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Frustrated and Discouraged. Advice?

Discussion in 'Underrepresented in Healthcare' started by JGarza, Mar 2, 2010.

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  1. JGarza

    JGarza

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    Hi Guys

    So I'm applying for admission to med school this cycle and things have not been going well. Initially, I was very excited with the interviews I received (UCSF, UCSD, WashU, SLU, Duke, Mt. Sinai, Vandy, and GWU), but as of yet, I don't have a single acceptance, only waitlists.

    My numbers aren't very impressive (3.5, 35Q), but my ECs are very strong and the reason why I believe I've been getting these great interviews. I don't know what to do. As of right now, I'm waiting on hearing back from SLU, WashU, and Duke. I'm expecting a WL from WashU because their numbers are insane, and Duke could go either way it seems. SLU, no idea.

    I know you all by now are thinking I must not be interviewing well, but on multiple occasions, interviewers have told me that I'd be a "good fit" for the school. While I understand that interviewers often don't have a direct say in decisions, but rather only speak for the applicant to the AdCom, I feel that these comments indicate that I'm not blowing the interview or really presenting myself negatively.

    At this point, all I can really do is send updates/letters of interest to schools and a LOIntent to my top choice. I was included as second author in a pretty big journal and had my PI send an additional blurb about me to schools, so hopefully this will turn some heads. Is there anything else I can do? Should I contact my interviewers if schools didn't explicitly say I shouldn't? I guess I'm not really asking any real question here just venting. I knew I wasn't the most competitive applicant, but I did apply very broadly. It just so happens that the majority of the schools that have decided to interview me are super competitive, for better or worse. My only guess is that my GPA is coming back to haunt me during the final decision meetings, but to that I say, why invite me to begin with!?!? I feel so disappointed with myself and embarrassed whenever anyone asks me, "Sooooooo? Heard anything?" I'm tired of answering this question.

    Good luck to you all who are applying right now and congrats to all those accepted. I'm certainly very envious of you right now.
  2. faith2

    faith2

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    Your MCAT score is on fire. You still have time I am sure you will get into at least one school. I would send letters of interest ASAP. It can not hurt.:xf::xf:Good luck and keep your spirits up



  3. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers SDN Advisor

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    Stay strong. If you are waitlisted at a few schools and haven't yet heard from 3 more you are in a good place in early March. Here's what happens:

    at this time of year all the schools are chasing the same small pool of really excellent applicants.

    Imagine ten games of musical chairs each with 100 chairs and a total of 300players. At the signal (May 15) each player can sit in only one chair. Suddenly, most schools will find that they have empty chairs despite having made offers to three times as many applicants as they have seats. Although one school may have filled all the seats and in some cases they may have more offers accepted than they have seats (it happens rarely), most schools will go to the waitlist to fill a few seats or as many as a third of the seats in the class. Your turn with come but it may come in May or June.
  4. devilpup

    devilpup

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    The waiting game can be difficult, but cheer up, your stats are good. You'll likely be hearing from them very soon.

    If you are too anxious, try calling them for an update. The hard part is over. :luck:
  5. VOP

    VOP

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    you call a 35 on the mcat not impressive? man.
    and a waitlist isn't a death sentence, depending on the year alot of people can get off the waitlist.
  6. JGarza

    JGarza

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    Thanks faith. Yeah I sent letters to most of the schools already. My spirits are up, but it's hard man.

    I like your analogy :)

    I wish they would let u know our final status earlier. At this point, I feel like I should anticipate having to apply again next cycle, and I'm not quite sure what to do. I've volunteered, published with my research, shadowed, etc. I guess I could volunteer more or work in a different lab next year, but I just don't know what I could do to make a significant impact come June when I have to submit my primary again. I focused too much on my research that I don't really have much to add.

    Oh well. I suppose I'm fortunate that UCSF and Mt. Sinai generally have good outcomes for waitlisters. Thank you for your encouraging words. Hopefully when the music finally stops, I'll have my seat.

