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High stats but I feel my history/goals don't fit the mission of upper-tier schools

stayathomemom

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I've been a homemaker and out of the workforce for almost 14 years now. While I have checked all the boxes (and then some) for my application, the only hole is that the research I have is in science education, and so I feel it doesn't really count. I have a LM of 76 and (3.9 s/cGPA and 520 MCAT) and I'm having an issue picking schools. Many of the schools that have been suggested are bad fits for one/two reasons:
1. I'm not researched focused, nor did I come from a particularly good undergraduate institution for research--while I would enjoy the opportunity, my goal is to serve, and probably in primary care. I feel this conflicts with a lot of what the upper-tier schools are looking for.
2. Many of them are located in large cities like NYC, Boston, and various cities in Cali. I have a family of 5 and there is no way we can afford to live in these areas. I am a little picky when it comes to housing because I want to get my kids in an adequate school system, and some of the locations I have researched have terrible schools, which is a no-go for me.

In regards to #1, I'm afraid that some of the schools that sound like would be a good fit for me and my family might pass on me because of yield protection.
Has anyone else come up against this? What did you do?

Edit: One more Q: Is it weird to apply to DO schools with this sort of application?
 
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FrkyBgStok

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I'm trying to figure out what your actual goals are from your post and I can't get there. You say you want to serve, probably in primary care, yet you seem to be hung up on top schools. You also seem to be hung up on them even though you realize they aren't great for your family. Do you feel like you need to go to a top school?

I am a DO and proud of that fact. Not because my application was bad or the OMM is my desire because neither are true. My wife flat out asked me that if I got into the DO school in our home town, that I go there over any other given our kids, her job, and support system. There is zero practice difference so my pride in being a DO is related to how ideal it was for my family.

You say you have been out of the workforce for 14 years and have multiple kids so if you did college and ended at 22, you are at least mid 30s. At this point, you should be able to determine what you really want. Top schools definitely have their negatives especially for older people with families. I also loved my DO school because there were a lot of others like me. In residency and dealing with med students, it was incredibly rare to have a non-traditional student from the MD school rotate through.

you can pretty much go anywhere, but that doesn't mean everywhere is good for you. as I finish up my first year of a 3 year fellowship, I have had excellent attendings from both top 10 programs and small community programs, and I have crap attendings from both as well, but I have never had an attending where I could reliably guess if they went to a top 10 or not.

now this is different if you look introspectively and come to the realization that you want your name in the proverbial lights with relative medical fame. Those people tend to come out of the big academic centers as they will prepare you for an academic career. But an academic career is a unique and specific career as well.
 
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stayathomemom

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I'm trying to figure out what your actual goals are from your post and I can't get there. You say you want to serve, probably in primary care, yet you seem to be hung up on top schools. You also seem to be hung up on them even though you realize they aren't great for your family. Do you feel like you need to go to a top school?

I am a DO and proud of that fact. Not because my application was bad or the OMM is my desire because neither are true. My wife flat out asked me that if I got into the DO school in our home town, that I go there over any other given our kids, her job, and support system. There is zero practice difference so my pride in being a DO is related to how ideal it was for my family.

You say you have been out of the workforce for 14 years and have multiple kids so if you did college and ended at 22, you are at least mid 30s. At this point, you should be able to determine what you really want. Top schools definitely have their negatives especially for older people with families. I also loved my DO school because there were a lot of others like me. In residency and dealing with med students, it was incredibly rare to have a non-traditional student from the MD school rotate through.

you can pretty much go anywhere, but that doesn't mean everywhere is good for you. as I finish up my first year of a 3 year fellowship, I have had excellent attendings from both top 10 programs and small community programs, and I have crap attendings from both as well, but I have never had an attending where I could reliably guess if they went to a top 10 or not.

now this is different if you look introspectively and come to the realization that you want your name in the proverbial lights with relative medical fame. Those people tend to come out of the big academic centers as they will prepare you for an academic career. But an academic career is a unique and specific career as well.
Thank you for replying. I'm sorry that I was unclear in my original post. Let me start over.

