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Compilation Essential SDN Wisdom for Pre-Meds

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Lawpy

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NEW ESSENTIAL WISDOM THREAD AS OF 2019 CLICK HERE

Before exploring the compilation, please read the AMCAS Applicant Guide to be familiar with the application process.
The compilation is organized as follows:

AAMC Surveys on Adcom Preferences

The following AAMC surveys show the list of various metrics, experiences, demographics and sources of applicant information that medical schools generally find to be important based on a priority scale. Please take the time to carefully look into these tables to have a general understanding what schools are looking for.

2015 AAMC Survey

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2013 AAMC Survey

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Also note that the priorities (measured by mean importance ratings) are organized in a descending order according to the above footnotes.

In regards to academics, both AAMC surveys illustrate the importance of doing well in classes and on the MCAT.

science GPA > MCAT total score > upward/downward GPA trends > cumulative undergrad GPA > performance in a post-bacc program

Curiously, the 2015 AAMC survey lists undergrad selectivity as of lowest importance, unlike the 2013 AAMC survey that shows differing medical school interpretations (i.e. for public schools, undergrad selectivity matters little, whereas for private schools, undergrad selectivity matters a lot). Generally, attending a competitive undergrad (i.e. HYPSM/Ivies etc.) may help for medical school admissions, but undergrad name doesn't excuse for poor GPA/poor MCAT. Likewise, attending a state school or subpar undergrad doesn't exclude you from medical schools.

For experiences, the priority ratings are

Healthcare experience > community service/volunteer experience > leadership experience >> research experience

Note crucially that healthcare and community service experiences are required. Without these experiences, you cannot get accepted into any medical school. As @Goro likes to say, "You need to show Adcoms that you know what you're getting into". The 2015 AAMC survey also lists physician shadowing as highest importance. Usually, 50+ hours of shadowing with experience in primary care settings is ideal.

@gonnif has pointed out that research experience is listed as medium importance (as noted in both AAMC surveys). So research is not a required component in a successful medical school application, although it's always good to have some experience understanding how the scientific method works.

The following information offers powerful insights into each of the categories highlighted in the above survey.

SDN Advisor Guides and Insights

Below are some advice and guides kindly provided by SDN adcoms, attendings and faculty (collectively termed SDN Advisors). Thanks to @LizzyM @Goro @gyngyn @mimelim @gonnif @Med Ed @HomeSkool for guiding students in their medical journey.

LizzyM's Heuristics

The hallmark metric used to assess academic quality is the LizzyM Score.

LizzyM Score = 10*GPA + MCAT
LizzyM's Advice on What NOT to Do if You Want to Attend Medical School

LizzyM's Clinical Rule: If you are close enough to smell patients, then it is clinical experience
  • Concrete examples of the clinical rule are outlined by the Goro Guidelines: "Not all volunteering needs to be in a hospital. Think hospice, Planned Parenthood, rehab facilities, crisis hotlines, camps for sick children, or clinics."
  • Nursing homes are a gray area. Safe bet is to call it nonclinical (see example)
LizzyM's Filter Rules for School Lists (these work well with WedgeDawg's WAMC Outline)
  1. Look at each school on the list. Ask yourself, "If this were the only school I was admitted to and if I were offered only loans to attend, would I go here?" If the answer is no, strike it from the list.
  2. Imagine that you are invited to interview at all of the schools but can only attend 20 interviews. Which 20 would you want to interview at? That's your list.
LizzyM's Holiday Rules for AMCAS Timeline: the earlier your application is complete, the better you will be (but do NOT submit haphazardly just to be early)
  1. Independence Day (4th of July): complete your AMCAS application
  2. Labor Day (first Monday in September): have your letters in (including committee letters) and finish your secondaries; your overall application should be complete by now
  3. Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November): if you don't have an interview invite by Thanksgiving, start thinking about what you'll do if you need to reapply (this so-called turkey rule was substantiated by Lucca's SDN Survey of 2015 and LizzyM's June 2016 Survey)
  4. Mardi Gras (a Tuesday in February): if you don't have that waitlist turn into an offer by Mardi Gras, drink heavily and start making a contingency plan when the hangover wears off (source)
LizzyM's Description of Good Interviews

