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3.19 is just as good as a 4.0

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by GaiusOctavius, 09.26.14.

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  1. GaiusOctavius

    GaiusOctavius 2+ Year Member

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    Who would you guess is more likely to complete medical school in four years, someone with a 3.0-3.19GPA and 30-32 MCAT or someone with a 3.80-4.0 GPA and 39-45MCAT? Most on SDN would argue the latter, but a short while ago I stumbled upon this research conducted by the AAMC which suggests that graduation rates are similar (both 85%) between these two groups (https://www.aamc.org/students/download/267622/data/mcatstudentselectionguide.pdf).
    See table 3.

    Medical schools have a vested interest in admitting students who will succeed, but with average GPA and MCAT scores forever on the rise, is too much weight being placed on these factors in the decisions process? Moreover, by placing so much weight on these criteria, are medical schools selecting for a certain type of candidate and consequently homogenizing (rather than diversifying) their class? SDN seems to place high gpa (3.77+) and mcat (32+) as the gold standard for what makes a candidate good. Interested in your thoughts/opinions.
     
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  3. sb247

    sb247 wait...you mean I got in? 2+ Year Member

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    no, it's not....they want you to do more than graduate

    they want you to dominate the boards and go to the presitigious residencies so they look good.....they want you to be cutting edge amazing so you make money and give back to the school.

    graduation is the bare minimum expected
     
  4. pluto101

    pluto101

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    a) A higher proportion of students with those stats drop/flunk out, albeit not by a huge margin.

    b) Selection bias. People who get in with those stats will generally have extenuating circumstances. If schools admitted students with those stats at the same rate as a 3.8/38, I would bet you a great deal of money they would not perform as well.
     
  5. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    @sb247 hit it right on the buzzer. Medical schools want you to do more than just to graduate. Graduating med school is the MINIMUM requirement. Getting into med school will have a different barrier to entry than getting a certain specialty. There are schools that very much capitalize on this and want their students to do well in the match which then makes their medical school look good, which then results in even more applications to that school.

    There is a big difference between the match list at SLU or University of Missouri vs. the match list at WashU (extreme example, but to show a point).
     
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  6. GaiusOctavius

    GaiusOctavius 2+ Year Member

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    Fair enough. I don't have any information on how well high MCAT/GPA correlated with stellar board scores, but they do consistently predict slightly better USMLE pass rates. However, do students with high GPAs and MCATs tend to think in a similar way (grades, grades, grades,) and conform well to a certain mold? Is it possible that students who don't conform well to that mold might recognize opportunities that their higher-scoring peers don't? Could that ability enable them to make lots of money, which they give back to their alma mater? lol... Would lower scoring students be more appreciative and thus more likely to donate? And is acquiring more money really the primary objective of medical schools?
     
  7. sb247

    sb247 wait...you mean I got in? 2+ Year Member

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    if they don't recognize that higher scoring students have the opportunity to actually go to med school? probably not
     
  8. breakintheroof

    breakintheroof MS-Zero 2+ Year Member

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    Interesting post, OP. You have gotten some good responses here that refute your title, though. Including this one:

    Yes, definitely. Only 29.7% of applicants with 3.00-3.19/30-32 were admitted in 2011-2013, versus 91.6% of those with 3.80-4.00/39-45. The former have likely demonstrated their capacity to succeed academically in other ways than overall GPA/MCAT.

    https://www.aamc.org/download/321508/data/2013factstable24.pdf
     
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  9. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    If what you say is actually true as a rule, medical schools would have capitalized on it. Realize it isn't just donations. Medical schools want their students to get certain coveted specialties which makes their school look better, bc applicants correlate the med students match with their school who got them there. Students with good performance previously in terms of GPA and standardized exam scores, tend to continue their high level of performance. Someone who gets a 4.0 in Molecular and Cell Biology at UCLA or Yale, etc. will obviously be looked at very closely in terms of apps bc so few get a 4.0 at those schools, same for 40+ MCAT. Those students tend to have the drive to then overachieve in medical school which then leads them to go for very competitive specialties. They then match into those specialties which then makes the school look good and helps in admissions when applicants ask to see match lists. It truly does come full circle.

    Any other opportunities that those with low GPA/low MCAT seek to "make lots of money" are very much outside the control of the med school and are much more the exception than the rule.
     