I have been given lists of schools, given my stats and app, which contain upper tier schools. I do not want to go to these schools because I don't feel like it is a good fit for me as person or for my career goals. I don't seek that prestige, nor do I want the extra pressure. I am posting here to ask about applying to schools that are not on the list of suggested schools I was given; specifically, I am asking if there is a yield-protection disadvantage. I am concerned because, as you alluded to, staying in my current community is ideal (to say the least) and last year I only applied to my local state MD school, which did not extend me an interview. There could be many reasons I was not offered the opportunity to interview that don't have anything to do with yield protection, but it is a concern of mine. I would hate to shoot myself in the foot two years in a row (I am running out of both feet and years), so I am posting for advice.

Additionally, I was wondering if any non-trads with families who are further down this path of medical school could give me practical advice about how my background is or isn't suited to particular schools they are familiar with, had school recommendations, or if anyone felt my original concern about fit or yield protection was unfounded.

Moreover, some of the best doctors I know are DOs (including my children's pediatrician) and I have no bias against the degree whatsoever. I'm sorry if I left the impression that DOs were "less than." I'm just not sure how frequent high stat applicants apply to them or how that goes over. I'm asking because I don't know. Again, I don't want to shoot myself in the foot two years in a row.
 
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Hi! I'm not an expert, just a product of a mid-tier school (University of Cincinnati).

I think you will find plenty of high-stat students at mid-tier schools. Someone has to occupy the 80th and 90th percentiles, right? I can only speak for Cincinnati, but we had a lot of people with very impressive apps. These are the people who get (our admittedly paltry) merit scholarships. And just random people. My friends were a long list of high stats. Also, if people are telling the truth, look around the school-specific discussions (I only know the mid-tier ones because that's where my interviews were) and you'll see plenty of people reporting high stats.

Some of the suburbs of Cincinnati (Wyoming, Sycamore) have excellent schools, if you want to look at UCCOM. My friend with 2 small children, I don't think she'd say they were overly family-friendly, but they weren't actively hostile to her. They certainly admit a lot of older people, though that varies by class. I was 37 when I started. There were a lot of MEN with babies and stay-at-home wives in my class, but don't get me started.

I bet you'll get some advice to "network" with your schools of interest to let them know that you're a real person who's specifically interested in their program. The problem is that I just don't know what that means. Do you cold-email the admissions office? At this time of year? Surely not. Get in touch with a student you know at that school and see if they know a friendly person in admissions? Go to an open house, if the school is nearby? Sure. Definitely don't email a random faculty member. I mean, it wouldn't hurt you, but I can't see it helping. Speak to a physician in practice that has a connection to the school of interest? I did that for one school and got an interview (I was out of state). Maybe some people can chime in about what networking actually means.

Regarding primary care and top-tier schools, you'll definitely find people interested in primary care who come from there. I personally know some. So I wouldn't let that by itself keep you from applying.
 
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Cawolf

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Congrats on a great app. Why don't you post your list of where you want to apply and get some feedback?

I think that there a lot of stellar students at a wide range of schools, and you might encounter less yield protection than you imagine. I would just pick schools based on where you want to live if that is a major concern. I don't think you should apply to DO schools.

Best of luck.
 
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First, find a way to let your state school know that they are your first choice (yes, that might mean cold-calling the office of admissions and hoping to reach a friendly human.) Second, make sure your LOR are excellent. Third, look for schools that emphasize primary care and have a high percentage of older students. UVM, UMass, Dartmouth, Rosalind Franklin, Loyola come to mind; choices will depend on where you live now and where you are willing to relocate. (I was an older student too, and many of the folks in my class had children--my school did not see that as a disadvantage).
 
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stayathomemom

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Thank you, everyone, for the advice.

Hi! I'm not an expert, just a product of a mid-tier school (University of Cincinnati).

I think you will find plenty of high-stat students at mid-tier schools. Someone has to occupy the 80th and 90th percentiles, right? I can only speak for Cincinnati, but we had a lot of people with very impressive apps. These are the people who get (our admittedly paltry) merit scholarships. And just random people. My friends were a long list of high stats. Also, if people are telling the truth, look around the school-specific discussions (I only know the mid-tier ones because that's where my interviews were) and you'll see plenty of people reporting high stats.

