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MD Applicants

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  • wanderinghen

  • Application cycles: 05/31/2015
  • Demographics: Female, 28, South Asian
  • Home state: Wyoming
  • Last Active: 06/24/2016
  • Brief Profile: (This is for my personal use and future reference. If you have any questions, feel free to message me.)

    My grades are average and MCAT is below average for most of the schools I've applied to. Because of my lower test score, I applied to 36 schools. I am very grateful to have received the FAP, which paid for a portion of my primaries and all of my secondary fees. I would say the strongest parts of my application is my well-rounded experiences and unique perspective of healthcare and medicine.

    Going through this application process, I realized that schools do not solely look at grades or MCAT scores, but they try to find out the personality of each applicant. They enjoyed the little quirks and jokes I made during the interview. They laughed with me, yet also tried to understand the struggles I have faced when I cried. (Yes, I was the cry-baby and teared up in pretty much all my interviews.)

    I also realized that medical schools have such unpredictable ways of choosing people to join their incoming class. There are some amazing people I know who didn't get any interviews. Then there are others who don't even know why they applied and get accepted to top tier schools. It's unfortunate, but the admissions office is not perfect and I know it's impossible to find out the true character of a person with a few thousand characters and a 30 minute interview.
  • // Applications //

    Application Cycle One: 05/31/2015

    • Total MCAT SCORE: 509
    • MCAT Section Scores: B/B 127, C/P 129, CARS 124  
    • Overall GPA: 3.86
    • Science GPA: 3.83

    Summary of Application Experience

    ACTIVITIES
    - Studied abroad multiple times (non-medical and medical-related)
    - Shadowed various helathcare providers (pediatricians, ER doctors, OBGYN, surgeons, nurses, radiology technicians, pharmacists, PT, OT, speech and hearing therapists, sports therapists, and veterinarians) in rural, urban, and underserved areas (1200+ hours)
    - Tutored undergraduate chemistry/biology (300+ hours)
    - Volunteered in non-medical related activities (50+ hours)
    - Volunteered in medical-related activities (4000+ hours)
    - Worked in lab (3000+ hours)
    - Worked in health-related internship (1200+ hours)
    - Worked in family restaurant (3000+ hours)

    LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION
    - Science faculty (3)
    - Non-science faculty (2)
    - Lab PI (1)
    - Supervisor (1)
    - Physician I shadowed (1)
    - Elementary school teacher (1)

    I went to a large, public institution; however, I never had a difficult time building relationships with my professors and supervisors. I simply asked them if they were willing to write a letter of recommendation and every single one of them agreed without hesitation. I genuinely cherish and value my relationship with these people and they know it.

    I'm close with my recommenders and confident that they have written a very strong LOR for me. They would be able to write about how well I work in a team, my personal strengths and weaknesses, who I am as a person. I am not as close (friend status) with my science professors, but I am confident that their LOR are strong. They would be able to write about my strengths and weaknesses as a student and my academic achievements.

    MCAT
    Let's just say I NEVER want to retake this test ever again. I studied for this test from June - September, spending my entire summer in the library. I was stressed out, unhappy, and wanted it to be over with. I used Examkrackers, Princeton, and Kaplan review books that I got from friends. I also took a short 5 week MCAT course from my University. I was okay with my sciences (particularly chemistry and ochem), but since I was an ESL student, verbal was my weakest subject. I used the AMCAS practice exams a month and half before the real deal and took a practice exam twice a week. I kept flow diagrams and important concepts on my iPad (hormones, equations, reproductive system, chemical rxns) and wrote it on the white board every night. I remember sitting on the top floor of the public library, panicking and contemplating whether if this was going to be worth it or not. I cried the day I found out that I got a 30 because I knew I wouldn't have to retake the exam (even though it was still a lower score than most of the schools I wanted to apply to). I am so grateful that my lab was so understanding and supportive because they covered for me while I was gone all summer studying for this exam.

    GRADES
    My grades are high in comparison to a typical college student, but they are average in the eyes of a pre-med. I never regretted the choices I have made in college and enjoyed all the classes I have taken. I decided to take classes that interested me, which just so happens to get me the best grades as well. Remember, you have to enjoy the class in order to do well in it. And you only have 4 (or 5) years of college. Why not fill them up with everything you actually like?

