Non-traditional (military) applicant seeking advice

A53

Aug 26, 2015
10
24
Status
Medical Student
I'll try to keep this as short as possible.

My military contract ended two years ago, and since then I have embarked on a journey in pursuit of medicine. I started with a "do-it-yourself" postbacc at my undergraduate institution to obtain the necessary pre-requisites, and I took the MCAT this past January. My hope was to apply this cycle to matriculate in 2016, but the pre-medical advisor at my school informed me that I would not currently be a competitive applicant. She cited my long military service, age, and lack of science background and clinical experience as reasons I should not apply.

I am eager to begin the next phase of my life (I am married with children), so I am looking for other opinions about my chances now and in the future. Here is an executive summary of my application:

Age: 31
cGPA: 3.72
sGPA: 3.94
Major: Business Information Technology
MCAT: 37 (14/12/11)
EC Summary:
-CPO in the US Navy; 8 years service total, including 6 years as a SEAL.
-Over 2000 hours of local community service, mostly serving as a mentor for troubled youth.
-90 hours physician shadowing.

I have tried to obtain clinical experience by volunteering at the local hospitals and health clinics, but there are many pre-med students in the area, and apparently a long waiting list. This upcoming year I will be doing research for Ulcerative Colitis, and also working full-time as a restaurant manager (to continue supporting my family).

My greatest ambition is to become a physician, and I believe any accredited medical school in the United States will provide a thorough and opportunistic education. Given my current application, would I have a reasonable chance at any of these schools (MD or DO)? If not, I am eager for any additional advice on how I can potentially improve my application for next cycle. Thank you for your time.
 

Spector1

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you look pretty decent to be honest. and med schools like veterans so I don't see why you wouldnt have a good chance. Probably just more clinical experience and you're good.
 

LizzyM

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Navy Seal with 90 hours of shadowing, GPA 3.7 MCAT 37?! You will have more interviews than you know what to do with. You are behind schedule if you haven't already submitted your AMCAS application but you are the kind of applicant that schools save a "late in the cycle" interview for. Do you have LORs ready to go? Essay ready? If you are serious about this, you need to spend every waking moment writing secondary applications and otherwise getting your ducks in a row. You are about 2 months behind the early birds.

Once again, a ignorant pre-med advisor has screwed up someone's chances.
 

narvik2016

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I agree with Spector1... 90 hours is enough shadowing, but I would work on getting some more clinical experience. I also live in an area where there are often waiting lists at hospitals for volunteering due to the high volume of pre-meds and I am in the same position as you right now. My advice is to apply and submit a volunteer application at a TON of hospitals and try to do so at community hospitals too, which might not have as many volunteers currently. With a bunch of apps out there, hopefully one will come back and say they have a spot open sooner or later.

Also... congrats on the 37 MCAT- that is really amazing!

Best of luck to you!
 
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A53

Aug 26, 2015
10
24
Status
Medical Student
Navy Seal with 90 hours of shadowing, GPA 3.7 MCAT 37?! You will have more interviews than you know what to do with. You are behind schedule if you haven't already submitted your AMCAS application but you are the kind of applicant that schools save a "late in the cycle" interview for. Do you have LORs ready to go? Essay ready? If you are serious about this, you need to spend every waking moment writing secondary applications and otherwise getting your ducks in a row. You are about 2 months behind the early birds.

Once again, a ignorant pre-med advisor has screwed up someone's chances.
Thank you for the quick response. I have completed all aspects of the AMCAS application (including compiling LORs), but have not submitted based on advisor's recommendation. I would like very much to apply this cycle, but have been told that being a re-applicant is a death sentence if I am unsuccessful.
 

Spector1

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Thank you for the quick response. I have completed all aspects of the AMCAS application (including compiling LORs), but have not submitted based on advisor's recommendation. I would like very much to apply this cycle, but have been told that being a re-applicant is a death sentence if I am unsuccessful.
I would submit now. And no, a reapplication is not a death sentence. You just need to show improvement the next time around (eg research and more clinical experience like you are doing).

gogogo
 
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Aug 26, 2015
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Being military would be a great "hook". You could write essays about how you want to join the Navy Medical Corps or something like that. I think you have a really great shot.
 

gyngyn

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My hope was to apply this cycle to matriculate in 2016, but the pre-medical advisor at my school informed me that I would not currently be a competitive applicant. She cited my long military service, age, and lack of science background and clinical experience as reasons I should not apply.
She is entirely, amazingly wrong. Any school will interview you in a hot minute.
 

