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Despair, Please Help

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by willy, Mar 15, 2002.

  1. willy

    willy Senior Member

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    I applied to 13 schools, and interviewed at 5. I was waitlisted at one of those schools (NYMC) and rejected at the other four. As I see it, I will not be attending medical school next year, and it hurts. My credentials did not warrant this devastating turnout, since I graduated last year from Penn with a 3.54 BCPM, I was a 4-year varsity runner, and I recieved a 30R on the new MCAT (9V, 11P, 10B). I therefore attribute much of my misfortune to being a detectably arrogant prick. Regardless, I am having trouble figuring out what do do. This is a hellish puzzle, and I can't find a solution. Should I retake the MCAT? Where should I find work? Anybody who's done it please speak out. I am in dire need of help and I hope post-bacc-like programs aren't the only solution. They're too expensive. Thanks.
     
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  3. Doc AdamK in 2006

    Doc AdamK in 2006 Now 2 year UB Med Doc

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    What schools did you apply to?
    With those stats I thought you could have gotten in one school.

    A 30 is great, your GPA is fine, I am a runner also at USP. I'm suprised that these schools didn't look favorably on you.

    How did the interviews go.

    Your stats sound fine I would work on work experience and community acitivities, also interview skills.

    Maybe you have all of this. It's possible that each school saw something they didn't like.

    Be confident that NYMC put you on the waitlist and that they will accept you

    Have a great day
    AK
     
  4. reesie0726

    reesie0726 Senior Member

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    Will, I know it can be frustrating but sometimes applying to medical schools is simply a crapshot. You have solid credentials so I am not sure that you really need to do a postbac program. Retaking the mcat might not be that bad of an idea if you can increase a couple of points, that might seperate you a little from the thousands of other folk with your similar, competitive stats. Apply to more schools. I think 13 was probably too few. Next year apply to 20-25 medical schools. Try to do something that will distinguish yourself from the rest of the applicants and will also make you seem like a more "well-rounded" applicant. What type of volunteer work do you have? Have you did anything interesting that you might like. That will be the key is to distinguish yourself from the crowd. And finally, the interview. The fact that you had five interviews might indicate that there is a problem with your interview skills. Go back to Penn's career service center and have them do a mock interview with you. See if they can figure out what is going on with your interview skills.
     
  5. willy

    willy Senior Member

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    Yeah it's a real quandary. I applied to Yale, Harvard, Penn (no love), Dartmouth, Emory, Georgetown, George Washington, Albert Einstein, Tufts, Boston U., University of Connecticut, MCP Hahnemann, and NYMC. Perhaps I shot a bit high, but I left plenty of room as safety. My thoughts are that (and I suggest all 2003 applicants take heed of this advice) it is not wise to apply with your heart set on a competitive specialty. It indicates closed-mindedness, perhaps, and a misled interest for the whole of medicine.
     
  6. katiep

    katiep Senior Member

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    Hmmm. I was in a similar position last year, except a bit worse, both in GPA and MCAT (29R). I was also waitlisted at NYMC after only two interviews. I got into NYMC this year, though, so here's my take on it.

    I didn't retake the MCAT, but I did improve my GPA somewhat during my senior year. I don't think you necessarily need to improve either GPA or MCAT, since it is higher than what I have even this year. But it couldn't hurt, of course. Taking a few science classes which may help you in med school and earning As would look good. Don't retake the MCAT unless you know you can score at least 2 points higher. You don't want to stay the same, or worse, go down. I think NYMC last year had a 31 average, so you're definitely within the standard deviation.

    What I did do, which put me over the edge this year I think, was to take on a very clinically-oriented volunteer position as a nurse's aide. I also wrote them a specific letter pointing out that I have filled this gap in my application by taking on A LOT of patient contact. NYMC is primary-care oriented. You get to do clinical stuff day one, so I think it's important to them. I was just waiting for that "red flag" question, and reiterated that to the interviewer. I also added additional academic research, with a poster presentation and hopefully a publication soon in a neuroscience journal.

    Unfortunately, I inquired about why I was only waitlisted, but I just received a form letter saying "we received more that 9,000 application and though blahblahblah..." So that won't help you.

