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Freaking out after a string of rejections, Did I screw it all up?

Discussion in 'What Are My Chances?' started by 4goneconclusion, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. 4goneconclusion

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    I'm a Canadian with a 3.97 Cumulative GPA, 3.95 BCPM.
    I have a 33R (10 Physical/11 Verbal/12 Biological R).

    I have a solid personal statement that relies on some really unique life experience. I have 8 months of experience as a medical clinic assistant (1200+ hours), 8 months of research experience, president of a faculty council (took approx. 20 hours a week, very substantial), have participated in various fundraisers for cancer and cystic fibrosis, was a camp counsellor for children with Juvenile Diabetes, active in student politics, various work experience as a camp counsellor and bank teller, and am a writer with Arts-related publications.

    I applied to a bunch of schools, secondaries submitted in mid-October:

    No Response:
    Albert Einstein College of Medcine
    Dartmouth
    Mount Sinai
    Thomas Jefferson
    Yale

    Pre-interview Hold:
    University of Maryland
    Penn State
    UPenn
    SUNY Upstate

    Rejected:
    Boston University
    Case Western Reserve University
    Georgetown
    Vanderbilt

    I'll keep you all posted but I think at this point: "My name is Joe and I'll stay Canadian."
     
    #1 4goneconclusion, Dec 9, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  2. GoSpursGo

    GoSpursGo Allons-y!
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    In general, schools don't really care WHAT you put in those EC boxes, just so long as they can see that you have some clinical experience and haven't otherwise been sitting on your butt all through college. Your lack of success thus far likely has very little to do with your succinctness, and much more to do with you applying late (mid-October rather than June/July). ESPECIALLY as an international applicant, it's super important to apply early because schools have such a small supply of spots to give to international students; it seems like your application is strong, but it's quite possible that some of these schools you applied to already selected to interview all of the international students they're going to bother interviewing by the time they found your app.

    I doubt very much that sending that additional information would be helpful; there's a reason that AMCAS has a character limit on activities, it's because admissions offices don't want to read that for 15 ECs for every applicant. If you've done anything NEW since submitting your application, you might send an update letter.

    Ultimately, this cycle is far from over for you at this point, but if the worst happens and you do have to try again next year, get that application in on June 1 and be first in line for international interview slots.
     
  3. schnauzr

    schnauzr New Member
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    I'm applying this year, too, so my words aren't worth much,
    but my take on your situation is that it's not the primary application that's holding you back.
    I think the two biggest factors are that
    1) you applied really late, meaning that you're going to have to wait a little longer before you start hearing back from some of the schools - in which case, you should be a little more patient (I know, easier said than done).
    2) lack of clinical experience - the medical clinic position you mentioned is your sole clinical experience. If it's been six months so far, I'm assuming you started the job this summer, which really isn't enough. I have a feeling that many schools will specifically look for clinical volunteering when they look over the application and if it's not there, it's probably a huge red flag. Your achievement in poetry sounds really awesome, but that's icing on the cake. By the sound of your wording, it seems to me that there are some experiences that you didn't include in the primary application? If any of those involved patient care, patient interaction, I think that should be included in your update letter. And maybe you can start volunteering at a hospital as well - you can also add that in the update letter. I think having some clinical experience is important and pretty much a requirement - it's just common sense that someone who wants to work in a hospital/clinic would want to get some sort of experience at a hospital/clinic.
     
  4. Mobius1985

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    I agree that having only six months of clinical experience screams of a last minute decision to go into medicine. Adcomms want to see at least 1.5 years of evidence of dedication to the medical profession through what you list among your ECs.

    Did you do original research for your thesis, or did you rely on previous publications for the contained information? Depending on the answer, this could be a weakness also.

    Your GPA and MCAT score are more than enough to get your entire application reviewed. You do show leadership and teamwork. You have demonstrated your altruism, and mentioned some unique experiences to make you stand out.

    In case you end up reapplying, or plan to write update letters to your favored schools, I think it would be good if you could add an additional, volunteer clinical experience in another venue than a clinic, to show a breadth of exposure to varied clinical environments, and more (regular/weekly) altruism. Consider a hospital, nursing home, or hospice, for example.
     