    Thanks for the advice. Should I call schools to inquire about an update? Does physically calling schools make some kind of impact?

    Well, I suppose my MCAT is fine, but my GPA is pretty sub par relative to SDN and national averages. And the MCAT doesn't really make up for a low GPA, right? During my last three years of college (I did a 5th year) I had a 3.7 average GPA, so I was hoping that would help, which it may of. We shall see.

    I just don't understand why I've been waitlisted everywhere. Even at the schools which the interviewer clearly liked me, someone on the AdCom couldn't be convinced to give me the green light.

    Well, I'll update you guys if I hear anything new. Thanks again for all of your encouraging remarks.

    :xf:
  7. bowzer

    bowzer

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    with those numbers you shouldn't be getting so many waitlists. there could be a weakness in the way you present yourself at the interviews. i had 20+ interview invites, only attended the first four and got accepted to all of them without being waitlisted. I think the interviews had something to do with it, i could be wrong though.

  8. JGarza

    JGarza

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    Perhaps. I'm definitely open to the idea, but that doesn't explain the waitlists from schools that gave me positive feedback after the interview.

    If you don't mind my asking, what is your cGPA and sGPA?
  9. dragonfly99

    dragonfly99

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    Agree with LizzieM

    So are you wait listed at 8 schools?

    First of all, I would say don't lose hope. I think that if you are wait listed at a significant number of schools, such as 3 or more, then the chances of your getting off at least one of them is high.

    You are correct - those are some competitive schools and that likely is contributing to the fact that you don't have an acceptance yet. The bar is high at these places to even get an interview, but the bar to get an acceptance is even higher.

    It's possible you aren't interviewing as well as you think, but it is also possible that it's just your GPA and the overall competitiveness of these particular schools that has dragged you down. There is also an element of luck/randomness in all this, even after the interview takes place.

    I would wait until later this month, and if still not off of any wait lists, then consider having your PI call up your #1 choice and put in the good word for you. If you have an LOR writer(s) with personal connections to any of these places (such as someone who went to med school or residency there) then it may be more helpful to have him/her make the call.

    I think the worst case scenario is that you'll have to apply one more time to get in, but I doubt that will happen. I wouldn't think about that yet for a couple of more months. I would not stop your volunteer work if you are still doing clinical volunteering, though. I actually don't think it is necessary to switch jobs if you have to apply again, especially if you are getting anything out of your current job (like publications). Worst case scenario is apply one more year, do more volunteer stuff and perhaps take a couple of upper level science classes. I honestly don't think you'll have to do that, though.

    Personally, I got off 2 wait lists and I think it was in March that I heard back from both places. IMHO (LizzyM probably knows a lot more) there isn't much movement off of wait lists until at least March. People at this point are still holding multiple acceptances.

    I would not retake the MCAT if you do end up reapplying, as your MCAT score is already good enough and once you are in the mid 30's it's probably too risky to retake.
  10. bowzer

    bowzer

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    3.9. but dont read too much into that. I know some people with high stats that i would never allow to touch me.
  11. faith2

    faith2

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    true true:thumbup::thumbup:



  12. sigle

    sigle

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    Hey JGarza what was your sGPA? I only ask this because there is a cut off with sgpa sometimes 3.3 or as low as 3.1. I'm nervous now, your MCAT score is wonderful and from the looks of it you should have been getting someone to bite. But as ppl said above there is a level of variability with this process. G'luck.
  13. ucsfstudents

    ucsfstudents

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    Cheer up. There is still hope. You sound like an excellent candidate. With so many waitlists, it might just be the interview, but what's done is done. You've done what you can do, and the schools obviously saw something very special in you to offer you an interview. Keeping my fingers crossed for you! :)
  14. JGarza

    JGarza

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    Great GPA bowzer :) But I really don't think you and I can be compared with regard to interview success rate. Your GPA simply blows mine out of the water. Yes, I do agree with you that there's more to being a great doctor than having a great GPA, but it certainly makes AdComs more likely to think that applicant could handle the rigors of medical school.

