Applying to Med School = BS

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The Chronic MD

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Dec 4, 2002
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I just wanted to share my thoughts after enduring eight months of applying to med school. I am not here to complain, because I have already been accepted to a few places, but just to speak my mind.

At this point, I no longer care what the hell happens. I dont run to the mailbox in suspense and I often go days (sometimes weeks) without checking my email (maybe I should check it right now :)). Because after so many months, I just don't give a flying f**k. I think it is bulls**t that admissions committees string people along for months without telling them anything, especially when you pay them a considerable amount to check out your application. If I want to call the admissions office or email them, I should be able to, since I reluctantly gave them money to glance at five pieces of paper. Regarding schools at which I have interviewed...I think it sucks to pay a crapload of money to visit a school when the only thing you get in return is an hour long ripping from the interviewer, a cheap tour of the med school from first year students who barely know the lay of the land themselves, and a folder that tells you how much better that school is than you. I'm not bitter, I'm just fed up. I don't think adcoms have much respect for applicants, and that sucks. It is obvious I haven't heard a peep from a few schools and my application has been complete since who knows when. And it's not just me, it's probably you too. Anyhow, sorry to rant and rave about such nonsense, but I think this whole process could be restructured a whole lot an effort to be more comforting for the applicant. I hate reading about anxiety-stricken people on here, waiting to hear for many months, only to receive a waitlist or rejection. I wont even bother remarking about waitlists, as the prospect of moving to a city and then getting in off a waitlist at another school during their first day of orientation is just ridiculous.

The bottom line? I will attend the medical school which has treated ME with the most respect. I will go where the adcom has made an effort to contact me, kept me informed, and allowed me to write and call...Applying to med school should not be what it is.

I cant wait to get off work and start sipping cold ones...

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Yes, all of life should be fair...

(while I agree with some of your sentiments, sadly it's just not, so I can't be bothered getting worked up over it...and I do check my email etc constantly)
Im not getting worked up over it, Im just telling you the reasons for why I don't give one rat's ass about applying any longer. I just chill, sip on brew-ha has and chief like a madman. I just feel for many people that I know, many people that you know, and many people on this site that get screwed for close to a year by people that are PAID for a service. That's all...Cheers...By the way, did you know Michelob Ultra is only 95 calories? That means I can crush 20 of them and it will only look like I had 1 Big Mac...
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Originally posted by The Chronic MD
I dont run to the mailbox in suspense and I often go days (sometimes weeks) without checking my email

Is this actually possible?!?!?!:confused:

I really agree with you on this one Chronic. I have almost the exact same thoughts, but sadly I really can't think of a better way for them to do things. I know there a ton a little things they could do differently, but as for the whole picture, i know it could be much better. I'm glad I'm not in charge of admissions cause I'd kcuf it up just as bad.
Care to share which schools you're talking about?

I can see your frustration, but aren't you blowing things out of proportion a little? I had a handful of interviews and I was treated just fine at all the schools, the students seemed to know their way around, and the adcoms were responsive to any questions I had (at all the school!).

Why are you interpreting a rough interview as "tearing up"? At one of my interviews, the interviewer played the stress game with me and I just went along with it, answering all the questions honestly, taking care not to get ruffled. If you hold your composure, successful stress interviews are what will get you in so don't be offended.

Just because you pay a secondary fee doesn't entitle you to a 24 hour application decision turnaround. You should be happy that you're being strung along and not flat out rejected. In most cases, only the schools top choices are sent acceptance letters early in the game.

You're putting a lot of this on youself (interpreting the school's as being larger than yourself and better than you). If you can honestly visualize yourself in a particular school for the right reasons, it will show in your attitude at the interviews, so I would suggest changing your mindset a little and you may see your luck change for the better.

