Guaranteed Medical School Admissions Programs: Bunk Or Not?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by rxfudd, May 6, 2002.

  1. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member

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    I've noticed over the past year or so that nearly EVERY premed student at UIC seems to be GPPA (Guaranteed Professional Program Admissions). What this basically means, for those of you not familiar with it, is that if they get a certain ACT score (I think 28 or 29) and are of a certain high school class rank (upper 1/3, I believe), they have the option of entering the university with a guaranteed spot in the medical school. They must maintain a 3.5 GPA (if not, they have 1 semester to pull it up), and must get a 30 on the MCAT (if not, they must take a summer remedial course prior to medical school matriculation). I am quite certain that many universities have a similar program.

    Does anyone else feel like there is something not quite right about this? It just seems so wrong that everyone who actually applies to med school, regardless of their qualifications, must put up with SO much anxiety, SO many difficulties, and SO much rejection - what qualifies a high school student to be able to bypass this by doing well on the ACT (if a 28 or 29 even constitutes as doing well)? In reality, all they need to do is keep up a 3.5 GPA once they get into college. Got a 22 on the MCAT? You have to take a summer course before you start med school. Big deal. Don't feel like doing research/volunteer work/extracurrics? Not a problem - you're GUARANTEED. No secondaries to fill out. No interviews. Nothing.

    Not to make light of all the obstacles regular applicants have to deal with, but I've come to think that the application process plays a huge role in humbling applicants and making them truly appreciate getting into a medical school once they do so. It just does not seem right that anyone should be able to simply bypass all of it. To top it all off, at least 20-30 seats (at UIC, at least) are set aside for GPPA students for each entering class. I just don't see the point in this.

    I apologize profusely if I offend anyone who might be GPPA on SDN. I'm not saying GPPA students are not qualified, but I don't understand what makes them MORE qualified than everyone else at the tender age of 17. Just wondering what everyone's thoughts are on this...
     
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  3. Vdawg

    Vdawg Senior Member

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    I completely agree with you. and on top of that, how can someone in high school know 100% that they want to be a doctor? but the point you bring up is also true... studying and taking the mcat allowed me to summarize everything I've learned into a ball of knowledge. and the med application process definitely made me a little more mature and understanding of things.
     
  4. gobears

    gobears Senior Member

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    Oh, it's even easier than you say. I know some of them take classes at a local community college to boost their GPAs and get course credits. From the GPPA's I know (I went to high school with a bunch and taught some in my MCAT classes), I wouldn't trust any of them with a knife or scalpel. Hell, I wouldn't even trust any of them with a thermometer.

    There are two types of students in this program:
    1) Those that want to use UIC as a safety school and apply to better schools without the possibility of not getting in anywhere.
    2) Those that just want to have fun in college and not give a damn.

    They're looked down upon in medical school by the other students as arrogant, lazy, and spoiled brats. Any GPPA's out there want to defend themselves? Any agree with me?
     
  5. none

    none 1K Member

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    Yes, other schools do have similiar programs...but that's a cakewalk! I've never seen a high school guarantee program with such minimal requirements. Geeze...
     
  6. Mary Jane Watson

    Mary Jane Watson Senior Member

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    There is a program like this at UAB called EMSAP (Early Medical School Admissions Program). I heard they were going to make the undergrad curriculum more demanding because some of them didn't pass their Step 1s. I mostly agree with you - I didn't figure out what I wanted until I was 26. I think programs like this should be available (my best friend didn't go this route, but she definitely could have - she's a third year at Harvard), but I think they should be VERY selective, require volunteer work, leadership demonstration and maybe a major research project. Just my .02!
     
  7. moo

    moo 1K Member

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    I agree. I know some people (mainly through word of mouth) who got less than 30 on the MCAT and all they had to do was take a couple extra science classes to get in. And to top it all off, they do not have a commitment to go to UIC!
     
  8. Papa Smurf

    Papa Smurf Thug 4 Life

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    Fudd, are you sure about the entrance requirements for that program? A 28, and you're guaranteed admission into the med school if you maintain a 3.5? If that's the case, wouldn't everyone be going to that program? After all, a 28 is not that hard to get. Are you sure that the 28 isn't the minimum score you need to apply to the program? I dunno, I have mixed feelings about these programs. I would've definitely gone if I had gotten into one, but I know I would've probably become a really lazy student like the ones you're talking about. I think they should increase the standards to stay in the program so as to prevent students from slacking too much. I do agree that going thru the traditional admissions route gives you a much greater appreciation for being in medical school. Guess we like torturing ourselves, no?
     
