High stats applicant disappointed by interview invitations. What did I do wrong?

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justwaking

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XD For the record, I have better numbers than you pretty much on all accounts (Both LM and clinical/volunteer/research hours), and I only have 3 IIs, one at a T10, one at at T20, and one at an unranked school that is quite infamous and with poor reputation here at SDN.

I think you're doing fine (excellent actually :])!
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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What difference? 71%? :laugh:

I know you are stubborn and don't like to concede points, but you have to admit, with 70% T10 IIs (and counting) there really is nowhere else to go. You have to admit I am right here. The alternative would be saying one or two possible additional interviews (not acceptances) is worth $300K in some universe that you occupy all by yourself. :cool:

In this universe, your kid is my Exhibit A for excellence revealing itself and being rewarded accordingly, wherever it is found.
May be 80% :). Anyway, I am not complaining. Also difference is $200k :)
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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Yeah, but if I use ORM parent math and compound that at 8% for 30 years, it's really over $2,000,000! :laugh:
But you know I don't use that math otherwise he would have been a MS1.
 
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too many questions :) I did say earlier that he is doing very well. I still think Harvard and Stanford may have made a difference despite 70% T10 IIs. He goes to a T20 USNWR school but not ivy league. Schools like Michigan seems to show some preference but it's not our top choice :) . Again it's my hunch no proof.

Your son is super impressive, it seems like. What were his stats?
 
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XD For the record, I have better numbers than you pretty much on all accounts (Both LM and clinical/volunteer/research hours), and I only have 3 IIs, one at a T10, one at at T20, and one at an unranked school that is quite infamous and with poor reputation here at SDN.

I think you're doing fine (excellent actually :])!

Only takes one acceptance to become a physician :happy:. There's also a very high chance you could get more as the weeks go on.
 
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proudofmykids

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how do you define rock star? You seem to think lot of service is what makes one rock star. Other adcoms or premed advisors seems to have different definitions.
You've been on SDN how long? Rock star is consistently defined over and over from 5he same list, None of which are ever taken alone within the whole of the application:

  • URM / SES / Hardship
  • Elite athlete
  • Military service
  • Excessive Service dedication demonstrated, especially to underserved beneficiaries
  • Spike in EC, Research or highest stats.
 
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proudofmykids

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It's a teaching moment; we can't resist. We're also allergic to entitlement.
I believe the teaching mentioned can be extended beyond that of just entitlement. It also can include Expectations. Some elite candidates can have five T20 IIs and acceptances and wonder why they didn't get II from the other T10s. Obviously no red flags nor weak application. Most T10/20 med schools also have significant overlap in their mission statement. So how does one explain this? I believe the answer falls under that randomness category and who and how your app was reviewed, and also the behind the scenes Shaping of the class (m/female, trade/nontraditional, urm/orm, ses etc etc) that are independent of the strength of ones application yet has direct individual impact on its success way beyond the applicants control.
 
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proudofmykids

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Which ones you consider are elite for UG? T20 by USNWR?
You can search SDN for how Admissions committees ranks and score UG competitiveness. It is pretty much negligible (like 0.5/100). Not much different for Major/degree. (the magnitude is from memory from last cycle)
 
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proudofmykids

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Did I say I am not agreeing? I never said stats make you a rock star (see my very first response in this thread). I am simply asking what's Goro's definition of rock star. As I said earlier my kid got different opinions, SDN experts thought he is aiming too high and his premed advisor thought differently. However premed advisor has reviewed everything including personal statement, writeup of activities, LORs before recommending school list so inputs are different.
Are you placing too much faith in your son's schools premed advisor?
I didn't care for my kid's advisor during the app process, and too conservative on course recommendations during UG.
 
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proudofmykids

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I totally get it. I'm pointing out @Goro's hypocrisy in apologizing for misunderstanding that @PigsHaveWings was talking about the UG rankings, implying that they are valid as the "gold standard" for UG while the same list is crap for med school.
There are actually a lot more practical metrics that go into UG ranking than med school ranking for usnwr. None the less, it's a starting point and needs individual subjectivity for both cases.
 