Again, I see where you're coming from, but try to put things in perspective and realize that med school admissions is a predictable process that often takes time. :)
I too agree that this process is royaly F-ed up. Once you've thought you've jumped through all their little hoops, they come at you with a few more...this time engulfed in flames...
My roommate and I have spent a lot of time on this freaking frustrating. As the proud holder of 4 waitlist spots, I waiver between eager anticipation and saying "F it"...I am currently in the latter mode. ANYWAY, thanks for starting this thread to voice my frustration. Unfortunately for me I still have to check my email but I run a LOT slower to the mailbox these days;)
yeah... it does suck! i'm trying to wrap things up at work in the next few months and plan a summer vacation but have no idea where i'll be next year! it is really frustrating. then my boss the other day told me how i could go on vacation over the summer taking a leave of absence and come back to work in the fall if i don't get in. that got me really depressed, because i don't want to come back to work in the fall :( but the prospects of moving home with my parents or trying to find another job in the bay area don't sound too good either! i've now made 5 round trips to the east coast and have heard nothing. i have 3 more coming up that i will also have to fly to. this is getting really expensive and exhausting... not that i'm not grateful for the interviews, but it is tiring as hell!
as for not checking the mail/e-mail everyday. maybe if i was in somewhere i'd feel differently, but every day i get excited about what will be in the mail :rolleyes: my roommate applied to public health schools in like december and has already been accepted to 2 programs. i started applying in friggin june!
oh yeah.. and one more thing. is anyone else *really* confused about what schools they like? god, if i happened to get into more than one school i have no idea where i'd choose between certain schools. i mean, pbl *sounds* great and all, but can i really learn that way? i have no idea until i try it! and how can you really tell if students are happy? it is SO difficult when you meet only a couple and also SO difficult to tell if you like the town the school is in when you only have a few short hours to see the place.
phew! that's enough venting for the day.

i know exactly how you feel. i'm from the bay area too. :) i find the prospect of going back to my job depressing. at this point, i just want to get in somewhere so i can relax a bit. forget the long vacation this summer because i've already spent that money flying cross country multiple times.
Hi Lola:

I've seen you post on this web site alot and you are always a wonderfully positive and enthuastic person that I'm sure any medical school would be lucky to have. My question is: Do the adcoms realize this?

I'm one of the lucky ones who got in to several schools on the first round. But one of my friends who had a sub-par MCAT did not make the first cut after her interviews. She then called the schools she replied to relentlessly to find out where she was on the list and asked them what she could do to get an acceptance. She was accepted the next month. I heard through one of my professors that knows someone on the committee that they decided to let her in because of her persistance. I know everyone stresses numbers on this board and that a lot of people don't think it wise to contact the school, but I also think that persistance, interest, and enthusiam count.

Best of luck!!!! Don't lose hope!!!!
I just wanted to throw in my complaints and $.02! I'm very fortunate to have acceptances, and for that reason only, I'm not tearing my hair out. I feel awful for people who are just waiting, not knowing how to plan and prepare for the next year of their life. I completely agree with the op. . . I've had all my secondaries in since july/august, and haven't heard from 13 of 24 schools! I've sort of known that the no response will equal a rejection since we're now so late in the game, however, I believe it's common curtesy to respond to someone. Maybe it's the school's way of being p.c.; but i'd like a letter, maybe halfway through the process, with some honest evaluation - "we've reviewed your application once, and your mcat is low. You have a slim chance of receiving an interview this application cycle" or something to that effect. Even that small amount of insight allows you to gauge yourself and know what to work on and towards over the course of the year. I also agree with the op about the courtesy of the adcom offices. Now, in no way do I expect them to be a 24/7 service. I also greatly respect the fact that they're busy (who isn't at work?) and that phone calls slow them down. If the school doesn't send out any kind of "file complete" letter, or if I call once, just to make sure the file is complete, I don't expect to hear the following:

me: Hello? I was wondering if you could just check to make sure my file was complete at xyz med school.

them: (without asking name/ssn/or any identifying factor) Did you receive an interview invite?

me: no

them: Then we have nothing for you, click (phone hangs up)

2 days later receive interview invite from school, with a negative tone already set for the school bc of the phone conversation


me: Hello? I was wondering if I could check on the status of my application?

them: You should have received a letter and password to the website. click (phone hangs up)

I expect from my $50-$100 application fee that I should at least get the courtesy of a good-bye! Furthermore, I think the process should try to exhibit the same manners/skills they hope graduating doctors will possess. I'm sure they expect their graduates to be able to come up with a diagnosis at a reasonable time. If a patient has something a doctor is not sure of, I hope the doctor doesn't leave without ever saying anything. The patient wants some sort of immediate diagnosis - "you potentially have this or that, we need to do more tests". While I understand the application process is not a great analogy here, I do believe that when the adcoms first look at an application, they have some sort of general idea as to whether or not the person is competitive for an interview. (I even knew where I was and was not competitive before I applied, yet it has taken them 7-8 months to get that much accomplished) I'm sorry, I'm just disgusted with the whole process and need to vent. Many people say - no news is better than a rejection. Yet, I'd rather hear something than be strung along.
Originally posted by lola
my roommate applied to public health schools in like december and has already been accepted to 2 programs. i started applying in friggin june!
oh yeah.. and one more thing. is anyone else *really* confused about what schools they like? god, if i happened to get into more than one school i have no idea where i'd choose between certain schools. i mean, pbl *sounds* great and all, but can i really learn that way? i have no idea until i try it! and how can you really tell if students are happy? it is SO difficult when you meet only a couple and also SO difficult to tell if you like the town the school is in when you only have a few short hours to see the place.
phew! that's enough venting for the day.

