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My chance of getting into top schools?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by bubblebear, Jul 12, 2001.

  1. bubblebear

    bubblebear Member
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    What do you think of my chances to get into top schools like Harvard, Yale, or UCSF? I'm from Berkeley, with a GPA of 3.75 (science 3.68), total MCAT score of 32, writing P, and decent volunteer and research experience. Am I being unrealistic here? (since I know the entering class of these schools have a much higher GPA, like 3.8/3.9, and higher MCAT scores) Should I withdraw my application from these schools? :( :confused:
     
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  3. nashtrash

    nashtrash Member
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    hey bubblebear--don't be silly! you definitely should not withdraw your application. I know it's really easy in this whole process to really doubt yourself and think that you don't have what it takes. Your numbers are great so don't even worry about them. Now you should concentrate on things that you can change--like improving your interview skills, writing a good essay, spending time on your secondaries. I can't say for sure that you'll get into Harvard, Yale, or UCSF but nobody can--it's just completely unpredictable. I think you definitely have a good chance, but I wouldn't get my heart set on any one super-super-competitive schools--it's just too easy to get your heart-broken! plus when you start visiting schools on your interviews you may find that you don't really like your school too much or you like others more. anyway, good luck with everything and have confidence in yourself!
     
  4. pcl

    pcl Senior Member
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    Like nashtrash said, the process is very unpredicatable. Try to apply to a variety of schools that are both above and below your "stats". You should be accepted somewhere as long as you focus on your personal statement, getting good letters and interviewing well. Most people here have suggested the "thirds rule" re: applications. A third dream schools, a third middle tier schools, a third back-ups or safety schools. If you are from CA, make sure to apply to some of the CA-friendly private schools on the East Coast...

    You never know unless you try! Good Luck!
     
  5. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats
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    PCL: What exactly are some CA friendly East Coast schools?

    BEAR: Hey! I just graduated Berkeley too!! Glad to see some others are here on this forum. Email me if you want to talk about any secondaries or anything else. We can help each other out during the hell of secondaries. Your scores are great. My roommate went through the process last year and he said schools seem to be impressed if you come from Berkeley and are able to keep your GPA semi high. Why are you thinking of dropping some of the higher schools? How many schools do you have so far? Have you already submitted your app? Feel free to IM me or just email me so we don't clog up this post.
     
  6. DJ W.R.

    DJ W.R. Senior Member
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    You won't know unless you give it a shot...
     
  7. pcl

    pcl Senior Member
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    Scooby: I don't really know exactly, but I've seen quite a few posts regarding schools with high numbers of califoria students. Jeff, Tulane and NYMC come to mind, but here are some posts that may be helpful.


    california applicants

    web page

    cali residents 2
     
  8. grasshopper

    grasshopper Senior Member
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    back to the "what are my chances" question . . . I have good numbers (38, 4.0 at a decent, though not top, school), but people are telling me it's still a long shot to get into the top 5 or 7 schools, just because there are so few spots and it becomes random. Any thoughts? Do most people that have the numbers get into at least some top schools? I'm applying to most of them just in case . . .
     
  9. Dylann FMD

    Dylann FMD Senior Member
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    Grasshopper:

    I am kinda in the same boat (39, 4.0). I applied to a couple of the top schools too, though I am not counting on them. I am not exactly an authority, but I agree that for a large part it is random. The top 5 schools have most of the top 10% students applying to them. The way they choose can be interesting and erratic, and sometimes just make sense. I think since most of the students applying have 3.8+ gpa's, and 35+ MCATs, they spend a lot of time looking at the rest of your application. Sometimes I think they pick a certain amount of each
    stereotype to make the class diverse, meaning they take the researcher, the philosophy major, the artist, the missionary, the activist, etc. Though there may be 20 people applying with credible, published research findings, they aren't going to take all 20 because the class would be homogenous. Make sure the rest of your application is strong enough to make them want you--start with the essay (cuz after the grades, that is where they look to decide secondaries/interviews). Then at the interview, make yourself standout (in a good way!). They won't accept you just because you have a 4.0 and 38. And most of all, don't take it personally if you don't get in. As I said before, the selection process can be widely erratic. But with those stats, I am sure you will get plenty of interviews, probably a few at the top schools, and you will almost definitely get in at a couple of places. Relax, and be confident--that is the key. Hope it all works out for ya!
    ;)
     