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There will always be ranking lists as long as there are options
It is rated in top 10 both research and primary care. If you look at the list lot of T20 research schools are not T20 primary care. I tend to look at both. I personally think UCSF is the best medical school but may be CA bias :)


Both of them are among the best schools in the country.

Harvard does have the highest research funding among any medical schools. They get a staggering 1122 million dollars in research funding per year. This is equal to the research funding dollars for the next 4 schools combined ( JHU 331, Penn 351. NYU 185, Stanford 336). To keep research funding in perspective, the schools ranked 41-50 have a combined research funding less than that. This does make Harvard a research powerhouse.

Other than that there is the prestige associated with the Harvard name, which is instantaneous.

I agree with you, from a medical students perspective on the education, residency placement and training they receive, probably minimal differences among the top 20 schools.
 
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proudofmykids

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We considered these when my kid was deciding for UG. He ended up choosing a T20 with scholarship and good research opportunity over Penn and JHU (BME). However would have have taken Harvard or Stanford over taken T20 merit.
And now that your son Is having the med application success, would you still support taking Harvard Stanford over the T20 w/ scholarship? Seems silly to me, especially since T20+merit and not T60+Merit.
 
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Needmyphone

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Is this real?! Like, is someone that full of themselves to where they have to gripe about receiving only EIGHT invites lol?

THIS is what entitlement looks like
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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You've been on SDN how long? Rock star is consistently defined over and over from 5he same list, None of which are ever taken alone within the whole of the application:

  • URM / SES / Hardship
  • Elite athlete
  • Military service
  • Excessive Service dedication demonstrated, especially to underserved beneficiaries
  • Spike in EC, Research or highest stats.
Interezting, my question was directed at @Goro specifically but he chose not to answer but you answered. I remember him saying research and highest stats don't make you rock star. Didn't he actually say 4.0/524s are dime a dozen?
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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Are you placing too much faith in your son's schools premed advisor?
I didn't care for my kid's advisor during the app process, and too conservative on course recommendations during UG.
I am not. I helped my son to come up with school list and then he posted in WAMC and consulted premed advisor. We went with premed advisor who was an addcom at a T20 medical before. So far he is getting IIs as they expected. We never used them for course recommendations. He consulted his seniors and takes my input.
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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And now that your son Is having the med application success, would you still support taking Harvard Stanford over the T20 w/ scholarship? Seems silly to me, especially since T20+merit and not T60+Merit.
Yes, I would have still gone with Harvard or Stanford. You get to go to college once and there were no loans involved.
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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That's $200k plus 8 years of deferred interest accumulation (4medschool and 4 residency).
There Are no loans. We only take home mortgages. We spend according to our priorities, so our cars last 15 years and we pack our own lunch, no starbucks every day etc. I started 529 plan when he was born.
 
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Interezting, my question was directed at @Goro specifically but he chose not to answer but you answered. I remember him saying research and highest stats don't make you rock star. Didn't he actually says 4.0/528s are dime a dozen?

In general , a rock star applicant would be some one with stellar qualities on all of the above characteristics and not one single metric.

Although I have to admit when we see a prestigious undergraduate award (fulbright, goldwater, rhodes etc) that would take them to the top of the shelf.
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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when we see a prestigious undergraduate award (fulbright, goldwater, rhodes etc) that would take them to the top of the shelf.
Isn't Goldwater meant for those that are planning to apply for Ph.D. or MD/Ph.D? Since he wasn't planning to go that route he didn't apply.
 
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Isn't Goldwater meant for those that are planning to apply for Ph.D. or MD/Ph.D? Since he wasn't planning to go that route he didn't apply.

Yes, but for the T20 schools, you need something on your application that will make you stand out from the rest (unless you are under-represented minority, first generation college student, Legacy applicants etc).

Lots of applicants in these schools have the same high stats, clinical exposure, some amount of research with occasional meaningful publications, community service, good LOR. In fact at some of the schools, you can reject the 500 top applicants, and still have another 1,000 with equally impressive application profiles.
 
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Yes, but for the T20 schools, you need something on your application that will make you stand out from the rest (unless you are under-represented minority, first generation college student, Legacy applicants etc).

