- Sep 19, 2011
- Reaction score
Just curious, how do you determine if one student's course load is heavier than the other?
In short, you don't. It requires a basic (read: not extensive) knowledge of undergrad curriculum and a feel for what a 'normal' trajectory at a given school is. There just aren't that many paths that undergrads can take. It isn't about comparing two applicants side by side. It is about putting a GPA into context. Did you take your science requirements and take take light and easy loads the rest of your undergrad or did you do something productive with your time? It is just another small part of the application. It isn't the end all be all, but it is most definitely a part of the selection process.
I want to emphasize, I am not diminishing doing as well as is physically possible in undergrad. Taking a killer schedule and not doing well is an app killer. But, every faculty adcom that I have asked, (never mind the logic behind it) has stated that overall set of courses that you take matters. I have met a lot of pre-meds who think that there is a lot of luck involved in the application process and that the system is "stupid". This is simply not true. Adcoms tend to be comprised of very intelligent people sorting a huge data set. Yes, there is some luck involved and yes, there is some raw number crunching. But you are seriously insulting the intelligence of medical school faculty if you don't think they can see through fluffy applications. The people that try to 'play the game' and don't get in are the ones that start claiming that they were unlucky.