My application cycle: getting in is chance, i'm convinced

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waitlists at 6 schools ranked from #6-30, in @ #3. note that i use a ranking as a proxy for selectivity.

I applied to 17 schools. Rejected pre interview @ 4. i interviewed at 13 (duh).

i got into the first 4 i heard back from, albeit these were my four most safety schools (out of the ones i interviewed at)/state schools.

then i got waitlisted at 6 in a row.

then i heard back from my top choice, obviously thinking gonna get waitlisted, and got in.

(still waiting to hear back from one bc it's rolling and i interviewed late).
 

mooshika

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Excellent example of what I have believed all along that once you have created a good application with good numbers and EC's and the rest, it is truly a lottery - and that is why folks apply to 20+ schools! It's so ridiculous but it is what you have to do. I, foolish I, applied to TWO schools.

Congrats on your top choice acceptance!
 

Myuu

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Excellent example of what I have believed all along that once you have created a good application with good numbers and EC's and the rest, it is truly a lottery - and that is why folks apply to 20+ schools! It's so ridiculous but it is what you have to do. I, foolish I, applied to TWO schools.

Congrats on your top choice acceptance!
It is sooo not a lottery from the admissions end. It only seems random because you don't know what we're selecting for and how we go about doing that.
 

dancindoc85

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you wanna talk about weird lottery that makes no sense? i interviewed at ohio state, a top-30 program, on their VERY first interview day and was accepted on the VERY first day of acceptances back in october... then sat around for months and months and never got but 2 more interviews.... one DO and one at a brand new program....

just check out my mdapps profile...........
 

JJMrK

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It is sooo not a lottery from the admissions end. It only seems random because you don't know what we're selecting for and how we go about doing that.
This. Although I can't use the term "we." :D
 

riverjib

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It is sooo not a lottery from the admissions end. It only seems random because you don't know what we're selecting for and how we go about doing that.
Enlighten us as to what you "select for," please.
 

riverjib

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meaning he himself is not one of the med students who aids/assists/takes an active role in the admissions process at xyz med school
That's evident, but I think everyone else is more interested in what Myuu has to say. I'm always interested to hear the ADCOM side of things. I know people who have been accepted to Hopkins/Harvard/(name your top few schools) who weren't even granted an interview at other elite schools...and these are kids who applied June 1 with 3.9/35+ MCATs, great ECs and/or research, and really compelling personal statements. From where I stand, there does seem to be quite a bit of randomness to the process. I can't imagine this isn't the case, since plenty of schools see "perfect" applicants in the first month the AMCAS is open...there are only so many slots just for interviews!

Myuu, please share your pearls of wisdom. Seriously, it's more valuable to all of us (you were here not so long ago) to hear from the "other side," rather than speculation from a multitude of pre-meds who aren't privy to the information you have. One of my classmates was not offered an interview at Duke (her top choice, which is informally 6th in the country?), but has been accepted to 14 schools including Harvard, Case, Mayo, Hopkins, Columbia, and many others. She has a 3.96 (one A- ever), 40 MCAT, eight years of experience working for a particular volunteer-based organization, four years of research including two second author publications, and a true hardship story that includes losing her mother and father before she was 20. She's annoyingly likable, to boot :)

Of course she's attained the grail, and would be hard-pressed to get sympathy from anyone, but why didn't Duke even grant her a glance at admissions? Not that hers is a sob story, but if the "perfect applicant" didn't even get an interview at her top choice, isn't there SOME randomness to the process? And what chance do regular folks with 3.6-3.8GPA/30-34 MCAT scores have?
 

brianmartin

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No it is not chance or a lottery, it's about fit. A great application at one school will be average at another one, based on your strengths and weaknesses.
 

riverjib

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No it is not chance or a lottery, it's about fit. A great application at one school will be average at another one, based on your strengths and weaknesses.
I agree with you when it comes to the final acceptance, but what would make a school decide the ideal applicant isn't good enough for even an interview? Especially considering the applicant applied literally June 1?
 

mooshika

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I agree with you when it comes to the final acceptance, but what would make a school decide the ideal applicant isn't good enough for even an interview? Especially considering the applicant applied literally June 1?
Lottery - means there is a great deal of subjective influence on the selection process. Those who say there is no "lottery" involved are claiming there is no subjectivity. Since it only "seems" this way to us, perhaps those in the know, who say it is "soooo not a lottery" can explain how selecting, for example, 120 "suitable" students from a pool of 3000 applicants is entirely without subjectivity?
 

randombetch

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waitlists at 6 schools ranked from #6-30, in @ #3. note that i use a ranking as a proxy for selectivity.

