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How/Why AOA?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Pewl, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. Pewl

    Pewl The Dude Abides
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    Just wondering, how big of a deal is it to get into AOA? What percentage of students are in it? How do you get it? How do you apply? Is it a really big deal? When do you apply for it?
     
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  3. Syranope2

    Syranope2 Senior Member
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    so i don't know too much about this, but i do know that it usually goes to around 1/6 of the member's of each medical school class. usually people are selected at the end of their fourth year, but sometimes you can be selected at the end of your third year (if you're awesome). at my school, at least, there is a committee that looks at grades and boards and faculty recommendations and then decides who is in aoa. you don't need to apply. apparently, it is a pretty big deal. my neighbors are both doctors, and they said that being aoa can open some serious doors for you.
     
  4. SpeedRacer

    SpeedRacer Senior Member
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    if you just work really hard can you end up being aoa? or do you have to be some kind of natural genius. i'm just not sure where i'm going to fit in my med school class...
     
  5. Captain Fantastic

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    My wife was AOA. Syranope2's description sounds exactly like the process that was used at my wife's medical school.

    When applying for residencies this can definitely help open doors. Some medical schools grade honors/pass/fail. With no GPA how do you distinguish yourself from the other applicants? AOA, along with good USMLE Step scores, can give you an edge to help score a match at your #1 choice.
     
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  6. Ashanti Rock

    Ashanti Rock Senior Member
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    I'm sorry, maybe I'm just out of it.....what's AOA? Thxs!
     
  7. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Hi there,
    AOA is Alpha Omega Alpha the honorary medical society. Many allopathic schools have a chapter of this organization. Each chapter has its own rules for selecting medical students to this organization. Selection at my school was based on scholarship + leadership. One person was selected third year and ten were selected fourth year.

    AOA does open doors in terms of applying for residency. There is a check box on the ERAS application for indicating that you are AOA and whether or not your school has a chapter. You cannot lobby yourself into AOA and the members of the chapter do the selecting with recomendations from the Dean of Academics.

    The AOA pin is nice to wear on your lab coat too :D

    njbmd :)

    AOA in terms of osteopathic schools stands for American Osteopathic Association and has nothing to do with the AOA honor society.
     
  8. Ashanti Rock

    Ashanti Rock Senior Member
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    oohhhhhh, I see! Thanks for the response!
    -Ashanti
     
  9. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    No way. If you are both super smart and work super hard then maybe you'll get lucky. It's really silly to worry about making AOA or honors until you get your feet wet in med school. Once you have your first block exams you will quickly find out whether you have a shot at honors or will by lucky to just be average. Lots and lots of A students in undergrad get humbled by med school, so count on nothing and just do your best when you get there.
     
  10. Pewl

    Pewl The Dude Abides
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    Heh, I was hardly an A student in college. Though, I am kinda an A student in grad school, since they don't really mind handing out a bunch of A's in a phd program =P
     
  11. Wahoos

    Wahoos Member
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    AOA is a medical school honor society, usually reserved for the top 15% of your medical school class. It is very hard to get, and I can only speak about how the process works at UVA. In our class, there are 130 or so students, all of them were very bright, our avg MCAT is about 32, and GPA of 3.7, and everyone worked hard in terms of studying (unlike college, where you have bright kids that are lazy as #%[email protected]). At the end of our second year, the top 6 people gets into AOA, based only on grades, percentage of all the exams and grades combined. I know the people that got this at the end of the 2nd year, all of their exam grades were above 95%... on every single exam in medical school for the 1st 2 years!!!! (that is very very hard to do) Then at the end of our 3 rd year, another 16 people gets elected. You are voted into the AOA by your fellow classmates at UVA. The only other criteria is that you have to be in the top 25% of the class based on grades. So if all 130 people voted for you and you were at the 27% tile = NO AOA. This process becomes a little bit of popularity contest. But in order to be in the top 25% of the class at UVA, you can probably get no more than one B in all of the classes and rotations for the 1st 3 years. Since when I went through, our school was still on the +/- system, A+,A, A-, B+, etc. Now, I am not sure how AOA works at UVA but I assume it is similar. Hope this helps.