  10. kreno

    kreno Candy Man
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    I don't mean to be abrasive, but... WHO THE HELL are you people with your 4.0's or 3.9's and freaking 38+ MCAT scores? What do you guys look like anyhow? I'm serious... are you people dorks? Or just incredibilty talented individuals who are also quaterbacks of their BIG ten school football teams. My god... why are you going into medicine? Why don't you REINVENT medicine or something... get your PhD or something and invent a cure for aids or something... stop making it so difficult for us "average" people with 3.7's and 30+ mcat scores!

    "I'm in the same boat as you" blah blah blah. WHAT ARE YOU GUYS EVEN ON THIS MESSAGE BOARD FOR? You have *NOTHING* to worry about other than convincing the med schools that you're applying to that you're not messed up in the head (i mean, you have to be a little messed up to have a 4.0 at any college, but less a 38 MCAT!).

    I'm obviuosly being facetious here... however, I'd still like a response! I wish you all the luck... but jeez! ;)

    Good luck to you all

    Leon
     
  11. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    Well put, Kreno!
     
  12. grasshopper

    grasshopper Senior Member
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    I guess I'll take that as a compliment. No, I'm not a dork, and honestly, I'm not as smart as my numbers make me seem, because I overperform in test situations (some people say they're test scores underrepresent them; if that can be true, I figure the other way around can happen too). I'm not sure how you got the quarterback thing; did Dylann mention that or something . . .? Or am I just a little dense on the jokes around here? :) Anyway, I can't not worry about this whole thing, because it isn't true that everybody "with the numbers" gets in, as Dylann mentioned, and I've got my weaknesses in my application (never done any amazing volunteering in the peace corps or anything like that, which it seems everyone is doing now, for instance). As for the "who are these people with the MCAT scores" question . . .one of my friends last year pulled off a 42, and he's one of the most socially adept people I've ever met. I think it comes down to a very specific kind of intelligence, which does mean something, but perhaps not as much as it's made out to mean. I don't know. Please don't hate me though. :)
     
  13. scootad.

    scootad. Senior Member
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    Well put Kreno. I'm sorry but if you are "smart" enough to have a 38 MCAT and 4.0 you don't need to ask, "am I good enough for the top schools"? Gimme a break. Stop stroking yourself publically. :mad:
     
  14. grasshopper

    grasshopper Senior Member
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    Sorry I offended you; I truly didn't intend for it to sound that way. I'll step out of this discussion.
     
  15. praying4MD

    praying4MD 2K Member
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    Considering all the talk about "compassion and empathy" on this forum, I would have thought people would actually show it when the time comes. I, too, hate threads like, "will I get in with a 40 MCAT and 4.0," however, I do not think it is right for me to hate those with stellar stats. Perhaps this is because I believe that stats are meaningless in quantifying a person's ability to become a good physician.

    Grasshopper: I don't think it's right for others to condemn you. However, be warned that "do I have a shot" questions are not received well here, esp. coming from those with stellar stats. I'm sure you understand why it may be frustrating for someone with low MCATs to read a post like that. At the same time, I do not find anything wrong with asking honest advice and invite you to keep posting if that is your intention. Good luck.
     
  16. RacerDude2249

    RacerDude2249 Senior Member
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    Bubblebear and Grasshopper,

    I'm in the same boat as you. I have similar numbers, a 4.0 with a total score of 40 on the MCAT and an "S" on the writing sample from Princeton and I'm thinking of withdrawing my medical school application from all the top tier medical schools and will most likely just apply to only tier "3" medical schools because that is most likely the only place that I will get in. I know I have tons of extracurricular activities and have volunteered in the Peace Corps in Africa for the last two years to feed the underpriveleged, and have five publications in top medical journals and have received research funding for work I co-authored with a Nobel Leaureate, but I know it is STILL not enough. What do you guys think? Do you think I can possibly make it to a Tier "2" medical school? I know I definitely can't make it into ANY of the top medical schools. But should I maybe just go for it and instead of ONLY applying to Tier 3 medical schools, apply to the Tier 2 medical schools also? I don't know? Feeling really confused over here. Someone please help! Maybe I should apply to some Carribean medical schools to be safe??