I applied to 17 schools. Rejected pre interview @ 4. i interviewed at 13 (duh).

i got into the first 4 i heard back from, albeit these were my four most safety schools (out of the ones i interviewed at)/state schools.

then i got waitlisted at 6 in a row.

then i heard back from my top choice, obviously thinking gonna get waitlisted, and got in.

(still waiting to hear back from one bc it's rolling and i interviewed late).
You got into WUSTL because you have good stats (I'm guessing). What's so surprising about that? WUSTL's not as hard to get into as Duke/Stanford/Yale.
 

bobsmith

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Sort of a minor distinction here, but I would say that admissions aren't random, but arbitrary. That is, they're obviously not rolling dice and randomly selecting people, but the factors they choose people on and how much each factor is weighted can be arbitrary and isn't standardized across schools.

I would agree that there is a degree to which randomness does affect your application, though. If you're randomly assigned an interviewer that loves you at one school versus an interviewer that is bored with you at another school, it's sort of out of your hands.
 

mvenus929

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I interviewed early in the cycle at an out-of-state school (that accepts a large number of OOS applicants). I interviewed early (within the first couple interview days) at my own state school. I interviewed fairly early (a month and a half-one interview day a week-after the start of interviews) at an out of state school (that doesn't accept a large number of OOS applicants, and actually discourages OOS students from applying).

I heard as soon after October 15th as I could from the first-acceptance. Still haven't heard from my state school. Heard the next day before I even got out of bed for the third-acceptance.

Then there's the 5 schools that didn't even bother inviting me for an interview.

Yes, there is some randomness in the process. Your file could get read by someone who loves it, and then get read by someone who thinks it's rather stereotypical. Not a whole lot you can do about it, unfortunately.
 

slowbutsteady

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waitlists at 6 schools ranked from #6-30, in @ #3. note that i use a ranking as a proxy for selectivity.

I applied to 17 schools. Rejected pre interview @ 4. i interviewed at 13 (duh).

i got into the first 4 i heard back from, albeit these were my four most safety schools (out of the ones i interviewed at)/state schools.

then i got waitlisted at 6 in a row.

then i heard back from my top choice, obviously thinking gonna get waitlisted, and got in.

(still waiting to hear back from one bc it's rolling and i interviewed late).
Can think of absolutely no good reason for this post. We care because . . ?
 

Ischemic

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We care because he got into all these awesome schools man. OP is just awesomeness bundled up in human form. As Hancock would put it "Great Job!! :thumbup:" We should all bow down before the walking awesomeness that is NNukibw77. :bow::bow::bow::bow::bow::bow::bow::bow::bow:
 
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We care because he got into all these awesome schools man. OP is just awesomeness bundled up in human form. As Hancock would put it "Great Job!! :thumbup:" We should all bow down before the walking awesomeness that is NNukibw77. :bow::bow::bow::bow::bow::bow::bow::bow::bow:
Or it provides a (personal) example for why I think the process is random?
 

slowbutsteady

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Or it provides a (personal) example for why I think the process is random?
There are about 80 "randomness" threads on SDN. They all ultimately resolve into "it is purposeful, you just cannot see the process."

Admit it, you just came up with an (unoriginal) thread to showcase your stats and app process.

Kinda sad, really.
 

Myuu

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And to clarify, by "we," I mean the institution and not "I am an adcom AHAHAHAHA--sho me ur faecbooks."
 

bamtuba

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Well, I can agree to what seems like a WTF interview season (interviewed by JHU and some other great schools but not Baylor, Vandy, or UVA? :confused:), but when I look back it seems to me that those that did interview me likely appreciate a non-trad with only recent (though pretty successful) science background and mediocre MCAT but with EXTENSIVE other life experiences just a little more than the others. Some schools will not give you the time of day without that 35+ MCAT, and others want math/science majors (I'm lookin' at you Duke), but for good reason (at least for them).

Yeah, fit is important.

And I appreciate some of those other schools not wasting my time and money just to send me to some interviewer who wants to do nothing but belittle a background that doesn't match what they want. (This ALMOST happened to me at G-town, but luckily my interviewer was kind of a "failed" music major who went into science instead...talk about ironic. Great guy, but man was he harsh at first on my background.)

