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Narrowing Down The List

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by ms2209, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. ms2209

    ms2209 Senior Member
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    Hello all,

    I am currently trying to narrow down my list of schools, and I was wondering if anyone has suggestions on what types of things to look at when deciding on a final list of schools. I have been taking into account the average GPA and MCAT (although I have not yet gotten back the results of my MCAT), and using that as a guide, as well as location, but I was wondering if there were any other factors that previous applicants could give as advice. Also, do you think that applying to 12 schools is a good number, or should I be applying to more? Thanks!
     
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  3. idq1i

    Physician 15+ Year Member

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    You got all the right factors already. It will all depend on your GPA and the MCAT score. Post'em, and you will get decent suggestions.

    Is 12 enough? It depends on how competitive your application is. I had a 3.45/35 from a decent state school with loads of research, almost no ECs, and great letters. 9 applications, 5 interviews, 4 acceptances
     
  4. Trekkie963

    Trekkie963 Senior Member
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    The answers to your questions depend a lot on your own personal preferences, but I can tell you a couple things that were extremely important to me and maybe they'll be important to you, too.

    Problem-Based Learning: Do you want a traditional lecture curriculum or would you rather have lots of small group work?

    P/F grading: Many schools use pass/fail grading for the first two years, others use traditional letter grades or Honors/High Pass/Pass/Fail grading.

    Be sure you apply to a good mix of schools with median numbers below yours, around yours, and above yours. If you are a Texas resident, I would say applying to 12 schools is fine. If you are a California resident, I'd say you should definitely apply to more. If you are just a resident of any old normal state, 12 could be okay, provided you apply to a decent proportion that are "realistic," including, of course, your state school(s). If you can afford to apply to more schools, I would do it, just so you have more options and less of a chance of getting left out in the cold.
     
  5. SarahGM

    SarahGM Senior Member
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    Here are some guidelines I followed when trying to narrow my list:

    1) Whether or not the school accepted out-of-staters. This REALLY narrowed the list!

    2) Location. North/South, East Coast/West Coast, city/suburban/rural.

    3) Type of curriculum (although this wasn't as important to me back then as getting INTO a school- but will become more and more important as you visit schools and learn about their intricacies)... problem based/traditional, etc.

    4) Distance from home. Do I know anyone in the area? Do I have a support network there?

    5) Cost, and potential scholarships/financial aid.

    There are many other important factors which might come into play as you learn more about the schools, as well, such as exam scheduling (weekly, or block system). Much of the time your learning-style may influence where you apply.

    I applied to 16 schools. I think generally it's a good idea to apply to 3 or 4 reach schools, or more if you can afford it. Don't go entirely based on average numbers and stats... you never know where you might get in!!
     
  6. TheRussian

    TheRussian Life Size Mirror
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    Other things to consider is curriculum. Is it traditional, system based, or problem-based learning. Also consider patient exposure during the first two years. Standardized patients vs actual patients. Can't really think of anything else right now

    In terms of how many schools to apply to it depends on how competive you are. If you think you are a strong candidate then 12 is plenty. If you are borderline then you probably want to apply to a few more schools.

    Another thing to consider is the likelihood you'll get accepted so you want to have a wide range of schools from "safety schools" to reach schools.
     
  7. ms2209

    ms2209 Senior Member
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    Okay, my stats so far (without the MCAT, because I am not sure what I got yet) are a 3.83 overall GPA from Columbia University. I have a 3.78 science GPA and a 3.87 non-science GPA. In terms of extra curriculars, I've been all over the place, doing research over the summers, volunteer work at a local hospital, writing for the school paper, and working as a computing assistant.
     
  8. ms2209

    ms2209 Senior Member
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    By the way, thanks for all of your suggestions so far, this is really helpful!! I really appreciate it :)!
     
  9. idq1i

    Physician 15+ Year Member

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    These are some great #s. Break a 30 on the MCAT, and no school is out of reach for you! :thumbup:

    Nice signature, the idiot one. Hah
     
  10. ms2209

    ms2209 Senior Member
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    Thanks! I can't help but feel though that there are so many other people who are so much better off, and it makes me really nervous. Plus, one of the pre-med assistants was telling us that there's "no such thing as a safety school" - yikes.
     
  11. idq1i

    Physician 15+ Year Member

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    They are right. Your job is to make your candidacy as desirable as possible, and it looks like you are well ahead in this task.

    Don't worry about the intangibles
     
  12. TheRussian

    TheRussian Life Size Mirror
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    I felt the same way. I had the numbers but I didn't feel like I stood out. In the end it all worked out and I'm going to a good school. You'll get in somewhere, don't worry about it.

    It is true that there is no such thing as a safety school but I always find safety in numbers. In other words there is no single school where you are guaranteed an acceptance but if you apply to a number of these so called "safety school" you will most likely get into at least one if not more of them.
     
  13. babybribs

    babybribs Junior Member
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    Where do you find this information? Thanks
     
  14. Trekkie963

    Trekkie963 Senior Member
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    This info is in the MSAR.
     
  15. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
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    Forget MSAR, the only thing you need is US News ONLINE edition. Check out the admissions stats for each school, it breaks it down by state, gender, race, etc. Even has interview %-ages. Its fantastic.

    I wouldnt narrow schools down until you get your MCATs. 12 is a good number for now, and prolly not worth narrowing down from yet.
     
  16. ms2209

    ms2209 Senior Member
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    Thanks, everyone, for your advice. I'm sort of frustrated right now, because I'm getting "advice" that the schools that I think are good for a safer range are going to "overlook me" due to my stats, assuming that I will just turn them down in favor of much better schools. I am not sure what to do at this point in terms of my so-called "safety" schools, because if the "safety schools" turned me down for this reason and the top schools turned me down for not being competitive ENOUGH, where does that leave me? This process is so insane!!!! :eek:
     
  17. skypilot

    skypilot 2K Member
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    Yeah make sure it is not just one or two out of staters either. Make sure the school accepts 50 or 60 or more.
     
  18. TheRussian

    TheRussian Life Size Mirror
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    I felt the same way. But it's not really true. Maybe for some schools it is, but in general it's not the case. If you let the school know that it's your safety school then you might be in trouble. Just convince the school that you really want to go there and you should have no problem.

    The only exception is that I have a feeling that schools know where you were accepted before may 15 and if they see you were accepted to a better school they'll put you on the waitlist and take you of it if you show an interst in their school
     
  19. Lion-O

    Lion-O Sight beyond sight.
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    Wow, these are about the exact same criteria I used, and in the same order.
     
  20. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
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    even though that is somewhat common...theres nothing you can do about the randomness of the process...apply to about 15-20 schools that you want to attend and hope for the best. just make yourself the best applicant you can be and the rest should take care of itself.
     

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