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Expiration date on premed advice?

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BlueLabel

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This question occurred to me the other day. I overheard a pre-med who works in my lab discussing MCAT studying and application preparation with some MDs currently in fellowships who are in our lab. Now nothing was said that I'd consider flat-out untrue, but certain comments seemed a bit off the mark, based on what I've seen for myself and read on the boards. Most egregiously, "don't worry about the MCAT, you don't really need a 30+" (the person in question has a sub-3.3).

It seems to me that over time, even over the past decade, the process has changed. Certainly, things I've heard from much older physicians strike me as very different; many of them state that it's in some ways a "different ballgame".

So my question is, would you put a hard expiration date on application advice? At what point would you consider that the experience of applying has changed so significantly that it is necessary to put mental asterisks on advice given to you by those who have not been involved with the process since they matriculated?

I ask with the utmost deference to and respect for those who try to help premeds, and especially for people who have remained involved in the process, who of course know exactly what is true. I just think a rough idea could be useful to premeds, many of whom through shadowing, clinical jobs, and volunteering come into contact with physicians at various stages of their careers.
 

Starry

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I have a 33 MCAT.

When I told a doctor I was shadowing this (he asked me,) he was like, "That's impressive! You can easily make it into Harvard with that! Congratz!"

I was like LOLOLOLOLOL.

So yes, there is definitely an expiration date. Idk an exact time frame though.
 

Goro

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From the posts I've seen in these forums, I can only conclude that non-academic clinicians have absolutely no concept of what it takes to get into medical school these days.

SO, yes, OP, I concur 100% with you.

This question occurred to me the other day. I overheard a pre-med who works in my lab discussing MCAT studying and application preparation with some MDs currently in fellowships who are in our lab. Now nothing was said that I'd consider flat-out untrue, but certain comments seemed a bit off the mark, based on what I've seen for myself and read on the boards. Most egregiously, "don't worry about the MCAT, you don't really need a 30+" (the person in question has a sub-3.3).

It seems to me that over time, even over the past decade, the process has changed. Certainly, things I've heard from much older physicians strike me as very different; many of them state that it's in some ways a "different ballgame".

So my question is, would you put a hard expiration date on application advice? At what point would you consider that the experience of applying has changed so significantly that it is necessary to put mental asterisks on advice given to you by those who have not been involved with the process since they matriculated?

I ask with the utmost deference to and respect for those who try to help premeds, and especially for people who have remained involved in the process, who of course know exactly what is true. I just think a rough idea could be useful to premeds, many of whom through shadowing, clinical jobs, and volunteering come into contact with physicians at various stages of their careers.
 

Aerus

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Standards to get into med school have shot up basically exponentially since the late 1990's. It is a much much much more competitive process than it was before.

There is no set expiration date. Old advice becomes gradually more and more obsolete, as time goes by.
 

CyberMaxx

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I don't know what the exact date is, but things are changing pretty quickly at this point. The most startling change I've noticed is that since I've been on this forum (~ 5 years) the average MCAT for acceptance shot up from a 30 to a 32. When I'm searching SDN I generally take advice pre 2010 with a grain of salt.
 

Irish Football

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Standards to get into med school have shot up basically exponentially since the late 1990's. It is a much much much more competitive process than it was before.

There is no set expiration date. Old advice becomes gradually more and more obsolete, as time goes by.

Agreed.
 

mcloaf

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Honestly I imagine my advice will start to be dated by the time I finish medical school, let alone once I get through residency and enter practice. Unless they're involved in the admissions process most docs probably have no idea how things have changed since they went through the whole thing. Heck, at the last lab I worked in the resident who was pretty young was telling me how much of a pain it was back when he had to apply with paper applications.
 

cinnalyn

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I think it mostly depends on the generation of the doctor of which you are talking to. For example, my godmother is a psychiatrist and when I told her about my desires to go into medicine, all of the anecdotes about her experience with the process were completely outdated (she matriculated in the early 1980s). Even her recollection of the MCAT was completely different. Younger doctors, such as as a neurosurgeon we had speak at one of my club meetings, had much more relatable advice since he had just finished his residency and was more aware of the modern process.
 

airplanes

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From the posts I've seen in these forums, I can only conclude that non-academic clinicians have absolutely no concept of what it takes to get into medical school these days.

1) "No concept" is an exaggeration.
2) You should consider that these anecdotes sound like fairly peripheral, detached experiences, not formal advice. I'm not going to shoot down a random pre-meds dream because they told me their scored a 29.

That being said, in general, I would not rely on attendings to know the nitty gritty details of what it takes to get into med school these days. They are not perusing pre-allo and browsing secondary questions and LizzyM's latest spreadsheets.

I won't say the standards are higher but the process has definitely changed.
 

