Updated: Dec 2, 2020
My mom and aunt are really superstitious. To them, symbols that appear in dreams and real life are signs of what’s to come. For example, I remember when I was little, my mom would drive to the grocery store to buy a lottery ticket whenever she had a dream of a pooping dog. She never won more than $80 (and usually won closer to the $10 range if she won at all) and I never really believed in superstition, but I think growing up with my mom and aunt has influenced me to be at least a little conscious of small signs and patterns too.
That said, what are the odds that my Georgetown interview happens to be on DC’s first snow day of the year? I checked my weather forecast on Wednesday night and it said that Thursday would be a rainy day with a short snowfall at 6am followed by rain from 7am to late in the afternoon. By the time I woke up at 7am, the weather forecast had changed to predict snow until the afternoon; schools in the area had been delayed or closed (after coming from an East Coast school that refused to cancel school in some pretty rough snow storms, I found this a bit funny).
The roads were a bit slippery and drivers were being very cautious on the roads, so I got to Georgetown a bit later than expected. The day was scheduled to start at 8:30am and I arrived promptly at 8:25am, but surprisingly, I was the last one to arrive; by the time I sat in my seat in the applicant lounge, the only name tag left was mine. Apparently the other applicants had all come in between 7:45am and 8:15am despite the snow.
After Weill where I was thrown into an interview as soon as I arrived at the admissions office, I appreciated the format of Georgetown’s interview day. We started the morning with a casual conversation with M1s, followed by a class visit (visiting class is “optional”, but every interviewee attended). After sitting in on a lecture about infections skin disease, we were taken back to the applicant lounge for a series of talks by people in admissions, Dean Dugan, current students and the Office of Diversity. I was most impressed by the presentation by the Office of Diversity. Before today, I had never really understood fully what an Office of Diversity at a medical school does, but the presenters at Georgetown were very clear about their role and visibility on campus. The Georgetown SOM Office of Diversity is fairly new as it has only been in existence for 4 years (before that, it was more narrowly known as something along the lines of an office for minority advancement), but they have a lot of initiatives and are continuing to expand. One example initiative is SHAPE, in which medical students and staff are paired one-on-one to provide support to mentees from underrepresented groups who are interested in pursuing medicine. The Office of Diversity also holds monthly dialogues on issues of diversity, invites guest speakers to Georgetown and is working to integrate mandatory cultural competency training into the medical school curriculum. There are many opportunities for medical students to interact with the Office of Diversity, although it was a little unclear how many students actually end up getting involved.
8:30am: Chat with medical students in the applicant lounge 8:45am: Sit in on a lecture 9:30am: Information about Georgetown, Office of Diversity, the Journeys curriculum, student life and financial planning 11am: Student tour and lunch 1:15pm/2:30pm (two interview groups): Interview with an MD, PhD or M4 3pm: Checkout with the admissions office (1:15pm interviewees will check out earlier than 3pm)
After the info sessions/discussions in the applicant lounge, we had a brief (chilly) tour of the campus and lunch with two M1s. The students at my SKMC interview said that the Jeff lunch is the best interview lunch you’ll ever have, but I think Georgetown takes that title from Jeff. Lunch was buffet-style in a hotel restaurant next to the hospital and was an unexpected change of pace from the boxed sandwich lunches that most schools have. I don’t usually like pasta, but I found myself going up for seconds for the shrimp alfredo pasta.
After lunch, we finally had our interviews. For some reason I was expecting to have two faculty interviewers, but it turned out that we only had one. Mine was with a radiologist working at MedStar and lasted for about an hour. Based on what I had read and heard from others, I was expecting to be asked a lot of pre-scripted behavioral questions so I was pleasantly surprised when the interview was almost completely conversational. The only real pre-scripted questions were Why Georgetown (which anyone should be prepared for anyway), problems in healthcare and an ethical case scenario, but these flowed into conversation as well and were fun to answer. In addition to the lunch, my interview was probably one of the best highlights of the day because my interviewer was so friendly and easy to talk to. Not to mention both my interviewer and his wife had both worked at Georgetown for decades, which I thought was pretty cool.