  9. Michelys

    Michelys Senior Member

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    I completely agree with you guys...that's why after graduation I'm going back to my old high school next week to tell them all about such programs...why go through what we all have to?! :p
     
  10. praying4MD

    praying4MD 2K Member

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    There is a similar program at Rice-Baylor and SO many people have so much built up hostility to those poor kids! <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> I don't blame them either. These types of programs have always ticked me off for the very reasons you mentioned and also because many times, the kids with connections also have a leg up on getting into them to begin with. ie "I did summer lab work with Daddy's colleague who's on the adcom for this."

    The idea that someone is mature enough to:
    a) know they want to be a doctor at age 18
    b) know *everything* that entails
    c) is committed enough to complete it
    d) can deal with the stresses once they get there if they haven't had that kind of pressure throughout undergrad

    is beyond me. However, once these kids prove their worth in medical school, I wouldn't hold it against them either. Excellent topic btw... almost as good as the "Best Guitarist Ever" thread. Whoever thought that one up is just pure genius. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
     
  11. bald

    bald Member

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    First, i dont like the guaranteed admissions programs. But my main gripe is with the numerous posters here who profess disbelief that a 17 year old could know "100%" or "for sure" that they want to be a doctor and know "_everything_ that entails." why not? just because it took someone until they were 28 to figure out they liked medicine, it does not follow that it is impossible for someone to figure it out at 17. that logic is just stupid. some people begin thinking about their careers seriously long before others, so dont knock their decision or belittle their abilities just because of their age.
     
  12. bujji13

    bujji13 Senior Member

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    Below 30 on the ACT seems more like a requirement to apply than a guaranteed admissions spot in medical school. I tend to defend students enrolled in these programs; when I was a high school senior I applied to MANY of them and was rejected by ALL (despite a top 2% class rank, 1500+ SAT, health care experience, volunteering, etc.) If you examine the admission rates and average stats of students admitted for some of these programs, it becomes apparent that it is insanely difficult to get in. And as far as these kids being able to bypass any anxiety or beuracratic nonsense by getting assured admission, trust me- there is plenty of anxiety even at the level (along with lots of rejection, frustration, disappointment, and constant worry). Believe it or not, there are lots of kids (I was one) who are only 17 and yet are sure that medicine is for them; there are also plenty of kids that age who carry a strong sense of dedication and maturity concerning their career interests. Also, I think it's only fair that the requirements to stay in the program are flexible (such as only maintaining a 3.3 science, and getting the national avg on MCAT) b/c it really wouldnt be assured entrance if they had to maintain a 3.8 and 30+. Also, w/ more flexible requirements, students can pursue other interests, and avoid the often unnecessary everyday stress that goes along w/ being pre-med.
     
  13. Mary Jane Watson

    Mary Jane Watson Senior Member

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    At UAB, they don't have to even take the MCAT - (at least I don't think, correct me if I'm wrong) but because of some of the recent problems, this also may be a requirement soon.
     
  14. praying4MD

    praying4MD 2K Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by bald:
    <strong>First, i dont like the guaranteed admissions programs. But my main gripe is with the numerous posters here who profess disbelief that a 17 year old could know "100%" or "for sure" that they want to be a doctor and know "_everything_ that entails." why not? just because it took someone until they were 28 to figure out they liked medicine, it does not follow that it is impossible for someone to figure it out at 17. that logic is just stupid. some people begin thinking about their careers seriously long before others, so dont knock their decision or belittle their abilities just because of their age.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Actually, on second thought. I guess you're right. I take it back. Apologies to anyone I've offended. :)
     
  15. Mystique

    Mystique The Procrastinator

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by kiddoc2B:
    <strong>At UAB, they don't have to even take the MCAT - (at least I don't think, correct me if I'm wrong) but because of some of the recent problems, this also may be a requirement soon.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">kiddoc2be,
    Actually, I think that the entering EMSAP class of 2002 will be the last class where they don't have to take the MCAT. Does that make sense. Let me rephrase that. Those high school seniors that applied for and got accepted into EMSAP for the fall of 2002 will be the last class where the MCAT isn't a prerequisite, or so I've been told by my sister, and she's usually on top of this stuff. So, yeah, they are leaning towards making it a requirement.
     
