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Frustrated with some schools' attitudes towards older non-trads?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by osli, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. osli

    osli Senior Member
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    Run into a school yet where young, sometimes immature, straight out of college, cookie-cutter pre-med is the only thing they seem to take seriously? I felt at one interview that my motives for going into medicine were being questioned. Not that finding out an applicant's motives are necessarily a bad thing, but there was an "over"emphasis on why I wanted to change careers. I expected to have to explain why I wanted to be a doctor, but I guess I also expected for adcoms to believe my explanation. I already knew that this school had a bad rep for wanting only traditional students, and their rejection of me reinforced the label.

    I have higher number stats than their average matriculant, and all of my volunteer work, community service, organizations, leadership positions, etc. were because I wanted to do those things years ago in undergrad - not because I thought I needed to in order to be accepted to medical school.

    Sorry for the moment of bitching. I was half-expecting a rejection because of the school's reputation, but I really wanted to be the one that defied the norm. It was a state school, so their philosophy on non-trads unfortunately has a direct impact on my financial situation.

    I don't mind being evaluated on my past performance and future abilities/capabilities, but having my motives questioned :thumbdown: . Judge me on my qualifications and committment, not some preconceived notion of whether students like me deserve a career change.

    OK - I feel better now. :p
     
  2. ShyRem

    ShyRem I need more coffee.
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    osli, it's an unfortunate reality. There are med schools out there that just don't like non-trads. And even some that say they do, have an upper limit to what they'll accept. This year is my second year applying. Last year I applied to MD schools only - and didn't even get an interview. I called several schools, and four told me I was "outside the normal age range for medical students". I applied agian this year to both MD and DO schools, and have had much success with the DO schools. i've had absolutely NO luck with my own state school (which is getting almost as hard to get into as a California school anymore), but I have had luck at VCU. Unfortunately, like many non-trads, I had grades to overcome, but I also have years of medical experience. I also have a transcript packed with extremely difficult courses, many taken simultaneously.

    Some schools know how to read, some just know how to look at the bottom line numbers. I feel your pain. But the more I go through the med school application process, the more I am convinced that the medical profession is doing itself an incredible disservice by looking only at numbers and not at the person. In this age of the art of medicine being concentrated on "the whole person" perhaps the first place the medical profession should start this attitude is in admissions.
     
  3. osli

    osli Senior Member
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    Well, in my case the numbers aren't holding me back. Solid if routine MCAT, solid GPA in difficult undergrad and grad major. It's more that they apparently only want 22-23 yo pre-med students.
     
  4. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy
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    you know, this whole attitude towards non-trads that some schools have is so irrational. we nontrads have so much more to lose if the med school thing doesn't work out for us, so why would schools assume that our motivations are somehow less strong than the motivation of a 21 year old? also, arguably, we've seen more of the world and come to know ourselves better, so we enter medicine with more self-awareness, which is always a good thing.

    i jumped into law school at 22 and hated it. i know people who went straight into medical school following college and wound up miserable. by contrast, the nontrads i knew in law school were all happy to be there, did well and had a strong sense of what they were going for. i think the same thing will be true with nontrad med students.
     
  5. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    I don't know how old you are, osli, but I wonder how much that matters. I think it might be a lot easier to apply if you're closer to 30 than if you're closer to 40. I've gone to some schools where I would be a decade older than just about every single one of my classmates. One of these schools waitlisted me, one accepted me, and one is non-rolling so I haven't found out yet. When I have been asked about my age, I just tell the interviewer that I am going to be 40 in ten years no matter what I do, so I might as well be 40 with an MD and doing something that I love. I get asked sometimes also why I can't just continue to do research with a PhD, and of course I can, but I can't do CLINICAL research where I see patients. That answer seems to be satisfactory to the interviewers.

    I also think that sometimes interviewers try to be confrontational just to see how you handle it. You are going back to the bottom of the ladder, so to speak, and that's not always easy for older applicants coming from a successful career to handle. I've had interviewers question the premise of my clinical research and ask me tough questions about it, such as whether someone is actually feeling pain if they say they are. How do I know? They've said the IRB will never approve the protocol, and I've had to argue why I think the IRB *would* approve it, and so on.

