Dismiss Notice

Interview Feedback: Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

Interesting observations on the admissions game...

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Mr. Rosewater, Apr 16, 2004.

  1. Mr. Rosewater

    Mr. Rosewater Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2003
    Messages:
    796
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok, I don't have a ton of interesting observations, but i do have a couple. i thought we might start a little running list and let it serve as a resource for pple who have yet to go through it. so, here's mine:

    1. If you ask "what are the best and worst things about your school?" you will get the same answers almost every time. the best thing is the people. the worst thing is the costs.

    2. every single school in the country has board scores well above the national average. how? only the shadow knows.

    3. most of the pple you meet on interview days are frauds. it's like chris rock said, you're not meeting a person, you're meeting their representative. don't be like this, these docs that interview you are smart and can tell a vapid, vacant smile and a whispy "wow, that's so great" type a mile away.

    4. As a whole, med schools are quite similar. the main difference between the top ones and the rest is that they will open more doors for you. they don't necessarily deliver a better education.

    Ok, that's it for me for now. don't know if these were incredibly interesting, but they're things i've mulled over during the past year. if we can get a decent list going, then this might be useful.
     
  2. G_Eagle

    G_Eagle MS4 -> R1
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    Messages:
    345
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    You are dead on with #'s 1 and 2. It seems like every school proudly spouted off anecdotes about having the coolest students in the world. Every student talked about how close their class was and how everyone helped each other out. Also, I did not hear one student say that their professors were not approachable. Rather, every school seems to have the best class and kindest professors. The board scores part is what made me laugh the most. How can all schools be above, and yet I did not interview at one that did not claim that. Oh well...

    As for number 3, though that may be true in cases, I approached every person at my interview day with an open mind. I forced myself to not look at everyone as competition but as future classmates. In the end, I made a few friends (some of whom I will be going to school with). You'd be surprised how much it helps your nerves when you strike up rapport with someone. At one of my interviews, we clumped in groups chatting in the hallway while waiting for interviews with professors. Instead of being nervous, it made us relax and feel confident. As for looking out for fakes, I would be more wary of students at the school giving you a false impression. This is stereotyping, but remember, many of the student interviewers and tour guides have volunteered to do it because they really like their school. It is rare to find one who will attack their school in front of you. Is this bad? No, but I would stay aware of it.

    Conclusion, I can't wait to hear other people's observations. I'll put up some if I can think of more...
     
  3. bluedevilchica

    bluedevilchica Pour some sugar on me
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    yes totally to both posts...also, every school has had some sort of restructuring of the curriculum and most allow you to have patient contact in ur early med school years.
     
  4. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2002
    Messages:
    5,470
    Likes Received:
    8
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    id have to agree with g_eagle on #3. i think more kids are a bit chill and lax and real these days. but then again...i can only talk about the kids i saw on my interviews...and those were at schools where the student body was just excellent.
     
  5. BassDominator

    BassDominator Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    277
    Likes Received:
    0
    I probably felt the same way as a premed. But now that I'm graduating med school, I see things very differently....

    1) The best and worst thing about our school is the Bronx. It's cheap to live, you're right next to Manhattan, and the inner city poor love to let med students be their doctor.... but it's still the Bronx.

    2) Every school worth applying to will have scores above the national average. I'm guessing there's about 200 med schools in the country.... but most folks only apply to the top 50 or 100. Sure, I agree it's a meaningless statement but it's true.

    3) Okay, I sorta agree with 3. Even the nicest people I've met on interviews have been a little off, myself included. Sometimes you just forget to be yourself when you're so nervous.... we're all guilty of it sometimes. I'd trust most of my classmates with my life, but we'd all have some good laughs if we could do and instant replay of our interview day.

    4) Sorta true.... but look a little closer. Schools are different in very subtle ways. You probably wouldn't notice the difference unless some little thing or the other is very important. Unfortunately, it's hard to tell until you actually get there. Will these things make a difference? Probably not for most people, but there are always exceptions. For example, our school gives you an amazing amount of responsibility and autonomy should you choose to accept it.... mostly because of our patient population. Other schools with more affluent patients.... well, you think many of those guys are going to let a med student touch them?

