2016-2017 MD/PhD applications - General Questions Thread

Fencer

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This thread is for miscellaneous questions and discussion. For example, below is the almost final status of last year's (2016) cycle.

The national MD/PhD interview calendar is located at:
https://calendar.google.com/calendar/[email protected]
It has been updated for the 2016-17 cycle that technically is known as 2017 cycle for AMCAS and most medical schools.
_____________________________
Update on 2016 MD/PhD cycle, this is the best placement for MD/PhD applicants:

........................................... from 08/27/16
Total MD/PhD Applicants - 1902
Withdrew before acceptance (WB) - 10
Currently rejected (RJ, PW, PR, NA) - 1108
Alternate List (AL) - 0
Total MD/PhD Acceptances - 784 (at least one MD/PhD acceptance)
Withdrew after acceptance (WA) - 112
Defer to future year (DF) - 24
Rescinded acceptance (RA) - 2
Matriculated MD/PhD class (MA) - 586
Pending matriculation (AC) - 60
Total potential matriculating MD/PhD class - 646

The MD/PhD class starting in 2016 is the largest ever! The success rate (784/1902) for at least one MD/PhD acceptance was 41.2%.

________________________________

For the 2017 cycle (or 2016-17) reports would be available until a few days from now.
 

Pylorii

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Not sure if this information is available, but are there any stats out there that show the percent of people who have applied by the end of July or end of August in 2015/2016 cycle? Just curious about how early/late we are in the 2016/2017 application cycle.
 
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Fencer

Fencer

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Sept. 1 is the date of the first report. By then, about 2/3 of the eventual applicants have verified their applications in AMCAS. To be precise, on 9/1/15, there were 1284 applicants for the 2016 cycle.
 
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purplerainbow

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In what order do admissions committees review applications? Is it by date submitted, or do they have simple algorithm to rank them?
 
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Fencer

Fencer

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Every program/school have a different pattern... Most will delay the review until the complete packet is ready (i.e.: verified and with a minimum -or all required- LORs). After review, many AdComm will set aside a group of applications for HOLD until we see more applicants. Some will send rejections early, some will do rejections until after finishing interviews.

Acceptances can start to be offered by Oct. 15th.
 
Mar 1, 2016
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Does anyone have suggestions on picking faculty to interview with? Is it better to meet with faculty members who perform research in fields similar to what you have done, or to meet with individuals whose research you find interesting, even if it is in a different field? Thanks!
 

Gorilla-san

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Does anyone have suggestions on picking faculty to interview with? Is it better to meet with faculty members who perform research in fields similar to what you have done, or to meet with individuals whose research you find interesting, even if it is in a different field? Thanks!
I literally just came here to ask this question. So far I've been doing a mix of faculty from my previous research experiences and from the field in interested in giving priority to my tech latter but idk if the is the right way maybe someone else can give some input
 
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Fencer

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As of last night sync, thus far, there are 1254 MD/PhD applicants for the 2017 cycle, about 2/3 of the applicant class. If you examine several of my prior posts regarding statistics, this is about right for this time of the year. I expect to end up the cycle next year with about 1900 or 1950 applicants. One of the things that happens every year is the fate of the 20-30 applicants that defer the prior year. They often apply really late just prior to matriculation, which is the reason why the total number of applicants goes up between May and September. Those are automatic MD/PhD acceptances, which means that every year there are about 620 new slots and 20+ already promised slots.
 

starfun21

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Does anyone have suggestions on picking faculty to interview with? Is it better to meet with faculty members who perform research in fields similar to what you have done, or to meet with individuals whose research you find interesting, even if it is in a different field? Thanks!

I am not 1000% sure on this (even though I just went through this process! HA. My field of interest and previous work were pretty closely related so this wasn't something I encountered as much), but my advice would be to go with the latter. In almost all of my interviews with faculty, they pretty much asked me to summarize my research when I walked in (so I gave a 2 minute elevator pitch type deal), and then they might ask me a few follow-up questions. Beyond that, however, they asked about how I envisioned my practice in the future, what kind of lab I wanted to work in, and about the other non-research things on my application. Overall, in my personal and n=1 experience, I was pretty shocked at how much my research did not come up and didn't play a central role in my interviews.