    My cGPA is a 3.51, and my sGPA is a 3.29 :(. I did poorly in math classes freshman year (I was majoring in EE at the time), getting 4 Cs. GPA homicide. But again, the last three years of college, my cGPA was a 3.71 and sGPA was a 3.64. Far better than what I was getting, but still not fantastic, and certainly not good enough to bring back my GPA from death and destruction. I really think my overall sGPA and cGPA is what's holding me back.

    I've graduated already, so there is no way of improving my GPA, right? Maybe I should do a post-bacc next year if I don't get in? I've heard something about these SMPs too. Perhaps I should consider those?

    Thanks ucsfstudents :). I would be deeply thrilled to receive the fat envelope from UCSF. It's by far my top choice. It has been since the beginning of this process, but never struck me as a reality until my interview day. Being there was amazing, and I barely could contain myself. I spent the day in awe at the possibility of going there. When the day ended and all the other applicants left, I remained on campus for a few hours and wondered around. I became attached.

    Although I was placed on the HPL, I am very grateful for their continual consideration. Just have to wait and see.
  15. JGarza

    JGarza

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    Almost :oops:

    Haven't lost hope yet!

    Aside from update/interest letters and a LOI to my top choice, is there really anything more I can do to improve my chances? Calling them? Requesting to attend second look (is this even possible for waitlisters?), naming my first born after the dean?

    I wonder if at this point it would be worth asking my interviewers what the reason for the waitlist was. It might put them in a funny position, but I know of at least three of my interviewers that sit on the final steering committee for admissions. So they would definitely have been present when I was being discussed and would also likely have access to my file.

    Waitlist movement typically begins May 15th though, right?

    My PI has connections to Harvard, Stanford, and Hopkins, but not UCSF. I don't know if my other letter writers would either. I have friends who attend SF, so I was thinking perhaps they could write a letter of support on my behalf. The reasoning for this would be they attend the school, have a good sense of the student body/UCSF community, and would indicate how I fit the profile, etc. I've never heard of anyone on SDN discussing this, so I don't know if it's normal or if it would even help.

    Unfortunately, I stopped volunteering last year as I was just putting too much time in my research. I was working nearly 60 hours/wk and I just couldn't make any of my volunteer shifts. I'm actually trying to set some things up right now to begin volunteering at a free clinic and tutor at a high school. Hopefully those won't fall through.

    Yeah I'm happy that I don't have to go through that again.

    I appreciate your faith dragonfly. I hope you're right!
  16. ucsfstudents

    ucsfstudents

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    If you can get a UCSF student who knows you well to speak on your behalf (i.e. write letters/emails of support), that would be helpful.

    Contact the faculty members you interacted with (including the minority ones) and tell them how much you want to come to UCSF and how you would contribute to the UCSF community. Do not make any excuses, just highlight your positives and how much you love it here. (Also contact the dean of admissions with a similar statement.) If you have done things to help minority communities, or you plan to do so in the future, definitely mention that to anyone you interact with (but be honest -- if it's not your thing, no need to bring it up.) Also, be positive and confident in your interactions -- NOT arrogant. Any sign of complete arrogance or jerk-ishness will easily get you kicked off the UCSF bandwagon.

    There will be people on the adcom who will fight for you, (because the interviews are so laid back, it's hard to screw up on an interview at UCSF, so your interviewers are most likely advocating for you) and then there will be others who will hesitate because of your GPA. (It mostly translates to "can this person handle the vast amount of material," and "will they do well on the USMLE." This then leads to a compromise (HPL). If you can get people to fight for you when the time comes (when they start looking at the wait list) things might end in your favor.

    Yes, UCSF is a great place, not because of the name, but because of the people here (staff, faculty, students, etc) who truly care and want to make a difference.

    FYI, several students come off the waitlist each year at UCSF, so there is still hope!! :xf:
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010

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