WVSOM Interview Day

WVSOM’s interview day was very relaxing. My interview day started at 10 AM. Half of the people had their interviews first thing at 8 AM and the rest of us were interviewed after the presentations, tour, and lunch. WVSOM seemed to feel that keeping the interview day very personal was a way to make interviewees feel at home and comfortable (I rather enjoyed how comfortable the day was). We started off the day in the foyer where we all sat in a circle in nicely padded chairs. There we had quick presentations about the school.

Since this post is about the interview day I will start with what my interview was like. I was interviewed by a 3 person panel. One DO, one PhD, and one admissions office member. Of all of my interviews WVSOM’s interview was the most intense; however, it really wasn’t that bad. Right as I walked in the room I was greeted in Japanese by Dr. Zachary Comeaux (Dr. Comeaux heads an exchange with a Japanese osteopathic school and wanted to test what I put on my application). Luckily, Japanese is a language I know and I quickly responded and we went on with the interview. The interviewers did notice that I had a few blemishes on my academic record, but they didn’t ask me to directly respond to why I struggled in those classes. The questions they asked that stood out the most were:

1- What do you do when you find you are struggling in a class?

2- How will you handle the fast pace and difficulties of medical school?

3- Why do you want to be a DO? Why did you only apply for osteopathic schools?

Obviously there were more questions than that, but they seemed to be fairly standard “getting to know you” questions. I was a little doubtful because of how much they seemed to focus on some past struggles. Only one of the people interviewing me seemed to really care (the PhD), but the other two seemed to think that my more recent academics and my plan I presented proved that I could handle the stresses that would come. Apparently my answers were good enough because I found out two days later that I was accepted. WVSOM’s online system is nice because you don’t have to wait for the letter to come in the mail; you can check out your account whenever you want to see for updates. My acceptance was already posted by the time I got home from the interview. Talk about a stress reliever.

And now for other interview day information. First we heard from different faculty members and the financial aid office. About the only bad thing about the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine was the tuition for out of state students. Now, the tuition is high, but the cost of living is relatively low. Because of this the overall budget is still high but is closer to being competitive with DO schools in places like California, and it is quite a bit lower than the budget at Michigan State University.

After the presentations we went for a tour of the campus. It was a very nice campus. I really liked how spread out the campus was, and that you were able to go outside when moving between classes and buildings. The WVSOM anatomy labs was huge and was very clean, both visibly and smelling. The cadaver tables are equipped with special ventilation systems to remove the special stench that most labs have.

The classrooms were nice too. The classrooms are very large lecture halls with nice chairs. Each room also has 3 screens for powerpoint presentations. They also record all the lectures for students so you can download them later. It seemed like a pretty nice setup.

WVSOM is also building a few new buildings. One of them is going to be a really nice gym, or “wellness center.” I wish I could remember what the other building was, but I remember it sounded nice, something like a research center…I don’t quite remember. All I know is that WVSOM was one of my favorite schools I have seen and if you get the chance to interview with them I would highly recommend it.

LECOM Interview Day

In a previous post I mentioned that I interviewed with LECOM-Erie. I thought I would give you a quick idea about how their interview day goes. It was my first interview and it was about two months ago so the details of time are hazy, but I definitely remember the interview very well.

The day started around 8 AM and I arrived about 20 minutes early. I know it sounds way early, but I was not the first person to arrive. Two other interviewees arrived up to 30 minutes earlier than I did! To start the day about 10 med school hopefuls piled into a conference room. At this time the director of admissions came in and started to get to know us. When he got to me he started speaking in fluent Japanese (luckily, I know Japanese). Always be careful about what you put in your application. You never know what a school might test you on.

Their day ran fairly similar to other schools interview days. After the introductions we were privileged enough to sit through powerpoint presentations about LECOM. Then we got to hear from the financial aid office and other administrators. These activities took up most of our morning.

Right before lunch was the interview. At LECOM they have recently decided to use a different interview method than other schools. I was interviewed by a 2 person panel. One interviewer was a man with a PhD in English and the other was a physiology instructor for LECOM. Neither of the men had ever seen my file. Because of this they had no knowledge of my past academic history, MCAT score, research or clinical experience. They had never even read my personal statement, secondary essays, or letters of recommendation. LECOM feels that if you made it to the interview then those aspects of you application are competitive enough and now your interviewers need to find out what kind of person you truly are. We spent most of our interview talking about my family (my wife and kids), and about my experiences that I have had serving as a religious representative in Japan for my church.

At no time did anyone ask any difficult ethics or recent healthcare hot topic questions. The only LECOM interview questions that really stood out were:

1- Why do you want to be an osteopathic physician?
2- Have you applied to any allopathic schools?
3- Why would you want to come to school at LECOM?
4- Do you have any concerns about attending school in Erie?

As you can see, none of these are particularly difficult. I didn’t have to explain anything in regard to question #2. I only applied to DO programs. Even if you did apply to MD schools, don’t worry, just make sure that you acknowledge the differences between the two methods of medicine and that you are very excited about the benefits provided through studying osteopathic medicine.

The whole interview lasted about a half an hour. It went very quickly and was very low pressure. I found it very refreshing to experience an interview with a closed file. Both men were friendly and never seemed to be interested in intimidating their interviewees at any time.

After the interview we had lunch with a couple of students that were able to talk about the different learning methods at LECOM and answer any questions about living in Erie. Of all the places I interviewed Erie was definitely the most non-rural place to live.

After interviews and lunch we had a few more presentations and ranked our learning style preference, and stated if we were interested in attending the Seton Hill campus. With LECOM-Stone Hill as an option you are essentially interviewing for one of over 300 seats in their school. This should be a big comfort to many people out their knowing that your odds much greater here than at most other schools in this nation.