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How often is a decision between two candidates somewhat arbitrary?

drgoldenboy

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I am curious to hear what some of these discussions may look like when adcom's are meeting and comparing two candidates to take off of the WL (on an unranked waitlist). Are the decisions normally grounded and objective, or usually subjective and a little more arbitrary? Also, do the adcoms vote such that choosing a candidate is democratic, or do some votes have more pull than others? Any info would be helpful as I am trying to better understand what's going behind that big mysterious door for getting into med school.
 

LizzyM

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At my school, each applicant is voted up (admit), down (deny) or sideways (waitlist). Every applicant who is waitlisted is acceptable for admission but there is too little room in the class to take every qualified applicant.

When it comes down to making a choice from the waitlist, my school gives the power to the Dean of Admissions. Each applicant is admissable, the Dean has discretion. A good number of waitlisted applicants may drop us and go with a school that made an outright offer. With the applicants left on the list, the Dean might be making a choice to balance the class by geography or gender. As it gets close to matriculation day, the Dean might be highly motivated to choose someone who will say "Yes" quickly and soeone who has been in touch recently and expressed an interest.

It never comes down a decision between two candidates. It is always a decision up or down (or sideways) about the candidate in front of you.
 
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gonnif

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Your question doesnt exist
1) admissons committtees make decision on just that. Admissions. All direct acceptees and alternates have passed admissions committee approval already. There is no need for adcom to meet and approve an alternate
2) most WL are ranked in some form or another even if just high, medium, low
3) for a completely ranked list, the admission director may simply go down the numbered list. In other places it can be dean, adcom chair or another appointed person
 
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drgoldenboy

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May 15, 2016
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  1. Medical Student
At my school, each applicant is voted up (admit), down (deny) or sideways (waitlist). Every applicant who is waitlisted is acceptable for admission but there is too little room in the class to take every qualified applicant.

When it comes down to making a choice from the waitlist, my school gives the power to the Dean of Admissions. Each applicant is admissable, the Dean has discretion. A good number of waitlisted applicants may drop us and go with a school that made an outright offer. With the applicants left on the list, the Dean might be making a choice to balance the class by geography or gender. As it gets close to matriculation day, the Dean might be highly motivated to choose someone who will say "Yes" quickly and soeone who has been in touch recently and expressed an interest.

It never comes down a decision between two candidates. It is always a decision up or down (or sideways) about the candidate in front of you.
Your question doesnt exist
1) admissons committtees make decision on just that. Admissions. All direct acceptees and alternates have passed admissions committee approval already. There is no need for adcom to meet and approve an alternate
2) most WL are ranked in some form or another even if just high, medium, low
3) for a completely ranked list, the admission director may simply go down the numbered list. In other places it can be dean, adcom chair or another appointed person

Got it. Thanks for the clarification.
 

EdgeTrimmer

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I think schools have to balance the class based on geography, race/ethnicity, gender and other URM categories at the minimum and then desire to have people with different experiences.
 
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