** To protect my privacy, my age, gender, and ethnicity may or may not be accurate (who knows... haha).
UPDATE: Application cycle is officially over! (Other than the deciding on a school part...)
Message me for any and all advice on being pre-med, applying, choosing, etc. and I'd be happy to help! Oh, and don't forget to introduce yourself!
// Applications //
Application Cycle One: 2015
Undergraduate college: Top 10 University
Total MCAT SCORE: 516
MCAT Section Scores:
Overall GPA: 3.90
Science GPA: 3.90
Summary of Application Experience
Lessons I've learned so far: 1. The interview process is a 1 year process. Do not panic if you are the twilight zone (twilight zone = that difficult time after you submitted all your secondaries but haven't received any interviews yet). You can add more schools as desired, but don't beat yourself up just yet. You have months still to go. 2. Don't be afraid to apply to dream schools. You never know where you'll get in and, honestly, it's a couple bucks difference. Conversely, don't assume that you are more likely to get into a "backup" school. There is no such thing as a backup school, only schools that see you as a "fit". 3. Take advantage of student hosting. Don't pass up because you are nervous or need to get into zen mode the night before. If anything, talking with student hosts will make your nerves melt away! (And I'd argue that being relaxed is the key to acing your interviews) 4. Enjoy the process. As outrageous as this may sound, interviewing is the most enjoyable part of the process. You get an excuse to travel, meet new people, experience programming that other people painstakingly organized for you, and talk about yourself. If you know who you are and why you want to be a doctor, no question will stump you. 5. Thrift stores + friends with unwanted fancy clothing + frequent flyer points + BYO food to airport -> instant savings 6. That first acceptance = HALLELUJAH. Getting into a medical school feels even better than getting into your dream school. 6. Choose the school that gets you excited, whatever it is that gets you excited. There is nothing wrong with choosing a school solely based upon personal reasons. At the end of the day, any school will train you to be a doctor, and what remains is how happy you'll be on the (long) way there.
University of California, Los Angeles
Combined PhD/MSTP: No
Secondary Completed: 08/14/2015
Interview Invite: No
Interview Attended: No
Summary of Experience:
UCLA, I'm disappointed in you. At least tell people you rejected them. I didn't pay you $80 for nothing.
Summary of Experience:
Applied here just because, you know, Harvard! Why not?
Secondary: Didn't put anything in the additional info box.
Interview invite: In disbelief. I really had not expected to get an interview here, so this came out of left field. Now suddenly I have the luxury of considering HMS as a potential future school!
Interview impressions: I was immediately struck by how many schools are in the area - on our way to HMS my Uber driver and I passed by at least 6 different colleges/institutes of technology/art schools. The school itself is beautiful and historic, almost like something out of Harry Potter. There are also modern classrooms equipped with cutting-edge learning technologies. Vanderbilt Hall is somewhat old but filled with MS1's and I love how social it is. --Student vibe: I really loved the vibe of the student body. They were intellectual, bright, highly driven, witty, humble. --Curriculum: Recently implemented 1.5 year flipped classroom preclinical curriculum. --Interview format: 2 unstructured interviews with at least 1 faculty, anywhere from 30 min to slightly over 1 hr. --Provisions: breakfast pastries, bagels, fruit, coffee, juice. Lunch sandwiches, cookies/bars. ---Closing thoughts: Would be far from home and a different sort of lifestyle, but I could see myself adjusting to it. Students here are absolutely hands-down awesome! Also, I am a fan of the flipped classroom curriculum.
Waitlisted, but still feeling very honored. According to the letter, there are only 30 people on the waitlist this year. Chances are not great, but not astronomically impossible...
Summary of Experience:
Secondary: My absolute favorite. You will have fun with these questions :)
Interview impressions: The first thing that struck me is how urban (in my world, urban = lack of greenery) this place is. The school itself is small and bordered on one side by juvie hall. The surrounding area is not the most picturesque and frequented by helicopter police. However (or perhaps for this very same reason), the LAC hospital offers great exposure to a diversity of cases and humble patients. Dr. Arias is a wonderful speaker. I could listen to her talk all day. She is the sort of person who does not need powerpoint presentations or any props at all. --Interview format: 2 30-min closed-file interviews, 1 with student and 1 with faculty. --Provisions: No breakfast. Fancy lunch at the faculty club that consisted of sandwiches, cookies and unused silverware. --Student vibe: Students here were honest and real. Unlike at some other schools where students stated they enjoy medical school more than college, students here seemed to have the attitude of "it's tough and we work hard, but it's rewarding in the end." I appreciated the fact that they didn't try to put up a front. --Curriculum: 2 yr preclinical with organ-based blocks. Tests are every 6 weeks and you get an entire week beforehand to study. Apparently has a very high average step 1 score. --Closing thoughts: Have difficulty picturing myself living here, but the admissions philosophy resonated with me and the great opportunities here to serve the underserved appeal to me.
Summary of Experience:
Before the interview: Secretly hoping I get to be in San Diego.