Thus, I think you can explain your research really well to anyone, even if he/she isn't in your field of interest. In fact, even if you put down people who are in your field of interest, the school may not be able to completely match it. I definitely spent time explaining the chemical details of some of my research to a biostatistics faculty member at one school! The cool part is just getting to ask faculty about their research and get a feel for who you might be working with. After all, the interview is as much a chance for you to get to know the school as it is for them to evaluate you! The interviews I most enjoyed were those where I got really excited about the research of the faculty I met with, and I was later able to write back to the program about how I saw myself fitting in.

A very few programs will let you know that your meetings with faculty do not actually count towards your "score" and are just so that you can learn more about what the school offers. UAB was this way last year (so we were evaluated based on the MD side through the MMI and a standard one-on-one interview, plus on the MSTP side by our chalk talk and by individual interviews with each MSTP advisory committee member, but not for our meetings with researchers), and I loved it. It was a lot less pressure and just gave me a chance to see what I might like to do. There's a good chance I may even end up doing a rotation down the line with one of the folks I met with during my interview, and we have kept in touch. Anyway, my point: if you ever do find this out especially, I definitely recommend picking interests over previous experience!

Again, not sure if this all helps, but my tl;dr thoughts are just that in theory your application will explain your research at a level that can be discussed with (or evaluated by) anyone, so it shouldn't hurt you to pick people with whom you are genuinely interested in meeting. :)
 
Jul 20, 2016
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Anyone else get this on Miami portal?

Your Application has been reviewed by the MD/PhD Admissions Committee at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Applicants who are shortlisted for an interview will be contacted via email to schedule an interview. Our interview dates are November 1st, December 13th and January 31st, 2014.

**Edit: regardless if this message is good/bad/generic, they need to update their year!!
 

DS Bach

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This is a general question for the MD portion of the interviews but will schools tell you ahead of time if the interview is MMI or a traditional format?
 

Thienyl15

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Every program/school have a different pattern... Most will delay the review until the complete packet is ready (i.e.: verified and with a minimum -or all required- LORs). After review, many AdComm will set aside a group of applications for HOLD until we see more applicants. Some will send rejections early, some will do rejections until after finishing interviews.

Acceptances can start to be offered by Oct. 15th.
Hey @Fencer, do you have any data on the size of the HOLD pools for this year versus previous years? While it's still early in the application cycle, it seems like MD/PhD gets more competitive year over year. I'm wondering if the number of "first cut" students selected for earlier interview slots stays relatively constant while the HOLD pool size gets larger.

Asking because I've received rejections at two programs, on hold at another, and silence from the remainder of my list.
 
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Fencer

Fencer

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The process in every program is different. Some will give 1) rejections up front early, 2) some will allow until the last MCAT reporting date pass before extending rejections, 3) some until the end of interviewing, and 4) some send rejections until completing the process. Most programs will send rejections somewhere in 2 or 3, or in between those dates. Once people are interviewed, some programs reject a few applicants right after interview, some wait until completion of interviews, and some until completion of the cycle. I can't give you stats because the national stats use the best possible outcome for the applicant, who could have 19 rejections and 1 no action or hold, and the system will consider the applicant with as with the last status (no action or hold). Bottomline, at the end of cycle, about 41% of applicants receive a MD/PhD acceptance.

Please keep in mind that I have seen people who were interviewed and rejected after interview, being given acceptances when programs run out of adequate choices. It has never happen in my program because I don't extend that many rejections to people who interview but I have seen this issue several times.
 