Some of the suburbs of Cincinnati (Wyoming, Sycamore) have excellent schools, if you want to look at UCCOM. My friend with 2 small children, I don't think she'd say they were overly family-friendly, but they weren't actively hostile to her. They certainly admit a lot of older people, though that varies by class. I was 37 when I started. There were a lot of MEN with babies and stay-at-home wives in my class, but don't get me started.

I bet you'll get some advice to "network" with your schools of interest to let them know that you're a real person who's specifically interested in their program. The problem is that I just don't know what that means. Do you cold-email the admissions office? At this time of year? Surely not. Get in touch with a student you know at that school and see if they know a friendly person in admissions? Go to an open house, if the school is nearby? Sure. Definitely don't email a random faculty member. I mean, it wouldn't hurt you, but I can't see it helping. Speak to a physician in practice that has a connection to the school of interest? I did that for one school and got an interview (I was out of state). Maybe some people can chime in about what networking actually means.

Regarding primary care and top-tier schools, you'll definitely find people interested in primary care who come from there. I personally know some. So I wouldn't let that by itself keep you from applying.
Thank you for that reality check re: percentiles and primary care. Do you like Cincinatti? I'm also 37.
Congrats on a great app. Why don't you post your list of where you want to apply and get some feedback?

I think that there a lot of stellar students at a wide range of schools, and you might encounter less yield protection than you imagine. I would just pick schools based on where you want to live if that is a major concern. I don't think you should apply to DO schools.

Best of luck.
Here is the original list that Faha so kindly suggested to me
My current school list (my home state is Oregon):
OHSU
U of Iowa
U of Minn (I'm from ND and got my undergrad in Fargo, so close by)
Mayo (reach, location is why)
Brown U
W Mich U
Dartmouth
U of Vermont
U of Rochester
NY Medical College
Quinnipiac
Wake Forest
U of Michigan
Ohio State
And now I guess NYU (thanks for the heads up @ScrubswithnoSleeves ). There were others on the list @Faha originally suggested like Hofstra, and also Stony Brook that I also found, that are also on Long Island. (Coming from ND originally, living on an island next to the ocean freaks me out but I guess I just gotta get over it.)
Edit: It's worth mentioning that my spouse does not want to live anywhere "south" and it has to be somewhat affordable.
First, find a way to let your state school know that they are your first choice (yes, that might mean cold-calling the office of admissions and hoping to reach a friendly human.) Second, make sure your LOR are excellent. Third, look for schools that emphasize primary care and have a high percentage of older students. UVM, UMass, Dartmouth, Rosalind Franklin, Loyola come to mind; choices will depend on where you live now and where you are willing to relocate. (I was an older student too, and many of the folks in my class had children--my school did not see that as a disadvantage).
I actually just emailed the admissions department yesterday to see if they could give me feedback on my app, and I mentioned that they are my first choice. Not sure if that will affect my next cycle or if that email will even be considered at all.
 
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DocJanItor

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Thank you, everyone, for the advice.


Thank you for that reality check re: percentiles and primary care. Do you like Cincinatti? I'm also 37.

Here is the original list that Faha so kindly suggested to me
My current school list (my home state is Oregon):
OHSU
U of Iowa
U of Minn (I'm from ND and got my undergrad in Fargo, so close by)
Mayo (reach, location is why)
Brown U
W Mich U
Dartmouth
U of Vermont
U of Rochester
NY Medical College
Quinnipiac
Wake Forest
U of Michigan
Ohio State
And now I guess NYU (thanks for the heads up @ScrubswithnoSleeves ). There were others on the list @Faha originally suggested like Hofstra, and also Stony Brook that I also found, that are also on Long Island. (Coming from ND originally, living on an island next to the ocean freaks me out but I guess I just gotta get over it.)
Edit: It's worth mentioning that my spouse does not want to live anywhere "south" and it has to be somewhat affordable.

I actually just emailed the admissions department yesterday to see if they could give me feedback on my app, and I mentioned that they are my first choice. Not sure if that will affect my next cycle or if that email will even be considered at all.
I'd argue that if you don't have research then several of those schools are going to be tough reaches. You could also add schools like UVA, GT, and GW.
 