Oh_Gee

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I'll try to keep this as short as possible.

My military contract ended two years ago, and since then I have embarked on a journey in pursuit of medicine. I started with a "do-it-yourself" postbacc at my undergraduate institution to obtain the necessary pre-requisites, and I took the MCAT this past January. My hope was to apply this cycle to matriculate in 2016, but the pre-medical advisor at my school informed me that I would not currently be a competitive applicant. She cited my long military service, age, and lack of science background and clinical experience as reasons I should not apply.

I am eager to begin the next phase of my life (I am married with children), so I am looking for other opinions about my chances now and in the future. Here is an executive summary of my application:

Age: 31
cGPA: 3.72
sGPA: 3.94
Major: Business Information Technology
MCAT: 37 (14/12/11)
EC Summary:
-CPO in the US Navy; 8 years service total, including 6 years as a SEAL.
-Over 2000 hours of local community service, mostly serving as a mentor for troubled youth.
-90 hours physician shadowing.

I have tried to obtain clinical experience by volunteering at the local hospitals and health clinics, but there are many pre-med students in the area, and apparently a long waiting list. This upcoming year I will be doing research for Ulcerative Colitis, and also working full-time as a restaurant manager (to continue supporting my family).

My greatest ambition is to become a physician, and I believe any accredited medical school in the United States will provide a thorough and opportunistic education. Given my current application, would I have a reasonable chance at any of these schools (MD or DO)? If not, I am eager for any additional advice on how I can potentially improve my application for next cycle. Thank you for your time.
pretty sure only someone with the same numbers as you and is also an astronaut/Power Ranger is more competitive than you
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
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Thank you for the quick response. I have completed all aspects of the AMCAS application (including compiling LORs), but have not submitted based on advisor's recommendation. I would like very much to apply this cycle, but have been told that being a re-applicant is a death sentence if I am unsuccessful.
A second cycle would not be a death sentence but it would make committees wonder what was wrong with you that you got no nibbles the first time. Your only blemish is the lack of clinical experience; you have volunteerism/service covered with 8 years of military service. If you could get a clinic or hospital job that pays as well as the restaurant, that would be great but I suspect a year from now you'll be in med school either way.

Keep us updated!
 
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Catalystik

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I have tried to obtain clinical experience by volunteering at the local hospitals and health clinics, but there are many pre-med students in the area, and apparently a long waiting list.
Then consider checking out physical therapy venues, skilled-level nursing homes, hospice, local family-planning or VA clinic, or perhaps the private office of one of the docs you have shadowed where you might "room" patients and record the reason for their visit.

Or maybe you did help out a bit during the shadowing experience instead of being a passive observer and can recategorize some of those hours.

This upcoming year I will be doing research for Ulcerative Colitis . . .
If you'd be working with current patients with this condition, that would also constitute active "clinical experience."
 

Rainbow Zebra

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I'll try to keep this as short as possible.

My military contract ended two years ago, and since then I have embarked on a journey in pursuit of medicine. I started with a "do-it-yourself" postbacc at my undergraduate institution to obtain the necessary pre-requisites, and I took the MCAT this past January. My hope was to apply this cycle to matriculate in 2016, but the pre-medical advisor at my school informed me that I would not currently be a competitive applicant. She cited my long military service, age, and lack of science background and clinical experience as reasons I should not apply.

I am eager to begin the next phase of my life (I am married with children), so I am looking for other opinions about my chances now and in the future. Here is an executive summary of my application:

Age: 31
cGPA: 3.72
sGPA: 3.94
Major: Business Information Technology
MCAT: 37 (14/12/11)
EC Summary:
-CPO in the US Navy; 8 years service total, including 6 years as a SEAL.
-Over 2000 hours of local community service, mostly serving as a mentor for troubled youth.
-90 hours physician shadowing.

I have tried to obtain clinical experience by volunteering at the local hospitals and health clinics, but there are many pre-med students in the area, and apparently a long waiting list. This upcoming year I will be doing research for Ulcerative Colitis, and also working full-time as a restaurant manager (to continue supporting my family).

My greatest ambition is to become a physician, and I believe any accredited medical school in the United States will provide a thorough and opportunistic education. Given my current application, would I have a reasonable chance at any of these schools (MD or DO)? If not, I am eager for any additional advice on how I can potentially improve my application for next cycle. Thank you for your time.
Add Mayo Clinic to your list, as well as all the top schools. And thank you for your service! The medical world is at your feet for the choosing. Congrats.
 