    When I was applying for residency, I also felt all the programs were basically the same.... but that's mostly because I didn't know what questions to ask. It's really hard to know what questions to ask until you've been there.

    When you ask questions on interviews you have to be really specific. It's often hard for people you meet to answer questions.... because they often don't know what it's like elsewhere. For example, the "Are your professors approachable" question.... nobody is going to tell you no, but there are places where the faculty is more pro-student. The better question would be, "How pro-student is this school? Can you give me an example?" Most places will say yes, but if they can't give an example.... That's just a trick I learned on the residency interview trail.

    Mostly, you have to think about what is important to you and then phrase the question in an effective way. For me, I had two important criteria when looking for a residency: (1) Is this the best place for my career interests? (2) Can I live here? So, I asked questions like: how many graduates go into a particular field? what kind of advising can you offer me? will I have time for research?

    Finally, some things I wished I had asked on the med school interview trail:
    1. What kind of career advising is available? Will I be assigned an advisor or mentor? Do the students like this system?
    2. How much autonomy will I have clinically? What is the patient population like? Mostly private or on public assistance?
    3. How is feedback from students handled by the administration? Give me an example.
     
  6. TheRussian

    TheRussian Life Size Mirror
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2004
    Messages:
    488
    Likes Received:
    1
    To expand on #2 of the OP

    Not only are the board scores above average but almost everyone at the school matched at one of their top 3 choices.

    I was recently on the AAMC website and it stated that over 20,000 out of a total of 25,000 matched to one of their top 2 so for a med school to claim this is meaningless.
     
  7. TRUE

    TRUE slacker extraordinaire
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    Messages:
    776
    Likes Received:
    2
    As for #2 of the OP: I wouldn't necessarily say that's true. If a school gives you an actual # for their score, then it's true in all likelihood. If they just say, we do well on our board scores, then I'd be suspicious and I'd even ask what their #'s are.
     
  8. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2002
    Messages:
    5,470
    Likes Received:
    8
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    well of course almost everyone matched at one of their top 3 choices. you gotta understand...this may not really be their top three choices. you pick the three schools out of the schools you have interviewed at NOT the schools you want to attend. So if you didnt get an interview at any of the schools you wanted to attend...you still have to put down a ranking for schools you would like to go to from the ones that showed interest in you. And thus most people will match into their "top 3." not every school in the nation talk about their board scores being above the average. there are about 120 accreditted med schools in the US...in the thread that we started about this topic...not more than 10-20 schools were posted...it only seems all the schools have above average scores because the schools we are talking about are just a small select few that people know about and have exposure to.
     
  9. exmike

    exmike NOR * CAL
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    Messages:
    4,206
    Likes Received:
    10
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    Reply to point #2

    The reason the majority of schools in the US are above the national mean is probably because (this is my theory) the national mean includes any international students (offshore) along with DO students that also take the test. If You look at the USMLE site, these two groups typically score much lower than the average US student. These two groups also equal if not exceed the number of US student test takers. Given those two bits of information, it wouldnt be suprising if the majority of US medical schools were above the national mean for the USMLE.
     
  10. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2002
    Messages:
    5,470
    Likes Received:
    8
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    or that could be it too ;)
     
  11. Ms.Doctor

    Ms.Doctor Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    0
    Also, med schools state this because almost every applicant asks about this. Also, "what are your boards scores?" is always asked.
     
  12. meanderson

    meanderson Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Messages:
    681
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think you are confusing medical school with law school. There aren't nearly 200 schools(I think there are only 126). And if it is 'worth' applying to a school ranked #45, it certainly is worth applying to a school ranked #57, as their is no real difference between these schools.

    And most folks don't only apply to the top 50. In fact, many schools outside the top 50 recieve the most applications. This point is so far off in every way that I'm just going to stop now........there are thousands of students who would die to get into schools like VCU or Tulane(or any US school), but oh....they are out of the top 50 so why bother even applying right?
     
