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MCAT is important, but apparently not that much.

Discussion in 'MCAT: Medical College Admissions Test' started by longwait, May 10, 2002.

  1. longwait

    longwait Junior Member
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    I would like to share my experience of the whole application process with the students still preparing for MCAT. MCAT is important, but not that important, so there is really no reason to get so stressed out about this that your daily routine gets all messed up.
    "What the hell are you talking about?" You might ask.
    "Of course MCAT should force us to live like dogs and munch dry cereal while reading through review prep books every single day!" You might comment.

    Well, not necessarily. The whole application process is just too random, and there is too much subjectivity. An acceptable score guarantees nothing, and a lousy score can still take you to some of the best med schools. And I bet there are times when a humorous and eloquent personal essay can take you far even when you have a low score/GPA. Maybe all you bright fellows already know about how random this whole process is, but a ******* like me just found that out. (yeah, i'm kinda slow)

    My point to all you studious fellows is that:
    Don't get stressed out! Not even after you have a less-than-satisfactory score! MCAT determines nearly nothing.

    A personal story... I've received ONLY rejections from med schools so far. Here are my stats, and this might help me prove my point.
    My GPA is acceptable: UC Berkeley, 3.86, honors.
    My MCAT scores are also acceptable: 37 and S.
    My volunteering/research experiences are also acceptable: 2 years.
    Now, with all these acceptable stuff being put on my AMCAS, you might think I could at least get into one med school, but it didn't happen.

    I just want to let you folks out there know that it's important to take it easy. And eat and sleep and play like you should. Anyway, good luck to you all through out the whole process! (and the word "luck" is not to be taken lightly here)

    humbly yours,
    the graduating senior
     
  2. longwait

    longwait Junior Member
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    Hm, are you sure about that? The last time i checked i didn't have any serious issues.

    By the way, if you people do not believe how random this whole process is, please don't hesistate to visit the pre-allopathic forum. There are several others with better stats than me and have received worse fates.

    Anything could incite the subjective judgment of the admissions committee. An unfunny joke in the essay or an ambiguous comment made by a recommendation letter writer... etc., could effectively negate a 40+ MCAT score.

    Just take it easy about one single score. That's all I am trying to say.
     
  3. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member
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    Let me define an "issue." An "issue" would be a lack of perception or sensativity that would allow you to write such a un-funny joke that would cost you admission. Another Issue would be that you have such a personality that a professor would say something in his/her rec that cost you admission even with great stats.

    Great stats like yours don't get rejected form everywhere... unless 1) the person has some personality difficulty or 2) they didn't apply to enough "safety" schools or 3) they had no ECs.

    My point is that numbers DO matter a lot... so it would take A LOT to negate them.
     
  4. Street Philosopher

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    Your story only shows that stats can't make you. But I'm pretty sure they can break you.
     
  5. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Post Count +1:
    <strong>Your story only shows that stats can't make you. But I'm pretty sure they can break you.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Yeah, I agree... that probably sums it up nicely. :)
     
  6. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    I have to disagree with the assumption that this whole process ir random. I think *most* of the process is in our hands. If you have good stats (gpa, mcat) and you did not get in you need to take an in-depth look at the breadth and meaning of your ec's and how you present yourself in the PS as well as in person. Another factor is your LOR's they may not be as good as *you* think, unless you personally read what was written about you and saw the professors mail them off. Also did you submit the application as soon as possible, did you apply to a wide range of schools, were you invited for interviews? If you do not interview well (regardless of what we may think ourselves), or seem arrogant at the interviews there is no high gpa or mcat score that will counter a personality flaw. How much did your volunteer experiences mean to you? did you do it to check off a box or did you really put your heart into it. Did you apply to top 10 schools only? there must be something in your application that is sending a red flag. I am not trying to hurt your feeling or anything but you must take a very honest look at yourself and see what is holding you back, better yet have someone else do it for you. Call the schools and ask and of course if you are on a waitlist keep the hope up. Good luck!
     
  7. STi555

    STi555 Senior Member
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    I am curious what schools did you apply to gimmeabreak? Do you think you interviewed well? I know the process has a lot of variables to it so can seem basically random but I was just curious.
     
  8. marleybfour

    marleybfour Senior Member
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    I too disagree with some of the "randomness" statements. In my opinion, some of the people on the allopathic threads, that have not been accepted, come across as rude and arrogant. Maybe a medical school committee also felt this. Gimmeabreak, I am NOT including you in this group.
     
  9. Sm00th13

    Sm00th13 Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by gimmeabreak:
    <strong>I would like to share my experience of the whole application process with the students still preparing for MCAT. MCAT is important, but not that important, so there is really no reason to get so stressed out about this that your daily routine gets all messed up.
    "What the hell are you talking about?" You might ask.
    "Of course MCAT should force us to live like dogs and munch dry cereal while reading through review prep books every single day!" You might comment.

