ssquared

Member
10+ Year Member
Jul 31, 2006
874
3
sitting on the dock of the bay...
Status (Visible)
  1. Other Health Professions Student
I'm starting this thread out of curiousity....

Are there any people here on SDN who got into a medical school because of their connections? I'm not saying that you weren't necessarily qualified, but knowing an ADCOM member or faculty member gave you an edge? I know it happens all the time with college admissions, but I'm curious how that works out with medical school.

Not that I have any great connections, I sadly come from a family of lawyers....I'm just looking for anecdotal evidence.
 

dugong

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Sep 9, 2006
11
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
i would doubt it... i think the US medical schools are overwhelmed with super-qualified applicants that accepting an even slightly inferior applicant due to a "connection" would be pretty unethical
 

GoinBack2Cali?

it used to be so cool
10+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2006
243
1
San Francisco, CA
Status (Visible)
  1. MD/PhD Student
I'm starting this thread out of curiousity....

Are there any people here on SDN who got into a medical school because of their connections? I'm not saying that you weren't necessarily qualified, but knowing an ADCOM member or faculty member gave you an edge? I know it happens all the time with college admissions, but I'm curious how that works out with medical school.

Not that I have any great connections, I sadly come from a family of lawyers....I'm just looking for anecdotal evidence.

I have a "friend" and his interviewer did a post-doc in the same lab that my "friend" currently works in. My "friend" told me that this was the most relaxed interview of all time. :thumbup:
 
About the Ads

DrZeke

yzarc gniog ylwolS
15+ Year Member
Apr 25, 2005
2,692
608
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
I'm starting this thread out of curiousity....

Are there any people here on SDN who got into a medical school because of their connections? I'm not saying that you weren't necessarily qualified, but knowing an ADCOM member or faculty member gave you an edge? I know it happens all the time with college admissions, but I'm curious how that works out with medical school.

Not that I have any great connections, I sadly come from a family of lawyers....I'm just looking for anecdotal evidence.

I have a "friend" who wasn't doing too well this season. Applied to a bunch or so schools whatever. Anyways, got an interview through a friend's parent who is an adcom and I think they are going to get in. They even admitted it was because of connections. That's life. :thumbdown:
 

Mr. Belding

The Dude abides
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Dec 19, 2006
563
19
Bat country
Status (Visible)
i would doubt it... i think the US medical schools are overwhelmed with super-qualified applicants that accepting an even slightly inferior applicant due to a "connection" would be pretty unethical

Unfortunately, you are seriously deluded if you think this is anything less than commonplace.

I turned down an offer of automatic acceptance to a top ten where my aunt happened to be oooooooold friends with the dean.

Sad, but true. I like your optimism, though.
 

gary5

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Sep 25, 2003
1,089
2
Status (Visible)
Most students get in due to their merit. However, there are always exceptions. If your parent is a head of any department in the hospital, you're in for sure. If your parent gave over $1,000,000 to the hospital, you're in for sure. If your parent gave $500,000 to the med school, then you can get in with low numbers. Well, you get the idea.
 

ssquared

Member
10+ Year Member
Jul 31, 2006
874
3
sitting on the dock of the bay...
Status (Visible)
  1. Other Health Professions Student
Most students get in due to their merit. However, there are always exceptions. If your parent is a head of any department in the hospital, you're in for sure. If your parent gave over $1,000,000 to the hospital, you're in for sure. If your parent gave $500,000 to the med school, then you can get in with low numbers. Well, you get the idea.

Oh, ok, I'll ask my parents to give that extra million they have sitting around to my top choice med school. Easy as pie! :laugh:
 

gary5

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Sep 25, 2003
1,089
2
Status (Visible)
Oh, ok, I'll ask my parents to give that extra million they have sitting around to my top choice med school. Easy as pie! :laugh:

For families with a lot of money, that's exactly what they do. 6 months before their kid applies, they make a huge donation and the kid gets in no problem. Actually, they spend the big bucks early and send the kid to the most prestigious high schools and colleges, and so the application process is already easier. Anyway, like I said, most students earn by merit.
 