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Thienyl15

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Please keep in mind that I have seen people who were interviewed and rejected after interview, being given acceptances when programs run out of adequate choices. It has never happen in my program because I don't extend that many rejections to people who interview but I have seen this issue several times.
Rejection one day, acceptance the next - talk about a whirlwind of emotions. Thanks for responding so quickly, I appreciate the detailed explanation! Looks like patience is the best course of action for the time being.
 

starfun21

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This is a general question for the MD portion of the interviews but will schools tell you ahead of time if the interview is MMI or a traditional format?
Yes, almost every program should tell you this. They may not mention it in emails, etc, but you can go to their school of medicine website and there is almost always information about the structure of interviews. Also, every single school I interviewed at for MD/PhD sent me a schedule of the whole 2-3 day affair, and this often included the MD portion as well (but not always - sometimes it would just show half of the day blocked off for MD, etc). If it's not on the website or in an email that you get from the program, you can almost always head over to the MD threads here on SDN. There is a whole page dedicated to discussing every single school. The school-specific threads either from this year or past years will almost certainly tell you about what kind of interview format you can expect!
 
Aug 2, 2016
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Cornell and UPenn have their first interview date on the same day and both strongly discourage rescheduling... Are any of you planning on rescheduling one of the schools or canceling?
 

Gorilla-san

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Congrats on the interviews!! Both are really great schools I would not want to cancel. I would push one back to a later date, even if they discourage it because there is nothing you can do. I think Penn does group interview based on field interest so if you're in the group you want to be in stick with that date and push Cornell back.
 
Aug 2, 2016
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Congrats on the interviews!! Both are really great schools I would not want to cancel. I would push one back to a later date, even if they discourage it because there is nothing you can do. I think Penn does group interview based on field interest so if you're in the group you want to be in stick with that date and push Cornell back.
Thanks for the advice!
 

purplerainbow

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So we all know the ranking of MD programs from US News is a fairly good indicator for the quality and/or prestige of MSTP programs...but I'm wondering what the MSTP directors on this forum (@Fencer , @Neuronix and others!) think about the best run programs from an organizational perspective? Which universities really seem to care about their students, make sure they graduate in a timely manner, help them through transitions in the program, etc.? For example, I know Cornell is #18 on the US News MD rankings, but the Tri-I MSTP would probably rank higher than #18 among all MSTP programs (where would you put it btw?)

Anyways, I think is useful to know, because the most prestigious research schools may not provide the best MSTP experience. Thanks in advance!
 
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Fencer

Fencer

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These would be even more subjective rankings. Interviewees can get an idea of the strength of the MD/PhD leadership within the organization from asking students about who is there to help when in trouble, and from the director by asking about succession plans. I can tell you that my bias opinion about how well I am doing my job is quite biased! ;):horns::horns::horns: However, IMHO, this is a key aspect for choosing a particular program that fits better your needs.

There are other faculty members in the board, but the only one that I am aware who is involved within MD/PhD leadership is @Maebea.

Neuronix is now a young faculty member at a very good SOM - congrats to him. :clap::clap::clap:
 

Neuronix

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So we all know the ranking of MD programs from US News is a fairly good indicator for the quality and/or prestige of MSTP programs...but I'm wondering what the MSTP directors on this forum (@Fencer , @Neuronix and others!) think about the best run programs from an organizational perspective? Which universities really seem to care about their students, make sure they graduate in a timely manner, help them through transitions in the program, etc.? For example, I know Cornell is #18 on the US News MD rankings, but the Tri-I MSTP would probably rank higher than #18 among all MSTP programs (where would you put it btw?)

Anyways, I think is useful to know, because the most prestigious research schools may not provide the best MSTP experience. Thanks in advance!
I'm not an MSTP director. I've just been around awhile...

The USNews rankings actually do include the funding for the medical school and its affiliates. Those funding numbers are a big component of the research ranking. If affiliates were not included, Harvard would probably be back in the teens in the rankings, since the vast majority of the funding ascribed to Harvard by the rankings (over $1 billion!) is money to affiliates. I don't know why Tri-I has fallen so far in the rankings. Last time I checked, the funding of all three institutions are included in the research funding in the USNews ranking for Cornell.

