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MD Applicants

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  • belvita

  • Application cycles: 06/13/2016
  • Demographics: Male, 25, Caucasian
  • Home state: Alabama
  • Last Active: 07/14/2020
  • Brief Profile:

    Table of Contents

    About Me

    Last Updated 3/22/2018

    Home state is not Alabama. Not URM. Not listing local / IS safeties to retain some anonymity as well. I initially planned on updating this with specifics such as ECs, awards, research, etc. but after some circumspection Ive chosen to remain more anonymous.

    Brief Profile: Traditional applicant with good (?) ECs, teaching, leadership, and a grab-bag of school level research scholarships and academic/EC awards. Lots of basic science research experience (>2000 hours) but little productivity. Weak to mediocre community service and clinical volunteering hours (slightly <100 hours each) but a fair bit of shadowing (>100 hours in 4 specialties at academic centers). LORs are probably a mix of mediocre to strong. LORs are from:

    1. Science #1: Professor in Chemistry who taught one of my premed classes + was my lab PI
    2. Science #2: Associate Professor in Biology who taught one of my classes (a small class of 30 students)
    3. Non-Science #1: Assistant Professor in Political Science who taught a discussion based class
    4. Other #1: Director of a TAing program at my university who I knew fairly well
    5. Other #2: Lab PI from a summer internship outside my university

    The order of the letters above in no way implies their importance. My Other Letters #1 and #2 were commented upon in my interviews (and even in one acceptance letter) as being very strong.

    No hooks, except perhaps the narrative of being a science guy who turned into a humanities/social science person (shot in the dark on this one, not sure how well I can communicate this or how well it will be received).

    MCAT 2015 score is 521 (132/129/130/130).

    Timeline tl;dr: Received a grand total of 3 IIs in July and August. Complete silence for the next month, and then received another 3 IIs between 9/29 and 10/3 (3 business days). Its not over til its over.

    Useful Links in this Profile

    Customize your MDapplicants profile:
    @NickNaylors infinitely useful and beautifully formatted profile:
    @NickNaylors operating principles of scholarship negotiation:
    Mirror of @mcatjellys and @xeniths MCAT Score Spreadsheet (Practice Test vs. Real Thing):
    @gonnifs explanation of the Multiple Acceptance Report

    School-Specific Timelines

  • // Applications //

    Application Cycle One: 06/13/2016

    • Undergraduate college: Top 10 Non-HYPS
    • Undergraduate Area of study: Physical Sciences
    • Total MCAT SCORE: 521
    • MCAT Section Scores: B/B 130, C/P 132, P/S 130, CARS 129
    • Overall GPA: 3.92
    • Science GPA: 3.95

    Summary of Application Experience

    Key to Abbreviations

    SR:Secondary Received
    SS:Secondary Submitted
    II:Interview Invite
    IA:Interview Attended

    Abbreviated Timeline

    Below is a graphical timeline for my status at schools where I attended an interview. The span of each state on a bar represents the date range during which I had that status at the school. For example, the red section of each bar indicates the time range during which my application was marked complete (but had not yet received an II), while the light blue range indicates the time range during which I had attended the interview but had not yet received an admissions decision. Interview dates (the border between II and IA) on this chart are liable to being fudged while the cycle is still in progress. Last updated 4/6/2017