    Last edited: 09.26.14
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  10. NoDakDok

    NoDakDok 2+ Year Member

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    It would be wise to include that the sample size for each of these acceptance pools is quite small. Additionally, each of these applicant pools are small because they are so niche, and for opposite reasons. Extreme stats in either direction leads to extenuating circumstances.

    As is expected, a majority of the acceptances (and sample size) is convergent upon a combination of a high GPA and a high MCAT, which leads to the highest average success in medical school. Based on that, I think the premise of focusing on the MCAT and GPA is well-founded. Looking at the exceptions to the rule (outliers) is a misrepresentation.
     
  11. Lucca

    Lucca Will Walk Rope for Sandwich 2+ Year Member

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    To an extent, I would agree that the strong emphasis on GPA and MCAT homogenizes the applicant population but I do think it is important that we value the hard work and determination these qualities represent.

    Personally, I believe that if we maintain that these academic standards are the only way to be qualified for medicine then we should fully expect that our applicants will be dissatisfied with less academic pursuits in their career, such as running a private practice or being a primary care provider. If the bar is so high the people that will fill these less academic, less specialized positions will simply not be doctors. They will be people who may have been primary care physicians but chose to go another route because of the educational barriers. The issue is not necessarily that the academic standards are so high that the applicant population becomes, to a degree, homogenized; rather, medical school's have a very homogenous mission. There's only a few outliers and some DO schools that have specific missions that are willing to forgo the traditional academic markers to fulfill their purpose. We need more of these accredited schools if we want to diversify the pre-med/med population.

    Of course, there's outliers on both sides.
     
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  12. qwerty89

    qwerty89 5+ Year Member

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    You don't need to do that. All you need to do is increase the number of medical school seats while holding the # of residency spots relatively constant.

    Eventually people will be forced to do primary care whether they like it or not because that is all they will be competitive for. Well that or leave medicine all together with a boatload of debt.

    Oh wait they are already doing that...
     
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  13. Lucca

    Lucca Will Walk Rope for Sandwich 2+ Year Member

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    Exactly. What I'm getting at is that specialist medicine, primary care, and surgery all attract different personality/intellect types. If every medical school has this one-size-fits-all criteria for admission, it's perfectly natural for this sort-of professional frustration to come about. I'm not saying we have schools for just surgeons, just specialists, and just primary care physicians but a more diverse field of "missions" on the part of the med schools might be better than the "Serve the underserved, advance science, meet the primary care need" homogeneous mission statements we have today. These statements are almost all meaningless since we know deep down most schools want their students to match into competitive residencies, win prestigious scholarships and research awards, etc.
     
  14. qwerty89

    qwerty89 5+ Year Member

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    I agree. As I've noticed in med school the type of people that gravitate towards primary care, the ones that love the interpersonal relationships, long-term patient contact, etc are the same types that aren't as gung ho about having a stellar resume. They were the ones that didn't use every last second to study while waiting in the hallway before an exam M1/M2 year. The ones that didn't go ape**** when they got stuck with the one attending that never gives out honors, etc.

    A focus on MCAT/GPA, etc will disproportionately select AGAINST this group. Thus a shortage of people wanting to do primary care.

    And despite what Johnathan Gruber and Ezekiel Emmanuel think, med students choosing to not go into primary care isn't just about the money. Thats only a small small part of it.
     
    Last edited: 09.26.14
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  15. SN12357

    SN12357 2+ Year Member

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    Those low GPA candidates aren't you're average person with a 3.1. They mostly consist of people with ****ty GPAs early in their undergraduate trajectory who redeemed themselves, quite possibly with extensive post bacc work. So the two groups are more similar then you seem to think. No one gets admitted with a 3.0 without a clear demonstration of their ability to do better than the isolated number implies; there is always an explanatory circumstance.
     
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  16. qwerty89

    qwerty89 5+ Year Member

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    I wasn't talking about people with a 3.1 GPA.

    That just sucks no matter how you look at it.
     
  17. Goro

    Goro 5+ Year Member

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    You hit at an important truth; if we send every pre-med witha 3.5 GPA and higher to the moon, and admit only those who have a 3.0 through 3.5, they can handle a medical school curriculum.

    But with so many clones academically, one has to start somewhere....so why not the best and the brightest?


     
  18. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Or become assistant physicians in Missouri.

