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The Answers to Your Stupid Questions Thread

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by rafflecopter, 12.14.10.

  1. rafflecopter

    rafflecopter MS-0

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    I've seen way too many threads lately asking dumb, easy to answer questions (most of which that have been answered 1000x before), so I thought I'd create a thread where these questions can be asked and answered without judgment. The rules are simple, as long as someone posts the question here we avoid flaming/sarcasm. Think of this like claiming sanctuary in a church, free from criticism that the question you are about to ask is really, really stupid. Post these questions outside of this thread and there's a 100% chance of getting flamed.

    NOTE ON HOW TO READ THIS THREAD: Browse through the questions below and see if the question you are asking has already been asked. If it has, click on the Answer link. If it hasn't post it here on the thread and I'll add it to the list above. Reading the thread all the way through will likely be unhelpful since I have created redundant posts to help me organize the information better.

    SDN's most commonly asked stupid questions:

    1) Will 1 C/F/bad semester ruin my chances of med school? Answer

    2) What is an acceptable MCAT/GPA for applying to med school? Answer

    3) What is a letter of intent? Do I email it or mail it? Answer

    4) Should I write thank you letters to my interviewers? Answer

    5) Its February and I have no interviews yet... what do I do? Answer

    6) Which specialty will get me laid the most? Answer

    7) Is there time to work out/get drunk/build pirate ships when in med school? Answer

    8) Is taking 28 units of all science classes next semester too much? Answer

    9) What ECs are med schools looking for? Answer

    10) Does the name of your undergrad matter? Answer

    11) Tell me about x and y specialty. Answer

    12) What is the difference between MD/DO? How will this affect my residency options? Answer

    13) I'm still in high school. What can I do to get into Harvard Medical School and be a neurosurgeon?

    14) While in the 6th grade, I was sent to detention... how will this affect my chances? Should I include this on my PS (as an example of hardship to triumph story)? How will I explain this to the interviewers? Answer

    15) How should I study for the MCAT? Answer

    16) Should I retake the MCAT? Answer

    17)Why are there so few fat doctors? Answer

    18) How hard is it to get loans to pay for medical school? Answer

    19) I have dreadlocks and a thug life tattoo on my neck. Will the admissions committee hold it against me? Answer

    20) I am currently doing bad in one of my classes. Should I stick it out or drop and take a W? Answer

    21)
    What field has the hottest doctors for ladies? For men?

    22) Do medical schools only want to know about extracurricular activities that are involved with official clubs and organizations? Answer

    23) How do I figure out my GPA? Answer

    24) Are more people applying to medical school every year? Are there more reapplicants every year? Answer

    25) Should I pre-study the summer before matriculating in to medical school? Answer

    26) Do surgeon couples have a more freaky/intense love life than average couples?

    27) What's wrong with going to a Caribbean Medical School?
    Answer

    28) If you have multiple acceptances to different med schools what factors should you weigh? How can a person tell a good school from a not as good school?

    29) What should I do during my gap year?


    30) What questions should I ask on a medical school interview? Answer

    31) When do I ask for letters of recommendation, and where do I have them sent given that the AMCAS application doesn't open until June? Answer

    32) My major is (insert non-science major here). Does that mean I won't get into medical school?

    33) My major is (insert hard major here). Does that mean adcoms will know why my GPA is lower than some, easier majors?


    34) Does it look bad to take prerequisites at community college?

    35) Do I HAVE to do research to get into medical school?

    36) Since I'm interviewing late (Feb, Mar, Apr), am I interviewing for a waitlist spot only and not an actual acceptance? Answer


    Etc....

    So, fellow SDNers - please help me by refraining from using sarcasm/flaming people who post in this thread since by doing that they are helping clear up the minefield of idiocy that is the pre-allo front page.

    Also, anyone who has answers to these questions please post them and I will include them in the links up above.
    Last edited: 02.02.11
  2. RogueUnicorn

    RogueUnicorn rawr.

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    brilliant. needs to be a sticky.
  3. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Daisy the Dog

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    This thread has the ColeOnTheRoll stamp of approval.
  4. Chops369

    Chops369

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  5. Ursa

    Ursa woof

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    I hope this thread is alive for ages!

    + a google
  6. Buddhasmash

    Buddhasmash

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    I'd like to hear the answer to #6 please. :D
  7. Gibs

    Gibs

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    I wouldn't mind knowing #3 and #9. :p
  8. rafflecopter

    rafflecopter MS-0

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    Well, the common train of thought is for a *sexy* specialty like Neurosurgery, ortho, or EM. However, I am of the opinion that those who get laid the most are those with the most free time. Neuro/ortho spend way too much time in the hospital to be getting the most tail so my vote is for EM (fewest in hospital hours and still a *sexy* specialty). Other votes include derm (due to few hrs/girls thinking they can get free skin care/$$) and gas (again, the time thing, and $$).

