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Getting waitlisted?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by dangit, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. dangit

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    Hi,

    What are reasons for getting waitlisted for schools? I had one interview, but got waitlisted....seriously, it was disappointing to hear that, but i got over it. Now, i have four more interviews, but it's frustrating figuring out the best way to prepare. I wish I knew why I got waitlisted...that would've helped me to work on things. On the other hand, is it possible for adcoms to plan on waitlisting people even before they interview?
     
  2. Chocolate Bear

    Chocolate Bear Moderizzle Fo'Shizzle!
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    You are ranked at each step. Before you interview, your GPA+MCAT+the rest of your app --> puts you somewhere in a rolling stack of applications. Then each week or so, when the adcom meets, they take the top X amount and invite them for an interview.

    Then, after you interview, the adcom meets and discusses the candidates who have been interviewed. They rank them, now based on the previous criteria PLUS their perception of the interview. If you're in the top X amount, you get accepted. If they don't think you'd be a good choice for their program, you get rejected. If they think you'd be a good fit but they'd like to wait and determine how you stack up against the other candidates whom they interview this year, they waitlist you.

    Contrary to popular belief, being waitlisted does not necessarily mean you "bombed the interview." You are constantly being ranked and re-ranked, and you happened to fall into a spot that was acceptable to them, but not stellar. The waitlist is constantly shifting, too, though. So you could be low on it now and work your way up. Or you could be high and work your way down.

    The best thing to do is to try and ask them if there is something you can improve on to be a better candidate. If they won't tell you specifics, then just look back and see if anything stands out in your mind. Were your interview skills weak? Did you answer a question in a way you don't think was optimal? Were you uneducated about that specific program?

    Think back and try to correct any mistakes. But if you can't think of any, don't dwell. You'll only psyche yourself out for the next interview.

    You have 5 interviews, and there is a good chance that you wouldn't be accepted by all 5. It's just how things often work out. Just try to improve for your next ones, and don't worry about the waitlist. It's later in the season, and most schools have already filled a decent portion of their class. Thus, your chances of being waitlisted in Dec/Jan are greater than Aug/Sept/Oct.

    Good luck!
     
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  3. DarkHorizon

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    The above stated criteria is not true for some schools though. I know at CCOM it is definitely not the case.
     
  4. dangit

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    could you elaborate on that?
     
  5. Chocolate Bear

    Chocolate Bear Moderizzle Fo'Shizzle!
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    Please tell us why you disagree with me, at least for CCOM. It's not helpful to disagree and then leave without saying why you disagree.

    I've been to CCOM and have no reason to think they do anything blatantly different than what I've stated above. However, all schools have variations of how they handle rolling admissions, but the important parts usually remain the same. They generally include the following for rolling admissions DO schools:

    1. Constant ranking and re-ranking of candidates
    2. A varying degree of weight placed on the interview, that can significantly change your position in the rankings
    3. A decision made within a month or so of the interview, at which point you get accepted, waitlisted, or rejected
    4. A steady stream of people into the waitlist, in which one's ranking will change many times before May (when people generally start to get taken off the waitlist)
    5. A steady stream of acceptances throughout the cycle, making each interview round a little more competitive than the previous week's (or however often they do them at a given school)
     
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  6. HALIVE

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    Sorry about the waitlist. The thing about the process is that it is not always 100% acceptance for every interview you go to. From my experience this cycle, I believe that there are schools that will offer you interviews even when that know that you do not stand a chance for an acceptance (just for a waitlist). The reason is that they found something in your application that stood out in a very interesting way and they would like to meet you for that reason.
     
  7. rajaholick

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    i dont think or maybe i should say i hope that a school wouldn't invite an applicant for an interview just to talk about 1 story on their application knowing that the student stands no chance at getting accepted at that school
    its a colossal waste of resources and honestly waste of the student's time and money
     
  8. Chocolate Bear

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    Agreed. You might be low on the stack of interview invites and have a good chance of being waitlisted, but they don't interview people with no chance. If you're waitlisted, you have an inherent chance.
     
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  9. dangit

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    so just to clarify, can adcoms says: "hey, let's waitlist this applicant, but interview him anyway"?

    the first interview i had, i was so sure after i finished that it went well, but i knew in my mind that my stats were a lil low. so after i found out i got waitlisted, i felt that it was due to my stats rather than my interview. shouldn't schools interview people only after they determine that the applicants gpa+MCAT+rest of app are good enough?
     
  10. Chocolate Bear

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    Like I said, you could have been interviewed with a relatively low probability of being accepted without being waitlisted. This doesn't mean they were trying to waste anyone's time or anything like that. You could very well be part of the class next year, and they would probably love to have you. However, there are often candidates they'd rather have, based on a multitude of reasons, and they'll accept those people first.
     
