>July 30 2001

>After failing to get into school on my first application I signed up to retake the MCAT in the Spring of 2000. I also concentrated on finishing up my remaining coursework with a 4.0 to keep my application looking good. This time I made a 31. I maintained my Verbal Reasoning score and bumped both of my Science section scores up two points. This got me ready to apply again in the summer of 2000.
The application process is interesting. There is a service called AMCAS run by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) that acts as a sort of clearing house for all of its member medical schools. This allows candidates to fill out one standardized application and have it forwarded to all of the school they are interested in. You can also download software to prepare your application electronically and submit it on diskette. I only applied to one school, the University of Mississippi Medical School. I felt certain that I would be invited to interview, as I had been interviewed the previous year and had only strengthened my application in the interim. I had substantially improved my MCAT and added 20 hours of coursework with a 4.0 average. The two most important objective factors on your application are MCAT scores and college GPA. My undergrad GPA had been a fairly unimpressive 3.2. I had done just enough to get by most of my time at Millsaps (1985-89). Now I had to defend my lower grades by implying that I had not performed to my potential while at the same time convincing the admissions committee that I had learned from my mistakes and was ready to apply myself now. (I always knew those skipped classes and nonchalant study habits would come back to haunt me!)
I did get my interview in November of 2000. UMC interviews approximately 300 candidates for their 100 slots. Dr. Read had retired as the Dean of the Admissions, and was replaced by Dr. Steven Case. I started the day speaking with him and also spent an hour with two other professors. As a last step for the day, I was given a box of Crayola crayons and a blank sheet of paper and asked to draw my image of a doctor. I ended up drawing Superman with the big red “S” on his chest. I had drawn the logo so many times as a kid I knew exactly how it was supposed to look. I then put a lab coat on Superman (red cape tucked in at the shoulders, but flowing loose from the bottom) and a stethoscope around his neck (who needs that with super-hearing, though?) I don’t know if that picture was the deciding factor or not, but I know the secretary I turned it into seemed impressed!
I left the interview feeling like it had gone just as well as the year before but probably not any better. I was confident, but then again I had been confident the year before also. I just hoped that the new facts of my application would make the difference and they did! On a Saturday in March I got an acceptance letter. It was dated two years and two days after my decision to pursue medical school.

About Marcus Lee

Child Neurologist
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