2007 Johns Hopkins Medical School Admissions Chat with Paul White


2007 Johns Hopkins Medical School Admissions Chat with Paul White

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 4:51:34 PM)
First I want to welcome you all to Accepted.com's Johns Hopkins Medical School Admissions Chat.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 4:51:41 PM)
I also want to welcome Paul White, Director of Admissions; Deanna Cettomai, Hopkins student; Steven Chen, Hopkins student; Zita Shiue, Hopkins student; and Sergio Glait, Hopkins medical student.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 4:51:49 PM)
A little about the students...

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 4:52:00 PM)
Deanna Cettomai: I am from Ohio, where I attended The Ohio State University and graduated with a BA in Chemistry and a BS in Molecular Genetics. I plan to pursue a career in neurology upon graduation from medical school.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 4:52:12 PM)
Steven Chen: Originally from Northern California, I ventured out east to pursue a degree from Johns Hopkins University. I ended up graduating from Hopkins in 2005 with a BS in Biology and a Minor in Spanish. I decided to stick around in Baltimore and continue with my education at Hopkins Med. Now almost done with my first year, I'm excited to be one step closer to the wards, where I hope to continue my medical education focusing on either Surgery or Emergency Medicine; however, that is of course subject to change. In addition to academics, I like to spend my time with my med school a cappella group at Hopkins (the Note-a-Chords), with the Medical Student Society (Student Council), dabbling with the Baltimore Free Clinic, serving on various school committees, and of course, just spending time with the rest of my classmates.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 4:52:21 PM)
Zita Shiue: Hometown: Bakersfield, CA; Undergraduate: University of Pennsylvania; Majors: Economics and Biological Basis of Behavior; Medical Interests: Pediatrics.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 4:54:09 PM)
Paul, which is more important in the admissions process: the MCAT or the GPA?

collegeperson (May 31, 2006 4:54:20 PM)
How is the Hopkins' student environment?

ZitaShiueHopkins (May 31, 2006 4:54:52 PM)
collegeperson, I would say that the Hopkins' student environment is great.

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 4:54:58 PM)
Collegeperson, do you mean the student academic environment, relationship with faculty or relationship with each other?

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 4:55:05 PM)
What makes it great Zita?

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 4:55:06 PM)
They are both considered important. Also the extracurriculars, leadership, recommendations, and the applicant's commitment to medicine.

ZitaShiueHopkins (May 31, 2006 4:55:07 PM)
Everyone is really helpful and encouraging. I feel like we're pretty cohesive when it comes to both academics and activities outside of class. No matter what you like or what you do, there is always someone who will go along or help or try something new with you. It's much more comfortable than I expected.

collegeperson (May 31, 2006 4:56:21 PM)
Is there a lot of stress lingering over head with exams and such things?

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 4:56:27 PM)
Zita is correct: we look for students who are used to collaborating with others.

Steve (May 31, 2006 4:56:27 PM)
Dean White, I'm a first year medical student at Ohio State and am interested in earning a combined MD/MPH. We are free to pursue the one year of MPH training at any school between years two and three of medical school. I'd be very interested in doing this at Hopkins where I'd find a strong policy program. Any suggestions on maximizing my chances of admission/is there anyone you might connect me to who could point me in the right direction on this?

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 4:56:43 PM)
I think Hopkins does a great job of structuring the beginning of the year so that the class has a chance to really come together and bond. We have truly become pretty close and have a lot of fun together.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 4:57:44 PM)
Steve: we do not have a formal MD/MPH program, but many of our students will pursue the MPH at our Public Health school (across the street). Keep in mind that when applying for the MD, we need to see a strong sense of commitment to medicine.

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 4:57:53 PM)
Collegeperson, we are structured so that we only take one class at a time. It is nice because you are only studying for one exam at a time, so the stress doesn't build up the way it did for me in undergrad when I had lots of tests to study for all of the time.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 4:57:55 PM)
Deanna, Steve, and Zita: Why did you choose Hopkins? Is it meeting your expectations?

ZitaShiueHopkins (May 31, 2006 4:58:19 PM)
collegeperson, as far as stress with exams and such things, it depends on the block and your own schedule really. Because of the blocks, we basically have an exam every two weeks (in the first year), so we don't cram months of material into one test. In this way, people generally have mini breaks during every other week.

collegeperson (May 31, 2006 4:58:26 PM)
Will a few 'C's in an otherwise strong college transcript hurt an applicant? Would making up for them by taking upper level classes help?