    Detailed Timeline

    4/1/16- MCAT Taken
    5/3/16- MCAT Score Released
    6/7/16- AMCAS Portal Opens for Submission
    6/14/16- AMCAS Actually Submitted
    6/27/16- UChicago, WashU secondaries received
    7/1/16- Columbia secondary received
    7/5/16- AMCAS Verification Receipt
    7/5/16- Dartmouth, Michigan, SLU, Duke, Harvard, Rochester secondaries received
    7/6/16- Committee Letter Received by AMCAS
    7/6/16- UPitt, Case Western, Emory, Mount Sinai, Cornell, NYU, Yale secondaries received
    7/6/16Created MDapps account
    7/7/16- [State school], Baylor, Stanford, Penn, [Local school], Albert Einstein secondaries received
    7/9/16- Albert Einstein, Rochester, SLU secondaries submitted
    7/11/16- Johns Hopkins secondary received
    7/11/16- UChicago secondary submitted
    7/13/16- UCLA secondary received
    7/16/16- WashU secondary submitted
    7/19/16- Northwestern secondary received
    7/21/16- Columbia secondary submitted
    7/22/16- UChicago interview invite!
    7/24/16- Baylor, Michigan secondaries submitted
    7/27/16- Cornell, Mount Sinai secondaries submitted
    8/1/16- UPitt, UCLA secondaries submitted
    8/2/16- Harvard secondary submitted
    8/5/16- Penn, Northwestern secondaries submitted
    8/9/16- Stanford secondary submitted
    8/11/16- NYU secondary submitted
    8/15/16- Michigan interview invite!**
    8/16/16- Yale secondary submitted
    8/22/16- Johns Hopkins secondary submitted, not marked complete until 10/14/16
    8/29/16- UCLA interview invite!
    8/30/16Mercury enters retrograde, no new interview invites
    9/2/16- Vanderbilt secondary submitted
    9/8/16- UChicago interview attended
    9/21/16Mercury exits retrograde, interview invites resume
    9/29/16- UPitt rejection
    9/29/16- NYU interview invite!
    9/30/16- Penn interview invite!
    10/3/16- Harvard interview invite!
    10/7/16- Michigan interview attended
    10/14/16- Northwestern interview invite!
    10/14/16- Johns Hopkins application marked complete
    10/20/16- URochester rejection
    10/27/16- NYU interview attended
    11/4/16- Harvard interview attended
    11/8/16- Stanford rejection
    11/10/16- State School interview invite (withdrew)
    11/18/16- Penn interview attended
    11/28/16- Einstein interview invite (withdrew)
    11/29/16- Northwestern interview attended
    12/13/16- Cornell rejection
    12/13/16- Johns Hopkins interview invite!
    12/22/16- Mount Sinai interview invite (withdrew)
    1/9/17- Vanderbilt rejection
    1/23/17- Saint Louis interview invite (withdrew)
    1/26/17- Johns Hopkins interview attended
    1/27/17- NYU waitlist
    2/6/17- Baylor rejection
    2/16/17- Columbia rejection
    2/24/17- WashU rejection
    3/3/17- Harvard rejection
    3/6/17MDapps page breaks 10,000 views
    3/10/17- Penn waitlist
    3/28/17- Johns Hopkins waitlist
    4/7/17- UChicago Pritzker Revisit
    4/11/17- Michigan request for scholarship consideration
    4/12/17- Michigan scholarship request denied
    4/13/17- Northwestern request for scholarship consideration
    4/16/17- Northwestern scholarship request acknowledged
    4/20/17- Northwestern Feinberg Revisit
    4/28/17 - UChicago request for scholarship upgrade
    4/28/17- Feinberg scholarship request denied
    4/30/17- UChicago scholarship upgrade approved (wow!)
    4/30/17- Michigan Withdrawal
    4/30/17- Feinberg Withdrawal

    **Michigan publishes interviewee lists that are widely distributed and publicly accessible via URL. Consequently, Im withholding my Michigan IA date for anonymity until later in the cycle. (Hat tip to you however if youve already identified me)

    Personal Statement Analysis

    I am reluctant to share my personal statement for privacy reasons; that being said, I found @NickNaylors personal statement extremely insightful and demonstrative of good writing practices which I made use of in my own application. The full personal statement may be found here. I hope to provide a critical commentary here on his work before the start of the next application cycle, so that future applicants know what to glean and apply in their own essays.

    School Impressions

    I dont think school impressions are particularly useful - applicants should form impressions for themselves on second look weekends and their interview day. However, I admit to enjoy reading other peoples school impressions, so Ill try to post mine here as the cycle winds down.

