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Laundry On Sundaes

Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.

So it’s been about a month since my last update about my progress on dental school applications, and there have definitely been some exciting new developments!

Last time I wrote, I had just finished my first interview at NYU and anticipating what I thought would be my second interview at UOP. Well, two things have happened since then. Near the end of October, I got a call from Harvard for an interview! Of course I was unbelievably excited about this opportunity, and I scheduled it for December 13. I know it’s after Dec. 3, when the first batch of decisions come out, but apparently Harvard does things very slowly. There was a very long supplemental questionnaire that was only sent to people who are invited for interviews. And they also needed my high school transcript. And there will be two 45-minute faculty interviews. You can already see that things are very much serious at Harvard, as expected haha. Anyway, so I filled out the questionnaire, booked my flights, arranged my stay, and since it was to be after my UOP interview, I put it to the back of my mind.

As I was preparing for my UOP interview the week before it, I received a call from UCSF. Someone had cancelled their interview appointment and a spot had opened up. For the very next day. Of course I couldn’t say no to that! I had given up hope on UCSF at that point and this was a great surprise! I’m pretty sure this was the shortest notice ever for an interview at 18 hours. Thank goodness I live close by. So I spent the night preparing for the interview that I thought would never come. What I thought would be my second interview at UOP suddenly turned into my third one.

So now I’ve interviewed at both UCSF and UOP, let me talk a little bit about both. I really enjoyed my UCSF interview. The admissions staff were super friendly and funny and made the day a lot less stressful. We sat through a couple of presentations in the morning, then went off for a tour of the campus. The facilities were awesome and I really liked the atmosphere of the place. UCSF is situated pretty high up and there are many little spots on campus with amazing views of the city. There is this room in the library that has windows on three sides, with views of the ocean on one side, the Golden Gate Bridge on another, and downtown SF on the third. Everyone on the tour started taking pictures (I only had my crappy phone camera so I won’t share the photos).

After the tour, We had lunch with some dental students, before doing our interviews. There were 2 short interviews, one with a current student and one with a faculty member, and both are to be weighted equally. Another thing that is different about the UCSF interviews is that they’re closed file, which means that neither of my interviewers had read my application. I was a little bit nervous about this, but I really didn’t need to be. I had my student interview first. My interviewer was really really nice and we just had a conversation. I even showed her my art portfolio that I brought to all my interviews but never had the chance to show anyone before this. I think she definitely liked me and hopefully rated me well. My faculty interview also went pretty well. The professor was friendly and we had a nice chat together.

After the interview, there was the dreaded writing sample. We were given 30 minutes to write a page about a quote. I think I did okay on it, who knows. After that there was a financial aid presentation (which doesn’t really affect me since as an international student, my only option is private loans) and we were done. My overall impression of UCSF was very positive. I liked the school much more than I had expected. Some things I really like about it: P/F grading, friendly environment, small class size (88), lots of opportunities for everything, great facilities, and it just seemed like a very balanced school in every way. I hope I get good news from them come Dec. 3!

My UOP interview was earlier this week. One of the good things about it was that it started much later at 10:30! It was a pretty small interview group, only around 10 people, which was nice. We sat through some presentations and then half the group went to do their interviews and the other half did the tour of the school. I had my tour first, but I would have preferred to have my interviews first so I can relax after. The tour group was only 4 people, which was great because I got to ask a lot of questions to our tour guide, a second year student. After the tour, we had lunch in the cafeteria with some current students, and then it was interview time.

There was also 2 interviews, one short student interview and one longer faculty interview. My student interview was very casual and relaxed. In fact, most of the time my interviewer talked and asked me if I had any questions about the school. It was more of an opportunity for me to learn more about the school rather than for her to learn about me, which was fine with me. Then my faculty interview was a lot more intense and serious, which I had not expected. I got some pretty difficult questions! But I think I did okay in the end and my interviewer did say that he would love to see me at UOP in July.

The exciting thing about UOP is that the school will be moving to a new building in the summer of 2014. So if I end up there, I will spend 1 year in the old building in Pacific Heights and 2 years in the new one downtown. I got to see some floor plans and artist’s renderings of the new building and it looks beautiful. It would be really nice to use the new clinics and everything. So again, hope I get good news on Dec. 3!

I started this post a couple of days ago, and believe it or not, since then there has been one more new development. This afternoon I received a large envelope from U Penn inviting me for an interview! I haven’t called yet to schedule but it will probably be in January, if I go. It makes it a little tricky since it’ll be after I hear back from NYU, UCSF, and UOP. Anyway, I feel very blessed to get an invite from Penn. That leaves only my home institution of Columbia that hasn’t sent me an invite yet… no love from the Alma Mater!

Anyway, I can’t believe it’s just over 2 weeks until I hear back from the schools I’ve interviewed at. It’s been a long process and I can’t wait for it to be over. Will keep you guys updated!

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