In this topic we talk about how the admissions process could be improved

Oct 6, 2009
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1. Every school should have to let you know by a certain date (one of the schools I applied to told all the interviewers on my interview day that we wont know until the end of April).

2. Acceptance rates should not contribute to US News Rankings (this way schools wont play the waitlist games and actually accept all of their top applicants).

3...
 

VTBuc

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Remove the conception that the PS has to involve dying babies, a car accident, dead relatives, or the desire to save the world. Reward honesty when a student flat out says, "I think medicine is neat and would be a fullfilling career" instead of fluffing it with a bunch of garbage.
 

dokein

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1. Every school should have to let you know by a certain date (one of the schools I applied to told all the interviewers on my interview day that we wont know until the end of April).

2. Acceptance rates should not contribute to US News Rankings (this way schools wont play the waitlist games and actually accept all of their top applicants).

3...

The interview to acceptance ratio should not be over 4:1. If it is your school needs to do a better job screening candidates.
 

RogueUnicorn

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Rejections should be promptly notified. No silent rejections.
No automated computer cutoffs if secondary fee charged.
 

BlitzSleep

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4. All schools should accept me...for who I am. Trust me without wondering. Love me without restrictions. Want me with demand.
 

metallica81788

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Rejections should be given out immediately following the interview period ending, not sent out in "official letters" 2 months after when the fate is obviously known.
 
Oct 13, 2008
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I don't like the direction we're taking where a student must be some form of super hero in their spare time, while at the same time devaluating the hard work of highgpa/highmcat folks. I know that's an unpopular opinion, but I think (I could be wrong, don't be a dick about it if I am) things were better when you could reasonably guess where you should apply/get accepted by the sort of "stats" you had. Makes things a lot less stressful/much less guesswork. Obviously it shouldn't be only based on stats, but right now it's so hard to try to guess and fit absolutely everything that adcomms want with the new "holistic" admissions process (in other words: a process where if you're discriminated against or if they don't like you, they can just claim you were a "bad fit" or "bad person.") My goal in this process has always been to work hard and be myself and hope I get accepted.
 

IDoIt4Love

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people should not be allowed to hold more than 2 acceptances at one time. Most people know what their top choice(s) are, and hoarding acceptance letters slows the process for everyone else.

because people often hold more than 1 acceptance at a time due to financial issues, financial packages should be awarded entirely by the government, only with respect to how good a student you are, regardless of the school you are about to attend. people should get money for school because they deserve it, and should not have to settle for a "safety" or "lower ranked" school to get it.

also, i think all acceptances should be given AFTER all interviews are conducted. you should not have to wait FOREVER after your interview to hear back, only to find that you weren't accepted mainly BECAUSE there weren't many seats left.
 

RogueUnicorn

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I don't like the direction we're taking where a student must be some form of super hero in their spare time, while at the same time devaluating the hard work of highgpa/highmcat folks. I know that's an unpopular opinion, but I think (I could be wrong, don't be a dick about it if I am) things were better when you could reasonably guess where you should apply/get accepted by the sort of "stats" you had. Makes things a lot less stressful/much less guesswork. Obviously it shouldn't be only based on stats, but right now it's so hard to try to guess and fit absolutely everything that adcomms want with the new "holistic" admissions process (in other words: a process where if you're discriminated against or if they don't like you, they can just claim you were a "bad fit" or "bad person.")
i could be wrong here, but i think the stats-only approach was what they took in the 80s or something, and it didn't make good doctors, hence the switch to the current approach.
 
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i could be wrong here, but i think the stats-only approach was what they took in the 80s or something, and it didn't make good doctors, hence the switch to the current approach.
I just think we seem to be swinging a little far toward the other end of the spectrum. I really disagree with stats-only, but I am starting to be convinced that stats are also being marginalized.
 

Morsetlis

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There should be grade-replacement policies. Acceptances should be based on more on scores (hello Europe). Each student can only apply to 3 schools max through the AMCAS, with a scramble period after May 15.

In fact I think it should be like the Match ;p
 

RogueUnicorn

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I just think we seem to be swinging a little far toward the other end of the spectrum. I really disagree with stats-only, but I am starting to be convinced that stats are also being marginalized.
i think the MSAR shows otherwise.
 