Interview impressions: Strangely enough, I can't put my finger on anything that went wrong, but I left feeling less enthusiastic about UCSD. Everything was ideal on the outside: unbeatable La Jolla housing prices, beautiful weather, beautiful modern campus, happy students. Let me elaborate here: the students were happy, VERY happy. They could speak no wrong about the school, and their attempts to recruit us to the school were not subtle at all. And for some reason, this threw me off. On another note, I thought the morning could have been better organized. We had an hour and half of free time following a very early morning check-in and somewhat unstructured Q&A session that felt like OH. --Provisions: No breakfast. Boxed sandwich lunch. --Student vibe: Generally young, energetic, enthusiastic and bubbly. --Curriculum: 2 year preclinical. Students raved about receptiveness of administration and the support they receive to help them succeed in curriculum --Closing thoughts: I don't feel as enthusiastic as I know I should be, given how ideal this place seems. Not sure what is wrong with me. Nonetheless, the more logical and less inexplicably fuzzy part of me would be thrilled to get an acceptance here.
They get back to you SUPER fast after the interview (for us it was in 1 week!)
Summary of Experience:
Secondary: From the questions they asked (what is your passion? Fun fact about you?), I got the sense that they care a lot about student well-being and school-life balance.
Interview impressions: --Walked away very impressed. The administration goes above and beyond in every way possible to make students feel cared for and welcomed. Their interview day was impeccably-planned, creative, and fun. --Interview format: Longest interview I've heard of. ~6 short-form stations (like MMI) and 2 30-min interviews with faculty/students. --Provisions: Bagels, yogurt, fruit, coffee, juice. Bars available throughout the day. Assorted sandwiches/wraps (good vegetarian option), hummus, quinoa salad. --Student vibe: Students were nice, unhurried, happy. Tons of school pride and alumni engagement. (My interviewer flew in from another state expressly to interview me!) --Curriculum: Somewhat unclear. What is listed on their website doesn't seem to correspond to current student experiences, and they are piloting a new curriculum in 2016. --Closing thoughts: Very impressed with the school. Far from home and not somewhere I'd like to be for too many years, but the amazing administration, class pride, and excellent clinical training makes up for this.
Accepted! Again, UMich stepping it up - even with the acceptance letter :)
Although a wonderful school, I can't see myself moving to Michigan for the next 4 years of my life... dear person who took my spot, I hope I have brightened your day and possibly even changed your life :)
Summary of Experience:
A dream school. Of course I'm applying here.
Secondary: Two short essays, pretty standard.
Interview invite: SO excited! Wasn't sure where I stood in the application process but this definitely makes me feel optimistic!
Interview impressions: One of the most heavily programmed interview days, with an entire morning of welcome speeches, curriculum overviews, and financial aid info sessions. On the downside, it was a little exhausting. On the plus side, had plenty of time to interact with my fellow interviewees, who were great! --Interview format: ~8 MMI stations including a short, open-file traditional format interview station. --Provisions: Best food of all. Hot breakfast with eggs, potatoes, pancakes, pastries, bagels, bread, coffee, juice. Catered lunch with salad, roasted veggies, chicken, rice. --Student vibe: Witty, interesting, happy, strong emphasis on extracurriculars. --Curriculum: Heavy emphasis on research, although accepted students don't necessarily need huge research backgrounds. Students will take classes in other departments, complete joint degrees, and take years off. --Closing thoughts: I appreciated all of the programming that the administration put on for us. Clicked well with the student vibe. Obviously this would be a great choice.
Secondary: UCSF moves slow. Glad I made their cut, which is bigger than usual.
Interview Invite: Freaking out! So so close! According to SDN, 54% of interviewees end up getting in!
Interview impressions: --Not a heavily programmed interview day. Dean Wofsy is non-judgmental, down-to-earth and completely transparent about the process. He reassured us that we need not worry about "making mistakes" because any of the schools we chose would be phenomenal, which I thought was nice of him - it simultaneously reflected his confidence in us and his desire to recruit people who genuinely fit in at UCSF. The anatomy lab has a beautiful view and I appreciated the fact that the student tour guide first went in to check that all the bodies were covered - demonstrating respect for the cadaver donors. Also fun fact, for a small fee you get year-round access to weekend outdoors events, complete with a tour guide and food!!! --Interview format: 2 interviews with at least one faculty, up to 1 hr, may potentially need to bus/taxi to an interview --Provisions: voucher for the food court. Healthy options but 1 voucher does not buy a lot of food :( --Student vibe: did not really get to interact with any students in depth, but I think my student interviewer made up for this - by far the best interview I have had in my life and we could have continued to talk about interesting subjects for hours --Curriculum: Unclear, switching to a new curriculum in 2016 --Closing thoughts: Didn't get a whole lot of information out of interview day, but hoping to get the chance to learn more in a couple months!
Was trying not to give myself false hope and assumed I'd be waitlisted, but I got in! I feel truly fortunate to have been accepted to my dream school.