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Individual Response

  • University of Missouri School of Medicine
  • Allopathic Medical School
  • Columbia
Overall Experience

How did the interview impress you?


What was the stress level of the interview?

1 out of 10


How long was the interview?

50 minutes

Where did the interview take place?

At the school

How many people interviewed you?


What was the style of the interview?


What type of interview was it?

Open file

What was the most interesting question?

"The questions were exactly as I expected and had prepped for. Absolutely no surprises in either of my interviews. I'm from the city, so if I had to pick an "interesting question" it would be "The rural population in America has been known to generally visit the doctor as an absolute last resort rather than as a preventative measure. What do you perceive to be the cause behind this trend and how would you formulate a solution?"" Report Response

What was the most difficult question?

"None really. Just stay calm (easier said than done I know, but believe me there is nothing difficult that they'll be asking you. If it sounds difficult, its b/c you're making it). See the comments section below, and tailor your responses to the advice I'm giving you. That should be the theme you're weaving your story around. " Report Response

How did you prepare for the interview?

"Reviewed my app, the AMCAS, and talked to 14 very close friends who are either current students or had been accepted and then elected to go to another school. The fact that all of these individuals are just one year ahead of me made what they had to say very pertinent since the admission criteria is not varied significantly from year to year. See the comments section below for a very very very helpful summary of what advice I was given. " Report Response

What impressed you positively?

"I had paid previous visits to the facilities, so there were no surprises. I was pleased w/ the attitude of the staff and the students; not the faculty though -- see below." Report Response

What impressed you negatively?

"The faculty. The ones that they've prepped to give "the company line" all follow that order from their higher-ups like sheep. You'll be able to see right through this. My advice is to talk to other faculty members. I did, and saw the school for what it really was. I found faculty who weren't as happy as the school would have you believe. The truth is, and it became even more evident from my conversations w/ the faculty, that the hospital is in trouble. It is financially strapped, and its doing everything it can in the way of damage control. Unfortunately, not much is possible and so they've refocused some of their efforts to keep the Columbia community and even its own faculty and staff confused about the situation so they'll give up their zeal for finding out. One faculty member told me that a few years ago, the teaching hospital tried expanding its wings, and acquired a small local hospital that was in similar trouble. Unfortunately, that hospital was on the market in the first place b/c it was in terrible debt, and its administrators were unable to keep it afloat. So w/ its acquisition, MU literally paid to acquire a huge problem, and has not been able to fix it since. Its resources have been further drained by internal squabling about how to fix the problems. Another faculty member figuratively wiped his forehead in relief when I told him my MCAT score and GPA. He was actually relieved when he found out MU was one of my backup schools. He told me this was not a place to go unless it was an absolute last resort. W/ a skyrocketing budget, outrageous debt, and cuts at the state level, the future reputation of the school is up in the air. He told me as far as national residency programs are concerned, although my board scores and grades in med school are important, they'll also be taking into consideration where I graduated from. And if it comes down to applicants from MU and some other school, they're much more likely to settle for the other applicant since they're weary about the curriculum here. For example, they may say "sure the MU applicant scored a few points higher on the boards, but he/she may have had more time to prep for the exam since the curriculum is not as challenging as that of this other institution." I would definitly 1) talk to faculty other than those hand-picked to talk to you 2) watch their body language as they answer questions b/c some have literally been kept in the dark regarding the woes of the school and you'll be able to see right through it despite their rather political answer, and 3) be careful NOT to come across as being offensive in you questioning. Remember, some of these faculty members teach there b/c Columbia is such an awesome community, and they're rasing their families there, and its not easy to just go teach elsewhere whenever you please. However, they also know that they're being lied to by some top administrators regarding the future of the school, and its affiliated hospitals. And they know that they can't do much about that. There's an element of helplessness. The last thing they want is some applicant who's just there for a day, coming around asking him/her about why the place is in shambles as if implying that that faculty member is somehow contributing to the problem. Anyway, use your own best judgement. I was lucky enough to find some very helpful faculty members, but I had less coopertive ones too, and so I backed off w/o sounding offensive. " Report Response

What are your general comments?