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i think the MSAR shows otherwise.
That's probably true, maybe I'm just overthinking our anecdotes in the 2015 thread (your 3.8/38/great person friend and my 3.65/40/great person friend).

3 schools max? What's your reasoning for that?
I think that person may be on a WL right now... Nothing wrong with that, but I know it's a super frustrating situation. I really wonder if there are THAT many people who are holding 7 acceptances though... seems like most people keep it reasonable at around 4, if they even get that many acceptances.
 

He2

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I don't like the direction we're taking where a student must be some form of super hero in their spare time, while at the same time devaluating the hard work of highgpa/highmcat folks. I know that's an unpopular opinion, but I think (I could be wrong, don't be a dick about it if I am) things were better when you could reasonably guess where you should apply/get accepted by the sort of "stats" you had. Makes things a lot less stressful/much less guesswork. Obviously it shouldn't be only based on stats, but right now it's so hard to try to guess and fit absolutely everything that adcomms want with the new "holistic" admissions process (in other words: a process where if you're discriminated against or if they don't like you, they can just claim you were a "bad fit" or "bad person.") My goal in this process has always been to work hard and be myself and hope I get accepted.
I tend to agree with this. This is going be an unpopular opinion, but people who have the maturity to work hard for their goals, and be willing to work hard to help people should be rewarded. Too many people w/ low stats just say they want to "help people" when they just simply weren't willing to sacrifice anything in order to party (or, as they say, connect with the people ala Gov. Patterson)
 

He2

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2. Be able to tell the difference between medicare and medicaid. It shocks me how many pre-meds have no idea with all that volunteer experience / pillow fluffing
 

RogueUnicorn

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That's probably true, maybe I'm just overthinking our anecdotes in the 2015 thread (your 3.8/38/great person friend and my 3.65/40/great person friend).
but the fact is my friend still got into a school
 
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I think that person may be on a WL right now... Nothing wrong with that, but I know it's a super frustrating situation. I really wonder if there are THAT many people who are holding 7 acceptances though... seems like most people keep it reasonable at around 4, if they even get that many acceptances.
I may get flamed for this, but I think that people holding many acceptances have every right to hold on to all of them until they can factor financials into their decision.
 

masturhu

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In a perfect world, I think the whole applicant should be taken into account instead of just numbers. However, the world we live in far from perfect. This admissions process rewards people who are dishonest and are good at it. Basically if you are smart and dishonest and are a practiced liar you can dominate the system. It's really sad.

I also believe that the interview to acceptance ratio needs to be 4:1 or under. It's tough justifying spending all that money when you know that you are likely to be rejected. Problem is, you have to do it or you risk not getting into any school.

I just think it's a tainted system in general. Medicine is not "high and mighty" as many ad coms see it as. Those who have a "high and mighty" app, talking about how they are going to go save the world are probably lying. It's sad that behavior like this is rewarded.
 

RogueUnicorn

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May I ask if it was one of his top choices?
it was his state school, so he certainly doesn't mind going there. he is, however, looking to transfer.

I may get flamed for this, but I think that people holding many acceptances have every right to hold on to all of them until they can factor financials into their decision.
+1
 

mirrorpair

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Schools need to be crystal clear about what they want in a student so we can stop wasting our time and money applying to schools that never wanted us to begin with.

Some schools are more focused on researchers, other schools want people who are deeply involved in their community, some want students with high scores, etc. It's fine to have those priorities but those values should be clearly reflected in their mission statements; regrettably, they tend to be uselessly homogeneous (U Chicago is an exception). Every school says they're interested in research and community service but in reality they weigh those priorities very differently and it is hard to glean those weights from the information they put out.

I'm sure some schools will argue that they want a diverse class so they want a variety of students who excel in different areas. This argument is lazy at best as the standards do differ at each school; at worst it is callous because the schools can blithely assume that we have an endless amount of time to write secondaries and that we are sitting on an endless stack of money and if they reject us then it's no harm, no foul.
 

metallica81788

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I may get flamed for this, but I think that people holding many acceptances have every right to hold on to all of them until they can factor financials into their decision.
I agree. They earned it. It's not like they take the spots with them to the grave, they open up eventually and others still get them.

I would like the interview ratio to be 3:1 or better.
 
