wrong pile. It was hard to say no to such a solid MSTP, but I decided to decline because I know I would be miserable living in St. Louis and therefore probably wouldn't choose WashU over UChicago. If the invite had come earlier in the cycle I would've given it a chance, especially since they pay for literally everything. But I'm pretty burned out at this point.
P.S. I didn't answer the optional questions on the secondary, so they truly are optional.
Summary of Experience:
SR:9/25 SS:9/26 R/II:12/3 WD:12/3
Edit 12/3: Rejected MSTP, MD-only interview invite. Withdrew. What a difference a month makes in terms of interview spots.
Originally didn't plan to apply here because I'm not a fan of Boston and because I had some concerns about the program (rumored long graduation times and lack of support, have to apply separately to PhD program, new curriculum issues), but they have the most labs in my particular field of interest out of all the schools I'm applying to. Figured it'd be smarter to get a chance to hear from the program itself and see if things have improved rather than totally writing it off. I'm getting love from similarly ranked programs, so we'll see how it goes. The secondary's simple (applying Pathways only) and I've saved money by withdrawing from some schools, so adding another secondary isn't much of a financial or time burden.
Summary of Experience:
SR:7/17 SS:8/21 II:10/2 IA:11/2-3 WD:12/14
Had a very kind interviewer who emailed me to say that the adcom gave me a high score, so I likely would've been accepted. But I wouldn't attend over Tri-I, so there was no point in waiting for the official word.
Summary of Experience:
SR:7/16 SS:7/31 II:8/18 IA:9/3-4 WD:10/16
Was probably going to receive a decision soon, but withdrew after my UChicago acceptance.
Edit 10/19: lol received a waitlist letter in the mail dated the same day as my withdrawal. Beat you to it, Pitt. Hopefully this isn't the start of a trend though.
Impression I had never set foot in Pittsburgh before, so I had no idea of what to expect from both the city and school. When I finally arrived after a long bus ride, I was met by a place that was very much a city and not as run-down as I had heard. Pittsburgh seemed to be both a point of pride and a point of insecurity for the program. I constantly heard "We're not New York, but..." and they really put a lot of effort into selling the city to us interviewees. So in my interviews I made sure to emphasize that Pittsburgh was a place I could see myself living in.
Speaking of interviews, itâ€™s a pretty demanding schedule with 8-9 interviews with the MSTP administration, research faculty of your choosing, and a student all packed into the first day. The second day was the MD-only interview day, which was a comparative piece of cake with only one student interview and one faculty interview. There was also a mock PBL session, which I actually enjoyed. Despite the exhausting schedule, the interviews themselves were very relaxed, and everyone was super nice. The MSTP program director Dr. Steinman was very funny and approachable, and he gave us great advice about choosing research mentors as if we were already in the program. He truly cares about his studentsâ€™ success and happiness, as well as getting them out quickly (recent avg. graduation time is 7.8 years).
The students seemed to be a very chill and fun bunch overall. One bought us a round of drinks the night before interviews and was clearly living large on his MSTP stipend. And on the MD interview day, another student went out of her way stop by the admissions office and greet us/wish us luck even though she was on her surgery rotation (the most grueling of all rotations). Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the program and could probably see myself here. Hoping for good news come October.
Other Info: Curriculum is P/F (a fairly recent change) with about 1/3 lecture, 1/3 PBL, 1/3 misc.; the first of 3 mandatory lab rotations starts in June before MS1, only audio from lectures is recorded, 65% F30 acceptance rate, students have the option of doing a short postdoc after MS4, UPMC is supposedly the largest medical center in the world
Summary of Experience:
SR:7/16 SS:8/2 II:9/14 IA:10/29 A:12/8
Accepted thank you Based God!!!