    I don't think that tough interviews are necessarily bad if you keep your cool and defend your position without being defensive. Short, easy interviews are probably bad, though. :p
     
  6. motox

    motox Junior Member
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    I had an interview at LECOM-Erie and my age never came up during the interview, it was brought up at the orientation and then it was a positive thing. I am 40 and was excepted. Good luck
     
  7. osli

    osli Senior Member
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    Q - it's more like 30 in my case. I think this would be well within the range of "normal" at many schools, but unfortunately not my state school. It seems pretty clear that they have very few non-trad older students, and the few that they do typically apply multiple times before they are admitted. That in itself is pretty frustrating, because many of those I've talked to who have had similar experiences there would be exceptional students and were considered as such by other schools.

    Ha - alas, maybe my interview was too easy!? :laugh:
     
  8. hi, everyone...
    i was wondering where can you find statistics about age distribution among students??? i was trying to find it at the school i'm planning to apply to but unsuccesfully....(lets say i'm not in the interval 22-24 yo)
    thanks :) :) :) :)
    Q
     
  9. jbone

    jbone Herro!
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    Can anyone tell me who has this negative attitude? Damn, I hope I didn't apply to any of those schools :thumbdown: . Oh well, I don't think I would feel comfortable in a place like that anyway. Perhaps a blessing.
     
  10. Hey all

    Well, lets call this a support group then shall we? :)

    Im 31 and am applying to UK med schools first then DO scools second. I am finished most of the pre med classes but have the MCAT to do b4 i can apply here. This story of negatives vs Non-Traditionals is common, it seems.

    When i called my local state school to discuss what i needed to do for admissions it was a farce. When they found out i was an RN they asked me why i didnt goto NP school or PA school. That was before i even got the pre med information. The guy then proceeded to inform me of how old i would be on graduation from a residency, 41-42 and how that didnt leave much time to work. I was angry and told him that i was smart enough to do math and had already figured that part out, but thanks for the redial addition class. That was probably stupid, but i couldnt help my anger and frustration.

    So i decided i would not apply to any MD schools for that reason. All the ones i have talked to (about 15) expressed the same interest in numbers and dismissed any experience. DO schools seem to have a different bent.

    In anycase, good luck to you all. We are all in it togeather in some small way.
     
  11. LooKing4Ward

    LooKing4Ward Member
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    What's the schools?

    Let's save them the time, energy, and effort to falsely raise hopes and realistically crush dreams.

    Wouldn't you able to find stats on a school's age matriculants in MSAR? And kind of determine from there whether a school is kind to non-trads?
     
  12. Well, I had once before mentioned some names and was told i should keep my mouth shut lest i get sued for defamation. Apparently, none of them publish "if your over 25, go somewhere else" as thats ageism.

    In anycase, i feel safe saying that they were all MD schools. Oh, and i live in arizona. ;)
     
  13. ShyRem

    ShyRem I need more coffee.
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    I have found Virginia particular amenable to non-trads. In a very general sense, I have found several mid-western schools very uninterested in non-trads. I, too, don't name school names. They are fine institutions, and several non-trads have had luck there (but they were younger non-trads than me).
     
  14. Dave_D

    Dave_D Senior Member
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    You'd hope that'd be true but if there are not that many of us even a friendly school's average age might only go up by a year or two. What we'd need is a break down by age range so we could see the actual numbers of 30 somethings.

    Of course this 34 year old wonders if this whole age thing is even a legitimate concern. I mean theoretically us older students have less years of theoretical practice but if we tended to retire later or are more likely to actually practice as oppose to drop out of medicine right after med school we might actually be a better bet. (Let me guess, med schools don’t want to do that study because it might upset their worldview.)

    Just trying not to be too bitter but I should have applied to a few DO schools. (Since they’re apparently more appreciative of us.)
     
  15. Non-TradTulsa

    Non-TradTulsa Senior Member - Resident
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    I know what you mean, Dave. The problem is, we keeping re-debating the age issue as if it were not settled, or legitimately open to question. Since I'm 44, this bothers me a lot. Seriously, if I do a 3-year residency I'll still be 51 when I'm done - I'll then practice at least 15 years and perhaps even 20 if my health holds out - during the worst years of the primary care shortage as the baby boomers retire. What in the world is wrong with that?

    The fact is, the age issue is already settled. Unless I've missed something, any school that accepts federal funds must consider applicants without regard to age, period. That includes medical schools. If we are in good health and have acceptable MCATs and GPAs, age should not be a factor. The AAMC has done a great job of monitoring its member schools to ensure that discrimination on the basis of sex or ethnicity is eliminated whenever possible - and I wholeheartedly applaud that. But... has the AAMC done anything to enforce its own policy that age discrimination is impermissible? I know our numbers (especially 40's folks like me rather than you guys in your 30's) are very very small, but it seems that we ought to be able to expect the law and the AAMC to protect us.