    Other user's answers to this question:

    Last edited: 12.14.10
  9. Geekchick921

    Geekchick921 Holy schnikes, I'm a 4th year! Moderator Emeritus

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    Plastic Surgery, duh! FX told me so!
  10. MCAT guy

    MCAT guy ...

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    This is an amazing thread if it is updated every so often.

    Well done!
  11. MCAT guy

    MCAT guy ...

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    12) What is the difference between MD/DO? How will this affect my residency options?
  12. rafflecopter

    rafflecopter MS-0

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    A letter of intent is written to a school after you have applied that states that you plan on attending that school above all others. This means that you are saying if you are accepted there, you will withdrawal all your other applications and attend that one school. It is sometimes helpful in admissions committee decisions, because they would rather give out acceptances to people they know would go there. It however is not going to sway there decision much one way or the other. I would send it via snail mail, since taking the time to actually mail something is somewhat indicative of how much you care about the school (which is the purpose of the intent letter to begin with).

    They use extracurricular activities as a means of a) determining the applicants commitment to medicine/helping the community and b) finding out who the applicant is.

    Determing the applicants commitment to medicine and to the community
    The ecs that help the admissions committee answer this question are your "typical" pre-med ECs. They use clinical volunteering (like hospital volunteering), shadowing, and non-clinical volunteering to see this. I would make sure to have all 3. Shadow physicians in a few specialties that interest you. Volunteer at a community service program that interests you as well. Pick something interesting, that you are passionate about because this WILL show through in your secondaries and interview and make you a more attractive applicant.

    Finding out who the applicant is
    This is done by listing ecs that make you stand out. Do you play the flute? Are you an avid runner? Have you traveled a ton? Do you paint? Do you build pirate ships? Think about what hobbies you do that make you interesting and try to emphasize this in your application.
  13. Gibs

    Gibs

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    So do they want extra-curricular "official" such as "chess club" or do they want to hear that I play the guitar and paint? Or a mixture of both?

    I didn't expect my question to be answered in such a swift and efficient manner, thank you. :D

    Also, how hard is it to acquire loans for medical school? I have paid for undergrad so far with nothing but government loans, will that make a difference (such as "You have x amount of loans already, thus it will be impossible to give you y more")?
  14. tkp

    tkp

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    #13. I think xxxxxx is the best/worst reason for going into medicine and here's why

    #14. Any of the thousand or so URM questions floating around
  15. VikingLegacy

    VikingLegacy

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    .
    Last edited: 01.25.11
  16. circulus vitios

    circulus vitios

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    12) I'm still in high school. What can I do to get into Harvard Medical School and be a neurosurgeon?
  17. rafflecopter

    rafflecopter MS-0

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    I think official extracurriculars are good only in that they can be verified. If everything on your application is something you do entirely on your own, it could be easy for an admissions committee member to become suspicious. Also clubs are good because you can acquire a leadership position, which is something admissions officers look for. That said, I had a number of hobbies/activities that were things like "screenwriting" or "swimming" that were not part of any clubs/organizations and they frequently came up in interviews.

    I am not an expert on financial aid by any means, but the research I've done indicates that there are lifetime limits to stafford loans. According to staffordloans.com (not an official website I dont think), the lifetime maximum for undergraduate loans is 57,500 and the maximum for medical school is 224,000. So you could potentially take out a maximum of 281,500. Not sure if these numbers are completely accurate though.

    Other user responses to this question:

    Last edited: 12.14.10
  18. rafflecopter

    rafflecopter MS-0

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    Can someone more knowledgeable than me on the subject answer this?
  19. s1lver

    s1lver ☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠ Lifetime Donor

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    While in the 6th grade, I was sent to detention... how will this affect my chances? Should I include this on my PS (as an example of hardship to triumph story)? How will I explain this to the interviewers? I don't want to be viewed as irresponsible.
  20. Ignatius M.D.

    Ignatius M.D.

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    Are there any qualifiers for #7 (i.e. peg leg, poor hygiene, and/or the propensity to rape and pillage)? Thank you.

    Rafflecopter, brilliant thread. Though I do think it's a little sad you have to make an entirely separate thread so that people don't get antagonized.