    Also, last year the waitlist did not move at all, but the several years before that, 40+ students came off the waitlist. You still have a chance. I don't kow if indeed a lack of clinial experience is what it is, but if so, try getting some now and write to them a letter saying how much you want to go there, that you are presently volunteering at so-and-so, and perhaps that you would definitely go there if they accept you. You may just come off the waitlist.

    I don't know if this helps, or will help, because it's all a fairly random game, and perhaps it will go your way next year, if not this one.

    Good luck.
     
  7. jrazz

    jrazz Member

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    Being from Vermont (I assume you have residency), why would you not have applied to your state school? You would have definitely been considered at UVM. It seems that you may be more interested in going to a "top named" school rather than becoming a physician.

    I don't think you need to change your numbers at all. I would do something different in terms of EC's. Try to find something unique. For example, I went on a volunteer program to South America for two weeks. It wasn't a long commitment, but my interviewers loved to talk about it. There are thousands of people with your stats (which are impressive by the way), you just need to distinguish yourself from the pack.

    Don't get discouraged. If you are persistent, you will be fine. Good luck with NYMC!!
     
  8. willy

    willy Senior Member

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    I will be happy if and wherever I am accepted. Yale and Harvard were solely curiosities. I am not a name-seeker, JRazz. Thanks.
     
  9. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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    You applied to too many reach schools. I advise that next year you only apply to 3-4 reach schools. You should probably apply to a total of 15-20 schools.

    I think we are similarly competitive. I have a 3.63 GPA and a 30N (9V, 11P, 10B). I was not admitted last year. I made the same mistakes you did (applied to too many competitive schools and too small a total), though I did have slightly lower numbers at the time. This year I increased the number of schools to which I applied and reduced the number of "dream schools" to 3 (Emory, Dartmouth & Vandy). I didn't even bother with the extremely competitive schools. I received more interview invitations than I could handle and ended up turning a couple offers down and withdrawing pre-interview from others (including NYMC). I've had a successful year.

    You'll know what not to do next year. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> We all, for the most part, stumble through this process and make numerous mistakes.

    Good luck next year if you don't have success this year! Hopefully you will get in!
     
  10. willy

    willy Senior Member

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    Wow. Thanks Swampman. It's comforting to behold all this second-time-around success. I am currently pursuing opportunities in health-related reearch. I will also retake my MCATs. I got a 34 on Kaplan practice 3, so I know I can beat a 30. Too many people have discouraged me from 'wasting my money' at post-bacc-like, Master's granting programs, so research seems the best for me; it is the most constructive, and most pro-active plan B.
     
  11. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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    I don't think you need to retake the MCAT. You may regret it in retrospect.

    I think you are very competitive numerically. I think you ought to find ways to make yourself stand out (the cake is baked, now it's time to ice it).
     
  12. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member

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    Well willjmarks, I'm in a similar situation. I only applied to three schools (have to stay local) and got interviews very early at all three. Then I got rejected, waitlisted, and ignored. It is quite unlikely that I will get in this year. My stats are pretty good (u/g gpa: 3.4 in engineering, master's gpa: 4.0, postbacc gpa: 4.0, MCAT: 13,13,13Q).

    I don't think I'm an arrogant prick. I think something else in my interview triggered a red flag. Don't know what it was though - maybe that I'm a mom? There's no way to know right now, unfortunately.

    I find it hilarious that schools would reject someone for being arrogant when part of med school training is teaching the docs to be arrogant. Guess they want a clean slate or something.

    Anyway, at first I was shocked and upset. Now I have come to terms with the fact that I will have to reapply. I'm going to make appointments to talk to the schools about improving my application, and try to find out where I got dinged, as soon as I they will let me. I'm also going to work on my EC's (esp. clinical) for next year.

    Good luck to both of us. This process sucks!
     
  13. PelicanMan

    PelicanMan Senior Member

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    I know that i will get alot of crap for saying this but I am only saying it because I believe that its correct and I want to help you wiljmarks.

