GPA > 3.9 and MCAT > 520, LizzyM ~78. Will update with accurate metrics and application experience after cycle ends. Complete mid-June. All secondaries received in July and completed within 2 weeks.
And thats a wrap!! Im so incredibly surprised by and grateful for the cycle I had.
General tips (take with a very large grain of salt):
1) Personal statement: Explain WHY, not WHAT. Find a cohesive narrative that ties together some of your most important experiences, and use that theme to explain your motivations for becoming a doctor. The PS is not an essay to rehash your incredible accomplishments, but rather a chance to demonstrate that you have a genuine and compelling reason to go into medicine. Medical school is tough, residency is grueling, and a medical career can be exhausting - why would you subject yourself to that? Your PS should aim to answer this question. Be specific with your reasons, and try to tie them to personal experiences.
2) Secondaries: Pre-write them. I did not (despite submitting my primary in early June, and then doing nothing for the next month XD), and later regretted it with every fiber of my being . While I dont think the 2-week turnaround is actually that important, you certainly dont want to wait TOO long. The most common essays I had were Write about a challenge in your life and How do you contribute to the diversity of our class - if nothing else, pre-write these two. Also, be specific in your Why this school essays. Its easy to copy/paste a lot of the essays, but I think having a detailed, well-researched essay about a school can really make your secondary stand out.
3) Interviews: I can only speak to my experiences, but I generally enjoyed my interviews. Ive heard horror stories from other applicants about stress-interviews or other terrible experiences, but my interviewers were all genuine, kind, and interesting people. My interviews overwhelmingly focused on aspects of my application. For that reason, make sure you dont put anything in the activities section of your application that you cant speak thoroughly about. For preparation, I didnt do any research on ethics or healthcare; I just made sure to be intimately familiar with my application and the school. While you dont have to be a social butterfly to have good interviews, you do want to come off as articulate and genuine; be yourself, but with 110% more self-awareness and enthusiasm.
3.1) MMIs: I only had two (Stanford, NYU), and signed NDAs for both, so I cant disclose too much! I think I can say that they were not as bad as people fear, and you dont have to be super versed in ethics/policy/current events to do well (Im definitely not lol). Just be able to articulate your thoughts, assess multiple perspectives, and deliver an organized opinion. My strategy was generally to describe my understanding of the problem/scenario, talk out the strengths/weaknesses of the different opinions I could see that different people might have about the problem/scenario, and then present my own final opinion backed with personal experiences that demonstrated my values. I rarely talked for more than 3-4 minutes at a time, so dont worry about filling the entire duration of the MMI station.
4) Scholarship negotiations: https://www.mdapplicants.com/profile/40752 -this profile has INCREDIBLE advice about all aspects of the application cycle. I based my scholarship negotiation emails off of the models in that profile and found a lot of success.
5) School impressions: If youre fortunate enough to have multiple interviews, it can become difficult to distinguish schools after enough time has passed. I recommend writing something down about your impressions quickly after your interview is done; I would also record long notes on my phone about how I felt about the school, the location, etc. during my flights home. Another friend of mine recorded voice memos - he thought the emotion in his voice captured more than notes could convey. However, take interview-day impressions with a grain of salt - nerves can definitely affect your judgement, and the other interviewees (who wont all be accepted) can really make or break your impression of the school. Also, talk to M3/M4s if you get the chance - they can offer advice about the clinical experience at their schools, which is extremely important, but not something schools typically spend time discussing.
6) School selection: lmao, if you get any good advice please send it my way too :D
Im always happy to chat with people, so feel free to PM me on SDN if you have any other questions. Good luck!