7/27/05: 14 secondaries down, 7 to go.
8/4/05: 15 secondaries done, 6 to go, 2 interviews scheduled.
8/11/05: All secondaries except for HMS have arrived, the only other ones left to do are Duke (LONG) and Maryland (also LONG). First interview this Monday...
8/26/05: Up to 7 interview invitations now, so I'm pretty happy with how this is going. The NJMS interview was good, I got the genuine impression that students like it there, and were very cooperative. They definitely stressed that Newark wasn't so bad. From what I saw, the neighborhood wasn't as rough as I expected, and the campus seemed plenty safe.
9/24/05: Five interviews, down, five to go (plus any more that come in, although that's been slow lately). So far my early favorites are NYU and Rochester, although if Pitt elects to give me that scholarship they've been talking about, they'll become my favorite by a clear margin. It's tough to decide where I would like to go because the places I've been all have something unique and excellent going for them, so I'm just going to wait for actual acceptances before really narrowing things down- a couple rejections could make my mind up for me.
10/6/05: 7 Interviews done, and my favorite is Northwestern, although it's easily the interview I did worst in. Stupid panel! I vastly prefer the one on one format. Also, if Northwestern tries to tell you that the panel is low-stress, you should under no circumstances believe them, because they really seemed to grill me (and some of the other applicants) until I broke (i.e., if they sense a weakness, they hit you with follow-up questions to expose you. Then they'll make other interviewees critique your answers. Low stress, my ass!). And I didn't even get it the worst. It's a shame though, because I REALLY loved the city, the school and the students there, who were quite chill. Hopefully things will work out for the best; I can only hope that my application's strengths can redeem this problem, but a thin letter would not surprise me.
I don't think it's wrong to do stress interviews- they used to be the norm, after all. But after doing 11 or so interviews at 7 different schools, I have had several of each of 'stress' and 'relaxed' interviews, and I can tell the difference, so please don't lie to me about what it's going to be like. Or maybe the interview wasn't supposed to go like that, and the panelists just got carried away.
Enough about that, and sorry for the rant. Neuroticism rules! Moving on, I'm really happy to have gotten a WashU interview this week. They interview a ton of applicants per spot (about 10:1 interview per enrollment) but even so, it's exciting to have a shot at it. Also, tomorrow is Einstein and the day after Case Western, so the business continues, but if I can get an acceptance or two next week (I'm looking at you, Pitt!) a load of withdrawals will be in order. Till then...
10/15/05: First acceptance, UMDNJ-NJMS. Today is a good day.
10/20/05: Accepted to Pitt. This is one of my top, top choices. In fact, I think only Northwestern can possibly derail it, but I don't much care to think about that. I'm very excited to say that as of now, I'm going to Pitt.
10/28/05: I just got back from WashU, which may end up being my very last interview if I don't get any more invitations (I don't think I'm going to go to Sinai- probaly decide for sure in a week or so). It was awesome, which means that if they let me in, I will have an absolutely agonizing choice between them and Pitt. Northwestern, which I can still only think of as an unlikely option given the interview outcome, remains my first choice. Basically, with nowhere left to go, all that's left is the waiting game.
12/14/05: Two days ago I received an email telling me I've got a full tuition scholarship at Pitt under their new 'Biomedical Scientist Training Program'. This is makes my decision process alot simpler. And happier.
I'm going to find out where else I get into, but that's just curiosity that I can't restrain. The only way I don't go to Pitt, at this point, is if Northwestern gives me full-boat too, and I believe it to be highly unlikely that lightning will strike twice in that regard, especially since they passed over me on their first admit-date.
3/27/05: Well, everything of consequence has come back, and the final verdict is : UPitt! Out of 19 completed applications, I ended up with:
11 Interviews (10 attended)
4 Waitlist Spots
(there's some overlap in there)
From this, I gather that I probably applied to a few too many schools, but better safe than sorry I suppose. I think it's interesting that most of my acceptances came from my earliest interviews. I thought that my earliest interviews were going to be less polished due to inexperience, and therefore less likely to be successful, but the opposite was true- I got into the first 3 schools I interviewed at, but only 2 of the next 7, even though the more 'selective' schools in the group (WashU, Pitt, Northwestern, Case, NYU, Rochester) were evenly mixed in. I think there are two reasons for that.
1) The schools with more initial interest in me interviewed me sooner, so there was some selection bias.
2) Later on, the interviews became more routine to me, so I may have appeared less enthusiastic to my interviewers because I was used to the process. Basically, I could have been 'too relaxed', and that may have been perceived as a lack of interest in their particular school. I think this was (potentially) specifically the case with Northwestern, Case, and NYU. Just a theory.
Altogether, I'm very happy with the way things turned out. If you had told me I'd get into a school like Pitt a year or two ago, I would have been ecstatic, and I never would have believed that I could get a scholarship to such a school. It's just really satisfying to see hard work pay off like that- I couldn't ask for a better way to launch my preferred choice of career.
Well that's all there is to say. I'm closing this down.