Steve (May 31, 2006 4:59:00 PM)
I am actually already a medical student currently at Ohio State - I would be interested in both the depth that a medical specialty could bring and the breadth that Public Health would allow.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 4:59:07 PM)
CP: not at all. We evaluate the complete record, not just a particular course grade.

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 4:59:12 PM)
Linda, I chose Hopkins because I felt it would provide me with a strong background in the basic sciences and the best clinical training during the clinical years.

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 4:59:31 PM)
Linda, in terms of choosing a medical school, it's a really personal choice obviously. For me, I had been here for four years, loved the city, and the school as well. Also, the flexibility offered in the clinical years was a huge draw.

ZitaShiueHopkins (May 31, 2006 4:59:32 PM)
So originally, I was thinking about going to a California school (as I am from there) but when I came to revisit (this sounds corny but its true), I ended up really liking my future class mates here and the faculty was really great. It seemed that they really enjoyed the students and that they did everything to help us out. I felt like that took care of the students here better.

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 4:59:42 PM)
It has more than met my expectations. I have really enjoyed the classes this year and I have genuinely enjoyed getting to know my classmates.

Steve (May 31, 2006 4:59:42 PM)
Is there anyone specifically that the medical students generally contact at the School of Public Health?

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:00:06 PM)
Steve: great. You should definitely consider our PH school, either between year 2 and 3 or 3 and 4. It is the oldest and largest in the country with a distinguished track record.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:00:43 PM)
Steve, Deanna, and Zita: What are Johns Hopkins strengths, and what needs to be improved?

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:00:45 PM)
Steve: Paul Whong is the director of the MPH school at the Bloomberg School of Public Health (Hopkins).

collegeperson (May 31, 2006 5:00:53 PM)
When will Hopkins finish with all of the construction?

Steve (May 31, 2006 5:01:16 PM)
Thank you very much Dean White - I'll be sure to contact him - good luck everyone.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:01:16 PM)
CP: Good question. Probably not until 2012 or so.

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:01:40 PM)
Linda: strengths: Great faculty, flexible curriculum, top-notch education in both basics and clinical training. For improvement: I think the facilities leave something to be desired, but they're working on that with new computers in the labs, and of course the new med school building soon.

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:01:46 PM)
Linda, I think the strengths of Hopkins are its commitment to its students. The faculty really value students, and it shows in our classes. They also provide us with many resources - mentoring opportunities, advisors, etc.

Kenneth (May 31, 2006 5:01:48 PM)
How does age affect the applicant, especially when they are young. Will they be placed under extra scrutiny?

ZitaShiueHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:02:07 PM)
I think as far as academics and the learning environment, one of Hopkins biggest strengths is that they really listen to the students. After each block they have us evaluate and after talking to second years, they really do make many improvements year to year.

pimpiolo (May 31, 2006 5:02:29 PM)
Dean White: Are there any numbers for GPA/MCAT that would warrant an automatic interview?

SergioGlaitHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:02:34 PM)
I agree with Steven on the flexible curriculum. You are able to take the board examinations in a flexible manner and they are not required to start your clinical rotations.

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:02:38 PM)
Linda, weaknesses - in the first year, there is a lot of basic sciences right at the beginning of the year so sometimes it's frustrating because it doesn't always "feel" like medical school. However, they are revamping the entire curriculum next year, and I know this is one of the areas they wanted to change.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:02:52 PM)
Kenneth: age is not a factor. We never discriminate nor reward someone based on their age. It is the experiences and record that are weighed heavily.

bug (May 31, 2006 5:02:58 PM)
Steve, Deanna, and Zita: I hear unflattering things about the dorms at Hopkins--any perspectives on this issue? Any plans to provide additional school-sponsored options?

collegeperson (May 31, 2006 5:03:10 PM)
Dean White: Is it true that undergrads who do summer internships at the med school stand a better chance of getting in? I noticed this with the bio-step program at Yale.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:03:47 PM)
This is news to me. Many of our applicants have never set foot at Hopkins prior to applying.