Dookter

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
May 21, 2005
1,042
3
Status (Visible)
I think what connections do is make the application process much less of a crap shoot. If an applicant is perfectly qualified, he/she still has a low statistical chance of getting accepted to a particular top school. But with connections, that chance shoots up dramatically. It's not really that the applicants will be less qualified for the most part. It's probably more that now the school has a reason to take that person. Without connections, that person is just another name mixed in with the 6,000 or so that applied. It isn't fair, but I have yet to really find anything that is fair.
 

dugong

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Sep 9, 2006
11
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
i always felt that this type of stuff only went in undergrads... Recall the simpsons episode when Mr. Burns tries to get his son into harvard and harvard asks him to build an intl airport. since medical classes have small class sizes, everybody will know everybody. If your parent makes a huge donation or something and you are enrolled in that same school, questions will arise about your qualifications. Nevertheless, I really dont have any factual sources in this matter whatsoever, but its still interesting to talk about this
 

sejin8642

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 18, 2006
345
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
This happens not only medical school admission, but also pretty much everything that involves competition.
 
About the Ads

squeaky

Hopeful
10+ Year Member
Feb 5, 2007
42
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
A lot of people who went on to med school straight out of undergrad (at my school) have parent(s) who are doctors. To my knowledge, they have average to good stats, but what really separated them from the rest of the pack is what I think their parent(s) coached them to say/do. I think it really helps to have a doctor parent to hold your hand through the process. Perhaps I'm just bitter.

Nevertheless, as the old saying goes, the journey is half the fun. If I successfully become a doctor, I can look back and say I accomplished it all myself!:thumbup:
 

armybound

urologist.
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Jan 1, 2007
4,827
490
Uranus
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
A lot of people who went on to med school straight out of undergrad (at my school) have parent(s) who are doctors. To my knowledge, they have average to good stats, but what really separated them from the rest of the pack is what I think their parent(s) coached them to say/do. I think it really helps to have a doctor parent to hold your hand through the process. Perhaps I'm just bitter.

Nevertheless, as the old saying goes, the journey is half the fun. If I successfully become a doctor, I can look back and say I accomplished it all myself!:thumbup:
I agree somewhat with you, though.

My parents didn't even go to a 4 year university. My dad's never stepped foot in a college classroom. The whole experience from applying to undergrad school to applying to medical school is brand new to me. I have no one to really go to for guidance, so I'm making mistakes as I go. Some of them are pretty serious mistakes.

I would say it helps A LOT to have someone who knows what they're doing to take advice from.
 

ssquared

Member
10+ Year Member
Jul 31, 2006
874
3
sitting on the dock of the bay...
Status (Visible)
  1. Other Health Professions Student
For families with a lot of money, that's exactly what they do. 6 months before their kid applies, they make a huge donation and the kid gets in no problem. Actually, they spend the big bucks early and send the kid to the most prestigious high schools and colleges, and so the application process is already easier. Anyway, like I said, most students earn by merit.

Oh, no doubt. I distinctly remember when a friend of mine (yes, actually a friend, not myself) was applying to Harvard for undergrad the dean of admissions called his father and asked for a $50,000 donation to solidify his son's acceptance. The dad didn't do it and the kid got in anyways, but I would say that's an anomaly.

When I asked the question I meant less people who donated big bucks but more along the lines that your neighbor is on the faculty of the school and you call in a favor. My neighbor is on the faculty of several medical schools and I've always wondered if it would even be worth it to ask him to write a recommendation letter (I worked for him, so he does actually know me) on my behalf. I hate the idea of toying with the system like that, but given my stats, I need all the help I can get. Then again, with the crapshoot that admissions is, most people would willingly take any help they can get.
 

armybound

urologist.
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Jan 1, 2007
4,827
490
Uranus
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Oh, no doubt. I distinctly remember when a friend of mine (yes, actually a friend, not myself) was applying to Harvard for undergrad the dean of admissions called his father and asked for a $50,000 donation to solidify his son's acceptance. The dad didn't do it and the kid got in anyways, but I would say that's an anomaly.

When I asked the question I meant less people who donated big bucks but more along the lines that your neighbor is on the faculty of the school and you call in a favor. My neighbor is on the faculty of several medical schools and I've always wondered if it would even be worth it to ask him to write a recommendation letter (I worked for him, so he does actually know me) on my behalf. I hate the idea of toying with the system like that, but given my stats, I need all the help I can get. Then again, with the crapshoot that admissions is, most people would willingly take any help they can get.
I'd be a little afraid of asking someone like that for a letter. You know they'll give the straight truth and won't pad anything. They know how serious a LOR is taken, so if they don't recommend you they might say it. Kinda risky.

But it must be cool having that option available.
 

PathOne

Derminatrix
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
May 10, 2004
833
2
Skin City
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Do people get extra chances because of money, politics or connections? Of course they do, in any walk of life, including med school admissions.