    Phew... okay, I've ranted, and I've wanted to do that for a long time. Thank you! Lucky for me, my state allopathic school has been very pro-non-trad - admissions of people in their 40's are not unusual at all, and a couple of folks over 50 have gotten in. So, I have my fingers and toes crossed because it's a great school and they have made me feel very welcome. If I don't get in, I'm going to finish my osteopathic apps that have been stuck on the corner of my desk and I'll be very humble and hat-in-hand. Osteopathic schools deserve real credit for their openness to non-trads.
     
  16. osli

    osli Senior Member
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    Well, it isn't so much that they blatantly discriminate against age, but rather that the "story" of someone wanting to change careers is questioned by some schools. I found this to be ubiquitous in some areas, with the same feeling expressed by students, local physicians, and numerous faculty members. The attitute is that you decided you wanted to do something else, so you should. And if you really want to change to medicine, prove it to us by reapplying year after year until we believe your motivation. Of course, that is especially detrimental to older applicants.
     
  17. Dave_D

    Dave_D Senior Member
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    You'd expect that but some how I think it'd be hard to prove.(And to get anywhere with the law the proving is the important part.) Also I think quite a few of us did poorly when we were younger but now have done well and should theoretically be good candidates.(I mean I'm an example of this and I realize it gives them enough wiggle room to screw me because of my age if they so choose. Basically by lumping stuff from 12-15 years ago you can make the argument I'd be a bad candidate even though that's really a lifetime ago. However if you weight heavily all my recent coursework and having a life and all says I'd be really committed and actually do very well.)

    You'd think the fact I was willing to spend thousands of dollars of my own money(So little available for us post-baccs) would be true proof but some how it's not. I'm just hoping that if I have to re-apply they don't dick me around so much that I have to retake the MCAT because my scores are too old. (Because if that happens I will start chewing people out.)
     
  18. efex101

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    Okay, I applied to 32 schools and NONE had issues with non-trads as long as you are comparable in numbers (yes, the objective data they can look at) to the younger crowd. I was accepted by many and received scholarships btw I am no spring chicken and applied when I was 38! So I think that you have to realize that although there are "some" that might frown on non-trads most do not...I am living proof and so is njbmd and others. Now, assuming that the non-trad status will give you an "edge" without the numbers then you are barking up the wrong tree...because the bottom line is that medical schools have to go by some numbers just to dwindle down the huge amount of applications...and on average non-trads DO have lower stats.
     
  19. osli

    osli Senior Member
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    I agree... I think many schools are receptive of non-trads. My rant was about a particular school for which this doesn't happen to be the case, and it is especially frustrating because with it being a state school the financial consequences of their attitude are non-trivial.

    I think that assumption holds true at many schools that recognize and appreciate the qualities a non-trad bring to the table, while unfortunately it remains a significant hurdle at a few others.

    If I had stats below the average matriculant at this school, I don't think I would have been so frustrated/dissapointed. My ao GPA (in engineering) and BCPM GPA are both above their averages, and my MCAT (while nothing stellar) is two-three points higher than their average matriculant. Considering I took the MCAT before taking many of the prereq courses (before any biology, genetics, anatomy, organic chemistry...) and the ones I did take were 10 years ago, I think that speaks plenty about my standardized test taking ability, if that's all they cared about. Now that I am taking the prereqs (16 hours of them, and working 2 jobs), I'm acing them all. My GPA's are only going up from here. I'll finish in the spring with something like a 3.8/3.8. And all of my volunteer, community service, leadership, organizations etc. I participated in while in college and even now?... that was because I wanted to do it, not because I felt I had to to be a competitive pre-med applicant.

    lol... sorry for the continued rant. :laugh: Fact is there are a lot of schools I'd be happy to attend, and hopefully I'll have some choices soon. I just wish this school had been more receptive as well... there are a lot of redeeming qualities that make the school attractive.

    My interview:

    "Why do you want to be a doctor?"
    "But why now?"
    "Then why weren't you a bio-sci major pre-med?"
    "Then why not stay with that career?"
    "But why do you want to change now?"
    "Oh, you were the leader of blah blah, nevermind that... why do think we should accept you instead of someone who really wants to be a doctor?"
    "Did you know that half our class is reapplicants... if you don't happen to get in, we encourage you to apply as many years as it takes if you really think you want this."