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  17. VC15

    VC15 MS4

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    I don't think all such programs are a "cakewalk" to get into. I know of people in a couple of these programs (Northwestern, Case, etc.), and they're all top notch students. Of course there are people who use guaranteed admissions as an excuse to slack off in undergrad, but it doesn't mean everyone does it. One of my friends had an extremely (easily good enough to at least have a chance at top 10's if he chose to apply there) high GPA and MCATs even though the requirements to maintain his spot were quite a bit lower. Although he worked hard, there was still enough time to relax/party. He didn't have the stress or pressure of getting that A in orgo, so he was able to focus more on just learning for the sake of learning, compared to some of his other classmates.
     
  18. Mary Jane Watson

    Mary Jane Watson Senior Member

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    Hey - I know there are plenty of people out there who knew medicine was for them (or some other profession). One of my best friends was one of them. I just think the requirements for these students who have been accepted should be challenging as well. I sure wish I'd known and I admire those who are mature enough to make that type of a decision. But who says you have to know anyway? Michael Crichton was a doctor, but now a writer and producer. Michael Palmer and Tess Gerritsen were (Palmer still practices I think) physicians, and now they are also writers. There is a family practice resident who works with my doc who already completed his OB/GYN residency when he decided that wasn't for him. My point is, your life isn't decided when you're younger - that's what's so great about medicine - the opportunites throughout your career to change and grow. It's great to know - but it's also ok not to be so sure. You're right bulb - we should respect EVERYONE'S hard work, despite the stage of the game.
     
  19. praying4MD

    praying4MD 2K Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by kiddoc2B:
    <strong>Hey - I know there are plenty of people out there who knew medicine was for them (or some other profession). One of my best friends was one of them. I just think the requirements for these students who have been accepted should be challenging as well. I sure wish I'd known and I admire those who are mature enough to make that type of a decision.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Like I said, I agree and I take back what I originally said. Spoke too hastily I suppose. :)
     
  20. locitamd

    locitamd Senior Member

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    Add Brown to the list of guaranteed admissions schools that don't require the MCAT.

    And as for the ongoing debate about whether or not a 17 year old knows for certain that s/he wants to be a doctor, I personally know 7 students who were accepted to the Brown program who either dropped their med school admission or completed med school and then didn't go on to residency in order to pursue a different career.
     
  21. Mary Jane Watson

    Mary Jane Watson Senior Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by praying4MD:
    <strong> </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by kiddoc2B:
    <strong>Hey - I know there are plenty of people out there who knew medicine was for them (or some other profession). One of my best friends was one of them. I just think the requirements for these students who have been accepted should be challenging as well. I sure wish I'd known and I admire those who are mature enough to make that type of a decision.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Like I said, I agree and I take back what I originally said. Spoke too hastily I suppose. :) </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">praying: I do know how you feel though - it's cool. :cool: I was pretty shocked when I found out that the EMSAP students didn't have to take the MCAT (until now apparently). Everyone should have their own horror story from that day of hell to take to med school. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
     
  22. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
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    I agree with what has been said here. At MCV they don't have to take the MCAT, if they take it, it is for statistical purposes only. What is funny, out of all the guaranteed admits I know, only 2 of them are actually going to go to MCV.

    I asked the dean what happens to the spots these G.A. give up if they don't go to MCV, and she said, they just go away. They aren't filled and they don't mind if these students deciede not to go. Weird, but true.

    Although they have to maintain their GPA above a 3.50, they do NOT have the stress and pressure and anxiety that we face during the pre-med years and the application process and interviews and waitlists and waiting......... etc. That is the advantage.

    Amy
     
  23. racergirl

    racergirl Senior Member

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    I know a guy who went to med school on one of these "early admit" programs. He didn't have to take the MCAT either. When I first met him I DID NOT like him--he seemed bitter and unhappy. He stayed at my house last summer though, and he's a changed man! Seems happy, satisfied, etc.

    Turns out that for a while he thought he HATED medicine. He told me he'd made the decision so long ago that when he started residency he had HUGE second thoughts about wether he'd made the right choice. The way he put it, he went through all the pain and self doubt we all go through, but only when he was already a Doc!

    After his unhappy soul-searching episode though, he turned out all right--he's a ER Doc practicing in Wisconsin.
     
  24. Vdawg

    Vdawg Senior Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by bald:
    <strong>First, i dont like the guaranteed admissions programs. But my main gripe is with the numerous posters here who profess disbelief that a 17 year old could know "100%" or "for sure" that they want to be a doctor and know "_everything_ that entails." why not? just because it took someone until they were 28 to figure out they liked medicine, it does not follow that it is impossible for someone to figure it out at 17. that logic is just stupid. some people begin thinking about their careers seriously long before others, so dont knock their decision or belittle their abilities just because of their age.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">there is no way in hell a lot of these 17 year old kids have had the experiences that one needs before making a decision to go into medicine. I know there are some that are able to decide but for the most part high school does not give you any experience like college. so I stand by my post.. I guess its just a difference in opinion. but I know what you're saying.. there are some high schoolers that can make that decision with high confidence. but for the most part, they havn't even lived life yet. they havn't explored other areas, etc. again, there are exceptions but this is what I feel about most highschoolers.
     