"Being from Missouri, I already knew quite a bit about the place. Its problems, as well as the type of applicant they're seeking. As far as the type of applicants they admit, I got some priceless help from 2 friends who are current students, and 12 who were admitted but went elsewhere. Their MCAT scores ranged from 25-33 (the ones who were admitted both had 25's), undergrad GPA's ranged from 3.4-4.0. Here's what they had to offer. They told me first to only use the school as a backup. They knew my MCAT and GPA figures and strongly recommended I only use it as a backup, which I am. Second, as far as the type of applicant they seek, keep a few helpful things in mind. Missouri is a rural-farming oriented state (KC and St. Louis are the only exceptions). This means any money the state allocates to programs, it will only do so if they support a rural-farming agenda. What does this mean for you as an applicant: DO NOT go in there saying you wanna practice medicine in an urban setting (e.g. KC/St. Louis). If you wanna get in, tell them you'll be practicing in a rural environment, while teaching (even if its part-time) at local health institutions (as to whom you'll be teaching there, tell them you'd like to see medical students and nurses doing part of their learning in such environments). You wanna emphasize teaching b/c as mentioned b4, MU is in trouble partly b/c its alumni don't return to serve the school. The admission committee has been told to admit those who are more likely to teach b/c there's a higher chance that those individuals will actually teach at MU (especially since private schools tend to be more selective and are less likely to give MU grads a job at their place). Next, if the interviewer inquires about your family, be sure to mention that you have a significant part of your family residing in Missouri, and that you'd like to someday raise a family here too, some place near Columbia in particular. They know that if you're gonna be teaching, and living near Columbia, then its not far-fetched to assume that MU's the place where you'll be doing it. Furthermore, regardless of which branch of medicine you're thinking about going into, tell them primary care is what interests you most. Apparently, MU is nationally ranked by US News and World Report as one of the top primary care institutions (don't be too impressed, this is a category that the more well known schools simply don't care about b/c it means nothing in the way of receiving grant money. One glimpse at the rankings, and you'll know that the more competitive schools rank right where they should when grant money is involved). But anyway, since this ranking is MU's one (and only) claim to pseudo-fame, the administration would like to hang on to it. So they wanna continue to recruit applicants who are interested in primary medicine. So this is another point you have to allude to during your interview. It doesn't matter if you'll be going into neurosurgery, they'll pass you right up if it means losing that ranking. This is the one thing that has allowed them to avoid scrutiny by the state. If they're constantly churning out doctors who serve the rural community w/ primary care, then the constituents are happy, and that means the lawmakers can continue to claim credit for excellent healthcare during difficult economic times, and that means they constantly get re-elected. So its not in their best interest to blow the whistle on an institution that is literally haning on by its fingernails. In addition to all of this, here's one more very important piece of advice. Admissions may get suspicious if too many applicants start giving the same EXACT responses. So keep in mind the basic underpinnings of my advice, but please please please keep your answers varied. You don't wanna shoot yourself in the foot by sounding like everybody else who walks through their door. Although you do have one thing working for you. My guess is, the majority of interviewees don't visit this website, and thus are not as likely to give the same response as you. And second, if you have to give the same EXACT responses I gave, then do so only if you're boder-line (MCAT = 24, GPA = 3.4 give or take a bit). I can tell you that this advice has indeed gotten in at least 14 other applicants, and by what one of my interviewers told me after the interview, has gotten me accepted as well. I know that it works period. There's no maybe's about it. But please keep the details of your answers varied. If you've scored high on the MCATs and have a high GPA, you have more room to take a chance w/ responses that are more and more removed from the advice that I gave here b/c you'll likely be accepted based on your scores (at MU or some other institution); however, as I mentioned, if you're borderline, I would strongly recommend that you stick to the advice that I've given here. Why am I giving you advice that no one else is willing to? I've applied to 15 schools, have interviewed at 8 already (including my 1st choice school), and thus far, have been invited to interview at 3 of the remaining 7. I don't mean to brag, but I'll probably be accepted to one of the other schools, and I'll opt for one of those choices. That means I won't be attending MU, and so I'm not hurting my chances by helping someone who is border-line. And I would definitely encourage others who are in my shoes. Please, if you KNOW that you won't have to resort to attending your back-up school, then help someone who does have to resort to that. After all, we'll all be doctors one day, and our profession is based more on cooperation than competition. Be competitive when you have to, but when its not warranted, then cooperate other future doctors. " Report Response

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