    :laugh:
     
  20. ShyRem

    ShyRem I need more coffee.
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    That may be true, efex, but it is disheartening to see younger students with lower numbers than you, with less medical experience than you, with less life experience, and who aren't really quite sure if medicine is right for them getting interviews while you are getting passed over at those same schools. Last year a girl in my class (who is the 'regular' age) got an interview at a school I also applied at. Her GPA was .2 higher, but her MCAT was 5 points lower. And she had no (NO) experience in the medical field. Tell me that was all about numbers. Right.
     
  21. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    I agree that situations like that *are* very frustrating but my post was just trying to make the point that this is not the case for most schools. Sure there will be some schools that will not accept non-trads regardless of how competitive you are but my point is to reiterate that these are in the minority. I received interviews at all except 2 hence ended with 30 interviews. These schools were a variety of top to low tier and both private and state schools. I still stand by my statement that unless you are "competitive" meaning gpa/mcat/lor/ec/leadership/etc being non-trad will not for the most part give you any admissions edge. There are just too many applicants that have all the required qualities for medical schools to overlook those in non-trads just because they have more experience. I also know for a fact that there *are* non-trads with ALL the qualities *and* with life experience and these are the ones that usually have no problem getting in somewhere. Sure, you might not get accepted at your state school or some other schools that looks down their nose at non-trads but if you apply wisely you will get in somewhere.
     
  22. Dave_D

    Dave_D Senior Member
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    Well I wasn't expecting or asking for an "edge" or anything.(Just hoping they judge me on how I am now, not when I was a clueless 20 year old.) Basically what they're telling me is that theoretically they value education but in my case I just should have not gone when I was younger and waited until I was more mature.(Since it always hangs over my head) Just curious, did you do well when you were originally an undergrad or were you more like me in turning things around as you got more sensible.(It happens to alot of us.)

    See that's the thing with me. My BCPM GPA are a reasonable 3.4 even if you count the old stuff and my MCAT is competative at most schools.(And if you really look at how I am now, IE 2 full years of post-bacc, my scores are as good as anyone's.) It just seems as though if old stuff works against me they count it, yet if it works in my favor(IE I need a social science course as a pre-req) all of sudden surprise surprise it doesn't count. Short of getting another bachelors and then a masters I'm sort of screwed.(And then I'll be in my 40's and they'll say, "Well why didn't you just apply once you completed the premed stuff?")
    Let me guess, if you answered honestly (IE because I'm no longer clueless, alot of the people that "Want" be doctors don't know know what they're really getting into, ETC they'd look at you funny :D Sorry, I know there's supposed to be a certain amount of BS on interviews but I don't have to like it.)

    Oh well, I should just relax and let it slide for now. Tomorrow is stabbing day :(
     
  23. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Maybe I'm missing something -- how are these questions unreasonable or suggestive of a hostile attitude toward nontrads? When someone is changing careers is it not appropriate to ask why? And virtually all applicants (not just nontrads) are asked why medicine, do you know what it involves, have you really thought things through, what would you do if not medicine, etc.
    Some schools and interviewers likely have their own views and biases on nontrads. But most schools (all I have seen) have at least a few, if not a handful of older (30+) folk, which should be encouraging.
     
  24. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    I was in no way implying that anyone here is assuming that being non-trad is an edge...but just stating my opinion on this issue. Life experience is a huge advantage IF everything else falls into place. I think that some of you may have had one or two soso experiences with a medical school even though you *are* competitive and have good grades and I feel for ya but again most schools are NOT this way. Most schools looks at "recent" grades to see if NOW you are doing well versus a decade or two ago. Now, some schools just have a gpa cutoff and IF you did not meet that (and this is taking into consideration ALL grades even those from a decade ago) then no, you will not be asked for an interview but neither will someone that is traditional if they do not meet said cutoff. Yes, my grades were good with no poor grades from prior years because I just now did undergrad so there was no "damage" control. But, even those that had abismal undergrad grades from eons ago ARE getting in IF they now have excellent grades (meaning mostly A's) *and* a good solid MCAT (meaning 30 or above). I hope that this thread is encouraging more than not and folks realize that yes you can and will get into medical school IF you have ALL the elements in place and IF you apply broadly.
     