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DocJanItor

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Thank you. Can you be more specific on which are tough reaches with no research?
Unfortunately, I no longer have access to the MSAR. If memory serves, Mayo, Ohio State, Michigan, and some of the schools in NY are research heavier schools. I'd go to this site and take a look at which schools fit your stats and geography reqs. It costs $28 for a year but it's worth it.
 
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@stayathomemom Looks like a solid list. I agree that places like Mayo and Michigan might look for more traditional applicants due to the research component but can't hurt if you can afford it. Recommend keeping Iowa, Dartmouth, and Rochester (from your list) as they offered me interview invites as a non-trad. Is there a reason you excluded UND as a former resident?
 
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stayathomemom

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I agree that places like Mayo and Michigan might look for more traditional applicants due to the research component but can't hurt if you can afford it. Recommend keeping Iowa, Dartmouth, and Rochester (from your list) as they offered me interview invites as a non-trad.
Cool, sounds good, thank you.

Is there a reason you excluded UND as a former resident?
Have you ever been to Grand Forks? :laugh:
I kid, I kid. My husband does not want to move back to ND.
 
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stayathomemom

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Perhaps take a stab at applying to UW? If you sell yourself as wanting to help underserved stemming from growing up in North Dakota you might have a shot especially because of your focus on primary care.
I was under the impression they are very unfriendly to OOS applicants (even Oregon applicants)?
 
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I was under the impression they are very unfriendly to OOS applicants (even Oregon applicants)?
Trust me, they are but if you put up a well rounded application committed to primary care and rural medicine, you’ll have a chance. One of the doctors I worked with was also a non-trad (33 when he started) who went to UW as an OOR. When I say possibly make your application primary care oriented, I don’t mean write the obvious“ I want to go into primary care“. Prove it with your life experiences and I think you might be ok. Is it a gamble, sure. But if you are as good of an applicant as you sound and you really are committed to primary care, I don’t see why you shouldn’t take a shot. That and if you somehow sell the rural aspect, I really think you do have a chance. I’m actually matriculating there this summer so I’m happy to help if you’re interested
 
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Sky138

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They’re also non-trad friendly but again, you have to have a superb application committed to primary care/rural medicine to be considered as an OOR which I think you might be able to. I am making a several assumptions such as you have plenty of shadowing experiences in primary care, significant volunteering involving disadvantaged, and a compelling life story which inspired you to go into medicine because I’m guessing you didn’t make the decision to apply on a whim.
 
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stayathomemom

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They’re also non-trad friendly but again, you have to have a superb application committed to primary care/rural medicine to be considered as an OOR which I think you might be able to. I am making a several assumptions such as you have plenty of shadowing experiences in primary care, significant volunteering involving disadvantaged, and a compelling life story which inspired you to go into medicine because I’m guessing you didn’t make the decision to apply on a whim.
Hmm, my shadowing was mostly in internal medicine. I had a primary care clinic shadowing gig set up for the spring but that got cancelled with COVID. Otherwise, yeah.
 
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Hmm, my shadowing was mostly in internal medicine. I had a primary care clinic shadowing gig set up for the spring but that got cancelled with COVID. Otherwise, yeah.
I’d personally take a chance because UW is probably one of your best fits and I think you have a decent chance. Worst case you lose whatever it costs to submit a primary since they do screen heavily for secondaries.
 
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I would definitely apply to Cincinnati. We have a world-class pediatric hospital that's fun to train at even if you don't want to go into peds and one of the largest percentages of URM med students in the country. Plus it's a nice place to live (though you will be in a suburb if you want good schools, as I mentioned).
 
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stayathomemom

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I would definitely apply to Cincinnati. We have a world-class pediatric hospital that's fun to train at even if you don't want to go into peds and one of the largest percentages of URM med students in the country. Plus it's a nice place to live (though you will be in a suburb if you want good schools, as I mentioned).
That sounds amazing! I love working with kids, though I want to go into family med because I want to treat pts from cradle to grave.
 
