Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Interview Experience: Loyola Stritch School of Medicine

Loyola 10/9/12

Since the students were on fall break this week, I wasn't able to get a host. I ended up staying at the Travel Inn down the road, and used the metro (or "L") to get to Forest Park, where I took a bus to the area where the motel was at. In the morning, I just took a cab to the school, since it was like $5. Turns out there is a bus system - PACE - that isn't yet on Google Transit. I probably would have used this if I had known about it beforehand.

The admissions office staff was absolutely awesome - they really made me feel welcome and were eager to help. My first order of business was an interview at 8 am, which was really conversational. I felt like it went really well, and had a good time. I found out later that my interviewer was the former dean.  After the interview, which lasted for an hour, I had some time to complete the paperwork they give you about your coursework and things. Around 10 am, a doctor (who is the dean of something...) came and talked about Loyola and answered any questions we had (the interviewing group, by the way, consisted of four people total...which was actually really nice). A few minutes before 11 am, he ended and I went off to my second interview. This one didn't start off quite as well, in my opinion. The doctor seemed a bit busy and tired, and by this point I was really liking the school, so maybe I was a bit more nervous about the whole thing. But he was nice, and eventually we got into the swing of things. Again, the interview was very conversational, with no ethical questions or anything terribly out of the ordinary. Overall, despite the slow start, I think it went pretty well.

Afterwards, I went back to the admissions office, where an MS2 came to meet us for the tour. First, we went to grab lunch - courtesy of Loyola. He then took us throughout the main education building. The anatomy lab was nice...despite being in the basement, it was open and well lit. There was a computer with access to online reference materials for each cadaver. The lecture hall was gorgeous, with plenty of outlets and WiFi. I lost count of all the little study areas they had. The hospital was nice, too. They have a "virtual library," so they have a library area, but no's all online. Pretty cool. He also took us to the new gym, which was amazing. There was a hot tub in the locker room. Enough said. Overall, the facilities were beautiful.

The curriculum isn't a true block system, but it's not traditional either. First year, you basically take one "big" class at a time, in addition to the three-year long doctoring course, PCM. In the first year of PCM, they learn interviewing skills. In the second year, you take 2-3 classes at a time, but they are all correlated with an organ system. In PCM, you learn the physical exam, how to read an EKG or chest xray, etc. You are generally in class from 8:30 or 9:30 am until 11:30 am. One day a week (ish?), PCM goes till 3 or 4 pm. A couple other days a week, you might have a small group session till 1:30 or 2 pm or so. Tests are computerized and in USMLE format. They are H/HP/P/F, but not curved. Lectures are recorded, and there is a student-run note service. Third and fourth year rotations are generally within about 5 miles; about two were 30-60 minutes away. Loyola is proud of its clinicians....apparently a disproportionate number of students go on to become chief residents.

After the tour, they had us fill out a survey and then Dean Jones met with each of us individually. It wasn't an interview, he just wanted to put a face to our files and tell us when we could expect to hear something. I thought it was a nice touch, and though some of what he said was fairly generic....though helpful...I also had the impression that he did in fact know my application.

I loved Loyola. Everything I had read about people being happy and really nice there was true. I liked the curriculum and school...the gym is a nice feature, too. Overall, I loved the "feel" of the school and could really see myself going here. Temple, meet your new rival.

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