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MD Applicants

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  • User #7865

  • Application cycles: 2007
  • Demographics: Male, East Asian
  • Home state: Nevada
  • Brief Profile: - Editor-In-Chief of undergraduate health journal
    - Lots of student publications work as editor, publisher, writer, journalist, productions/layout, arts coordinator
    - Founding member of on-campus global health awareness week
    - Spent year fundraising and researching to build a maternal/child health center in rural South Asia
    - Went to work in South Asia for clinic during summer (administrative duties in the country capitol, shadowing rural GPs, meeting NGO directors, etc.)
    - Taught health education to low-income HS students
    - 4 summer fellowships for research
    - Volunteer at free primary health care clinic in urban Connecticut (social worker/Spanish translator). Lots of first-person contact working with uninsured.
    - One small publication as second author in organic chemistry (not medicine related)
    - One large publication in synthetic chemistry accepted at Journal of Polymer Chem (publication pending).
    - 2.5 years of neuro research at medical school, hopefully will publish soon.
    - Undergrad research presentation award (1st place biological sciences symposium presentation)
    - Presented research at 2007 Society for Neuroscience conference in San Diego
  • // Applications //

    Application Cycle One: 2007

    • Undergraduate college: Yale University
    • Undergraduate Area of study: Biological/Life Sciences
    • Total MCAT SCORE: 517
    • MCAT Section Scores: B/B 130, C/P 129, CARS 129  
    • Overall GPA: 3.85
    • Science GPA: 3.79

    Summary of Application Experience

    I started the process a little later than I should have, due to prior commitments, but it happens.

    Took last paper-based MCAT summer after Sophomore year. I considered retaking, but ended up traveling Junior summer instead.

    12/14/07 - A late update, but I've finally heard back from several schools about interviews, which I will be doing in the early weeks of January. I fear I'll be interviewing into February... Accepted at OSU within a week of the interview, still waiting to hear back from them about financial aid.

    1/8/08 - Mmm, knee deep in my interview season, and I'm having a pretty good time. I've had two interviews (Northwestern and Vanderbilt) in the past 3 days, with another one tomorrow (UCSF).

    1/26/08 - The next few days are gonna be super rocky, with Chicago, Yale, Columbia, and Cornell rapid-fire. I've gotten interviews at almost all my top choices, though, so I'm completely psyched!!

    2/26/08 - Oi, I'm so tired. Finally finished my last interviews with Stanford and Harvard. I loved both schools and especially enjoyed Boston. For some reason, I feel somewhat sad now that the entire process is over-- I guess I'm just trying to stave off the nervousness of the waiting process now. Nevertheless, getting accepted and phone-informed by both Vanderbilt and Chicago was totally incredible, and I'm sure it's relaxed me a bit since I know I've gotten into some of my top choices. UCSF should be getting back to me any moment now...

    3/14/08 - And so the decisions are coming in. I've withdrawn from the majority of schools I didn't hear back from for interviews, and am just waiting on my top choices. Northwestern snail-mailed me a yes for a pleasant staving. Columbia was the first tough hit, and the waitlist was somewhat disappointing, given I had such an amazing time with my interviewer. Stanford made it all up for me though with the surprise late-night phone call from Dean Garcia. Amazing!

    3/15/08 - Oh wow, Yale!

    3/24/08 - Now that the process is complete, I can finally look back and examine yet again what was important and how I should have gone about this entire thing.

    Important Things:
    - MCAT: Yeah, there is definitely a cutline on this thing. In addition, the new computer-based test skewed the results, as I took the very last paper-based exam.
    - Research: For schools that like it and have optional or mandatory 5-yr research programs (i.e. Chicago, Stanford, Yale) research is really, really important. I had always thought of it as pretty standard, but it really looks like this is what matters.

    Less Important Things:
    - Interviewing: I'm convinced schools pick who they want from the outset. I had some horrible interviews where I was eventually accepted and home-run interviews to places that ended up not taking me. As long as you don't bomb them (say something terribly offensive/reprehensible) I don't think these help nor hurt you much. They're just screening you to make sure you're A) not fabricating anything you did B) not a bad person.
    - Clinical Experience: Unless you did something amazing regularly, this is pretty standard as well. I suppose having surgical experience is probably a plus as well, but I wouldn't know.
    - International Travel/Service: Again, nice to have, but not key.
    - Miscellaneous Activities: Good, but again, unless you made your own NGO or something, not super-compelling.

    I theorize the med school process is actually a fairly linear process: First, to get your foot in the door to most schools and get an interview, you need stellar grades and an excellent MCAT score. After that, schools will diverge based on interest. Research-heavy schools like Stanford prefer you have good research under your belt (maybe a famous PI as well). For clinical programs like UCSF and Cornell, you need some more serious, regular involvement, whether it be at a hospice or emergency room. Multiple activities in this department is a must. For the very top programs, they look for leadership and creativity: Have started your own NGO, spent significant time in a highly unusual but relevant pursuit, etc.

    I'm about 80% sure I'll be staying at Yale since I'm already familiar with the faculty/facilities and have a bunch of upperclassmen friends there. Nevertheless, I'll still visit Stanford to get a second opinion before I choose.

    After visiting both schools, I've made up my mind: Stanford it is (!?). Though Yale has been my home for the past four years, I think I'm ready to move on to something new. Palo Alto is absolutely gorgeous, and I appreciated the creativity of the entering class. I'll also be much closer to my family, which has been a big issue for me while I lived on the East Coast. Hopefully, this profile will help people out in their future pursuits, though I will be gradually removing identifying information until it goes public. Thanks everyone. It's been a long, but rewarding process.

    Never thought I'd be coming back to this, but just thought I'd confirm that my papers are in and I'm off to sunny California! If any of you have questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I'll get to it sooner or later.

    Applied, Rejected

    University of Washington

    Application Complete

    University of Pennsylvania
    Johns Hopkins University

    Application Complete, Withdrew

    Washington University in St. Louis
    Emory University
    Baylor College
    University of Michigan

    Attended Interview

    University of California, San Francisco

    Attended Interview, Rejected

    Harvard University

    Attended Interview, Withdrew

    New York University
    University of Pittsburgh

    Attended Interview, Waitlisted, Withdrew

    Columbia University
    Cornell University


    Ohio State University
    University of Chicago
    Yale University
    Stanford University
    Northwestern University
    Vanderbilt University

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