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Jun 16, 2015
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I think you've gotten the answers you needed, but I just wanted to say thank you for your service! Best of luck this cycle, though I'm not sure you'll need it.
 

alpinism

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You'll be fine. Include some future clinical experiences for this fall/spring and Submit AMCAS today.

I know my school would interview you.
 
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Goro

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My god!! If there ever was a case for suing a pre-med advisor for malpractice, this is it!!!

This has to stop. Complain about her to your school's Dean, and her dept' Chair. This woman shouldn't be anywhere near a pre-professional student.

Agree 100% with my learned colleague LizzyM that you should get those apps out and you'll have plenty of IIs.

And many thanks for your service to our country!


I'll try to keep this as short as possible.

My military contract ended two years ago, and since then I have embarked on a journey in pursuit of medicine. I started with a "do-it-yourself" postbacc at my undergraduate institution to obtain the necessary pre-requisites, and I took the MCAT this past January. My hope was to apply this cycle to matriculate in 2016, but the pre-medical advisor at my school informed me that I would not currently be a competitive applicant. She cited my long military service, age, and lack of science background and clinical experience as reasons I should not apply.

I am eager to begin the next phase of my life (I am married with children), so I am looking for other opinions about my chances now and in the future. Here is an executive summary of my application:

Age: 31
cGPA: 3.72
sGPA: 3.94
Major: Business Information Technology
MCAT: 37 (14/12/11)
EC Summary:
-CPO in the US Navy; 8 years service total, including 6 years as a SEAL.
-Over 2000 hours of local community service, mostly serving as a mentor for troubled youth.
-90 hours physician shadowing.

I have tried to obtain clinical experience by volunteering at the local hospitals and health clinics, but there are many pre-med students in the area, and apparently a long waiting list. This upcoming year I will be doing research for Ulcerative Colitis, and also working full-time as a restaurant manager (to continue supporting my family).

My greatest ambition is to become a physician, and I believe any accredited medical school in the United States will provide a thorough and opportunistic education. Given my current application, would I have a reasonable chance at any of these schools (MD or DO)? If not, I am eager for any additional advice on how I can potentially improve my application for next cycle. Thank you for your time.
 

Goro

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I surmise that woeful ignorance is not enough, but that the advisor was anti-military. F' her.

I don't understand why someone would cite long military service as a reason to not apply.

Anyways, your app sounds legit, enjoy need school next fall.
 
Aug 26, 2013
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I'll try to keep this as short as possible.

My military contract ended two years ago, and since then I have embarked on a journey in pursuit of medicine. I started with a "do-it-yourself" postbacc at my undergraduate institution to obtain the necessary pre-requisites, and I took the MCAT this past January. My hope was to apply this cycle to matriculate in 2016, but the pre-medical advisor at my school informed me that I would not currently be a competitive applicant. She cited my long military service, age, and lack of science background and clinical experience as reasons I should not apply.

I am eager to begin the next phase of my life (I am married with children), so I am looking for other opinions about my chances now and in the future. Here is an executive summary of my application:

Age: 31
cGPA: 3.72
sGPA: 3.94
Major: Business Information Technology
MCAT: 37 (14/12/11)
EC Summary:
-CPO in the US Navy; 8 years service total, including 6 years as a SEAL.
-Over 2000 hours of local community service, mostly serving as a mentor for troubled youth.
-90 hours physician shadowing.

I have tried to obtain clinical experience by volunteering at the local hospitals and health clinics, but there are many pre-med students in the area, and apparently a long waiting list. This upcoming year I will be doing research for Ulcerative Colitis, and also working full-time as a restaurant manager (to continue supporting my family).

My greatest ambition is to become a physician, and I believe any accredited medical school in the United States will provide a thorough and opportunistic education. Given my current application, would I have a reasonable chance at any of these schools (MD or DO)? If not, I am eager for any additional advice on how I can potentially improve my application for next cycle. Thank you for your time.
Advisors infuriate me, especially when dealing with nontrads with these types of backgrounds. My God man you are basically a shoe in assuming you can carry on a half way decent conversation with someone and articulate why medicine.

As others have said, apply! And thank you for service!
 
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A53

Aug 26, 2015
10
24
Status
Medical Student
Hi folks; I am humbled and grateful for all the positive feedback. I made the decision to submit my AMCAS application today to be verified, and I will certainly check back in to update on the process. Thank you all again, and best of luck in your own endeavors.
 