LizzyM's Staircase Analogy for Determining Interviews and Acceptances

LizzyM's Summary of Academic Medicine

Goro's Guides
gyngyn's Axioms
mimelim's Keys
gonnif's Analyses
Med Ed's Insights
HomeSkool's Guides
Additional Advisor Feedback and Information

Credit to @Catalystik @Doctor-S @aProgDirector @SouthernSurgeon @Crayola227 @Perrotfish @Law2Doc
Application Tips from Experts

Credit to @WedgeDawg @Depakote @Alejandro @Affiche @planeblue @medic86 @Planes2Doc @bananafish94 @RogueBanana @The Knife & Gun Club @Guero @----x---- @PugsAndHugs @bluestreaks @SymphonyNo9 @seren1051 @Lucky Day for providing valuable advice to applicants.

Application Advice
Interview and Post-Interview Advice
Additional Resources

Additional useful resources can be found here. Credit to @efle @Lucca @mehc012 @voteknope @aldol16 @tessellations @RogueBanana @Domperidone @Alejandro @NickNaylor @VictorAlpha @PanRoasted @MikeS 78 for the hard work and effort put into them.

Tips and Guides
Reflections on the Medical Journey
Reports and Studies
 
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Dr Tony T. Chopper

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There is also the "if you are close enough to smell patients, then its clinical experience" spoken by the very beautiful and wise LizzyM
 
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efle

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Extremely useful for newbies to SDN, great job.

Only thing I would say is that the AAMC Survey page, being an "official" resource that cleanly enumerates what matters in admissions, should be front and center/mentioned as first thing up top. For a totally clueless premed that lands on these boards looking to orient themselves, that image alone can alert them to all the things they need to start looking into (volunteering, research, leadership etc). The SDN wisdom package from our adcoms and users is a kind of next level of more in-depth information after that. My .02
 
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Lawpy

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Thanks for the updates/info. Please continue to find useful info to keep this thread updated!

Extremely useful for newbies to SDN, great job.

Only thing I would say is that the AAMC Survey page, being an "official" resource that cleanly enumerates what matters in admissions, should be front and center/mentioned as first thing up top. For a totally clueless premed that lands on these boards looking to orient themselves, that image alone can alert them to all the things they need to start looking into (volunteering, research, leadership etc). The SDN wisdom package from our adcoms and users is a kind of next level of more in-depth information after that. My .02

Added and reorganized it. Feel free to take a look and let me know if I should revise something.
 
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Lucca

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I see both of the Goro guides for interviews up there. In another thread I linked this one:

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/advice-from-20-interviews.980593/

from @bluestreaks since I thought it was the best general interview guide from a fellow student out at the time and I think it still is. Common sense advice with a practical framework for preparing yourself. Overall this is awesome! Hopefully this sticky will turn into the equivalent of the Neuronix sticky on the PS forum for PreAllo / WAMC
 
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Lawpy

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Do you guys also want me to add the AMCAS Instruction Manual to the thread? Because it is commonly cited by adcoms and experts for some tips about the application process, IA verification, science course classification etc. Or is it already covered in the other sticky threads? @WedgeDawg
 

WedgeDawg

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Do you guys also want me to add the AMCAS Instruction Manual to the thread? Because it is commonly cited by adcoms and experts for some tips about the application process, IA verification, science course classification etc. Or is it already covered in the other sticky threads? @WedgeDawg

Up to you, add whatever you think is appropriate. Only thing I would caution is not to overload what you have with things that might not be super "high yield" so to speak.
 
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Lawpy

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Added the AMCAS Instruction Manual and an additional advice post by mimelim about clinical years quality, and did some formatting. Basically the format is arranged as follows:
  • AAMC/AMCAS reports
  • LizzyM scores/rules
  • Goro Guides
  • Additional application advice
  • Useful advice for premeds and medical students
I'll add more tips and advice from other adcoms like @gyngyn @Catalystik and others into the main thread. But just an update.
 

geronimokid

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Somewhere I read on February 10th schools can see accepted students and where they are accepted. First is this information correct? And what, if anything would a SOM do with this intel?
 