Impression This was a possible top choice coming into the application process, and Iâ€™m happy to say that Tri-I lived up to my expectations. Since there are only two interview dates, the interview group was huge with 38 interviewees, and it felt like I didnâ€™t get to meet with some of my faculty members of choice because they were spread too thin. Nevertheless, the administration made things run smoothly. The interview day started with a presentation given by the MSTP director, whoâ€™s been running things for two decades. Judging from his presentation as well as word from students, heâ€™s very hands-on and involved in each studentâ€™s progress. The presentation was followed by a student-run tour which included Cornellâ€™s facilities (nice and modern), the Rockefeller campus, and a bit of NYP, which is an architectural marvel. Rockefeller was definitely the highlight. Itâ€™s absolutely gorgeous with tons of green space, and the facilities were impressive, as one would expect. Lunch was held at the Rockefeller Faculty Club, and itâ€™s the best interview lunch Iâ€™ve had by far. Iâ€™m talking a buffet with fancy dishes that Iâ€™ve never seen or heard of before. And the dessert options were immaculate. Rockefeller has $$$ and they showed it.
As for the interviews, thereâ€™s one med school interview, one with a â€œclinical investigatorâ€, and three research faculty interviews, one from each of the three institutions. These were all pretty chill, and interestingly two of them were Tri-I alums. I take it as a good sign when alums stay at their alma maters. I asked them about how well the program prepared them for their physician-scientists careers and the responses were positive, though one of them mentioned how during her residency she felt like colleagues who went to places like Harvard got more respect. So while Tri-I is probably one of the best MSTPs, Weill Cornell being lower in the med school rankings sadly might still be a factor. Granted, this was a good 15 years ago. And Tri-I grads have an amazing track record of matching to great places, which is what matters at the end of the day.
The interview day ended with a cocktail hour/dinner followed by a bar crawl (or a dessert tasting for the sober folks). This part really did it for me because it was the most fun Iâ€™ve had at one of these post-interview events. The strength of the MSTP is complemented by students who are super down-to-earth and who like to have fun. I can now say that I partied until 2am during an MD/PhD interview visit. The only downsides were first year housing (Olin rooms are shoeboxes) and the fact that NYP-Cornell is a private hospital that mostly caters to the wealthy. The fact that it has its own high rise hotel (which we interviewees were put up in) was good evidence of that. However, housing drastically improves after M1 and becomes probably the best out of all the Manhattan schools after Sinai (especially during year 5 when you can move into Rockefeller housing and have pets!), and Cornell has great affiliate hospitals in other boroughs that mostly cater low SES patients and that students can rotate in. There's also the opportunity to do rotations at Sloan Kettering, which is a huge plus for me as someone who's interested in oncology specialties. And NYP is still a top hospital at the end of the day. Overall I think NYC (though the UES isnâ€™t the most interesting neighborhood), the research and clinical opportunities (especially in cancer), access to pet-friendly housing, the great administration, short graduation times, and the laid-back/diverse students make this #1 for me at the moment. Iâ€™ll be counting down anxiously till December 8th.
Other info: P/F with internal ranking to determine AOA (boo), 1.5 year preclinical followed by Step 1, one core clerkship and required 4 wk pathology elective before starting thesis research, 3 lab rotations in at least 2 different institutions (one the summer before MS1), avg. grad time a little below 8 and should drop with the new curriculum making it even easier to finish in 7
Summary of Experience:
SR:7/16 SS:8/28 II:9/2 IA:10/2 A:11/9 WD:12/20
First New York acceptance yassss
12/20: Would not attend over Tri-I. Withdrew.
Impression Right after finishing my UChicago interview, I was off to NYU. Doing these interviews back-to-back allowed me to make a clear comparison of Chicago and New York. Though I liked Chicago a lot, thereâ€™s no beating New York for me, no matter how much more dirty and smelly than Chicago people kept saying it is. Though New York is obviously very segregated, it isnâ€™t nearly to the extent that I noticed while in Chicago. And the social and networking opportunities are unmatched. But at the same time, you can afford to do a lot more in Chicago.
As for the interview, the effects of Hurricane Joaquin made it a less-than-ideal experience, though thankfully the effects werenâ€™t anywhere near those of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated NYU's campus. Nevertheless, walking from building to building in the freezing rain and a suit and heels was a struggle. Though the buildings that make up the NYU campus are within a few blocks of each other, theyâ€™re not close enough for NYU to invest in sky walks to connect them all. They are, however, investing in a brand new hospital and science building, as well as a ton of new faculty. A point of emphasis during the interview day was therefore NYUâ€™s constant growth and reinvention (as well as its meteoric rise in the USNews rankings).