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people should not be allowed to hold more than 2 acceptances at one time. Most people know what their top choice(s) are, and hoarding acceptance letters slows the process for everyone else.

because people often hold more than 1 acceptance at a time due to financial issues, financial packages should be awarded entirely by the government, only with respect to how good a student you are, regardless of the school you are about to attend. people should get money for school because they deserve it, and should not have to settle for a "safety" or "lower ranked" school to get it.

also, i think all acceptances should be given AFTER all interviews are conducted. you should not have to wait FOREVER after your interview to hear back, only to find that you weren't accepted mainly BECAUSE there weren't many seats left.
disagree! I, and many others, have a rotating list of top 5 choices of schools. Also, we would need to compare financial aid packages from different schools, so holding two acceptances at a time severely limits options, especially when you need time to discuss with spouses, parents, friends on cost vs. happiness.

And for the second point, I disagree as well. If everyone heard back in March, it'd make the process all the more stressful. What if in March you find out all your schools waitlisted/rejected you and you had to reapply? You'd have 3 months to scramble with better activities, higher scores, etc. (when you had assumed you'd get in) Plus, tons of people would have to interview at every last school instead of withdrawing their interviews for people who have 0-2 interviews.

on the original question, I'd want to say:

1. no waitlisting everyone who isn't accepted after the interview. If I'm at the bottom of the list, I want to know now. There is no need to maintain a 500 person waitlist when you know in past years you've taken 10.
2a. No Gray's Anatomy-length secondary essays. I'm looking at you, Duke and UCSD.
2b. On the other hand, do have secondary essays with "Why X School?" I was able to stop myself from applying to some schools because of this reason alone--I could not find substance to write 100 words.
2c. Disliked the schools that had no secondaries, or such easy secondaries (check here if you've committed a crime, check here if you've done time) because it didn't effectively screen me out of paying $$. I'm selfish.
3. Don't make secondaries should cost over $100 each.
4. Stop biasing against CA residents. :D
5. Rejection letters should be nice. I hated all of the 3 liners after handing in $80 that said "We got 10000 applicants for 100 spots, so it was competitive. Sorry we are unable to offer you a spot. Thanks and good luck." I thought Harvard's was very nicely written.
 

morning

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Interviewees should be able to rate interviewers to prevent soulless maniacs from ruining your interview day.
 

metallica81788

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disagree! I, and many others, have a rotating list of top 5 choices of schools. Also, we would need to compare financial aid packages from different schools, so holding two acceptances at a time severely limits options, especially when you need time to discuss with spouses, parents, friends on cost vs. happiness.

And for the second point, I disagree as well. If everyone heard back in March, it'd make the process all the more stressful. What if in March you find out all your schools waitlisted/rejected you and you had to reapply? You'd have 3 months to scramble with better activities, higher scores, etc. (when you had assumed you'd get in) Plus, tons of people would have to interview at every last school instead of withdrawing their interviews for people who have 0-2 interviews.

on the original question, I'd want to say:

1. no waitlisting everyone who isn't accepted after the interview. If I'm at the bottom of the list, I want to know now. There is no need to maintain a 500 person waitlist when you know in past years you've taken 10.
2a. No Gray's Anatomy-length secondary essays. I'm looking at you, Duke and UCSD.
2b. On the other hand, do have secondary essays with "Why X School?" I was able to stop myself from applying to some schools because of this reason alone--I could not find substance to write 100 words.
2c. Disliked the schools that had no secondaries, or such easy secondaries (check here if you've committed a crime, check here if you've done time) because it didn't effectively screen me out of paying $$. I'm selfish.
3. Don't make secondaries should cost over $100 each.
4. Stop biasing against CA residents. :D
5. Rejection letters should be nice. I hated all of the 3 liners after handing in $80 that said "We got 10000 applicants for 100 spots, so it was competitive. Sorry we are unable to offer you a spot. Thanks and good luck." I thought Harvard's was very nicely written.
Pretty good post.

I totally agree with you on the bolded part (I'm looking at you, Vanderbilt especially and Baylor). It's just total bullsh!t. If I'm not going to have a chance of getting in, just tell me so that I can get on with my life.
 

He2

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I agree. They earned it. It's not like they take the spots with them to the grave, they open up eventually and others still get them.

I would like the interview ratio to be 3:1 or better.
totally agree. Its the perk of being a great applicant. You've earned it.

It should be about what you've earned.

