I am going to try and get back into posting every once in awhile, so I will start with my experience at my first medical school interview. Recently, I was lucky enough to attend an interview at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. I had to fly to get there (which I sort of hate to do) but the experience was actually really fun.
Nashville is a really cool place. I stayed at a hotel right downtown, and it was within walking distance of the undergraduate and medical campus. There was country music everywhere (as expected) and everyone seems really friendly. Lots of restaurants and it seems like a place I can imagine living at for at least the next 4 years. The hotel offered a free shuttle to the medical campus. Because I planned the trip from start to finish and everything ran smoothly, I got that extra feeling of accomplishment from the experience.
Anyways, back to interview day. I arrived at the admissions office at roughly 7:45 AM, and was offered breakfast and coffee by the very nice and welcoming admissions staff. There were a total of 12 of us on this day from all around the country (strangely there was only a single female). Upon arrival we were also handed a small booklet of information along with our interview schedule.
I guess Vandy is changing to a slightly new system for this cycle. You have two interviews, one is “shorter” and “blind.” That is, the interviewer only knew my name. He also had a list of questions to ask. This interview was fairly formal and some questions put you on the spot a bit. Two quick examples: “Think of a time your morals were compromised,” “When were you a part of a group that was under a lot of pressure to succeed?” Obviously these questions aren’t super hard, but they are difficult to answer quickly and confidently. Nevertheless, I think that I did really well and we ended the interview with some decent conversation.
Right after this interview, I was scheduled for my long interview with a doctor (who was also a residency director). This interviewer was extremely familiar with my application, and had underlined sections she wished to further discuss. I had a great time and the conversation flowed naturally, and the time (a little over an hour) flew by.
Next came lunch. We were served boxed lunches with sandwiches, chips, cookies, and bottles of water. While we ate, we were introduced to the curriculum. I guess Vanderbilt is shifting towards a new curriculum and the class of 2016 will be a sort of “hybrid” mix of old and new methods. I liked the new education they are rolling out. There seems to be lots of free space to dive deeper into interests, and there is patient interaction from the get-go. I also like that the first year is pass/fail, to hopefully eliminate any competition within the class.
Finally, came financial aid (standard), and then a tour of the medical school. The first two years seem to be mostly centered in one building (other than anatomy lab). There are two large lecture halls, and then a student lounge/study area upstairs. On the 3rd and 4th floors (if I remember correctly) are the standard patient practice rooms and the simulation lab, respectively. The simulation lab looks amazing. Finally, there is an awesome, humongous glass library next door. The hospitals and research buildings all around are obviously beautiful as well (especially the Children’s Hospital).
Overall, I had a great time, and Vanderbilt remains a great option, should I get in.