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WedgeDawg

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Hi everyone. @Lawper has agreed to allow pre-allo moderators to help with the upkeep of this thread.

As many of you may have noticed, the pre-allo stickies are getting a little out of hand. As a result, we're going to be de-stickying some threads and adding links to directory threads such as this one.

The 2016-2017 applicant threads will be coming out in the near future which will also serve as directory threads and many of the resources are cross-listed for maximal visibility while keeping the top of the forum streamlined, clean, and easy to manage.

When major changes are made, I (or whoever is editing) will do our best to make a post here notifying the community that more resources have been added.

As always, if you have a resource or helpful post that you would like indexed, post here, or shoot us a PM.

The two stickies being added to the directory right now are the GSM Resources Thread and the International Applicants Thread.

Thanks!
 
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Lawpy

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October Update: Added the 2015 AAMC survey with the prior 2013 AAMC survey. Some differences were seen between the two surveys but I posted general trends common to both. Also added a few more links/guides. If the original post becomes too lengthy to navigate, I may add some spoiler tags to condense it a bit.
 

Lawpy

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December Update: Added several new links to the first post. Some of them are specific to medical school itself but decided to include those anyways for continuity purposes since they are pretty important and insightful.
 

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Thank y'all for your hard works! It's hectic to have to search deep and far for hidden advices due to my lack of familiarity with SDN. I'm thankful beyond words for this post .
 
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February Update: Added a few links and made some restructuring changes to improve readability and conciseness.
Thanks for adding the Fitness Thread!
 
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Alas, poor Lawper, who gave his all to celebrate April 1 in the proper spirit. Snip captured for historical (or predictive) purposes.

upload_2017-4-1_9-40-10.png


@Lawper I recommend you consider applying for reinstatement through the:
SDN Member Amnesty Initiative

Edit: The merciful Mod Gods have granted amnesty. Beware ye other mortals that it is 364 more days before this opportunity will once again become available. Be good.
 
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Lawpy

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August Update: Everything is updated in the first post with the recent guides and analyses. Unfortunately, I somehow ran close to the post's character limit so I'd have to sort some things out and condense the wording before adding any more links. It will take a while. If you have any useful resources that you'd like to add to the directory, please send me a PM and I'll add it as soon as I can. Thanks!
 
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Lawpy

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F

FinPreMed2020

"For experiences, the priority ratings are

Healthcare experience > community service/volunteer experience > leadership experience >> research experience"

If this is true then how come a great majority (85%-> and at UCLA and USC 95%-->) of matriculants have research? I'm very concerned about this area of my application. Barely startin my sophomore year so I still have time but after talking to a few professors at my college, it seems like getting a spot at a research lab is an extremely difficult thing to do. Oh and those percentages are from this year's MSAR!
I was confident that my application would stand out even without research but then I faced the harsh reality aka MSAR provided those crazy percentages!
Thanks for help!
 
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Lawpy

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"For experiences, the priority ratings are

Healthcare experience > community service/volunteer experience > leadership experience >> research experience"

If this is true then how come a great majority (85%-> and at UCLA and USC 95%-->) of matriculants have research? I'm very concerned about this area of my application. Barely startin my sophomore year so I still have time but after talking to a few professors at my college, it seems like getting a spot at a research lab is an extremely difficult thing to do. Oh and those percentages are from this year's MSAR!
I was confident that my application would stand out even without research but then I faced the harsh reality aka MSAR provided those crazy percentages!
Thanks for help!

AAMC surveys show general trends. MSAR is school-specific. Schools generally have high percent of matriculants having research and volunteerism but because MSAR is based on self-reported applicant data from AMCAS, there's a tendency for applicants to exaggerate their experiences (like classifying dishwashing as research). Generally, the research powerhouses (i.e. Top 20 schools from US News by research) would like to see some research but it's still possible to get accepted without research (but volunteering is still essential).

You don't need to work in a basic science/bench research lab to get research experience. Any hypothesis-based research is fine, including clinical research, social science research, ecology research etc. Also the MSAR is of most value when you are constructing your school list. For that, you need an MCAT score, and right now it's too early to worry about this.
 
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Thank you! This is very helpful!
 
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rkmedz

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always check if you have any student conduct violations!! its easy to forget!
 
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