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MD Applicants

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  • Compositae

  • Application cycles: 06/26/2015
  • Demographics: Male, 26, East Asian
  • Home state: Texas
  • Last Active: 05/08/2016
  • Brief Profile: Currently in my senior year of undergrad...applying to med schools straight through...double majoring in science and the humanities.

    Now that my cycle has officially finished, I'll go into a bit more detail about my application (at the risk of my anonymity) in the hopes that future viewers may find it helpful.

    AMCAS/TMDSAS Activities:
    1. Lots of basic research. Worked in the same lab for all four years of undergrad and for one summer. Worked in two different labs for two other summers, and got a fairly prestigious research internship abroad during the summer after junior year. One publication (contributing author) at the time of application; another publication (third author) came out in Feb. and was sent as an update to certain schools. Listed as significant experience

    2. Clinical volunteering at a local hospital (2 years, >200 hours). Experiences in patient rounding, in the emergency department, and occasionally some shadowing. Had a lot of interesting experiences and stories to tell for secondary essays and during interviews. Listed as significant experience

    3. Active member and former officer of an intercollegiate trivia team. Pretty unique experience (the collegiate circuit is fairly small and I know there's not too many players wanting to go into medicine) and probably something that set me apart. Won several local and regional collegiate tournaments, qualified for and competed at several national tournaments, staffed and hosted high school tournaments. Listed as significant experience

    4. Service and leadership within a Christian fellowship on campus for four years. Led small groups, coordinated small groups, was President at the time of application. Parents were afraid that I would come off as a religious nut-job, but I doubt that was how I was perceived by (most) adcoms. I could be wrong though.

    5. Teaching assistant for a notoriously difficult, year-long introductory biology sequence (other medical schools have asked me about what it was like to take her course during interviews). Taught recitation, made my own quizzes, held office hours, proctored exams. I TA'ed another course as well during my senior fall, but did not put it on my application. One of my most rewarding experiences as an undergrad.

    5. Member and officer of school chapter of a well-known pre-medical organization. Also was Co-Chair of a Global Health subcommittee of aforementioned chapter for a year. Was involved in the Global Health club for three years and went on two short-term medical volunteering trips abroad.

    6. Had some pretty interesting hobbies and past-times...unique enough for me to be asked about them at nearly every interview I attended. (Think sports, e-sports, and a particular Nintendo franchise that begun in 1996 :P).

    Application Strengths:
    --Essays, essays, essays. I didn't pre-write secondaries (so August was a nightmare) and was abroad for most of the summer, but I felt like my essays were very genuine and presented parts of myself and identity that weren't readily available from my application. I took some risks with my essays...wrote about my faith and included a quote from a screamo band in my PS, but hey, I think it worked out alright :) Future advice to readers: write from the heart...write what you're passionate about, even if it's silly or tangential to medicine. Med schools are looking for actual people, because it's real people who are going to be connecting with and treating their hospitals' patients.

    --Recommendations. Had six recommenders (five professors, one staff worker who helped out with my campus fellowship) . I had a personal connection with each of my professors and spoke with each of them on a first-name basis. They included my research PI, two other science professors whose classes I TA'ed, a philosophy professor (who I kept in touch with even after she left my institution), and my history professor and major adviser.

    --Interviews. I figured they would be one of my biggest strengths coming in to the application process, and I ended up not getting rejected from any school post-interview. I preferred traditional conversational interviews to MMIs, but was pretty successful at schools with MMI interviews even when I felt pretty crappy about it. Hobbies factor pretty importantly here, because I was always able to talk about them! I think adcoms like meeting passionate people, because there's probably a correlation that they would be able to extend their passion to the practice of medicine.

    Application Weaknesses:
    --Lack of non-health related volunteering activities. In retrospect I wish I could've spent more time involved in mentoring inner-city students or doing more community-related service work. Pretty glaring hole on my application.

    --Lack of formal shadowing experience. I don't think this is such a big deal, but this was a particular option on AMCAS that I couldn't fill up.

    --Took my MCAT twice. Scored 12/12/11 (BS/PS/VR) on a 2014 exam that I took without adequate preparation and in a not so healthy state of mind. Got asked about retaking a 35 during one of my interviews, because apparently it's not something that's done often (successfully). Maybe it wasn't such a big deal since I scored pretty well the second time (though my VR score dropped LOL), but I was always worried about what adcoms would think before I applied.

    --Applied relatively late. Sent my AMCAS late June (wasn't verified until late July). Sent my TMDSAS late July (wasn't verified till mid-August), at which point several of my friends from back home had already interviewed at Texas schools. Most secondaries weren't submitted until late August/early September. The two-week secondary turnaround is bullshit. Ironically, it is the secondaries that I held onto for long periods of time (four weeks or more) that I ended up receiving interviews and acceptances from, while secondaries that I had tried to submit within two to three weeks ended up getting me rejected. In my experience, it's much better to turn in something "late" if it's higher quality than to submit a hastily written essay in the hopes of snagging an early interview. Obviously, if you have the time to prewrite and send high-quality work on time, then props to you! :)
  • // Applications //

    Application Cycle One: 06/26/2015

    • Undergraduate college: Ivy League
    • Undergraduate Area of study: History/Humanities
    • Total MCAT SCORE: 523
    • MCAT Section Scores: B/B 132, C/P 132, CARS 127  
    • Overall GPA: 3.91
    • Science GPA: 3.83

    Summary of Application Experience

    Now that my cycle is officially over, I feel obligated to write a few reflections of my experience with the application process, which I hope future readers (like yourself) may find helpful.

    I feel extremely fortunate...around this time last year I never thought I'd be able to choose from such awesome options. The admissions process is extremely random in my opinion, so it's never worth not applying to a school because you feel like you don't have a shot. At the same time, it's worth it to not overestimate yourself and not apply to your in-state schools (I hesitate to use the word "safety" here). I'm glad I chose to apply broadly; even though I flew back to Texas nearly every weekend in October to attend interviews and ended up withdrawing from all these schools, it was nice to meet new people and reconnect with old faces, to better hone my interview skills, and to become more acquainted with life in medical school and with medicine as a field.

    Application Complete, Rejected

    University of California, San Diego
    University of Pennsylvania
    Cornell University
    University of California, San Francisco
    Yale University
    Harvard University

    Invited for Interview, Withdrew

    Long School of Medicine - University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio

    Attended Interview, Waitlisted

    Johns Hopkins University
    Stanford University

    Attended Interview, Waitlisted, Withdrew

    Washington University in St. Louis


    University of Texas, Galveston
    University of Texas, Houston
    Northwestern University
    New York University
    Columbia University
    University of Chicago
    University of Michigan
    Baylor College
    Mount Sinai School of Medicine
    Duke University
    University of Texas, Southwestern
    Vanderbilt University

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