Lots of applicants in these schools have the same high stats, clinical exposure, some amount of research with occasional meaningful publications, community service, good LOR. In fact at some of the schools, you can reject the 500 top applicants, and still have another 1,000 with equally impressive application profiles.

The amount of applicants with those awards is such a small number it can be considered inconsequential. In reality, what makes an applicant stand out can be something as "simple" as being nationally ranked in chess, being a radio show host, or pursuing a particular passion that speaks to them.

For instance, an African American or Latino applicant dedicating most of their service to African American or Latino communities and writing about their intension to serve these communities extensively. It's called a "hook" for a reason. All you need is to present yourself differently than all the other applicants with high stats and cookie cutter extracurriculars. Easier said than done, of course. But still easier than you're making it out to be.

Hell, even if you do have cookie cutter extracurriculars, if you present them as some cohesive unique theme, that on its own can be a strong enough hook. This is where the personal statement and essays really shine.
 
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The amount of applicants with those awards is such a small number it can be considered inconsequential. In reality, what makes an applicant stand out can be something as "simple" as being nationally ranked in chess, being a radio show host, or pursuing a particular passion that speaks to them.

For instance, an African American or Latino applicant dedicating most of their service to African American or Latino communities and writing about their intension to serve these communities extensively. It's called a "hook" for a reason. All you need is to present yourself differently than all the other applicants with high stats and cookie cutter extracurriculars. Easier said than done, of course. But still easier than you're making it out to be.

Hell, even if you do have cookie cutter extracurriculars, if you present them as some cohesive unique theme, that on its own can be a strong enough hook. This is where the personal statement and essays really shine.
It has to be geniune though. I think that that's what @srk1970 was saying.
Trust me, if it's not geniune, adcoms will see right through it.
 
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I agree with @Dr.K124 completely, that most of the times, the hook is usually not something extraordinary, and mostly translates to subtle refinements in the standard EC, and good presentation skills with a cohesive theme.

What I meant was, if you do have something extraordinary, such as one of the aforementioned awards (which i agree with him/her is a miniscule proportion of matriculants). or other life experiences , that will make you stand out. In the overall pool of 20 K students who get selected across all medical schools, the number of students who have done something extraordinary is small. However, when you look at the smaller pool of students within the T20 colleges, the proportion starts getting slightly higher.
 
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As my signature shows, I have a LM of about 79 (522 MCAT, 3.97 cGPA, 4.0 sGPA) and of 43 secondaries I've gotten 8 II's so far, from a mix of schools but only one T10 and one T20. I'm white, upper-middle class, and a PA resident. I have 500 hours of clinical volunteering, 100 non-clinical, 1500 research. I've seen lots of other applicants with similar stats get a way higher proportion of interview invites than me so far, and even applicants with lower stats doing better than me.

So I guess I just want to find out if my failure to get more and better II's is due to a red flag: perhaps bad LOR, or something off-putting in my PS or another part of my application? If it's just that my application isn't very good that's fine, I understand lots of people are more competitive than me, I'm just wondering if there's something crippling in my application that I'm not aware of.


First of congratulations on your 8 interview invitations. That's fantastic. They evidence that you didn't majorly mess up your application.

Regarding the other 35 that haven't so far invited you to interview, keep in mind the competition. Your competition is the other applicants with great stats who perhaps did a better job in showing fit in secondaries and maybe also had the good fortune of having their applications read by someone in a better mood than your readers .

Bottom line: You need competitive qualifications AND an effective presentation of those qualifications to get into elite schools. Along with a little bit of luck. Finally, if your 8 interviews aren't enough, school are still sending them out so you could get more.

Focus on the invitations you did get. Not the ones you didn't get.
 
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Opheliamg - I'm going to give this a shot.

