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how did you decide where to apply?

Discussion in 'Underrepresented in Healthcare' started by PlatinumPenny, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. PlatinumPenny

    2+ Year Member

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    hey everyone,

    So I figure while I am on winter break I would get a headstart on researching which medical schools to apply to for the upcoming cycle. Ive been surfing through some of the other pre-md forums and alot seem to keep saying buy a msar and compare my stats (mcat,gpa) to the average stats of the school. Also to look at location, websites, and % of out of state students. But honestly, all schools sound wonderful just looking at websites and other materials. Of course, I know this is important but I want to know what questions should I ask students/adcoms/etc to really get a "feel" and the "nitty gritty" on a school. for example, how important is grading and/or lecture style? Sorry for the lengthy post...but thanks for your time and would love to hear what questions helped you determine where to apply!
     
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  3. Dr Lyss

    Dr Lyss Professional Student
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    I looked at the MSAR, saw where I was competitive & applied to schools in places I would actually live. I didn't look at lecture styles or grading or student body until after I was interviewed & even more so if & when I was accepted. It's hard to get a feel for schools, unless you are really familiar with it, until you are already knee deep in the process.
     
  4. What up doc

    What up doc FLASH
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    for me it was:

    A) prestige
    B) do my stats make me competitve
    C) do they give scholarship money
    D) do they actively recruit URMs

    i made my initial list based on these factors. for prestige i jus cracked open a USNEWS and picked schools that had the name i wanted and where my stats were competitive. as a URM, you may need to go to another source to find out just HOW competitive your stats are. e.g. i went to my pre-med advisor and she gave me the 411. don't sell yourself short, a lot of schools can overlook 1 or 2 weaknesses in your application if you are outstanding in other areas (for me, i have substantial leadership positions, unique, long term clinical exposure to underserved communities, and am an athlete as well as a musician) some schools dig your non-medical experiences more than others. for instance, at one school my interviewer grilled me on my research. at another school my interviewer was more interested in performance awards and balancing life as an athlete/scholar...i think you can also figure out what schools dig this by their mission statement

    all in all, make general statements about what you think will make you happy. all ppl are dif. for instance, prestige is more important than location for me. some ppl may feel differently, some ppl may feel the same. you gotta base your choice on what you want, and not what others think you should want :thumbup:
     
  5. Dr Lyss

    Dr Lyss Professional Student
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    What was that you were saying about getting no love from Howard? lolol
     
  6. BlackDr2b

    BlackDr2b JESUS DID IT, NOT ME!!!
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    I chose schools based on location(I need to be in or near the hood! :laugh:), amount of students of color, family environment, mission statement(but not just saying it but living it), support of faculty, scores, etc. I knew pretty much where I wanted to go or the kind of school that I wanted so it was kind of easy for me. Just really think about what's important for you and what isn't. Rankings and prestige and all of that are not important for me at all.
     
  7. What up doc

    What up doc FLASH
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    howard undoubtedly fufills B,C, & D. and, to some ppl, satisfactorily fufills A. i think a good amount of ppl would consider Howad prestigious. and, i wouldn't have applied and given them my money if I wasn't seriously considering attending. so :p! lemme guess, u chose Cornell over Howard bcuz of the curriculum, right? :rolleyes:
     
  8. 19nbj58

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    lol, im not mad at you. To be honest, it will definitely play a role in my decision making process.

    Come on man, thats not fair. Be nice
     
  9. DrChuck24

    DrChuck24 ~Keeping Faith~
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    I definitely agree...only because in terms of what I want to do with my future in medicine, all of the experience gained in the urban community will definitely be helpful..

    this is not a bad list, I especially agree with D, because a lot of schools will look below their numbers to get you into their school. Also prestige is important to many people. To me, not so much though.

    Agreed to this to the tee..The MSAR was so helpful. :thumbup:
     
  10. What up doc

    What up doc FLASH
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    she started it! :p

    besides, lyss knows i got nuffin' but :love: 4 her, even if she duzent think i can handle her...psshhh:sleep:
     
  11. scarletgirl777

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    It's definitely a good idea to first understand where you have a realistic chance of getting in--don't want to get burned. At the same time, it's ok to go a little reach heavy as long as you've got some schools that you know you're likely to get into.

    Always include your state schools (if they give in-state preference). Don't let pride get in the way of getting an MD.

    I checked the minority statistics. I do not really want to go to a school where there are literally 2 Black people in the class. I also would rather not live in a town where there are no Black people. Or if this is the case, I would make an exception if it really has something HUGE going for it (like Stanford!).