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That sounds amazing! I love working with kids, though I want to go into family med because I want to treat pts from cradle to grave.
I'm going to say this and then be a huge hypocrite: Don't box yourself in with a specialty before you get to 3rd year. You might want to do FM the whole time and then have an ENT selective that you fall in love with. That being said, I've been IR/DR since well before I started medical school and will apply that way this fall.
 
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I’d personally take a chance because UW is probably one of your best fits and I think you have a decent chance. Worst case you lose whatever it costs to submit a primary since they do screen heavily for secondaries.

I would caution against picking UW due to the required amount of rotations you’ll have to do far away from the school. UW has a unique clinical curriculum structure where you have to spend at least a few months away from the Seattle area. Not sure how you feel about doing that with a family.
 
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UW has a unique clinical curriculum structure where you have to spend at least a few months away from the Seattle area.

This requirement is waived for students with families (or at least it was when I was a UW med student several years ago). Anyway, I agree with the recommendation to take a chance on UW, which would be a good fit even though you would be considered OOR. Good luck!
 
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This requirement is waived for students with families (or at least it was when I was a UW med student several years ago). Anyway, I agree with the recommendation to take a chance on UW, which would be a good fit even though you would be considered OOR. Good luck!

In that case definitely apply to UW. With your stats and mission you seem like a good fit! Definitely double check with admissions if they still waive that requirement though.
 
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I've been a homemaker and out of the workforce for almost 14 years now. While I have checked all the boxes (and then some) for my application, the only hole is that the research I have is in science education, and so I feel it doesn't really count. I have a LM of 76 and (3.9 s/cGPA and 520 MCAT) and I'm having an issue picking schools. Many of the schools that have been suggested are bad fits for one/two reasons:
1. I'm not researched focused, nor did I come from a particularly good undergraduate institution for research--while I would enjoy the opportunity, my goal is to serve, and probably in primary care. I feel this conflicts with a lot of what the upper-tier schools are looking for.
2. Many of them are located in large cities like NYC, Boston, and various cities in Cali. I have a family of 5 and there is no way we can afford to live in these areas. I am a little picky when it comes to housing because I want to get my kids in an adequate school system, and some of the locations I have researched have terrible schools, which is a no-go for me.

In regards to #1, I'm afraid that some of the schools that sound like would be a good fit for me and my family might pass on me because of yield protection.
Has anyone else come up against this? What did you do?

Edit: One more Q: Is it weird to apply to DO schools with this sort of application?
My DO school interviews Stanford caliber candidates. Sometimes we even convert them. DO schools do NOT resource protect.

Many MD schools are service loving. Do you have a history of service to those less fortunate than yourself?

It's OK that you don't have research; it's over-rated anyway.

I suggest the following. It's up to you rule out schools.

WashU
Vanderbilt
Yale
JHU
Mayo
Stanford
Case
Duke
U VA
Baylor
UCSF
Pitt
USC/Keck
UCSD
UCLA
U MI
Rochester
Hofstra
Ohio State
U Cincy
Dartmouth
Western MI
USF Morsani
UCF
U MA
U IA
Emory
NYU-LI
Miami
U CO
SLU
U VM
U WI
Your state school
Loyola
Creighton
Tulane
Netter
Albany
Wake
U WV
Any DO school except those on my Bad Boy list

 
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LunaOri

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My DO school interviews Stanford caliber candidates. Sometimes we even convert them. DO schools do NOT resource protect.

Many MD schools are service loving. Do you have a history of service to those less fortunate than yourself?

It's OK that you don't have research; it's over-rated anyway.

I suggest the following. It's up to you rule out schools.

WashU
Vanderbilt
Yale
JHU
Mayo
Stanford
Case
Duke
U VA
Baylor
UCSF
Pitt
USC/Keck
UCSD
UCLA
U MI
Rochester
Hofstra
Ohio State
U Cincy
Dartmouth
Western MI
USF Morsani
UCF
U MA
U IA
Emory
NYU-LI
Miami
U CO
SLU
U VM
U WI
Your state school
Loyola
Creighton
Tulane
Netter
Albany
Wake
U WV
Any DO school except those on my Bad Boy list
The top third of Goro's list is research-heavy schools, so consider that orientation when you are making your list of schools to which to apply.
 
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