  25. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    There is not always rhyme or reason to whether a school invites you or not. I was rejected pre-secondary from a school that I consider VERY non-trad friendly. Why? Who knows? Maybe they don't like chemists. Maybe the planets were not properly aligned. :laugh: I never could get an answer out of them one way or the other, so I suppose I'll never know. Then, some schools that I thought I wouldn't have a prayer of getting into have interviewed and even accepted me. Some are places where I'd be the only MSI over age 25, or maybe one of two. Why? Who knows? I sent the exact same app to every single school. :laugh: I have no idea why some of them think I'm the shizzle while others think I'm not worth the paper the rejection letter was printed on. :smuggrin:
     
  26. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    BTW like someone posted above those questions get asked to ALL interviewees for the most part NOT just non-trads. So be ready to answer such questions and although they may seem to be specifically picking at you they are not trust me. All folks applying to medical school get scrutinity about why medicine, why now, why you, what about other careers, etc. so this not about being trad or not it is just about applying to medical school.
     
  27. osli

    osli Senior Member
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    Don't get me wrong... I don't think these questions were unreasonable or even unexpected. I was quite prepared to have to explain my motivations and answer tough questions about why I wanted to change careers. That being said, sometimes you just get a "vibe" during an interview. Their rejection email confirmed what I had suspected... no matter how humble or honest I was, they were not prepared to accept any explanation.

    I understand that practically every feels that there is some degree of randomness in this whole process. People are accepted and rejected to/from schools that are most unlikely for them. However, this school has had this reputation going well back into the 70's, and it is sad that it apparently hasn't changed.
     
  28. osli

    osli Senior Member
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    You know, Q, that probably makes me feel better than anything anyone else has told me to date. If you were rejected, for any reason, it lets us all know that sometimes schools are just looking for something different, not better. I think a lot of us forget that sometimes.
     
  29. .edu-MD

    .edu-MD Senior Member
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    Every school has something different they're looking for. Some want people with a demonstrated interest in primary care. Others want people who have done some research and are interested in academic medicine. Similarly, some may prefer younger recent undergrads because they want to mold them in their way (or whatever other reason) while others want to get together as diverse a class as possible. I'm sure these feelings also change over time with changes in deans or make-up of the admission committees. I don't believe there is anything conspiratorial or prejudicial going on. It's just how it is. Just like when you're applying for a job, every company has a corporate culture. If they don't think you'll fit in, they probably won't interview you.

    Like efex, I've been pretty successful in getting interviews, and I have a mediocre undergrad record to overcome: ugrad BCPM ~3.2. But only a couple of schools seem to institute a strict ugrad GPA cutoff (that's only a guess though). I applied to even more schools than efex did but decided to withdraw from many after my first acceptance. Most of the schools I withdrew from had put my application on hold pre-interview. That I didn't have outright rejections I took as a positive review. But I would rather be at a school that liked my application on first review (because it suggests to me that my activities and accomplishments are things they value), which is why I withdrew from so many schools. I'm confident many of those holds would eventually have resulted in interviews as well but I probably would've had more of an uphill battle at those places. I would prefer to have this whole process resolved by around March so we can prepare for any move we may have to make. My point in all this is, at least in the ~30y/o range, age is not a handicap, at least in getting interviews.
     
  30. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    Um, thanks, I think? I'm glad to know that my being rejected is encouraging to others. :smuggrin:

    In all seriousness, that's what I finally had to come to grips with as well. Not every school wants a student like me. It has no bearing on my overall fitness as an applicant. If most of my schools were rejecting me pre-secondary, THEN I'd know that the problem was with me and/or my AMCAS. (I'd be especially upset if the nonscreening ones were rejecting me pre-secondary. :laugh: ) But only one school did that; the rest at least sent me a secondary. So, for whatever unknown reason, that school just decided they didn't like me. But some of the other schools decided that they did. And since you can only attend one school anyway, not all of them HAVE to like you. It only takes one. :)

    Also, osli, you may yet get into your state school. You definitely can't tell by how you felt during the interview. I ended up getting accepted at one school where I would say I had my absolute WORST interview. Still waiting to see what happens at another school where my interviews were not so great.
     
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  31. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    I agree with Q..do not let your "feelings" of the interview get you down because often times those that thought they had a terrible interview actually were accepted and then some folks who had awesome ones might have been WL or even rejected...
     
  32. beefballs

    beefballs MIDWEST
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    has anyone gotten the feeling that what they did in the past is given little to no significance? I have gotten this feeling from schools that rejected me.