    Racerdude... :p
     
  17. kutastha

    kutastha 2K Member
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    First off, I should say people with stellar stats should be wise enough to know what their chances are. Now, last I checked, a 4.0 meant you had nothing but As. No A-s, not even a single B in four years of college - regardless of the 'level' of the institution. That, and an MCAT of 38 shows that this is an exceptional person. Any kind of varied activities (even if it's not working for the peace corps or starting a soup kitchen for the homeless) make for a very good applicant - unless of course this person is socially inept and an automaton with books and tests (in ten years of college I've never heard of anyone 'overperforming' on a test). What makes you wonder is when anyone asks if they should withdraw their application from the top schools when they have good scores and a decent experience record. I applied to Harvard, UCSF and WashU and I would never dream of withdrawing any application from anywhere. Why on earth would anyone? With your scores, why would you not want to go to the best school for you? You marked them down when you sent off your app, so why would you withdraw it now?

    In addition, you should certainly stand up for yourself. Who wants a doctor that backs down from a heated discussion?

    And Racerdude, I think you need to take some time off and see if you can bump up that MCAT and take a couple postbac classes to work on your GPA. I'd recommend saving someone's life and hiking to the top of Everest before you seriously consider sending off your application. Good luck.

    Andrew

     
  18. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    The postbac classes won't be enough... he should just go straight for the PhD. :D
     
  19. Dylann FMD

    Dylann FMD Senior Member
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    Very, very true praying4MD! I agree completely, which I am sure will make a few people snarl, but so be it. Really, I think you guys are going overboard. I am sure all of us have, at one time or another, been under confident in a situation where we shouldn't be. Getting into med school is not a for sure thing for anyone. But I agree no one should be looking at those numbers to blame--obviously the blame should be put somewhere else.

    As for Kreno, no, I am not really a big dork, at least not the typical science type. Yet it is definitely a perception that people make of me. For that reason, in real life, I feel like I have to hide the stats because people will automatically presume that about me. They see me not as a person but as a statistic or as an action ("The Studier"). When most people find out this about me, the usually will talk only school around me, as if that is the only thing I am. It often takes people a while to realize there is a lot more too me than just grades and studying. I am not asking you to feel sorry for me or anything, but just to keep an open mind. You may think its strange or untrue, but there were plenty of times where I wished I didn't have those numbers so that people would take the time to get to know who I was.

    As for ajr, yes, there is something to say about "over performing" on tests. Most exams test a specific type of learning. Whereas Person A might know way more on a subject than Person B, Person B might be able to ace the test because of good test taking ability, intuition, the ability to study only what they know will be on the test, not getting nervous--there are many reasons. I don't really think I am as good as my numbers show. I never scored anywhere near that on the practice MCATs I took--something that day just went well. Overperforming is just what grasshopper refered to it as.

    Oh yes, and "I won't back down," so throw at me what you like.

    :) :)
     
  20. kutastha

    kutastha 2K Member
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    Crap, I had a response written but somehow it disappeared.. oh well, in a nutshell, in regards to the overperforming, you're the one taking the test, no one else. If you're a better test taker, and routinely do well, how are you overperforming? You may be outperforming Person A who studies like hell, but I don't see it as overperforming because you intuitively take tests better than Person A.

    Andrew


     
  21. Dylann FMD

    Dylann FMD Senior Member
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    I guess it is just how you look at it. If there can be underperforming, then who says there can't be overperforming. Its kinda Grasshopper's invent-a-concept. I didn't come up with it, you have a point, but I still kinda like the idea--its about doing better on tests than you feel you should/feel you have the abilities too, which is the point GH and I were trying to make.
     
  22. lilycat

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Just wanted to say that those of you who are considering withdrawing from some of the "top ten" schools are probably worrying unnecessarily. It's tough to get into those schools, but if you are in the ballpark with your GPA and MCAT, there is no reason not to apply if you think you would seriously like any of those schools.

