murfettie

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I hear this all the time, but, like, who? What kind of perceived "defects" would the applicant possess in the eyes of the admin.
It's something you hear from someone somebody knows, or someone on the internet whispers... yet I have never met a single person with comparable stats who have failed at the admin cycle.
People with stats like this get into UC med schools (which seems to be a goal of most Californian premeds) Those I've met are normal functioning wonderful people of our society with a great CV.

edit: what i meant by FAILING at the admin cycle is that they fail to gain acceptance to even one school.
 
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gman33

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No personal knowledge, but I could see it happen for a few reasons.
Lack of clinical experience.
Coming across totally clueless in an interview.
Applying to only high end schools where they would only be an average candidate.
 

BruceBanner

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There has to be some outstanding reason.

Either they interviewed poorly, have lame/nonexistent EC's, or only applied to a couple of high-end schools.

Generally though, someone who is smart enough to get a 3.8/35 will be smart enough to have all their other bases covered as well.
 

kami333

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Generally though, someone who is smart enough to get a 3.8/35 will be smart enough to have all their other bases covered as well.
I don't know, I've seen MD/PhD candidates that have shown up in t-shirts...
 
Jun 20, 2009
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Really bad luck is a possible factor.

Browsing mdapps, you'll see 'perfect' candidates with ~40/4.0 applying broadly get a ton of interviews, get accepted at almost every school they interviewed for, and there'll still be some schools at every tier not offer an interview (although only a couple if they're URM.)

It stands to reason anyone can be rejected from a particular school for no particular reason (I mean if your secondary's good enough to get you interviews at 5 of the 6 top 10 schools you apply to, does the 6th really see something the other 5 don't? Or was the screener just having a bad day?) String 8-20 of them together and you got someone with good MCAT/grades rejected from every school he applied to.
 
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ChairmanMao

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It definitely does happen. Just go down to the "Reapplicant" forum section and you'll occassionally come across applicants who get rejected with 3.8 and 35 MCAT. Biggest reason why is because they applied to top schools too late, had bad EC, and may have problems with "soft" aspects of their application (i.e. essays, interviews, recommendation letters)
 

BennieBlanco

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I hear this all the time, but, like, who? What kind of perceived "defects" would the applicant possess in the eyes of the admin.
It's something you hear from someone somebody knows, or someone on the internet whispers... yet I have never met a single person with comparable stats who have failed at the admin game.
People with stats like this get into UC med schools (which seems to be a goal of most Californian premeds) Those I've met are normal functioning wonderful people of our society with a great CV.
90% of these people are accepted. How high is 90%?

Well, a 4.0 and 39+ gets a 93% acceptance rate.

So, just understand some people aren't through throughout the whole process. Some people change their minds. Anything can happen to 1 of 10 people.

But 90% is pretty high.
 

QofQuimica

Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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I hear this all the time, but, like, who? What kind of perceived "defects" would the applicant possess in the eyes of the admin.
It's something you hear from someone somebody knows, or someone on the internet whispers... yet I have never met a single person with comparable stats who have failed at the admin cycle.
People with stats like this get into UC med schools (which seems to be a goal of most Californian premeds) Those I've met are normal functioning wonderful people of our society with a great CV.

edit: what i meant by FAILING at the admin cycle is that they fail to gain acceptance to even one school.
Yes, it happens. I have argued to the rest of the adcom against accepting students who I think are not a good fit for my school no matter how good their stats are, and I have voted against accepting them. Other adcoms, both students and faculty, have done the same. But there are lots of reasons why people with good stats could be rejected.

As someone else already said, there are some applicants with perfect stats (or nearly so) who don't have the rest of the app to go with it. I think my school is pretty representative in this sense, in that we expect a total package: clinical exposure, probably some kind of community service, other significant ECs like research, sports, jobs, etc. Someone who got straight As without these other things will have a difficult time answering the questions, "Why medicine," and "What have you done to show leadership ability?"

There are some who don't put thought into their apps or don't interview well. And there are some applicants who are just socially, um, challenged. You'd be amazed at the stupid things some applicants do and say. Mind you, I'm not saying people shouldn't ask questions and get answers that satisfy them. I'm just saying you should act like an adult while you're here. Since I've been on the adcom, there was one applicant who told their student host that we were their safety school. There was one who trashed their host's apartment. There was one who bragged about their stats and then grilled their host about the host's stats. There were a few who did things during the school presentations like check their email, play games on their iphones, or lay their head on the table and go to sleep. There have been a few who were nasty to the admissions secretary or rude to the students who come to the lunches to meet with the applicants. If you don't think that stuff gets back to the adcom....

