Getting into Medical School, aka Holy of Holies (the F-1 version)

My adventures as an international student trying to get into a US medical school as a prestigious MSI student!

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Location: East Coast, United States

I am a 22 yr old Foreign lady trying to get into an American med school. The journey has been "rough" to say the least. So join the band wagon and let's see if they think I'm good enough to become a doctor. I hope my story encourages someone, maybe you. Not necessarily to become a doctor, but just to follow your dream. Leave your comments as you read...I thrive on feedback. And if this is your first time here, catch up on what you missed, cus every post IS important...well almost all. So forget that board meeting(at your own risk) or skip that class (again at your own risk) and lose yourself in my archives. REMEMBER: "If it aint ROUGH, it aint RIGHT" - Richard Hamilton, Detroit Pistons Guard

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Inside Story...

I'm doing this one especially for my fellow premeds reading this. You all should know I won't fail to give you the blog safe details of my first med school interview(Might help any one else going on other non-medical interviews to a certain extent too). No matter how much you prepare and read previous interview questions on, remember these rules:

RULE 1 - Wear a suit:
Pretty obvious huh? So I thought too until I got to the interview venue and saw a bunch of people in jeans. I know there are many ways to dress up jeans- heels, blazer etc but really, when an interviewer has been seeing suits all day and then you show up in a pair of jeans, no matter how dressed up you think you are, you still look like that college kid that doesn't give a hoot about the interview. And if someone told you that will make you stand out more in the interviewers mind, they might be right but unless you found the cure to cancer while in kindergatten or you single handedly built a world class hospital in Sahara with only a lion's jaw bone and sand, you probably will be standing out for all the wrong reasons. Also if you actually decide to wear a suit, please put some time into finding a reasonably priced one that doesn't look like you picked it off the rack at the dollar store. Some of the suits I saw were an eyesore. I understand pockets are tight and everything but dang!

RULE 2 - Wear comfortable shoes:
Thanks to MEDSTUDENT and O.E for the good advice. I probably would have been one of the ladies at the interview in 3-4 inch stilettos trying to look cute. I also would have been the girl holding her shoes in her hands and working on my panty hose during the campus tour cus I don't care how comfortable you say they are, those shoes weren't built for walking, just for making APPEARANCES.

RULE 3 - Buy thinking time:
Another good advice I was given was not to feel I had to answer every question immediately. Especially the ethical ones. It's OK to think for a few seconds and if it has to be longer, you can make you interviewer part of your thought process to. Even if you memorized the answer to certain questions, just hesistate for a second and pretend to give it some thought. I was asked if I would attend the funeral of one of my patient's at the AIDS Hospice or if I would pray with a patient when I became a doctor. My answer was yes to both of these questions but not before pondering over the ethics and "role of doctor " specifics. When I say BUY though, I mean short periods of time. One of the guys said his interviewer popped out a stop watch with an alarm and everything when he was taking too much time to think of an answer. Awkward!

RULE 4 - Kiss Major Butt:
Who doesn't want to hear that they are the shizznit? So when they ask you why you want to attend their school, even if it's only because you think they have the hottest med students in the nation or they are the only one that gives full scholarship, go ahead and find another reason. Tough, I know! Especially if it's a school like Harvard where the real answer to the question is "Why shouldn't I want to go here?" Look for certain uniqueness in their program, in their ideals, mission statement etc and go on about that. It would also be helpful to talk to other students prior to your interview and find out what they love about the school. Don't forget to throw in the fact that they are one of your top choices from your list of 21...I mean 22 schools. Oh yeah and remember to tactfully kiss your own butt too...let them know you're like one of the best things since...immunization. Thing is, you have to figure out a way to reach behind to do the kissing without actually looking like you're doing it (VERY IMPORTANT)!