    Well, not necessarily. The whole application process is just too random, and there is too much subjectivity. An acceptable score guarantees nothing, and a lousy score can still take you to some of the best med schools. And I bet there are times when a humorous and eloquent personal essay can take you far even when you have a low score/GPA. Maybe all you bright fellows already know about how random this whole process is, but a ******* like me just found that out. (yeah, i'm kinda slow)

    My point to all you studious fellows is that:
    Don't get stressed out! Not even after you have a less-than-satisfactory score! MCAT determines nearly nothing.

    A personal story... I've received ONLY rejections from med schools so far. Here are my stats, and this might help me prove my point.
    My GPA is acceptable: UC Berkeley, 3.86, honors.
    My MCAT scores are also acceptable: 37 and S.
    My volunteering/research experiences are also acceptable: 2 years.
    Now, with all these acceptable stuff being put on my AMCAS, you might think I could at least get into one med school, but it didn't happen.

    I just want to let you folks out there know that it's important to take it easy. And eat and sleep and play like you should. Anyway, good luck to you all through out the whole process! (and the word "luck" is not to be taken lightly here)

    humbly yours,
    the graduating senior</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">All I can say is AMEN to that!! :cool: :cool: :cool:
     
  10. Doctora Foxy

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    On the other side of it, I got accepted with an mcat score 10 points lower than the original poster. That goes to show you that everything else matters a lot :D Good luck guys!
     
  11. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member
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    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Originally posted by Doctora Foxy:
    On the other side of it, I got accepted with an mcat score 10 points lower than the original poster. That goes to show you that everything else matters a lot Good luck guys!
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    No one is saying that everything else doesn't matter... it's just that with gimmieabreak's stats there must be more to the sotry. He must have not applied to any second tier schools, or one of the profs that wrote him a rec must have an issue with him, or he might have an attitude problem... OR AMCAS could have screwed up something on his application.

    Someone with a 37 will get in somewhere provided they apply to enough schools and they don't have something wrong with them personality wise. My husband had a 37 and a 3.9 gpa... he had practically no ECs! He did 2 months of lame part time research at his own undergrad, and he volunteered for Habitat a few times... that was it!! He's now at JHU... and he's an international student!

    MCAT and gpa matter A LOT. If you apply to a lot of different schools, including 2 tier and 3 tier, the only thing that could fatally bring down a 37 and a 3.7+ is a personality flaw, a mistake by AMCAS, or a disgruntled professor.

    Since gimmieabreak has yet to answer my question as to if he applied to second tier schools, I'm going to guess this is the sore spot.
     
  12. Papa Smurf

    Papa Smurf Thug 4 Life
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    This dude created a thread in pre-allo a few days ago. His prob was clearly that he only applied to the top 15 schools or so. I don't think it will kill anybody if they have to settle for a Northwestern or UPitt at #20 or so, but that's just me. As someone who applied to multiple top 20's myself, without much luck I might add, they just have way too many good applicants to accept everyone. People with 37's will not always get in there. However, some people are only willing to attend the top schools, which may be the case in this situation.
     
  13. vitaminX

    vitaminX Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by relatively prime:
    <strong>damn you must have some serious issues.....Yeah that's what I suspected... because even if he has a bad personality, with a 37 his state school (so long as he's not living in California) or a 2-tier school, would have accepted him. </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Hi, all, this is my first post. I usually just browse and never write anything, but I have been following this thread for a while now, and I think I need to voice my opinion. Grades and MCAT are important, and so is personality. But how is personality measured? By reading the personal statement, etc. And there is inevitably a degree of subjectivity in such a method, and subjectivity = randomness... it might not be a great issue, but it's definitely there. For example, consider every message on your computer screen as a manifestation of the poster's personality. Who would you consider as the one with the most severe "personality flaw" (using the term coined by Relatively Prime). If you read through all of the messages with the eyes of an Admissions Officer and look for the ones that are a bit rude, a bit assumptuous, a bit stubborn, etc, you might think that certain poster has (ironically) the greatest number of "personality flaws". Do you see how deviously subjective this process could be? By reading personal writings, one might make unfair conclusions on her personality, right? Of course she could be a great person and could become a wonderful physician. But I am just using the messages on this thread to stress how dangerous it is for people to "decide" on how good a person you are just by reading some of your writings.

    Anyway, this is a tricky process that good-willed Admissions Officer can still find difficult to master. So a small, yet potentially devastating, degree of randomness is always there. The person who started this thread might have wrote something on his/her essay in an unskillful manner and made most of his/her schools find him/her as having a lot of "personality flaws".
     
  14. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member
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    You so can't compare posts on SDN to a personal statement!! The thing with the personal statement is that you have the time to have SEVERAL different people read it! And you ahve time to revise it... make it perfect! If you have 10-20 people read your personal statement, you'll be able to weed out anything that's possibly offensive or vague.
     
  15. people like this confuse me. It's their dream to make it into med school, even a bigger dream to make it into a top 15/top 20 program, but yet they apply only to those top schools knowing full well that they might not get in with the level of competition.

    No offense but that's ******ed. More than likely somewher ein your applicaiton you came off as a prick, and no one likes pricks.
     
