Second Look Returns to WashU

Second Look Weekend (SLW)(Apr 8-9) returned as a live event for the first time since 2019 as over 170 accepted MD and MD/PhD intending applicants came to St. Louis. Notwithstanding the event’s traditional name, for many attendees, it was their first time visiting our city. Fortunately, the weather largely cooperated and spring colors were out in force. The goal of SLW is to provide abundant time for accepted applicants to talk to current students and learn about student life, get a feel for the medical school, and get to know their future classmates.

Positioned adjacent (on April 7-8) to SLW was WashU Welcome for accepted applicants from populations considered underrepresented in medicine, to provide opportunities to learn more about the medical school from a student of color’s perspective. The Welcome agenda began with a dinner Thursday evening at the home of Alumni Endowed Professor Will Ross, Associate Dean for Diversity. Leadership from the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) and Student National Medical Association (SNMA) presented Friday morning, as did the M1 class president, Isa Gomes. Admissions Dean Valerie Ratts extended a welcome. Following a student panel, hospital tours were provided by faculty members and trainees. Reflecting on the attendee experience, Ross shared:

“While most of our applicants interviewed virtually and had not yet seen the campus, the Washington University Second Look Weekend had all the feel of a homecoming. The warmth, the smiles, the collegiality were ubiquitous. The applicants recognized what a people-focused and caring environment they would find themselves in as future medical students here. This may have been their first visit on campus, but they arrived knowing who we are:  Washington University in St. Louis, for St. Louis, with St. Louis.”

Similarly, the Medical Scientist Training Program began programming for recruits on April 7—via its MSTP Revisitfor prospective trainees. MSTP Revisit launched with a student-hosted dinner on Thursday at the Moonrise Hotel. Then candidates and current students spent the evening exploring the city. On Friday, a panel focused on the MSTP student experience, and candidates participated in a lunch with graduating students and MSTP alumni, one-on-one meetings with faculty, and a campus tour, including seeing laboratory spaces and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The Revisit included a Sunday portion too, which featured a Central West End neighborhood tour and MSTP student apartments. Dr. Clarissa Craft, Assistant Director of MSTP, commented:

“Hosting MSTP Revisit in person was absolutely the best choice for our program.  All MSTP Revisit events were led by MSTP students and alumni, allowing candidates to gain firsthand knowledge of our program’s operations and the MSTP student experience. Our exit survey revealed that the majority of the respondents had never before visited Saint Louis and 95% left ‘extremely satisfied’ with MSTP Revisit”.

One candidate wrote:

“I really appreciate how WashU’s MSTP revisit allowed the people to speak for itself: applicants to applicants, faculty and current students, and alum. These conversations and interactions were not as present on Zoom and made me so happy to be on this Revisit. Even after going to WashU undergrad, I found myself energized and excited about a potential future at WashU.”

Those who attended WashU Welcome or MSTP Revisit folded into the SLW agenda beginning Friday afternoon. Highlights from Friday of SLW included optional campus walking tours, the opportunity to meet student organizational leaders in small group settings, a mock team-based learning class, an evening reception in the beautiful EPNEC Atrium space, and, for a bit of levity, trivia (led by first-year students). First-year MD student Brendan Navarro led the student group that organized the trivia session. He said:

“We knew the prospective students would be an intelligent group with a wide range of experiences, so we had to make the questions pretty tough. They did a great job working in teams and enjoyed getting to know some potential future classmates. Overall, it was a fun and collaborative environment with good competition down to the very end!”

Saturday led off with a symposium featuring Deans Perlmutter, Aagaard, Ratts, Ross, and Zehnder (this part of the SLW agenda was available online for 29 individuals who could not visit in person). Student activities were again on stage, with a “rapid fire” presentation and an organizational fair in the FLTC.  Following lunch, visitors had several choices to “Explore St. Louis” with afternoon trips to Anheuser-Busch, City Museum, the Gateway Arch, the Art Museum and the Saint Louis Zoo. Saturday concluded with a reception and dinner at La Verona at the Marketplace, on the Hill. The reception was enlivened by a WashU-themed cup-stacking display created by second-year medical student Elijah Farrales. Friday night’s winning trivia team was invited to initiate the dismantling of this ephemeral sculpture. You might enjoy a video clip from that moment. When thinking back on the weekend, M1 class president, Isa Gomes commented:

“Second Look Weekend at WashU was much more than a preview for admitted students—it was a beautiful, heartwarming opportunity for current WUSM students in all class years to show exactly what they love about this institution, our incredible faculty, and this city we’ve come to call home.  Through events like campus tours, student group activities fairs, panels for URiM students, and  programming, including trips to the iconic St Louis Arch, the City Museum, and our city’s bustling nightlife, the student and faculty hosts of SLW got to showcase the best of WashU, and hopefully, inspire students of the incoming Class of 2022 to join our passionate medical school family.”