  13. BassDominator

    BassDominator Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    277
    Likes Received:
    0
    You're right, meanderson. I was really tired when I wrote the thing about any school worth applying to.... that was really snobby of me. I apologize wholeheartedly. What I really meant to say and should have said was "schools that brag about their scores."
     
  14. CalBeE

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Messages:
    2,062
    Likes Received:
    1
    I believe this to be true: You can't really figure out whether you'll fit into a school or not during interview or even second look day.

    You don't really see peoples' personalities until after a few months into school. ALmost every school I consider have "high student satisfaction" and "Excellent faculty" and "Helpful, receptive administration and student affairs office"...
     
  15. SaltySqueegee

    SaltySqueegee El Rey de Salsa
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2003
    Messages:
    1,261
    Likes Received:
    3
    Status:
    MD/PhD Student
    When people are saying that School X has receptive faculty and cool students; are they saying this from personal observation, or is this a quality that they read about in a brochure/book/etc.?

    I could personally see a difference in the faculty and student dynamic at the various schools I interviewed at. I made it a point to walk the halls of the school a day before my interview to get an idea of a day in the life of a student. Made my choice for my first choice school easier. :thumbup:
     
  16. Elizabeth1028

    Elizabeth1028 busy busy bee
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2004
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student

    I'd actually have to disagree here ... I've met a lot of very fun people on my interviews. There was one person that I actually interviewed on the same day with 3 times! (What are the chances of that?!) She and I became pretty good friends over the last 2 interviews. And I've felt that at a number of places, I've really bonded with a bunch of other interviewees. Yeah, maybe everyone's a little nervous, but I don't think that it was too big of a deal. I met a lot of interesting people, and I actually am glad I intervewed at some places even though I didn't get into them, just because I got to meet interesting people I would have otherwise never met.

    Just my 2 cents. :D
     
  17. vinoyp

    vinoyp 3K Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2003
    Messages:
    3,862
    Likes Received:
    1
    They're not frauds... it's just they put their best face on in this game. That's what you do for any interview, your application, your resume, etc. Also, I'm sure some of these interviewing docs can see through all of this. But, in the end, the AdCom members are willing proponents of this game, despite rhetoric to the contrary. I'd say it is damn near impossible to tell apart the really really genuine people from the phonies since everyone is basically presenting the same old story with minor variations on the theme.

    --Vinoy
     
  18. Mr. Rosewater

    Mr. Rosewater Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2003
    Messages:
    796
    Likes Received:
    0
    to those who are arguing point number 3:

    my original statement is a broad generalization, so of course, in many cases it will be untrue. however, if next years class has it in the back of their mind during interview days, they will get many chuckles out of other pple's phoniness. as for how to spot the phonies, watch out for anyone who dreamily states "wow, that's so amazing" or anyone who's 100% commited to primary care despite having no idea what PC or anything else may entail.
     
  19. DrPharaohX

    DrPharaohX Free...your...mind...
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2003
    Messages:
    396
    Likes Received:
    0
    <rant>

    Another point:

    When an interviewer tells you excitedly that "it seems like you're an excellent candidate for our program," it means jack sh** because you'll still end up waitlisted and you'll still end up waiting an eternity for a reply.

    </rant>
     
  20. willow212

    willow212 Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    1
    IMO, applicants put way too much stock into the curriculums, etc. of 1st and 2nd year of med school, when I think the biggest difference between schools lies in the clinical years.

    Of course, part of this is that you are mainly exposed to 1st and 2nd years during the interview process. However, most schools will give you e-mail addresses of 3rd and 4th years if you ask.

    The patient population is something you should ask about. Most schools will have very different populations, and the way that I view patient care have been influenced by the underserved, non-English-speaking population that I have cared for. Compared with friends in other areas who treat affluent Caucasians, I've had a very different experience.

    Also, what do students go into for residency? If you're gung ho on primary care, but no one else at your school is, odds are that by the end of your clinical years, then you will be going into something else, just by the massive influence that the attendings, residents, and other students have on you.

    I agree that you can get an excellent education at pretty much any med school. Just keep in mind that you will be very influenced by who you are surrounded by and the patients you come in contact with.
     

Share This Page