    To answer #6- I think this depends entirely upon the physical appeal, free time, and communication skills of the physician (number of cheesy pick-up lines not inclusive). Saying "I'm a surgeon" sounds nice, but many probably don't have much time to be trolling for ladies. Women are less concerned with physical appeal than men though (at least when they mature), so it depends on your personality. Being able to provide for material needs is also important to women, especially when they are of age to consider starting a family (a pole in my Human Sex class showed personality and ambition to be of highest importance). I think I'm putting my vote in with EM...
  21. Ignatius M.D.

    Ignatius M.D.

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    I think you should portray yourself as the rebel-without-a-cause that secretly has a sensitive side. It'll be like something out of every teen movie ever made.
  22. rafflecopter

    rafflecopter MS-0

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    No. What's important is overall trends. A bad freshman semester or one bad class is not going to kill your chances, but a downward trend or repeated academic problems will. These bad grades are even less important if there were extenuating circumstances, such as a death in the family or personal problems.
  23. CougarMD

    CougarMD Come up screaming Moderator Emeritus

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    I want to make out with this thread I like it so much.


    Actually, that doesn't even describe how much I like it.

    I want to pay for dinner with this thread because I like it so much.
  24. rafflecopter

    rafflecopter MS-0

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    There are other threads that answer this question much better than I could.

    The 30+ MCAT study habits is hands down the best advice you can get on how to prepare for the test and you can find it here.

    Other users have found the 3 month study schedule by SN2ed to be useful.
  25. rafflecopter

    rafflecopter MS-0

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    Generally speaking, your life before college is unimportant to the admissions process for medical school. While you can include formative experiences from your early years in your personal statement and secondary essays, experiences (or lack thereof) prior to the start of undergraduate studies are not factored into a decision about your application.

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  26. rafflecopter

    rafflecopter MS-0

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    Not really. At most it can be helpful to admissions committees if the school is known for grade inflation/grade deflation, but in general your overall GPA is much more important. A 4.0 from Podunk University will always look better to an adcom than a 3.2 at Harvard. There are a number of applicants on these forums who have gone from fairly unknown state schools to Top 20 medical schools, so coming from an no-name school will not hinder you.

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    Last edited: 12.14.10
  27. dbeast

    dbeast Neurorectal surgeon

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  28. Endolas

    Endolas

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    *snort*
  29. IDreamtIChased

    IDreamtIChased

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    Why are there so few fat doctors?
  30. rafflecopter

    rafflecopter MS-0

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    Two possibilities. Doctors are more aware of the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle and know how to avoid one by eating right and exercising. They also might take active steps to live a healthy lifestyle in order to avoid being hypocritical (no one wants to hear they need to lose weight from a fat doctor).

    The other possibility is that doctors work so much that they don't have time to eat :confused:.

    Other users answers to this question:

    Last edited: 12.14.10
  31. IDreamtIChased

    IDreamtIChased

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    thx raf! i was hoping to get flamed lol
  32. CougarMD

    CougarMD Come up screaming Moderator Emeritus

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    You forgot the third.....overweight people get weeded out in almost any live interview process due to discrimination:)
  33. kwang10

    kwang10

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    4) Should I write thank you letters to my interviewers?

    Snail mail is not necessary but it's in very good taste to fire off a brief e-mail to your interviewer to thank him/her for their time. In addition, mention something that you two discussed to jog their memory. This will help you stand out to them when they discuss candidates later their meetings.
  34. IDreamtIChased

    IDreamtIChased

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    Good point... unless the interviewer is also fat :)
  35. rafflecopter

    rafflecopter MS-0

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    This is a very good answer and I would just like to add that the sending of a thank you note is typically not factored in to your admissions decision at schools. About half the applicants do and half don't, and there is no correlation between sending one and getting accepted. That said, it is the polite thing to do and may help your interviewer remember you better when it comes time to vote on your application which can only be a good thing.
  36. circulus vitios

    circulus vitios

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    I have dreadlocks and a thug life tattoo on my neck. Will the admissions committee hold it against me?
  37. Ursa

    Ursa woof

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    Raffle, your assistance is needed in muff's new thread. Any other anti-muff'ers are welcome.

    lol i love this. so hSDN.
  38. gravitywave

    gravitywave fourth year

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    thus,

    18) How hard is it to acquire loans for medical school?

    answer: in general, not very hard. first off, you can receive loans not just for tuition and books, but also to pay your living expenses. in fact, many people find the budgets quite generous if they have only just recently been living on what you get for undergrad! the first choice in loans is generally a school-based loan fund: many schools have loans they will award you with your finaid package that are on more favorable terms than gov't loans. some schools also have Perkins loans, which are federal loans that are better than Staffords (lower rate, more generous cancellation terms.) from there, the annual Stafford maximum for medical students is something like $40k, and the lifetime limit for health professions (including medical students) is $224k. this latter total includes ALL Stafford debt, so that's undergrad, too. Staffords are not credit-based, so no worries there. The next step for most people is a GradPlus loan, which can be used to fund any remaining need, these are credit-based, but do not involve pulling a credit score. instead, the credit report is checked for certain types of adverse events (bankruptcy, foreclosure, repossession, maybe some others?). If you don't qualify on your own, you can qualify with a co-signer. The last option is private loans: beware!

    also, 12) is a guaranteed flame war, and is moreover quite certain to activate the JaggerPlate beacon
  39. juliedi

    juliedi is legit.