My pompous ass younger brother applied to law schools in December and is getting accepted to schools that I could only dream about. His "stats" are close to mine and he has done nothing significant since graduating from college 3 years ago. . . just a menial office job.

He keeps getting all high and mighty about the schools he is getting into, OSU, Tulane, Wash U, etc. Based on the effort he has put into law school apps, I'd say that it is awfully easy to get into pretty good schools.

Actually my brother is a nice guy. He just irratates me.
I actually like the process. Even though I haven't been accepted, second time around., the schools I have interviewed at have been wonderful. Go leave your whining somewhere else.
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Take waiting for granted, and ye shall find inner peace.

I agree with XCanadianRagweed. What a great excuse to ditch work and visit the best cities in America.
1. Applying to law school is for the most part a totally different ballgame than applying to medical school and several other health professions schools. Except for the top, prestigious law schools, LSAT scores are the prime consideration. There are no required courses as there are for the health professions, letters, if asked for, do not weigh heavily. As a result, you get a profession that does not usually have the stature in the public eye that medicine usually enjoys.

2. As for all the comments on the bastards in medical school administration, I suggest it would be eye-opening and salutary that every medical school student, during the summer between the first and second year, be REQUIRED to participate in admissions committee work. That will include sorting through the hundreds/thousands of applications, checking on whether admission requirements have been met, letters have arrived, official transcripts are present, becoming familar with the filing systems (and how easy it is to misplace things). While all that scut work will not be done by faculty, it still takes time and personnel. Next, sit in on the meetings to decide who should be interviewed and why. Get some insight to what is being looked for, and how much time and discussion even that phase may occupy.

Next, sit down with whomever arranges the schedules for interviews, trying to accomodate different constituencies, interviewees and the interviewers, who are almost always faculty who have other things to do.

Participate in the after interview discussions to make at least a first sorting of the outcomes. Engage in discussion, even arguments, with colleagues. Keep track of how many offers are being made. (Interviewers and AdmissionCommittee members commonly do not earn extra pay for their work.

Imagine all this going on all through the Fall and early Spring while the faculty have other duties.

And consider that most medical schools will try to pay for these services out of at least part of the admissions fees. Whether or not any applicant should never have applied in the first place to a paticular medical school, never having a chance, is not the medical school's fault; the paperwork involved still has to be done.

It would all be much simpler, cheaper and fairer(?) if all AMCAS applications were submitted to a central computer which arranged them in numerical order by GPA and MCAT score, drew a line above which everyone would be offered a seat. If this was done a national scale, everyone would be assigned to a medical school whether or not they chose it. I am covering my ears to drown out the outcry which I can already hear! If some doctors turned out to be poor ones because of the method of selection, so be it.

Whenever humans are involved in selection processes of any kind, expect differences of opinion and outcomes. Wherever local taxpayer money supports education, expect preferences for local students. Is life ever fair?
If I am ever lucky enough to attend medical school I will absolutely spend time working on the Ad Comm. I would interview, file, call, stamp, and stuff envelopes if neccessary just to get a glimpse in to what the process is truly like.
The turn around time should definitely be shorter. Applying over the summer and making a decision 8 months later. Or even over a year later when people get the lucky, but frantic, call that they were taken off the waitlist the day before classes start. That is just crazy and students shouldn't be put through such a dramatic roller coaster.
Ad Coms have an incredibly hard job, but in an ideal world all the dates (notification, having to choose only one school, latest you can be taken off the waitlist) should all be significantly pushed up.
On a side note, MICHELOB ULTRA is absolutely disgusting. **** tastes like water. not even worth drinking. and i drink crappy beer all the time (busch light, high life, etc.)


oh yeah, this process does suck ass
Originally posted by gower
Is life ever fair?

Maybe not, but it doesn't mean we can't try.
Originally posted by cracker69
and i drink crappy beer all the time (busch light, high life, etc.)

If I ever saw you in real life, I would beat the hell out of you, hold your face in the toilet and flush numerous times...High Life is a GREAT beer...You must not have any idea what it means to "live the high life." Or maybe it is the case you haven't even tasted the dankness that is high life. Here is a review I find to be most accurate, you yuppy amateur:

Clear straw gold with a full head of bright white foam. It's retention is surprisingly good. It maintains a creamy collar and light surface covering throughout the glass, and leaves some very nice lace. The nose expresses a sweet malt with a very light touch of sulphur (but no more than should be expected of any lager). The body is medium/light. It's bubbles appear to be standard-sized and the carbonation level is median. The mouthfeel starts crisp but becomes lightly creamy as it crosses the palate. The flavor is as the aroma indicates with a clean, sweet-malt (obvious use of adjunct due to it's lack of graininess) dominating over whatever bitterness is present. It finishes dry with some lingering maltiness (but it never builds on the palate). Well done and enjoyable, although a touch sweet.
Originally posted by marakah2
i think the system is fine!