    I believe that you have good stats but not great stats. As far as your MCAT i think that this is fine. I think that if you somebody gets a 30 and above that they are fine. I do think that your GPA is a little low for the schools that you applied to. I don't mean to sound harsh but your GPA is below the averages of most of those schools. Maybe you should work on improving your GPA.

    But thats just my opinion I could be wrong.
     
  14. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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    spacecadet,

    Med schools train students to be confident, not arrogant. They reject arrogant people because they don't want to deal with them for 4 years. Can you blame them?!? :D
     
  15. willy

    willy Senior Member

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    Spacecadet, you hav very impressive credentials. Congratulations. Perhaps med schools think that you think that med school is 'just the next step' and expect it rather than yearn for it. I'm not sure, but that seems to be the case when people as exceptional as you get the boot. My roommate's cousin got a 42 and was rejected from med schools the first time around.

    Swampman, why do you think I would resent taking the MCAT again? It seems that a score in the 34-36 range would certainly make me a better candidate. I honestly think my 30 is hurting me. Please indulge....
     
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  17. willy

    willy Senior Member

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    Pelican, that is a fair assessment. Still, you've got to remember that my lousy semesters are behind me and I have no control over my GPA. Also remember the toughness of Penn and that I ran cross country for four years. I'm sure ADCOMs do.
     
  18. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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    willjmarks,

    I said you may regret it, not you will regret it. Practice tests don't mean squat. What happens on test day is what matters. They may screw up your exam score or you may have a bad day. I don't know if it is worth it. As you do, I'm sure that I can pull my 30 up (not that I have to worry about it anymore). I am just not 100% certain that it wouldn't slip to a 28 or something similar.

    Your MCAT seems to be one of your strongest credentials (no offense). You would probably be better served strengthening other aspects of your application.
     
  19. scootad.

    scootad. Senior Member

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    The first thing I would do is write NYMC a letter stating they are your first choice and you would matriculate if accepted off the waitlist. Schools like NYMC need to know you are serious about attending their school because many people who aren't just stay on their waitlist and clog it up. They aren't keen on giving up spots to people who will turn them down anyway.

    After the letter, I would call them up every couple weeks and ask about the status of the waitlist and your position on it, and send them supplemental letters telling them what you've been doing in the meantime (anything that might strengthen your application, e.g. an extra letter of recommendation)

    I wouldn't give up hope yet about attending med school next year. Its still early in the process, and many people get off waitlists up until the week before classes begin (at the end of summer).

    good luck, I think you have a decent shot if you follow my advice.
     
  20. willy

    willy Senior Member

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    Thank you, scootad. That is good advice, but NYMC's waitlist letter explicitly discourages phone calls and status checks. I should get the ball rolling, however, on a letter of intent.
     
  21. scootad.

    scootad. Senior Member

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    Also, I wouldn't retake the MCAT unless you are very confident you can improve by at least 2-3 points. Your MCAT is pretty good already, its not a score that would keep you out of med school (maybe harvard or columbia, but you know what i mean). I was OK with my MCAT score (it wasn't the best I was capable of) but at the same time, I knew taking that test again was risking doing a whole lot worst, and I would never put myself through that torture and the nerves that go along with it.
     
  22. SMW

    SMW Grand Member

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    I agree that you should not re-take the MCAT, and that you should immediately write a letter of intent to NYMC. Then you should figure out if there was a red flag or serious weakness (personal statement? essays? LOR's? poor interviews?) somewhere in your application, so that you can address it or remedy it next time around. I also agree that you applied to too many reach schools and not enough other schools. If you reapply, I would suggest 20-25 carefully chosen schools, and make sure you've done something in the meantime to show your dedication to medicine (like a health related job or volunteering). Do an SDN search on re-applying and you'll find a ton of inspiring stories. Good luck!! :)
     
  23. willy

    willy Senior Member

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    SMW, thanks. I find it bizarre that so many people discourage retaking the MCAT. I am completely aware of the risks, but I am also taking biochemistry and two English courses. Physical Sciences is my strongest subject area, and it seems that my current coursework would immediately rectify shortcomings elsewhere. April 21, 2001 was a horrible day for me, and I know I have it in me to do considerably better. I am talking with my surgeon about a year or two-long research commitment. My "red flags" are invariably B-'s in Organic 1 and 2, and my arrogance in the interview setting. I can work to better my affect, and I will. Thanks, still, for your advice. As always, SMW, it comes in great handy. So far I plan to do 1) write a letter of intent to NYMC, 2) Get a research job in the clinical arena, and 3) retake MCATs, though I'm slowly reconsidering that. Everyone says NO, DON'T! Again, it just seems a 35S would put me in a different league. Time will decide.
     