  25. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member

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    Thanks for the replies, but I think everyone is missing the point a bit here. I have no qualms about their qualifications after med school or the legitimacy of their desire to go to med school. It's that they have a GUARANTEED acceptance. Can any one of us, even those with a high 30s MCAT or a 3.95 GPA, afford to have the arrogance to assume that we are guaranteed? How many times have we heard stories about people with these scores getting rejected over and over again? I understand that the idea is to get students to study things they otherwise might not (i.e. major in spanish instead of bio, or sing in a choir instead of hospital volunteer work). But what this means is that a GPPA student can easily get into a medical school with ZERO exposure to medicine if he or she chooses. There is something that is just inherently wrong about that.

    Med school admissions is all about a balance between academic and social behaviors and habits - NOT about an ACT score or a class rank. Really think about what it means for someone to be guaranteed a seat in a school. It's quite mind boggling to me.

    And despite what others have said, no one can convince me that a high school student knows that medicine is for them. They might have a pretty good idea, but what options have they looked at and how seriously or in what depth have they looked at them? College is a time of expansion and growth. You take new classes, learn new things, meet new people - you are exposed to a life that is just not a reality in high school - it is an introduction to the adult world (and it's STILL not quite the adult world). So I don't understand how we can expect students who have not yet broadened their horizons in this sense to know for sure what actually interests them most. It's like asking for your order at a restaurant before you've seen the menu.

    Papa: You're right, it is minimum req's for admissions. I couldn't find numbers on actual stat requirements.
     
  26. moo

    moo 1K Member

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    I think a high schooler can have an idea of what they may want to do but it's dangerous to say that medicine is 100% for them. I went into college thinking that medicine might be right for me. I explored this side of me by volunteering and working as a CNA. However, I also kept my mind open. I majored in physics and math, toyed with the idea of becoming a physicist or a mathematician, and even an engineer. But I always came back to medicine because that's what I was happy doing. Now I don't have any regrets. I am 100% confident that I made the right decision, four years after entering college. However, I dare not say then, and I dare not say now, that I've always known that medicine was for me.

    And yes, I also think it's unfair for these people to be guaranteed acceptance to medical school. I don't think it's fair, but what in life's fair?
     
  27. steiner19er

    steiner19er Senior Member

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    I was a sophomore at UIC (1996) doing my undergrad when the GPPA first started. It is not only for med school, although it is the most popular, there are GPPA's in dental <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" /> , pharm, and some good UIC grad programs such as Architecture or Social Work (Jane Adams). I knew several of these, some that did not make it, and others who went on to med school. When the program started there were several who threw the MCAT (there was no minumum score back then) who just answered a question or two, or played the A, B,C game, or just plain took a nap. Needless to say this pissed off UIC, so they started the 30 MCAT minimum. UIC's original goal was to get top students to come to the school, I knew of 1 who declined Harvard for undergrad to do this (He gave the graduation speach in 1999). Also UIC wanted to have well rounded students, rather then the typical biology pre-med, and so they encouraged the students to take other majors.

    I haven't been on the campus in a while, and haven't kept up with it. From what rxfudd says it seems like UIC is handing these out like candy. I knew one pre-dental advisor who told me they give out 3-4 a year, but the dental school can give up to 20, which is a crock, considering there is only 64 dental spots available :( . Overall this program is to steal the students away from other campuses (especially Champaign), so that UIC's undergrad school gets a better reputation then it deserves. UIC will do anything to increase their reputation, whether that is hiring Stanley Fish (300k a year), or handing our medical school spots to Seniors in high school.
     
  28. Taty

    Taty Senior Member

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    Hmm From my childhood I wanted to be a lawyer, when I turned 17, I wanted to be a lawyer, bought some books, started taking law classes in college when I came to USA..When I turned 19 all turned up side down, I found myself interested in cancer research, volunteered, took classes...Right now I want to go to medical school, and I'll never change my mind :) I think I finally found my way:) <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" />

    I really cannot say that in 17 you definitly know what you going to do. And I think it's not fair for some people to go through that hell of MCAT and whole applying process and for some just have GPA 3.5 and MCAT 28.. <img border="0" alt="[Pissy]" title="" src="graemlins/pissy.gif" />
     

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