Maryland and Howard Interviews

My interview at Maryland went really well. My schedule for the day was: 8:30 a.m.- 9: a.m.: Arrive on Campus
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.: Interview with Dr. Christenson, Ph.D (Pathology)
10:00 a.m. -11: 00 a.m.- Interview with Dr. Jacobs, M.D. (Urology)
11:00 a.m. – 11: 30 a.m.: Financial Aid Session
11:30 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.: Orientation with Dr. Foxwell
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Lunch with medical students
1:00 p.m.- 2:00 p.m.: Campus Tour with Medical students

So I woke up at around 5 a.m. and left the house around 7 so I could get to Baltimore by 8 a.m. I walked in and the other interviewees were already there. I was the only minority there, and at the time, the only male also. Maryland did their interviews a little differently, and basically we were shown on a map how to get to our interviewers place, and we had to walk there ourselves. There weren’t any escorts like at Vanderbilt. When I got to my first interviewers building it was interesting because it was a research lab, so basically everyone looked up and was wondering why some tall guy in a suit was there. Anyway, they directed me to Dr. Christenson’s office, but he wasn’t there, so I waited outside until he came. He was really a very very very nice guy. He didn’t really seem to care about my academic accomplishments at all; he just wanted to hold a conversation with me. He had certainly read my personal statement and was really interested in my work in the projects and overseas. We talked about that for most of the interview. Some questions I can remember are:

1) Have you been to any other interviews?
2) Why don’t you look at the business side of medicine so instead of being that one doctor that does overseas missions, you can fundraise and employ thousands of doctors to do the work?
3) Why Maryland?
4) What do you think is keeping these kids from leaving the projects?
5) Why did you go to Oakwood College?
6) Did you play any sports in high school

There were other questions, but that was the bulk of it. We really just had a normal conversation, and I was completely put at ease.

Next I went to my interview with Dr. Jacobs, and he as an absolutely hilarious guy. Our interview basically consisted of us talking about surgery (my shadowing experiences), other medical schools and his opinions about them, Jews, Muslims, coffee, medical school debt, etc. He was adamant about me going to the medical school that cost the least, which ever one that was. We talked about the hard time primary care docs are having making money, and a lot of other stuff. Overall, he just wanted to hold a conversation with me, and I was completely put at ease.

Our group session with Dr. Foxwell was pretty cool. He is a down to earth kind of guy—very professional—but definitely down to earth. While we were going around the table introducing ourselves a girl said her name, and Dr. Foxwell asked her if she was Greek. When she confirmed that, he mentioned that his 1st wife was Greek and that her family didn’t like him for the first 2 years so they spoke around him in Greek. All you could do is laugh at that. Things he mentioned that I like is that Maryland students are only in lecture for 2 hours a day, and all the lectures are video taped, and the video and the PowerPoint lectures are available online. He also mentioned that Maryland really doesn’t care too much about GPA and MCAT because that doesn’t make a good doctor. He said that they do have a cut off point for it, but after that it depends on extracurricular activities that you have done.

After him, we had a lunch chat with medical students there, and they basically exclaimed how they loved the school. I talked to a 4th year Maryland resident and she said that she will graduate with about $150,000 worth of debt. That is a little higher than I really wanted to have. The tour of the medical school was really great and I saw all of their new facilities (they’ve renovated a lot), and their hospital which is really beautiful. I would definitely attend the school, so now I’m just waiting to see where the Lord sends my fiancée and I.

I have my interview at Howard tomorrow, so I’ll just add my experiences with them on this post after its done. I’ll do the same with Morehouse on Friday…so this post will be pretty big. Below is a video of one of their lectures in their brand new lecture hall. And don’t forget to check out the pictures to the right.

 


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So I just came back from my interview at Howard and it started off extremely bad, but it turned out good in the end. Howard is in the heart of D.C., so I knew that the traffic was going to be bad. I wanted to leave the house around 7 a.m. to beat any bad traffic and make it there early enough to sit in one of their classes. Well I woke up at 5 a.m., and woke up again at 6:57 a.m. So I was already flustered as I was leaving out the house at 7:45 a.m. Of course this was prime time for traffic and there was traffic from the entrance of my house to Howard…bad traffic. So I got there late, around 8:50 a.m., and I tried to find parking; PARKING IS HORRIBLE AROUND HOWARD, so that made me even more late. I walked many blocks to Howard and I finally found my way to the admissions office. On the way there, I walked down a hallway that had pictures of each graduating class. Out of curiosity I looked for the class of 1985, which was the year my mom graduated. It was so cool to see her, and her hairstyle back then; also I saw my play aunt, who I guess she became friends with at Howard because they had the same last name.

Howard did their interview day a little differently. They had the general and financial aid information sessions, along with tours and sessions with med students before our interview. It was kind of cool that way because we got a chance to get a good sense of what Howard was like before our interview. So basically I came away with a lot of good impressions. Howard is definitely the school for you if you are interested in serving in underserved communities. One thing I really appreciated was that all the students we talked to weren’t afraid of completely telling us what they liked and disliked about Howard. More than any other school, Howard truly had the most laid back students. They really seemed like a family. And believe it or not, there was a good amount, probably like 20% of their 2nd year class that was not black. Their new library is DA BOMB, and although their facilities are quite old, they are slowly renovating, which is impressive for a black school (I’m just being honest). I was nice to be with interviewees that were of my race for a change, and they were all very desirable applicants. Oh yeah, Howard requires that you get a laptop, but as a computer geek, I can attest that these computers are nice!!! They are all tablet laptops, meaning that you can writing on the screen with a special pen. They also have lectures, and audio of lectures online. And just this year they started video taping lectures.

One tidbit of information is that for the first time in Howard history, and actually in the history of a lot of majority schools, around 6 people in their class scored ABOVE the 90th percentile on their Step 1 USMLE boards. This is mainly due to the fact that classes before hand had been giving suggestions to Howard’s curriculum committee on how to better prepare their students for the test; Howard listened and the results can be seen. This tells me a couple of things; first, Howard’s administration listens and implements the suggestions of their students, and second…you can go to Howard and still blow the Step 1 boards out of the water. While I was there, I ran into a second year student who graduated from Oakwood…and he also happens to sit on the admissions committee!!! Hopefully all works well for my fiancée and I.

Overall, I liked the school. Would I attend Howard over other schools?….it really all depends on the money. Right now I love all the schools I’m applying to, so it just depends on who gives me the most money. I fly back to Alabama tomorrow morning, and my interview is at Morehouse on Friday, so I’ll have to make that 3 hour drive Thursday night.

A video of their [Howard’s] lecture is below.

 

 

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