The night before the interview day, we were given a welcome dinner/reception and sat in on a research presentation given by one of NYUâ€™s faculty members, which was a unique feature (though it wasnâ€™t exclusively for applicants).The interview day itself was composed of a MMI that was even more mini than usual- there were 4 mini interviews rather than the standard 8 so that we would have enough time for faculty interviews. I enjoyed having the opportunity to answer unique questions rather than the standard and boring why medicine/tell me about yourself questions. After the 30-minute MMI session, I had my first of 4 faculty interviews, which were all open file, possibly minus my MCAT score. Like all the MSTP interviews Iâ€™ve had so far, these were matched to my research interests and pretty chill. We were also given a tour of Bellevue Hospital, the super high-security/high-tech Alexandria research building, and the student apartments. Bellevue has so much history, and the amount of case diversity and hands-on training that students get here is nearly unparalleled since itâ€™s a public hospital downtown. Students also train at Tisch which is the private hospital with more well-off patients, so students get to see both worlds here. The clinical opportunities are definitely a big plus in my book for NYU. A (relatively small) minus, however, was the student apartments. They were tiny and felt like a dorm, and though Iâ€™d certainly be better off than a lot of people living in Manhattan, as well as living in a pretty lively part of the city (Kip's Bay), better housing can be found at most of the other NYC med schools. Overall, my impression of NYU was ok. It didnâ€™t feel like an amazing fit, but it didnâ€™t feel like a bad fit either. Weâ€™ll see how this goes.
Other info: Average grad. time 8.3 years (though they said theyâ€™re trying to bring that down), 1.5 year P/F preclinical, 3 curriculum pathways to choose from (traditional with clerkships done after the PhD years, a 12-week clerkship before GS1, or the 3 year MD where you commit to a NYU residency), anatomy is split between MS1 and MS2, no teaching requirements for the PhD, video recorded lectures
Summary of Experience:
SR:7/2 SS:8/7 II:8/19 IA:9/29-30 A:10/15 WD:3/10
Edit 3/8: Wish I could've given it another look, but their revisit overlaps with Penn's. Ultimately I think Penn would be the better place for my training even though Chicago is the cooler city. Will withdraw.
Couldn't ask for a better first acceptance! So excited. Is it time for me to finally leave the east coast?
Impression Absolutely loved this program and this city. They put us up in a swanky hotel downtown (near Northwesternâ€™s campus, ironically), so there was plenty opportunity to explore both the heart of Chicago and the beautiful UChicago campus on the South Side, which was about a 20 minute drive away. The med school campus is contiguous with the rest of the university, which made it easy to see what the university has to offer outside of its med school (like the dope Oriental Institute museum.) Additionally, our hotelâ€™s location provided the opportunity to get an idea of the difference in patient populations between Northwestern and UChicago. Downtown Chicago was overwhelmingly white professionals, while the neighborhoods surrounding UChicago were primarily black and working class. As someone passionate about health disparities, UChicagoâ€™s patient population is a huge plus for me, and it was great hearing about how important community outreach is to both Pritzker students and to the administration. We were even explicitly told by a Pritzker administrator that if treating the underserved wasnâ€™t important to us, then UChicago wouldnâ€™t be the right school. Music to my ears.
Like most MSTP interviews, the visit was spilt over two days. The first was the MD-only day, in which I met with a Pritzker administrator, a faculty member, and a student. The administrator had access to my whole application, the faculty member had my full primary, and the student had my primary minus my grades and scores. The MSTP day had 6 interviews- 4 with faculty members in my field of interest, one with the MSTP director, and one with the admissions director. All of these interviews were open-file. The interviews were all pretty chill, and the admissions director was refreshingly open about the process- if you get an interview, youâ€™re either accepted or are put on a very active waitlist. If you get waitlisted but really want to go to UChicago, make it known and she will likely be able to get you in. So that was good to hear.