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:03:48 PM)
Bug, I have lived in the dorms this year. They are not new, but it has been a good experience. About half of the first year class lives in Reed Hall, so it's a good way to get to know your classmates. Plus, the social scene for the first year class pretty much centers on the dorms. Also, it is convenient and cheap. If you don't know the city or don't know many of your classmates, I would recommend it.

foothills (May 31, 2006 5:04:02 PM)
Dean White: For those of us currently on the alternate list/waitlist, how does the Hopkins alternate list usually move (i.e., the number of people pulled from the list), and how does it seem to be moving this year (i.e., timeline and number of people)?

ZitaShiueHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:04:09 PM)
I think there are pros and cons to the dorms here. Of course it's not going to be great compared to off campus, but its really convenient especially if you are from out of state and want to meet a lot of people. It's analogous to freshman year in undergrad a bit.

SergioGlaitHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:04:11 PM)
Sorry for my late arrival. My name is Sergio Glait and I am a first year med student here at Hopkins as well.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:04:29 PM)
Welcome Sergio.

ZitaShiueHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:04:43 PM)
Reed is also convenient as far as getting to classes and such, it's connected underground to the classrooms and hospital.

collegeperson (May 31, 2006 5:04:44 PM)
Will they be working on the dim lighting?

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:05:11 PM)
collegeperson, I bought a $10 lamp at Target and the lighting situation was fixed!

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:05:30 PM)
Foothills: We have just begun to use the alternative list. At the moment we only have room for about a dozen students, but it is still very early. We'll continue to use the list as other schools begin using their lists (and raiding our class). Hang in there a little longer!

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:05:34 PM)
Dean White: Is not having research experience fatal to one's application at Johns Hopkins?

SergioGlaitHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:05:39 PM)
Bug: The dorms at Hopkins really are not so bad. There are two sides to Reed hall and the side with "suites" is a very comfortable and nice option to have if you are new to the area of Baltimore. You get a kitchen, living room, and 4 single rooms to live in.

megan (May 31, 2006 5:05:53 PM)
Sergio, what is your advice for prospective med school applicants?

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:06:58 PM)
Linda: Only if one is an MD/PhD applicant. Otherwise, we do not expect the MD candidates to have research experience, though many have had it prior to Hopkins.

pimpiolo (May 31, 2006 5:07:14 PM)
Dean: Are there any numbers for an automatic interview?

Guest (May 31, 2006 5:07:32 PM)
Steve, Deanna, and Zita: How is safety addressed for medical students in the general Hopkins vicinity?

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:07:56 PM)
Pimpolo: None whatsoever. Every application is reviewed by a human being.

SergioGlaitHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:08:22 PM)
Megan: Well, what year in college are you from?? From my understanding when I was an undergraduate at UVA, I was always told to get involved with things outside of the classroom and to take advantage of your summer by doing interesting things. Such as summer internship programs, etc. Doing research is also very useful because it gives you an excellent learning experience to use later on if you decide to pursue it further in med school. Although research is not required, many of the students here have done some sort of research in undergrad.

Kenneth (May 31, 2006 5:08:52 PM)
Dean White: How much weight is placed on the personal statement? Is it true that each personal statement is only given a 90 seconds look?

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:09:00 PM)
Kenneth: We certainly value the personal statement, but each member of the Screening Committee has a different idea about what is important, which is why we have such a diverse class. I probably place a great deal of weight on recommendations and extra-curriculars, compared to some on the committee.

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:09:14 PM)
Linda: a lot goes into safety here. There are security guards posted frequently around campus 24/7, and there are security guards inside each building and in the hospital that check IDs of all those entering.

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:09:23 PM)
Linda: Safety is obviously an issue anywhere. At Hopkins, there's security on every single city block. Actually, they've recently moved onto Segways during the day so there's always a presence zipping by.

ZitaShiueHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:09:24 PM)
I think that's one of the bigger issues people have when they come here. On the campus itself, there is a ton of security, and everywhere off campus, it's sort of like being in any big city. There are great and not so great parts and you just have to be safe and aware.

Guest (May 31, 2006 5:09:58 PM)
Dean White - Thanks, will do! Good luck everyone.

pimpiolo (May 31, 2006 5:10:32 PM)
About the application, for the work/activity descriptions, would you like to see a short description? (2-3 sentences) or a detailed one using most of the 1000 characters allowed?

SergioGlaitHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:10:57 PM)
Safety on the medical campus is a top priority from what I've seen. There are several security guards on every corner and from my understanding you can even get security personnel to accompany you to your car if it is late at night and you feel scared to walk out at night by yourself.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:11:17 PM)
Pimpiolo: Brevity is always appreciated by the committee. But don't "under sell" yourself.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:11:28 PM)
What do you wish you had done to make your transition to medical school easier? Did you do anything especially effective that helped you?