  16. jmejia1

    jmejia1 Senior Member
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    the process IS random to an extent.

    how do you explain getting interviews at UCSF and Stanford but getting outright rejected by Saint Louis University, NYMC, and some other low-tier schools? SLU even called me to offer me entrance to some graduate program for unsuccesful applicants.

    at that time I had been accepted to three higher-tiered schools so I politely declined thier offer.
     
  17. MyEyesMesmerize

    MyEyesMesmerize Senior Member
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    Lower tier schools commonly reject "overqualified" applicants because there is a likelyhood that those students will be accepted into higher tiered schools and thus turn down their acceptances. Seems counterintuitive because you would think they would take the best; but you can see the logic also.
     
  18. oldman

    oldman Senior Citizen
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    i too am curious as to where you applied.

    i have heard of people getting screwed because they have bad letters of recommendation. one of my buddies got a letter that said, "this guy should not be a MD, he should be a phd"

    and that was his committee letter. of course he's not going MSTP. :)
     
  19. dude7

    dude7 Senior Member
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    i think it is stated that anyone that scores BELOW a 7 on a category is in serious jeopardy of struggling in medical school, or on the boards.
     
  20. Fah-Q

    Fah-Q Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by jmejia1:
    <strong>the process IS random to an extent.

    how do you explain getting interviews at UCSF and Stanford but getting outright rejected by Saint Louis University, NYMC, and some other low-tier schools? SLU even called me to offer me entrance to some graduate program for unsuccesful applicants.

    at that time I had been accepted to three higher-tiered schools so I politely declined thier offer.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">The one MAJOR variable that almost every applicant fails to recognize is that different med schools are interested in different characteristics of applicants. The best thing you could do for yourself is read the med school's mission statement and the admission criteria. You should be able to find this info on almost any school's website. I know it sounds stupid (all med schools want high numbers, lots of EC's, strong letters, and research experience right?) but if you do some research you will find subtle differences in what each school looks for. For example, if you apply to a "second-tier" school (I still have no idea what that means) with a 3.9, 38 but with no research experience, don't be surprised to be rejected when that school's mission statement includes something about "a strong committment to the advancement of medical knowledge." Or, if you have the same stats and apply to a school who's mission statement includes "educating physicians to serve the regional population," don't be surprised at a rejection letter because you have never even been the this region or you stated somewhere in your application that you intend to practice medicine in some other part of the country eventually.

    My best advice is to try think beyond what YOU think will get you in and do some research to find out what the school thinks is really important. Then tailor your application to that particular school's emphasis if possible.

    Also, numbers alone will NOT get you in anywhere. If you blow the interview at Mrs. Wade's Medical and Beauty College then not even that 4.0, 42 will avoid you the shame of the thin envelope.
     
  21. robe25

    robe25 Junior Member
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    Just curious, are you a white guy gimme?
    No offense to anyone but this IS an issue. No one really talks about it but if you are, acceptable may not be enough, you might need something more. Or they might all be right and you need an attitude adjustment.
     
  22. ChicagoDude

    ChicagoDude Junior Member
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    I'm going to have to side with Fah-Q and RelativelyPrime on this issue. There is no way someone with Longwait's numbers could not get into a medical school unless they are somewhat lacking in both personality and common sense.

    I got a 38 and 3.65, but even I did not dare pass up applying to my state school, two unranked schools and my alma mater in addition to some top 20 schools. Also, I did not apply blindly, I read mission statements, looked at where schools get most of their applicants and tried to get a sense of what each school was going for in the "ideal" candidate and whether that HONESTLY fit who I was--it did not several times.

    Finally, it is very important that the school receive the sense from the applicant that they are distinguished in the applicants eyes from other medical schools. This is what the interview is for. If one makes it to the interview phase and then gets rejected, one of two things has happened: either the applicant appeared inferior to the school or the applicant communicated a lack of sincere interest for their program above others. A good personality and some simple research beforehand would easily avoid these last-step rejections.

    If these and other common sense steps are not taken, then I could see someone setting themselves up for not only rejection, but also not getting into medical school.

    There's a lot more I can say, but my point is that its really not so random. <img border="0" alt="[Wowie]" title="" src="graemlins/wowie.gif" />
     
  23. Cambrian

    Cambrian Colonel/Senior Member
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    I have to agree with the previous posters saying that this process is random but only to a certain extent. I too have experienced how random this process is. But with stats like longwait, the randomness should be very minimal. You are a stellar applicant. You have to consider that your LORs might have been very brutal, moreso than you might have suspected. Another possibility is that your personal statement might have come off as arrogant. I am not saying you are but obviously you are a very intelligent person and confident at that. And sometimes in writing, there is a thin line between arrogance and confidence even though you did not intend to be arrogant. So the what it boils down to is this question: did you receive interviews from most of the schools you were rejected from? Or was it that you never passed the interview stage. If you reached the interview stage, your personal statement was probably not the problem (and hence the likely culprit is the interview itself). If you didn't get to the interviews then it was probably the personal statement that did it.

    I hope you will get in to the school of your choice next year. Good luck.
     

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