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Just An Observation...

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by bruinfan32, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. bruinfan32

    bruinfan32 Junior Member
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    Doesn't it make some people question the medical school admission standards when eventhough there may be a large distribution between statistics (gpa, mcat scores) once you get in to a school and gratuate, regardless of MD or DO, as a practicing doctor there is little coorelation between success as a doctor and inital admission criteria? When the mean matriculation averages for med schools across the board are compared, and there is a large difference in 2 schools' acceptance numbers but little difference in outcomes (quality and success of doctors graduating from those schools, ie every medschool is a good school), does that mean that perhaps we are looking at the wrong things in our applicants? Does it mean that there really are better med schools than others?

    The reason I bring this up is that we constantly hear about the "lower admission standards" (lower mean MCATs essentally) for DO schools, however from professionals in the field there is no distinction between a DO and MD in terms of quality in the field. If the stringent admissions standards were so important for outcomes (which the application process would lead most to believe) then why is there no difference in quality of doctors on the other end? Just wondering...
     
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  3. USArmyDoc

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    I think you have a point but I am sure there will be someone to refute it. ;)
     
  4. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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    What standards should be used?

    I think the current system takes into account all facets.
     
  5. atrovariousg

    atrovariousg Senior Member
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    You "think"?
     
  6. mj1878

    mj1878 Water good...
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    I think that you're mostly correct in your observation that DOs and MDs reach the same outcome following graduation(all, after all, are licensed to practice the same profession);however, if I'm reading you correctly, you're suggesting that different "measuring tapes" be used to assess the readiness and ability of an individual to cope with the rigors of a medical education and practice. Let's analyze the current system:

    1)Cumulative grades and science grades(which includes a, for all intents and purposes, standardized list of prerequisites)---->This is the part of the premedical education that most closely resembles the classroom learning that will occur in medical school. Since the prerequisites are pretty much the same for every school, it's a chance for the committee to see how an individual compares to everyone else.

    2)Extracurricular/exposure to healthcare---->This is a chance for the committee to assess an individual's selflessness and true desire to be immersed completely in medicine. The logic is that if someone is truly interested in the practice of medicine, they will want to be surrounded by all things healthcare-related all the time, as you most certainly will be as a physician.

    3)MCAT---->If the performance in class is a measure of how well you study over time on a focused set of topics, the MCAT tests your ability to not only think simultaneously in several genres, but to do it quickly and precisely. It is a test of your reasoning skills more than your science knowledge, in my opinion. Since they don't have time to break out Tangrams at interviews, this is their only shot to see how you perform with frayed nerves at high speeds. Cruel but likely necessary. Since much of the profession is about collecting data (vital signs, drug levels, blood values, EKG, etc.) and matching it against a knowledge base and coming up with a plan of attack, the MCAT is a cursory predictor of how you'll perform under these conditions.

    4)The Interview----> Their chance to make sure you can communicate with others without grunting and drooling. It is, first and foremost, a human enterprise, and they want someone who can communicate with other humans. The only real way to do that is to sit them down in front of them.

    I really don't see what else could be done to ensure the quality of the applicants. What I like about DO schools is that they aren't so tunnel-visioned on the numbers that all of the other stuff is overlooked. I believe that many amazing future physicians are turned away from medical schools because of the numbers game. However, I do NOT think that if your numbers are weak that it is a good idea to rely on the rumor that a DO school will simply gloss over them and admit you outright because of your extracurriculars and desire. If there's one thing that I've learned through this agonizing process, it's that you CAN change your numbers--if not one, then the other (MCAT/GPA). The applications process is a game, like any other. If you want to have a desirable outcome, then you're going to have to play ball(so to speak) to SOME extent. It's not a PLEASANT game by any means, but it IS a necessary one. If anything, it is a test of your own resolve to pursue, at any cost, the profession of medicine.

    I guess what I'm trying to say in this long-winded spiel is that, yes, while there's probably little correlation between a physician's MCAT score and their ability to be a fantastic physician, there is however a HIGH correlation between a premedical student's ability to:

    keep all their ducks in a row,
    perform well in classes over four years of undergraduate while keeping their GPA in constant consideration,
    study hard for the MCAT,
    volunteer every week,
    work in a healthcare field,
    keep up with current events in medicine, and
    have the resolve to keep applying, no matter how many times it's required, to get into medical school,

    and the quality of the individual entering the school. As the system is set up now, it's an impossibility to just apply to medical school on a whim. Just applying to medical school, whether you realize it or not, is a four year (sometimes longer) process. Not a lot of people have the will to go through a four year application process that will eventually lead to ten more years of school before they can finally get a real job. That's why I admire most premedical students(except the gunners that don't have to work at all through undergrad because their parents pay for everything, down to their groceries) for their resolve. Sorry this post is so long. :D
     
  7. atrovariousg

    atrovariousg Senior Member
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    I don't think my PS was that long?
     
  8. bkpa2med

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    lol, but MJ couldn't of said it better. When it comes down to it I believe that you reap what you sow. It's all about knowing your true potential while putting everything aside. Their are many people who do really well in UGRAD but it's worthless with no potential.

    You need to remember PE=mgh lol j/k
     
  9. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student
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    Well, while I agree that GPA/MCAT is probably a good indicator of academic success in medical school, I wish there was more to assess the clinical ability of students. The one thing that is missing in the application process is ability to combine what was taught in class and apply it in a real situation. That is to say, the MCAT doesn't test you on how well you may do on diagnosis and treatment, it seems more of a benchmark on your ability to study, focus and figure out esoteric problems. That's just my impression, as far as I know, no doctor has said to me they thought the being able to do well on the MCAT was the standard of being a good physician, rather they mention residency as a time when they learn the most. Too bad there isn't a premedical residency program students can all go through and be tested on before entry to medical school. It seems like a better way to gauge the quality of physicians coming out.
     
  10. strawberryfield

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    MJ all the way!!
    You go! Couldn't have said it better there...

    'Cause seriously... how is the MCAT a good predictor when you can score 4-6 pts higher when taking it twice? Does that mean you weren't good/smart/strong enough to be a doctor the first time you took it, but the second time... lol NOW you're good! :rolleyes:

    It's all a crapshoot anyhow!
     
  11. bruinfan32

    bruinfan32 Junior Member
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    That is pretty much exactly what I was referring to when starting this post, notably the "selectivity" of certain schools...and while I agree with the previous posters that the process tries to encompass the most logical and telling items of a student's profile, I just find it unfortunate that many schools (thinking mostly allopathic here) are willing to essentially discard thousands of otherwise qualified applicants due to what can essentially come down to the difference between an A or B in a certain class, or a handfull of questions on the MCAT. Oh well...I guess someone simply has to apply the "you gotta play all 8 semesters if you want to win" mentality.

    On a different note, has anyone had any issues with taking all 4 years to complete the prereqs and start applying in the senior year instead of the junior? This is the plan I intend to take for GPA reasons (I'm a 2nd year with an apx. 3.0) and I was just looking for some reassurance that this wasn't an abnormal or frowned apon plan. Thanks!
     
  12. strawberryfield

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    :luck: I'm a second time applicant (although 1st time I only applied to one school) I can tell you it is so much easier to wade through apps and it was easier to focus on the MCAT (I took it in Aug) in the summer rather than in April (and I did 4pts better). It's been nice to have a yr off (I graduated in May) and I don't think I'd change anything if I had to do it over. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing. Do what will work for you. It didn't hurt me to have another yrs worth of classes under my belt either for a gpa boost (as long as your grades improve, of course!) :luck:
     

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