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  11. Chocolate Bear

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    In order to get a waitlist spot, you have to interview. I know that, when you're going through it, it feels like a huge waste of time/money/effort to get put on a waitlist, when you felt like you had no shot. However, you usually do have a shot, at least. But sometimes there are so many good applicants above you that even the best interview wouldn't bump you up enough to get a YES. The best you can do is take your waitlist, update them with new highlights from your application between now and May, and hope for the best.

    I've been waitlisted and rejected plenty of times. Stay positive.
     
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  12. Chocolate Bear

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    That's exactly what they did. You're good enough to be a part of the class. Thus they waitlisted you. If the people ranked more highly than you don't end up filling the class, BAM, you're in. If you don't go there, the person below you gets the spot. It's all part of the game.
     
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  13. Chocolate Bear

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    Please do not dwell on your perceptions of the situation. All you are doing is convincing yourself that you were doomed from the beginning. That's not necessarily the case. Even the best interview you could imagine might not get that interviewer to think you're a good fit for his/her school. I've seen it a thousand times, with applicants with great stats. Great stats + perceived "great" interview + waitlist = WTF.

    That being said, the situation you described is not an impossibility. Your interviewers may have loved you and pleaded to the high heavens at the admissions committee to let you in. Alas, the adcom was convinced your low GPA and MCAT should keep you out. Thus they compromised and you got waitlisted.

    All I'm saying is that you can never ever know for sure, and plenty of people get in with low stats. Try to pinpoint things you could improve upon before your next interview, and, by all means, do not go into them with the attitude that you were waitlisted or rejected before stepping foot on the flight out of your hometown. Self-fulfilling prophecies are real.
     
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  14. niranjan162

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    U get an interview based on ur stats/app (meaning you gotta make the cut off). Once your in the interview, they can compare u to other applicants at the time. You probably got waitlisted because the caliber of the other applicants was higher.

    The school isnt gonna waste their time interviewing someone they dont want. Their is a legitimate chance u can get into the school, but how good a chance depends on where ur ranked on the waitlist.

    Your interview can go great, but like cbear said u can still be waitlisted. It really has more to do with ur competition rather than you whether you get accepted.

    However, take solace in the fact that ur interview probably went well, otherwise u would have most likely just been rejected.

     
  15. MossPoh

    MossPoh Textures intrigue me
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    The other variation of the waitlist is almost like a first come / first serve line where the applicant is numbered and as people reject they move up. Not as common.


    Anyway, I'm kind of waitlists right now it seems (4). It sucks but you just have to be patient. If it is a top choice then constantly update them with grades, activities, etc.

    One of the schools I interviewed at I KNEW I was going to be waitlisted. I was told by the guy that interviewed me (and signs off on all acceptances) that I "shouldn't be surprised if I am not outright accepted" because they "may want to see [my] grades for the semester". Now that this semester is done and I tanked since I was gone so much...I'm a little bummed, but I'm not off of the waitlist yet, so we'll see. Honestly, the best thing you can do is go on interviews and work to keep the mind busy. I constantly forget I'm waiting for an update until I see the word "waitlist"!
     
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  16. Altruist

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    Take heart, first off. And if you think it will help you, follow CB's advice and contact the school to see if they'll give you feedback. Many will do so for candidates who are rejected or waitlisted.

    I interviewed at my state school last year, and I got waitlisted. I didn't think it went so badly, and I was convinced one of the interviewers who was just outright rude to me had sandbagged my application. I went through the admissions committee's comments on my app with an admissions worker after the fact, and I couldn't have been more wrong. The guy who was rude to me gave me some good points and marked me acceptable; another interviewer had expressed a lot of skepticism about my long and winding academic record and some questions she didn't think I'd answered very well. That, combined with a middling GPA landed me low on the waitlist. My opinion is that you're unlikely to have a full picture of how the interview went.

    Let's be realistic. For a lot of people, the interview isn't going to change the outcome. For a few people who are just on the edge, an excellent interview will move them up; and similarly a few people might be sunk. So although schools might pre-rank you in such a way you'll probably end up on the waitlist, they are giving you the opportunity to stand out, and earn an acceptance.

    If I had had 5 interviews lined up by this point last year, I don't think I'd have taken my state school waitlisting so hard! Try to improve, and don't lose hope. Good luck!
     
