It was not an easy decision, applying to an off shore school. I went through two application cycles with traditional schools. I was even invited to interview at University of Colorado. However, after two years, upwards of thirty schools and spending an absurd amount of money, I was very sweetly informed by one of my interviewers that I just didn’t quite fit the mold. To be fair, he was not quite that blunt. Rather, he expressed that I was a little older than they generally look for (I was 28), and that while my grades, scores, experience, and letters made me a great candidate for an interview, they would likely not gain me an acceptance. Great. It is fully my opinion that traditional schools care more about their stats than educating really well rounded, patient focused physicians….buuuut this is not my soap box.
So, with encouragement from my mom and my hubby, I started researching off shore schools. I had previously applied to and been accepted Trinity School of Medicine and was wonderfully impressed with their response times, kindness, and help. However, reaching the island takes 3 planes and we were informed during our honey moon on St. Lucia and on that particular island, there “are more goats than people”. So after a bit more research, I decided I would apply to St. Matthew’s School of Medicine. The application process was relatively easy. The online application is easily accessible and strait forward. I filled it out, forwarded my MCAT scores, transcripts, and letters as instructed. The application fee is a reasonable $75 which I paid; and then I waited….and waited….and waited…and waited…
I applied for the January semester in April, thinking that would allow me enough time to plan, which would seem necessary when uprooting my entire life to move to a different country. In June, I was offered a promotion at work. I reached out to the school to see if there was any progress with my application so that I could avoid completely screwing over the team by taking the promotion and included training and leaving a couple of months later. I did not hear back.
I accepted the aforementioned promotion and spent the entire month of August in Verona, Wisconsin (ironic that Don was head hunted to come to Wisconsin a few months later), training for the new position. Lucky for me, my darling mom was not ready to let me give up my dreams just yet. I am quite certain that my determination came directly from her and that she used said determination to call every number she could possibly find for St. Matthews until she got a hold of someone. After that, my account started updating with what they had received, I was contacted by the director of admissions and interviewed via Skype the next week.
Adriana (the director) informed me that they were working on other semesters which is why I had not heard anything back. I explained that I would prefer to switch to the May semester since I had agreed to stay on until the end of the project at work due to the lack of response from the school. She was amenable to that and we discussed what she still needed from me. Adriana apparently did not have my MCAT scores. I told her I sent them in (electronically from the MCAT site) and she said she would look other places. We ended the interview and I felt pretty good about it.
The following week, I received an email from Adriana stating that they did not have my MCAT scores. I re-sent them from the AMCAS website and while later she told me she had them. A month or so later, I was sent an acceptance letter via email…..for the January semester as well as a phone call from Adriana congratulating me for my January acceptance. I called and e-mailed her to be sure that she actually had me down for the May semester. She apologized and agreedand sent me a letter that contained the word May but all of the dates were still for the January semester. Weird but whatever.
Don and I decided to send in the intention to attend form and seat deposit in December. We wanted to save a bit before handing over the $500, so I emailed Adriana and asked when the deadline was for me to send it in. She said it was too later for the January semester (are we serious right now??), the deadline for that was in November. After gently reminding her that I was attending in May, she said I should submit it ASAP.
Now, as you can well imagine, I was a little anxious about sending $500 to this school as the person I was working with seemed to be more than a little scattered. However, in my constant quest to be a better person, I chalked it up to her being overwhelmed and placed some of the blame on myself for having made changes. I paid the seat deposit and I WAS IN.