  24. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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    Ok, let me rephrase your statements, Will. Plese don't be offended.

    Statement 1: People think I act too arrogant. I realize this is a weakness of mine.

    Statement 2: I KNOW I can increase my MCAT from a 30 to a 36 if I retake it!

    You might be biting a baited hook here, Will. Don't get too cocky. A decreased MCAT would certainly hurt you.

    Whatever you decide, good luck. I agree that a letter of intent would be appropriate.
     
  25. willy

    willy Senior Member

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    Haha, I'm speechless. Hmmm. You're absolutely right, it's funny how those two evils resonate.
     
  26. SMW

    SMW Grand Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by willjmarks:
    <strong>I find it bizarre that so many people discourage retaking the MCAT....My "red flags" are invariably B-'s in Organic 1 and 2, and my arrogance in the interview setting. I can work to better my affect, and I will..... it just seems a 35S would put me in a different league.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Well, I think you've got quite a challenge in front of you. Yes, a 35S would put you in a different league, but you only need that if you want a really top school. It would not overcome red flags. Of the two that you mention, B's in organic are not a red flag. I got B's in organic and got into 4 schools, including one top 10 (which amazed me!). I even got a C in biochem. Changing something as basic as an arrogant attitude seems pretty difficult to me. How do you plan to do that? These interviewers are pretty skilled at detecting pretense. I don't know, maybe your best bet is to pull up your MCAT so a school that wants to pull up their numbers will overlook something else. But be careful that your arrogance isn't leading you to believe that it will be easy to pull it up. (And as others have pointed out, it isn't really even necessary to pull it up.) Hope you don't take offense at this. For an "arrogant pr**k", you seem pretty amenable to advice, but I have to say that given your stats, I'm amazed by the list of schools you applied to and the fact that you thought you "left plenty of room as safety." :confused:
     
  27. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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    Yeah, SMW, Bs won't kill you...unless you get a lot of them. I have a C on my transcript also...damned Bioorganic Chemistry! :D If I didn't have that 4 credit C, I'd have a 3.7+! Oh well...water under the bridge.
     
  28. moo

    moo 1K Member

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    Are you kidding me? B-'s in organic and you think that's what's holding you back? Man, you got, what, five interviews, and four rejections from them?No offense, but I think what's holding you back is your interview skills... you're probably not performing "well" enough. Forget about retaking the MCAT... it's clear to me that it's your interview skills that you gotta work on, not your numbers.
     
  29. reesie0726

    reesie0726 Senior Member

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    Okay, so you know that you may come off as slightly arrogant. Listen to swampman, you have solid stats (the cake) but you need to work on the icing. Don't just do the regular run of the mill research or volunteering. Go out there and do something that will show that you have a sincere interest in helping people. (I know someone who had the same problem with great stats and never got in b/c he did not address the red flag) Go to an inner-city public school and volunteer to tutor or mentor at-risk kids. Okay, I am biased b/c I did teach for america. But you get what I mean. Do something like that. If you have some experience like that under your belt, it will show adcoms a different side of you. Trust me, after a really meaningful volunteer experience, the arrogant attitude will fall away.
     
  30. willy

    willy Senior Member

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    Thanks, Reesie. I am not fortunate enough to be in a position to volunteer my time. I need a financial backing, even if it is humble. Inspired by everybody's help, I contacted my surgeon and asked him if he could use some help for the next year or two. He sealed no deal, per se, but his response, "Call me Monday" seems promising. I think work in the clinical setting, though perhaps less noble than volunteerism, loudly suggests my relentless pursuit of helping those in need. I also plan to retake the MCAT, as I suggested in my last post, and I still intend to write a LOI to NYMC this week.

    Moo, ouch. Easy on the rubbing-it-in...
     
