AOA: How to become one?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Handy388, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. Handy388

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    I will be in medical school next year, just wonder if there's any general selection criteria for AOA induction. Can't seen to search the term AOA, so here, let me type out alpha omega alpha and hope this thread become the future glowing beacon of search.
     
  2. novastorm

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    Selection criteria varies by school....most importantly don't make enemies of the people who select you.
     
  3. njbmd

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    Your first challenge is to see if your school even has a chapter of Alpha Omega Alpha. If not, you won't be AOA. After that, you need to find out what that particular chapter's selection criteria are for induction. Every chapter has some academic requirement and some have both an academic and leadership requirement. Again, you need to consult with your school's chapter of AOA for their specific requirements as these are variable.

    If you attend a school that does not have a chapter (all is not lost), then you can be inducted into AOA as a resident or as an attending physician if you meet the criteria of the chapter where you are doing residency or working as an attending physician.

    Look at these threads:

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=462919

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=361722

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=352901
     
    #3 njbmd, Dec 29, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
  4. Mobius1985

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    And some applications ask you to list humanitarian service and research experience. Others have a component that includes classmate election (popular vote) for the designation.
     
  5. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem
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    Isn't the whole point of being AOA to get an advantage when applying to residency? Is AOA even useful after starting the residency? Maybe if you have to do a fellowship.

    If a school doesn't have AOA, it can still have honors designation, right? If there are no honors and no AOA then I guess you would be at a disadvantage at competitive residencies, especially if the dean's letter doesn't mention your rank. This is probably worth considering before choosing among similar med schools.
     
  6. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    No, the whole idea of getting into Alpha Omega Alpha is not to get into a competitive residency or to get some advantage but to promote scholarship and honor in medical studies. Participation in AOA activities is not limited to members of AOA and include lectures, fellowship and promotion of scholarship. In short, it's an honor and little more. It's not something that is going to "magically" transform you into an ultra-competitive residency candidate.

    You don't need AOA to get into a competitive residency as plenty of people from schools that do not have chapters of AOA get into competitive residencies. Program directors of competitive residencies are not looking only at AOA membership and nothing else. You have to bring a complete package and AOA can be a part of that package but by no means is it all of that package. AOA doesn't prove that you will be a great physician or that you will be a top performer in a residency program. In short, the "something else" far outweighs membership in AOA in terms of getting into a competitive residency.

    Most people in this country will not become members of AOA for one or more reasons not the least of which is that their school doesn't have a chapter. Having a chapter of AOA doesn't make the school any better (or worse) but is a matter of participation of the membership of this organization. It's not the end-all of residency and you can't just sit on your "duff" and smugly say, "I'm AOA and the residency programs are going to kill to get me". It just doesn't work that way. It has little bearing on whether or not you get into a fellowship (performance in residency is the key to fellowship).

    Work ethic, performance, and interest/ability to perform well have more of an influence than AOA. Is it nice to have? Yes, but plenty of people do extremely well without it from any medical school in this country. AOA is no predictor of success in a competitive residency nor is it the only thing that can get you into a competitive residency.

    In choosing schools, rather than looking for the presence or absence of a particular organization, particular board scores or anything else, look at where YOU can perform. If you hate your school and can't do well, you are the one that suffers and not the school. In the end, it's all on YOU and not your school or any organization that you belong to.

    AOA may open some doors but those doors are not closed if you are not a member of AOA. You can open them with strong scholarship, strong work ethic and an ability to practice medicine at a high level. Is AOA helpful? Yes, but it's not crucial.
     
  7. Long Dong

    Long Dong My middle name is Duc.
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    Kiss butt
     
  8. njbmd

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    That surely wan't my experience but each person is different and has different experiences.
     
  9. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem
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    Can a school have honors designation even if it doesn't have AOA?

    I know that competitive residencies want to know that you are at the top of your class, generally 1/3. So if there is no honors designation and there is no dean's letter ranking a student, this should be a disadvantage.

    Unless AOA or honors helps you get a better job after residency, then probably there isn't much value having it after getting a residency spot and the designation is indeed simply for "scholarship and honor."
     
    #9 Excelsius, Jan 3, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2009
  10. drbetty

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    http://alphaomegaalpha.org/about/membership.html

    How are new members of AΩA chosen?