Kenneth (May 31, 2006 5:11:41 PM)
Dean White: How much weight is placed on clinical experiences? If say one person did a quarter of clinical work, felt like he got all he could out of it and moved on to research would this person be condemned as opposed to a person who has two stellar years of clinical work? For some reason I feel that I can only get so much out of clinical work (shadowing, etc.) before it comes repetitive.

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:12:33 PM)
Linda, honestly the best thing I did was to take some time off the summer before I started medical school. Med school is demanding and challenging, and it is a lot of work. Relax and refresh yourself before you start! There is plenty of time to work hard once school starts!

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:12:50 PM)
Linda: Honestly, I didn't do much in terms of academics. I just relaxed before getting to med school and the transition was made really after I arrived in med school. I really recommend taking the summer before medical school to just do whatever you wish so that you are ready to hit the books once you get to medical school.

ZitaShiueHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:13:10 PM)
Transitions: As far as academics, Hopkins sort of helps you make that transition for you. the first few exams are slower and easier and eventually it picks up. They don't' really want to leave anyone behind.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:13:24 PM)
What has been your favorite class? Professor? Program?

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:13:55 PM)
Linda: Anatomy. I was amazed at how quickly people pick things up, and I think that's partially due to the amazing anatomy professors we have here.

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:14:03 PM)
My favorite class was actually anatomy, and my favorite professors were in the anatomy course as well. It's really a lot of fun - not the horrible, daunting experience everyone makes it out to be.

ZitaShiueHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:14:05 PM)
Anatomy's the best. It's the most work, but for the first time, you all learn something new and you get close to both the professors and your anatomy group.

SergioGlaitHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:14:11 PM)
ANATOMY!!! It was awesome! The faculty is great and supportive and you really learn so much interesting information.

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:14:20 PM)
Well, I guess we have a consensus :-)

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:14:21 PM)
That's unanimous.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:14:37 PM)
Kenneth: Each applicant is evaluated on his/her individual strengths and weaknesses. Clinical experience is very valuable, but some times people have less exposure to clinical experience than others, which we have to consider as well. Also, if you are not getting much out of it, then you need to figure out why. Perhaps you would be better suited for the lab or even an MD/PhD, rather than the straight MD.

collegeperson (May 31, 2006 5:14:43 PM)
Can anyone talk about the clinical years at Hopkins?

pimpiolo (May 31, 2006 5:15:27 PM)
Dean: If a student may be graduating in December, is there any way to inform the school about next semester plans before an interview?

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:15:41 PM)
CP: These are all first year medical students at the chat today but in general, the third and fourth year students I know love the clinical years. This is when they really get to see what it means to be a physician.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:16:07 PM)
Students: Johns Hopkins emphasizes the flexibility in its program. What has that flexibility meant for you?

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:16:09 PM)
Not that the other classes we have are not great as well...the first part of the year is a lot of review for the people who have a strong science background, but it really picks up after thanksgiving with anatomy, neuroscience, organ systems, physiology and histology. It's exciting to be learning about what you want to do for the rest of your life!

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:16:55 PM)
Linda, I think that the greatest flexibility is offered in the clinical years when you can take your boards, rotations, electives, etc. in any order that you want. However, I think that it's flexibility is seen in the first year as the plethora of opportunities available to you. You can get involved in the community, do research, shadow doctors, learn about Baltimore...there is a plethora of options!

SergioGlaitHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:16:56 PM)
Collegeperson: so from my understanding the upperclassmen right now have complete flexibility as to what rotations they will do and when. I hear it is a lot of fun because of the various things that are available to do. However, there is a new curriculum coming about and I know that the flexibility should still be there with some slight modifications.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:17:08 PM)
Pimpiolo: absolutely. Just write a brief note and send it with your application. Actually, our secondary application has room for a line or two about what you are doing or will do if you are not in college.

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:17:37 PM)
collegeperson: since we're all first years, it's a little difficult, however the new curriculum actually allows students to still take basics in the first year, while preserving their flexibility and autonomy that sets Hopkins apart.

collegeperson (May 31, 2006 5:18:16 PM)
Can you explain the new curriculum?

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:18:28 PM)
Is there a URL that you can refer us to for information on the new curriculum?