Do kids of physicians stand a better chance of getting into med school? Yup. But not necessarily through foul play:
- Their parents know the value of a good education.
- They're likely to live in a nice neighborhood, with good schools, or alternatively go to private schools.
- Their parents can afford to send them to the best colleges, regardless of financial aid.
- They can get easier access to the best colleges, if a parent is alumni (this is SOP at Harvard, among other places).
- Their parents can coach them in the importance of good grades, higher tutors, whatever.
- They can be told of the importance of volunteering, research, and parents can help place them.
- Parents can fork out $$$ for MCAT prep courses, and know the importance of them.
- etc, etc, etc.

Is that fair or unfair? Frankly difficult to say. A person as the one described above WILL probably, after all, be better qualified/prepared than the average med school applicant...
 

thejonqproject

Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 20, 2006
314
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
It seems like with alot of these competitve environments its isn't what you know but who you know.
 

Auron

Cruisin' the Cosmos
10+ Year Member
Jan 21, 2007
896
2
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Dental
It definitly happens, and I'd take advantage of it. Its a dog eat dog world, and only the fittest survive.

On a side note I just found out classes are cancelled tomorrow cause of weather!!! YES!!! An extra day to study for o-chem:D
 

dasacohen

S.D.N=addicting
10+ Year Member
Dec 13, 2006
243
0
Berkeley, CA
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I got un-rejected from a school because a doc I shadowed gives money there regularly. Now I have an interview there....coincidence? probably not...

also I got my girlfriend an interview at a place I've been accepted, and her for me at a place she's been accepted. Seems like the Adcom's are quite flexible...if you know the right people, or they like you enough
 

southpawcannon

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Dec 15, 2006
296
10
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Oh, no doubt. I distinctly remember when a friend of mine (yes, actually a friend, not myself) was applying to Harvard for undergrad the dean of admissions called his father and asked for a $50,000 donation to solidify his son's acceptance. The dad didn't do it and the kid got in anyways, but I would say that's an anomaly.

When I asked the question I meant less people who donated big bucks but more along the lines that your neighbor is on the faculty of the school and you call in a favor. My neighbor is on the faculty of several medical schools and I've always wondered if it would even be worth it to ask him to write a recommendation letter (I worked for him, so he does actually know me) on my behalf. I hate the idea of toying with the system like that, but given my stats, I need all the help I can get. Then again, with the crapshoot that admissions is, most people would willingly take any help they can get.

If you two had a good working relationship as well as a good relationship outside of employment, then I'd take advantage of that. It's not like you are kissing this guy's ass for the sole purpose of getting a letter. That would be crap. It just so happens to work out that you have this neighbor who knows people.

Do people get extra chances because of money, politics or connections? Of course they do, in any walk of life, including med school admissions.

Do kids of physicians stand a better chance of getting into med school? Yup. But not necessarily through foul play:
- Their parents know the value of a good education.
- They're likely to live in a nice neighborhood, with good schools, or alternatively go to private schools.
- Their parents can afford to send them to the best colleges, regardless of financial aid.
- They can get easier access to the best colleges, if a parent is alumni (this is SOP at Harvard, among other places).
- Their parents can coach them in the importance of good grades, higher tutors, whatever.
- They can be told of the importance of volunteering, research, and parents can help place them.
- Parents can fork out $$$ for MCAT prep courses, and know the importance of them.
- etc, etc, etc.

Is that fair or unfair? Frankly difficult to say. A person as the one described above WILL probably, after all, be better qualified/prepared than the average med school applicant...

I agree completely. A family doesn't necessarily have to be docs and lawyers, but it helps if they had some college education in terms of guiding you on what to do and what not to do. I was the first and only in my family, including mom and dad, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and immediate cousins, to even go to college. Man, I had no idea what to expect and suffered early on as a result. But, on the flip side, I learned a lot about what to do, when, how to do it, why I'm doing it and who to talk to. I am very appreciative of having that experience. If someday I do have children, I will provide them a much better environment to grow up in (an alcoholic dad really does damage to a child) as well as give them some guidance of how to get to college and beyond without being completely in the dark.
 
About the Ads

epigastric

Stewart U. Class of '11
10+ Year Member
Nov 8, 2006
346
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
It happens. My friend's uncle was a very active and proud alumni who donated a little bit, maybe 1-5k or so, on a yearly basis. He called up the school (a decent Southern state school) on behalf of his favorite nephew, and the nephew, who was hard-working but had a 29 MCAT and lousy GPA, suddenly received an interview invite. He's an M1 there this year.

