SterlingMaloryArcher

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Who doesn't have a little bit of anxiety about their future, especially premeds? I'm pretty awake from a redbull and my homework is done so I made this :)

All the time we hear "You can be a perfect applicant and still be rejected." But there has to be more to it than that. I am attempting to start a discussion about there being somewhat of a science to applying to medical school rather than this unpredictable hellish thing it's often made out to be.

As a hiring manager, I can tell you there are DEFINITELY some key things that are actually very simple that are often missed, they seem to be a complete mystery to the applicant pool. People literally agonize over their resumes and chances of getting an interview but are rejected on the first look for something that should have come easy. There has to be some similar pattern here in the medical school application process we can pick apart.

Please take a look at the attached word document and tell me what you think. Where is it wrong? Where could it be more specific? Add some other critical criteria you can think of.
 

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While I think there are definitely some factors that help predict where one might end up throughout the application process, there is a lot of fickle details that throw a wrench into the process. From my experience applying and those of my friends, the pattern of interview invites are incredibly hard to predict and aren't 'logically' consistent. For example: schools you thought were "safety schools" will reject you outright before an II even though you think your stats and ECs are well above their average accepted student, on the flipside "reach schools" will somehow fall in love with you even though you're application was roughly the same. Also, according to your matrix I should have been a Top-20 accept. I am definitely not haha

I think that this is a great document to describe a general trend in the application process and can be helpful towards pre-meds looking to see what they need to accomplish before applying to medical school, but to say there is some kind of predictability of outcomes is a little far-fetched imo. One thing that you could add to your document would be information about interviewing and inter-personal skills that go along with successful applications, as it is the last big hurdle one has to clear before receiving a decision from an AdCom.
 
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SterlingMaloryArcher

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Thank you for your feedback! How unfortunate that it can be so unpredictable.

One thing that always boggled my mind, that I suspect carries over from undergraduate admissions to medical school admissions is the scenario I remembered seeing in HS on college board quite often actually in the "What are my chances":

"Hi I applied to ____________ University and was wondering if someone can chance me?

here's my stats:

GPA: 4.56,
AP Psych
AP Gov
APUSH
AP Chem
AP Cancer Curing
AP Walking on water
SAT: 2400
4 years of foreign language
4 years of English, Math, and Science

Extracurriculars: 4 Years of cross country, varsity basketball sophomore, junior, and senior year. Volunteered at homeless shelter 12 hours every saturday all four years high school

1st Place at Regional STEM Fair Junior year for kjhsvlihefbcodsncudsbvdfsv

Essays:
Kinda crappy"

WHAT DO YOU MEAN???

All those years of hard work, going above and beyond and at the very end of it all you can't take one night to write a decent personal statement and two short essays and take the next night to polish them over a couple hours?!?!?!?! I'd reject you!
 
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Endoxifen

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From what I've been told, it's a story, more than anything that will get you into medical school. You need an understandable and compelling arc to be really competitive at top institutions.
 
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SterlingMaloryArcher

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To add a data point, I got accepted in the Top 20 and have all the boxes checked on your list. So in this case the pattern seems accurate. Though I do think strong essays like you said are very important. The schools where I didn't get an interview are those where I half-assed my secondary. In addition, I have some big red flags on my app (not something minor like Ws), but I think my primary essay got my foot in the door at many places.

Thanks for sharing! If you don't mind, what kind of red flags and how did you overcome them? Were they fairly early on in your journey?

From what I've been told, it's a story, more than anything that will get you into medical school. You need an understandable and compelling arc to be really competitive at top institutions.

Well, that certainly makes sense, your pic is hilarious :)
 

efle

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Few things:
  • I think the award from your university checkpoint is way off. I don't even know of any such awards given by my college and we are well represented at the top every year. Pat on the back from your college absolutely isn't what makes the people at interview days at top 10-20 special.
  • GPA and MCAT importance depends a lot on the individual schools. A 95th percentile score (34.5) is right in the middle or above middle for some places (U of W, UCLA) and barely past the bottom 10% mark at others (Vandy, Penn). Similarly some top schools do keep the typical admit around a 3.7 but others have now passed the 3.9 mark.
  • Caring if you went past the prereqs is also not a big deal, at all. You can study whatever you want after the prereqs just excel at it.
My gestalt impression after being on these boards a lot and going through this for myself and with my friends: for some love from the top ~20 you need the appropriate LizzyM score (~75 is a good bet) and the other boxes checked (volunteering, clinical exp., research). For the tippy top handful you need the appropriate LizzyM and something outstanding/interesting in the usual checkbox categories that is your shiny something, your hook. Maybe your undergrad research project went so well you got the results published, maybe you have an outstanding record of service to an underserved group and showed initiative and leadership starting up a club about it, maybe you started into a different career that makes you unique and interesting before applying to medical school.

Stats really do drive this process overall, too. They are the selecting factor most of the time, primarily the MCAT. The exact same app with solid ECs and a 3.8 GPA will be competitive for totally different schools with a 29 vs 32 vs 35 vs 38+.
 
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voteknope

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Hey, there! I think your list is pretty accurate overall. Personally, I never took any science courses beyond the basic requirements, even as a social science major. Maybe there's less of an emphasis on advanced coursework when you have already graduated? Right now your list might exclude some non-trads who definitely still get accepted to Top 20 schools. Just a thought! :)
 

kb1900

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Lm 76 orm interviewed at several top 20s and WL'd at all of them. Accepted at every other school I interviewed at. There's no rhyme or reason to this stuff - esprcially when I see how my peers faired this cycle.
 
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