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Need advice about staying on waitlists

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by WashMe, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. WashMe

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    When it is approaching 5/15, if I still have zero acceptances should I stay on as many WL's as possible, or should I withdraw from some in an attempt to "choose" a school or two? Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I get off a WL, it will only be one, correct? (b/c schools can see your app status everywhere after 5/15)

    My thoughts are:
    1) the more WL's I hold, the better chance I have to get in somewhere.
    2) I have a decent chance of getting off the WL at the schools that WL'd me, I think/hope.
     
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  3. NTF

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    My vote would be to stay on all WL's. I can't imagine any school holding it against you for staying on multiple waitlists. In the absence of an acceptance I don't think you can afford the luxury of narrowing your options.

    Plus, considering the high caliber of all the schools you applied to, I imagine you should be pleased to attend any of them.
     
  4. URHere

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    Why on earth would you withdraw from any waitlists before you have an acceptance? There's no way staying on a waitlist can hurt you - schools don't know what other schools you are waiting on unless you tell them. Plus, it's not like you need to put down a deposit on a waitlist spot.

    As far as I know, this is what schools can see by the time March rolls around:
    -If a school has accepted you, they can see which other schools you have been accepted to. They do not see your waitlists.
    -If a school has not accepted you, they have no idea about how your application process is going.
     
  5. fizzle

    fizzle New Member
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    All schools can see your app status after that date? Or is it just schools that have accepted you? Or can schools that have waitlisted you see them too? And what exactly do they see?
     
  6. WashMe

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    The way I understood it was that after 5/15, everyone's status EVERYWHERE is visible. This allows schools to communicate about who they want to take off the WL, thus precluding someone who is on, say, 10 waitlists from ending up with 10 acceptances after 5/15 (when it is only OK to be holding 1 at any given time). I may be wrong, but I think that's how it goes.
     
  7. WashMe

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    I would be pleased to attend any of them, but I have them ranked 1-4 (hoping to get WL'd @ WashU) in my head... not necessarily US news and world report rankings, either.
     
  8. jult24er

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    thats what i had assumed. and i thought that, if you get in off a WL and accept, there's nothing stopping you from staying on the other WLs and going there instead if they take you at a later date ...
     
  9. WashMe

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    I agree with you about that. The issue is whether or not holding an acceptance after 5/15 will hurt you if you are trying to get off another waitlist...

    I mean, do you think a school is more likely to take someone with zero acceptances off of their WL or someone who already has an acceptance after 5/15?

    I'm not sure what the answer is, but I assume that the person who has no acceptances would be a good choice because they would likely end up matriculating and the school wants to fill their spots.
     
  10. rocketbooster

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    I know WashU has waitlist movement. My friend got off it a few years ago and is now happily an M2. :) You will, too.
     
  11. WashMe

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    thanks for the vote of confidence! :)
     
  12. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Schools do want to choose someone who will say yes. Remaining on the waitlist is an indication that you might "jump ship" from your current choice if you get an offer from your preferred school. Sometimes a school gets burned (someone forgets to withdraw from the waitlist) but for the most part, staying on the list, and staying in touch with updates and letters of interest will send the message that you are still available although you are "engaged".
     
  13. mmmfood

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    i am curious about this as well.
     
  14. errrca930

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  15. medgrl30

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    I got put on my first waitlist today and have no acceptances yet. How exactly does the waitlist work? Does anyone know if there is waitlist movement at NJMS?
     
  16. WashMe

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    That sounds like good advice, thank you for your input :)
     
  17. WashMe

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    I'm sure somebody has a better explanation, but I think it is something like this:

    School: "This person isn't really good enough, or they're just not the type of person we want at our school. However, to fill the class, we'll take them if we have to."

    The school accepts all the people they really want, and they generally over-accept for the number of spots. They also waitlist a bunch of people, and they may rank those people 1-XXX based on how badly they want them. If school XYZ wants a class of 120, they may accept 300-350. People with multiple acceptances will have to w/d from all but one school by 5/15, then school XYZ may only have 90 people holding acceptances. The school will then extend an offer of admission to 30-XX people (overshooting again, but hoping not to have too many actually matriculate) according to their rank on the waitlist.