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    Great thread Raffle. :thumbup:

    This is similar to #1 but here's another one: I'm doing really badly in my ______ class. Should I drop it and take a W or possibly get a bad grade?
  40. MeowMeowCAT

    MeowMeowCAT

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  41. Ignatius M.D.

    Ignatius M.D.

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    A random poll of 300 people will provide relatively accurate statistics. If you're laughing at my typing "pole" instead of "poll" then I'm not sure what to say to you. We're all guilty of a typo now and then.
  42. Ignatius M.D.

    Ignatius M.D.

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    Lol. So annoying. I'll be right there to join in on the anti-muff'ing.
  43. Endolas

    Endolas

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    The context of the typo was funny. That was supposed to be clear from how I quoted.
  44. rafflecopter

    rafflecopter MS-0

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    This user has a great answer to the above question. I would just like to add that a W is not a "get out of jail free card." If the W's start piling up, questions will be raised and you will need to explain them. A few Ws won't kill you, however, and are great for a last-ditched effort to save your GPA from F's and Ds. I wouldn't waste a W on a C, however.
  45. rafflecopter

    rafflecopter MS-0

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    You need to take a two-sided approach: doing everything in your power to get your application looked at THIS cycle and improving your application for NEXT cycle.

    First things first, if you still have schools that you are either waitlisted at or have not heard a decision from, send a combined update letter/interest letter. Tell them everything new since applying, tell them what you like about their school and how you would be a good fit there.

    Next, call up any schools that you have been rejected from and ask to talk with the dean of admissions. See if they can go over your file with them and ask for tips on how to improve. Do a self assessment to see the areas in which you need to improve (cGPA too low? sGPA? Need to retake MCAT? need more clinical experience? need more nonclinical volunteering? Need better LORS?). Start improving these areas.

    If you follow this advice, you will have done everything possible to improve your chances in the current cycle, but will have also improved your application considerably for the next cycle.
  46. rafflecopter

    rafflecopter MS-0

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    Admissions committee members are humans like the rest of us. What that means is they are susceptible to stereotyping just like everyone else. In a medical school interview, it is important to present yourself as professional as possible to create a positive image of yourself. If you have dreads, consider losing them for the interview. If you do not feel like parting with them, at least make every effort to make them look as nice, clean, and presentable as possible. For tattoos, consider concealing them. I know the idea of putting on make-up for guys seems a bit emasculating, but remember that many people in the medical profession are conservative and they might view a tattoo negatively.

    In general, the idea here is to maximize your chances in a way your still comfortable with. If you are uncomfortable parting with your dreads or concealing your tattoos, great, be yourself, but be aware that some people might hold those against you.

    Will having a tattoo or dreadlocks keep you out of medical school? Who knows, but when you recognize that in some circles people view these things with criticism, and your goal here is to keep them from finding things to criticize about you, the answer of what you should do if you really want a medical acceptance is clear.
    Last edited: 12.18.10
  47. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Daisy the Dog

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    So when new members visit the forum, they're going to think rafflecopter is God since he's answering all these questions.

    Enjoy the wave of PMs.
  48. MightyMoose

    MightyMoose

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    Great thread!


    10) Does the name of your undergrad matter?


    A.
    YES, but not enough to account for bad grades, etc. If you have equivalent grades/MCAT as someone who went to an Ivy and you didn't, who do you think is going to get the interview/get in? An Ivy is no excuse for bad grades and a no name state college is not going to carry the same weight as one that is well known. Use some common sense. Regardless of your school, you still need to be competitive.
  49. rafflecopter

    rafflecopter MS-0

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    Haha I can see it now...

    premed_nub9213445: rafflecopter, what is the meaning of life?


    Seriously though people, feel free to answer those questions (even if they have a response already - I want multiple viewpoints, especially on some of the more debatable questions) and I'll update each of those "answers" to include the response. If you have more questions to add, please upload those as well.
  50. MightyMoose

    MightyMoose

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