    One thing I did not expect after going through the interview process is how disenchanted I became with school rank. Back in the college application process, it seemed that people should just go to the highest ranked place they got in (accounting for finances, of course). However, as the cycle winds down, I now find myself thinking of location/finances/academic programs more than rank when choosing a school to attend. I feel I would be happy to attend any of the schools I interviewed at without having second thoughts about attending other schools had my cycle turned out differently. (However, if the stars aligned I still would love to go to a T5 school, of course :))

    Scholarship Negotiation ft. Example Letters

    In the scholarship negotiation process, I subscribed to @NickNaylors operating principles of scholarship negotiation, which can be referenced here and are quoted below. In summary, when requesting scholarship consideration, one should keep the following principles in mind:

    From @NickNaylor

    • Rational Expectations:Under no circumstance should a scholarship or an increase in your scholarship be expected. Yes, even if you have a 4.0 from Harvard, a 45 on the MCAT, and won the Nobel prize.
    • Leverage, Part 1:You must have some degree of leverage to do this move. By leverage I mean acceptance at another school, ideally one of similar caliber to the one youre trying to do this move with.
    • Expressed Humility:Your request should be humble, emphasize your interest in attending that school, and why you think you would be a good student here. Coming across as money grubbing - even if thats what is effectively going on - is a no go.
    • Clear Conscience:All that said, there is NO HARM in asking the question. Dont sell yourself short - universities treat you as dollar signs and you have a right to put yourself in the best position possible. But if you give off the impression that youre arrogant, demanding, and/or unappreciative, you more than likely wont be successful.

    My personal observations not mentioned above:

    • Integrity: This should be obvious and goes without saying, but it can never be reiterated too much that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES can you lie or otherwise misrepresent yourself during scholarship negotiation. The most common trope would be to claim an acceptance or scholarship elsewhere that in reality doesnt exist; schools can easily verify or disprove these claims. Above all - if you havent begun already - now is a good time to demonstrate the virtues that you would be expected to embody once you join the medical profession.
    • Leverage, Part 2: While leverage requires a competing offer, it need not necessarily be a better one financially.
      Having a financially better offer elsewhere would provide a more compelling case for the scholarship committee to grant you more money, but the simple threat of going elsewhere is also leverage if you are a sought after candidate at the school. You need not explicitly mention these other offers either - once early February rolls around, schools that accepted you will be able to see your other accepts on the AAMCs Multiple Acceptance Report.
    • Timeliness, Part 1: This thought particularly concerns schools with rolling admissions, or schools that accept you before March. As soon as you hear a scholarship offer from a rolling school, inform all your other current acceptances of the scholarship offer. Likewise, inform your new acceptances of your current scholarship offers, even if they dont do scholarship allocation until the spring. Why? Because scholarship allocation committees will prioritize giving you a scholarship since they know they have to compete for you. If you wait too late to notify your other acceptances of a scholarship offer (much as I did at Michigan and Northwestern) then all the scholarship offers will be allocated to those people who already notified the medical school of their other scholarships.
    • Timeliness, Part 2: The flipside of the timing problem is that, when scholarship heavyweights withdraw in the days leading up to traffic day, they will leave unimaginable sums of money on the table for reallocation. **Even if you have no leverage, it is in your best interest to ask for scholarship consideration at this time, while adhering to all the other principles of scholarship negotiation.**

    Example E-Mail

    Disclaimer: There are many schools of thought on how to write these letters. Some people aggressively threaten to withdraw if no funds are forthcoming, while others play their hand early and write their love for the school. Additionally, some people might request a specific monetary sum while others choose to leave the amount open ended. The following is just one approach; as always, the best advice is to be honest about your particular situation and convey it compellingly to the scholarship committee.

    Dear [Admissions Director name],

    I hope that this email finds you well. As the time for me to choose a medical school is coming to a close, I wanted to reach out and ask if there are any more scholarships available which I could apply or qualify for. [School name] is, and always has been, my first choice for medical school, and I am extremely grateful for the scholarship I received with my admission. However, my family will be helping to pay for my tuition cost, and it would be a huge relief for my conscience if there was anything that could be done to extend the scholarship further. If funds are limited at this point in the process, I would be more than understanding, but even a difference of [monetary sum] over four years would be more than enough for me to wholeheartedly sign my name.