    In terms of residency, having AOA will help you alot esp if you apply to something competitive like Orthopedics, ENT, Plastics, etc. Some programs will not interview you unless you are AOA. Do you need AOA to get into Ortho, no, but defintiely will help you for the big name programs. Also your Step I scores are very important for Ortho, as most programs have a cut off at about 225-230, which means your app is in the trash automatically if you are below this number. And I can tell you that the amount of material on Step I makes the MCAT look like kids play.... plus you are also scored based on a percentile curve in comparison to all of the medical students, which makes it even harder to do well. Usually the national average is 215-217, with a standard dev of about 25 or so. Which means that a 225-230 is in the 65-70% or so percentile of all med students. Does MCAT correlate with Step I??? I don't think so, known people with 28 on MCAt and 245 step I, and people with 36 MCAT and 215 step I. Also know a guy in my class that had 269 Step I... which is very high and I heard his MCAT was low 40s.
     
  12. SpeedRacer

    SpeedRacer Senior Member
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    so does that mean since i wasn't an A student i'll do really well?

    kidding...
     
  13. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Actually it's possible. Different skillsets are sometimes rewarded in med school, so someone with a really strong memory for a larger volume of information may be rewarded a bit more there than someone with an average memory but who really understands stuff. You'll see where you are on the spectrum when you get there.
     
  14. happydays

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    Does anyone have a list of which schools have AOA? Thanks in advance!
     
  15. SpeedRacer

    SpeedRacer Senior Member
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    i thought every school had aoa.
     
  16. jebus

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    http://www.alphaomegaalpha.org/AOAmain/ChapterCouncillors.htm
    Google is your friend. And Speedracer, I didn't check thoroughly, but it looks like you're right - if not every school, almost every school.
     
  17. Einsteinemc2

    Einsteinemc2 Member
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    The statement about some programs not interviewing because you are not AOA is a bit of stretch, are you saying that students at Harvard and Stanford (neither of which have AOA) can't get interviews at some programs?
     
  18. SpeedRacer

    SpeedRacer Senior Member
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    actually a doctor told me this too. i'm not sure how true it is...and i'm sure if it is true it's only restricted to a small amount of programs anyway. that being said, i thought this was all under the assumption that harvard and stanford kids get whatever they want anyway ;)
     
  19. Dakota

    Dakota Senior Member
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    UConn is another with no AOA. They don't rank students, and therefore can't define a top percentile.
     
  20. Wahoos

    Wahoos Member
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    Hey, I am just speaking from going through the Orthopedics interview process last year. There are programs that will make cut off based on AOA, these programs know which schools have AOA and which do not, on your ERAS application, it will ask you those questions, "does your school have AOA" and "are you AOA". If your school does not have AOA, obviously, your apps are looked at without the AOA status, and people from places like Harvard and Stanford do get great interviews all the time, but at the same time, these guys have to make the cut off at the USMLE Step I. So basically, if say a program have a Step I cut off of 230, they get 500 apps for 4 spots (this is usually the norm for ortho, 100+ apps per spot), all the apps below 230 are in the trash, all the home student and rotators get an interview, non rotating students that make the 230 cut off will be given to the PD. Then it will be separated into piles, AOA vs Non AOA, and People from Harvard/standford/etc that do not have AOA will definitely be looked at. Most programs interview 10/1, so about 40-50 people if they have 4 spots. And trust me, after interviewing all the home kids and rotators, you can easily find 25-30 kids out of 400 apps that are AOA with very good Step I scores. Just my 2 cent.

    I personally think that the programs who cut people at a high score will miss out on alot of very outstanding people that will make great Ortho residents, but do not have the scores. But hey, that is how life works sometimes. Just like the med school application. If you get a 25 on your MCAT, not matter how stellar your app is, you will not get many interviews.
     
  21. Pewl

    Pewl The Dude Abides
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    How about rad onc? What if you don't have the best step I scores but you have a grad degree in biomedical physics in rad onc? (like me =D). I understand that rad onc is competitive as hell but doesn't it mean anything that you've worked in it for years or have a grad degree in it???
     
  22. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic
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    Every applicant is different. With a PhD in the field, I'm sure that PD's are going to look upon you favorably. But you won't get a free ride. You'll still have to do well enough on the USMLE to get through the cut-off.
     

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