Now, I don't know if it was the donations or the fact that the uncle regularly played golf with several adcom members, but the M1 certainly doesn't feel guilty about it -- it was his only interview.
 

StellarOrigins

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
23
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Honestly guys, in my case I have probably the best connections you could ask for, and it amounted in a pre-interview rejection at the school (top 5 US News in Research). In med school, at least this school w/ my experience, it is not about who you know, but what you do. They don't care as much as I think people might believe. Maybe in the case of a tie between two equally qualified people, the person accepted has an affiliation with the school, but unless the student is on par with the best then they won't give them a second look. My connections hurt me, so don't worry about it, and be confident that adcoms aren't looking for entitlement, or at least in my case. I was happy I got rejected.

Med School Class of 2011!!
 

sgglaze

New Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 23, 2005
145
0
Status (Visible)
It's mildly interesting that this thread has not boiled down to flaming those with connections while nearly every thread mentioning URMs does.
 

Dookter

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
May 21, 2005
1,042
3
Status (Visible)
It's mildly interesting that this thread has not boiled down to flaming those with connections while nearly every thread mentioning URMs does.

Well, it's sort of hard to flame people with connections if you don't know whether or not they were perfectly qualified on their own. I have definitely seen cases where I have a feeling connections helped people get in, but I also have absolutely no reason to believe that these people did not have everyone it took anyway. Like I said before, I think connections just make the process less of a crap shoot and give ADCOMs a reason to randomly draw your name out of the hat over someone else [which is essentially how the admissions process works sometimes with so many qualified applicants]. If I saw that people that had lower stats, etc., were getting into schools over more qualified people solely b/c of connections, I'd probably start complaining...
 

sgglaze

New Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 23, 2005
145
0
Status (Visible)
Well, it's sort of hard to flame people with connections if you don't know whether or not they were perfectly qualified on their own.

And that's exactly what happens in URMs on this forum.
 

Dookter

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
May 21, 2005
1,042
3
Status (Visible)
Well, it's sort of hard to flame people with connections if you don't know whether or not they were perfectly qualified on their own. /QUOTE]

But that's exactly what happens in URMs on this forum.

Yep, you're right. It's not fair to flame someone just for being an URM. But people do realize that URMs actually do get into medical schools with lower stats all the time. I'm not a fan of flaming URMs for that, but some people are b/c they don't believe in it. Some people propose looking more than skin-deep at applicants to the actual underlying socioeconomic situation. I see good points on both side of the debate, so you won't see me flaming either side. I'm just pointing out that people really don't have much of a reason to flame people with connections since, at least to my knowledge, people with connections are not walking into medical schools with sub-par stats on a consistent basis.
 

PathOne

Derminatrix
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
May 10, 2004
833
2
Skin City
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Well, people who think that this is a perfect world, will sooner or later find out, that the world consists of both qualifications and connections. Which is, for me, perfectly acceptable, if they by and large go hand in hand. Of course, if you have too many blatantly using connections without qualifications to go with it, it'll be a problem. But as the US is mostly based on a meritocracy, I'm not lying sleepless over that.

So, again, yes. You'll probably be able to find someone at every college and medical school that got in by "pulling strings". But I do believe that it's a small minority. And actually, the really big name schools are generally acutely aware that it's a dead-end to blindly accept the most well-connected.
 

notdeadyet

Still in California
15+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2004
11,777
1,996
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
It's mildly interesting that this thread has not boiled down to flaming those with connections while nearly every thread mentioning URMs does.
I love the idea of a group whose name is Under Represented Minority being accused of connections.
 

pyrois

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Nov 22, 2006
673
2
Berkeley, CA
Status (Visible)
For families with a lot of money, that's exactly what they do. 6 months before their kid applies, they make a huge donation and the kid gets in no problem. Actually, they spend the big bucks early and send the kid to the most prestigious high schools and colleges, and so the application process is already easier. Anyway, like I said, most students earn by merit.

Haha, there was actually an article I read a while back about some folks who donated a huge sum of money to Stanford and their kid got rejected a few months later:p

They tried suing Stanford, but they were like "your kid got a 1000 on the SAT's, he's not getting in."
 

pyrois

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Nov 22, 2006
673
2
Berkeley, CA
Status (Visible)
It's mildly interesting that this thread has not boiled down to flaming those with connections while nearly every thread mentioning URMs does.

