SBBunny

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I feel like I'm a very very traditional applicant. My GPA and MCAT are pretty good, I have research experience, volunteer work, and some shadowing experience, but I have no feature to make my app. stand out..... I don't play musical instruments, I haven't started a health clinic, I'm not active in any quirky extracurricular clubs, I'm not majoring in something unusual (I'm a chem major, math minor). I couldn't play a sport if my life depended on it. I don't do anything in my free time that I can put on a resume or application (I draw, read, ride my bike, etc.... I don't present at galleries, write novels, or compete in bike races). I feel like I'll be REJECTED because I'm so boring and I don't stand out from all the other applicants. Does anyone else feel they are too typical to get into medical school?
 

Sekiray

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i think everyone does.
the ppl on Mdapps are insane and they are like 1% of the applicant pool who are just showing off. So I wouldnt worry about it.
 
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musiclink213

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The problem is that even if you do think you have something that makes you stand out, there's probably someone else who does the same thing, probably better. If you play a sport and lets say make it to regionals, there may be someone applying who made it to nationals. Although I think the important thing is not just to say this is what I've done, but talk about the unique things you've learned from it, maybe.
 

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Robizzle said:
My GPA and MCAT are below most people's and therefore I feel that this will make me stand out and ultimately work in my favor. :thumbup:

I keep telling myself the same thing.
 

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in my opinion, the adcoms have most likely seen it all. no application probably suprises them. they know what to expect when reading all these apps. that doesn't mean, however, that you cannot make them take interest in you. you are still an individual who sees things and learns things differently. it is your job to communicate your abilities to them. that is why (as much as we all hate to write them) essays are a good thing. it lets you get more out than just your list of ECs and your PS. good luck :luck:
 

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I kind of feel the same way, like some people speak a few languages or spent a year over seas feeding starving children or something. I have worked in a hospital and done a little research. I can talk about my experiences and be excited about them, but can't everyone?

I think a lot of the people who ultimately get accepted are just premed clones, good gpa, good mcat, some research, volunteering and a few honor societies, the next guy has a great gpa a good mcat no research, a lot of volunteering and more honor societies. I bet they look at our applications and are like these 12 people are all the same, these 10 people are the same as the last group but didn't do any research, these 20 people all are the same but had MCAT's above 35, etc. I guess once you get into the interview phase you can be an individual to some degree and stand out.
 

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Just keep in mind that the people on adcoms are regular people too. Sure, they are important and are in the unique position to decide your future (at least for this applciation cycle), but they have all been where we are. One day WE may be the adcoms, and I would like to think that we would be interested in candidates beyond numbers as well. Plus, also keep in mind that over 40% of applicants in any one cycle actually DO get in somewhere. So those arn't bad odds even for the typical "average" applicant!
 

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I had to get reassurance from my dad that I'd be ok....people on these message boards and the mdapps almost all eat, breathe, sleep this stuff....MOST applicants aren't geniuses or have crazy ec's...they are just normal people. If you apply broadly and wisely then the odds are in your favor as long as you meet the basic criteria....You see all of these thousands applying but many of them may just be kind of half assing it and not really expecting to get in....I met a kid with a 2.3 that anticipates going into medschool.......if I've met one (I don't hangout with those people much) there have to be more!
 

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Break out of the mold. Take a year or two off and do something interesting: Peace Corps, Ameri-corps, Teach for America, backpack across Asia or South America, NIH lab, health care consulting, Capital Hill legislative aide. Apply during your second year on the job. I've seen successful applicants with these on their resumes.

Try applying right out of school but have an application for one or more of these in the works in the event that you don't get in on the first round.

If you are a good student but rather "traditional" this will make you non-trad and irresistable!
 

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LizzyM said:
Break out of the mold. Take a year or two off and do something interesting: Peace Corps, Ameri-corps, Teach for America, backpack across Asia or South America, NIH lab, health care consulting, Capital Hill legislative aide. Apply during your second year on the job. I've seen successful applicants with these on their resumes.

Try applying right out of school but have an application for one or more of these in the works in the event that you don't get in on the first round.