  31. Medic171

    Medic171 Senior Member

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    will, there is always time if you really want to volunteer. Anybody in school on Mommy's dollar can fit in volunteer time between parties, but humanitatianism shines through when you are booked but still make time, and adcoms will see that desire to help, ability to manage time, and leadership.

    I WORK 38 HOURS a week, I am married, and a full time undergrad, I still find time to volunteer and visit family.
     
  32. willy

    willy Senior Member

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    Medic, I'm sorry, you must be confused. I never said I wouldn't volunteer, but that I wouldn't volunteer full time because of a dire need for cash. Mommy's money has nothing to do with this, and please, never mention mommy again. Thanks.
     
  33. Dr. Kermit

    Dr. Kermit Senior Member

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    I skimmed through most of the advice on the board to get a feel of what others advised to you and I hope my words also give you some insight. My stats are similar to yours.

    UGrad JHU'01
    PA residency
    3.56 GPA (3.42 sci, 3.9 A0)
    30R (9v,11p,10b)
    Schools applied: Temple, MCP, Penn State, Pitt, UPenn, Jefferson, G-Town, GW, NYMC, Einstein, Cornell, Sinai, NYU, Tufts, OSU
    Schools interviewed: Temple, MCP, GW, NYMC, Einstein (was accepted to all)
    Schools offered interviews: Penn State and Tufts
    Rejected: Pitt, UPEnn, G-Town, Cornell, NYU
    Held: Jefferson
    Still waiting: OSU and Sinai

    Okay, I think I had a lot of reach schools with my stats: Pitt, UPenn, G-Town, Cornell, NYU, OSU and Sinai. So, that is 7/15. The other schools were obtainable, but I couldn't be confident. I got interview offers at Tufts and Einstein, but put on hold at Jefferson. How do I explain that, I can't.

    This process is random. Academically, I think the best advice is not to retake the MCAT. Yes, you could do better, but if you don't, you're screwing yourself over. Plus, you'd probably retake it in August and then you're application will be delayed.

    You have a decent science GPA from a top10 undergrad, maybe you should look at your ECs and interviewing skills. I personally think I'm not a great interviewer because I get nervous, but I'm a good conversationalist. I tried to treat my interviews professionally, but made myself think of them as a conversation more than anything else. I looked over general interview questions and when I encountered them I answered them, but thought ahead of answers that would lead to a conversation.

    What activities have you done? They may or may not be medical related and sometimes they don't have to be. I was a sales associate at Gap Kids, I worked as a camp counselor, and RA. My connection was that I had developed communication skills. I didn't start doing research until after junior year and while part of my decision to wait for med school was academics, I also tell interviewers it was for financial and personal exploration.

    So, I guess in nut shell my advice is to look into work for next year after writing NYMC a letter of interest :) If you think that you may need more medical related ECs than volunteer and work as a tech. If you think you have enough clinical work, then work on your personal skills to stand out. If you think it's an interview issue, have a few people interview you and see what they have to say about your personality.

    Good luck with everything.
     
  34. Dr. Kermit

    Dr. Kermit Senior Member

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    BTW, which were the other four schools that offered you interviews. In any of those interviews, did you come off as apathetic or non-enthusiastic about the school? They may possibly have thought that you would not attend that school over another school. At MCP they asked me about my interview at Temple. At NYMC, they asked me about Einstein. GW asked me why I would attend GW over a PA school. I thought about these types of questions and made sure I knew why I would attend one school over another.

    P.S. I also had a C+ and 4B-'s. When I told NYMC my red flag was the C+, my interviewer laughed and said that wasn't a red flag. I told her I had one semester with a 3.0 and she said that wasn't a red flag either. Finally, I said that I my activities weren't always medically related, but I had a genuine interest in science and people and that was why I had a discrepancy b/w taking science courses and just doing what made me happy. She smiled. So, red flags aren't necessarily bad grades and MCATs. They are just looking for you to say something bad about yourself and how you handle the situation.
     