    Sometimes a school over-accepts when it is all done, then they have to make accommodations or offer some $ to those who are willing to defer matriculation 1 year.

    Anybody please correct me or add to this as necessary.
     
  18. LizzyM

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    Most schools will reject the applicants you describe. The waitlist is for the applicants that make the adcom say, "This person is good and would be a good fit here but we've already made offers to 2 times as many applicants as we have seats so we need to waitlist this one."

    I'm pretty sure that schools tend to fill waitlist spots one at a time.

    Schools live in fear of over accepting. It happens very, very rarely.
     
  19. medgrl30

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    so it is not likely that people get off waitlists?
     
  20. WashMe

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    Thanks for clearing that up for us :thumbup: I wasn't sure, I was just taking an educated guess from what I had gathered on SDN. I was confused about the WL because it seems like many people, myself included, have been WL'd at schools since mid-October after interviewing in early September. Can you shed some light on why so many WL's were/are going out when seats aren't full? (people continue to get accepted where I have been WL'd for 2 months)

    Thanks! :)
     
  21. LizzyM

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    Some schools will give outright acceptances to the superstars, some of whom won't interview until later in the season, and so they pace themselves with the understanding that the best applicants tend to be front loaded in the interview season Let's say a school projects that it will have to make 300 offers to fill 100 seats. It might start out by interviewing 250 applicants and making offers to 125, rejection to a handful and waitlist the rest. Among the next 250, it will make offers to 100, reject a handful, and waitlist the rest. Among the next 200 (as the season winds down) they may accept 75, reject a few and waitlist the rest. Now they will see if the 300 yields 100 candidates or if they need to go to the waitlist to fill in.

    So, getting waitlisted means, you are good enough to sit in the seat but there aren't enough seats for everyone who is good enough so just "the best" get offers right away.

    Keep in mind that some of the best applicants will have many offers. No school has a yield of 100%. Most schools make 2-3 offers for each seat. Some schools keep the number low by making very few offers and then going to the waitlist and choosing those who have expressed an interest and an intent to matriculate. Others have the philosophy that they will get the best if they make offers to a great many of the very best with the idea that the yield may be very low but they will land some of the most talented applicants of this year's crop.
     
  22. fizzle

    fizzle New Member
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    Well, since over-acceptances are so rare, and we can assume that the number of initial acceptances sent out and accepted in turn by acceptees is pretty much never going to exactly equal the number of spots in the class, we can deduce that at least some people at pretty much every single medical school get off waitlists.
     
  23. WashMe

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    This is off topic and might sound arrogant, so I apologize ahead of time. What makes someone a "superstar"? I find it hard to believe that I would fall in the bottom half of applicants at the three schools where I was waitlisted. I have solid research and a pub, good stats, MCAT teaching, some E.D. volunteering, and some shadowing. I'm sure I don't blow away my interviews, but I would imagine I'm average. My apps were mostly complete in July, with 3 added in the last several weeks.
     
  24. dragonfly99

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    If I was holding zero acceptances, I would no way in hell take myself off any wait lists. Don't try to "game" the system too much as an applicant, because it will just blow up in your face.

    "Super star" med school applicants have very high GPA and MCAT scores, a ton of clinical volunteer work, and LOR's from someone known to the admissions committee, and have a very winning personality during the interview. Also, "superstar" to them means you fit the profile of what the school wants. That will be different for East Tenn. State U. vs. Yale.
     
  25. Handy388

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    generally, a lot of interviews and a lot of waitlist means bad interviews, am I correct? LizzyM plz comment. I am also in the same boat (7 interviews one acceptance many holds)
     
  26. WashMe

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    After reading people's replies I've decided I'm staying on every waitlist. Regarding "superstar" applicants, I see what you are saying and I've never met a true "superstar" applicant lol. There is NO WAY that the only people picking up acceptances now are superstars; no offense, some people probably are. Your last statement is making me second guess my school choices. Perhaps I'll act completely out of character if I luck into another interview this cycle, then I'll get in :) Thanks for the PMs.
     
