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how do you decide where to apply?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by petros, Dec 16, 2000.

  1. i am applying to schools this upcoming year with a 3.8GPA/30S MCAT. I'm not a shoe in at any school, but then i don't think i am a long long long shot at too many schools either. as a california resident, i will apply to all 7 in state schools. after those, i have absolutely NO preferences. i went through a tentative list of schools i would apply to, and reached-gulp-81! would it be stupid applying to all these schools considering my stats are not spectacular and that i don't care which school i go to?
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  3. gower

    gower 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2000
    New York
    Applying to so many schools is ridiculous.

    The first place to ask where you should apply is your premedical advisor who, with a few years or more of experience, should have a fairly good idea of where you should, should not, or maybe apply. Two students could have identical numbers, but one might have something else going for him/her while the other does not.

    The next place to get an idea where it might be reasonable to apply is the Medical School Admission Requirements, published by the AAMC. Each school gives statistics and other information to base a decision whether to apply or not. But here, the other variables that make a difference are usually so general that caution must be exercised. For one thing, they rarely will say that where you go to college makes a difference. If it didn't, why do so many premeds climb the walls to attend "prestigious" colleges? And then to attend "prestigious" medical schools?
    Another solution is to print the names of all the medical schools on stiff cardboard, mount the cardboard on a wall, and throw darts.
  4. turtleboard

    turtleboard SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 1999
    New York, New York
    Yes that would be very ridiculous. I knew a guy in college (a post-bacc) who applied to 80+ schools and was rejected by all (after nearly $10,000 in application fees).

    I dunno where he is nowadays. [​IMG]

    Tim of New York City.
  5. You *might* consider thinking up some reasons why you are applying to each school (when you weed down that awfully expensive list). It might be different at med school admission level, but I'm being asked at every residency interview, "Why here?" No program wants to hear that you've chosen them for their fabulous beach location (at least not as the only reason) or because you went down the AAMC list alphabetically until you ran out of money.

    It is perfectly reasonable to include personal factors in your decision to apply somewhere, ie, having friends or family in the area. However, you should also consider professional reasons as well. Are you interested in medical research? If so, you might choose schools which are prolific in this area. Any special topic grab you? Again, some schools are known for their CV research, others for Burns, and still others for genetic diseases. Do you have a career goal yet? While I strongly urge most to keep an open mind (based on my own experiences) there is nothing wrong with choosing a school with a primary care "mission" if you think you might reasonably end up in that field.

    At any rate, it IS hard to pick schools to apply to, especially when the only information you may have is the school's own glossy brochures. As gower suggested please talk to your Pre-med advisor and see what he/she suggests. For some reason, I know EVMS accepts several Californians a year as do most of the private schools of medicine.

    Hope this helps and best of luck to you.

  6. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 12, 2000
    One thing that really helped me figure out/narrow down where I wanted to apply was Even though you are not at interview stage yet, it is one of the few sites I know of where you can get some very honest and candid impressions of the different schools -- ie, location, cost, curriculum, clinical training, faculty, students. You don't want to apply to 80 schools -- not only does it get ridiculously expensive, but it would be a nightmare to do that many secondaries. I think around 20 is a pretty good number (I think I ended up applying to 15). Talking to your premed advisor, if there is one at your school, is probably a really good idea. Also, start thinking of some criteria that matter to you when picking a place you are going to live/study for the next 4 years. Location/cost of living were really big issues for me -- I hate cold weather, I'm not a huge city person, and since I already live somewhere ridiculously expensive, I wanted to go somewhere with a cheaper cost of living if possible (tuition also factored into this). That eliminated at least 10-15 of the original 40 schools I considered. Even though you say you don't really care where you go to school, I'm sure there are some factors that are more important to you than others -- concentrate on those to hone down your final list. Good luck.
  7. puffy1

    puffy1 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 5, 2000
    If you want to narrow down your list of schools from 81 down to, say, 25, a good way to do it is to make yourself a set criteria for these med schools.

    You can first ask yourself, "which schools can I NOT apply to?" I don't know if you've done this yet, but see if there are residency requirements for some of these schools, or if they have a "preference" for in-state applicants. A reference book to look at is Princeton Review's Complete Book of Medical Schools 2001 edition. They list every allopathic med school, and for the majority of them provide the number of out-of-state applicants for each school, what percentage were interviewed, and what percentage of those interviewed were ultimately accepted.

    Second, look at class size. I almost applied to Dartmouth until I saw that they only admitted 70 students per year. Mayo only takes 34. BU takes 136, but after the early admissions people and the early acceptance people, they only take 99 students per year from the rest of the year's applicant pool. When you consider that over 5,000 send in secondaries to BU, it can be extremely competitive. Now, I don't want to discourage you from applying to these schools, as they are all excellent (especially Mayo) medical schools. You have superior numbers to mine and I'm sure you would be competitive. But that helped to narrow down my choices, and maybe it can help to narrow down yours.

    You can then look at all of the other factors about the school; pass-fail vs. A-F grading system, tuition costs, location of the med school, reputation, etc, etc.

    81 schools are a bit extreme and VERY costly. Remember, it'll cost you in the four figures just for the AMCAS application. Most private schools charge between $80 to $95 for their secondaries.
  8. Buckminster

    Buckminster New Member

    Nov 5, 2000
    Washington, D.C.
    Also, keep in mind that the AMCAS application package sent to each school you applied to will include the list of schools that you are applying to. I would imagine that you'd look silly when asked by your interviewer why the hell you applied to 80 schools and what you like about THIS school that is drastically different from the other 79 you applied to. I think that if you answered "I applied to more schools to get a better chance of acceptance" would not be well received.
  9. Hercules

    Hercules Son of Zeus 10+ Year Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    Mobile, AL
    I agree with puffy1. You can definitely use some criteria to narrow down your choices. Use this upcoming year to do some research and figure out which school you would really want to go to. I started with a relatively long list, but in the end I narrowed it down to 4. You may not be comfortable with a number that low, but you shouldn't be comfortable with a number as high as 80 either.


    But there is also a time for sleeping.
    -Odysseus in the Odyssey 11.330-331

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