(legend c=complete, ii=interview invite, i=interview date)
Speeding ticket in OR: $190
Running total: $2854
8/19/11 - Took my first MCAT. Practice scores ranged between 29-30 (as above), so I\'m hoping to get lucky and get something a little higher. Scores come in on Saturday 9/20/11. What a cruel, month-long wait.
8/30/11 - Finished revising my PS and submitted my AACOMAS primary app to 15 schools. Now we wait. In the meantime, I\'ll finish rounding up my LOR\'s and starting school full time for the first time in 4 years. I\'ll continue working 25-35 hours a week in the Emergency Department at both hospitals in order to support myself. I\'ve got time management down to an art with school, work, family, and the girlfriend. I\'m taking Biochemistry, Physics II, Medical Terminology, and Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy.
9/20/11: Bombed my MCAT. Scored a full 5 points lower than my practice average (!!). Feeling pretty down, as I was hoping to get lucky and maybe hit a 31 or 32. Looks like I got the wrong end of that one. Will continue soldiering on, but I have a feeling my entire app cycle just hit the fan. No doubt, it hurts. I\'m in full-time school with all upper-division Bio and Chem classes, plus I\'m working in the ER to support myself, I can\'t find the time to do the necessary studying to bring my score back up for January\'s test.
9/29/11: Verified! Added KCUMB to the list.
10/6/11: Released, finally! I received 9 secondaries in my email in a couple of days: LECOM Bradenton, LECOM Erie, AZCOM, CCOM, SOMA, KCOM, DMU-COM, RVU-COM, and NSU-Nova. Four of my top 5! Another happy bit was that I miscalculated my sGPA after my post-bacc and ended up with a much higher sGPA than I thought. I\'ve completed both LECOM\'s (since they don\'t require letters until interview invites), which brings me to a big gripe: waiting on your physician LOR! Late in the game I decided that instead of asking the family practice DO for a letter, I\'d ask one of the emergency medicine DO\'s that I have worked with as a scribe since February, since he can speak volumes more about my clinical experiences and exposure (we\'ve worked side by side for many many hours). Well, needless to say it\'s been a week and a half after handing him my expertly-prepared LOR packet with instructions, resume, personal statement, postage-paid envelope to Interfolio, etc. If it wasn\'t for this letter, I\'d be complete at NSU-Nova and DMU-COM too. And so I start writing essays. Note: I had no idea I would get this many secondaries, thinking I wouldn\'t meet the GPA/MCAT cutoffs, so I didn\'t even bother pre-writing any essays. I did make an extensive google docs spreadsheet with interview questions and login info for all the portals, but nothing written as the pessimist in me figured I wouldn\'t get more than a couple of secondaries or something. Clearly, now I\'m overwhelmed and behind! Excuse me while I dust off ye olde essay-writing plume.
10/11/11: Received Western/COMP Northwest and PNWU\'s secondaries.
10/14/2011: Received KCUMB\'s secondary. Essays and applications completed at PNWU, RVU, SOMA, AZCOM, DMU, KCOM, CCOM, LECOM-E, LECOM-Br, and NSU, except for my DO letter. What\'s the hold-up?
10/16/2011: Final LOR received! Thank goodness for Interfolio; he uploaded it and I sent it out electronically to 10 schools within minutes. Finished Western/COMP\'s and KCUMB\'s secondaries as well. That makes me finished with all but the 3 Touros and MSU-COM, whom I haven\'t heard back from yet. A technical malfunction with PNWU\'s website prevented me from uploading my essays after paying, but I\'m hoping to rectify this first thing on Monday.
Update: called and got it all fixed.
10/19/2011: Received and sent TUCOM-CA\'s secondary
10/28/2011: Rejected pre-interview from both LECOMs and KCUMB. Keeping the chin up.
11/3/2011: Received MSU-COM\'s secondary. It\'s a beast. I don\'t want to bark up my old professors and doctors to fill out an eval form for just one school after painstakingly asking and waiting for them the first time. I\'ll sit on this unless I get desperate.
11/7/2011: Interview invite to Touro CA!! First interview invite, I\'m so excited! Scheduled for 11/28 (3 weeks). Into full-on logistics mode now for airline, hotel, and interview questions. Might even brush up on a little Spanish, too ;) I\'m hoping to fall in love with the school.
11/8/2011: Interview invite at PNWU! Multiple Mini Interview research commencing.
11/9/2011: Decided to email AZCOM for an update seeing as how I\'ve been complete 3+ weeks. Prompt email reply stating I\'ve been waitlisted pending further review (pre-interview). Who knows what this really means. I\'ll be sending them an update letter in a month with my Fall semester grades, which should bump my sGPA a few points.