  35. rajneel1

    rajneel1 Senior Member

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    hey,
    i would say to do a few things:
    1. try to increase your GPA somehow. right now your stats are middle of the road and there is nothing spectacular in your extracurriculars/life experience
    2. volunteer more. volunteer work is NOT full time. things that show a different bent on medicine is good like hospice or being an EMT (you can earn money as an EMT)
    3. no need to retake the MCAT. many people decrease their scores by taking it again. i think GPA and extracurriculars are your weakness.
    4. surprising that you got rejected from 4/5 schools your interviewed at. you didn't make a good case for yourself during the interview. you really really need to work on that. it doesn't matter if you improve everything else becaues if you can't sell yourself at the interview then you are screwed
    5. do a variety of medical related or volunteer work like tutoring, community service abroad, etc.
    6. research helps also
    7. apply wiser next time. more schools, more safety schools
    8. strong letters of rec and personal statement. maybe include your years of running in your statement in a creative way (did you run or something? i can't remember)

    that's it. work hard, this med school thing isn't going to fall into your lap. good luck.
     
  36. kaos

    kaos Web Crawler

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    I know this is VERY old, but BUMP!! It's good advice, and just what I was looking for! :D
     
  37. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    ok, kaos, you're pulling a "jot" here, bumping up these random threads from months/years ago. i dont know if we call this padding, but there should be a rule against this :laugh:
     
  38. kaos

    kaos Web Crawler

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    But I was just trying to help out....:( :p
     
  39. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    i'm just messing with you kaos :p

    but i must ask, what episode of the simpsons is that second quote of your sig? i just cant place it........
     
  40. kaos

    kaos Web Crawler

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    I know, duh. :rolleyes: (I'm kidding)

    The quote is from the episode where Homer makes his own security company/police force called "Springshield." Then the mob comes after him because he's making it hard for them. Maggie shoots them all up. The last part is so damn funny because they play the Sopranos theme song. :laugh:
     
  41. Holy crap- I started this thread (my last name was Willy before SDN changed and I couldn't re-logon) last March before NYMC rejected me. I told everyone I went to Penn because I didn't want to tell SDN too much about the real me. I've since learned the SDN audience is safe and secure. If you notice any inconstencies between the Willy then and the shamthis now, that's why. Numerical credentials are the same. Despair is the same.
     
  42. kaos

    kaos Web Crawler

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    And so the age-old mystery of the identity of "shamthis" is answered. :eek:
     
  43. I've told you guys this before. No mysteries.
     
  44. kaos

    kaos Web Crawler

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    I know, I'm kidding!! :rolleyes: :laugh:
     
  45. SMW

    SMW Grand Member

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    Ya gotta admit, the discussions were better back then! ;) No wonder people are bumping up old threads!! :D
     
  46. Nefertari

    Nefertari Undercover Premed

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    As far as the discussion @ spending limited time retaking the mcat or volunteering . . . . At the april med school fair @ UC Berkeley,
    there were more than a dozen schools present (i.e. UCSF, Stanford, Dartmouth, UCI, U of Illinois, U Conn, USC).

    When the Dartmouth rep spoke (right after Kaplan gave their little sales pitch) he said that if it's a matter of increasing mcats by a few points, don't bother (unless it's really low). Instead, spend that time volunteering w/ some cause that you strongly care @. He said that if he sees that you are sincerely doing that, he will personally fight for your case @ the adcom meetings.

    Reps from the other schools who spoke after him all thanked him for stressing that & reiterated that advice for their own schools.
     
  47. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
    Moderator Emeritus

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    true enough. the same "should i handwrite my name on the back of my passport pictures" threads in pre allo are just depressing. there a couple good interview advice threads recently, and shreds of flame action, but we need something of "homes versus loukary" proportions to spice things up around here.
     
  48. Random Access

    Random Access 1K Member

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    Yeah, I don't understand these stupid paste or tape or what type of envelope discussions. Some of those old school threads are definitely more fun. Not to say that there are no good posts these days, but too many are like, will this [insert stupidly ridiculous thing that an adcom will never know about] help me get in to a better school? Jeebus, if you're going to get into med school, you're going to get in on your personal merits, not what kind of damn envelope you used.

    -RA
     
  49. cabruen

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  50. Random Access

    Random Access 1K Member

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  51. SMW

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