If you are a good student but rather "traditional" this will make you non-trad and irresistable!

I would love to do Teach for America (damn 2 year contract), etc, but does anybody feel that they would rather not fall a year behind in this long academic quest? It's almost impossible to do something sensational up to your junior year in college. I know I should do a postbacc or masters, but I'm gonna try right now anyway since I don't want to fall behind in the process.
 

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You're unique!




JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.

Volunteer, donate, fundraise! Give money to places in other countries, especially those that are less known. If you're asked about these in an interview, go right off saying why you think so&so is important.
 

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I would love to do Teach for America (damn 2 year contract), etc, but does anybody feel that they would rather not fall a year behind in this long academic quest? It's almost impossible to do something sensational up to your junior year in college. I know I should do a postbacc or masters, but I'm gonna try right now anyway since I don't want to fall behind in the process.
I took a couple of years off, and sometimes I do think, "Woah, my friends are already starting M3," and feel as if I have to catch up.

But you know what? It's really not true. No matter what we feel, we are really, really, really young...so young that two or even three years won't matter. We are also young enough that the experiences we gather during these years can be extremely valuable. Once you start your career path, it's much more difficult to work abroad, explore your interests in depth, or work in a field that is different from the one you choose to enter.

Plus, when we graduate, go through residency, etc. etc. etc, we're all eventually going to end up in the same place. Taking time off to work now, however, gives you a whole new perspective on what you're doing. It gives you time to mature, and it gives you experience and knowledge that most fresh college graduates don't have.

As you can tell, I don't regret having taken time off. :p


P.S. That was a huge digression from the OP's question, and re: the original question--heck yeah. I always felt that there was nothing special about me (nor about most of the applicants I knew)...but as everyone else said, it's to be expected.
 
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beaverfetus

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you'll be fine. if your numbers are pretty good, you'll get some interviews, if they like you, you'll get into some medschools.

people on this site seem to forget the majority of the people look pretty damn similar on paper. thats why medschools require an interview.
 

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Dude, you can't be a nonconformist if you don't drink coffee...

...not only am I average, I'm filling out the "why are you special" UofMichigan secondary.
 

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Do all the standard stuff and make sure you have excellent numbers because they will get you the interviews. Your saving grace is going to be all of the "help, I screwed up my freshman year and now my GPA is a 3.4" people. Don't be scared by the number of applicants you see in the MSAR. Half of those applicants have numbers that caribbean adcoms secretly laugh at while they are cashing checks. Once your foot is in the door, prepare for your interviews by thinking about all the typical interview questions in advance so you can answer intelligently. After that, just don't come off like a dildo in the interview and you are golden.
 

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TinyFish said:
I took a couple of years off, and sometimes I do think, "Woah, my friends are already starting M3," and feel as if I have to catch up.

But you know what? It's really not true. No matter what we feel, we are really, really, really young...so young that two or even three years won't matter. We are also young enough that the experiences we gather during these years can be extremely valuable. Once you start your career path, it's much more difficult to work abroad, explore your interests in depth, or work in a field that is different from the one you choose to enter.

Plus, when we graduate, go through residency, etc. etc. etc, we're all eventually going to end up in the same place. Taking time off to work now, however, gives you a whole new perspective on what you're doing. It gives you time to mature, and it gives you experience and knowledge that most fresh college graduates don't have.

As you can tell, I don't regret having taken time off. :p


P.S. That was a huge digression from the OP's question, and re: the original question--heck yeah. I always felt that there was nothing special about me (nor about most of the applicants I knew)...but as everyone else said, it's to be expected.
:thumbup: :thumbup:
 

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LizzyM said:
Break out of the mold. Take a year or two off and do something interesting: Peace Corps, Ameri-corps, Teach for America, backpack across Asia or South America, NIH lab, health care consulting, Capital Hill legislative aide. Apply during your second year on the job. I've seen successful applicants with these on their resumes.

Try applying right out of school but have an application for one or more of these in the works in the event that you don't get in on the first round.