  5. 4goneconclusion

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    I appreciate all the feedback. It is definitely reassuring.

    Since submitting my primary in September, I've also started volunteering at a poetry workshop for children with disabilities. Though I was unable to add that onto my 15, I did mention it in any secondary that asked "what are you doing now?".

    Again, I had no idea about how late September was! When a deadline is in November/December/January, you'd think half-way was ok? lol.

    To defend my lack of clinical experience, do you think they'd be able to see how my extracurriculars during undergrad were pretty time-consuming? At one time, I was an orientation leader, newspaper writer, faculty president and a member of various clubs.

    Since working 40 hours/week x 6 months does equal about 1000 hours of clinical experience, would that not be similar to someone who volunteers/works at a clinic for 10 hours per work for more than a year?
     
  6. atomi

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    calm down. no one cares. the real issue is that you applied to schools that are very selective. it's a crap shoot with any of those. most likely scenario here is that you get in off a waitlist. Why did you not apply to Canadian schools?
     
  7. GoSpursGo

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    Yeah, it's a common misconception, unfortunately :( With so many people applying and being really competitive, it's really important to be the first applicant that an admissions officer looks at rather than the 2000th or so; oh well, what's done is done, and if it doesn't work out this year (which it still might!), you'll know what to do next year.

    It's good that your number of hours is so high; it's still not QUITE equal to someone who did 10hrs/wk over more than a year because it doesn't show the same sustained interest, but it's good that the sum is around 1000 hours. I'm less worried about your clinical experience after you explained it a bit further; it's still not an ideal amount of experience, but it's not "weak" either.

    So I think ultimately your problems come down to the fact that you applied late and only to some very competitive programs. Cross your fingers for this year, send any updates if you do more stuff (like if you're still doing more clinical stuff, let them know some of your experiences there), and start thinking about applying earlier and more broadly next year if it comes to that.
     
  8. 4goneconclusion

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    Are all my schools THAT competitive? I looked at schools that specifically let in a lot of "international" students in the AMCAS book (keep in mind that some of them mysteriously count as OOS and not international) and the distance to Canada. Besides the New York College of Medicine, I could really think of nothing else that fit that criteria (besides Rosalind Franklin which I am just opposed to for personal reasons).

    Thanks again for the reassuring words!
    I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some good news around January.

    For the record, I've applied to a variety of Canadian schools as well: UofT, Western, Queens, Ottawa (which is a lost cause, they look at GPA and nothing else (and the conversion scale is not as favourable as AMCAS)), Memorial, Dalhousie, Alberta and Calgary.

    I've heard back from only Calgary which was by far the most confusing and frustrating of the bunch. They use a formula for out-of-province students that is extremely arbitrary and one-dimensional:
    *(Formulae: (62.517 X GPA) + (12.122 X MCAT-VR) + 6.757 X (MCAT-BS))


    This year they set the cut off at 451. My score? lol, 450.74. Not too disappointed about that school though, lol.
     
  9. GoSpursGo

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    Ouch, that Calgary thing is rough.

    I think your list was fine, you definitely hit most of the "international friendly" schools; it's just how late your app was I think that may be holding you back more than anything.
     
  10. 4goneconclusion

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    Correct me if I'm wrong but UPenn is non-rolling right?
     
  11. GoSpursGo

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    You are correct.
     
  12. Typical Premed

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    Did you apply to Saint Louis U. They are friendly to Canadian applicants. I am Canadian as well. I sent in my applications around the same time as you and received an interview invite for SLU last week. I have a 4.0 overall GPA, 4.0 BCMP and 36P (14BS, 12PS, 10VR) MCAT score. Unfortunately I applied to many of the other Canadian friendly schools that you applied to but haven't heard any news from them yet (invites or rejections). I was wondering if anyone knew how long I should expect to wait to hear back from other schools before assuming I have been rejected.
     