I dunno, I met somebody on the interview trail who not only couldn't afford to take a Kaplan/Princeton/What have you course, but her parents wouldn't let her spend the $34.95 on an MCAT book.

Apparently she was good friends with her librarian, and her library bought a copy for her to borrow out.

Then again, she wasn't a URM, and she got a 39 on the MCAT, so who am I kidding.
 

WitchDoctor

magical healer to be
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 14, 2006
94
1
mdapplicants.com
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
while i was interviewing at Duke, there was this book that I thought was pretty interesting on the coffee table in the waiting room.
it was called "The Price of Admission: How America's Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges -- and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates".

The book has a large silver spoon on it. what most interested me was that there was an entire chapter devoted to talking about how in the past, Duke had a reputation for accepting a large number of applicants based on famous or generous parents. here is a link that briefly talks about this book.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1226164,00.html
 

Dookter

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
May 21, 2005
1,042
3
Status (Visible)
while i was interviewing at Duke, there was this book that I thought was pretty interesting on the coffee table in the waiting room.
it was called "The Price of Admission: How America's Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges -- and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates".

The book has a large silver spoon on it. what most interested me was that there was an entire chapter devoted to talking about how in the past, Duke had a reputation for accepting a large number of applicants based on famous or generous parents. here is a link that briefly talks about this book.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1226164,00.html

Remember, this is referring to undergrad admissions. And yes, Duke undergrad admissions has a horrible reputation for doing that....or at least it used to be that way.
 

GlobalMD

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Dec 21, 2006
21
0
Status (Visible)
I think connections *might* have played a role in one school I was accepted at, which was a "top 20" (or 25) school. A surgeon who had treated me for a childhood illness (and who has been my mentor for years) decided(without my asking) to write a letter to the dean of the SOM on my behalf (the surgeon is active at the school; alumnus; assistant professor, etc). (He called it an "unrequested letter.") I applied to nine schools, declined one interview, didn't get interviews at 2 schools, didn't get into one after interview, and was accepted at five in the end, but the one the surgeon wrote the letter to was the most "prestigious" one I got into. I got into the others without the help of connections, but I kind of wonder if maybe his letter helped? My MCAT score is lower than the average at that school, but then the interviews went better there for me than probably any of the other schools. I was kind of suprised I got in there.
I'm not going to the most "prestigious" school I got into; another one seemed better for my interests, so in the end it didn't matter after all...
Who knows...I think schools want you to be able to "make it" of course, but after all, it is still planet earth, and humans are a species that like to connect with each other...
 

crimsonkid85

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 3, 2006
792
223
Status (Visible)
  1. MD/PhD Student
this is wide-spread at institutions at the college level. at Harvard, it's called the Z-list. :D
 

MonkeyNuts!

Even Kal has bad days...
10+ Year Member
Jun 23, 2005
3,646
14
My PI made a phone call to one of my top choices and sort of reinforced my case - I hadn't been rejected yet, just hadn't heard anything. I don't know if this would be the same as parents giving money, but it is still an outside source aiding the application.

I myself didn't take it lightly. For all I knew, when they gave me the interview, they might have not given one to someone who was more qualified. On top of that I had my own personal feelings about the matter, I felt that it was weird to go to an interview at a school that honestly didn't want me in the first place.

My friends gave me all sorts of excuses as to why I shouldn't feel bad, that I went to a tough undergrad, that my major was hard, that others were doing it and it was a part of life/looking for a job/etc. But that still didn't change the fact that it was not MY works or MY hand alone that got the interview - a mix of ego and practicality was making me feel horrible about it.

And furthermore, I felt even worse because my PI was putting her rep and word on the line (yeah a bit insignificant for vouching for a lowly premed, but still), and I felt like I needed to prove myself. I also thought that if I got in by some miracle, I'd continue to feel that way even when I matriculated, that to echo some of previous' posters thoughts - I wouldn't deserve it and I would need to work to prove to everyone, including myself, that I belonged there.

Still to be honest, I don't know whether if it was right or wrong. After all, a big part of residency matching is connections. Getting a job after residency sometimes includes connections. I just started earlier. Was it wrong? Sure felt like it.

However.

Did I take the opportunity? Yes. I interviewed. I had watched "Pursuit of Happiness" before my interview and the entire theme of the movie was "if you want something you gotta go and get it and never let anyone tell you that you can't have something." Makes me wonder, when do we let our dreams come to us, and when do we go and chase them?
 
About the Ads
This thread is more than 14 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.