I'd comment on two things in general in those rankings.

1. USNews rankings are to be used generally. I think they shift them around purposely every year to sell magazines. I don't put much stock in any particular number.

2. Applicants tend to conflate location and reputation of school, in part because these are the main drivers of competitiveness. But, just because a program is in NYC doesn't mean it's stronger than a program outside of a large city. This happens through the residency forums as well.

There is no way how we can know how organized MSTPs are outside of our own institutions. I went to a well known and well organized program. 20 years ago some big names were notorious for being disorganized and holding many of their students for 10+ years. Who knows if that's still the case.


Neuronix is now a young faculty member at a very good SOM - congrats to him. :clap::clap::clap:
Thank you Fencer! I don't want to portray myself as something I'm not here in the forum. I'm a clinical faculty member with no research package (startup, space, etc) and a day and a half a week out of the clinic (officially 20% admin, 10% research). I'm hoping that someday I can have more resources to do research.
 

starfun21

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CONGRATULATIONS, @Neuronix!!!!! Hopefully you will also receive the research resources you are seeking in the future, but this certainly sounds like a wonderful achievement and something to celebrate! Happy for you!
 
Oct 9, 2013
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I have been following a professor for a while and was just invited for an interview at the program. I put his name as my highest priority for meeting with faculties but I am not sure if he would have time to meet during interview. Is it appropriate for me to e-mail him individually requesting a meeting during the interview days?
 
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Fencer

Fencer

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You can send an email to the program coordinator indicating your interest in meeting Dr. X during your interview. You can reach out to the professor individually indicating that you have a particular interest and have read Z paper, and will be on campus for a MD/PhD interview, but that you would like to visit the lab before or after the interview. Don't make plans during interview time...
 
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Oct 9, 2013
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You can send an email to the program coordinator indicating your interest in meeting Dr. X during your interview. You can reach out to the professor individually indicating that you have a particular interest and have read Z paper, and will be on campus for a MD/PhD interview, but that you would like to visit the lab before or after the interview. Don't make plans during interview time...
Thank you!
 
Oct 9, 2013
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Can I tell school A from which I'm waiting interview invite that I received interview invites from school B and C but am more interested in school A? I know people do this for job hunting in industry/academia, but I'm not sure if it would be appropriate in MSTP apps.
 
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Fencer

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No, each program is doing their own stuff... They value slightly different each of the benchmarks. They read applications with a different glass. This is not industry.

By the way, the MD/PhD program directors and administrators are meeting in Chicago starting tomorrow until end of weekend. Overall, expect less traffic, and perhaps, an excess of activity on Monday.
 
W

Whatislyfe

Hey fam! Wondering if anyone knows which schools are not pass/fail? I know Hopkins ranks but anywhere else?
 
Jun 20, 2016
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For schools like UPenn or UCSF where you select the graduate program you are applying for, could you be at a disadvantage depending on which group you select? For example, I would be happy doing research through either bioengineering or neuroscience, and I'm more concerned with just getting accepted. Is it a bad move to contact admissions staff regarding my interest in either programs?
 

Neuronix

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The point of selecting the grad program is to assure mutual fit. Don't try to strategize this. It is very common to have multiple interests. Pick the department for which you have the most interest and qualification and go for it. You should also be trying to decide which program is best for your particular interests.
 
