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Can weak secondaries sink your chances for interviews?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by johnnytest, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. johnnytest

    johnnytest MS-2
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    I feel my secondaries are blah compared to my written work on my primary. At one point, I really didn't care and just send them in. How much weight is placed on secondaries anyway?
     
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  3. Shams al Deen

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    Ya I'm feeling the same way about my secondaries. It probably depends on the school. I heard Michigan will give IIs without even reviewing the secondary, but a school like U of A is always stressing the importance of secondaries for getting interviews.
     
  4. NoDakDok

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    Yes.
     
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  5. moisne

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    The short answer is yes
     
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  6. Person0715

    Person0715 Socially awkward
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    The secondaries are one of the few parts of the application that you have complete control over. Do your absolute best on them now so there are no regrets later.
     
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  7. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Thank You for Smoking
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    Duh. A weak anything could potentially sink your chances at an interview.
     
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  8. AspiringERMD

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    How likely is it that very strong secondaries will get you an interview that you otherwise wouldn't have gotten?
     
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  9. NYCdude

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    I don't even know what a weak secondary is. If you answer the questions truthfully, and don't have grammar mistakes and stuff like that, what else can they fault you for?
     
  10. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    If your interests don't match the mission of the school.

    If you don't come across as mature and self-directed (not doing this because your family expects it of you, etc).

    If you put minimal effort into the essays and use only 20-25% of the space provided.
     
  11. Afford

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    I looked at the Stanford secondary and I had a strong feeling that they will axe you if you answered that your future career is private practice because it isn't what they're looking for.
     
  12. G_Marker

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    I might have had a couple essays where I used significantly less space than what was given, but it was usually because I didn't have more to say without being repetitive. Some of the limits were very high (2000 characters, one was 5,000 characters), and I felt that I was cutting adcoms a break by not spending forever talking about things that were already in my secondary or that could be said in fewer words.

    In retrospect, I wish I had looked more at each school's mission and had tried to tailor my secondary responses to the different missions. I also wish I hadn't talked too much about my migraines, which I ended up doing in a few applications (one of which was rather quickly rejected). Ah, well, you win some and you lose some.

    I do have two IIs now, and both are schools that I'd be very, very happy to have the chance to attend. :) I'm a bit nervous that those two IIs are to schools that don't have much of a secondary. (VCU, NYMC)

    When it comes down to it, at some point you just need to submit. There will always be those 'what ifs' because we can always work harder or smarter or longer.
     
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  13. Goro

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    Let's put it this way:

    The school has just sent out 600 secondaries. They can interview maybe 300 for 100 seats. What is a quick method for the Admissions dean to weed out people?

    A) Reject all people named John and Joan
    B) Reject all people with an MCAT high than 33, because they wouldn't come to that school.
    C) Reject all people with weak secondaries
    D) Reject all people who live west of the Delaware River
    E) Reject all people who shadowed more than 2 doctors.

    The correct answer is C

    The weakest candidates get culled first.

     
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  14. zaben

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    It seems as if all my schools where I spent maybe an hour writing a generic paragraph or two are giving me interview invites, and the schools that I worked the hardest on are rejecting me or silence. Also, at the interviews I have gone to so far I have not been questioned on anything related to what I put on my secondary. I would lean towards them not being as important as you would think, just put something down that doesn't hurt you.

    edit: the ones I worked the hardest on are not any lower or higher ranked than the ones I worked the least on. They just had longer/harder secondaries.
     
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  15. alicebobalice

    alicebobalice birdie

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    I wrote about some personal things in my secondary about adversity. My family has a lot of addicts (brother, mom, grandparents etc.) and this was really hard growing up and during undergrad because I have 6 brothers and sisters who are all younger than me. I sent this in on my adversity essay, but now I'm thinking it was too personal. I kept it really professional in tone and language, but is that way too dangerous? Will med schools judge me for coming from this environment? Having some panic.
     
  16. deeproots

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    I'm in the same boat. I had a super messed-up childhood because of addictions in my family. This may be my personal opinion, but as long as you kept it professional and emphasized why your disadvantaged background is relevant and how you grew from it, I think adcoms will consider it a positive attribute (you were able to overcome an extremely challenging situation). I definitely don't think anyone would judge you--it wasn't your fault that you had a tough life.

    If it helps, I talked about my background in my personal statement and in my disadvantaged essay, and I'm grateful to say that I've gotten 4 interviews so far (I've only applied to 6 schools and my stats are pretty average--30 MCAT and 3.9ish GPA).

    Good luck, and feel free to PM me if you'd like :)
     

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