Goro

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Next task, show us your list!

Hi folks; I am humbled and grateful for all the positive feedback. I made the decision to submit my AMCAS application today to be verified, and I will certainly check back in to update on the process. Thank you all again, and best of luck in your own endeavors.
 

Goro

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Affiche

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Don't tell me you're jealous!

I am a big fan of service members.
Not yet. A53 seems less helpless than me and has that genuine I-have-no-idea-how-effing-amazing-I-am thing going on. I understand the attraction.

@A53 I'm the daughter of a Marine...many thanks for your service and sacrifices! Wishing you all the best in your application cycle!
 
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GrapesofRath

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May 5, 2015
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I'll try to keep this as short as possible.

My military contract ended two years ago, and since then I have embarked on a journey in pursuit of medicine. I started with a "do-it-yourself" postbacc at my undergraduate institution to obtain the necessary pre-requisites, and I took the MCAT this past January. My hope was to apply this cycle to matriculate in 2016, but the pre-medical advisor at my school informed me that I would not currently be a competitive applicant. She cited my long military service, age, and lack of science background and clinical experience as reasons I should not apply.

I am eager to begin the next phase of my life (I am married with children), so I am looking for other opinions about my chances now and in the future. Here is an executive summary of my application:

Age: 31
cGPA: 3.72
sGPA: 3.94
Major: Business Information Technology
MCAT: 37 (14/12/11)
EC Summary:
-CPO in the US Navy; 8 years service total, including 6 years as a SEAL.
-Over 2000 hours of local community service, mostly serving as a mentor for troubled youth.
-90 hours physician shadowing.

I have tried to obtain clinical experience by volunteering at the local hospitals and health clinics, but there are many pre-med students in the area, and apparently a long waiting list. This upcoming year I will be doing research for Ulcerative Colitis, and also working full-time as a restaurant manager (to continue supporting my family).

My greatest ambition is to become a physician, and I believe any accredited medical school in the United States will provide a thorough and opportunistic education. Given my current application, would I have a reasonable chance at any of these schools (MD or DO)? If not, I am eager for any additional advice on how I can potentially improve my application for next cycle. Thank you for your time.
Amazing stuff in the bold. Just amazing that someone who's job is to advise people to get into medical school would tell you that your military service will prevent you from getting into medical school when in fact it is perhaps the biggest boost you could possibly get from an EC. Just incredible stuff, really....just incredible.
 

Goro

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Gawd, Grapo, don't get me started foaming at the mouth again!


Amazing stuff in the bold. Just amazing that someone who's job is to advise people to get into medical school would tell you that your military service will prevent you from getting into medical school when in fact it is perhaps the biggest boost you could possibly get from an EC. Just incredible stuff, really....just incredible.
 
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caffeinemia

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I'll try to keep this as short as possible.

My military contract ended two years ago, and since then I have embarked on a journey in pursuit of medicine. I started with a "do-it-yourself" postbacc at my undergraduate institution to obtain the necessary pre-requisites, and I took the MCAT this past January. My hope was to apply this cycle to matriculate in 2016, but the pre-medical advisor at my school informed me that I would not currently be a competitive applicant. She cited my long military service, age, and lack of science background and clinical experience as reasons I should not apply.

I am eager to begin the next phase of my life (I am married with children), so I am looking for other opinions about my chances now and in the future. Here is an executive summary of my application:

Age: 31
cGPA: 3.72
sGPA: 3.94
Major: Business Information Technology
MCAT: 37 (14/12/11)
EC Summary:
-CPO in the US Navy; 8 years service total, including 6 years as a SEAL.
-Over 2000 hours of local community service, mostly serving as a mentor for troubled youth.
-90 hours physician shadowing.

I have tried to obtain clinical experience by volunteering at the local hospitals and health clinics, but there are many pre-med students in the area, and apparently a long waiting list. This upcoming year I will be doing research for Ulcerative Colitis, and also working full-time as a restaurant manager (to continue supporting my family).

My greatest ambition is to become a physician, and I believe any accredited medical school in the United States will provide a thorough and opportunistic education. Given my current application, would I have a reasonable chance at any of these schools (MD or DO)? If not, I am eager for any additional advice on how I can potentially improve my application for next cycle. Thank you for your time.
Your premed advisor is an utter ******. LizzyM is correct. You are the type of candidate that many schools are in fact looking for -- a little more grounded and with more worldly experience than the typical medical school applicant fresh out of college. Good luck!
 

