Are secondaries just a formality??

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Mike59, Sep 4, 2002.

  1. Mike59

    Mike59 Sweatshop FP in Ontario

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    After plowing through some of my secondaries, I have come to question the point of this step in the process (outside of collecting our money).

    Some of these questions are ridiculous to be asking on paper, and would be much better in an interview setting. Questions like: "why do you want to attend our school" or "why do you want to go into medicine" blah blah blah. The problem I have is that as a creative writer, the word limits and questions are too narrow for much elaboration. It's pretty impossible to stand out from the crowd in a secondary compared to a personal statement.

    Thus, my question: Do medical schools really care about what you write in your secondary?? It appears as if you have good numbers, recs and a solid application, you should be interviewed anyway?!? I'm confused!
     
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  3. CRAZYTERP

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    Hey Dude,
    I am totally with you on this one. I am sure we all ask why Emory wants to know about the most incredible experience of our lives in 50 words. I can proabbaly say 50 words without taking a breadth, however, everyone else is doing it so we gotta do it too. It's kinda like we are peer pressured into it. I do think they must laugh at some of our essays though. I mean I would if I were them. The ADCOMS must be like, "I can't believe these stupid kids actually answered our questions! Haha!" But whatever, I am almost done with these things and as much as I want to punch the men and women who are making my life a living hell, I would probably do anything for them if they give me an interview. Ironic, eh?
     
  4. SMW

    SMW Grand Member

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    Hardly. Although it's a pain, schools have a right to ask for information in the way they want to see it. For instance, many secondaries make you edit down your activities into an easily seen list of a few major activities -- much easier to deal with than AMCAS's pages of info on up to 15 activities. And asking to you answer a difficult question succintly -- well, that seems fair as well to me. I'm with you on the ones that just ask for name, address and a check, or the ones that have you re-type your schoolwork, when AMCAS has already verified your transcript.

    To answer Mike's question, yes they do care. So don't let your negative attitude toward secondaries show.
     
  5. NYC Non-Trad

    NYC Non-Trad Member

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    My question is having to do with secondaries with no additional essays/short answer q's, but which the school narrows down the pool before sending out secondaries (ie, not every AMCAS applicant receives a secondary).

    UCSF is an example of this bizarre situation. If schools like UCSF have already reviewed the AMCAS apps to decide who to send secondaries to and the only new information they receive from secondary applicants are their letters of rec, do they base interview decisions solely on the basis of rec's? I can't imagine the letters are that much different among applicants. If not, do they already have a ranking of the applicants who they send their secondaries to and just give the interviews to the top 1/3 of that secondary list, unless the letters of rec are glaringly positive/negative to sway their preconceived ideas?

    Either way, the process seems weird to me. If you have a secondary simply for additional revenue (ie, Penn, Harvard), then send it to every applicant. If not, then ask some additional questions to further narrow the pool.

    I guess the other possibility was that the initial cut was based solely on test scores/GPA and the interview cut will be based on the rest of the AMCAS application (strength of extracurriculars, essay, etc.) Still seems unnecessary, though, for 2 different cuts without additional information.

    Comments?
     
  6. CRAZYTERP

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    The only thing I can think of is that because UCSF is such a good school and they get so many applications, it may be too much for them to simply read all the essays. Or if they do a cut off based on numbers, they feel that the applicants they have left are superior to others and will have pretty strong AMCAS apps and thus they do not need other essays.
     
  7. SMW

    SMW Grand Member

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    I agree, that is bizarre. I didn't apply to UCSF, and never encountered that situation last year. Have you done a search on UCSF to see what you can come up with? I do think it's possible that there is considerable variation in enthusiasm between the LOR's for various candidates.
     

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