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:18:57 PM)
Linda and collegeperson: I can comment on it, but as a caveat, nothing is set in stone yet since the transition has not been made. The overarching principle is that they want to put more clinical skills into the first two years and more basic science into the clinical years. They're planning to split up modules with 1-week "intersessions" where you learn about clinical/basic applications, whatever is complementary to what you're actually going through.

SergioGlaitHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:20:00 PM)
Megan: Did you have any specific questions about "advice for pre-meds?"

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:20:07 PM)
Linda: The new curriculum has not yet been approved, but students may check it out our website, as it will certainly be posted there once approved.

Kenneth (May 31, 2006 5:20:11 PM)
For All: What sort of recommendations would you give an applicant to help their chances of admittance?

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:20:30 PM)
Steven is a great person to talk to. He worked closely on the committee to plan and adopt the new curriculum. It's just one example of how much the faculty and administration truly value students' input, concerns and ideas in making decisions for the medical school.

ZitaShiueHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:21:23 PM)
Do what you do because you want to do it. Your interviewers will be able to tell if you are really passionate about something or not.

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:21:52 PM)
Kenneth, it is important to be well rounded. Obviously grades and MCAT scores are important, but the majority of people applying to med school have those things. Be a well-rounded person and get involved with something your passionate about. Extracurriculars, leadership and community involvement are really important too.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:21:58 PM)
Kenneth: Be yourself.

Kenneth (May 31, 2006 5:22:21 PM)
Dean White: What sort of GPA and MCAT score is required for consideration? What is the lowest that has been considered?

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:22:26 PM)
Kenneth: Ditto on what Dean White said. You really see that in the first year class, everyone is so diverse, and I think that's one of the strengths of Hopkins.

megan (May 31, 2006 5:23:00 PM)
Sergio:  Do you have any advice for ChemBe students who plan to apply to medical school?

Steve (May 31, 2006 5:24:06 PM)
Kenneth: I can't comment across the board for medical schools but I would say that once you get into the top tier schools there is an abundance of students with stellar grades, MCATs, clinical experiences, and research and it comes down to a bit of a crap shoot and has to do with creating a well rounded class (meaning well rounded as in students with different unique qualities) so being yourself would be key and demonstrating your own unique qualities would be a big help.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:24:34 PM)
Students: What is a typical day like for you?

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:25:07 PM)
Linda, generally we have class from 8:00 to 1, 2 or 3. At the beginning of the year it is until 1:00 and gets a little later during the last part of the year. Class is broken up into lectures, small groups, labs, journal clubs, etc. so you're not just sitting in the lecture hall the whole day.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:25:07 PM)
Kenneth: I think you are focusing too much on scores/grades, etc. We need to see that the applicant has compassion for others and gives freely of his or herself. The recommendations will verify the applicant is "real" and will contribute to the medical profession. And if invited to interview, the interview will confirm all that we've read up to that point.

pimpiolo (May 31, 2006 5:25:16 PM)
Dean White: For the work/activity descriptions, can reflections also be included, i.e. what an activity meant to you?

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:25:24 PM)
Linda: For the first year, we have class from 8 to 1, and the afternoon off to relax in the afternoon, study if there's an exam coming up, visit a preceptor/hang out/whatever floats your boat. For example: today, we had one lecture, one lab, and small groups, and the lecture was only 1.25 hours.

ZitaShiueHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:25:32 PM)
After 1pm, people do various things, sleep, volunteer, preceptorships, shop, etc.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:26:03 PM)
Pimpiolo: Of course. We definitely want to know your most meaningful activity or experience.

collegeperson (May 31, 2006 5:26:08 PM)
Students: Is it true that Hopkins is switching to pass/fail grading? Do you think it would make a difference in the stress level among students?

Kenneth (May 31, 2006 5:26:25 PM)
Dean White: How much weight is placed on the school a student came from?

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:26:37 PM)
CP: Not that I know of. Even with honors/high pass/pass/fail, it's really relaxed since everyone is just on a "p=md" mentality, at least from my point of view.

