The Journey to Acceptance: BCOM

After a whole year of applying and anxiously waiting, it looked like I wasn’t going to be joining the class of 2021, so it was time to change tactics. In May 2017, I started the reapplication process, but this time I decided to go strictly Osteopathic.

After updating my application, I went through every school AACOMAS has listed and applied to each one that I qualified for. I ended up applying to 25 schools. This was ridiculously expensive, and was really only possible because I was working full time, but it was worth it. I got about 20 secondary applications back and spent the beginning of July getting them all filled out.

On July 20, 2017, I got an interview invite from the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM). I signed up for the first interview of the year, August 21st, and got ready to go to Las Cruces, NM.

I flew into El Paso, Texas a few days before the interview and rented a car to drive out to Las Cruces and explore. BCOM is actually on the New Mexico State University campus and is a bustling college town. The city itself is sort of in the middle of nowhere, but is close to White Sands National Park and has a huge selection of walking/hiking trails to choose from.

The day before the interview, I drove out to White Sands. It’s about an hour away from Las Cruces and is a beautiful drive. There are mountains on the horizon and the endless stretch of desert. It reminded me a lot of when I lived in Colorado, just with less trees. I got to the park in time to walk around and to take the Sunset hike with one of the Park Guides.

A thunderstorm was rolling in at the time and it made for a phenomenal backdrop. The sands are lovely, stark white and cool to the touch, it’s like the best beach sand on the planet, but without the beach. I spent the whole time expecting to see ocean in the distance.

My next exploration of the city involved food. I’m a big foodie – I went to Culinary school, I can’t help it – so I was excited to try all the local Mexican food. It was fabulous. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so many tacos.

   

I also went to the local Farmers and Crafts Market, which they have every Saturday on Main Street and on Wednesdays at the Plaza. This was a lot of fun, and a great way to get a sense of the local community. Everyone was really friendly, and it was great to look at all the local craftsmen. I was only in Las Cruces for four days, but it is an amazing city.

The interview itself went pretty well. The school is brand new, and looks it. The staff were friendly and welcoming and very upfront with their mission. The school is in one of the biggest physician shortage regions in the country. They want to teach students that will stay and support the community. New Mexico is a poor state and the people suffer for it. The lack of physicians in the region is devastating and the current doctors are years past retirement, but are still working because there is no one to replace them.

Their interview and the questions asked reflect this mission. I was a bit of a nervous wreck, but I thought it went well. Unfortunately, three days after returning to Georgia, I was waitlisted, again.

 

Restaurants visited during the trip: El Jacalito GrillMilagro Coffee y EspressoThe Pecan Grill and Brewery, A Bite of Belgium, Paisano Cafe, The Kitchen @ 150 Sunset

If you have any questions about the BCOM interview or Las Cruces, feel free to comment or email.

 

 

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The Journey to Acceptance: Waitlisted

I started applying to schools in July 2016. I had just finished the last of my prereqs and the MCATs. My GPA was pretty good and I had a boatload of experience (Army Vet, 8 years in healthcare, volunteer work, etc), but I had an MCAT score of 497. For the non-medical people out there, this is a terrible score, but I was determined.

I applied both MD and DO, spending days getting both applications in tiptop shape. I got a bunch of secondaries and was walking on cloud-nine before I found the Student Doctor’s Network (SDN). SDN is a great forum filled with information about the application process, but it can be bad for your self-esteem. People post when they get interview invites and it’s a bit nerve-wracking to watch the invites roll in for others while all you hear is crickets.

Thankfully, I got an invite to Pacific Northwest University (PNWU), a DO school in Yakima, WA. At the time I was working in Kennewick, WA an hour away, so it was a perfect first interview. The staff was super friendly and we had a few group interview/games that helped calm me down. Though the one-on-one interview is a rapid-fire set of 4 interviews with only 8 minutes apiece. I did well on 3 of them, but bombed the last 1. Two weeks later, I was waitlisted.

With no news from any of my other applications, and halfway through December, I applied to 6 more schools. People get nervous about applying so late in the season, but really you never know until you try. In January, I got an Interview invite to the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine: Georgia Campus (GA-PCOM).

I felt a lot better about this interview. It was a two-to-one interview with a professor and a 3rd year student that lasted about 30 minutes. I was less nervous about this one, and being a Georgia resident helps. About two weeks later I got a letter in the mail, waitlisted.

This hurt, but I was not deterred. I was on 2 waitlists, I should be fine, right? Not so much. I sent a letter of intent and a letter of interest, but neither seemed to do me any good. By May 2017, I had come to terms with applying again. This time, I decided, I wasn’t taking any chances.

If you have any questions about the application or interview process, feel free to comment or email me. 

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