One of the things that I intended to do this summer was create a "quick start" guide of sorts of pre-allo. One of the most irritating things about the pre-allo forum is that people start threads asking a question that was asked within the last week, and I think the community in general is equally irritated by it. Of course the typical response is "lol search nub," but have you ever actually tried searching for a thread? Even if you know what you're looking for it can be a challenge.
The purpose of the guide was to create a collection of the commonly asked questions and "answer" them with links to especially useful and/or authoritative answers. I think this would cut down on the chaff that gets asked a lot and make the trolls a little more obvious when they ask questions that have clearly been addressed time and time again. Ideally this thread would be stickied and referenced ad nauseum when people asked stupid questions, but would be more broad and authoritative the infamous "Stupid Questions" thread.
As I said, this was something that I was going to do on my own but I found it pretty daunting. It was difficult to come up with the questions that were asked commonly - though simply looking through the first 2-3 pages yielded quite a few - much less finding the threads to answer them. Since the non-MSAR spreadsheet project worked out surprisingly well, I thought that format might be an effective way to do this project as well.
If you're interested in contributing, please do the following:
1) In a reply to this thread, state the question that you would like answered.
2) If you've located threads that answer the question you posed, post them below the question in your own post.
3) If you want to look for an answer, use the Google search function for SDN. This is important! The native search function SUCKS! I've found that using the Google search for SDN is infinitely better and will probably get you the thread you're looking for much faster. You can use it here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/gtsearch.php
4) If you're answering a question that has been asked but not answered, quote the question in your post and post the threads below the quote.
NOTE: If you find a thread that is ESPECIALLY useful, list it first in your collection of links and bold it (see my post below as an example). This will prevent people from clicking on multiple threads needlessly when one thread will more than likely do the trick. Also, if you see someone answered a question but didn't include a thread that you think might be useful, quote the question, the response, AND the thread(s) you want to add to that answer.
If this ends up being a pain then we might switch to using a shared Google Docs document, which would make things much easier. Keep in mind that the quality of the threads you link to determines the quality of the answer you provide. Try and find a thread that answers a question by either having responses from adcom users or represents a consensus of SDN opinion. Linking to a thread where only dragonboi89 responded isn't very helpful.
Below are the questions that I came up with when I originally started the project. I only got around to answering one of them, but I figured this would be a good place to start.
What grades are required to apply for med school?
What are the differences between allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) schools?
Does it matter where I went to undergrad for med school?
Are extracurricular activities (ECs) required? What should I be doing?
What courses are required to enter medical school?
Can I take courses at a community college (CC)?
Do medical schools accept AP, IB, community college, an upper-level course, etc. for credit for pre-requisites?
How do I get letters of recommendation (LORs)? Who should I ask for LORs?
Should I get a committee letter or individual LORs?
What is considered "research?"
How do I get research opportunities?
What is considered "clinical experience?"
How do I get shadowing opportunities?
Should I do some kind of overseas clinical experience program?
How much [insert activity here] time should I have by the time I apply?
How do I [insert whatever here] when I'm a non-traditional applicant?
What happens if I retake a class?
Questions about [insert school here].
How do I choose which schools to apply to? How many schools should I apply to?
Should I apply to Caribbean med schools?
Where's that school spreadsheet?
What is a personal statement? What should be included?
How long does it take for my AMCAS to be verified?
Do I qualify as disadvantaged on AMCAS?
How should I enter my activity descriptions on AMCAS?
Can I use high school activities on AMCAS?
Do I need to disclose [insert institutional action here] on AMCAS/secondaries?
How do I change [AMCAS response] after my application has been verified?
How long does it take before I start receiving secondaries once my AMCAS is
What questions will I be asked at interviews?
Does [insert course name here] count in my science/BCPM GPA?
Do I really need to list [insert criminal offense here] on my AMCAS/secondaries?
What is a letter of interest/intent (LOI)? When should I write one? What
should it say? How do I pick a school?
Should I study the summer before entering med school?
What do I do if I didn't get accepted this year?