If you are a good student but rather "traditional" this will make you non-trad and irresistable!
Though you are not an adcom, I'm glad to see my occupation is listed, makes me a little hopeful. Yay for healthcare consulting :D
 

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CaramelDlite said:
Though you are not an adcom, I'm glad to see my occupation is listed, makes me a little hopeful. Yay for healthcare consulting :D
Um. LizzyM is on an adcom.
 

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CaramelDlite said:
Though you are not an adcom, I'm glad to see my occupation is listed, makes me a little hopeful. Yay for healthcare consulting :D
She is on an adcom.
 

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CaramelDlite said:
Though you are not an adcom, I'm glad to see my occupation is listed, makes me a little hopeful. Yay for healthcare consulting :D
Um, she is an adcom. :D
 

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CaramelDlite said:
Though you are not an adcom, I'm glad to see my occupation is listed, makes me a little hopeful. Yay for healthcare consulting :D
If you don't mind me asking, what exactly does a healthcare consultant do?
 

baylormed

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Rainman84 said:
I keep telling myself the same thing.
That makes three of us. :oops:
 
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baylormed

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LizzyM said:
Break out of the mold. Take a year or two off and do something interesting: Peace Corps, Ameri-corps, Teach for America, backpack across Asia or South America, NIH lab, health care consulting, Capital Hill legislative aide. Apply during your second year on the job. I've seen successful applicants with these on their resumes.

Try applying right out of school but have an application for one or more of these in the works in the event that you don't get in on the first round.

If you are a good student but rather "traditional" this will make you non-trad and irresistable!
I can understand the intention of the post, thank you!

But do we have to take two years off our lives to "make ourselves more interesting" so that maybe medical schools will like us better???
I am sure not every applicant can afford to do this, or WANTS to do it. I do not believe in doing something you don't want to do or would not enjoy doing just for the sake of improving an application.
What about people with families, student loans hanging over their heads, etc....

Argg...this process can be discouraging sometimes, it seems nothing is ever good enough. I feel that medical applicants are expected to elevate themselves up to mythical proportions in order to gain an acceptance. :(
 

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Anastasis said:
Um, she is an adcom. :D

Lol, I guess you can tell I'm pretty new to all of this :oops: . Well that makes things even better! :laugh:
 

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bbas said:
If you don't mind me asking, what exactly does a healthcare consultant do?

Well I can't speak for all of us, but I work to improve geriatric practices by investigating the ineffeciencies in healthcare delivery. Basically, if there is something that a physician can do to work cheaper and more effectively, I find it. For example, two things I am working on are classifying the advance directives listings of a small hospital and integrating EMR systems so that hospitals can exchange info about common patients(like patient history, allergies, and medication) so doctors are immediately aware of the condition of a patient when they arrive. This all seems a little wordy and excessive so I'll stop now, but I hope that helps.
 

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baylormed said:
I can understand the intention of the post, thank you!

But do we have to take two years off our lives to "make ourselves more interesting" so that maybe medical schools will like us better???
I am sure not every applicant can afford to do this, or WANTS to do it. I do not believe in doing something you don't want to do or would not enjoy doing just for the sake of improving an application.
What about people with families, student loans hanging over their heads, etc....

Argg...this process can be discouraging sometimes, it seems nothing is ever good enough. I feel that medical applicants are expected to elevate themselves up to mythical proportions in order to gain an acceptance. :(
I agree. You hear people say that you shouldn't do stuff just to put on an application, but it seems to me like med schools actually encourage this behavior.
 

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You guys!
You are who you are! You've done what you've done. You have got to work with what you have to work with--be the best you that you can be. I really admire those of you who have made this decision at 20 or 21 to apply--I wasn't ready at that point. By virtue of working a few years and getting married I have some non-trad traits, but compared to the other non-trads, most of us have worked, most of us have married, etc. Present your strong qualities, your activities, your passions in the best, truest way possible, and make sure that YOU are shining through in your essays and interviews. Even if you have the same #s as someone else, your essays will be different. Your letters will be different. Trust me I have read a lot of terrible, terrible personal statements! Hang in there. :)
 

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CaramelDlite said:
Well I can't speak for all of us, but I work to improve geriatric practices by investigating the ineffeciencies in healthcare delivery. Basically, if there is something that a physician can do to work cheaper and more effectively, I find it. For example, two things I am working on are classifying the advance directives listings of a small hospital and integrating EMR systems so that hospitals can exchange info about common patients(like patient history, allergies, and medication) so doctors are immediately aware of the condition of a patient when they arrive. This all seems a little wordy and excessive so I'll stop now, but I hope that helps.
That does help, thanks. So do most healthcare consultants work for an actual agency that specalizes in consulting or can you just work for a hospital?
 