  27. Jolie South

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    By reading your posts, I get the sense that you feel entitled to an acceptance because of your GPA and MCAT score. If that's all there was to it, why would schools bother interviewing people?

    If you approached your interviews with this attitude, I can see why schools weren't quick to accept you.

    I'm not saying this is you, but if it is, that could explain some things. And good choice on sticking with the waitlists. :thumbup:
     
  28. scarletgirl777

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    Your interview is an important part of whether or not you are a "superstar." Your ECs have not been described in excruciating detail--they could be slightly better than average, or if you played a major role in the publication or got a lot out of the research experience, they could be of superstar quality (or be able to be spun such that they are of superstar quality).
     
  29. jult24er

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    I don't get that sense (from most posts.) In fact, i get the sense of someone trying to be unusually magnamanious in the face of having a whole lot of time and effort disregarded.

    The point, for me, is not entitlement, its that adcoms make minimal effort to inform us when we will be wasting time in this long process of presenting ourselves to them.
     
  30. Jolie South

    Jolie South is invoking Domo. . .
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    That's the nature of the game, unfortunately. Also, every school has slightly different criteria, so what one adcom might say might not jibe with what one from another school says.

    I also don't think there's a "cookie cutter" applicant that they could tell us to be. Aside from the the good MCAT/GPA, it's up to each applicant to decide how best they want to gain clinical exposure, what activities they enjoy, and how they can volunteer their time.

    If I was an adcom, I would pick the people that showed that they had passion for their interests outside of school, tried to show a humanistic side, and genuinely put a lot of thought into medicine. I don't think this translates to a formula of: X activity, X teaching experience, X hours of shadowing, or X time volunteering. I think this is something that should jump off the page from their descriptions/PS or be evident in interviews. Again, this is just my opinion and how I approached the admissions game.
     
  31. jult24er

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    Hmm, thanks for the explanation. I see your point. I would just say that; the cost of such an opaque application process is a lot of time and energy to applicants, and the benifit, as I see, is only in empowering one, or a couple of, people's opinions of what constitutes a good/interesting person.
     
  32. LizzyM

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    ^ this plus a LizzyM score that is 5-10 points higher than the school's Lizzy score makes a superstar.

    Schools provide quite a bit of information about their current students: gpa and MCAT, proportion with research experience, proportion from in-state, proportion non-trad, etc. and their particular emphasis in training and extracurricular opportunities (international experiences, rural medicine, research, etc). Finding schools that are a good fit with your interests and communicating that interest, as well as showing that you've walked the walk, goes a long way.
     
  33. scarletgirl777

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    I think this makes a lot of sense. Too many people seem to be approaching ECs with a kind of checkbox mentality, and if you can't say anything insightful about your experience or done anything meaningful or different to shape the groups you are part of, they'll be able to tell right away.
     
  34. WashMe

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    I'm not saying I'm entitled to acceptances, I just expected more interviews, that's all. I try to be professional and friendly in my interviews. I shake everyone's hands, look them in the eye when I answer questions, smile when appropriate, and be solemn when appropriate. And... I try to avoid saying anything I'll regret lol.


    On a side note to a LizzyM post: No offense to LizzyM, as I'm sure the score works for many people, but my LizzyM score of ~78.5 is well above most schools, including top ten schools, and it is not getting me many interviews (and no acceptances, taking into account average ECs. I'm not a superstar applicant, and we need to take the numbers stuff lightly.
     
    #33 WashMe, Dec 29, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
  35. LizzyM

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    Many of the top schools interview only 10-20% of applicants. You were complete at 11 schools and got 4 interviews so you are at 200-400% of what we might have expected if interviews were granted at random.

    Of those interviews, I would expect that you will have at least one offer by late June. It is still early.

    While you have the numbers, I'm not sure you have the ECs to be considered at the top of the list.
     
  36. foodfood

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    hi, i dont know if this question has been brought up yet: i have been waitlisted out of my top choice [well out of all of the places that i have interivewed at]. after the interview, they either accept or place you in an unranked waitlist. is it possible to get an acceptance offer from this school before may 15th, if i write them a letter of intent once the interview season ends in march? or does everyone have to stick it out until may? thank you!
     
