Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Interview Experience: Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University 9/18/12

For this interview, I was able to stay with a student host. I flew in the afternoon before my interview, took the metrolink to Central West End Station, and my host picked me up there. We drove back to his apartment, which he shared with another student, and pretty much spent most of the afternoon talking. That evening, we went out with a group of med student hosts and their "interviewees." He drove me around the downtown area, which was nice. Overall, the city seemed like a very liveable place with decent rent and lots to do.

We ate at a place called Fitz's--they make their own root beer...and it's good--and grabbed some ice cream at Ted Drew's. The students all seemed like cool, laid-back people, and we had a good time.

The next day, my host drove me to the school and I went to a lecture with him, which was cool. Eventually, I meandered over to the admissions office and checked in. I thought I would be early if I showed up 15 minutes ahead of the recommended 15-minute buffer suggested on the schedule....but nope. Even though I was a half hour early, most of the 30+ interviewers were already there. Neurotic premeds, all of us...

Anyhow, the day started with a tour. Our mega group was split into groups of eight, and an MS4 led our group around the campus. The facilities were all pretty nice. They just built a new lecture hall/study area/hang out/cafe for the students, which was really nice and modern-looking. We also saw the library, a lab room, and SLU hospital--all of which were obviously a bit older, but still pretty nice. The clinical simulation lab was sweet, but apparently first and second years don't use it much, unless you're in an interest group or reserve it. They do practice on standardized patients, though. The campus itself was beautiful, green, and open.

After the tour, there was a luncheon. They had pre-packed bags with sandwiches, a cookie, and chips. At each table, one or two med students camped out and answered questions--I've heard conflicting reports as to whether or not they have any input to admissions, but they were helpful and seemed happy with the school.

SLU SOM, by the way, is pass/fail. They are on a block system, with the first year consisting of classes like metabolism, anatomy, pharm, path, etc. Second year is an organ-system based curriculum. Class seemed to go from about 9 am-2 pm, with some days shorter and some days longer. During anatomy, you're at school till about 3 pm. Tests are on paper, and you have the day off before a test.

Finally, I had my interview. My interviewer was really nice, and basically just asked questions about my application, why I want to be a doctor, and why SLU. We started early and ended early, going for somewhere around 40 minutes. After that, I hopped on to the free shuttle SLU runs up to the Grand Station, and took the metrolink back to the airport.

Overall, I would rank SLU as a close second to Temple. I really liked the campus, the students, and the city--and the pass/fail system is great. The new education building is really nice. However, I still really like Temple's integrated block curriculum and clinical training in early years. Also, SLU doesn't give out merit scholarships. They're reasonable as far as private tuition goes, but still....

I could see myself at either school. I really did like Saint Louis, and am looking forward to October 15.

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