    I think it would be really rare to find someone who managed to get accepted at all of the "top five" or "top ten" med schools. Once you have the requisite numbers, different schools start to look for different things. Some might be more impressed with community service experience, others will prefer research with publications. You never know where you may stand out best.
     
  23. BlueFalcon

    BlueFalcon curmudgeon
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    Just a reminder that in the real world, reality does not base itself on what you believe. As an example, in the real world there is a correlation between stats and a person's ability to become a good physician. Probably one of the main reasons med schools are such a big fan of stats.

    For my medical dollar, I'll frequent the sharp cookie SOB with the "stats." I will leave the well-rounded village idiot with the sympathetic ear and placating, empty rhetoric for you and your like-minded pal Dylann.
     
  24. praying4MD

    praying4MD 2K Member
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    Blue Fallcon: I know very well what the real world has in store for me regarding stats and I simply stated what I believe, not what really occurs out there. But Thank you for being concerned enough to explain it to me. I never implied that the "real world" coincides with my personal beliefs, for that would be foolish indeed. My point is that there are many people out there with less than stellar stats who will make EXCELLENT physicians and surgeons. From what I have read the only section on the MCAT that has had any correlation with USMLE pass rates is the Verbal Section. One of the best cardiothoracic surgeons I know had less than stellar MCATs. I do not believe that numbers can quantify someone's ability to do ANYTHING. They do not reflect motivation, intelligence, determination or perseverance. Numbers are just that. Numbers. I know med schools do not believe this, and I have never stated they do. It is my OPINION.
     
  25. gmendese

    gmendese Porn Star
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    First of all, who the hell do you people think you are for bashing people who do well on the MCAT and have stellar GPAs? I'm not even close to being in that boat, but I think you are being immature, jealous, infants. Everyone has a right to be nervous about this whole application process because it is SO inconsistent. However, people with 38+ MCATs and very high GPAs should be aware that they will probably get into great schools. Which by the way, just a dose of reality for everyone: MOST U.S. MEDICAL SCHOOLS ARE GREAT! What is this Tier 2 and Tier 3 school b.s.? Are you ranking the schools by what U.S. News says? THey rank schools by the amount of research money they receive and several other "standardized" but otherwise bunk criteria.

    There is Harvard and Washington University, then there is a fine line, and then there are the other U.S. schools, with the Ivy League schools being at the top of that list.

    If you get into a medical school, make the most of it. A name is only a name. Look at their Board pass rate and their Residency Match list. To hell with the name!

    Apply, interview, and make the most of what happens to you. Just have a more open mind and accept what happens to you. If it doens't happen right away, you can apply again. Just don't insult others who are just as nervous as you are.

    But just as a note to those with stellar GPAs: 3 years ago, a friend of mine took the MCAT and got a 44R. A great score! He had an OK GPA from Wesleyan (3.5ish), and he got accepted to every school he applied to (including Harvard). But keep in mind that he did other things (including getting masters degreeS). So, the moral is, MCATs will take you far, but only so far. So I understand your concern. But don't worry...it'll happen.

    Sorry for this long post, but I just needed to say this stuff. BEst of luck to everyone!
     
  26. kutastha

    kutastha 2K Member
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    Who was being insulted? Perhaps those of us without the 4.0 were amazed that those with stats like that would be worried, because in all honesty, they shouldn't, unless of course they are like the automatons I mentioned eariler. If you have stats like that, then my god of course, you have very good chances. For those of us that are purportedly jealous, take me for instance: I got a 36R on my last MCAT, I have an Masters in Chem, I'm 28 years old, will have a PhD in molecular genetics, worked in a cancer hospital and cloned a tumor suppressor gene and I'm still wary about my chances with a UG GPA of 3.2. It can be a crapshoot for people like us, the ones that can't intuitively look at a test and get the As. I've applied again and again and have seen friends of mine like Dylan and grasshopper get in everytime. These exceptional individuals have exquisite chances of interviews and good heads on their shoulders. In our own roundabout way we're advising them that they are outstanding candidates. We only question how these people can question themselves. How can they be insulted?