    #12 Typical Premed, Dec 12, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2008
  13. Mobius1985

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    Typical Premed-Never assume you've been rejected until you get a letter, or the first day of class has passed. Most schools continue to reconsider your application each month when the committee meets to decide on who'll be offered an interview. I was verified a full month after you were in my application season. My first interview was in January, and my last in June (even though the season is "over" in May). You have a great application, and there is definitely still a chance for you. (BTW, I still haven't gotten a letter of rejection from Loyola, and that was expected two years ago. In such a case it is OK to assume rejection.)
     
  14. 4goneconclusion

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    Hey, a friend of mine got an interview at SLU too. The only thing that held me back was distance from Canada. I just want to be somewhere at least remotely close to home.
     
  15. alibai3ah

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    You are a very strong applicant....if i had to sum up the main issue with your application, it would be you applied to ONLY top notch schools. I can only see like one or two middle tier schools on that list, the rest are all ivy/very selective schools. If you don't get in this time around, its b/c you need to apply BROADLY.....to less difficult schools. I'm not saying you do not have a chance at schools like Yale, but understand this, there are people with 4.0's and 36s applying to those schools (who are american citizens). But also remember its only december, and you still have time. And yes applying earlier would definetly help your case too.
     
  16. schnauzr

    schnauzr New Member
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    -edited-
     
    #16 schnauzr, Dec 16, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2008
  17. JJMrK

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    You seriously think 1000 hours is not an ideal amount of experience? Many people apply with 10-20% of that.

    The real issues, IMO, are:
    1. pretty late application
    2. he's Canadian
    3. he applied to really tough schools

    If you don't get in and plan to reapply next year, change the things you have control over. Submit your application in June to a broad spectrum of schools.
     
  18. 4goneconclusion

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    I understand that you're attempting to help, but this was a post on a thread in a forum. It is not indicative of my true writing style.


    Also, just heard from Maryland. Another hold. Sigh.

    Again, could some people mention some schools that might be better to apply to? (Besides Rosalind Franklin/SLU)...
     
    #18 4goneconclusion, Dec 17, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  19. schnauzr

    schnauzr New Member
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    Sorry, I didn't mean to offend you.
    I wish you good luck!
     
  20. cyclin M

    cyclin M megaman
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    Canadian
    + low MCAT
    + late app
    = :(

    Get a higher MCAT.
     
  21. 4goneconclusion

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    Is 10/11/12/R a low MCAT? Based on the AMCAS book that I read, the only reach would be Yale?
     
  22. cyclin M

    cyclin M megaman
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    Yale/UPenn and maybe Case. But remember my friend you are an international applicant. Honestly a 33 is not low, and I think it is average or above average, but you have to take other factors into account such as your international status. Again, a fair warning I am one of those people who think the MCAT is everything, so don't take what I said too seriously, but I think based on the results you've seen so far the MCAT is probably the reason since your GPA is close to perfect and you have some nice ECs.
     
  23. Daffy99

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    I am also Canadian, and I think that the "international factor" is a huge detriment to your application even at schools that accept international apps. I graduated from a top 10 US undergrad, decent GPA, very good MCAT, some unique EC's (including Division I athletics), and have only been offered interviews at a few of the 20 or so schools I applied to. Furthermore, there is no rhyme nor reason to the schools that did offer me interviews. In fact, I was rejected from many of the schools my stats were above average at. Being international makes this process even more random and frustrating than it already is.

    That being said....applying late isn't helping you either. If you have to reapply, I agree with what has been said about applying earlier and more broadly.
     
    #23 Daffy99, Dec 19, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2008
  24. 4goneconclusion

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    Yeah, I think I'll just keep my fingers crossed for some news in January.
     
  25. 4goneconclusion

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    Still have yet to hear anything from a bunch of schools, should I call them?! Should I give up and just keep my Canadian fingers crossed for Canadian schools?
     
  26. Mobius1985

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    I would definitely call, so they know you are interested. If you haven't sent an update letter, and you have something interesting to say (ie, new news), go ahead and send it.
     
  27. 4goneconclusion

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    So I called every school in my non-full-rejection list and got four responses:

    1) An automated message telling me to check online instead
    2) A lady telling me to check online
    3) A lady telling me that whatever I've heard is all the information they have (aka pre-interview hold = pre-interview hold)
    4) A lady telling me that I'm "still under consideration"

    Argh... what do I do?! Was there another way to approach this? I wanted to try to show some interest in the schools while calling but only 2 of them even asked my AMCAS ID #. I just want some peace of mind. Do all these schools do the whole silent rejection thing?
     