TriagePreMed

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An MD/PhD Dartmouth Alum asked me if I'd be applying to MD/PhD because I had research experience. When I told her I didn't have the MCAT for it since the average is around a 3.8 and 36, she was floored. She said all her colleagues (MD/PhD) and her at Stanford anesthesiology had about a 28-32 in the MCAT and about a 3.5 GPA. That when she went to school all they cared about was the research experience (1 year or so) and I'd be shoe-in at the time. She's not even old. She started school 9 years ago.
 

911 Turbo

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An MD/PhD Dartmouth Alum asked me if I'd be applying to MD/PhD because I had research experience. When I told her I didn't have the MCAT for it since the average is around a 3.8 and 36, she was floored. She said all her colleagues (MD/PhD) and her at Stanford anesthesiology had about a 28-32 in the MCAT and about a 3.5 GPA. That when she went to school all they cared about was the research experience (1 year or so) and I'd be shoe-in at the time. She's not even old. She started school 9 years ago.


Uwotm8?


I wish I had a time machine.....
 
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PhysMatMan

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I'd say it's not so much about the time as the source of premed information. If someone is keeping up with the process, they could be a valuable source of advice well into old age.
 

OCDOCDOCD

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An MD/PhD Dartmouth Alum asked me if I'd be applying to MD/PhD because I had research experience. When I told her I didn't have the MCAT for it since the average is around a 3.8 and 36, she was floored. She said all her colleagues (MD/PhD) and her at Stanford anesthesiology had about a 28-32 in the MCAT and about a 3.5 GPA. That when she went to school all they cared about was the research experience (1 year or so) and I'd be shoe-in at the time. She's not even old. She started school 9 years ago.

Meanwhile I've got a 3.8, 39, 5 years research experience, and 3 first author pubs and Stanford rejected me pre-interview.

But I think she had a skewed perspective. Looking at older posts (2005 and earlier) on the MD/PhD forum the stats were never as low as that person you met claimed, even for low tier programs.
 

SN12357

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The expiration of expertise applies to admissions of all types. It's true for undergrad admissions as well--savvy alums from top schools realize that they probably couldn't have gotten into their alma maters these days.

About the only docs I've met who know something about the current process are the ones with kids who applied recently. Everyone else, academic or community? Not a clue.

If you get advice from enough reputable sources it's generally possible to filter out the people who don't know what they're talking about.
 

Jennyfishy

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The physicians I used to shadow all said they originally went into medicine because it was what you did when you didn't know what to do in terms of obtaining more post-grad degrees. "I dunno what I wanna do...I guess I'll just go to med school :laugh:"

Oh how times have Changed :D
 

Narmerguy

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It's worth pointing out that many people applying now misunderstand the process and give unreliable advice. Obviously their perspect will only get worse with time as they become more detached from the process.

I think it's fairly easy to say the standards are higher. More people apply, grades are higher, and MCAT scores --a normalized test-- have been increasing. Extracurricular expectations are much higher, and the need for schools to develop increasingly complex interview methods has grown. It's not a discredit to previous generations, but the standards are certainly higher. And they'll continue to grow after we've all gone, and so the wheel turns.

There's nothing unique about medicine in that respect; we see the same thing in undergrad, business, law, graduate school, and even prestigious scholarships & fellowships.
 

QuantumJ

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I have discussed medical school with 5 different attendings from ages late 30's to 60's. I've been told to go to mexico for med school, that the mcat didnt have a verbal section (from a mid 30's doc), my 3.7 gpa means I can go to a top 20 school no matter what mcat I get and that med school is easy to get into now because obama killed medicine so no one is applying to med school anymore. Anecdotal evidence of course but yes OP I certainly agree even physicians don't usually know much about this process anymore.
 

inycepoo

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I have a 33 MCAT.

When I told a doctor I was shadowing this (he asked me,) he was like, "That's impressive! You can easily make it into Harvard with that! Congratz!"

Pre-2005, when the grades were out of 36, 33 would've definitely been Havard-grade.
 

armybound

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there are things about the application/interview process that change very frequently. when I was an MS3/MS4 I was giving advice to applicants that the MS1s/MS2s said had changed and was outdated.

when applying for residency there were things PGY3-PGY5s would tell me that were clearly outdated (applying to 20 programs for urology? uhhh, yeah).

some things always hold true, and some people involved in academia can have a good insight, but in general I wouldn't trust advice about specifics of applying from anybody who's 4+ years out from the position you're in.
 

yehhhboiii

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the best people to ask about the admissions process are always current medical students
but once the mcat changes in 2015 we won't know what we're talking about for that test
admission requirements have shot up exponentially in the past few years
 

inycepoo

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Also, I think anyone who still reads SDN as frequently as they did during undergrad would probably be somewhat reliable. Keyword "frequently," i.e., almost daily.

But you obviously wouldn't grill someone , "HOW OFTEN ARE YOU ON DAT PREMED SITE," right after they tell you something. lol :laugh:
 
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