    The Constitution of AΩA gives many degrees of freedom to each chapter for the process of election of student members within certain firm guidelines. These can be summarized as follows:

    1. At approximately 16 months before a given class will graduate from medical school, the Councilor must arrange with the deanÂ’s office, with the studentsÂ’ permission, to receive in confidence a list of the top quartile as measured by academic performance.
    2. From this top quartile of students, each chapter may elect to AΩA membership up to one-sixth of the projected number of students that will graduate. The Councilor then invites members of AΩA in the faculty who know students and their performance in the classroom and in clerkships to meet in confidence to select students for membership. The chapter may elect up to half of that one-sixth of students in the spring of the third year, and the remainder at any time from the fall of the fourth year until graduation. There is wide variability in the process among chapters. Some elect no junior students, and several elect all student members in the spring of their senior year just prior to graduation.
    3. Those students chosen from the top quartile for election are picked not only for their high academic standing, but as well for leadership among their peers, professionalism and a firm sense of ethics, promise of future success in medicine, and a commitment to service in the school and community. By adherence to these criteria it has happened that one or more of the highest ranked students by grade point average have not been elected to the society.
    4. Each chapter may elect each year up to three residents/fellows to membership and one or two faculty members. These individuals are expected to be selected by a caucus of student members of the society at some time before the induction ceremony during the senior year. With input from faculty members and the office of the dean, one or two alumni/alumnae may be elected each year as well.
     
  11. turkeyjerky

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Every medical school provides some sort of ranking on the dean's letter (ie there are code words, such as outstanding, excellent or good (good is actually very bad), used in recommending the student, with the actual meaning listed at the end of the letter). I'm not aware of any schools that don't have grades for clinical rotations and most of those that are pass-fail during pre-clinical coursework maintain an internal rankings for AOA and the dean's letter.

    I'm not sure if AOA is something that people care much about when evaluating job applicants, but it can't hurt and is certainly something you'd put on your CV.
     
  12. gorillacillin

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    Call it sour grapes, but I think popularity unfortunately factors in. I had Step-I of 252, Step2 of 267, and finished in the top 25% after 3rd year. Half the residency interviews I've gone to ask bewildered "Why didn't you make AOA?" Our school lets in half the AOA members based on M1/2 grades alone and the next half get voted in a year later by current members based on grades, service, leadership, and scholarship (ie research).
     
  13. Orthodoc40

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    You have to get business cards made up with your name on them, and then put AOA after your name. It's a secret society, otherwise. :laugh:

    :smuggrin:
     
  14. JeffLebowski

    JeffLebowski Just got Nard-dogged
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    No offense, but it sounds like based on your post:
    1) The first 1/2 of AOA are based on M1/2 grades - you were perhaps not among the best in this category sufficient to make the cut
    2) The second 1/2 of AOA are based on more than just M3 grades, but also research, leadership, extracurriculars....which you didn't mention as having.

    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but it seems possible that you didn't make AOA because of more objective criteria than popularity.
     
  15. pianola

    pianola MS2
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    :thumbdown:
     
  16. JeffLebowski

    JeffLebowski Just got Nard-dogged
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    Care to elaborate further than just a thumbs-down? It's ambiguous what you take issue with.
     
  17. scarletgirl777

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    OK, so if I understand correctly AOA is kinda like Phi Beta Kappa. Yeah, it's nice to have, but you don't need it to succeed.

    In terms of popularity contest, I will just say that my college had a 2-tiered PBK system that sounds like this, and once you get peers evaluating you based on criteria that are not strictly objective, it can turn into a kind of popularity contest. But if you have amazing grades regardless, will it really matter that you are not AOA? The people who had 3.9s and were not elected to PBK for whatever reason survived the med school process just fine.
     
  18. JeffLebowski

    JeffLebowski Just got Nard-dogged
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    Yeah, basically. Although I'd say AOA is very well known and membership is probably a bit better feather in the ol' cap than Phi beta Kappa, or whatever other honor societies there are pre-med. But yeah, for the most part your contention that AOA = nice but not necessary is true.
     
  19. pianola

    pianola MS2
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    I don't like the idea of being voted to AOA by my peers -- that part DOES sound like a popularity contest. But I guess it probably won't matter since my grades won't be where they should be anyway to qualify for AOA :(:(.
     
