Makomed's Weblog

Letters to Medical School, Part II: Johns Hopkins

Posted on: May 12, 2007

Uh-oh. Johns Hopkins Medical School may not take me. Number one, they don’t accept people without a bachelor’s degree (this admissions guy thought I did, even though my letter said otherwise). It’s a tradition. And, I haven’t been as consistent with my classes as I should be because I have been sidetracked with trying to earn a living, working a full-time job.

Johns Hopkins University has an immense history. Johns Hopkins was an early abolitionist who interrupted his formal education to work in his family’s tobacco fields after his family freed their slaves. He supported Abraham Lincoln and the Union. He donated $7 million dollars (that’s like a gabillion zillion dollars back then) to found the Johns Hopkins Hospital and University. It was the largest philanthropic contribution of his time. Now it’s regarded as one of the nation’s premiere medical institutions. “The Big Four” elite team of medical researchers, William H. Welch, William Osler, William Stewart Halsted, and Howard Kelly, were recruited to come to the University and did some tremendous work that still influences people today. Some of the many many things that have been discovered there by modern medical researchers have saved my Mom’s life: two widely used medical treatments (COX-2 inhibitors & calcium channel blockers) make sure that my Mom’s severely high blood pressure is controlled. They also spearheaded the concept of the ICU, which nursed my Mom to health after getting her stroke.

Oh well. I admire JH, but I’ve taken a course there before, when my old boss wanted me to cultivate my research skills. I stayed in a nice part of downtown Baltimore, in close proximity to the bay and the old electric warehouse that was revamped into a neat Barnes & Noble bookstore, ESPN Sports Bar, and Hard Rock Cafe. I took the subway for 5 minutes which took me straight to the University. I took classes at the JH School of Public Health, and the School of Nursing (which is biased because the boy’s bathroom is located on the top floor!). But the city itself was gloomy as all hell. This may be the California side of me talking, but the weather made me want to jump off my hotel room and slam my sorry carcass into the hard slab of concrete below. The University wasn’t any different, either. There is a grip of black students and staff and I like that because it reminds me of high school, but this crop seemed different. Maybe it was because the people I am used to (not just blacks) are cheerful and jolly and somehow the people I ran into were nice, but awfully quiet and introspective. Maybe they were just focused. I think the east coast weather tends to keep people introverted and focused on their schoolwork because they are stuck inside all the time.

Maybe I’m just the fox, pretending to be indifferent about sour grapes that he can’t reach. Irregardless, here’s the letter:

Johns Hopkins Medical Building

Dear Mr. MakoMed,

Thank you for your inquiry about the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

I will respond to the easier questions first.

We do not discriminate against anyone. Age, is not a factor that we take into consideration. We do not have a preference for one’s major in college nor one’s career path prior to submission of their application to our medical school.

Regarding completion of all of your premedical requirements on the community college level. This gets tricky here. The concept of the community college was to serve as a transition between high school and attending a four year college/university. You have completed a bachelor’s degree in a four year institution and have chosen to “go back” to the community college level to complete your premedical requirements. Most medical schools would prefer to see that an applicant is able to obtain the bulk of the premedical requirements on a full-time basis at preferably a four year institution. We need to see that an applicant can handle a full-time science curriculum with a B+ or better. In the meantime, do you have a premedical advisor that can assist you in the application process? Rarely, will you be able to find a premedical advisor on the community college level because applicants to medical school do not come from community colleges into medical school. They come from four year colleges where there is an advisor who will assist you in putting together your letters of recommendation, and assist you in the selection of medical schools you may apply to.

Unfortunately, we do not have advisors/counselors who will be able to assist you in the admissions process.

You may go to our website http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/admissions to learn more about the requirements for our medical school. You may also want to obtain the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) handbook from the Association of American Medical Colleges, http://www.aamc.org. The handbook has a wealth o information about applying to medical school.

Your sciences courses should have labs, including your physics courses. You will need 8 semester hours ( 1 year) plus labs in physics.

Best wishes in your endeavor to become a physician.

The Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine
Office of Admission
733 N. Broadway, Suite G49
Baltimore, MD 21205
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/admissions

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