    Andrew

     
  27. mvalento

    mvalento Senior Member
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    i was accepted at a "top ten" school with a 3.6 ... but this was only after being pulled from a waitlist after initially being accepted to 1 out of 17 schools that i applied to. you never know what's going to happen. send in your applications, go to the interviews, and remember, rankings of schools are somewhat unstable and subjective. my advice is to go to all the interviews you are granted and look for the school that you think you will be happiest at. in my case, that meant the school that had the most to offer (curriculum, research, etc) but without a a ton of competition and stress among the students. i very recently withdrew my top ten acceptance for a lesser ranked school, and i couldn't be more satisfied.

    bud
     
  28. Dylann FMD

    Dylann FMD Senior Member
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    Wow, I am the village idiot. My mom will be so proud!

    The fact is Blue Falcon, though there may be a slight "correlation" between stats and good doctors, good scores do not automatically make a good doctor, and low stats does not necessarily mean the person would be a bad doctor. And what do you exactly mean by good doctor? Some of the "top doctors" in the country are considered "top" because they do a lot of research and are well known in the politics of medicine. That doesn't translate into how the doctor relates to his patients. I would say the "best" doctors are those that can effectively reach patients, which I know is not something that the MCAT will test. I think some of the "best doctors" are also found by looking at board scores. Of course board scores and MCAT/GPAs will correlate--they are both tests. In my life, the best doctors I have had did not attend Harvard, Yale, etc (the ones I had from these schools were the worst). The best doctors I had were from "second" or "third tier" schools.
     
  29. BlueFalcon

    BlueFalcon curmudgeon
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    Dylann,

    Of course good stats don't automatically make good doctors. Nowhere did I say or imply otherwise. Nor did I say or imply that you were the village idiot; merely that you might like to see him/her for care. I lumped you in because you so wholeheartedly jumped on Praying's nonsense bandwagon. Of course there's a correlation between stats and good doctors. To use an absolute term like "meaningless" to describe the correlation between stats and good doctors shows poor writing skills at best and foolishnes at worst.

    Certainly stats are only part of the package. That's so self-evident that I'm embarassed to state it. Certainly there are those with lower stats who become better doctors than others with higher stats. But they are most decidedly not "meaningless." If you were running a med school, would you disregard them? If you did, I'm confident your school would have difficulty graduating good doctors. In fact, I'm confident your school would have difficulty graduating doctors period.

    Certainly everyone wants a compassionate, well-rounded doctor who listens well and has great people skills. But without the medical stuff, that doc's not much more than a cruise director. Like it or not, those nefarious "stats", in most cases, reveal one's ability to handle that medical stuff. Again I'm embarassed for having stated something so painfully obvious.

    What a treat it would be to be regaled with tales of your doctor's days as a glass blower or lute player who fed the homeless on his lunch break and candy-striped in the summer while he compassionately thumps you in the head with his rubber mallet to check for cranial reflexes. Then again what a treat to be treated by someone who actually knows what he/she is doing.
     
  30. praying4MD

    praying4MD 2K Member
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    Why does everything have to be taken to extremes here? All I said was that IMHO stats do not predict whether someone will be a good doctor. There are excellent dr's that had lower stats. In addition, you equate stats with being less knowledgeable about the medical field. Tell, how does a foreign student who got a 3 on Verbal mean that they are village idiots or less than able to treat a disease?
     
  31. RacerDude2249

    RacerDude2249 Senior Member
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  32. Dylann FMD

    Dylann FMD Senior Member
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    I will "reluctantly" second praying's comment, and jump on the bandwagon once again, though I don't want BlueFalcon to have to "embarrass" himself once again by saying "painfully" obvious things. Falcon, you never really got my suggestion that "good doctors" is subjective, and the correlation between "good doctors" and scores depends entirely on the criteria used to determine "good doctors." Competency as a physician requires intelligence, and obvious these stats assess somewhat the potential competency. But that is only a launching platform to the whole field. But really we are beating a dead horse, and arguing over exaggerations and connotations.
     

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