  20. InternationlDoc

    InternationlDoc Imported like a Ferrari
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    It seems to be a popularity contest. I was invited to apply and although I am very involved in school + community service + publications, I was not the president of the class or anything.
    2 of my friends (one had a 270+ step 1 and all As) and other almost the same did not get elected, albeit both are not that involved at school and don't have significant research. I didn't get elected either. honestly, I am actually excitedly waiting to see who these junior AOAs are...popular theory amongst us friends is that administrative pull by class officers counts alot (so being one helps alot) and there is some "liking you" factor as well, which essentially means face time with the dean etc. There are couple of MD/PhD kids involved too.

    I'll let you know of my assessment once they mail out the names of the students.
     
  21. bigdan

    bigdan SDN Donor
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    At my school (Stony Brook), AOA seemed to come in two groups; we don't actually every really know what gets someone in, but here are my thoughts:
    - the Junior AOA were our absolute rock stars...nearest we could figure, these guys honored EVERYTHING up to the point of Junior AOA selection, from first year on. Both had 250+ Step 1 scores. Both good guys as well, and neither a class officer. Just very bright, came to school, and knew their ****, obviously.
    - the Senior AOA group may or may not have been at the top of the class all along. Step 1 scores ranged from 216 - 266, and the third year of medical school really mattered...in fact, it may have been the only academic thing that mattered. For the OP that asked about getting into AOA, this would be the single most important piece of advice I would give an incoming medical student: Your third year is what matters. Additionally, the Senior AOA folks had some forms of research or leadership positions or other element that distinguished him/her from "just another medical student".

    I do hear folks saying somethings like "AOA is a popularity contest" or "You gotta kiss ass to get into AOA". I tend to hear this from folks that are not in AOA, as you might imagine. I'm not sure how true this actually is, but be sure that assho*es w/270+ scores and 99 shelves who know all the answers DON'T always do well during 3rd year, and again, it's 3rd year that matters. Moreover, being a nice guy/good student/asskisser/popular/varsity team captain - or whatever you want to call it - certainly helps in getting good clinical evals, which many a medical student will learn is what really determines your 3rd year grade. This comes as a total insult to many students, and often marks the first time is some students' lives where bubbling in the right answer DOESN'T get them everything they want.

    In regards to residency, I would conjecture that AOA is not a make-or-break-you component of residency. It seems that most of the advice that was broadcast to our class is that AOA is one of many components that will help bolster your application for residency.

    Anyways. I'm rambling.

    dc
     
  22. InternationlDoc

    InternationlDoc Imported like a Ferrari
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    I humbly disagree with the above post.

    I am not bitter that I did not get AOA, but please do not assume that people who rock first 2 years suck in the 3rd. Yes the 270+ guy is still honoring everything. I have honored 3/4 rotations so far. So your assessment is not completely valid. I guess stony brook has it nice - honor everything first 2 years and 250+ board score = get AOA. Not at my school. I can say it with almost a certainty that some junior AOA's are definitely going to catch me by surprise - I really believe closeness with the administration matters more where I am going to school, for I know 2-3 brilliant and nice people not getting it as they aren't terribly involved in the betterment of 2010 class or some fund raising for cancer week as primary organizer. The ass***e gunner that people talk about, honestly, I haven't met any person like that in my class. There are ass***es, but they are not too bright.
     
  23. JeffLebowski

    JeffLebowski Just got Nard-dogged
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    Eh...I think the take-home message from this debate is that:
    1) AOA selection varies school-to-school and class-to-class, so it's going to be hard to glean much from everyones' diverse perspectives
    2) Don't assume that because someone gets AOA, they had some "in" with the administration. That may be true, it may not be true, but even if they did have an "in" they might have been competitive without it - you don't have a copy of everyone's CV.
    3) Don't assume that because someone doesn't get AOA, they weren't phenomenal students. A very small selection of the class CAN be inducted into junior AOA, and awesome candidates likely get passed over in the process.
    4) Drawing from 2 & 3 - let's give each other the benefit of the doubt.
     
  24. InternationlDoc

    InternationlDoc Imported like a Ferrari
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    What you say is mostly true Jeff, but as I said before, I am pretty excited to see who these rockstars are in my class...and, I'll be honest - No BS here - I am a bit saddened that couple of big B's that I will undoubtedly accumulate this year and I'm out of senior AOA running. eh, Ignorance = bliss.
     