  28. stixx

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    Most do. If you think about it, the schools have almost zero incentive to notify you of rejections early. Even if your app may be sitting in an unofficial rejection pile right now, they can still easily change their mind if an update letter or LOI from you convinces them they have to interview you.

    I think you'll do much better with the Canadian schools because a. they won't have seen your personal statement (I think that's very likely the problem) and b. you won't be "late"
     
    #28 stixx, Jan 8, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009
  29. 4goneconclusion

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    I'm sorry, but what are you basing that on?
     
  30. dragonfly99

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    Rolling admissions - a big problem is that you applied kind of late.

    The other main problem - expect it will be hard to get into US schools as a Canadian.

    Even if you'd been US student, you applied to some very competitive schools and you didn't apply to enough schools. Try 30-35 next year if you don't get in this year. You need to apply to more schools that aren't in the most popular big cities on the East Coast (SLU, Rosalind Franklin, Baylor, Creighton, etc.) - if you really want to be a doc, might have to make sacrificed in the form of being geographically flexible. You could try Dartmouth and perhaps U of Vermont if they take Canadians.

    I agree the personal statement may have not knocked their socks off like you would want it to. The LOR's may be kind of generic too.

    The only 6 months duration of clinical experiences may not have been enough (duration).

    I think you maybe can clean up your application...can leave off the part about being a bank teller, etc. That won't help you. You can put the poetry down as an interest/extracurricular but it's not going to get you in. Focus on things that are health care related, and for the EC's, emphasize the few most important ones (like your student gov't post that was time consuming, and maybe your fundraising for cancer via the running/marathon program).

    If you know the one Canadian school screened you out by <1 point on their scale, you could take one more undergrad class to try to bring up the GPA even more for next year, and/or could retake the MCAT. The MCAT score is already pretty good, though.
     
  31. 202781

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    It is obviously not your gpa, MCAT, or EC's that has screwed you (I only wrote 1-2 sentences on even my biggest volunteer activities)

    It is that you are Canadian (Sorry to say). Did you apply in canada?

    Okay it might be your MCAT if you are Canadian and you want to come to the states it would be really hard, so you would REALLY have to stand out with VERY high MCAT. Right now you have a solid to good MCAT but I am thinking you would prolly need like a 35-36+ to get into a school in the states.
     
  32. stixx

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    Well...it's just a hunch.

    It's not your GPA, MCAT, or ECs (I think they're actually really good, even with short descriptions)

    I really doubt it's that you're Canadian (there are quite a few Canadians over at premed101 with multiple acceptances)

    It could be LORs, but I doubt it.

    You were late, but not that late. But actually now that I look at it again, a lot of your schools like AECOM, Boston, GT, Penn state tend to be flooded with apps early on. So this could be the problem.
     
  33. 4goneconclusion

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    Hey guys,

    Thanks for the responses.

    To be honest, I think that my personal statement was solid and from more and more of what I read, it seems that any time after July is already pretty late for us Canadians (those on premed101 with the multiple acceptances are the keenest of the keen! lol). Definitely a lesson learned. A lot of time/money went to waste but I guess at this point, there's really no reason to keep my fingers crossed for these U.S. schools. I just really wanted to have some peace of mind in case my Canadian apps did not go as planned.

    That being said, I did apply to UofA, UWO, UofT, Memorial, Dal, Queens, and Ottawa (though the cut-off GPA for UofO on the OMSAS scale is well out of reach). So I guess I'll move my focus to hoping for those 6!
     
  34. sindadel

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    Minor point, but I ran your numbers in the UofC formula, and I get a 462.6 for you. Does UofC do GPA conversion? Or what?
     
  35. 4goneconclusion

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    The AMCAS conversion scale is much more favourable than the Alberta one. It drops down to below a 3.8, I can't remember what it was exactly, might have even been around a 3.7 or lower.

    That being said, Calgary has, on numerous occasions, showed a lack of any sense in the application process, so I'm fine with that one!
     

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