    I think alot of schools are guilty of pigeonholing applicants. They put you where they think you fit. On the flip side I have been to an interview where it was obvious they had read my personal statement and what I did before I went to college mattered. They realized that that experience was far more indicative of who and what I am then some numbers, which are certainly credible but not eye catching in this process. The frustration sets in for me because I am greater than the sum of my parts yet I need an opportunity to display that & pre-interview rejections deny me that chance.
     
  33. osli

    osli Senior Member
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    Well, for a few minutes after I got a rejection email, I did wonder if the dean had made a mistake sending the wrong boiler-plate email and if I'd soon get an apology for the mix-up. Then I realized they really meant it. :laugh:
     
  34. MeowMix

    MeowMix Explaining "Post-Call"
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    On the whole, my experience was that schools really did not care about my age (41 at application). I am in a med school class with a ton of people over 30 and 3 over 40. Same kind of thing with the class that came in after us.

    If you don't get the interviews, then it might be random, or it might be because your application is weaker than you realized or there are red flags that you cannot see yourself. Maybe your essay sucked (in retrospect, I think mine did) and did nothing to convey your personality. Maybe it sounded just like everyone else's (e.g. I had an epiphany while shadowing an orthopedic surgeon/while saving my companion's life atop everest, etc.). Maybe your LORs are not as good as you hoped. Sometimes your GPA and MCAT are too low to be competitive at certain schools, and nothing is going to fix that.

    Regardless of your excellent personality, wonderful qualities, maturity, and extensive clinical experience, the committee needs to know that you can survive two years of intense course work and the intense clinical work to follow. They might grill you to try to figure out the depth of your commitment. Are you really willing to give up most of the things you enjoy to make it through school, even when it really sucks? Do you have the tenacity to keep going even after you fail an exam or two? Are you going to be able to handle outside commitments and still pass your classes? When life at school is miserable, are you going to want to quit and go back to your old job? That's the question, not whether you want to be a doctor. Everyone wants to be a doctor.

    I know it sucks. I couldn't believe that I got rejected ANYWHERE (including my dream school) with my stellar background. Then I got to med school and found out that a lot of those young pups were a heck of a lot more accomplished than I realized. I never realized how stiff the competition was.
     
  35. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    Ah. :oops: This wasn't clear from your original post. It sounded to me like you'd just had a bad interview. Anyway, I am sorry to hear that.

    I have one other thought to add to the mix: it seems that sometimes people do not research the missions of the schools where they want to apply well enough. Your goals should ideally match the school's goals. So if I want to be a researcher, I have no business being upset b/c schools that want to produce clinicians don't accept me. Related to this problem, if you *do* think that you fit the school's mission, you have to be able to back that up with proof. So if I tell an interviewer that I want to go into clinical research, I'd better have some clinical research experience to convince him that I know what I'm talking about.

    I had thought that the school where I was rejected pre-secondary did want researchers. Eh well, no one is perfect. :p
     
  36. Dave_D

    Dave_D Senior Member
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    Osli, sorry to hear about all of that.(Hadn't realized you got reject by your state school already.) Q has given me a bit of a lift too.(Since he's gone through alot of what we've gone through.) Guess I'm just so antsy with all my rotten luck lately.(I hope the liver doc finds something readily treatable soon. At least if I have Wilson's disease I can make bad puns about urinating copper.) I might give one of the schools that rejected me a call to find out what they didn't like just in case I have to re-apply next year.(Ok, maybe I'll call MCW but I won't re-apply to them. I only applied in the first place because "they showed interest in me." Of course anybody that read my thread on Albany knows I won't waste my time even talking to those bastards at this point.)
     
  37. Beau Geste

    Beau Geste yah mo b there
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    Just so you know, Q is a she, not a he :)
     
  38. eccles1214

    eccles1214 Member
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    First of all, to osli: The very fact that you got an interview says something about your app. If the school really didn't want you at all, would you have not received a rejection, the dreaded "thin envelope?" Perhaps, the interviewer was testing you -- which is not uncommon in the lore of med school interviews. Interviewers playing tricks on interviewees -- to test and irritate a probably already-nervous applicant.

    As a 41+ applicant (I hate the label "non-trad"), I have concerns for situations like this. I realize efex101's point about what it takes to get in, but also about the OP's point about his/her interview experience. I think what many oldsters are looking for is some across-the-board policy or guidelines on what works and what doesn't in terms of their age, and, unfortunately, my conclusion is that there isn't a universal policy.