  25. bigdan

    bigdan SDN Donor
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    International -

    I couldn't pretend to know how things go at your school (or any other school), which is why I offered my views on my school. I may be right, and I may be wrong. Just my views.

    Also, I can't say that those that rocked the first 2 yrs suck in the third; I'm just saying that those folks that did well all along but have social interaction issues may - at my school - not to do well during 3rd year...the guys that get comments about disagreements with nursing staff and house staff, that kind of stuff.

    You guess Stony Brook has it nice, AOA-wise? Bold. I said that I think the Junior AOA guys honored everything until the point Junior AOA was announced. That's not just the first two years. That actually includes most of third year at Stony Brook. So you honored 3 of 4 rotations so far? Congrats. You would not get Junior AOA at Stony Brook, at least not compared to the guys that got it in my class. Not so easy, huh?

    I didn't say I had the guaranteed method of getting AOA, I offered my impressions on who got it in my class.

    dc
     
  26. DwyaneWade

    DwyaneWade Reiging *** Cynic
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    clearly we need to start athread as follows: junior aoa; genetics versus environment?
     
  27. confuse

    confuse Senior Member
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    I think to be considered for junior AOA, you gotta be in the top 5%. Although senior AOA consists of other things, junior AOA at my school is completely based on academics. Our school uses numerical grades, taking into account the credit hours of each courses, to rank us. So someone who has honored everything with a 95 is at a different caliber from someone who has honored everything with a 99.
     
  28. InternationlDoc

    InternationlDoc Imported like a Ferrari
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    Dwade - you back! dude stay on sdn till match please. lol.

    Anyways, the list of Junior AOA came out and I have lost a lot of respect for my chapter and my school. I do not want to give out too much detail, but suffice to say, scholarship got defeated hands down (people barely making top 25% got in - I know the top ten students did not make AOA) also board scores did not factor in.
    May be I was not clear about the bylaws of my chapter, but ...lol...I am too disappointed and amused to write more here.

    Anyways, my last post on this thread
     
    #28 InternationlDoc, Feb 14, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2009
  29. Noeljan

    Noeljan Senior Member
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    well I know students have to be in the top 25%...other than that, I DONT think someone should get in JUST because grades. That is just silly. I think it is more deserving for people who show leadership, community service, research, than someone who ONLY focuses on tests/school. A lot of people could do a little (or a lot) better if they only did school. It takes more to do other things and do well in school. I think honor societies should reflect that. So in summary they should be great in school and other things....
     
  30. InternationlDoc

    InternationlDoc Imported like a Ferrari
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    uhh...I do not want to be argumentative here, ofcourse you need the full package. I'm just saying that the people who got picked were NOT exceptional leaders or did NOT do exceptional research or even community service, but they had alot of face time with the administration. I do not care if any one believes me, but there were students who had better research and community service that probably helped the greater community...you know who got picked? a student who organized faculty awards. Right. give me a break.

    Anyways, this BS on this board about "just focusing on the studies does not = AOA" stuff is garbage. I know of very few students who did that; they weren't even in the top 25%. All of the top 10 students were "independently" involved. Some had research at other institutions, some did community service, wrote in newspapers outside of the lame school one and did summer service in africa NOT organized by the school. They were not rewarded - its the people who sustained the school system, perpetuating pointless activities.
    I do not mean that AOA is same everywhere. I am just speaking about My school and the system there. So yes, at my school the system is not that great and it was exposed for what it is recently. Nope, not impressed and do not care about it anymore. Oh and sure this is sdn..as soon as I post this there will be posts about "sour grapes" etc. I don't care to defend it. But just FYI, there are no gunners who study all the time with no life in my class.

    peace
     
  31. OHMAN0125

    OHMAN0125 Poor Member
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    Hmmm...don't know how they do it in Houston but I know that at some other schools in the Northeast (other than Stony Brook since i'm from there) for senior AOA, they take the top 25% of class and then either the AOA committee votes on them or the student class votes a certain percentage of them in. I think actually in the AOA constitution it says that it kind of "has" to be that way.
    And how are u so sure about these ppl's grades in ur school? Maybe they are in that top 25%. If ur school is 200 students that means 50 of them would qualify. It's hard to imagine anyone knowing the CV of the top 50 ppl in a given class unless u work for the government of something.
    I'd say just give them the benefit of the doubt and stop stressing over it.
     