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LizzyM said:
Break out of the mold. Take a year or two off and do something interesting: Peace Corps, Ameri-corps, Teach for America, backpack across Asia or South America, NIH lab, health care consulting, Capital Hill legislative aide. Apply during your second year on the job. I've seen successful applicants with these on their resumes.

Try applying right out of school but have an application for one or more of these in the works in the event that you don't get in on the first round.

If you are a good student but rather "traditional" this will make you non-trad and irresistable!
I have considered doing something like this, but I think if you want to become a doctor you should apply to medical school and maybe have something like this as a back up. If you really want a great experience or to do something like peacecorps or teach for america by all means do it. Do not however do it so it will look good for your application, because I would imagine you might not do a very good job at it and you may disappoint yourself and the organization you're working for.

My dilemma is I am interested in doing some of these things, but I think I'd rather go ahead and go to medical school and get that going, I don't want to get side tracked into something else. My parents both had this happen to them, got married, had children and things happened and they couldn't pursue professional lives. Anyway, long story short take a year or two off if you're interested in it, but don't do it to look good on an application.
 

baylormed

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DoctorPardi said:
I have considered doing something like this, but I think if you want to become a doctor you should apply to medical school and maybe have something like this as a back up. If you really want a great experience or to do something like peacecorps or teach for america by all means do it. Do not however do it so it will look good for your application, because I would imagine you might not do a very good job at it and you may disappoint yourself and the organization you're working for.

My dilemma is I am interested in doing some of these things, but I think I'd rather go ahead and go to medical school and get that going, I don't want to get side tracked into something else. My parents both had this happen to them, got married, had children and things happened and they couldn't pursue professional lives. Anyway, long story short take a year or two off if you're interested in it, but don't do it to look good on an application.
I agree.

What bothered me is that the post made it sound too easy..."take TWO years off, go teach underprivileged children..."
All we want to do is get into medical school....do you mean my 34 MCAT and my 3.75 gpa are too typical?? Oh, everyone volunteers at a hospital? Oh, everyone shadows?
I would have tought that is what you have essays and interviews for, so that applicants can talk about their uniqueness, whatever it is.
I understand the intention, make yourself unique...but don't assume we all can just (or want to just) take two years off to do something we don't want to do.
 

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I was responding to the OP. If one is a bland, "nothing special" applicant, there is a chance that you won't catch the adcoms' attention. So, apply as a college senior but figure a back up plan. You can plan to work (which should be a revenue neutral proposition-- you support yourself for a couple years, income matches expenses) or do a service project that often provides a small stipend (enough to live on in a modest way) and puts your loans on hold. Again, it doesn't have to cost money. Backpacking across a continent will cost something but travel in those places is cheap (not practical if you have student loans but an option for some people) and sometimes you can make a little money on the side teaching English informally.

Working 2 years means that you have a year of experience when you ask for LORs, go on interviews, etc. I am just pointing out that I have seen successful applicants use this strategy.
 

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LizzyM said:
I was responding to the OP. If one is a bland, "nothing special" applicant, there is a chance that you won't catch the adcoms' attention. So, apply as a college senior but figure a back up plan. You can plan to work (which should be a revenue neutral proposition-- you support yourself for a couple years, income matches expenses) or do a service project that often provides a small stipend (enough to live on in a modest way) and puts your loans on hold. Again, it doesn't have to cost money. Backpacking across a continent will cost something but travel in those places is cheap (not practical if you have student loans but an option for some people) and sometimes you can make a little money on the side teaching English informally.