11/10/2011: Rejection email from CCOM. That makes it the second no-go at one of my top 5 schools (the other being AZCOM)
11/12/2011: I\'ve discovered Priceline. For hotels, let me just say, holy frijole. What a steal. Hotels in Yakima and Vallejo booked, and a direct flight on SWA to OAK all ready to go. I\'ve compiled a list of 270 interview questions, now I gotta prepare prepare prepare! Reading \"A Second Opinion\" by former NEJM editor Arnold Relman as a brush-up on sorta current health care reform (published in 2007, though, so the PPACA isn\'t included).
11/14/2011: Rejection from RVU-COM. I was secretly hoping to check out this school.
11/16/2011: To my surprise, Touro-NV got back to me and sent me a secondary! I have a lot of ties to Las Vegas including a lot of family in the city. Being a short drive/flight away from home is a huge plus for me. I turned this baby around in a few hours thanks to the miracles of fax machines, email, and interfolio. Hope I hear back soon!
11/25/11: Received and sent Touro-NY\'s secondary at a whopping $200. Secondary does not equal interview this year, apparently. Fingers crossed. I feel with my multicultural background and growing up in Latin America should help me stand out. Apparently they only look at the BS section of the MCAT, with a hard cutoff at 9. This is the last secondary I had yet to receive. I\'ll be holding on to MSU\'s, as I really don\'t want to go through the trouble of a rounding up LOR\'s again. It was hard enough the first time. Oh, and out of state tuition is outrageous, although I wonder how many actually pay that each year.
12/4/11: What a crazy week! I had two interviews at Touro-CA and PNWU the same week, plus a Biochemistry exam, a Biochem final presentation, and only overnight shifts at work in the ED, which made everything just a big messy ordeal for my stress and sleep levels. I had an overnight shift that ended at 6am, but my flight left at 6:15am! Thankfully, a fellow scribe came in at 3am and saved my bum, allowing me a nice little 1.5h nap before jumping on the plane. The Touro campus, like most people have commented on already, is run down. But, if you\'re interested in rotating and staying in the Bay Area, it\'s a big draw for Californians. I believe I slipped up when I was honest and told the panel interview I wanted to return to my native Idaho to practice within my community, which is not what they wanted to hear. I was low-waitlisted.
I drove up to PNWU a few days later with no radio (!!!). I got engrossed in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo audiobook (headphones on and everything), which made the solo drive actually very enjoyable. So enjoyable, in fact, that I got a speeding ticket on the way back in Oregon ($190! Highway robbery!). I enjoyed the PNWU location (Yakima and Boise both have foothills and share 300+ days of sunshine a year), it\'s about 1/3 the size of Boise, but they set up rotations in Boise for 3rd and 4th years, which is excellent news. I loved the facilities, it\'s brand new and everyone is so laid back (Pacific Northwest style, I guess). I\'ll find out on Tuesday if I get accepted by telephone. If I get waitlisted or rejected, it\'ll be snail mail. So cross your fingers for that call!
12/6/11: Got an email from PNWU stating the committee met today, and they want to make a final decision after taking a look at my fall 2011 grades from this semester. It\'s not bad news but it\'s not particularly good news either. I was secretly hoping to get the acceptance call and then gloriously coast through finals next week not giving a flying ____ what grades I got, but alas, it was not meant to be. Just have to finish strong with all A\'s....
12/14/11: By the skin of my teeth I passed Biochem with an A yesterday! Just got an interview invite to Touro-NYC. Going to do a little research as soon as my last final (in Physics) is done. Assuming I don\'t get accepted to PNWU, it\'s gonna be a tough choice whether to take classes next semester or not seeing as how I\'ve got a chance at Touro.
12/20/11: Interview invite from Touro-NV! The good news keeps rolling in. I spent the majority of the day calling the rest of my schools, asking what the best way to go is for updating my grades. Some wanted it faxed (Nova) officially, some wanted it emailed unofficially (PNWU, DMU, AZCOM), and some are out of the office until next year (Western).
1/9/12: After a refreshing last couple of weeks (including a weekend away with friends in the mountains), I feel great. PNWU will reconvene tomorrow and I am on the top of their pile, so I should hear back by morning with their final decision! Coincidentally, I\'m flying to Las Vegas tomorrow as well for my interview with Touro-NV. Hopefully the decision doesn\'t rattle me too much. I\'m spending the day packing and brushing up on things in preparation for the interview. School also starts in a week! I can\'t believe it. My dilemma is this: If I get an acceptance tomorrow, I\'ll be in and won\'t need to take any more classes as I already have my degree and pre-reqs finished. But if I don\'t get in, I\'ll have to start classes next week on the assumption my next two interviews don\'t pan out in order to prepare myself for next year. The problem is I won\'t get answers from these schools until school has already started, meaning if I get an acceptance after the first week of classes, my two options would be to withdraw (and lose all my cash spent on school) or finish out the semester with tough classes I don\'t really need. We\'ll see what happens tomorrow.