HOWEVER, i am very against the following:

1) The primary essay that is a written resume. Offends my senses as a literate human being

2) the interview that is a talking resume. Offends my senses as an articulate human being

3) the fact that committees encourage people just talking about how awesome they are. Unfortunately, this is the good interview since it makes it clear who the applicant is and why he or she would be a good fit. Shouldnt tests of literal skills ask about how the applicant can get information from other people?

this drives me nuts. Its how you end up with ppl like Emil Chynn
 

metallica81788

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Schools should have interviewers that actually care to read my app before the interview so we don't have to ask pointless questions that could have been easily answered if YOU would have done YOUR research, mister interviewer.
 

Morsetlis

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Interviewees should be able to rate interviewers to prevent soulless maniacs from ruining your interview day.
Well most schools give you a survey afterward.

What the survey's actual significance is ... now that's another story.
 

JJMrK

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I may get flamed for this, but I think that people holding many acceptances have every right to hold on to all of them until they can factor financials into their decision.
Agreed.
 

He2

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i also hate the whole notion that admissions committees are trying their hardest, and therefore, if they are wrong about you and screw up, its somehow your fault for taking their rejection poorly. I'm sorry, but if you have the arrogance to think that a 30 min interview can determine what a person is like, you should also take on the responsibility for being wrong. Normal people are complex human beings with depths of thought and emotion right? If you can tell what a person is, they are either faking it or have no depth.

now, obviosuly, schools will be wrong about people, and schools will not be able to accommodate everyone they want. So, lets just say that if you are wrong, schools will every once in a while admit they are wrong about applicants. Not that "why are you so bitter? its a good thing we were right about you since you still hold a grudge. no one should hold grudges against admissions"
 

He2

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and when i say bitter, i don't mean do anything stupid. i just mean upset and not willing to admit that "meh..didnt want to go there anyways"
 

Perrotfish

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Y'all are suggesting very slight variations in this process. Here are some more significant changes I would like to see:

Either

1) Base the MCAT entirely on premedical coursework grades and MCAT score. No interview, no essays, no college degree required. If you can wrap the pre-med BS by the age of 17 you can start Med school when you're 18. ECs are completely eliminated

Or even better:

2) Go to the Chinese system where people are accepted to pysician training programs straight out of HS, and then can fail out if they're not good enough, or stop at a mid-point in their training cycle and still have some right to practice. A BS pysician has few practice righs than a Masters of Medicine has few practice rights than an MD, but anyone who graduates a college program has SOME practice rights.

The best way to eliminate the misery of the premedical and admissions processes is to eliminate them entirely. Neither one is useful for anything.
 

He2

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i would disagree with that. those systems are not anywhere near the maximum point of capitalizing human capital. Too many people who would make good doctors, especially males, would be disenfranchised since they mature later.

I think one of the best ways to see if someone would be a good doctor is to put them in a teaching situation. Good teachers make good doctors, since teaching is about 1) effort 2) understanding others and 3) hard work

it would eliminate the people who are incredibly self centered
 

metallica81788

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I think ECs are being overemphasized the point of where if you don't have great ones, it hurts you.

It should be that if you do have great ECs, they help you. Some people just have different interests that don't fall under the term EC and don't want to spread themselves too thin doing pointless crap - they would rather do a few things often that they really love.
 

He2

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add another interview, but make it with a reference.
 

Perrotfish

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i would disagree with that. those systems are not anywhere near the maximum point of capitalizing human capital. Too many people who would make good doctors, especially males, would be disenfranchised since they mature later.

I'm not saying you should need to start training at 18, just that if non-premedical coursework shouldn't be factored into the admissions process. If you want to get a 4 year degree in art history before you start that would still be fine, it should just be neutral to your application.
 

He2

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hmm...thats an interesting thought. But i would say def. no to allowing ppl to drop halfway out, i like that about the US system, it understands the investment that a medical student is. Too many incompetent docs in other countries.
 

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i think he's saying no diff between sGPA and cGPA, just one GPA that = sGPA
 

Perrotfish

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So you would accept 18 year old medical students without an interview?
I would accept a large number of 18 year old students without an interview and with the intention of failing the dumb/unmotivated ones out.