There are some who don't apply wisely. Applications should be planned with a strategy in mind; otherwise you could be spinning your wheels no matter how good your stats are. For example, my state schools (FL) don't take many OOS students. Unless you have strong ties to this state, you're not going to have a very good chance of getting into one of our state schools. Applying to too few schools (unless you're applying ED) also falls into this category.

I often see premeds commenting on SDN about how the admissions process is random. It's not random, but it *is* somewhat subjective. The adcom has an idea of the kind of students who belong here and the kind of class we want to assemble, but we don't always agree on who the right individual candidates are. In the end though, I think we do a pretty good job as a group of picking the right people.
 

Freezer

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it could be as simple as the primary... a lot of people get cut for making stuff up or coming off as an arrogant narcissists in their personal statement... perfection is mandatory in the primary and secondary... not just numbers perfect... but your communication skill must be perfect as well... i hear adcoms say all the time that they love seeing people copy and paste their primary personal statement into their secondary essays because it makes it easier to thin the pile of suitable applicants... in the end, it is a numbers game... 5000 students apply for one of 200 seats at a school... of those 5000, 1000 will meet acceptable standards... of those 1000, at least 500 will have perfect GPAs and 30+ MCATs and ECs to make any adcoms mouth water... fortunately, applicant shortcuts and mistakes (grammatical or communication) make these final decisions by the adcoms much easier...

top three essay responses that destroy many applicants chances to study at a school...

"what do you think will be your greatest challeneg as a physician?" - responses along the lines of "not being able to find the right diagnosis for a patient" = fail! it shows you watch too much TV and have very little understanding of the health profession...

"where do you plan to be in 10 years?" - anything other than "fresh out of my residency" = fail! it shows you dont comprehend the committment you are making...

"describe an obstacle you have faced in your life and what you did to overcome said obstacle" - though controversial, if you focus on your emotional response to an issue rather than staying impartial, this could earn you a rejection... basically the argument goes... in medicine, you will see a lot of stuff that will crush the psyche of the average joe... if you become too focused on your emotions during a tragic event, you probably cannot stay focused enough to handle the practice of medicine... again, this argument is controversial in that some schools do not see it this way... but the vast majority i have talked to agree with me on this...


just my two cents...
 

cabinbuilder

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I hear this all the time, but, like, who? What kind of perceived "defects" would the applicant possess in the eyes of the admin.
It's something you hear from someone somebody knows, or someone on the internet whispers... yet I have never met a single person with comparable stats who have failed at the admin cycle.
People with stats like this get into UC med schools (which seems to be a goal of most Californian premeds) Those I've met are normal functioning wonderful people of our society with a great CV.

edit: what i meant by FAILING at the admin cycle is that they fail to gain acceptance to even one school.
I have a friend who only applied to med school in Colorado. She had a 3.8 GPA with a chem/biochem degree. Had great MCAT scores too. However, she is extremely outspoken and does not interview well. I'm not sure what they asked her but she never did pursue the medical school path again. I'm not sure if she talked about her kids or what, but I think overall she was reluctant to leave them for the career path due to personal circumstance that could not be changed.
 

Random Anesthesiologist

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Applying late can hurt your chances as well, and that goes for everyone.
 

blueflower77

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It happens. I think you'd really have to talk to "that" person and find out why. A fellow pre-med student and friend of mine had a 4.0 GPA, a science journal publication and a 34 MCAT. He didn't make it. Why? Because he applied late (I think one of his applications was submitted as late as Oct and he was even told he submitted it late by the school), he only got 1 interview in a state school that grants every state resident an interview and he only applied to 3 schools total (one of them being Harvard and the other 2 being our state schools). In his only interview, he said he got into an argument with the admissions rep about politics (a no-no to talk about anyway!). So, there you have it. On paper, he looks awesome - a really good essay, great scores, and he actually is a pretty good person if you get to know him, but I totally see how in an interview having been late and arrogant about politics how they would turn him down... He just got a PhD in microbiology and never looked back. So... med school turning you down may be a good thing, too.