That must be some good crack you're smokin!

I think you failed to see the point...Just because I pay 50-100 bucks, it doesn't entitle me to 24 hour surveillance of my application, I know this. However, it does entitle me and you and everyone else to some respect. Its not just about calling...its about being strung along for many months with no word, no postcard, no nothing. And five to six to seven months later, when you do call OR email, they give you the runaround, or they tell you to f-off in a slightly nicer manner. I know there are a lot of applications and it takes time to process and whatever, but there is a lot they could do to make it better (get volunteers to help, incorporate more med students, hire more people). Whatever, I'm done complaining. I got jack **** to worry about, so I don't know why I'm even venting.
Originally posted by marakah2

i think the system is fine!

the system is NOT fine. if you happen to be from a state that has no med school or has med schools that are extremely difficult to get into, you end up getting screwed! i mean, i may be in the top 50% of applicants, but that doesn't mean i am going to get a seat b/c lots of people who are not in the top 50% are getting into their state schools. that means, many people who are in the top 50% but are from states w/out med schools or states with med schools that are very competitive are going to be out of luck. why do you think so many people at caribbean schools are from california? i'm willing to bet at least some of these students would have gotten into their state med school if they were from a different state.

i'm sure schools have a difficult job in sorting through applications, so i can't really blame them for my frustration. but, i can blame the whole stinking process for my frustration. i agree with someone from another post who said that the number of schools you can apply to should be limited. i mean, the more schools people start applying to, the more schools everyone else has to apply to to increase their chances of getting in. i wouldn't have needed to apply to 25 schools if everyone else had only applied to 5. in order to increase my chances, i had to apply to a lot of schools b/c rather than there being only like 2,000 people applying to a particular school, there are 7,000 people applying!

i also think some sort of match system should be in place. that would make things MUCH easier.

and as for gower's idea about arranging applicants in order of gpa & mcat & drawing a line above which everyone will get in. it's an interesting idea but not a very good one. i mean, it doesn't begin to take into account peoples' life experiences or the quality of school they attended. i mean, someone with a 4.0 from a community college in their premed courses and a 27 mcat might get in over someone from swarthmore with a 3.5 and 33 mcat. and a bunch of a**holes would get in who had good numbers but were arrogant pricks. excuse me for my bitterness, but i'm having a bad day :)
Originally posted by The Chronic MD

The bottom line? I will attend the medical school which has treated ME with the most respect. I will go where the adcom has made an effort to contact me, kept me informed, and allowed me to write and call...Applying to med school should not be what it is.

That's a truly dangerous thought because

1) how the admissions office treats you has nothing to do the attitude of the rest of the people at that school (attendings, curriculum office, residents, fellow classmates, etc.)

2) But in fact, once you are on the ward, you will realize that EVERY school pretty much treats you, the medical student, like the bottom of the bottom on the totem pole anyway (unless you get lucky and find caring attendings and residents). So who cares if their admissions office pretends to be nice? Once you get confronted by a pissed-off, unreasonable attending who is not satisfied with your work, are you going to look into his eyes and say, "when I was applying to med school, this school pretty much bent over its back and courted me real bad. so you should give me some respect!"

So yourself some frustration down the road. Just choose your school based on city, family and costs. Don't let the admissions office blind you and make you make a regrettable decision.
In full support of Chronic.

This is an unbelievable process. Yeah...lots of applicants. Yeah...understaffed offices. Yeah...we still have a right to bitch. Between MCAT classes, exam fees, AMCAS, secondaries, transcripts, flights and hotels, I've dropped more than $5000 in the last year and a half. YEAR AND A HALF. What's more, FAFSA just let me know that my expected family contribution (read:me) will be $8000 for the school year. Yeah...I had that much...IT WENT TO FREAKING APPLICATIONS!!

I am so sick of waiting, just to be waitlisted at the schools I want to go to. And I can't imagine how it is for those on their second round without one acceptance yet...having to wait, packed and prepared until possibly the last day of summer for a call to get their ass out to the other coast to start school.

Some of these schools have treated applicants like crap (my state school?), and for the few that have been reasonable in their process, others should follow by example. Albany has absolutely rocked through the entire admissions process...quick post-interview turnaround time...pleasant and polite to work with, and seems to be on top of it. If they can do can the rest of these schools.