You sound like a fantastic applicant and I want to highlight that 8 II's is really terrific, so congratulations. To answer your questions: No, you probably do not have any red flags on your application. I think there are 2 reasons you are recieving less II's than you may have expected:

1. schools, especially the top ones, have an idea of what type of "mix" of students they want in a class. Certain amount of "this" type and certain amount of "that" type (research, community service, athletes, etc), and you might simply be a "type" that comprises a large portion of their applicant pool

2. While your stats are stellar, you haven't demonstrated some of those "it" factors that help push applications through. I want to emphasize that this is in no way a diminishment of your hard work and character, but just a reality that there are other applicants out there who have achieved what you did, or close to it, but throught very difficult circumstances and adcoms will look at those applicants first. I had a 3.9 GPA and MCAT of only 32 (equivalent of current 512/513?) and got 13 II's, now attending a top 20. It was my personal statement that got me through the door (definitely not my MCAT) and some other unique extracurriculars maybe. Again, this does not diminish your accomplishments and capablilities; the reality is that there are lots of other excellent applicants too with compelling stories/backgrounds.
 

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They are afraid to say that given responses you see here. Lot of kids (including mine) have aspirations to go to so called T20s and work hard and feel disappointed if they don't get in. I don't think that reeks of entitlement.

I agree. The definition of entitlement is NOT being upset that you didn't get something that you worked hard to obtain.... entitlement is inherently believing that you deserve something regardless of the effort you or anyone else put forth. Not the same.
 
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I agree. The definition of entitlement is NOT being upset that you didn't get something that you worked hard to obtain.... entitlement is inherently believing that you deserve something regardless of the effort you or anyone else put forth. Not the same.
I'm not sure where you are getting this from. Entitlement is entitlement.

Definition of entitlement

1a : the state or condition of being entitled : right
b : a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract

You seem to be saying that if you work hard, you ARE entitled, so being disappointed is not a sign a entitlement? But it IS!!!! As you said, the definition of entitlement is being entitled, regardless of whether or not you worked hard. Working hard has nothing to do with anything.

A lot of people work hard, everyday, at a variety of tasks. That doesn't make them entitled to whatever reward accrues to the lucky few who are successful. I worked really hard on my jump shot in middle school. Doesn't make me entitled to an NBA contract. OP worked really hard to get T10 IIs. Doesn't create an entitlement!!! :cool:
 
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Given your present attitude and your superior conceited pompous arrogance, and your condescending undertones makes me think you will be a terrible doctor, I would not see you as a patient if you pass through all your hurdles and obtain those two letter after the end of your name.

But for a lurker like me, who cares what I have to say .. I just was appalled by your general disposition from this one exchange. Man .. I can't even begin to image if you're like this on a daily basis and then as a physician.. you must really be in it for the money..
 
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Given your present attitude and your superior conceited pompous arrogance, and your condescending undertones makes me think you will be a terrible doctor, I would not see you as a patient if you pass through all your hurdles and obtain those two letter after the end of your name.

But for a lurker like me, who cares what I have to say .. I just was appalled by your general disposition from this one exchange. Man .. I can't even begin to image if you're like this on a daily basis and then as a physician.. you must really be in it for the money..

Calm down. He was just venting. If you read the rest of the thread you would see that he clearly understands how ridiculous he sounded. Working extremely hard and then having unrealistically high expectations is problematic, yes, but I don't see how that even remotely equates to only being in it for the money. There is no need for this level of hostility.
 
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Given your present attitude and your superior conceited pompous arrogance, and your condescending undertones makes me think you will be a terrible doctor, I would not see you as a patient if you pass through all your hurdles and obtain those two letter after the end of your name.

But for a lurker like me, who cares what I have to say .. I just was appalled by your general disposition from this one exchange. Man .. I can't even begin to image if you're like this on a daily basis and then as a physician.. you must really be in it for the money..
One can say the same about your quick judgment of others. In these situations, it's best to not cast the first stone. Applying to medical school is stressful, especially during this cycle with the increased competitiveness of the applicant pool due to COVID-19. A little understanding and empathy goes a long way. Just my thoughts.
 
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justwaking

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Only takes one acceptance to become a physician :happy:. There's also a very high chance you could get more as the weeks go on.

You were right about getting more IIs (not that I doubted you though)! Just got my 4th II today, and it's with a T5 school!! Super elated but trying not to let it get to my head lol :)!
 
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You were right about getting more IIs (not that I doubted you though)! Just got my 4th II today, and it's with a T5 school!! Super elated but trying not to let it get to my head lol :)!

