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Interviews while volunteering abroad

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Logorrhea

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Ok, so I'd really like to spend my gap year volunteering at an orphanage in Honduras (I'll also be able to spend time in their medical clinic), but I'm concerned about interviews. I know there's been threads about interviews during a gap year abroad, but their situations were a bit different than mine. I plan to apply early as possible (June 1st), pre-write as many secondaries as possible, and leave the 2nd week of June. I'll have internet there and a day off a week so I can finish writing secondaries in Honduras. Then I am planning on returning to the states for a month (last week of September-3rd week of October) to interview. And if I receive interview invites after I return to Honduras, I could come back in January for another group of interviews or fly back as needed if it's just one school. I don't want to return more than twice though due to expenses. So for those of you who have been through the interview process, how flexible are schools with moving interview times? And do you think the end of September/October is the best time to return if I apply as early as possible? I know a lot of people have had a problem with this in the past, but I'm hoping that if I give them a month of availability, they can hopefully fit me in! I'm not really interested if this is the most advantageous thing to do for admissions (I know it's not...), but I just want to know if it's possible. Thank you in advance!
 

Great White Buffalo

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Ok, so I'd really like to spend my gap year volunteering at an orphanage in Honduras (I'll also be able to spend time in their medical clinic), but I'm concerned about interviews. I know there's been threads about interviews during a gap year abroad, but their situations were a bit different than mine. I plan to apply early as possible (June 1st), pre-write as many secondaries as possible, and leave the 2nd week of June. I'll have internet there and a day off a week so I can finish writing secondaries in Honduras. Then I am planning on returning to the states for a month (last week of September-3rd week of October) to interview. And if I receive interview invites after I return to Honduras, I could come back in January for another group of interviews or fly back as needed if it's just one school. I don't want to return more than twice though due to expenses. So for those of you who have been through the interview process, how flexible are schools with moving interview times? And do you think the end of September/October is the best time to return if I apply as early as possible? I know a lot of people have had a problem with this in the past, but I'm hoping that if I give them a month of availability, they can hopefully fit me in! I'm not really interested if this is the most advantageous thing to do for admissions (I know it's not...), but I just want to know if it's possible. Thank you in advance!

Depends on your stats. Schools seem to interview their high stats applicants earlier than the average stats candidates (35+ MCAT, 3.8 GAs). If you fit that category, and with applying early, you should be fine. My stats were lower, and interviews came later. I had an interview invite for Jan when I was out of the country, and they moved it back to Dec. Some schools are easier to work with than others. Your situation is pretty unique, and you are doing something worthy, hopefully they will work with you.
 

Logorrhea

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Depends on your stats. Schools seem to interview their high stats applicants earlier than the average stats candidates (35+ MCAT, 3.8 GAs). If you fit that category, and with applying early, you should be fine. My stats were lower, and interviews came later. I had an interview invite for Jan when I was out of the country, and they moved it back to Dec. Some schools are easier to work with than others. Your situation is pretty unique, and you are doing something worthy, hopefully they will work with you.

Thanks, Great White Buffalo! I take the MCAT in January, so I guess I'll have to wait and see how competitive I'll be...:unsure:
 

xffan624

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Ok, so I'd really like to spend my gap year volunteering at an orphanage in Honduras (I'll also be able to spend time in their medical clinic), but I'm concerned about interviews. I know there's been threads about interviews during a gap year abroad, but their situations were a bit different than mine. I plan to apply early as possible (June 1st), pre-write as many secondaries as possible, and leave the 2nd week of June. I'll have internet there and a day off a week so I can finish writing secondaries in Honduras. Then I am planning on returning to the states for a month (last week of September-3rd week of October) to interview. And if I receive interview invites after I return to Honduras, I could come back in January for another group of interviews or fly back as needed if it's just one school. I don't want to return more than twice though due to expenses. So for those of you who have been through the interview process, how flexible are schools with moving interview times? And do you think the end of September/October is the best time to return if I apply as early as possible? I know a lot of people have had a problem with this in the past, but I'm hoping that if I give them a month of availability, they can hopefully fit me in! I'm not really interested if this is the most advantageous thing to do for admissions (I know it's not...), but I just want to know if it's possible. Thank you in advance!