Jul 20, 2016
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As of 10/27/16, in the 2017 application cycle, there are:
1693 MD/PhD applicants
74 applicants with at least one MD/PhD acceptance (<10% of all eventual acceptees)
For comparison, at end of the 2016 cycle, there were 1903 applicants, 785 applicants accepted, and 649 matriculants.
thank you for the info! =]
 

purplerainbow

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The process in every program is different. Some will give 1) rejections up front early, 2) some will allow until the last MCAT reporting date pass before extending rejections, 3) some until the end of interviewing, and 4) some send rejections until completing the process. Most programs will send rejections somewhere in 2 or 3, or in between those dates. Once people are interviewed, some programs reject a few applicants right after interview, some wait until completion of interviews, and some until completion of the cycle. I can't give you stats because the national stats use the best possible outcome for the applicant, who could have 19 rejections and 1 no action or hold, and the system will consider the applicant with as with the last status (no action or hold). Bottomline, at the end of cycle, about 41% of applicants receive a MD/PhD acceptance.

Please keep in mind that I have seen people who were interviewed and rejected after interview, being given acceptances when programs run out of adequate choices. It has never happen in my program because I don't extend that many rejections to people who interview but I have seen this issue several times.
Is there typically a wave of IIs in mid-November? I'm guessing there may be, since many schools have Oct 31 deadlines. I haven't heard anything from 13 of my schools (some IIs, no rejections...yet...). Is this a reasonable assumption?
 
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Fencer

Fencer

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Every program has different policies about communicating admission decisions to applicants. The AMCAS admission decision actions are the categories:
  • NO FINAL ACTION - (NA)
  • HOLD - (HO)
  • W/D BEFORE ACCEPT - (WB)
  • PRELIM REJECTION - (PR)
  • PASSIVE WITHDRAWAL - (PW)
  • NOT ACCEPTED - (RJ)
  • DEFER TO REGULAR - (DR)
  • ACCEPTED TO ENTER - (AC)
  • W/D AFTER ACCEPT - (WA)
  • TOTAL ACCEPTS OFFERED - (AC,DF,EM,MA,RA,WA)
  • DEFER TO FUTURE - (DF)
  • MATRICULATED - (MA)
  • EARLY MATRICULATION - (EM)
  • ALTERNATE LIST - (AL)
  • OTHER (School's Choice) - (OT)
  • RESCINDED ACCEPTANCE - (RA)
  • REQUEST SECONDARY - (RS)
  • INTERVIEW - (IN)
  • TOTAL APPLICANTS
The AMCAS traffic rules indicate that "From October 15 to March 15, [each School] notify the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) within 5 business days of all admission actions, either written or verbal, that have been communicated to an applicant."
 

BJJGrappler18

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Jul 27, 2016
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I am just lurking through the MD-PhD threads this year. I am currently a first year traditional masters student in cell bio, microbiology, and immunology. I will be applying to MD-PhD programs in summer 2017 for entry into Fall 2018. I am really excited to apply next summer! This will be my first time applying to medical school, so I am still learning how TMDSAS and AMCAS works. Good luck to applicants this season!
 

Gorilla-san

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Should we assume that most schools have already filled up most of their interview slots by now? If I'm not mistaken most deadlines have already past and I still have nine schools I haven't heard from (just radio silence). In other words should i give up hope for more interviews? From what ive heard most will just wait to reject at end of the cycle anyways.
 
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Fencer

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There are schools with interviews in January and even in February. Check the MD/PhD calendar. Every program is different, but even for my relatively early interview program, we still have about 10 interview slots. We will probably use half in a week, but we still need to see the entire field of applicants who are in the process of verifying. After the next 3-4 weeks, the only slots that will be available are for cancellations. If you have any significant update, send it to the PD as soon as you can.
 
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Fencer

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Eventually, each program communicates with all applicants. In my particular program, we do rejections to non-interviewed candidates just after the last date of interviews. We then take all interviewed candidates and place them into 4 groups: accepted, waitlist-high, waitlist, and rejected. I typically communicate these initial decisions before the end of the year. A waitlist-high means that historically we get to that number to fill our class. That number has been smaller and smaller over the years as my program becomes more competitive or perhaps, as a result of selecting candidates that match better our strengths. Beginning on Feb. 10th, programs are able to see the other acceptances of applicants.