We're rooting for you!
 
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From what I've observed, almost everyone who we've accepted to our school has stellar letters that gush over the candidate. At a minimum, students will have earned the highest ranking possible from their premed committee (if a committee letter is available), and have statements ranking them in the top 1-5% of students that the professors/PIs have ever taught. Anything less than this does stick out for the wrong reasons when the field is so competitive.

Question! When it comes to stellar LORs, let's say there is a high-ranked and well-respected letter writer who has gotten to know the student well over the past several years. Is it better for the writer to speak about all of the activities they did with the student or can they select a few that were done over the years and detail those experiences to provide a bit more depth to the student? At what point does the letter fail to do its "job" in terms of what addons are looking for? Sorry for such a random question.
 

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Question! When it comes to stellar LORs, let's say there is a high-ranked and well-respected letter writer who has gotten to know the student well over the past several years. Is it better for the writer to speak about all of the activities they did with the student or can they select a few that were done over the years and detail those experiences to provide a bit more depth to the student? At what point does the letter fail to do its "job" in terms of what addons are looking for? Sorry for such a random question.
That question is impossible to answer. What the evaluator and adcom are looking for is information on the suitability for the applicant to be a physician. For most LOE writers that would mean focusing characteristics and experiences that would make the applicant successful in medical school. That could be via an in-depth discussion of a few experiences the writer has had with the applicant or could be shown via the preponderance of multiple activities. In either case, the writer should discuss the applicant's personal traits, behaviors, and skills (ie competencies) that are outlines in the AAMC Writer's Guide (attached)
 

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you are missing that burning desire to be a physician and care for others. In medical school so many students have worked so hard to be part of a profession that will care for the ill. Just not sure you would appreciate being part of that community.

Honestly these posts are probably the most annoying and more so than anything OP has posted. There’s nothing that quite matches up to the messiah complexes of premeds that gate keep what a doctor should be.
 
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That question is impossible to answer. What the evaluator and adcom are looking for is information on the suitability for the applicant to be a physician. For most LOE writers that would mean focusing characteristics and experiences that would make the applicant successful in medical school. That could be via an in-depth discussion of a few experiences the writer has had with the applicant or could be shown via the preponderance of multiple activities. In either case, the writer should discuss the applicant's personal traits, behaviors, and skills (ie competencies) that are outlines in the AAMC Writer's Guide (attached)

Thank you. I can see how that would be tough to answer. Thank you though for the additional info. My concern was if it is essential for a letter writer to confirm every activity in a letter. For example, let's say the student did a range of activities with the letter writer (like research, shadowing, volunteering, and working for writer for multiple years). If the letter writer excluded one or some of the activities to talk more about the student's suitability with respect to their other activities, would that be viewed unfavorably by adcoms?
 

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Thank you. I can see how that would be tough to answer. Thank you though for the additional info. My concern was if it is essential for a letter writer to confirm every activity in a letter. For example, let's say the student did a range of activities with the letter writer (like research, shadowing, volunteering, and working for writer for multiple years). If the letter writer excluded one or some of the activities to talk more about the student's suitability with respect to their other activities, would that be viewed unfavorably by adcoms?
A letter writer’s purpose it to evaluate you and had nothing to do with confirming any activities on EC. That ridiculous myth persists and whoever told you that requires a cranial-rectalectomy. Unfortunately that appears to be endemic across this population and may not be covered as a pre-existing condition
 
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Idk why so many people hate on these posts. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having worked hard and hoped for a “better” outcome. We’ve all experienced disappointment at some point in applications whether it be undergrad med school or residency. It’s not entitlement to simply be disappointed and looking for any glaring red flags. Just because there’s people who wish they could be in your position doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to be sad about it if it’s not going how you hoped. If a parent dies are you then not allowed to feel sad because some people have had both parents die? Like cmon this is ridiculous. Just give the person the answer: overall you’ve had a fairly successful cycle thus far. It’s a very competitive process and your stats are there but maybe the other stuff wasn’t. There’s no single formula to get in to the top schools. You just gotta wait and see how the process shakes out.