Overall, we were treated really well and I had an amazing time. The MSTP administrators were so down-to-earth and funny that it was easy to forget that I was at an important interview. They also threw a lot of money at us in the form of the nice hotel downtown, two nice dinners, and impressive interview swag. UChicago seemed to fit every criteria Iâ€™m looking for in a program, so itâ€™s definitely in my top 5 now, if not the top 3.
Other info: 1-4-3 curriculum is encouraged, though students can choose to do the traditional 2-4-2; students also take graduate courses during MS1; uncurved P/F during pre-clinical; H/HP/P/F during clinical; lectures recorded; about a 2:1 ratio between lecture and PBL; ~40% F30 grant acceptance rate; students can do a rotation in wealthier Evanston, IL and are put up in a hotel courtesy of the med school, super small class size of <90
Summary of Experience:
SR:9/4 SS:9/6 II:9/21 IA:12/8-9 A:3/4 WD:3/9
Grad student salary + skyrocketing cost of living - guaranteed subsidized housing for all years = being broke af and constantly worrying about money as a student here. I'm not passionate enough about the location or program to make it worth it so I decided that I'm not about that life.
Summary of Experience:
SR:7/15 SS:7/28 II:8/4 IA:10/22-23 A:11/9 WD:2/12
Was hard saying no but it had to be done :(
Impression I was strongly considering withdrawing from Michigan after my UChicago acceptance because I thought I would never in a million years choose living in Ann Arbor over living in Chicago, but Iâ€™m so glad I didnâ€™t. This was the best overall interview experience Iâ€™ve had so far. UMich just exudes Midwestern charm. The MSTP administration in particular is amazing. They put together gift bags full of snacks that we were greeted with when we checked into the hotel. And Ellen, the administrative director, is the nicest person youâ€™ll ever meet, not to mention great at her job. She was so on top of things and even personally drove one of the interviewees to an interview at North Campus. In general, the students, staff, and faculty were super friendly and incredibly enthusiastic about the school. If I had a nickel for every time I heard â€œGo Blue!,â€ I could pay for a whole other application cycle. I also liked my fellow MSTP applicants a lot.
The first day of interviews was the MSTP day. Itâ€™s composed of 3 research faculty interviews of your choosing, another with a student on the operating committee, another with a faculty member on the operating committee, and a short 15-minute talk with the director. These were all pretty relaxed. We also learned about the incoming new curriculum and how that would affect us. Our class would be the guinea pigs, but the MSTP had a lot of input and it looks like MD/PhDs would ultimately benefit from the changes via shorter graduation times and the chance to do some clinical rotations before starting the PhD. The MSTP interview day ended with a dinner hosted by students at a brewery, which I was a big fan of. There was also a nice dinner the night before interviews.
The MD-only day is a mix of a standard student interview, a standard faculty interview, and 6 MMIs. Iâ€™m not sure how much detail I can get into for the MMIs, so Iâ€™ll just say that they were wayyy different from the ones at NYU. They were much more challenging but also more interesting. The day ends with the tour, which they call the â€œuntourâ€ because itâ€™s very unorthodox. Rather than just being shown things like the anatomy lab and lecture halls, interviewees are given a hands-on clinical experience. We were split into 4 groups- surgery, casting, peds/cardiology (I think), and one other that I canâ€™t remember. I was in the surgery group, where we got to play around with some endoscopy simulators and learn how to suture. Our group was the only one that got a free T-shirt, so Iâ€™d say it was the best one. That T-shirt was on top of the crazy amount of swag that all interviewees received. We were given a Michigan tote bag, water bottle, and first aid kit on top of the standard pen and folder.