Working 2 years means that you have a year of experience when you ask for LORs, go on interviews, etc. I am just pointing out that I have seen successful applicants use this strategy.
I didn't mean to suggest your idea was bad, I just wanted to point out that it isn't a good idea to go do something like work for 2 years as a teacher if you have no interest in that, just to be a better applicant. If you feel like you're too ordinary an applicant well, I'd say apply and see what happens you'll probably get in like a lot of other ordinary applicants. If not, have a contingency plan set up like Lizzy is suggesting and go make yourself extraordinary for a year or two. Just make sure it is something you're actually interested in!
 

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bbas said:
That does help, thanks. So do most healthcare consultants work for an actual agency that specalizes in consulting or can you just work for a hospital?
In most cases you would be hired by the firm and contracted by the hospital/medical facility who pays the firm for the services.
 

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Robizzle said:
My GPA and MCAT are below most people's and therefore I feel that this will make me stand out and ultimately work in my favor. :thumbup:
haha! I love it!
 

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I think most matriculants are 'typical applicants'. The whole 'you have to be unique to get into med school' is overblown. Yes, if you are a unique applicant, you will application will most likely get stared at more, it may compensate for lower stats. However, as long as your numbers are good, you have no black marks against you, you applied high and low, and you dotted your I's and crossed your T's and applied early, you will most likely get in somewhere with your 'typical' application. That said, it's good for personal growth to do something cool stuff like work for a year, travel to another country etc.
 

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Haemulon said:
Just keep in mind that the people on adcoms are regular people too. Sure, they are important and are in the unique position to decide your future (at least for this applciation cycle), but they have all been where we are. One day WE may be the adcoms, and I would like to think that we would be interested in candidates beyond numbers as well. Plus, also keep in mind that over 40% of applicants in any one cycle actually DO get in somewhere. So those arn't bad odds even for the typical "average" applicant!
Word to the above. The slightly above average applicant DOES get in, almost all the time. If you're in the 3.6+/29+ with a little research, volunteering, clinical experience, you'll probably get in. Not at Harvard, but you'll be an MD in four years.
 

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I'm actually jealous of "typical students." I didn't want to go into medicine until my junior year. Prior to that I was BME, and so took through Differential Equations in math, and I was double majoring in dance at the same time. My freshman, and sophamore, year I competed at the world championships in Irish step dancing. I also got published in a chemistry journal, and have been to an international Drosophila conference to present my research. This is all great and all, except that it took its toll on my GPA. Now that I'm applying, I wish I had taken the conservative route. I wish I had placed more importance on good grades. So if you're in that boat...consider yourself lucky. I think the application process makes everyone feel so insecure. It makes you doubt all of your decisions, and think that you're a total failure, when really, none of us are. Anyway, sorry for the vent. :)
 

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baylormed said:
I agree.

What bothered me is that the post made it sound too easy..."take TWO years off, go teach underprivileged children..."
All we want to do is get into medical school....do you mean my 34 MCAT and my 3.75 gpa are too typical?? Oh, everyone volunteers at a hospital? Oh, everyone shadows?
I would have tought that is what you have essays and interviews for, so that applicants can talk about their uniqueness, whatever it is.
I understand the intention, make yourself unique...but don't assume we all can just (or want to just) take two years off to do something we don't want to do.

As a current applicant who did Teach for America (3 years), it is NOT something you should do simply to make yourself more "interesting." People who do TFA as a resume builder generally will quit before their first year of teaching is over (if they even get into TFA in the first place). Your students are far to important to be pawns in your quest to improve your med school application. If you genuinely care about children and the dismal state of education in this country, go for it. It will certainly make you a better physician in many ways.
 

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This is not addressed to the OP but I think Lizzy M just meant that if you feel like you are an average applicant and want to change this, do it. Even if you have the elusive 4.0/40 don't moan about being rejected from top 10 schools because there are so many amazing people out there pursuing medicine whose accomplishments make them a hot commodity. Of course everyone else is correct that the average applicant who plays his/her cards correctly will get in somewhere or will be forced to become an experienced non-trad in order to get into a U.S. program.
 
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