But whatever.

Lesson learned? Random, no. Fit, yes.
 
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bamtuba

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And to clarify, by "we," I mean the institution and not "I am an adcom AHAHAHAHA--sho me ur faecbooks."
Apparently the FB question comes up for real sometimes.

(get rid of the evidence kiddies...)

:)
 

mmmcdowe

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Lottery - means there is a great deal of subjective influence on the selection process. Those who say there is no "lottery" involved are claiming there is no subjectivity. Since it only "seems" this way to us, perhaps those in the know, who say it is "soooo not a lottery" can explain how selecting, for example, 120 "suitable" students from a pool of 3000 applicants is entirely without subjectivity?
"Lottery" and "Subjectivity" are different things. I think most people will agree that there is a lot of subjective thinking in the admissions process. What one adcom values to a certain extent might be way off from what another adcom values. So yes, there is a lot of subjectivity, not necessarily a lottery. Lottery is random, meaning it is completely not subjective. The lotto machine doesn't prefer big numbers over little numbers or red balls over blue balls. I guess one could argue that there is a subjective choice on the adcom to consider low numbers as superior to high numbers....
 

JJMrK

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Enlighten us, please.
Different schools are looking for different things. Each applicant may have something that makes them a great candidate at one school, but a poor one at another.

The fact that people apply to so many schools means that the process appears random from their point of view, but if you look at all of the applicants at one particular school, you will likely see a trend.
 

apumic

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note that i use a ranking as a proxy for selectivity.
This is your mistake. Herein lies the "random" aspect. As said above, it is about fit. It always has been. It was even for UG admissions, but because there are so many more slots and their "fit" criteria are typically so much wider at that level, it's not as "big" a deal from the applicants' perspective. If premeds did their research like people applying to Ph.D. programs they would be at a distinct advantage (Ph.D. admissions are about 98% fit, 2% numbers once the grad school admin asst hands your file to the dept after screening for <3.0 GPA/<1000/50th percentile GRE or similar). It's fit + perceived potential for the career, not drawing straws, that determines who gets in once you have all been shown to be "capable" in terms of numbers.

FYI, trying to rank med schools is like trying to rank snowflakes. Unless you're comparing yellow snow (Caribbean) to clean snow (U.S. MD/DO) or fresh powder in the mountains (U.S. MD) to packed powder (U.S. DO), there's really not much to talk about here. The schools all teach basically the same curriculum. Ranking is really more a measure of what each school cares more about (i.e., those w/ super high stats most likely cared more about stats when accepting students, whereas those w/ lower stats probably looked more for other aspects of applicants and those w/ high percentages of students w/ publications probably care more about research, etc.)
 

ApoK

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You got into WUSTL because you have good stats (I'm guessing). What's so surprising about that? WUSTL's not as hard to get into as Duke/Stanford/Yale.
FYI, OP got into Penn Med, not WUSTL. Penn is more selective than WashU even though they're ranked the same. I'm guessing OP didn't have stats that were outstanding but is a nontraditional with meaningful life experiences. Penn gives HUGE points for undergraduate institution and for what you did between graduation and application. 70% of their class is non-trad.
 

mvenus929

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If premeds did their research like people applying to Ph.D. programs they would be at a distinct advantage (Ph.D. admissions are about 98% fit, 2% numbers once the grad school admin asst hands your file to the dept after screening for <3.0 GPA/<1000/50th percentile GRE or similar). It's fit + perceived potential for the career, not drawing straws, that determines who gets in once you have all been shown to be "capable" in terms of numbers.
But sometimes it's rather difficult to determine whether or not you'll be a fit for a school, especially in any given year. I applied to NYU two years ago, ended up waitlisted until I withdrew shortly before school started. I applied again this year with a much improved application (as evidenced by the fact that another school I applied to and interviewed at accepted me right away instead of waitlisting me), and they didn't even offer me an interview this year. My improvement also wasn't in numbers.
 

mooshika

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I really believe, and maybe because I have to, that if your scores are at or above the average for matriculated med students, and you aren't completely crazy or are not able to hide it in an interview (me) then you have a pretty good shot if you apply to 15-20 schools.