    What you said is essentially happening now and what will happen esp. as more and more medical students starting graduating. The federal govt. will not increase any more spots due to the Budget Act of 1997. The govt. feels that there are enough spots for the number of USMD graduates coming out of med schools. Any more spots that are added will be in primary care. It's gotten so bad that now certain deans are telling their students to have backups regardless of how competitive they may be: https://www.aamc.org/newsroom/reporter/april2014/378174/viewpoint.html and changing remediation policies.

    A great way to "create" more primary care is just to cut out more spots that train subspecialists.
     
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  19. jb94mg

    jb94mg SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    With all of the new schools opening up (D.O. and M.D.), and with all of the medical schools that're increasing seats, do you think it's semi-inevitable that medicine will end up, to some degree, like law? It seems like all of the ingredients for saturation are there: high salary potential, a mediocre/poor economy, a culture that glorifies college as the sole route to success, and overemphasis on the supposed "need" for doctors. Not gonna lie: it's somewhat discouraging.
     
  20. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Pretty much. You can't practice medicine without completing a residency.

    upload_2014-9-26_20-48-35.png
     
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  21. jb94mg

    jb94mg SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    Thanks for that. I will be taking data like that into consideration when I ultimately decide on a career path. Better to take all relevant data and information into account than to be like certain I-am-going-to-be-a-doctor-no-matter-what-because-I've-known-that-I-was-destined-for-it-since-I-was-6-years-old types who insist on pursuing medicine regardless.
     
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  22. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    You're one of the few people on SDN that probably do this. Good to see you're being proactive and looking at the realities of all pathways. For the physician pathway - one of these realities are number of residency positions, esp. if you're only interested or would only be happy in what are considered competitive specialties. I know you'll be successful no matter what you choose based on the legwork you're doing now.
     
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  23. sb247

    sb247 wait...you mean I got in? 2+ Year Member

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    Yep, gotta do the math...it's why i'm not in law school
     
  24. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    I'm just surprised he did it. Most SDNers are nowhere even close to looking at the match landscape as it is so far off in factoring into their plans. It's get into med school now, think of the other stuff later.
     
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  25. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Nope, won't happen. At least not through the mechanism currently in existence. Law schools dont have any underlying mission to fill a need for the population. To a very Large extent they market that the legal education is valuable even to those who don't go on to be lawyers ( this is probably true -- a formal legal education would be extremely valuable to people in a variety of business paths). for that reason, they take the position that they can fill with whoever wants to pay the tuition, and the number of lawyers gets regulated by the various state bars. Not their problem. The state bars have created the glut by allowing high bar pass rates, mostly during times of high demand like the dot com bubble. By contrast in medicine, the AAMC is very hands on about the mission of med schools, and the number of doctors is completely limited by the number of residency slots, which hasn't gone up in a Number if years. And won't because it costs the taxpayers millions to fund more residency slots, while letting more lawyers pass a test costs the taxpayers nothing. Right now we dont have enough US doctors and have been importing thousand of foreign educated doctors for many years ( the opposite problem as law). The AAMC has identified the lack of oversight of schooling of people who work in the US as problematic. The number of US allo schools/seats has thus intentionally been ramped up since about 2005, with an expressed goal of US schools eventually meeting US needs. There is no reason to believe the expansion will continue beyond this once we drive the foreign doctors out of the picture. So bad time to be an offshore student but not such a big concern as a US applicant. And again this doesn't mean more US doctors, it just means more competition at the residency end -- we all still have to squeeze through the same sized aperture of residency training, as always. I'm not worried that the same thing will happen to medicine as law. I do think the offshore MD grad will end up with a degree worth less than an unemployed law student though.
     
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  26. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Except the numbers say otherwise:
    [​IMG]

    So in 2016, even with all 26,000 spots filled by only AMGs, there will still be 1,000 AMGs who will be without residency training.
     
  27. Mad Jack

    Mad Jack Critically Caring Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    My school selects students for primary care. Granted, we're a DO school, but like a third of the class is die hard FP types, and another third are leaning toward primary care. There's a lot of DO schools that practice what they preach out there in that regard.
     
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  28. V5RED

    V5RED MS-1 Lifetime Donor 5+ Year Member

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    Those numbers don't match what is on the NRMP website and the AOA website. From this year's match, there were 26, 678 1st year positions available through the NRMP and the AOA offered 2988 positions that can become part of the merged ACGME positions when the merger is finalized in 2020. So, currently 29,666 positions exist which would mean no deficit in 2016.

    http://www.osteopathic.org/inside-aoa/Education/students/match-program/Pages/match-results.aspx
    http://www.nrmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Main-Match-Results-and-Data-2014.pdf
     
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  29. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    That's bc those numbers are from 2013 and for 2016 respectively, not 2014.
     