MrLogan13

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Your advisor gave you some really bad advice. Your advisor is nuts. Your stats are good, and your military service is a plus. I am a former Army medic and it was a positive talking point at all my interviews. Good luck on your cycle. Let us know what happens.
 
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Cpt.Zissou

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Hi folks; I am humbled and grateful for all the positive feedback. I made the decision to submit my AMCAS application today to be verified, and I will certainly check back in to update on the process. Thank you all again, and best of luck in your own endeavors.

I was under the impression he changed his mind.
 

somsoup

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May 22, 2015
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You're an inspiration! You're getting some great advice here. SDN is the reason I decided applying was even worth a shot and I was happy with the results, even though some of the advice I was given told me to search elsewhere. If I'm not mistaken, there are some schools whose deadlines for submissions are in October? If you can focus on those first, I think you can slip your app in the stack in time and have a positive outcome. Please keep us posted and thank you for your hard work!
 

gonnif

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I have know many former and current nontrad service members successfully make it into medical school, including:

**a former SEAL who is now a surgeon who can both cure you and kill you with a knife.
**west point graduate who is now a neurologist and a major in the Air Force
**retire command surgeon of the Army who started as an enlisted medic
**several former Navy pilots; seems UCSD almost always 1 in their class
**Chief Academic Officer of AAMC was a Special Forces for 8 years and eventually became med school dean
**Lastly, one of the founder of SDN is now full time army and has done I believe 4 combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan

These are just a few examples, Really the list is very long, I have never had anyone ever find their service a problem. It has almost always been a big plus.
 
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A53

Aug 26, 2015
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Medical Student
Hi folks, sorry it took so long to update on the process. I applied to a limited number of schools (12 in total), and received an offer to interview at 9 of them. Unfortunately, due to money constraints, I was only able to attend 5 -- but I was offered the opportunity to matriculate at all 5. I met some amazing people during this process; I was surprised to find many former servicemen as faculty at many of the schools. The medical community truly epitomizes excellence and I am proud to have the opportunity to be a part of it.

I'm not sure of the etiquette on disclosing the school I'll be attending, but it's one of our public state schools (Florida).
 

LizzyM

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Hi folks, sorry it took so long to update on the process. I applied to a limited number of schools (12 in total), and received an offer to interview at 9 of them. Unfortunately, due to money constraints, I was only able to attend 5 -- but I was offered the opportunity to matriculate at all 5. I met some amazing people during this process; I was surprised to find many former servicemen as faculty at many of the schools. The medical community truly epitomizes excellence and I am proud to have the opportunity to be a part of it.

I'm not sure of the etiquette on disclosing the school I'll be attending, but it's one of our public state schools (Florida).
:highfive: very happy for you. Thank you for coming back to update us on your cycle. Very glad that you applied this cycle. If I were in your shoes, I'd have a very hard time not rubbing the pre-med advisor's nose in it.
 

xffan624

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Hi folks, sorry it took so long to update on the process. I applied to a limited number of schools (12 in total), and received an offer to interview at 9 of them. Unfortunately, due to money constraints, I was only able to attend 5 -- but I was offered the opportunity to matriculate at all 5. I met some amazing people during this process; I was surprised to find many former servicemen as faculty at many of the schools. The medical community truly epitomizes excellence and I am proud to have the opportunity to be a part of it.

I'm not sure of the etiquette on disclosing the school I'll be attending, but it's one of our public state schools (Florida).
Congrats! The state of Florida is lucky to have you. Hope you ended up at my school. As I'm sure you're aware, the start of medical school is only the beginning of the journey, not the end. The best(and worst) is yet to come. :)

I think this thread is a true example of an SDN success story. Applicant was given some advice that was not in his best interest by pre-med advisor and then sought a second opinion on SDN and was able to enter medical school when he intended to.
 
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Aug 6, 2011
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Hi folks, sorry it took so long to update on the process. I applied to a limited number of schools (12 in total), and received an offer to interview at 9 of them. Unfortunately, due to money constraints, I was only able to attend 5 -- but I was offered the opportunity to matriculate at all 5. I met some amazing people during this process; I was surprised to find many former servicemen as faculty at many of the schools. The medical community truly epitomizes excellence and I am proud to have the opportunity to be a part of it.

I'm not sure of the etiquette on disclosing the school I'll be attending, but it's one of our public state schools (Florida).
So happy to hear this! congrats!