Jul 7, 2015
10
10
This is an organization that touts itself as promoting scholarly and professional behavior in medicine etc etc per their mission statement, but do they actually do anything worthwhile? I.e., do they do they use any of the money they collect from dues for things other than throwing banquets for themselves or giving out like 3 scholarships a year? If so, I have been hard pressed to find examples of this. I know for a fact that since junior AOA elections were held 6 months ago at my school they have not done a single thing.

I ask because I am deciding whether I want to be in AOA or not. Historically, I have been absolutely opposed to joining organizations like this (I refused to join Phi Beta Kappa on the same principle). I genuinely do not understand why AOA exists. If you are in the top of your class, have good board scores, research and volunteer experiences, these things should speak for themselves. Why should you pay money to be in AOA, an organization that's sole purpose seems to be to propagate and celebrate itself and its awesomeness. And yes, i know the obvious answer being because it looks good on your resume.

I am asking this sincerely. I am not trying to be a jerk. I don't know why I feel so strongly about this, but I feel that the sheer existence of something like AOA is wrong because there are so many brilliant, worthy and dedicated medical students who are snubbed each year. Why do you need an organization to say "hey, we're better than you". And FYI, I'm not just a hater, I submitted my CV and was nominated. I just wish I had not done it now. Somebody please change my mind.

TLDR; does AOA serve any real purpose as a service or charitable organization?
 
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Oct 24, 2013
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Our MSPE has no place to reveal that you are at the top of my class...only AOA tells that
also, I'd encourage you look at the charting outcomes for those with AOA and without for competitive fields.
e.g.
Derm
Without AOA: matched 164 people and unmatched 84
With AOA: matched 169 and unmatched 21!

Ortho
Without AOA: matched 427 people and unmatched 177
With AOA: matched 203 and unmatched 6!

some will argue no cause and effect, and AOA is just a designation. However, I'd like to believe the fact that of the people who were AOA only 21 of US seniors didn't match derm and 6 didn't match ortho. AOA def can't be a bad thing


 
OP
D
Jul 7, 2015
10
10
You're not really addressing my question and your reasoning has some flaws in it. Obviously the people who are in AOA generally speaking are going to be higher class rank and have higher board scores than those who are not AOA. Hence, it would make sense for them to have a much higher probability of matching into a competitive specialty. I don't think AOA status is what makes or breaks any of these applicants. In fact, I doubt that it really matters that much at all. If you have awesome grades, awesome step scores etc etc who cares whether you are AOA or not. Your MSPE doesn't have your class rank, but I'm assuming you did have to submit a transcript with your application, right?
 
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Instatewaiter

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This is an organization that touts itself as promoting scholarly and professional behavior in medicine etc etc per their mission statement, but do they actually do anything worthwhile? E.g., do they do they use any of the money they collect from dues for things other than throwing banquets for themselves or giving out like 3 scholarships a year? If so, I have been hard pressed to find examples of this. I know for a fact that since junior AOA elections were held 6 months ago at my school they have not done a single thing.

I ask because I am deciding whether I want to be in AOA or not. Historically, I have been absolutely opposed to joining organizations like this (I refused to join Phi Beta Kappa on the same principle). I genuinely do not understand why AOA exists. If you are in the top of your class, have good board scores, research and volunteer experiences, these things should speak for themselves. Why should you pay money to be in AOA, an organization that's sole purpose seems to be to propagate and celebrate itself and its awesomeness. And yes, i know the obvious answer being because it looks good on your resume.

I am asking this sincerely. I am not trying to be a jerk. I don't know why I feel so strongly about this, but I feel that the sheer existence of something like AOA is wrong because there are so many brilliant, worthy and dedicated medical students who are snubbed each year. Why do you need an organization to say "hey, we're better than you". And FYI, I'm not just a hater, I submitted my CV and was nominated. I just wish I had not done it now. Somebody please change my mind.

TLDR; does AOA serve any real purpose as a service or charitable organization?
No it doesn't serve any real purpose other than letting people know you were a good student. I recommend you join if it is being offered to you. Or you can be a martyr for the cause. your choice.
 