  17. DarkHorizon

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    Let me say that I don't disagree with you on most of what you have said. However, CCOM claim that they don't rank their applicants at all. At least that is what they tell their applicants. Instead they keep looking at all applicants and invite those who they deem align with their goals (whatever they might be). I do know two people (students) personally who have served on the interview panel in the past. According to them, after one has been granted an interview, all the weight is placed on the interview. So basically, if you don;t get a good feedback, you will not be accepted, doesn't matter what your stats are like. Their waitlist is also not ranked (as claimed by their admission personnel) so what they look for in a candidate is somewhat a mystery. I know people with some pretty high stats who were waitlisted and never accepted, even though they had solid connections with the school and were eventually accepted to better schools, yet I know some pretty weak applicants who were accepted.

    I have also been told that they will invite (very seldomly) applicants who they have no interest in accepting. I am not sure if that is entirely true though; they must at least like something about these applicants.
     
  18. slick27

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    The process doesn't make sense. I like how everyone tries to make sense out of something that to me clearly does not. If you look at it from the schools perspective, they get thousands of applications and I bet out of those applications, 75 percent are good applicants. They don't need to provide answers to why you are waitlisted, accepted, or rejected and more than likely it is nothing you can do. Just apply broadly and may luck get you in.

    However, this application season was my LUCKY year. I finally got in. Class of 2013 DMU. I have applied three times to get. My stats:

    MCAT 29O
    GPA: 3.75
     
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  19. MossPoh

    MossPoh Textures intrigue me
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    The process makes perfect sense if you are one of the few that gets to see all of the cogs turning within the machine. From the outside it feels like a slot machine. We save up, go through the hassle of getting to the casino, put our coin in, pull the lever and see what happens. Whether we win or lose the jackpot seems random, but there are distinct processes within that decide whether you are the fortunate one. There ARE reasons. People like to say there is no reasoning because it makes them feel better. I know it makes me feel better, but for whatever reason, there was a reason for the decision they made. If it is a flaw in your interview or application then an applicant should have the right to find that out in order to improve for the next cycle. It won't happen at every school, but it'd be nice if it did.
     
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  20. Chocolate Bear

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    Thanks for coming back and clarifying.

    So let me sum up what you say CCOM's policy is:

    1. No constant rankings--merely a YES or NO for an interview, based on the application.
    The problem with this is that I'm almost positive people get placed on pre-interview hold, which essentially ranks you between an interview and acceptance. Basically I don't think it's as black and white as it's been presented to you.

    2. After being invited for an interview, the rest of your application doesn't matter. This is called the "interview level playing field" approach.
    My issue with this is that your application comes into play during your interview. I can't remember if it's closed file or not, so let's take both cases: a. Open file: All of your application becomes a part of the interview, and if interviewers don't like things they see, it'll be very difficult to get a good recommendation from them, regardless of how you respond to their questions. b. Closed file: Your application and experiences will help you answer the questions you're asked and will thus determine how you are perceived by your interviewers.

    3. Their waitlist is not ranked
    How could this possibly work? How would they decide, when they have 150 people on said waitlist, who to pick when they begin needing to take people off of it? Doesn't work. Unless it's just chronological order of placement on the waitlist (i.e., everyone is equal on the waiting list, and it just comes down to when you were interviewed). However, I really don't see the logic behind this method.

    4. They sometimes (rarely) invite applicants to interview with no intentions to accept them.
    This makes absolutely no sense to me. I understand that an interviewee's chances may be slim, but not everyone can be a stellar applicant. However, you said that CCOM interview invitees are on a level playing field, so my explanation doesn't justify this practice.
     
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  21. Chocolate Bear

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    Just because you might think that 75% of applicants are "good" doesn't mean that they are all equal in both quality and "fit" for a particular school.

    I agree that you should apply broadly. You should also cater to your audience in both secondary essays and interviews. Many schools have particular qualities they're looking for in applicants and goals they are looking to accomplish via their future graduates.

    I also agree with MossPoh. If you see enough of the adcoms' cards, you'll see why they play the game the way they do.
     
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  22. aaronwillen

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    #22 aaronwillen, Jan 1, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2009
  23. MossPoh

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    One thing I have learned is that one is normally a poor judge of their own interview performance. Some interviewers are just nice and conversational while others aren't. My NSU one was conversational, my LECOM-B one was like pulling my fingernails out. I felt horrible about LECOM-B...yet I got into both. I thought my AZCOM went well and I was rejected. Another one went well and felt good, but I still haven't heard back from them more than 2 months post interview.