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:26:55 PM)
Collegeperson...honestly I don't think it would make a bit of difference. There really is not a big emphasis placed on grades here. Everyone wants to learn the material because it is important in becoming a good physician - not because they want a good grade.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:27:08 PM)
CP: We have had Honors/High Pass/Pass/Fail for nearly four years now. There is very little stress here, or certainly none that you wouldn't find at any top medical school.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:27:19 PM)
Kenneth: You'll be fine.

pimpiolo (May 31, 2006 5:27:32 PM)
Dean White: How many hours clinical experience does the average person admitted to Hopkins have? I know there is a huge range but what is the middle road?

collegeperson (May 31, 2006 5:27:57 PM)
Passion, that's all I hear about; does it leave a strong impact on the admissions people if an applicant demonstrates passion for some arbitrary activity?

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:28:28 PM)
Pimpiolo: I have never really calculated this. There is no question that the vast majority have had exposure of some type to clinical medicine though.

SergioGlaitHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:28:38 PM)
Megan: I was a bio-chem major at UVA so I guess I can tell you what to expect and what might help you out before getting to med school. I found that most of the things I learned in undergrad as a chemistry major were only applicable in the beginning of the year during metabolism but after that everything is very biology based. So, that being said, if possible I wish I would have taken a physiology class in undergrad or even a neuroscience class. I would not recommend taking a genetics class just because that course is only two weeks and you might as well learn it in med school instead of spending an entire semester with it in college. Any specific questions?

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:28:42 PM)
CP: I think it makes an impact if an applicant demonstrates passion and commitment to an activity. The adcom wants to see that you are a dedicated person and that you follow through with things you are committed to.

collegeperson (May 31, 2006 5:29:04 PM)
Will the Hopkins med prospective student admissions website be updated soon?

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:29:06 PM)
CP: I think it really does. If there's something you are really devoted to, that will come out in the interviews when you apply, and really, they just want to see you as a real person with real interests, not just numbers on an application.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:29:20 PM)
CP: Of course. Deanna was correct in saying it helps to be well-rounded. But a passion for medicine has to be utmost.

collegeperson (May 31, 2006 5:29:49 PM)
Students: What is the ratio between lecture time and self-learning time? Does Hopkins have PBL?

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:30:13 PM)
cp: No "official" PBL, but we have small group discussions that center around a case that we discuss, but they are always led by a faculty member.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:30:19 PM)
CP: I'll have to look into that. We rarely update prospective student website, because the facts and figures are from the MSAR, which has the same information (which they get from us).

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:30:27 PM)
I think passion means that your activities reflect your interests, not some calculation about what will get you into med school or the next station on some imaginary treadmill.

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:30:29 PM)
CP: Hopkins doesn't have PBL as such. However, we have small group discussions and journal clubs that often center around the same types of problems you would have in PBL.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:30:45 PM)
Linda: Correct.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:30:47 PM)
There really is a difference when someone write or talks about something they genuinely enjoy or care about. That's passion.

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:30:56 PM)
cp: I'd say during molecules and cells (your first exposure here) as an example, we had two/three hours of lecture a day, and two/three hours of small group.

Kenneth (May 31, 2006 5:31:09 PM)
Dean White: For the activities essay of the primary, what sort of length are we looking at? Do you want 2-3 sentences for each or full on paragraphs to fill the 1300 word requirement?

megan (May 31, 2006 5:31:11 PM)
Thanks Sergio for your advice. I have been thinking about neuroscience. I think I will take two classes in neuroscience. Thanks again.

megan (May 31, 2006 5:31:37 PM)
Sergio, did you apply to John Hopkins Medical School early decision?

collegeperson (May 31, 2006 5:31:46 PM)
All: How do you demonstrate passion for medicine? Is this through clinical experience or...?

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:32:33 PM)
Kenneth: I'm not 100% sure about the AMCAS application, but our secondary application limits you to the total number of characters. Two or three sentences is the norm. Save some more for the interview :)

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:32:42 PM)
CP: I think you need to have shown an interest in some way. It could be through clinical experience, volunteering at a nursing home, in a homeless shelter, working on a health advocacy program, doing a research project, etc.

megan (May 31, 2006 5:32:55 PM)
Paul, would you please touch on topic on early decision?

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:33:04 PM)
cp: I don't think there's an answer I can give. It's really just through your actions and just the way you feel about it. Obviously, clinical exposure is important, but the more important thing is why you did the clinical experience.

collegeperson (May 31, 2006 5:34:03 PM)
Do people actually get admitted through early decision? What do you need for that? Does it increase ones chances of admission?