RULE 5 - Don't Worry About Getting in:
This is the hardest one to digest. If I'm paying about 500 bucks for apps and interviews at each school, it's tough not to worry about throwing your money and life away. Do you know how many "APPEARANCES" 500 bucks can buy from DSW these days....? But not worrying really calms you down. It also helps if you have other interviews lined up already. I was told to think of my interviewer as my lawyer. This is true cus they are the ones going to fight on your behalf at the Admission Committee meetings. My host student advised me not to freak out, unless of course I was going to be interviewed by the Dean himself, in which case, he's decision was final. Surprise, Surprise...he was one of my interviewers. How do I think I did? Well...let's just go on to the next rule.

RULE 6 - Keep Bodily Fluctuations in Mind:
This one probably is more for the ladies except guys have certain periods when their hormones rage too. Remember how I was telling you I was crying my eyes out over chick flicks all weekend. Well that should have been an omen of things to come. The interview was going well until right in the middle of it, I was asked questions about Nigeria, how I came to the United States and my family.

I was just in the process of describing how I finally saw my dad after 5 yrs this April and how I still hadn't seen my brother in five yrs and counting when suddenly my eyes started burning....geez not now for goodness sake. I pictured all the ANTM girls that had cried during their interviews with Tyra and the judges and how I used to tell myself I will never be caught dead doing such. By now the tears were flowing out freely. My interviewers did not know what to do for a sec...I didn't either. This was for sure not in my manuscript. They were probably trying to watch for a second to see if I was pulling some JADE-type-fake-crying-stunts but my lips and everything were quivering uncontrallably now as I was trying to hold back the tears and they figured I wasn't playing. They handed me some tissue and gave me a few minutes to compose myself and then we went on with the interview. Needless to say I was apologizing for a while about my emotional outburst. It was not until later that day that I figured out it was the hormones that were talking. Can this period come and go already! I had told many people the story about not seeing my brother in five years and never came close to tears and all of a sudden, on one of the most important days of my life everything came crashing out. In light of this...

RULE 7 - Expect the Unexpected...

Obviously, these rules will gain more credibility when I get an acceptance. By the way as of yesterday, I'm 4 and 1 so far. 4 interviews, 1 rejection.

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Blogger Bijouxoxo said...

Glad that everything went well. By God's grace, na good news we go hear- Amen. Okay, u need to get to work on this ur MeMe tagging thingie. About that emotional outburst, it surely must've been dem hormones. I guess we ladies, have to put that into consideration too. Lord help us all.

October 22, 2006 5:01 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

Amen ohh...bijoux. Thanks.

October 22, 2006 6:40 PM  
Blogger Overwhelmed Naija Babe said...

awwww... babe it'll be ok sha with seeing your brother...

Those are really good rules of thumb to follow... but I think for even more than med school interviews.. even job interviews self... you wanna make an impression but not stand out like a sore thumb... I really hope everything works in your favour babe...

October 23, 2006 10:42 AM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

yeah i think it applies to all interviews to...cus most of them are trying to just figure out who you are in person apart from what you wrote on paper.

October 23, 2006 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Abbey!
About the happens!
When do you find out their decision?
Those tips apply to all interviews..
lol at some people wearing jeans? ah ah..maybe their popsy is a major contributor to the school as in the med school is probably named after they dont send...there is no other logical reason.

Good luck and have a great week

October 23, 2006 5:03 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

I think I'll find out their decision in about a month and a half or so...we'll see.

And as for the people wearing jeans...either that or they already have acceptances at other school so they really couldn't be bothered.

October 23, 2006 5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

honestly, the kid in the jeans, either already has an acceptance or like was previously mentioned, knows someone on the admission board. It's sad to say but legacy plays alot in medical admission, that's why they ask on some applications. About a 1/3 of your class, will be people who got in, because of who they know. So kiss major butt.

October 23, 2006 6:50 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

lol...yup! its really all about connections. they dedicate half of the applications to spaces for you to list all your family members that attended the school.

October 23, 2006 7:01 PM  
Anonymous O.E. said...

And... we thot we left ojoro when we fled the motherland! LOL.

October 23, 2006 11:01 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

heck nah...they just give it nicer names here, like NETWORKS

October 23, 2006 11:18 PM  

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