    An application is a compilation of things. I don't think it is anyone's plan to squander your time. It just happens to some people. This last semester I was in a class that had ridiculous tests every monday. One of those classes where you put in 4 days of 8 hour a day review just to hope to pass. Most of my interviews were on Monday, like KCOM. I had to fly to Missouri, rent a car, stay in a crappy motel, drive to Kirksville, interview, drive back and stay in another hotel and fly back. I put around 800 dollars in EASY for that and got rejected 3 days later. Same day I got my AZCOM rejection. I failed two exams for the class I was in simply because I had no chance to study. I don't blame them for it. I know they didn't do it intentionally but for whatever reason, I wasn't deemed right for either of their schools. Rejection stings and it is easy to blame everything else, but there is usually a failure/flaw at some point on the interviewees side as well.
     
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  24. rajaholick

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    yeah ccom's whole "we dont rank our waitlist" deal makes 0 sense to me
    but that is what they told us...guess they enjoy the extra work
     
  25. Chocolate Bear

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    I forgot to mention that some schools will let you know where you stand on the waitlist. Either they will tell you that you are #17 out of 153 or they'll say you're in the "top third" or something like that. This would be a transparent waitlist and is generally not that common.

    CCOM telling us that they use an "unranked" waitlist could very well mean that they won't tell you where you are ranked, but doesn't mean they necessarily don't put people in some sort of order. Now, this, I would definitely say is highly likely. This is done by many/most schools.
     
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  26. I agree with CB here, I seriously doubt they would just have a hat full of waitlisted people, and just pick names.
     
  27. scpod

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    The one thing that everyone needs to understand is that the way you perceived an interview is NOT the same way your interviewers may have done. You may have had a wonderful time, laughing, telling jokes and getting along like old friends.... but you get rejected anyway because you weren't what the interviewer was looking for for his or her school. I can't tell you how many times I interviewed potential employess in my past life and had a great time with them... but didn't hire them because it wasn't what I was looking for in an employee. Do not be fooled bu how "easy" the interview was. That doesn't mean it was "good" in the eyes of your interviewers.

    OTOH, you'll hear thousands of times that people thought they absolutely "bombed" the interview becasue they were nervous and couldn't think straight... yet, they got in! Why? They ended up being what the interviewer was looking for. These guys know how to look through nervousness and blundering and see what they want.

    Remember that on paper you are ALL EQUAL in that you would not have been given a chance to interview if your stats, ec's and lor's weren't already good enough. If you don't make it in after the interview it's not because your gpa or mcat weren't good enough. How many times do you have to sit back and watch people with lower gps'a and mcat's getting accepted, while you don't, before you realize that those numbers only get you into an interview-- but, they do not get you accepted.

    On to the waitlist: What does the waitlist mean? It means you are good enough for our school but we are hoping to find someone better first. We interview until April and we're waiting to see those other folks before we give you a final decision.

    So then, how do you get off of the waitlist? This is a time where statistics really can help you. Why? Because it is much easier to rank you on objective criteria, rather than subjective criteria. Improve your grades, gett elected to an honor society, win some awards, get more lor's, get more volunteering time, take the mcat again.... but most importantly work the wait list like it was a job. Call or write the admissions office and update them on your progress every two weeks. Let them know that you really, really want to be a part of XCOM in the fall.

    A lot of schools don't have a ranked waitlist throughout the year. What would be the use? After all, it would change everytime someone new was put on it. There will, however, be a few folders "unofficially" on the top of the pile. Working on getting your file up there near the top is the thing to do. Eventually they all get some kind of ranking as the beginning of school draws closer. Those people who are "likely" to be accepted will be called and asked to verify that they want to remain on the list. There are people who get accepted all the way until the first day of classes-- and occassionally after that.

    There is nothing random about med school acceptances. They are well-thought out..... only, you are not privy to all of the variables. That's why it seems sooooo random sometimes. So many people liken it to a crapshoot. But, remember that, even in craps, everything is not random. You can improve your chances of winning by knowing how to play the game.
     
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  28. dangit

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    Hey Scopd,

    Thanks for the advice! I had a question though: I was placed on the low-waitlist (the schools places applicants on waitlist according to high, med, low).For schools that rank people on the waitlist, would it really help to send letters and whatnot?
     
  29. Chocolate Bear

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    I remember Touro-NV using a similar method, and Roger Corbman said that you had a very low shot (read: nearly zero chance) of getting off the low waitlist. This had a lot to do with the fact that actual waitlist spot was based on GPA+MCAT ONLY. Essentially if you were waitlisted, you were the exact same as everyone else in that category, and the only way to differentiate you was based on these two objective numbers. Thus, if you got new grades that improved your GPA or you took the MCAT again and did better, you'd want to let them know so you could move up.

    I'm not sure what school this is, but if you'd like a shot at attending, I'd definitely do everything I could to help my chances. I'd send them multiple letters, join clubs, volunteer, retake the MCAT, and get some good grades, if this was my #1 choice or I really wanted that school as an option.
     
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