OP
D
Jul 7, 2015
10
10
No it doesn't serve any real purpose other than letting people know you were a good student. I recommend you join if it is being offered to you. Or you can be a martyr for the cause. your choice.
Ha, thanks for the validation. 20 years from now will I lie awake in bed and say "God, if I had only checked that box, I could have gone to Mass General." I doubt it. It's too cold there anyways.
 
Oct 24, 2013
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lol i feel like you already knew what you were going to do...but were looking for back up
it's all good though

and you're right, i wasn't directly addressing your question. But, I was trying to get a point across that AOA is statistically awesome. Thats all. I'm not drawing any conclusions why.
 

kexy

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The chapter at my school feels strongly about actually doing something for the rest of the school. They give out about $4,000 annually in funding to students for research and community engagement projects. Grant recipients can be AOA members but most are not.
 
OP
D
Jul 7, 2015
10
10
The chapter at my school feels strongly about actually doing something for the rest of the school. They give out about $4,000 annually in funding to students for research and community engagement projects. Grant recipients can be AOA members but most are not.
Seems legit. But where does that money come from?
 

kexy

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Seems legit. But where does that money come from?
Two sources: faculty AOA members who donate and annual fundraising events thrown by the current seniors in AOA.

You could always join AOA and try to change the culture of your school's chapter.
 

*brobro*

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Once you pay your dues, they'll send you a red smoking jacket and you get to embroider it with your choice message...then you can hang out with the rest of us in a room full of mahogany furniture and leather books while we puff cuban cigars and drone on about how it's so difficult to be constantly stepping over the little people.

Most of our jackets just say "AOA because F*** you" but since "Self-righteous and arrogant" is still within the 30 character limit, you should be fine.

Seriously, you come off as a self-righteous hypocrite...we get it, you refused that damn Phi Beta Kappa (but still make sure you let people know about your opportunity to join) and you're so principled that you just can't even understand why AOA exists...but then you applied for it anyway (and, again, made sure people knew about your acceptance).
 
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OP
D
Jul 7, 2015
10
10
Two sources: faculty AOA members who donate and annual fundraising events thrown by the current seniors in AOA.

You could always join AOA and try to change the culture of your school's chapter.
Thanks for your post. This is the kind of thing I was looking for and it makes me feel a bit better about it.
 

Slack3r

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Ha, thanks for the validation. 20 years from now will I lie awake in bed and say "God, if I had only checked that box, I could have gone to Mass General." I doubt it. It's too cold there anyways.
I'll make my check out to doctors without borders.
How's the view from up there on your high horse?
 

akwho

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AOA at our school funds and runs 15-20 annual projects including peer mentorships, guides to succeeding on clerkships, specialty advice, and scholarships. Some people like to complain and some people just like to make a difference. The latter group is Roosevelt's gladiators in the arena. Maybe you should take this opportunity to lead AOA at your school into starting a few worthwhile projects.
 

smokn

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Seriously, you come off as a self-righteous hypocrite...we get it, you refused that damn Phi Beta Kappa (but still make sure you let people know about your opportunity to join) and you're so principled that you just can't even understand why AOA exists...but then you applied for it anyway (and, again, made sure people knew about your acceptance).
How's the view from up there on your high horse?
If you didn't say you had the opportunity to join, they would have just said you were bitter. The Internet is full of trolls.

I've wondered this same question ever since high school. NHS didn't want me but Beta club did...so I sold candy to my fellow peers...so one lucky student out of our class would get a scholarship big enough to buy his first semester's books and a few cases of beer.

Then came college where I joined PKP. They're so kind as to get me an insurance discount. I honestly don't think most of these organizations are any better than the "Golden Key Society" or the "NSHSS" that just want $50 to give your kid another set of cords at graduation. They exist for the sole purpose of existing and having a president that can draw a paycheck.

That being said...
. Maybe you should take this opportunity to lead AOA at your school into starting a few worthwhile projects.
This.
 

Psai

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If you didn't say you had the opportunity to join, they would have just said you were bitter. The Internet is full of trolls.