    There are so many variables involved in the decision-making process. The applicant's background, grades, MCATs, LOR's, ugrad school, post-bacc if applicable, etc. And then there are the interviewers, who are a varied group as well. My feeling is that success comes with being the right applicant, interviewing with an interviewer who is amenable to your aspirations, at a school that is amenable to non-traditional students. Even young, stellar applicants get rejected.

    Ultimately, I think the interviewer's advice is sound: if you really want to attend med school, keep at applying, keep showing schools that you are serious about it.
     
  39. osli

    osli Senior Member
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    Not that this is particularly relevant or important, but this school offers secondaries/interviews almost entirely based on a numerical point system comprised of grades and MCAT. There aren't that many applicants - they interview essentially everyone who meets their cutoff requirements.

    Fortunately I have other options, but to make a general comment - asking older students to reapply multiple times is often asking for them to enter dangerous financial territory, put their spouse/family in a difficult situation, and be just that much older the next year. Conversely, for a green out of college applicant, these concerns are often negligible.

    In case I haven't been very clear on my feelings about this, I'm not frustrated that there are some schools that aren't very friendly to non-trads, just that my state school had to be one of them. :laugh:
     
  40. I agree with alot of the comments here

    A school telling a 20 y/o to "try again next year" is signifigantly different from saying the same thing toi a 40 y/o.

    I am frustrated that many schools are non trad unfriendly. While I realise the MCAT and GPA has traditionally been the decision maker for schools, there is much more to an applicant. Im not, nor will i ever be, the perfect MCAT/GPA applicant (GPA 3.1 and MCAT not yet taken) but I do have alot to offer. Since applicants right out of undergrad have little to show in experience, i understand the importance of MCAT and GPA. I often wonder however, why it is that a degree I did 8 years ago dictates my entrance ability even though my post grad GPA is 3.8 (pre med classes im taking). I will do my best to get a 25+ ont he MCAT but with how difficult I find chem I have to wonder (havent taken O Chem yet) how that will be possible. Does that mean i wont be a good physician? Of course not.

    I realize that there is not other way avaliable for med school admissions depts to "cut the fat" in the massive amounts of applications they get. I often wonder how many good physicians are lost because of that policy.

    Let me give you an example. I met a girl the other day who is in second year medical school while i was teaching ACLS. She didnt seem very bright (wasent getting acls at all) but obviously she must have had the MCAT and GPA to get into med school. At lunch i asked her what kind of physician she was going to be. Her answer:

    "Oh, im not going to be a practicing physician, i am not interested in clinical medicine, I plan to have my own TV show (or some other media) as a medical consultant for a network."

    I was pissed. Some non-trad was bumped on the list because of her. In fact i know 4 who applied to the same school and were waitlisted and ultimately not accepted. Why is it that making the decision to go back to med school, leave a professional job along with the income and lifestyle it provides (for 8 years), seems to carry no weight?

    Anywho, enough of my ranting since the system wont be changing for me :p Non trads are the minority, minority and we dont have a national support group to help us :p We just have to deal with the system how it is.
     
  41. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I agree with much of your post except the clause about the "at a school that is amenable to non-traditional students" because I believe that it once again brings to play such an "across the board" rule of thumb you indicated in your initial part of the post doesn't really exist. Most, if not all, schools are receptive to a non-trad if that person has stellar credentials, and they perceive that person as the right fit; no schools as a blanket rule are going to give preferential treatment or be receptive to all nontrads that apply, and none (that I've come across) are going to be unreceptive or hostile to all nontrads. It is a mistake to try and label schools as pro or anti nontrad, and people really need to apply broadly, and know that the schools will do what they feel is the best model for them in terms of fit and diversity, whether that means taking a handful of nontrads, many, or perhaps in a given year none. As I've opined in other threads, it certainly doesn't benefit nontrads to have them all apply to the same handful of schools out of a notion that such schools are more nontrad friendly, because no school is going to buck the norm and take a class of mostly nontrads, but most schools I suspect would contemplate taking one or two as a nice diversity. I've definitely not come across any med schools without at least one person over 30 in attendance. While I personally think nontrads on average bring more to the table than those right out of undergrad, as a prior poster suggested, the dearth of nontrads at some places may have more to do with low numerical stats than any bias.
     
  42. ShyRem

    ShyRem I need more coffee.
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    First Mike, many folks who have difficulty with gen chem find ochem much easier. Don't worry and just do your best.