I applied from Korea while stationed there with the Army. I ended up getting 6 II's in total. I attend 3 while back in the states in October and flew back in January for 1 interview. Got one in December that I chose not to attend and got another in March after I had already got accepted after the interview in January. I was still in Korea so I chose not to come back for it.

Most schools will give you some flexibility if they have spots available, but they can't just boot somebody off a day and give it to you if it's full. Recognize that they may have limitations in their flexibility and you may have to adjust your plans. I shelled out $1300 to fly back for literally 2 full days of being back in the states to do the interview in January. It was worth every penny as it was the only school that accepted me. :)
 

SN12357

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I met a guy on the interview trail who is currently abroad and managed to put all his interviews (many) into a three week window in Dec.

Sept-early Oct might be too early to attempt that, though. Schools are generally very accommodating if you request to move your interview later, but will not be particularly impressed if you try and push the review of your application forward.
 

dap

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I agree that unless your stats are stellar it might be a good idea to push back your window. I applied from overseas and was able to get some of mine scheduled during the same trip, but I didn't apply to many schools so my case was a bit different.

Do you have flexibility in picking your slots of time? If so, maybe consider doing late Oct to Nov and late Jan to Feb.

Either way I would definitely let schools know when you will be in the US on your application. And after you get an interview invite be sure to send an "in the area" email or phone call to other schools nearby.
 

Logorrhea

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Thanks for the feedback, guys!

Just have an attitude of awesomeness like Donna, your avatar. Love that lady!!

Haha Donna is the best! Can't wait for Suits to return.

I agree that unless your stats are stellar it might be a good idea to push back your window. I applied from overseas and was able to get some of mine scheduled during the same trip, but I didn't apply to many schools so my case was a bit different.

Do you have flexibility in picking your slots of time? If so, maybe consider doing late Oct to Nov and late Jan to Feb.

Either way I would definitely let schools know when you will be in the US on your application. And after you get an interview invite be sure to send an "in the area" email or phone call to other schools nearby.

Yeah thankfully I have a lot of flexibility, so maybe I can even wait to buy a plane ticket until I (hopefully) get an interview invite! And where do you think is the best place to put "I'll be abroad during these times..." on my application? Is there an additional comments section?
 

Logorrhea

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I applied from Korea while stationed there with the Army. I ended up getting 6 II's in total. I attend 3 while back in the states in October and flew back in January for 1 interview. Got one in December that I chose not to attend and got another in March after I had already got accepted after the interview in January. I was still in Korea so I chose not to come back for it.

Most schools will give you some flexibility if they have spots available, but they can't just boot somebody off a day and give it to you if it's full. Recognize that they may have limitations in their flexibility and you may have to adjust your plans. I shelled out $1300 to fly back for literally 2 full days of being back in the states to do the interview in January. It was worth every penny as it was the only school that accepted me. :)

That's awesome! Congratulations! Gosh airfare is through the roof these days...

At least Honduras is "only" $400ish
 

IncognitoGuy

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A good number of secondaries have a "Extra" section. Your situation would go well there.

A friend of mine was in Nicaragua during her cycle, during which she flew back and forth a healthy amount of times. It worked out quite well for her in the end.
 

Bluepanda87

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That's so exciting!!! I applied from abroad, too, and it worked out just fine :) I agree that late September/early October is a bit early, and it might be best to wait a little later (I did my first trip back in late October.) I was really nervous to come off as "needy" and "demanding" with the ADCOM, but every school I spoke to was incredibly kind and willing to accommodate my dates. I think taking the time to go abroad is amazing, and I wish you the best with your application!
 

dap

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Yeah thankfully I have a lot of flexibility, so maybe I can even wait to buy a plane ticket until I (hopefully) get an interview invite! And where do you think is the best place to put "I'll be abroad during these times..." on my application? Is there an additional comments section?

As the poster above said, usually you can put this on the secondary. Many (most?) secondaries will explicitly ask you where you will be during the application cycle. That gives you a space to write about being in Honduras and say that you plan to be in the US from xx to xx (I would also add something like: "although I would be willing to travel back at a separate time to interview at ___ School of Medicine, if necessary.") For those that don't directly ask there should be an "other information" section of some sort.
 
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