    Thank you so much,
    [your name]
    AMCAS ID: [your AMCAS ID]

    Heres another one you might use, given that you already have a scholarship at another school:

    Dear [school name] Admissions,

    Thank you for accepting me to [school name] last [month you were accepted]. I am truly humbled by the opportunity to advance medicine at [school name], and I can honestly say that since my interview day, [school name] has thoroughly impressed me for its collegial environment, curriculum which matches my educational goals, and location in [location].

    I understand that many scholarships have already been disbursed, but I wanted to provide a qualifier that I hope the scholarship committee may consider. I have received a scholarship from [other school name] which makes my four-year tuition at [school name] nearly [monetary sum] more than it would be at [other school name]. I really would like to attend [school name] for my medical education, but cost of attendance is the chief and overriding concern for me, which makes it extremely difficult for me to turn down this other offer. I humbly recognize that I am in no way entitled to a scholarship, but any assistance that the scholarship committee might choose to provide would make a decision to matriculate at [school name] much easier.

    [your name]
    AMCAS ID: [your AMCAS ID]

    MCAT Timeline

    A big concern for me while studying was the availability of good practice materials since the new MCAT was less than a year old at the time. Therefore, practice problem rationing characterized my study plan and I put off practice tests until extremely late. I found doing problems extremely motivating for reading the prep books, but it didnt work the other way - therefore, as more and better practice materials become available, Id highly recommend diving into practice problems as soon as possible.

    I used Kaplan books to prepare, but I didnt do the free practice tests because they felt too difficult and unrepresentative of the real thing. For example, Kaplan C/P seemed to require a calculator on many problems, and Kaplans scaled scores markedly underestimated peoples real scores. I started reading P/S over winter break since it was my weakest subject and I had never taken a psych class in my life. I then reviewed B/B over January and February a for a few hours total over weekdays and more intensely on the weekends. For B/B, biochemistry review was extremely pertinent but physiology review was not worth the time - barely any showed up on my test. I skimmed the C/P book over a few days in March because it was my strongest subject, barring optics, and I didnt read the CARS book.

    To estimate my true score from practice test scores, I relied heavily on an SDN spreadsheet made by @mcatjelly and @xenith which compiled peoples practice test performance in comparison to their true score. Last I checked, I got a warning saying that the spreadsheet was in the owners trash, so Ive mirrored it here. Bracketed time ranges are relative to my MCAT test date - I didnt keep a log so these ranges are the best I can do.

    AAMC B/B Section Bank: 83% [1 month before]

    AAMC C/P Section Bank: 83% [1 month before]

    AAMC P/S Section Bank: 71% [2 weeks before, basically reread Kaplan P/S after this]

    EK FL1: 86%/75%/88%/75% [taken in pieces 1-2 weeks before]

    EK FL2: 68%/60%/75%/83% [taken in pieces 1-2 weeks before]

    AAMC Sample: 93%/91%/98%/86% [5 days before]

    AAMC FL1: 521 (131/129/132/129) [3 days before]

    Real Deal: 521 (132/129/130/130)

    Real thing felt harder than the scored FL on all sections. Ran into time trouble on CARS and finished the last 3 passages in 15 minutes, which shook me up, but still got out well!

    Applied, Withdrew

    Dartmouth College
    Duke University
    Case Western Reserve University
    Emory University
    Rosalind Franklin University

    Application Complete, Rejected

    Columbia University
    Baylor College
    Cornell University
    University of Pittsburgh
    Stanford University
    Yale University
    Vanderbilt University
    University of Rochester
    Washington University in St. Louis

    Invited for Interview, Withdrew

    Mount Sinai School of Medicine
    Lake Erie College - Erie
    Albert Einstein of Yeshiva University
    Saint Louis University

    Attended Interview, Rejected

    University of California, Los Angeles
    Harvard University

    Attended Interview, Waitlisted

    University of Pennsylvania
    New York University
    Johns Hopkins University


    Northwestern University
    University of Chicago
    University of Michigan

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