On the other hand, one of my former classmates had a 3.5 GPA and a 27 MCAT and got in. So go figure...
 

blueflower77

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it could be as simple as the primary... a lot of people get cut for making stuff up or coming off as an arrogant narcissists in their personal statement... perfection is mandatory in the primary and secondary... not just numbers perfect... but your communication skill must be perfect as well... i hear adcoms say all the time that they love seeing people copy and paste their primary personal statement into their secondary essays because it makes it easier to thin the pile of suitable applicants... in the end, it is a numbers game... 5000 students apply for one of 200 seats at a school... of those 5000, 1000 will meet acceptable standards... of those 1000, at least 500 will have perfect GPAs and 30+ MCATs and ECs to make any adcoms mouth water... fortunately, applicant shortcuts and mistakes (grammatical or communication) make these final decisions by the adcoms much easier...

top three essay responses that destroy many applicants chances to study at a school...

"what do you think will be your greatest challeneg as a physician?" - responses along the lines of "not being able to find the right diagnosis for a patient" = fail! it shows you watch too much TV and have very little understanding of the health profession...

"where do you plan to be in 10 years?" - anything other than "fresh out of my residency" = fail! it shows you dont comprehend the committment you are making...

"describe an obstacle you have faced in your life and what you did to overcome said obstacle" - though controversial, if you focus on your emotional response to an issue rather than staying impartial, this could earn you a rejection... basically the argument goes... in medicine, you will see a lot of stuff that will crush the psyche of the average joe... if you become too focused on your emotions during a tragic event, you probably cannot stay focused enough to handle the practice of medicine... again, this argument is controversial in that some schools do not see it this way... but the vast majority i have talked to agree with me on this...


just my two cents...

No offense, Freezer... things you've mentioned above and the answers you've given... make me think that you should probably not mention these opinions at your med school interview. I know it's hard to shadow these days with HIPAA and everything, but cheez come up with something new!
 

akinetopsia

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Disclaimer: I'm not an adcom.

If I were an adcom though, I would be looking for well-rounded applicants that, all other things being equal (i.e. competitive-to-high GPA/MCAT), I would want to see a proven track record of community service, a spirit of volunteerism, good clinical exposure/experience, good essays and diverse interests. Tone is everything with the essays. I think some of the people with high numbers may potentially be so arrogant as to not have a few people read their essays before submitting them.

Tone is everything with the essays. I think some people enter the process of applying to medical school too naïve or narcissistic and it comes through shining bright in their writing.

I think the bottom line is though, as other people have said, if the numbers are high, it isn't due to the numbers that they aren't getting in anywhere. It's applying late, not having the rest of their application in order, etc.
 
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Assuming the numbers the OP cited (3.8/35), generally speaking, do you guys think that piss-poor clinical experience (lack of shadowing, lack of volunteering etc) would be enough to keep this applicant out?
Im not asking if this COULD keep this applicant from being accepted- obviously anything can keep ANY applicant from being accepted.
What Im asking is, assuming the 3.8/35, how likely would an near total lack of experience in the medical field, keep such a student from being accepted?

I really have no answer to this myself. Has clinical experience reached a level of importance that an applicant truly lacking in this regard has no real chance of acceptance regardless of grades/MCATS?

Im really interested to hear opinions on this. Obviously clinical experience is a great way to distinguish applicants who have otherwise, similar stats. However, in the case of the applicant with "shoe-in" grades/MCATS, would lack of experience in the medical field be LIKELY to keep him out? Thanks-SH
 

QofQuimica

Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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Im really interested to hear opinions on this. Obviously clinical experience is a great way to distinguish applicants who have otherwise, similar stats. However, in the case of the applicant with "shoe-in" grades/MCATS, would lack of experience in the medical field be LIKELY to keep him out? Thanks-SH
At my school, an applicant with no clinical experience would be rejected post-secondary. That means we wouldn't even invite them for an interview, never mind offer them an acceptance.
 

gman33

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Clinical experience should be the #1 prereq in my opinion.
You have no idea if you want to be a doc if you haven't spent a significant amount of time around sick patients.

You can debate about how much is needed, but I think most schools would give you a rejection if you have none.
 

Simplify

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A lot of schools have 90% or more with clinical / volunteer experience. But, who are those 5-10% that get in without? I wouldn't want to be that guy to try it, but it still makes you wonder.

Also, I think it's kind of a fallacious requirement. Unless you've held a position as an EMT, nurse or some other front line medical tech your clinical "experience" with the medical field through shadowing and volunteering is insufficient at best. When people are volunteering and shadowing just to check a box on a medical school application the whole process has gone severely wrong, in my opinion. Volunteering should be done for altruistic reasons not for self-serving aspirations of becoming a doctor. All just IMOIMO, so take it with a grain of salt.