The only thing left after the interview was check-out. Basically, I just walked back to the admissions office from my hospital interview, had a quick one-on-one debrief and was ready to leave by around 2:15pm. During the debrief I was informed that thank you notes for interviewers should be uploaded to the application portal, and that I can expect a decision between 8-10 weeks after my interview date. And that was it! By the end of the interview day, the snow had turned into rain and icky slush so I changed into my rain boots, hopped on the D6 bus to make a quick detour to Baked and Wired (a bakery I had been wanting to try for months) and then was on my way home.
Overall, it was an informative, enjoyable and stress-free experience. The faculty and students were friendly, the lunch was amazing and the campus is beautiful. I think ultimately, the greatest concern for Georgetown is probably affordability. Unless you receive full scholarships from the military or HPSP, the Georgetown cost-of-attendance is a little over $90,000 per year. In addition, the financial aid presentation was framed such that it seemed like students are essentially responsible for paying the full cost-of-attendance because there is very little loan-free aid. (In fact, the financial aid info session was not called an “aid” but “financial planning” session, and most of the presentation centered around responsible financial planning and taking out loans). The average debt of Georgetown medical students is around $250,000/year, which is a lot higher than most institutions. No one was very open about it during the interview day, but it sounds like you really have to love the school and be willing to foot that total cost of attendance if you want to matriculate. I also wonder what the demographics of the student population are and how the diversity of the class is affected, as from conversation it seemed that most of the medical students are fairly well-off. I don’t know if Georgetown is a viable option for students from lower-income families who already shoulder a heavy burden of debt.
Notes about Georgetown
Larger-than-average class size (~200 students per year). Students are sorted into “academic societies” (aka smaller learning groups)
True pass/fail curriculum for the first two years
Optional lectures (posted online so you can watch from the comfort of your own home) and mandatory team-based problem solving exercises (1-3 times a week)
New systems-based curriculum (for each unit, you learn all of the relevant subject material–anatomy, pathology, etc–for one system of the human body). Unlike most other schools, students don’t start anatomy until January of M1
Medical students have access to all buildings on the undergrad campus and other Georgetown graduate schools (caveat: the undergrads don’t have access to the med school, so you can still be isolated from the rest of Georgetown if you want to)
Clinical exposure beginning in M1: includes ambulatory care preceptorships, which involves learning from clinicians in hospital offices in the area. Ambulatory care allows M1s to interact with clinicians and learn how to conduct physical diagnoses, interview patients, and gain exposure to medical charts and other aspects of clinical practice
Longitudinal Integrated Curriculum: a unique program where you do concurrent clinical rotations in OB/gyn, family medicine and pediatrics in Baltimore for 6 months. The cool thing about this program is that you follow specific patients longitudinally throughout the course of your rotation. For this program, you would take all shelf exams/assessments at the end of your 6 month rotation period rather than taking one-by-one.
Tracks: About 50% of students at Georgetown pursue a “track” in addition to the mandatory coursework. Tracks include population health and the health justice scholar track.
Very interesting and unique mix of clinical sites (academic, community, military)
Because rotation sites are all around the DMV, you will essentially need a car. You can get by the first two years without one, but it is much much much much much more convenient to have a car as many sites are not readily accessible by bus/metro.
As for other updates:
After receiving my II from Northwestern, I sent an in-the-area email to Pritzker. Heard back less than a week later with an email from the admissions office inviting me to interview at their campus!!! I was shocked that they were so accommodating and was not expecting to hear back at all–let alone with such a fast turn-around. Super excited to visit Chicago though! (and try deep dish pizza for the first time)
Also got an interview invite from Mayo over the weekend; didn’t even check my email until the next day and had to re-read a couple times to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. Wow. What a dream. I think I’m in too much disbelief to be excited right now. Been almost a week and it still feels unreal.
Got rejected from Stanford the day after my Mayo invite. Since being rejected from Stanford for undergrad, I’ve come to terms with the fact that living in California for me will always be a distant dream.
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