Overall, Michigan is an amazing place. Itâ€™s a unique mix of being a top 10 school while still having that down-to-earth state school feel. If thereâ€™s such a thing as a party med school, this is probably it. And there was a level of community and pride that hasnâ€™t been matched by other schools. But while I absolutely love the program, the research opportunities, and the idea of going to a going to a big sports school, I donâ€™t love the idea of living in Ann Arbor for 8 years. Itâ€™s a cute college town, but I was there for a summer and was bored after 2 months (though, to be fair, I was under 21 at the time). How am I supposed to last for nearly a decade? And though Detroit is only about 40 minutes away, itâ€™s not really a great enough city to make up for it. Plus, I worry about how diverse the patient population is.
Other info: new 1 year preclinical curriculum with the PhD years splitting M2 in half, 2 required research rotations, flexible 3-day period to take exams
Summary of Experience:
SR:7/20 SS:8/10 II:9/2 IA:10/7-8 A:2/11 WD:4/12
4/12: Decided to not go to second look and to just withdraw now. After attending two amazing revisits, I decided that choosing between those two was hard enough and that, although I had a great interview visit, really the only reason I was still keeping Hopkins in the mix despite it having the least desirable location out of my choices is its name. A big red flag was me hoping that they would reject me post-interview so that I wouldn't have to turn them down. Plus all the traveling/living out of a suitcase/having people cover for me in lab/being "on" all the time is exhausting. Two was enough for me.
2/11: Accepted with full funding. Oh man I wasn't really expecting this one. The decision-making process suddenly got a thousand times harder.
Impression To put it simply, Hopkins is an absolute medical powerhouse. This was evident in the size and quality of its facilities, its history, and the countless big names who are faculty here, some of whom we even got to interview with. There was just a vibe of sheer excellence that was unmatched by my other interview visits. But despite Hopkinsâ€™ status, we interviewees were still treated like we mattered. The interview visit is spread over 2 days, and both days are dedicated to the MSTP. The MD/PhD process is completely separate from the MD-only process here. The first day was totally chill and just involved us getting to know the program and students. I went to class with my student host in the morning, and the rest of the day was composed of a Herlong round presentation by the MSTP director (these involve a faculty member presenting a clinical case to MSTP students), a Q&A session with the director, the campus tour, and dinner with students at this delicious Afghan restaurant. The MSTP director is this badass woman whoâ€™s passionate about the underrepresentation of women in MD/PhD programs. She also talked about the importance of Hopkinsâ€™ patient population and how this wouldnâ€™t be the right school if we didnâ€™t care about the disadvantaged, which I really appreciated. I would def love having her as a director. I also liked the students I met. The first years had just finished anatomy, so they were in a weird transition period in their curriculum and had a lot of free time to spend with applicants. We were also able to meet a lot of students who were in the later years of their PhD and even students who were back on the wards. Itâ€™s a good sign when people other than the starry-eyed first years are enthusiastic enough to talk to you. Hopkins also seems to be good on student diversity.
Day 2 was the actual interview day, and I canâ€™t say it was my best. They generally felt less conversational than the other interviews Iâ€™ve had so far (one of my interviewers didn't even crack a smile), and I probably let Hopkinsâ€™ prestige get to me. Two interviews are with members of the admissions committee, two are with research faculty, and one is more of an MD-only interview. These were all open file.
Overall, despite this being my weakest interview so far, the program felt like a great fit. I didnâ€™t have any strong opinion on it either way before my interview, but now I realllly want to get in here. The only question is whether I would want to live in Baltimore. The standard of living is great (my student host lived in an incredible 3-story row house for super cheap), but Iâ€™m not sure there's enough going on for me. That will be something to figure out during second look (if I didnâ€™t blow my chances. There's no waitlist so either I'm in or I'm out.) D.C. being a short train ride away could make up for it.
Other info: students are given a lot of freedom and can choose any curriculum pathway they want (2-4-2, 1-4-3, even 3-4-1), 100% F30 grant acceptance rate (insane), TA requirements waived for MD/PhD students, 1.5 year P/F preclinical, H/HP/P/F clinical, video recorded lectures, not much PBL, students are â€œsortedâ€ into Hogwarts-like colleges, rotations done at the main hospital and Bayview which is smaller and a few miles away, avg. grad time was advertised as 8.1 years though I heard from a student that it's really 8.5