I've wondered this same question ever since high school. NHS didn't want me but Beta club did...so I sold candy to my fellow peers...so one lucky student out of our class would get a scholarship big enough to buy his first semester's books and a few cases of beer.

Then came college where I joined PKP. They're so kind as to get me an insurance discount. I honestly don't think most of these organizations are any better than the "Golden Key Society" or the "NSHSS" that just want $50 to give your kid another set of cords at graduation. They exist for the sole purpose of existing and having a president that can draw a paycheck.

That being said...

This.
Golden Key LOL
What a joke that is, can't believe I put money into it
 
OP
D
Jul 7, 2015
10
10
Golden Key LOL
What a joke that is, can't believe I put money into it
You think Golden Key is a joke, but AOA is just fine? It's the exact same thing... If anything Golden Key appears to do a lot more than AOA
 

Instatewaiter

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Ha, thanks for the validation. 20 years from now will I lie awake in bed and say "God, if I had only checked that box, I could have gone to Mass General." I doubt it. It's too cold there anyways.
I have never heard of this Mass General that you talk about but you know that almost all of those northern hospitals are just crappy community programs.
 

Instatewaiter

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Once you pay your dues, they'll send you a red smoking jacket and you get to embroider it with your choice message...then you can hang out with the rest of us in a room full of mahogany furniture and leather books while we puff cuban cigars and drone on about how it's so difficult to be constantly stepping over the little people.

Most of our jackets just say "AOA because F*** you" but since "Self-righteous and arrogant" is still within the 30 character limit, you should be fine.

Seriously, you come off as a self-righteous hypocrite...we get it, you refused that damn Phi Beta Kappa (but still make sure you let people know about your opportunity to join) and you're so principled that you just can't even understand why AOA exists...but then you applied for it anyway (and, again, made sure people knew about your acceptance).
In the places I have been, you don't apply for AOA. It is just given to you.
 

*brobro*

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In the places I have been, you don't apply for AOA. It is just given to you.
And FYI, I'm not just a hater, I submitted my CV and was nominated. I just wish I had not done it now. Somebody please change my mind.
Yeah, that's how it works at my school. They just announce the new members for junior and senior each year -- you do not "apply." But if you look at the OPs first post, he mentioned that he "submitted his CV" as if to apply.
 

Ugen

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Yeah, that's how it works at my school. They just announce the new members for junior and senior each year -- you do not "apply." But if you look at the OPs first post, he mentioned that he "submitted his CV" as if to apply.
At my school you are nominated if you are top 25% by GPA and then you submit your CV. Just over half of those are then accepted after CV review. Different chapters are different, but it seems like this guy hasn't been accepted yet, just nominated.
 
OP
D
Jul 7, 2015
10
10
At my school you are nominated if you are top 25% by GPA and then you submit your CV. Just over half of those are then accepted after CV review. Different chapters are different, but it seems like this guy hasn't been accepted yet, just nominated.
When I say nominated I mean selected for membership. Anyways I've decided I'm just going to go with it because I have a lot to lose and pretty much nothing to gain here. I'll herd in with the rest of you... baaah
 

TwinsFan

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I would "throw $50 down the drain" and take the aoa membership. Try and improve it if that's important to you and enjoy the potential boost in residency options. $50 is easily worth a better chance of matching where or into what you want. You can always leave it off your cv after residency if it rubs you the wrong way.
 
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Getting AOA means you're awesome. Simple as that.

This thread has got me thinking...we should have an AOA-only forum on SDN so us smart people can chat about AOA-inductee-worthy topics without having to hear the Neanderthalian grunts of those who insist they were "nominated" but unjustly didn't make the cut.
 
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username456789

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Many/most chapters of AOA do very little. Hard to argue against this, I would imagine. But to take some moral stand against it for $50 is idiotic. Pay up front, then never pay dues again like the rest of us. It's a minuscule investment on your part, and it can only help you.

I had friends who interviewed in my field (Derm) who were straight up asked in an interview, "So, why aren't you AOA?" It sucks, but it's what people often latch onto, especially in competitive fields.
 