  30. Plecopotamus

    Plecopotamus 2+ Year Member

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    Not graduating in 4 years or even 5 does not merely happen because of struggling. MD/PhDs, Masters candidates, people who take time off to do research in order to get a top notch residency in a competitive field, and more high achievers, all take more than 4 or even 5 years to graduate. Individuals in those groups will all tend to be in the higher MCAT and GPA groups. You are making invalid assumptions about the meaning of this data. Individuals in the lower stat bracket may, on the other hand, be more likely to extend medical school due to academic and personal struggles.
     
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  31. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    His point is that the total number of US residency spots currently (29,000) exceeds the total number you listed in your table, and thus in 2016, all 27,000 US grads will still get a spot. As will 2000 foreign grads. Unless you have data suggesting that residency slots are contracting in the next two years, which doesn't seem likely, that last line on your table is wrong (and was probably simply based on a faulty premise that DO spots don't matter for this calculation). The AAMC still has ample time to put on the brakes.
     
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  32. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Well those residency numbers count DOs and are from the AAMC and NRMP so....
     
  33. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    ... So they are wrong. If DOs don't get allo spots and an osteo spot is open they go osteo-- not drive a cab.
     
  34. Mad Jack

    Mad Jack Critically Caring Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    Do we consider USIMGs people?
    [​IMG]
    I joke, I joke.
     
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  35. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    They're people who made the foolish choice of going to a school outside the United States with no guarantee of getting a residency whatsoever, with disastrous match rates.
     
  36. dbeast

    dbeast Neurorectal surgeon 5+ Year Member

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    It's a bold strategy Cotton, let's see how it works out.
     
  37. darklabel

    darklabel MS3 2+ Year Member

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    Yeah Im not sure why the AAMC included them in the calculation. If they're goal is to have US grads fill those spots then why should we care how many of them there are or even bother listing them?
     
  38. GaiusOctavius

    GaiusOctavius 2+ Year Member

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    The link didn't address this possibility, so you also can't really assume that they all took 5 years just to do research, masters, etc... The literature on MCAT/undergraduate GPA as a predictor for future performance seems somewhat mixed. A high biological sciences score for the MCAT does appear to correlate with strong USMLE scores. High verbal scores, on the other hand, do not...

    The title was meant to be provocative and I don't necessarily believe that a 3.19 is always as good as a 4.0. The tables on that link, however, suggest that applicants with higher GPA/MCAT perform equivalent or marginally better in terms of graduation rates, pass rates, etc. Assuming that an applicant with a 3.8 is better than a student with a 3.4 may be misguided. It's a narrow-minded perception.

    It may be good to have a few students with a lower GPA or MCAT so that this isn't the only sentiment represented in the class.
     
  39. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Well, as US enrollment increases, a healthy chunk of those who would have gone offshore won't have to. The AAMCs gripe is with people practicing medicine who didn't come out of schools they and the LCME have oversight over. They will be eliminated, or assimilated. Resistance is futile...
     
    Last edited: 09.27.14
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  40. KnuxNole

    KnuxNole Sweets Addict 10+ Year Member

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    The funny thing is, I don't plan on "giving money" back to school. So I guess I'm a lost cause to them :p
     
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  41. KnuxNole

    KnuxNole Sweets Addict 10+ Year Member

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    The first paragraph definitely hits home for me. I was "that kid" who wasn't freaking out that I got an 89 and thus didn't get "honors". Or simply wanted to do go in rotations and didn't care if I got Honors or a mere High Pass on a rotation. It was a minority of the people, but I guess things fall into place for a reason. The interpersonal part of medicine is one of the parts that keeps me going, coming from someone who isn't big on science.
     
  42. Gregor Wiesmann

    Gregor Wiesmann

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    So what are you suggesting? Do you think PA's have a brighter future?
     
  43. Lucca

    Lucca Will Walk Rope for Sandwich 2+ Year Member

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    Absolutely, we need more of that on the MD side.
     
  44. NoDakDok

    NoDakDok 2+ Year Member

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    There is plenty of it. It's just not as prevalent in the schools you know about (top tiers).

    What does that even mean? Regardless of lifestyle (reimbursement, hours, liability, etc), the working function of a PA is not equivalent to an MD, and it will never be.
     

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