  37. LizzyM

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    Most successful applicants hang on to all or most of their offers until May 15. Schools tend to make more offers than they have seats and they are loath to overextend themselves. Put those two facts together and you can be relatively sure that most schools won't go to the wait list until May when the dust settles and they see if they have 3 empty seats or 30. It can vary that much one year to the next at the same school with the same admission strategy!
     
  38. medgrl30

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    I was told by a secretary at NJMS that last year no one on the waitlist got in. Does anyone know if this is true? Also, does anyone know which other schools do accept their waitlist candidates?
     
  39. pianola

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    OnlyNeedOneYes, have you ever considered contacting some of the schools that have waitlisted you (like Ohio, for example) to see if you can learn a little bit more about why you've been waitlisted? You'd have to do it with the right attitude and humility (obviously) but I bet if you contacted the dean of admissions humbly and sincerely you could learn something.

    Whether or not stats are everything, they're obviously something and something important. So in your case, I would tend to agree with what you appear to suspect -- there may be a fairly concrete reason you're not being considered by more of the schools to which you applied. A comparative lack of ECs and a lack of a broad application may be contributing factors to your lack of success, but I doubt they'd put you out of the running altogether. Maybe you have a horrible and/or arrogant attitude, but I think it's entirely impossible to make a judgment either way based on your posts.

    So start a dialogue with one of the schools that's waitlisted you. "I'm concerned that there may be some part of my application...Anything you could tell me would be very helpful, as I may be a reapplicant next cycle (this is neither the time or place to strut your 39 MCAT)." If the dean of Ohio can't tell you anything about your app, then maybe the dean of another school can. Do some detective work if you care about getting into medical school this cycle.

    If you haven't figured out what's hurting your application by this point (and assuming that other people have critically read your AMCAS app/secondary), my bet is on a bad LOR.

    If you end up reapplying, get new LORs and have a few people you trust read your PS and Work/Activities section of the AMCAS app -- you could ask someone who's been successful this cycle, perhaps, or a current med student.
     
  40. WashMe

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    After reading this, I sent the schools that waitlisted me my most recent application updates along with a note similar to what you suggested above. I hope it helps come May :)
     
  41. pianola

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    Yeah, good luck :luck::luck::luck:. The good news is that this cycle isn't over yet, so if you find out what's causing you problems, you can try to act on that information.

    If you have a bad LOR, you could consider asking someone else to write an additional note of support.

    If it's a lack of clinical (which I sort of doubt), hopefully your updates will help, and you'll have a chance to get more exposure in the coming months.

    Etc., etc.

    If you don't get any responses to your message, try to pursue the issue in person. People tend to be much more willing to talk with you about your application status in person than they are to put anything in writing.
     
  42. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    A bad LOR will generally result in no interview. Why waste an interview slot on someone whose warts are visible before the interview invitation is issued?

    Waitlisting generally means that the applicant doesn't have a fatal flaw but just isn't as good as "the best".

    Some schools will be willing to talk with you after the cycle is over if you have no offers at all. This winnows the waitlisted and rejected to a manageable group and some admissions offices will make time to give an honest appraisal to former applicants who are preparing to reapply. It is 5 months too early to ask for assistance on reapplying.
     
  43. WashMe

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    I wasn't so much asking about a re-app, rather just sending fresh updates and telling them I am still interested. I said I would continue to update them and that I would appreciate any advice on how to make myself a more suitable applicant in the next several months.
     
  44. LizzyM

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    It is duplicitous but you can get your friends to bad mouth the schools where you are on the waitlist to everyone who is holding an offer to those schools.A few conversations (or threads) about the toxic atmosphere of competition, the horrible facilities, the bad match list, the crime in that city, the high cost of attendance, and you'll be gettin' a call from the Dean of Admissions with a hearty "congratulations". Remember, the best way for you to get off the waitlist is for (almost) everyone holding an offer to choose to go elsewhere. :smuggrin:
     
  45. Retsage

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    Anyone else hear about the violent gang that's targeting med students in Durham, Hanover, and Nashville? Horrible, horrible situation, that.
     