Oct 24, 2013
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Many/most chapters of AOA do very little. Hard to argue against this, I would imagine. But to take some moral stand against it for $50 is idiotic. Pay up front, then never pay dues again like the rest of us. It's a minuscule investment on your part, and it can only help you.

I had friends who interviewed in my field (Derm) who were straight up asked in an interview, "So, why aren't you AOA?" It sucks, but it's what people often latch onto, especially in competitive fields.
I like that you say this. I said it above (even with quoted stats), but I'm a med student so no one cares. Now, there's someone with substance saying it lol.
 

Merely

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Don't accept the AOA spot and leave it to someone who really want it
 

PatsyStone

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The major benefit to AOA is that their jounal/magazine, Pharos, is actually pretty good. It always has a great cover, and the articles are usually focused on medicine in the humanities or the history of medicine.
 

TBV

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Donate all your food and water to doctors without boarders while you're at it.
 

Diggidy

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It's just like Step 1 in the sense that it is a very quick measure that programs can use to identify quality applicants from the 500+ applications they receive. Does it mean that people who aren't AOA aren't good applicants? Absolutely not. However, if your Step 1 isn't insane, and you're not AOA, then they will have to actually READ your application to know if you're awesome or not. It sounds harsh, but most programs do not have limitless time to page through our thrilling personal statement/applications to make many of these individual judgments and unfortunately many good applicants get passed over because of it.
 

cyang

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Can MD/PhD students get AOA? And how does that work? Considering they change the class they are affiliated with depending on the length of their PhD, how do they get ranked?
 
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Ophthoseidon

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Can MD/PhD students at AOA? And how does that work? Considering they change the class they are affiliated with depending on the length of their PhD, how do they get ranked?
I'm not positive but I'm assuming they can get it. They'd probably be ranked at the end of their third med year. Not only that, if you could manage to be in the top 25% of that class AND have a Ph.D, I would think your chances of being selected would be good. You'd just have to score really well on step1 to prevent score creep. Like I said, this is assuming they can apply, but I don't see why they can't.
 

Dires

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Thand you, OP. This provided me with a much needed chuckle.

And Santa Claus isn't real. FYI everyone.
 

mpdoc2

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This is an organization that touts itself as promoting scholarly and professional behavior in medicine etc etc per their mission statement, but do they actually do anything worthwhile? I.e., do they do they use any of the money they collect from dues for things other than throwing banquets for themselves or giving out like 3 scholarships a year? If so, I have been hard pressed to find examples of this. I know for a fact that since junior AOA elections were held 6 months ago at my school they have not done a single thing.

I ask because I am deciding whether I want to be in AOA or not. Historically, I have been absolutely opposed to joining organizations like this (I refused to join Phi Beta Kappa on the same principle). I genuinely do not understand why AOA exists. If you are in the top of your class, have good board scores, research and volunteer experiences, these things should speak for themselves. Why should you pay money to be in AOA, an organization that's sole purpose seems to be to propagate and celebrate itself and its awesomeness. And yes, i know the obvious answer being because it looks good on your resume.

I am asking this sincerely. I am not trying to be a jerk. I don't know why I feel so strongly about this, but I feel that the sheer existence of something like AOA is wrong because there are so many brilliant, worthy and dedicated medical students who are snubbed each year. Why do you need an organization to say "hey, we're better than you". And FYI, I'm not just a hater, I submitted my CV and was nominated. I just wish I had not done it now. Somebody please change my mind.

TLDR; does AOA serve any real purpose as a service or charitable organization?
It will only help you get into a better residency. It's like shooting yourself in the foot if you "choose" to not be part of it. BTW no one will believe you if you tell them "I was elected for AOA but I 'chose' not to be part of it".
 

mpdoc2

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Ha, thanks for the validation. 20 years from now will I lie awake in bed and say "God, if I had only checked that box, I could have gone to Mass General." I doubt it. It's too cold there anyways.
You probably will. Because you'll be working for a shi.ttier group, in a shi.ttier part of town :p
 

DokterMom

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Of the many, many places you could take a principled stand in life, you have managed to pick one of the most illogical and self-destructive. Kudos!
:claps: QFT