Illinois Medical School Admissions Seminar

Tomorrow I am going to the IMSAS at CCOM. All the Illinois medical schools will have admissions reps there to promote the schools and there will be various seminars on the medical school process. I will write more on Sunday for those interested in Illinois med schools.

I attended the Illinois Medical School Admissions Seminar at CCOM on Saturday. CCOM has a very nice campus in a lovely part of Downer’s Grove/Oak Brook, IL. The day started with an introduction by CCOM, then a presentation on the AMCAS process by Steven Fitzpatrick, AMCAS reporesentative, with a Q/A session(45 minutes), followed by an introduction and Q/A session with medical students from CCOM, Loyola, Rush (Non Trad), Northwestern (MD/PhD), and UIC (45 minutes). After the lunch break, there was time to attend 2 afternoon seminars, each lasting 1 hour. You could chose 2 of the following to attend:

1. Applying to Medical School (The Basics)

2. Beyond GPAs and MCAT scores: Characteristics Sought After in Tomorrow’s Physicians

3. Choosing a Medical School

4. Financing a Medical Education

5. How to Write an Effective Personal Statement

6. Interviewing Effectively

7. Information for Non-Traditional Applicants (offered in the 2nd hour only)

I chose to attend the seminars on how to write a personal statment (presented by Mr. David Owen, Pritzker) and info for non-trads (by Jorge Girotti, UIC). The lectures were excellent and each lasted approximately 30 minutes, followed by a 25-minute Q/A session. While it was nice to hear information pertaining to these topics, the material was presented clearly from the aspect of each school.

After the hourly presentations, each school represented had an information booth set up, as well as AMCAS.

Schools that were present:








SIU did not attend. They have a new admissions coordinator that was not aware of the seminar, or at least that’s what the IMSAS coordinator told me.

All in all, it was a very informative day. As far as information for non-trads, all of the schools were incredibly supportive and interested in my background when I introduced myself. Specific information gleaned from the non-trad seminar were:

1. CC courses are ok to take. This does not mean CC courses are held absolutely equivalent with 4-year counterparts, but that the Illinois schools view the MCAT as the great equalizer. The example was given that if you take CC bio, chem, physics, and orgo and do well on the MCAT, it’s definitely going to look better than if you take all those courses at a 4-year insitution and perform mediocre. So, for those of you interested in Illinois schools who want to take CC courses, go for it, but be sure to be diligent and do well, and understand the MCAT information provided by AMCAS.

2. There is no preferred major. You probably already knew this. It was explained that you are going to review every bit of medical-related science information from your undergrad the first 4 weeks of med school. Med schools would like to see you develop your interests and expand your knowledge. This DOESN’T mean don’t take upper-level science courses, but means don’t bury yourself in science-only or pre-req-only courses.

3. There is no different attrition rate for non-trads vs. trads (well, at least at UIC).

4. The non-traditional title includes people UNDER 22 or OVER 27 applying for med school, married or living financially independently and those with non-science majors. There are some other factors, but I can’t remember. These stick out in my head. Being female does not allow for non-traditional status anymore because schools now have pretty equal enrollment for men vs. women. In fact, one school expects to have a 60/40 ratio of women/men in the next 5-10 years (I think UIC).

Other factoids I picked up from seminars or Q/A sessions:

1. A 3.3 GPA is considered competetive (with good MCAT) at Illinois schools (per the student Q/A session)

2. Graduate work is a significant consideration, as is being gainfully employed (most of us non-trads). You don’t necessarily have to hold down 12 hours of school a semester at the same time, but if you have been working full-time, the schools want to know how you “made a difference” at your job.

3. Clinical exposure. Yes, they definitely want to see it. You don’t have to fight your way into the ER, but finding SOME way to understand how medical jobs work and how patient contact is is crucial.

4. Volunteering: Doesn’t necessarily have to be medical, but should be important to you.

This ends my summary of my day at IMSAS. I would love to write more, but I’ve been prepping and painting my laundry room today as well as fighting the snow, and I’m hungry now.

If you have any specific questions, post them for everyone to see and I’d be happy to respond.

OH - for you out-of-staters applying to Illinois schools - All take a significant amount of applicants from Illinois (for obvious reasons), but the only school you WON’T have a shot at is SIU, so if you are worried about that, don’t be.

UIC (the other state school) takes 20% (25 students)from out of Illinois.


I almost forgot!!! I met up with a fellow OPMer and SDNer jlw9698 at the fair, and we had a blast!

I MUST be tired if I forgot to mention that!

awww… I just now read this- thanks, Megboo! we DID have a blast!
I may have missed it in your notes, but I just wanted to add that both Megboo and I had some questions about how to get letters of reference, given our employment situations (self-employed). UIC gave us some great ideas about how to think outside the strict “academic” and “supervisor” categories. I think we both have some fresh ideas now about who we can ask to help us out. if anyone else is in a similar situation, I definitely suggest asking an admissions counselor for help in being creative with this!

As always, Megboo, you are the best Gal in here.