  46. SouthernSurgeon

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    This is the correct answer, hands down.
     
  47. slowbutsteady

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    I cannot imagine how pulling yourself off waitlists would "impress" a school. What I would do is, later in the cycle, communicate to one school that it is your first choice and that you will withdraw from the others if that school admits you.

    But if one of the others admits you first, all bets are off. You would then notify the school to which you expressed first choice preference and tell them that you will [fill in whatever you want to tell them].

    The key is that you can only have one "first choice" at a time. If they come through, you must maticulate there. But if they do not come through, you are free to accept another offer.

    Bottom Line: Keep all options open.
     
  48. pianola

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    Yeah and watch out for Rochester, Minnesota. It's like the Bloods and the Crips all over again ;)
     
  49. batman1983

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    As for your percentage of interview invites, I think you have done pretty well for yourself(at least compared to me :)). Also, there are so many variables that schools look for in applicants that they don’t necessarily disclose, such as specific types of ECs, connections/legacy, ethnic/geographical/racial diversity, and etc. So, I would not feel bad about schools that you have not received invites from.

    In my opinion, the medical school application process has a large amount of subjective bias, esp once it comes to the interviews. It is lame that you have to bust your butt for >4yrs just to have the grades and ECs to get an interview, and have all that work flushed down the drain by either not being good at selling yourself in interviews or having ******* interviewers with their own agenda(I have had interviewers that have attacked my ECs as well as even make some stereotype comments about my ethnic background). Thus, there is only so much control you have over the process. So, I would recommend staying on all your waitlists to maximize your chances of an acceptance.

    However, I think the best things you could do right now is to first verify that you are doing the right things in interviews (either by doing mock interviews or asking the ppl you have interviewed with). In addition, I would send letters of interest to all the schools you applied to. Finally, each school has its own mission statement, thus, if there is any school in particular that you want to go to out of the schools you have been waitlisted at, I would recommend becoming involved in ECs that reflect that school’s goals and update the school about your involvement in them.
     
  50. pianola

    pianola MS2
    7+ Year Member

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    What if it's just a not-so-good-LOR? Not bad enough to totally sink the applicant but bad enough to hurt him? And what if the school in question has a low average MCAT? Don't you think they'd be tempted to interview him because he's desirable except for that horrible LOR from a professor who may or may not know the applicant well?

    I dunno, that's my guess. I don't think the LOR writer wrote "To the best of my knowledge, OnlyNeedsOneYes raped a girl 2 years ago and was never arrested for it," but he may have written something slightly disparaging.

    My theory is that schools have to compromise somewhere with their applicants. If they didn't, every school would have a 45T average MCAT, 4.0 GPA, and every applicant would be required to save several babies in Africa before entering. I'm guessing sometimes schools compromise in terms of the apparent motivation of the applicant, and sometimes in their academic record and, sometimes in their ECs and well, wherever they feel like they might be able to cut corners.

    Yeah, but some schools waitlist everybody or nearly everybody so that they can keep their options open...If I were an Adcom, I'd certainly want to keep my options open with a guy who had a 39 MCAT and nearly a 4.0. I imagine that post-interview more people get waitlisted than rejected, especially after having made the effort to drive or fly to School X.

    I'm sure it's hard to get a school to talk about the status of your application and how the review has gone, but possibly someone, somewhere will be willing to talk to the applicant and let him know what's going on with his application. That's what I'm thinking. People like to talk. My interviewers have been fairly candid with me about the strengths and weaknesses of my application. :shrug:

    I dunno. I figured it was worth a shot to ask. And it probably can't hurt. The worst thing that happens is that OnlyNeedsOneYes is exactly where he was before.
     
  51. alibai3ah

    5+ Year Member

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    I can see why you would be surprised that you haven't had more interviews. But if I were you I would first wonder why you are being wait-listed everywhere...and not accepted. Secondly obviously your stats are good, but your EC's seem good but not great. Lastly you applied to some of the most compeititve schools in the nation....even with your stats, I would have applied to some middle/lower tier schools. IMPO, getting into a lower tier school is better than getting rejected from all top tier schools and having to reapply.....not that i'm saying that'll happen to u
     

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