Is that so hard to do for all of you bashing OP and every other pre med or med student that posts these. Let’s not make judgements on people based on one post cmon
 
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Someone with a 3.9/520 and 500 hours in both clinical and nonclinical hours (just threw out random numbers) would have virtually the same chance of getting in whether they're traditional or took 2 gap years.

Wouldn't that depend on what the rest of the 2 years was spent doing? 500 hours each with 2 gap years would seem low to me... and would seem pretty stellar for a trad applicant to be able to get that many in while maintaining those stats.
 
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Idk why so many people hate on these posts. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having worked hard and hoped for a “better” outcome. We’ve all experienced disappointment at some point in applications whether it be undergrad med school or residency. It’s not entitlement to simply be disappointed and looking for any glaring red flags. Just because there’s people who wish they could be in your position doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to be sad about it if it’s not going how you hoped. If a parent dies are you then not allowed to feel sad because some people have had both parents die? Like cmon this is ridiculous. Just give the person the answer: overall you’ve had a fairly successful cycle thus far. It’s a very competitive process and your stats are there but maybe the other stuff wasn’t. There’s no single formula to get in to the top schools. You just gotta wait and see how the process shakes out.

Is that so hard to do for all of you bashing OP and every other pre med or med student that posts these. Let’s not make judgements on people based on one post cmon
Instead of wasting time seeking validation from strangers on forums, time should and could be better spent preparing and turning the "few" interviews they were lucky enough to receive into acceptances to avoid being a re applicant. No point in stressing over hypotheticals, Just my honest opinion.
 
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Mar 14, 2019
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  1. Pre-Medical
Wouldn't that depend on what the rest of the 2 years was spent doing? 500 hours each with 2 gap years would seem low to me... and would seem pretty stellar for a trad applicant to be able to get that many in while maintaining those stats.
I think what @Dr.K124 is trying to say is that, beyond whatever it is that schools are looking for, additional EC hours have a minimal incremental return. If this were not the case, no traditional applicant would be viable, since there are only so many hours in 3 UG years as compared to the unlimited amount of time available in an undefined number of gap years.
 
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Jul 23, 2019
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  1. Attending Physician
I think what @Dr.K124 is trying to say is that, beyond whatever it is that schools are looking for, additional EC hours have a minimal incremental return. If this were not the case, no traditional applicant would be viable, since there are only so many hours in 3 UG years as compared to the unlimited amount of time available in an undefined number of gap years.

Exactly. The gains in jumping from 100 to 500 clinical hours is much more significant than the gains in jumping from 500 to 900 clinical hours. 900 to 1300 is even smaller.

Let's also not forget that not every student or undergraduate institution is the same. One student might be able to get 1500 hours of ECs in undergrad, while another may only get 500. The student with 500 then takes a gap year, gets another 1000 while studying for the MCAT, and ultimately applies with the same stats. Or perhaps one student joined a lab freshman year, while another was only able to join a lab after graduating.

Edit: I should also add in the factor of opportunity cost. If you're already at 500 clinical hours, those extra 400 hours could likely be more useful in preparing for the MCAT, gaining a hook, or bolstering other components of your application. There are a finite number of hours. How you use them is important.
 
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Mar 29, 2019
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Idk why so many people hate on these posts. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having worked hard and hoped for a “better” outcome. We’ve all experienced disappointment at some point in applications whether it be undergrad med school or residency. It’s not entitlement to simply be disappointed and looking for any glaring red flags. Just because there’s people who wish they could be in your position doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to be sad about it if it’s not going how you hoped. If a parent dies are you then not allowed to feel sad because some people have had both parents die? Like cmon this is ridiculous. Just give the person the answer: overall you’ve had a fairly successful cycle thus far. It’s a very competitive process and your stats are there but maybe the other stuff wasn’t. There’s no single formula to get in to the top schools. You just gotta wait and see how the process shakes out.

Is that so hard to do for all of you bashing OP and every other pre med or med student that posts these. Let’s not make judgements on people based on one post cmon

Agree with you 100%. I too cringe when I see these unnecessary criticisms, holier than thou attitudes, and rantings against entitlements. Your statement above, which I have bolded is very meaningful, and extremely solid, straight forward advice.
 
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