US News & World Report has ranked WVSOM among the top medical schools for primary care 14 years in a row. Check out how you measure up by taking a look at WVSOM’s MCAT and GPA information.
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.
I was very impressed with the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. The campus was beautiful. The school used to be an old military base and it was converted into a school. The school has taken great care to keep everything looking nice, and they seem to continually update the facilities.
The lecture halls are huge. WVSOM has 2 lecture halls; one for first year students and the other for second year students. The sound is great and the screens for overheads are big, so really there isn’t a bad seat in the room. I sat in on a lecture and spoke with a professor about classes and she took the time to show me the online system. WVSOM records all the lectures in MP3 form. Students are able to go back and listen to any lecture they feel they need. I liked that idea a lot.
The anatomy lab was also really nice. They had 50+ cadavers to work with. One strong selling point was that the lab did not have the tradition stench of other anatomy labs. The faculty at WVSOM has devised a ventilation system that keeps the room smelling pritine and clean.
WVSOM has a fair amount of construction going on at the moment. They had 2 new buildings in progress when I visited. One was a new research facility (I think). The other was a brand new wellness center for students and families to use. It was in the initial phase of construction, but it looked like it will be very nice.
West Virginia, like LECOM, offers lecture track and problem based learning. However, their PBL system is very new and still developing. One nice thing is WVSOM always has a DO and a PhD in the room with the students working their cases. LECOM only had one faculty member.
Last of all WVSOM has robots that simulate real patients. They were very nice. Students have the opportunity to work on cases and learn from mistakes before heading into the real world to work on real people. I will talk about these simulators in a later post since multiple schools have them.
The one downside I found in the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine was the out of state tuition. In-state tuition was fantastic; somewhere around $22,000. Out of state was $50,000+.
My second interview was at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM). I was first intrigued by WVSOM after learning about their reputation for producing quality primary care physicians. In fact, WVSOM has been ranked by U.S. News as one of the top schools in the nation for 10 years running.
The process of applying to medical school can be very long and trying. I am glad to be where I am right now. I know I will start medical school in July/August of 2009; I just need to decide which school to attend.