Undergraduate Admissions

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3, 2, 1. . . First Interview!

Hello again everyone! Last Sunday, I set out on a 7am flight to the site of my first medical school interview. . . St. Louis, MO!
The Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine (whew! what a mouthful) consists of over17 city blocks in the area known as the Central West End. It also borders Forest Park, a 1293-acre behemoth of a park with free attractions such as the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Center, and the St. Louis Art Museum.

Without giving away too much, the experience was thoroughly awesome. The students are gasp! happy, and I ended up talking with the first and second years for awhile during a pizza party the night before. They reminded me quite a bit of Techers, actually. . . quirky, unpretentious, and all-around friendly! And friggin’ smart, of course. The school also actively promotes extracurricular participation with an "Unofficial Curriculuum" consisting of over 50 student-run groups, so it seems that there’s never a shortage of things to do. Whether you want to write, run, produce artwork, play in an orchestra, cook. . . you name it!
The next morning, I woke up bright and early at 5:45am to prepare for my tour and interview. Upon leaving my dorm room to shower, I discovered a note left in front of my door wishing me luck, left by one of the current OT students. It was a small gesture, but it definitely made my day 🙂 By 7am, we were shuffled from one session to the next: a breakfast with current students, photo IDs in the admission office, overview of the school and its programs and a financial aid session. Hilariously, they included a little "stress meter" in our information folder. . . I was at green ("normal") when I checked. Next, we went on a tour of the school’s facilities, including the St. Louis Children’s Hospital. I LOVED the building so much — everything was bright and colorful, and you could tell how much they catered to making the kids’ hospital visits the best they could possibly be.

Finally, gulp the interview! It was actually quite relaxed and conversational, and lasted about an hour. For those interested in the timeframe of the medical school admissions process, post-interview replies usually take at least one month, and often longer. Waitlists are also quite common, although people who stay on the waitlist and continuously express a passionate interest in that school stand a decent chance of finding their way in at the end.

After a hot buffet and a fun conversation with the current fourth years, I grabbed a group of my fellow interviewees to go shadow one of the first year classes (Practice of Medicine I) and even got to join in the small-group training exercises. Monday was chest exams. Fun fact: you can feel your aorta if you lie down and press your hand firmly in the space below your ribcage, and can even sense (roughly) the diameter! At the end of the exercise, we shed our suits and heels (in my case, at least) and changed into street clothes to go explore Forest Park before we had to head home.

All in all, it was a great trip at an impressive and, importantly, exciting and welcoming school. Good way to start off interview season! Now, to do the neurotic premed thing where I check my admissions status every few days. . .


Elisa Walsh