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:34:04 PM)
CP: It's whatever you feel strongly about. You need to show an interest in medicine and people. It may not be standing in a clinic everyday - for a random example - maybe it's volunteering for a meals on wheels group that delivers food to AIDS patients. Be creative and find what it is that's important to you.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:34:16 PM)
We rarely have ED (early decision) applicants and I cannot recall taking anyone in the past six years. We are not opposed to ED, but do not apply just to increase your chances. We'd much rather take some ED who clearly has the profile we look for in the entering class. Some of ED applicants I've seen were way off mark.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:34:51 PM)
What is the profile you're looking for in the entering class?

SergioGlaitHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:35:21 PM)
Megan: I would recommend neuroscience just cause you spend 8 weeks at Hopkins doing that. It would have definitely helped a little to have some background knowledge. However, that being said, you still learn what you need to learn regardless. No I did not apply early decision. I did not apply to any schools early decision. I do not think that is a good idea personally, just because I would never want to restrict myself like that. Other things must also become a factor such as your classmates (revisit weekends are important to attend) as well as a school's financial aid package. If you apply and get in early decision then you are bound (unless you are definitely sure you want to go somewhere no matter how far into debt you will be). That being said, Hopkins offers excellent financial aid from what I know. Many of my classmates are happy with their packages.

PIMPANO (May 31, 2006 5:35:56 PM)
What does Johns Hopkins have to offer in terms of global outreach programs? Do they help fund trips to other countries? Also, is pimping easy?

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:36:12 PM)
ED is perfectly fine, but it is very different than applying ED to college. With medical school, you cannot file any other applications until you have heard from the school where you applied ED. That means you risk missing some schools regular deadlines if you do not get into the ED school.

ZitaShiueHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:36:44 PM)
As far as summer opportunities in other countries, we have the school of public health here, so it makes it easy for many students to go overseas.

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:36:44 PM)
pimpano: There's a fund I'm using this summer called the Sellard's. It's a fund for travel to South America or Asia, and it's basically no questions asked. As long as you have a reason to be going (that's medical presumably), it's approved. Also, if you work with anyone from public health that's a faculty member, you also get another fellowship from the school to support your work (this works for any Hopkins faculty member.)

collegeperson (May 31, 2006 5:37:33 PM)
Dean White: I hear a lot of talk about "fitting into the med school." Do you use this mission statement when deciding who to admit?

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:38:01 PM)
Linda: excellent academics (meaning courses and grades), very solid test scores, leadership, activities, and outstanding letters of recommendation.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:38:01 PM)
What is the most common mistake when applying to med school?

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:38:38 PM)
Linda, trying to be someone you're not. Don't forget that you have to interview with these schools too. Admissions people are very good at telling someone who is being fake.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:39:24 PM)
CP: Maybe on one level it guides us (Research, Patient Care and Teaching, I believe), but we don't use this as a yardstick to measure every single applicant.

collegeperson (May 31, 2006 5:39:46 PM)
Students: To those who came to Baltimore from non-city environments, how have you adjusted? I hear so many people talk about how they'd never go to Baltimore.

ZitaShiueHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:39:58 PM)
I also think people tend to forget that as much as name and everything is, it really is about how you fit into that particular med school environment.

megan (May 31, 2006 5:40:04 PM)
Thanks Sergio on your advice about ED. I will keep those points in mind. Have you thought about what area you will be specialize in (e.g. pediatric, primary care, emergency medicine)?

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:40:18 PM)
CP: I came five years ago for u-grad at Hopkins, and at first, the transition was weird from suburbia, but I've come to love it because I think of it as a "beginner's city." It's easy to transition because it's of a smaller size and close proximity of everything.

SergioGlaitHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:40:41 PM)
megan: Some type of surgery...right now I like orthopedics.

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:40:48 PM)
CP: i grew up in a small town in Ohio of 12,000 people and I really like Baltimore a lot. It's a bigger city, but it's not overwhelming. There's a lot of things to do, and you have a lot of time in your first year to get to know the city.

ZitaShiueHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:41:19 PM)
Baltimore definitely grows on you; I spent my last 4 years in Philly, and before that in a suburb in California, and I thought I was going to hate it, but in the end it turns out to be a great size city for a med school. Also, it's in between a lot of big cities so you never get bored.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:41:35 PM)
Dean White: What is the role of secondary essays in the application process?

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:42:35 PM)
Linda: we do not have secondary essays in our application, just short answer essays. Literally 3 or 4 sentences.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:42:43 PM)
Ok.

SergioGlaitHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:42:44 PM)
Collegeperson: Baltimore is a great city with a bad rap. There is tons to do here; there are different neighborhoods all over the city with different scenes in each neighborhood (i.e. museums, bars, clubs, restaurants, etc.) Also, DC is right next door and NYC is only a quick 3 hour bus ride away. I think its location geographically is excellent and a great place to attend graduate school.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:43:17 PM)
How important is the undergrad institution that applicants attend? Does someone from less prestigious schools who has good grades, a 30+ GMAT, and volunteer experiences have a chance?

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:44:16 PM)
Linda, I went to Ohio State (and as much as I think it is the best university ever - I know it doesn't have the reputation of many other undergrads) - I got in!

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:44:29 PM)
All: I came here 12 years ago from a village of 2,500 people. I initially lived out in the suburbs of Baltimore, but because here is so much to offer, I ended up moving into the city and buying a house ten minutes from both the undergrad campus and the med campus.

SergioGlaitHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:44:50 PM)
From what I know the class comes from all over the country from all types of colleges so I do not think the name of the school plays a role.

Jack (May 31, 2006 5:44:51 PM)
Dean White: Hi! I'm currently on the waitlist for Hopkins, and I know this is a really hard question to answer, but can you guess when the majority of waitlist movement will occur?

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:44:59 PM)
Linda: Our class is so diverse in terms of u-grads represented, I think it doesn't matter so much. The only drawback I think is just the advising you get in u-grad, not how it looks to the committees.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:46:07 PM)
Linda: We really make an effort to look at the individual, not the school he/she attended. In a class of 121 students, we have about 70 different colleges and universities represented. I've been in admissions for 23 of the last 27 years and there are schools I have to look up still, but that's okay.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:47:12 PM)
Hi Jack: It typically doesn't "heat up" until later in June. Definitely stay calm: we may get to you before you know it.

ericdfs (May 31, 2006 5:47:32 PM)
Dean White: How heavily are GPA trends weighted?

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:48:18 PM)
Eric: An upward is always better than a downward trend and consistency is most appreciated.

collegeperson (May 31, 2006 5:48:38 PM)
Is one bad semester in the middle of undergrad permissible with an otherwise good record?

Jack (May 31, 2006 5:48:43 PM)
Ok, I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:50:00 PM)
Thank you again all for participating today. Special thanks to Paul, Steve, Deanna, Zita, and Sergio for taking the time to participate.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:50:01 PM)
CP: Depends on how "bad." You'd be surprised at the diversity of the records we see (and admit). What we care about is -- what happened and did the student bounce back?

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:50:14 PM)
We look forward to seeing you at future chats. If you would like to be notified of future chats, please subscribe to our pre-med announcement list.

PaulWhiteHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:50:24 PM)
Linda: It was a pleasure. Thanks and good luck to all!

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:50:31 PM)
Good luck with your applications!

ZitaShiueHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:50:31 PM)
Good luck to you guys :)

StevenChenHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:50:35 PM)
Good luck everyone!

DeannaCettomaiHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:50:40 PM)
Good luck everyone!

SergioGlaitHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:50:40 PM)
Good luck with everything!!

walt (May 31, 2006 5:51:44 PM)
I had an extremely poor freshman year GPA which resulted in my being placed on academic probation. This performance resulted in a low cumulative GPA despite superb performance in my last three years of college. I attribute my poor performance that year to my father's suicide while I was in high school, and my difficulty adjusting to a new environment. Since I explained this under the "institutional action" section of the AMCAS application, do you feel that it needs to be addressed or mentioned again in my personal statement?

SergioGlaitHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:52:24 PM)
Well, since I am not the dean but only a first year student I would call the office of admission on that one.

walt (May 31, 2006 5:52:33 PM)
Alright, thanks.

SergioGlaitHopkins (May 31, 2006 5:52:36 PM)
I would recommend not to put that in your personal statement. The personal statement is something personal about yourself, something interesting for the admissions committee to read. There are other places to talk about official stuff like that.

walt (May 31, 2006 5:53:32 PM)
Gotcha. I had heard though that poor academic performance needs to be explained there though

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:53:37 PM)
Walt, that's something that could go in either document. It depends on what else you have to say. I would guess that including it in the institutional action section is sufficient and that you will want to use your personal statement to emphasize your strengths.

Linda Abraham (May 31, 2006 5:54:38 PM)

Good luck!

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