I would eliminate all attempts to screen for personality because they not only don't work, but actually seem to be designed to select for toxic personalities.

hmm...thats an interesting thought. But i would say def. no to allowing ppl to drop halfway out, i like that about the US system, it understands the investment that a medical student is. Too many incompetent docs in other countries
It's only a huge investment because we make it one. There are only about 6 years of actual training that goes into making a USA GP, everything else is application fluff and pointless electives. I have no idea what makes you think that the docs elsewhere are more incompetent than here. Maybe the ones coming out of small Carribean islands, but China or the UK?
 

metallica81788

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I would accept a large number of 18 year old students without an interview and with the intention of failing the dumb/unmotivated ones out.

I would eliminate all attempts to screen for personality because they not only don't work, but actually seem to be designed to select for toxic personalities.
There might be some good ones that haven't quite grown up enough yet to realize that they actually want it.

While there are a small number of mature 18-yr-olds, a lot of people do some growing up and soul-searching in college that defines who they are and what they may want to do with the rest of their lives.
 

He2

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make med students trade able. Make a waiver wire, and an MCAT cap. Aka no school can have more than X MCAT score cumulative without paying a severe 1-1 dollar fine. This way, very well off schools can have more talented people, just like now. except you would be able to get rid of toxic personalities somehow.

look at Stephan Marbury


the closer life it is to sports, the better.
 

brooklynblunder

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I may get flamed for this, but I think that people holding many acceptances have every right to hold on to all of them until they can factor financials into their decision.
i agree with this



this thread got unrealistic
 

metallica81788

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:laugh: We're getting pretty hypothetical now, maybe we can switch it back to realistic/feasible suggestions for improving admssions.
 

Perrotfish

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There might be some good ones that haven't quite grown up enough yet to realize that they actually want it.

While there are a small number of mature 18-yr-olds, a lot of people do some growing up and soul-searching in college that defines who they are and what they may want to do with the rest of their lives.
Except that the system we currently operate under requires people to start padding their application from year 1 of college. Someone who is just too immature when they come into college, but who grows up and realizes they want to pursue medicine at the age of 21, has already wrecked their application beyond repair unless they can manage an MCAT score that is way above average. This process specificially selects for people who made the decision to go into medicine at 17 and didn't allow for any 'finding themselves' time. So why not skip the charade and let them go into medicine?

In any event I see no reason why we require more soul searching for someone who wants to go into medicine than someone who wants to be an engineer, let alone someone who is risking their life in the Military. This isn't a value neutral decision either: is 5 years of maturing time really worth passing 5 years of opportunity cost onto the physician and/or patient?

:laugh: We're getting pretty hypothetical now, maybe we can switch it back to realistic/feasible suggestions for improving admssions.
It is more realistic to overhaul this system from the ground up than to expect a system that has all the power to accomodate you in any way.
 
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Morsetlis

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You don't actually start studying medicine after high school in China (and the rest of the world).

You study the basic pre-reqs which takes two years.
 

JJMrK

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Y'all are suggesting very slight variations in this process. Here are some more significant changes I would like to see:

Either

1) Base the MCAT entirely on premedical coursework grades and MCAT score. No interview, no essays, no college degree required. If you can wrap the pre-med BS by the age of 17 you can start Med school when you're 18. ECs are completely eliminated

Or even better:

2) Go to the Chinese system where people are accepted to pysician training programs straight out of HS, and then can fail out if they're not good enough, or stop at a mid-point in their training cycle and still have some right to practice. A BS pysician has few practice righs than a Masters of Medicine has few practice rights than an MD, but anyone who graduates a college program has SOME practice rights.

The best way to eliminate the misery of the premedical and admissions processes is to eliminate them entirely. Neither one is useful for anything.

I disagree. Communication is a very important skill.
 

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This thread is interesting and amusing on so many levels in that people seem to have a poor grasp of how admission in the US works, what the current trends are, and most importantly, the reasons behind them.

If we wanted academic superstars with amazing numbers, then you're right. We could place the value of the MCAT and GPA above all else.

But then what would we get?

Sure, there are people who have amazing stats AND great hobbies, but there was (and still is, though to a lesser extent) a tendency for applicants to pour all of their efforts into that at the expense of becoming rounded individuals who have the social skills to relate and communicate better with patients.

If we can get someone who's amazing academically and who is actively involved in their community/sports/awesomeness why on earth wouldn't we want that person? Furthermore, why would we want someone who can only do one of the two when we could have someone that has both?