    I think it helps to have some general idea of things you would be interested in doing in your career. I want to go into academic medicine and clinical research, so I wanted to attend a strong research school that would have ample funding opportunities and structure in place for students to do their own work. I also think some of the best clinical learning happens when working in urban communities, so I was interested primarily in urban schools.

    These requirements were really general--so I shaved some schools off if they had ridiculous secondaries :p (i know myself, and why pay for $30 for a primary if i know i'm not gonna write a 10 page essay on why they're awesome???). I also added some schools at the last minute that have 30 second secondaries or give out a LOT of merit money because cost will be a big deal for me. I tried to keep to around 20 schools which seems like a lot but is quite typical for applicants from my undergrad, and I thought at the time that my list was reach heavy. Better safe than sorry though, reapplying is expensive and demoralizing. Ultimately though, you won't know what a school is really like until you interview (and even then you still might not know...)
     
  12. 19nbj58

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    Im sure Northwestern will bring those numbers up this year. Apparently it was an anomaly. :rolleyes:
     
  13. Dr Lyss

    Dr Lyss Professional Student
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    uh huh whatever you say :rolleyes: I'm just doing some friendly teasing... and no I'm digging Cornell because of location. I'm all about NYC baby. I still love you What up doc!

    But seriously, when picking a school you will have to decide how you define prestige and how important it is to you. However, most people start getting picky AFTER the acceptances roll in but do a shot gun approach before hand (depending on if you can afford to). And I definitely applied to schools that had mission statements similar to my interests & I think that helped me get more interviews than I was expecting.
     
  14. flaahless

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    Yo boss, I had a couple of red flags in my application so I applied to schools that I thought I had a legitimate chance at, and schools that gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.

    I'm a CA resident so I applied to all of the CA schools. That's mandatory if you live in cali. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you benefit, most of the Cali schools are highly ranked.

    I felt that I was a very strong and compelling applicant and all I wanted from the app process was for a school to take an honest look at my application. So my strategy was to apply to schools that would actually look at my application, and if they did then i was confident that I could win them over.

    I felt that schools the overtly said they conduct "holistic" evaluations (vandy, Tulane, ucsf) would be in my favor. So I scoured the MSAR and internet for schools that mentioned that.

    After that, I chose public and private schools that I felt I would be competitive at (Cincy, Penn State, Louisville, HBCUs) all of which gave me positive vibes after reading their mission statements and doing research.

    I applied to the privates that generally accept a lot of students (drexel, GW, nymc) and then I applied to the high ranked schools that I just believed would give me a shot (Vandy) because my background is very different than most premeds.

    Location was big for me so I didn't apply to too many east coast schools. I tried to apply to urban cities where I thought my background and life experiences would be an asset to the med school class, and I tried to convey that to the adcoms.

    I wasn't thinking about scholarships at the time.

    Prestige didn't matter at the time because I was just trying to get accepted. And keep in mind, prestige is something that you may not have the luxury of choosing. Deal with it after you've been accepted, not ahead of time.

    One note about prestige. In my limited experience, prestige mainly works for premeds. I'm at a "top" school and our faculty come from everywhere, Jefferson, Harvard, USC, Stanford, UCSF, Tulane, SUNY, Drexel, international schools etc. Furthermore, USN&WR rankings don't really calculate the alumni networks and histories of many schools. Some schools (louisville) may not even make the ranking, but they have been around for 200 years and have alumni in high-ranked positions all across the country, others (USC) have incredibly strong networks that provide the same benefits of "prestige." Lastly, prestige is regional, in Los Angeles, USC and UCLA are the best schools in the world and the lay person has never heard of Baylor. So I said all that to say that "prestige" differs from the USN&WR rankings and you must evaluate it's significance for yourself.
     
  15. scarletgirl777

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    Haha I did not know about Northwestern's numbers until I was filling out the secondary because the MSAR shows data for class of 2011. But yes, let's hope that's an anomaly.
     
  16. jinx520

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    I put all my eggs into one basket and applied only to my state school. I love the area and love, love, LOVE the school, and with my stats I have a fair/good chance of getting in. But most importantly, I have a family, and hubby & I realize that hauling everyone across country to move to whatever med school I get accepted to would only make everyone miserable. If I am going to succeed in med school, everyone in the family is going to have to do their part, which would be very difficult if everyone was depressed 'cause they had no friends, etc. So I took a REALLY BIG gamble and applied to the one school.
     
  17. OneDaySuccess

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    what schools typically show preference to African Americans? I am preparing to apply for the upcoming cycle and I would definitely love to apply to all those schools!
     
  18. Dr Lyss

    Dr Lyss Professional Student
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    no school admittedly shows preference to AAs, at least not to my knowledge. You can look up the ethnic breakdown of the class for each school in the MSAR and see which schools have more diversity.
     

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