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Do Connections Really Help?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Mwz1024, Jan 8, 2002.

  1. Mwz1024

    Mwz1024 Member

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    I am a senior in high school and I was thinking about this. My father is a physician and is with the college of medicine (Residents and students follow him). Does his position give me an advantage to getting into the medical school where he works at?????
     
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  3. E'01

    E'01 1K Member

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    it wouldn't hurt
     
  4. Mwz1024

    Mwz1024 Member

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    I know it wouldn't hurt but how much would it help?
     
  5. MUN2005

    MUN2005 Miner?

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    Ask him. Different schools have different preferences.
     
  6. Mwz1024

    Mwz1024 Member

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    Well, my dad feels that grades are the #1 priority but he is sort of dodging the same questions I am ask you guys.
     
  7. brandonite

    Moderator Emeritus

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    I would say it would help. After all, I think every secondary I've filled in so far has asked me whether my parents have any connection to the school (unfortunately not...), and usually they ask for my parent's jobs and education. Why would they ask this if it didn't mean anything?

    I've heard the excuse given (from kids of doctors) that with parents who are doctors, they are more aware of the sacrificies a physician makes. To me, that's garbage, but whatever makes you sleep at night. :D
     
  8. none

    none 1K Member

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    Is the school private? I'd say it'd have a larger impact at a small private school than a large public one.
     
  9. md2be06

    md2be06 Senior Member

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    Actually, 61% of med students have at least one parent that's a physician. :eek:
     
  10. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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    Just tell yourself it will not help your cause at all. You don't want to give yourself room to slack. Push for great grades and forget about the connection. Then, in the end, you can cash in on it...if you choose to.

    I generally don't have a problem with using connections. When med school admission is concerned, however, it gets a little problematic. I'm bothered when I think of all the great candidates who don't make it, after having invested so much, because seats are filled by those who utilized connections. No, I'm not saying this just because I'm jealous. I've already been accepted. I'm just giving my honest opinion to you.

    I guess I'm ok with using a connection you have earned (by gaining the respect of someone). I just don't like the fact that connections people are born into are helping them get in.
     
  11. actually i believe that having parents that are doctors serves to really show a person what a field is about. i know more about medicine (the personal side, i guess you could call it, not as much about the professional side, since i'm not a doctor yet) because my parents are doctors. if my parents worked in marketing, i'd probably have picked up some stuff by now on the lifestyle of a typical marketing guy. i think it's obvious that i didn't have to shadow a physician to learn inside stuff about medicine. i've seen my parents interact with patients, so i didn't need to learn that from shadowing a physician, which i did anyway because otherwise schools won't know or take my word for it.

    anyway, see if your dad knows the dean of the school or knows someone who knows the dean. a personal recommendation like that can lift your application folder up out of that haystack that is the applicant pool. that rec could get you an interview if your'e a decent applicant and Will play a role in your acceptance. after all, a recommendation is a recommendation isn't it??! talk to dad once you've proven yourself.
     
  12. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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    A. Caveman: Perhaps having a physician parent should be seen as merely a long shadow experience, as you claim it is. Unfortunately, it holds much more weight.

    I cannot help that one of my parents works in a fast food restaurant and the other was enlisted in the military. Other people, like myself, feel they are disadvantaged and passed by because of something they can't control.

    Also, a recommendation from a dean who only knows one's father SHOULD be meaningless.
     
  13. YBee

    YBee Member

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    I think that people who have parents who are doctors are given some weight (still need good grades etc. b/c a committee reviews apps, not individuals) because:

    --Admis. committees worry that 21 y.o applying to med school don't have a clue about the stress, indignitities and general horror of being a med student. They worry that too many doctor wannabes have unrealistic expectations of what being a doctor entails - basically being a doctor is, more often than not, a pain in the butt, not life on easy street. They assume that those w/a parent as a physician have a more realistic view of the process and profession. Remember - they don't want anyone to drop out - makes their school look bad.

    --I also think that a lot of doctors would really like it if their own children were physicians as well, so they have some innate sympathy for doctors' children.

    --as for letters of rec from those that know your parents, that can happen whether your parent is a doc or not.


    So whether it is fair or not: if you were on a committee, for anything really, and a friend called you up and said "hey my son's app. is lost there somewhere, he's really well qualified, can't understand why he didn't get a secondary, could you look into it" I bet you'd look into it, of course you would.

    In case you're wondering: my mom IS a doc but she doesn't know anyone anywhere to help me out (more's the pity!), and while the school from which she graduated did give me an interview, it was well before I told them my mom went to school there. :)
     
  14. gizzdogg

    gizzdogg keeper of the three lions

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    what about having a general dentist as a parent? should that carry any weight? I can't think of many differences between what my father does and what most family docs do-- as far as time, stress and patient interaction is concerned? he sees patients, fixes ailing teeth and prescribes meds. He puts in too many hours and gets emergency calls. He deals with the pains of HMO's, etc. I definitely feel I know what i'm getting into as i apply to med schools. So where do we draw the line? What about nurses' children, etc?
     
  15. pre-hawkdoc

    pre-hawkdoc Senior Member

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    will the mere fact that mom or pop is a doc get you in? maybe.
    but...the real help (especially in this case, as dad is on faculty at a med school) w(sh)ould be in undergrad experiences. By this I mean having the inside track on a really good clinical or research position that gives good, practical experience and exposure to the field (as well as other faculty who can then write about your work ethic, aptitude, etc).
    much of what goes on in the world is connection-based. i've had 3 quality jobs (2 clin, 1 lab) and all were the result of who i knew, or, more accurately, who someone that i knew knew. (i actually got the lab job by sitting next to the doc (total coincidence) at the big ten bball tourney last spring--turns out he and my uncle worked together 15 years ago). i honestly feel that i was qualified for all of the positions, and the employers have indicated likewise, but i have little doubt that without the connections i never would've gotten the opportunities.
    so, your name probably won't get you in (though it may move you up on a waitlist or something like that). but you can definitely use who your dad knows to boost your application. then you can know that you got in on your own merits.
    anyhoo, those are my two coins. good luck.
     
