Undergraduate Area of study: Biological/Life Sciences
Total MCAT SCORE: 522
MCAT Section Scores:
Overall GPA: 3.93
Science GPA: 3.92
Summary of Application Experience
What a ride it's been. I'm creating this late in the cycle as a reference for future applicants. As someone coming from a relatively unknown college with little useful advising I really wasn't sure what to expect in this process. Thus far, I am baffled by how lucky I have been. I definitely didn't do everything right in this process but I'll describe my key experiences and what I learned from them. Hopefully this will be useful information for future applicants.
Primary: Submitted June 3rd. I did get the good advice of submitting early but definitely think that a polished product that is a few days later is far better. Plus, secondaries aren't sent until the beginning of July so the few days different in verification is not worth stressing over.
In asking for letters of recommendation, make sure to have your recommenders add a signature to the letter (not just type their name) as the lack of a signature can delay your application at some places.
Secondaries: By far the worst months of my life. I was totally unprepared for how much work they would take, especially on top of a full-time job. I spend June decompressing after submitting primary (feeling like I was very accomplished and therefore deserving of a break, ha!). Please don't do this!! Spend June pre-writing or at the very least thinking about what you will focus on for your basic essays: challenge + how you overcame it and how you contribute diversity. They are basically the same from year to year so no excuses!
I ended up submitting my first secondary at the end of June, most in July-August, and my latest in early September. I erred on the side of perfection for my essays which drove me crazy, but, considering that I was at a late start anyway I think that was a good idea. I think I may have gotten dinged a bit for some of my late submissions (ahh Yale...) but overall I am really happy with the number and quality of interview invites I was extended and don't think my ultimate outcome will be much different than if I was more prepared to quickly tackle secondaries. The major disadvantage of late secondary submission is that is drew out the entire cycle for me and made it more stressful than it needed to be. I didn't get my first acceptance until December and didn't get my dream interview invites until Dec/Jan--that may have been different if I had finished secondaries earlier.
Interviews: Interview invites came in from September through January. Don't lose hope if it's late in the cycle because it still happens! At my first interview a fellow applicant made an off-hand comment about how if applicant's hadn't gotten interview invites yet then that's probably it for them....ummm not true. Haters gonna hate but don't let them get you down.
As far as interviews themselves go, have a good fun fact about yourself for introductions, highlight things you do outside of study and science in the interview and have clear anecdotes for teamwork, leadership, a mistake/failure/challenging situation. And remember to be yourself! In general, interviewers are not out to get you.
Post-Interviews: To thank-you-note or not to thank-you-note? It's a nice thing to do but generally I got swept up into preparing for the next interview and didn't end up writing many, except for places I really cared about or particularly personal interviews. I don't think it makes a big difference overall. But who knows?
Costs: Primary: $1048 Secondaries: $1750 Interviews (traveling from the West Coast to almost exclusively East Coast/Midwest schools): $2912 Total: $5710.....ouch