I am an experienced freelance writer with over 300 published articles and blog posts who also happens to be currently in the middle of the medical school interview process. As such, I took the MCAT within the last year. This was actually not the first time that I took the exam, and I'd love to share with fellow MCAT-takers what I learned from my "mistake" MCAT (compared with my last MCAT). During college I worked as an academic tutor and lab TA, both experiences that allowed me to spend many hours encouraging and coaching students as they studied and faced the pressures of looming exams. I would enjoy writing for the KAPLAN MCAT blog as it would provide me with a way to share my test-taking experiences with others and hopefully help them avoid any of the mistakes that I first made.
Washington University Medical School can boast of being one of the most prestigious medical schools in the United States today. Located in the heart of St. Louis, Missouri, this campus finds itself in the middle of one of the biggest cities of the American Midwest. While applicants used to enjoying coastal beaches might feel wary of moving to a land-locked state, students at WashU happily declare that their city provides them with more than ample entertainment opportunities.
The Basic Stats
There are 121 students matriculating per year.
While many programs excel here, Washington University Medical School is particularly well known for its stellar research programs.
Tuition costs $52,020 for full-time students.
Average salary after graduation varies extremely, as it is dependent on medical specialties.
Washington University can boast of having a significantly higher than average match outcome for its students; however, according to the program's official website, some graduates of this school still decide not to pursue a residency immediately following graduation
The most popular residency and specialty programs for the classes of 2011 and 2012 include anesthesiology, emergency medicine, internal medicine, and general surgery.
Average entrance scores are as follows: GPA=3.83, MCAT= VR11.1, PS12.9, BS12.5
Not only can Washington University boast of being a top-ranked medical school with a world-renowned research program, but it can also toot its horn for being a very diverse campus. In fact, the student-submitted list of self-reported talents for first-year students includes impressive items like "make awesome paper airplanes," "use Microsoft Excel like a beast," and "tell the difference between butter and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter." Clearly, this medical school is filled with some very talented students!
As with any medical school, the workload of students at WashU is pretty grueling. However, students still seem to find enough time to enjoy their location on the map, and the Student Perspectives section of the official website lends an idea of how current medical students might spend their time. Specifically speaking, students praise the city of St. Louis for being cheap, accessible, and humble, a place where "beer is cheaper than water." For the sports enthusiast, this campus's city is ideal, as it is home to the Cardinals, Rams, and Blues.
Popular restaurants include Cunetto House of Pasta (reputed to be the perfect option for anyone looking to invest in a meal big enough to provide them with leftovers), Kampai Sushi Bar (said to be ideal for a post-exam celebration meal), and Blueberry Hill (open till midnight). Students who prefer spending time outdoors report that hiking along the Lewis and Clark Trail or biking on the lengthy Katy Trail are perfect ideas for long weekends. Exploring Forest Park—an area larger than New York City's Central Park—may be the ideal mid-week getaway. Of course, investing in a good bug repellent is recommended for any outdoor activities. Impressive parks are also spread out through the city, providing perfectly affordable group gathering or exercising sites.
On the Map
Located in the weather-moody Midwest, this campus calls St. Louis, Missouri its home. For the Midwest native, the "hot one day, freezing cold the next" weather pattern will seem pretty normal, but if you're from outside the region, the temperature fluctuations of St. Louis will take you by surprise. Additionally, the humidity and strong storms that are fairly typical for the spring/summer months will also be a new challenge for newcomers to St. Louis—particularly for those with frizz-prone hair.
This campus is definitely right within the heart of the city, and no other word than "urban" could best describe it. As far as the lay-of-the-land goes, St. Louis may look relatively flat to the average observer, but any runner of the annual St. Louis Marathon, held each year in April, will tell you otherwise.
Washington University provides more than ample advisors for its students. First-year students are matched with academic advisors who meet with them and others in group settings, while third-year students are given the opportunity to select advisors specific to the residency programs they are most interested in. Academic societies, Big Sibling programs, and a diversity-specific advisory program also round out the guidance opportunities that WashU has to offer. Since post-graduation activities for most medical school students equate to entering into residencies and specialty programs, the bulk of academic advising for students is provided prior to graduation and is geared toward ensuring that students get accepted into a quality residency program.
Overall, Washington University School of Medicine is a school well-loved by its students, despite being in an area more well-known for its thunderstorms and deer ticks than its beaches. While medical students aren't exactly well-known for having copious amounts of free time, the students of WashU seem to still find time to balance their studies with enjoying all that the city of St. Louis has to offer (while also enjoying the company of their fellow classmates, of course).
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