    INTERVIEW
    I got a list of the most typical medical school interview questions (20) and wrote a detailed response for each one. Before every interview, I briefly review my primary, secondary, and questions for that specific school on the SDN site. The main questions I review the day before the interview include: Why do you want to become a doctor? Why this medical school? Do you have any questions for us?

    After answering about 20 questions, I started getting less motivated. I over-prepped my first interview. It got to the point where it hindered rather than helped me. When I have free time and I'm alone in my room, I practice the "why do you want to be a doctor" speech. In the beginning, I was bawling at my response because it was really emotional. But now, I am able to finish the whole speech with only a tear or two. I think the most important thing I've learned through these interviews is BE YOURSELF. I've had four mock interviews and all of them said they felt the genuineness in my response. Most importantly, I naturally integrated examples of my experiences into my responses. Never did I feel like I was selling myself (even though I was), because my interviews felt like a conversation amongst peers and colleagues instead of interviewer/interviewees. In the end of every interview, I ask myself if I was being honest during the interview. That's all it matters. If they rejected me, then they must not have been a true fit for me and I probably wouldn't have been happy spending four years there. If I got accepted because I was being fake, I don't know if I could go there without feeling guilty or stress out about fitting a certain image.

    Some tips that helped me during my interviews:

    1) The most important thing is to smile and be comfortable. Many of my friends who got rejected from medical schools have told me that they got too nervous and felt uncomfortable during the interview.
    2) This one may sound really silly, but rehearse minimally. The only questions you should be rehearsing is "why medicine" and "why this school?" I realized that responses that were too rehearsed sounded a fake and less genuine, so it was harder for me to connect with my interviewers.
    3) Make your interviewer(s) fall in love with you. Your first impression may be their last impression, so make sure they remember who you are few weeks down the line when they review your application again.
    4) It's okay to cry or make a joke. I shed so many tears during my interview for UW and I told funny stories about my shadowing experiences. In the end, they accepted for who I was and offered me a seat.

    TIMELINE (QUICK & DIRTY VERSION)
    Started writing personal statements, extracurricular activities, and getting letter of recommendations during Fall/Winter 2014. (I started early since I would be unavailable in the Spring/Summer to work on it due to work conflicts.) Personal statement and extracurricular completed by end of March 2015. Started working on secondaries (found former secondary prompts) in February-August 2015. Most of my secondaries were completed by May 2015. Submitted my primary on AMCAS on first day it was opened. Completed and submitted secondaries from July-August. Received interviews from August-now.

    11/2015 : Accepted to UWSOM! Now I don't have to constantly live in fear of not getting accepted!

    COST
    Suit: $50
    MCAT: $100
    Primary: $937
    Secondary: $50
    Flights: $643
    Hostel: $108
    Total: $1,888

    Top 5 Schools:
    1) UW (Tied) - interview; accepted
    1) Mayo (Tied) - interview; waitlisted
    3) U of Michigan - rejected
    4) U of Wisconsin - rejected
    5) U of Iowa - rejected

    Applied, Rejected

    Indiana University
    Vanderbilt University

    Application Complete

    Harvard University
    University of Miami

    Application Complete, Rejected

    Medical College of Wisconsin
    University of Chicago
    Dartmouth College
    University of Rochester
    University of Michigan
    University of North Carolina
    Baylor College
    University of Pittsburgh
    Tufts University
    Johns Hopkins University
    University of Wisconsin
    Brown University
    Mount Sinai School of Medicine
    University of Iowa
    University of California, San Francisco
    Rush Medical College
    Oregon Health & Science University
    University of California, San Diego
    University of Arizona
    University of Cincinnati
    Washington University in St. Louis
    University of New Mexico
    Northwestern University
    Yale University
    Emory University
    University of Colorado

    Invited for Interview, Withdrew

    University of Kansas
    University of Alabama

    Attended Interview, Withdrew

    University of California, Los Angeles

    Attended Interview, Waitlisted, Withdrew

    Mayo Medical School
    Boston University

    Accepted

    University of Washington

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