1/10/12: At 3:41pm on January 10th, 2012, literally just hours after touching down in Las Vegas, while studying and preparing for an interview tomorrow at Touro-NV, I received a call from LeAnne at PNWU. Accepted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So happy! This will be the only application season I will ever have to go through! No classes next week! In fact, no undergrad classes EVER! Called my girlfriend and my parents, and both were on the verge of tears. My cousin, who I\'m staying with, is ecstatic as well. Got a cold one handed to me.
Tomorrow? It\'s gonna be a piece of cake now.
1/11/12: I had a nice enjoyable afternoon interview session, which allowed me time to get plenty of rest, get ready, and take my time. I was fortunate to have my cousin drive me to the school. It was a really laid back, relaxed day today, and I actually I really enjoyed myself. Some big pluses to this school: you can stay in Las Vegas all 4 years, 330 days of sunshine, warm weather (going golfing on a warm 60-degree day tomorrow!), and no other medical schools in South Nevada and 17 hospitals available to rotate through, and plenty of residency spots in town. It\'s as close as I\'ll get to a true traditional teaching hospital / ward-based experience. In addition, my girlfriend will have plenty of job prospects, as it\'s definitely underserved in some areas. I worry about PNWU\'s 3rd and 4th years more than anything, and that\'s something I\'ll have to consider and research the next month while I wait for Touro\'s decision. Next up: NYC on the 26th for the Touro-NY interview!
2/8/12: Things have been really quiet around here. I went to NYC and stayed with a friend in Astoria for the Touro-NY interview, saving me some serious cash. I ended up really liking the school, and even the neighborhood. I have no doubts that the school would do a great job of preparing me for the boards and teaching me a lot. The city itself is vibrant and never sleeps. You have no idea how happy I would be without driving for a couple of years! I hate driving. There are a few drawbacks, though. Although you spend all 4 years in NYC, years 3 and 4 are in Jersey or Staten Island or Long Island for rotations, as the carib schools bought up all the rotation spots within Manhattan Island proper. That means you\'d either have to ride a train every day each way out of the state for rotations (inconvenient, slow, and leaves a couple hours early/late), or you\'d have to have a car (just parking a car in a garage is $1000 a month!) Along that same vein, I\'d have a hard time justifying all the costs like groceries, inflated cost of living and rent, etc, especially when I\'m borrowing student loans that cost 3x as much when it comes time to pay it back. Also, it\'s really far from family, and the culture shock would be significant (I am from Idaho, after all! ;)
I ended up getting letters from both Henderson and NYC on the same day, 1/31. I got waitlisted at both :( The good news is, I was high waitlisted at Touro-Nevada, which in my mind is where I\'d like to end up anyway. It works for me, my gf, and our respective families. Statistically, everyone from the high waitlist last year was offered an acceptance, and I\'m hoping it stays true this year as well. In the meantime, my interviews are all over, I don\'t have classes, I\'m working full-time at the hospital, and I\'m starting to compile a bucket list of things I want to do in the next 6 months before classes begin. I think this will be the last entry in a while, as waitlist movement doesn\'t begin until May. If for some reason I\'m offered an acceptance at NYC, it would be a tough choice, especially if Nevada also comes through. I\'ll cross that bridge when I come to it, but in the meantime it\'s time to enjoy a little free time ;)
2/22/12: Got the call from Henderson! And it\'s only February! Great news! It\'s nice now knowing where and when I\'m going instead of staying in limbo for months and months. A scary issue just came up, though. The background check from PNWU came back with a couple of items I had no idea were not infractions and left them off my primary application. I immediately called PNWU and sent them a letter explaining, but they rescinded my offer. The good part is I get my $1000 deposit back! I wrote Touro-NV a letter as well and hope this doesn\'t affect my chances, as they are minor offenses that happened almost 10 years ago.
3/12/12: Yay! NSU finally sent me a rejection letter after 6 months of blowing smoke up my arse! Now if only AZCOM would get back to me...
5/27/12: My fiancee and I made a whirlwind trip to Henderson on a mission to sign a lease. Two days and 15 properties later, we decided on a very nice place within 5 miles of campus. Mission accomplished! A little scary that temperature hit 100 degrees by 9am in mid-May, though! The Henderson area is great, though, although a little overwhelming with the endless strip-malls everywhere. We found a killer deal on a 2nd story apartment in a resort-style neighborhood, so we\'re super excited. It\'s a 2 bedroom which will allow friends and family to come visit and keep me company while my fiancee stays at home long-distance for the first year. We\'ll see if riding my bike in Vegas traffic is a good idea come August ;)