    Second, I taught ACLS to many a medic, nurse and physician. I have met at LEAST 6 docs who couldn't read an EKG if you waved $1 million under their noses. Does that make them bad doctors? (well, I have to say in at least three of those cases they were pretty bad docs before ACLS.) Not necessarily. I would hope they wouldn't go into a specialty that needs those skills (but at least two did and they still stink at ACLS). Do adcoms mess up? You bet. Is it fair? Nope. But life isn't fair. I'm going to be a doctor whether it be MD or DO, and someday the folks who wouldn't give me the time of day will wonder why I didn't apply to their school (hey, a girl can dream, can't she?).

    Life is too short to be angry at those who can't see the forest for the trees.
     
  43. osli

    osli Senior Member
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    Law2doc - I had a response prepared, but really I think my points is being missed and to try and make it clear just seems like I have "sour grapes" and that isn't the case at all. I'm extremely fortunate and grateful to have done as well as I have and to have opportunities elsewhere.
     
  44. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I didn't mean to divert focus away from your points. But as you can see from this thread, a lot of nontrads have fared pretty well in the process and don't seem to have come across the stigmatizations or bias you suggest. I'm sure there are schools that are exceptions to this rule, but by applying broadly, one can ignore these outliers.
     
  45. Hey!

    Awesome attitude. Im with you! Cant fight the system, just have to work within it and succeed.
     
  46. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy
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    but that's little comfort to osli who happens to have a state school with an apparent bias. consequently, osli will have to pay about $80k more for his/her tuition. if one random private school had a bias, it wouldn't be a big deal, but if you're state school has one, it has a true detrimental effect on your life and future income.
     
  47. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Fair enough, but given that Osli got an interview at this supposedly anti-nontrad biased school (over a lot of nontrads who likely didn't get to the interview stage) it's hard to know if the bias is real or perceived.
     
  48. osli

    osli Senior Member
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    Again, with limited applicants, interviews are granted nearly without exception based on a GPA + MCAT formula cutoff.

    exlawgrrl - I think you got the point. Money sucks. :laugh: It wouldn't matter if it were one school out of a dozen out of state schools I was looking at.
     
  49. MSgtLou

    MSgtLou Junior Member
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    A personal friend of mine, about 45-50 at the time, went to the school he had applied to 4 consecutive years in a row to meet with the admissions counselor. The counselor, who knew him well, asked him if he was going to apply for a fifth year and if he would be applying again and again if he failed to get accepted. My friend replied in the affirmative. The counselor told him, or words to the effect, "Look, I can't tell you this, but you are wasting your time and will never get into this school, no matter how good your application. You are over our age cutoff. Why don't you apply to a DO school, you will get accepted the first year." He applied that year to DO and was accepted.

    So having heard it first hand, I doubt that there this is merely a perception. He told me this when I told him I was going to work in medicine after retirement. Something to think about.
     
  50. MSgtlou


    This isnt the first time i have heard such a story. I know of many applicants who were questioned by the admissions people why they would bother trying to get admitted. Not even in an interview, GPA & MCAT unseen. Now many of us might not fit into that age range (im 31) but it simply isnt right. Sadly, much like your friend, these stories (assuming they are true) are often origionating behind closed doors in admissions offices.

    When i asked about how I would be seen as an applicant at a medical school at age 32-33 applying I was told they would take someone who had better scores than me everytime regardless of experience. I dont know how to respond to that, afterall its the schools perogative to set cut offs. What i didnt like, was i was also told that age is taken into account in admissions in regards to how long you could be a practicing physician. So, if a 22 year old with the same scores as me applied, they would be chosen over me.

    While it isnt fair, as said before, life isnt fair. At the end of the day it will always be an uphill battle for non traditional students. Not just in admissions, but also the general disruption of your life to get to the point of application.

    This has been discussed before here. Some people have made some very good points in favor of schools choosing scores over experience. ll summarize a couple that seemed relevant.

    1) MCAT scores showed a coorelation to USMLE scores.
    2) GPA is predictive of ability to achieve in the first two years of medical school
    3) Schools have a vested interest in maintaining high entrance stats to maintain reputation and prestige (which can be very important for grant money etc).

    Does that mean a non-trad who has crappy scores cant be an amazing physician. No, of course not, they just might not have the oppertunity to find out. At the end of the day, there is one admissions process and it is created to cater to the masses, not a minority of non-trads. There really cannot be two admissions processes. This is a large part of the reason why you see so many non-trads in the caribbean and elsewhere.

    Good luck to everyone.
     

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