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  17. You Think I'm Sexy

    You Think I'm Sexy Junior Member

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    Wow - I had no idea that 61% of med students had an M.D. parent...

    I guess I'm not that lucky. Both of my parents have some community college education, but no degrees. I understand that the parental MD's will be able to pull some strings, etc, but I don't feel that it would give you that much more leverage. I understand that the offspring would have more opportunity to get on the job experience, but depending on the enthusiam of the student, those things can be accomplished anyway.

    They can't put too much weight on that factor because it's not as if we can choose who we will born to.
     
  18. swampman, just like ybee and prehawkdoc indicated, having a parent or parent's friend recommend you can help get your name to stand out. note what i said in my post...i said that a recommendation by someone who knows your dad, or even by your dad let's say, will only help you if you have "decent stats." by decent i meant at or pretty close to the average for that school. if you're there, then an interview may be granted. then you're on your own. no dean of admissions or whatever will depend on a father's recommendation to ACCEPT a student, but to interview is a different story.

    qualified applicants are many times overlooked since there are so many applications. that rec makes them look at you once more, and offer to look at you closer at an interview perhaps. does it help, obviously, but it doesn't get you the cookie..it only gets your hand in the jar. :confused:
    oh and that stuff about having doctors for parents helping...i don't think so. the decision depends on numbers more than anything, and then on extracurric, and somewhere above it all, the decision depends on your ability to markety yourself with essays and interview savvy. just because my amcas, somewhere (who knows where exactly), mentions that my parents are docs, won't hook me up in any way. unlesssss i use that to market myself. ;)
     
  19. YBee

    YBee Member

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  20. mongoose

    mongoose Banned
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    If you think connections don't matter, you are one naive individual. I do not harbor ill will towards anyone who uses a connection to get what they want. It is the way the world works, and I would use it too if I had one. Hey, the saying "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" exists for a reason.
     
  21. Skye04

    Skye04 Senior Member

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  22. alice

    alice Senior Member

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    it is in no one's interest to bring a bad doctor into the field. having connections will not get you into school the way that it can for undergrad. HOWEVER, if you are qualified, and even almost qualified, a strong connection should help. unfortunately, many qualified applicants are rejected because of lack of space in the classes, and this is where i think a connection would come in handy. i would rank it alongside any other distinguising personal quality. pull every string you can, but if you aren't someone they'd like anyway, it won't help that much.
     
  23. YBee

    YBee Member

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    Mongoose, if your post was directed at me (hard for me to tell, but it followed mine), of COURSE I think connections matter.

    My post was just meant to state that I don't think connections alone explain the 61% figure. Again, I think the children of doctors are more likely, having been exposed to medicine for so long, to want to be doctors.
     
  24. ccryder

    ccryder Member

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    On the other side of the coin, I've spoken with some adcom members who see having a MD parent to be a tiny issue. Their concern is that the applicant wants to go into medicine for the parents and not for themselves.

    This is just a bit of info, I'm not saying I personally think having an MD parent would hurt.
     
  25. mongoose

    mongoose Banned
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  26. Wednesday

    Wednesday Senior Member

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    I agree with YBee about the children of doctors realizing that they CAN be doctors. Many people think it is SO hard to be a physician and that you have to be SO smart, but if your parent is a doctor, you know that doctors are just ordinary people.

    As for helping you get into med school it probably depends on the admissions committee. Personally, I feel that once you say your parent is a doctor, you have to prove even more that you actually want to do it yourself.

    Of course the way to answer this question would be to see what percentage of applicants have a physician parent.
     
  27. USeF

    USeF sunny L.A.

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  28. I think connections help a lot for two reasons. Like someone mentioned before.... secondaries usually ask whether your parents or siblings are graduates or faculty at that particular school. Secondly, I have seen it with acquatainces alot.
     
  29. marleybfour

    marleybfour Senior Member

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    My brother is a doctor and does some teaching at the medical school that I will be applying to. Unfortunatly he is not always the most popular person in the world, so I suspect being his sister might hurt my cause. I may have to change my name!
     
  30. irongirl

    irongirl Member

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    The one way that connections help the most is that they give you access to more experiences... jobs, research, shadowing, etc, and a better understanding of the medical profession. I don't think anyone should feel like they are guarunteed to get in if they know someone on the admissions commitee. I have known of several people with connections very high up at medical schools who didn't get in. Also, those who are applying to med school who have parents that are doctors should do some serious soul searching to be sure that they are applying to med school for a good reason, not to carry on a legacy. Be prepared to defend your reasons for going into medicine in an interview.
     
  31. choker

    choker Senior Member

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    as far as a real connection at a medical school, my neighbor used to be on the adcom at P&S and used to be good friends with frantz and everyone else on the committee and he said it would be a bad idea for him to help me out. he said that they dont like that kind of meddling.

    from what i hear, a connection can really come in handy when you're put on a waitlist. then a phone call from an influential person can really make the difference.
     
  32. UCLA2000

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    Choker I hate to tell you this, but that was his 'easy' way out of helping you. I have heard of alot of people who have pulled strings to get into med schools. I could give names, and specific examples (but I'm not going to). I have friends who have served, and some who are serving on ADCOMS and I can assure you that pulling strings happens all the time.
     

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