As far as it being a lottery - it may not be for the ADCOMS at the schools them selves and they are looking for particular things - but with so many people with so little differences between them all - and given that it is difficult if not impossible for us (the applicants) to gain insight into "exactly" what they are looking for other than the obvious, we the applicants have to approach this like a lottery.

that is why we have to apply to so many schools. At first, I though six schools was a lot to apply to, but I knew very little at that time. We have to look at percentages and short shots/long shots, and approach it with probability and statistics in mind. So for me, with the scores at and or above the average admitted med student and some interesting "diversity" and experiences to bring to the table - it is a lottery. I have to "buy" 20 tickets in order to increase my chances by "X" and what is the payoff at that rate of investment?
 

mooshika

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I'm kinda weird. My clothes don't always match right. So where do I "fit" in.
 

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Matriculated student averages aren't impossibly higher than applicant averages and yet less than but near to 50% of applicants are accepted.

Lottery?

Not in the sense that there are things you can do to give the coin a little more weight on one side (higher numbers, applying earlier, stronger ECs, picking schools well)... still, though, 50%? Coming from another country, the medical school application process in the USA seems so broken (no where else are students urged to apply to 15-20 schools to "raise their chances". It's not like applying to more schools makes the chance of being accepted at any one school more likely, it just means you have the same opportunity of being accepted at a larger number of schools.

Stats is not my thing, it's just more intuitively that the thought process of "applying broadly" doesn't make sense to me. Seems like a pseudo-effect. If you narrow down your list well enough based on your stats and preferences, you should be self-selecting for schools that are more likely to accept you anyways. ???)
 

Morsetlis

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^ The system is ****ed up because so much of it is subjective. But, the real problem is, we don't have enough residency slots and thus schools aren't encouraged to overenroll. We don't want to end up like Italy where there's actually unemployed doctors.
 

MaryLennox

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you wanna talk about weird lottery that makes no sense? i interviewed at ohio state, a top-30 program, on their VERY first interview day and was accepted on the VERY first day of acceptances back in october... then sat around for months and months and never got but 2 more interviews.... one DO and one at a brand new program....

just check out my mdapps profile...........
hot damn, i should have applied there! (my profile looks a whole lot like yours)
 

cpants

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Subjectivity is a necessary and good part of the selection process. What is the alternative? The 15,000 highest students based on grades and MCAT get admitted, everyone else is screwed? The number one ranked school would get the top 100, and on down the line? I don't think this would be the best way to choose our future doctors or ensure their success at a given school. It would be a completely objective system, but it makes little sense.

The fact is that subjective materials matter, including volunteer experience, personal statements, research experience, leadership, INTERVIEWS. The schools do the best they can to select the students who are the best fit for their program. Yes, there is subjective material included in both the applications and the evaluation process. But somehow, it all pretty much works out. Yes, you need to apply broadly. Sorry, but that is the case in any competitive field. Ever try applying for a job in finance?

Anyway, time to get used to a mix of subjective and objective materials for evaluation in all of medicine. It's how you are admitted. It's how you will be graded. It's how you will be matched for residency. Heck, it's even a huge part of how we evaluate and treat our patients. What do the first two letters in SOAP note stand for?
 

LizzyM

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^ The system is ****ed up because so much of it is subjective. But, the real problem is, we don't have enough residency slots and thus schools aren't encouraged to overenroll. We don't want to end up like Italy where there's actually unemployed doctors.
We have more residency slots than we have US allo graduates. The empty slots go to foreign medical graduates. It is slots for 3rd & 4th year students in clinical rotations that dictates the size of the class and prevents expansion.
 

naijaboi

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The selection process is not random nor lottery. Fit is very important - and most schools emphasize what and who they are looking for on their websites and also through their current students. I was almost certain that I would interview at Harvard despite my lower stats, and that Penn and Georgetown would reject me. Harvard seems to love people with interesting backgrounds (and late bloomers). Penn and Georgetown are less forgiving and are also much more into undergraduate institution prestige.

I was surprised by Columbia's snub, but on hindsight my secondary essay was iffy. Each school has its priorities and what it looks for in students. Well-rounded students and smart applicants are able to showcase different aspects of their personalities effectively and hence can appeal to a broader range of institutions.
 

Ischemic

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^ The system is ****ed up because so much of it is subjective. But, the real problem is, we don't have enough residency slots and thus schools aren't encouraged to overenroll. We don't want to end up like Italy where there's actually unemployed doctors.
Actually we have more than enough residency spots. I mean where the hell do you think all those FMGs do their residency in? They fill out spots that aren't filled by US grads