When applying to med schools, I very much expected to end up at one of the six schools in my home state. Wash U was barely on my radar, only tagged onto my primary application list at the last minute. Before I visited, I hardly knew anything about the school other than that it was well ranked. So why Wash U? Between my interview day and second look weekend, I was able to catch a glimpse of the sense of community that’s so pervasive within the student body and the faculty at the school. Dozens of current students and faculty members participated in second look events, enthusiastic about meeting prospective students and talking about why they loved the school. Not only did the students seem to have good relationships with each other, but with their faculty as well. This atmosphere may be impossible to factor into any sort of ranking, but is an essential consideration when deciding about schools and has been a crucial part of my happiness here. The class is filled with people always willing to socialize as well as built-in study buddies. Faculty are approachable and genuinely care about students’ experiences with their courses. If I email a Wash U physician about shadowing or potential research interest, chances are I’ll get a response within the hour. So why Wash U? The school is a unique blend strong academic opportunities and Midwestern friendliness that can easily feel like home.