  32. JeffLebowski

    JeffLebowski Just got Nard-dogged
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    This is kind of a weak argument (unless I misunderstood you)...honestly when only a handful of people get junior AOA, you won't have trouble filling those spots with people who have BOTH great grades/boards AND extracurricular achievement. These things are in no way mutually exclusive.
     
  33. Noeljan

    Noeljan Senior Member
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    you did misunderstand me. Trust me, I know that grades and EC's are not mutally exclusive. I was arguing the other guys point about people with scholarship not winning out. I agree that is has to be both (and not that hard to do so). I was arguing that it cannot only go on grades (and should not). Also, since we have no control over it we should try our best. If we have the grades and EC's and still don't get it you still know you had those things
    I agree with the other guy too. Be careful about assuming/listening to people about grades. The only one that really knows the grades are you and the prof.
     
  34. JeffLebowski

    JeffLebowski Just got Nard-dogged
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    Oh okay. Yeah.
     
  35. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy
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    My school is very hush-hush about it, but the word here is that it's pretty much all grades with maybe a tiny consideration given to other stuff. Also, my school has massive grade inflation (the top 25% of people in my class as of the end of second year had a 3.85 or higher), so according to rumors, people with straight As still don't necessarily make the cut.

    Honestly, I don't know if all grades is bad because at least it's fair and objective.
     
  36. HPSPpayissues

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    I think you should worry about passing (or honoring) all your classes first, before thinking about AOA
     
  37. HPSPpayissues

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    Where do you go to school? Sounds like a grade inflation to me? The top 25% at mine has ~ 3.4 , haha
     
  38. JeffLebowski

    JeffLebowski Just got Nard-dogged
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    She already agreed that they have grade inflation.
     
  39. DwyaneWade

    DwyaneWade Reiging *** Cynic
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    I tried to avoid posting seriously on this topic, but here we go.

    There is nothing you can do to control how AOA or any honor society membership is distributed. Why worry about it then? Just do your best and if it happens, it happens, and if it does not happen, it does not happen. Frankly, if I were borderline AOA and did not get in because of "lack of leadership activities" I would not feel any regret for not participating in these things, because Ic could never see myself joining clubs just to get AOA.

    Similarly, if I do not qualify academically I won't feel any remorse because I did my best and that is the most I could do about it.

    No point complaining about the world around you, just focus on improving yourself and doing your best.
     
  40. JeffLebowski

    JeffLebowski Just got Nard-dogged
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    Agreed - this is the best post yet.

    And this is exactly the kind of attitude that gets a person to accumulate accomplishments sufficient to get AOA. But again, the right attitude is to do your best, and accept and be proud of whatever results it yields.
     
  41. panerai1

    panerai1 Member
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    It's becoming very clear that AOA criteria is very school dependent, as is the election process itself. I will back my classmate Dan in what he said, specifically in regard to our school (and I'd hope that it at least somewhat applies to the majority of the schools out there). Killing Step I and crushing all of 1st, 2nd and 3rd year up until voting is completed goes a long way for junior AOA, as it is almost solely an academic honor.

    For senior AOA, strong preclinical grades are great to have, but 3rd year is really the make or break year, and by the nature of that will have a "personality" aspect to it. Personality (i.e. being a likeable person) goes a long way towards your 3rd year clerkships, as honoring is near impossible if you're a difficult person to work with who thinks they are a know-it-all, which as we all know come a dime a dozen in medical school. I think this is the confounding variable in a lot of the discussion above, namely that person X with a "300 Step I score who knows everything" may not be making the best impression on the floors, and their grades may be suffering b/c of it.
     
  42. Blesbok

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    Here it is top 15% of the class, professionalism, research, leardership, service, etc for junior. For senior it extends to top 25%. I have been told that the criteria for junior and senior differ other than just the grades but the person did not go into specifics.

    However, every chapter is school specific. I have heard of many chapters using only grades and there are many other chapters that only use grades as a qualifier then everything else makes the difference on who gets selected.
     

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