I wish that there was a rule that you can't hold more than 5 or 6 acceptances
. With this proposed rule, once you get to 5 or 6, your AMCAS account can't receive additional acceptances. I assure you that applicants will make sure that they only hold one or two less acceptances to allow room for a dream acceptance, and as soon as they get another "more competitive" acceptance (from their viewpoint), they will make a decision to drop a lesser desirable program for them. Every year, I see a few competitive applicants with up to 10 or more acceptances in March, and some carry a half-dozen until the end. For some programs, that behavior results in holding acceptances for other candidates.
 
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purplerainbow

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There are schools with interviews in January and even in February. Check the MD/PhD calendar. Every program is different, but even for my relatively early interview program, we still have about 10 interview slots. We will probably use half in a week, but we still need to see the entire field of applicants who are in the process of verifying. After the next 3-4 weeks, the only slots that will be available are for cancellations. If you have any significant update, send it to the PD as soon as you can.
Hi @Fencer, when you say "relatively early interview program", what do you mean? That you interview through December?
 
W

Whatislyfe

Eventually, each program communicates with all applicants. In my particular program, we do rejections to non-interviewed candidates just after the last date of interviews. We then take all interviewed candidates and place them into 4 groups: accepted, waitlist-high, waitlist, and rejected. I typically communicate these initial decisions before the end of the year. A waitlist-high means that historically we get to that number to fill our class. That number has been smaller and smaller over the years as my program becomes more competitive or perhaps, as a result of selecting candidates that match better our strengths. Beginning on Feb. 10th, programs are able to see the other acceptances of applicants.

I wish that there was a rule that you can't hold more than 5 or 6 acceptances
. With this proposed rule, once you get to 5 or 6, your AMCAS account can't receive additional acceptances. I assure you that applicants will make sure that they only hold one or two less acceptances to allow room for a dream acceptance, and as soon as they get another "more competitive" acceptance (from their viewpoint), they will make a decision to drop a lesser desirable program for them. Every year, I see a few competitive applicants with up to 10 or more acceptances in March, and some carry a half-dozen until the end. For some programs, that behavior results in holding acceptances for other candidates.
Thanks so much for all the info!! Just gotta keep our heads up and wait I guess.
 

klebandb

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Hi everyone,

I was wondering what process people have been going through to triage IIs. Several of the IIs have gotten have been for the same day and aren't open to reschedules. I'm really interested in ped-onc, and got IIs for the same day for UT-Houston and Cincinnati. Houston has MD Anderson and Cincinnati has Children's (which is known for peds hem-onc), and it seems like their med schools are fairly comparable (though Cinci might be a little better?). Cinci is MSTP (and funds the flights), but I don't know if that's a good enough reason on its own to interview there. I was wondering what other people have considered when choosing to interview at one school over another. Thanks!
 
Aug 15, 2016
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Hi- So i'm starting to get super anxious. I interviewed at a school a little over a month ago and was wondering how bad of an idea is it to call the admissions office to see when they will be notifying applicants of decisions. The school is rolling and they told us on the interview that we'd find out "weeks to months after" (which is incredibly vague haha). Someone please save me from myself or let me know that this isn't completely crazy lol
 
Jul 20, 2016
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Hi- So i'm starting to get super anxious. I interviewed at a school a little over a month ago and was wondering how bad of an idea is it to call the admissions office to see when they will be notifying applicants of decisions. The school is rolling and they told us on the interview that we'd find out "weeks to months after" (which is incredibly vague haha). Someone please save me from myself or let me know that this isn't completely crazy lol
A lot of schools will give a few rolling offers right away and push the majority of offers to late in season after everyone has been interviewed. You are probably in this latter group and will likely have to wait a few months
 
Aug 15, 2016
29
28
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Pre-Medical
A lot of schools will give a few rolling offers right away and push the majority of offers to late in season after everyone has been interviewed. You are probably in this latter group and will likely have to wait a few months
True. I've ran into other people from my interview though and they haven't heard anything either so praying this isnt the case. May be being overly optimistic though :/