Does reading through the MSAR make you more optimistic?

Seven of Nine

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Hi there:

So today I met with my advisor to review how my application is going to shape up and what schools to which I should look into applying. I asked her whether she recommends I wait to apply to take additional sciences to raise my BCPM (cGPA 3.63, sGPA 3.41 as of the end of last quarter). Although she said that is an option, she thinks I have a strong application despite my GPA. So at this point my upcoming MCAT will either not do anything for me or could somewhat balance out my GPA.

I couldn't get solid advice out of my advisor, since a) there's no guarantees in this business and b) my app isn't weak enough to definitely warrant postponing applying. She said wait to see how the MCAT shakes out and in the mean time, review the MSAR.

She gave me a copy of the newest version to flip through in her office, but the more I looked at, the more I felt it isn't an extremely useful resource. I looked at schools thinking, "Oh my numbers lie within that bar... I'm really not in that bad of shape." Thinking about what I've read here, I started to see that those numbers are out of context, that those on the lower end of the range represented the diamonds in the rough... the matriculants who have low stats but very compelling stories/potential.

How can you use the MSAR in picking schools that are either safeties or appropriate targets (not reaches)?
 

DrSmooth

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Look at avg MCAT and GPA, MCAT and GPA range, % in state and OOS interviewed and % in state and OOS matriculated.
 

apumic

Oracle of the Sheet
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Realize that the 10th percentile often extends quite low. You want to be at or above average in terms of stats for most of your school. The 10th percentile is likely to be mostly non-trads w/ 4.0s in UG prereqs and SMPs and <3.0 UG GPAs that are 10+ years old. You might also try getting a hold of the med school spreadsheet, although I can't help you with that.
 

metallica81788

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Sometimes looking at the MSAR stats would get me kind of depressed, but then I just remembered that the MSAR stats can be a lot higher than the stats for the actual matriculated students.

It's good for finding out app fees, screened secondaries, OOS percentages, and accepted stats.

That's why I loved the spreadsheet that had the option of using accepted student data or matriculated student data (I think it was the 2008 edition).
 

masturhu

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Also keep in mind that URM and disadvantaged students take up much of the bottom percentiles.