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Noticing some trends on MDapps...

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by milliya, May 15, 2008.

  1. milliya

    milliya Soon To Be Saving Babies
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    While I understand that MDapps is not a completely reliable source of information (its kind of like Wikipedia), I was on one of my med school information binges tonight, so i started browsing profiles. I noticed the following:

    1. Most MCAT scores over 35 (don't ask why I searched 35+) were in the 2001-2004 application cycle and there were fewer of those scores as time progressed. Now I know the MCAT is no cake-walk, but did it get harder?

    2. There are quite a few people who had like 37-41 MCAT and 3.1-3.5 GPAs that were still rejected! I was just a little surprised by that and it kind of confirms the statement by another SDN member that the MCAT means s***.

    3. A lot of applicants had the majority of the schools they applied to knocked off under the 'Rejected Post Secondary' category. For those of you who have applied, do you feel that secondaries were your downfall as well?

    Please feel free to offer your insight on these matters as I go sleep...:sleep:
     
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  3. taponthecloud

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    What are we?...A bunch of elves laboring by candlelight to find answers to your pressing application questions?
     
  4. Captain Fantastic

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    1. Nope. In fact, if you look at the trends -- the average MCAT score of accepted applicants is going up. You're just seeing an artifact of the sample you're reviewing.

    2. MCAT is a piece of the puzzle, but there are no silver bullets in the process. I heard one dean of students say that super high MCAT low GPA application was indicative of a brilliant but unmotivated student -- not the qualities they're looking for. With thousands of applicants to each school every year, the ADCOM has the luxury to pick people with good MCAT scores and good grades.

    3. You can tank a secondary, but I imagine most people aren't sure why they didn't get an interview offer. This feeds into the "they only offered me a secondary so they could cash my check!"
     
  5. bodonid

    bodonid Dr. Spaceman
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    No. This is just when the process stops for a lot of schools. (When mediocre students would get axed.) Some schools offer secondaries to people who will be screened anyway, and they really are just cashing that check, like the previous poster said.
     
  6. flip26

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    MDApps is useless for divining trends because of selection bias and no fact checking on data supplied (i.e., not everyone participates, and many who do lie)...

    Nonetheless, the underlined and bolded portion of your #2 above is a valuable observation that confounds many people. As this suggests, a high MCAT will not overcome the negative effects of a low GPA.
     
  7. 87138

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    That's just stupid.
     
  8. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    The invitation to interview is the highest hurdle at many schools. Even schools that screen may offer secondaries to 90% of the applicants... of the applications received, some schools have the resources (space, personnel, etc) to interview only 15-20% of all applicants. The number who interview is relatively small (compared to # of applicants) and so the proportion of total applicants who have a "post-interview" disposition of their application is small.

    It isn't that these applicants are bad (I know of some who have had offers from six top schools but didn't get interviews at others) but that they were not a good fit with the school or something about the application rubbed someone the wrong way.

    I agree with the assessment of the high MCAT/low gpa situation. I'd also add that there are some boors who will use the secondary to note (in the tell me more about yourself section) that they did nothing but study for the entire summer and are exceptionally proud of the resulting MCAT. You can imagine that this might be a "turn off" for some adcoms.
     
  9. majik1213

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    you know sometimes I feel that some people on SDN are more interested in getting into medical school than they are in the process of attending medical school.
     
  10. decafplease

    decafplease Medical Student
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    Well.....that's a somewhat true situation taken out of context. The desire to go to medical school drives the desire to get INTO medical school. It's like you're deriving one point on a graph and saying, "This is the graph." It's not. It's the slope at one point. Dear God, I'm using math analogies. :rolleyes: What I mean to say is, at any given moment, the desire may be greater for one than another (especially when you're so sick of school that the idea of 4 more years makes you want to gouge out your eyes), but they are totally interrelated and inseparable. You gotta get IN before you can attend, no?
     
  11. milliya

    milliya Soon To Be Saving Babies
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    Well, no but it was 5am and I was sleepy while there were many other SDN members up chatting...sorry if I sounded condescending or anything.

    Well they weren't my words...

    I'm sorry that you had to quote my post to solidify that statement, but for the record, I do not feel that way. Getting into med school is just the bigger and closer challenge for me. There are things that I can do on the "Getting into Med School Checklist" (figuratively speaking, I don't really have a checklist) that I can do right now as a freshman/sophomore. As for the process of attending med school, I will have to cross that bridge when I get to it and rest assured that I will do so with utmost enthusiasm...or at least interest. ;)

    To eveyone else: Thank you so much for your feedback. Behind the cloud of my error, there are some very interesting and useful corrections. I'm sorry that my post may have seemed ignorant...well it was, actually :oops:, but at least it represents some common misconceptions that people have about the application process (and I thought I had substantiating proof lol).
     
  12. mheart

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    I feel like I may fall into this category. I have a less than stellar GPA, but a good MCAT. Are you saying that it's a bad idea to state that or just to put it on their secondary? I would not talk about it in my secondary, but I would definitely admit I'm proud & that I studied in my interview...is that so bad? Thanks!
     
  13. scarletgirl777

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    On that note, do adcoms take the time to notice what a person was doing, say by comparing the resume to the MCAT date, while they were studying for the MCAT? So if someone was doing absolutely nothing v. working fulltime, would they notice that?
     
  14. gujuDoc

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    In this case, if you don't get in, you should do a postbac, masters, or special masters program to show that you can handle hard science and not just timed tests.
     
  15. taponthecloud

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    It was late and I was, of course, only kidding...okay to try to answer your q's:

    1. no it definitely didn't get harder...data on MDApp are not reliable and it's tough to draw conclusions from such a small sample size.

    2. the MCATs do mean ****. same goes for LOR's, personal statement, activities, interview, etc. for the most part, you can't really bank on any one thing in this process.

    3. again, not necessarily. applying late in the cycle could really hurt their chances as well.
     
  16. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Archerize It
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    What if you're working 3 jobs while studying? :sleep:

    How does work compute into medical school? 1 job = ? 2 jobs = ? 3 jobs = ?
     
  17. RoadRunner17

    RoadRunner17 Fleet of feet
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    This thread makes me nervous since I'm a lower GPA-high MCAT individual applying this year.
     
  18. littlealex

    littlealex little tiny alex
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    Why would the interviewer even ask if you're proud of your MCAT?
    I did okay, and the most I got was "good MCAT score" to which I replied "Thank you."

    You shouldn't be proud of anything in the cycle, because whatever you did, someone else did better. Stay humble, focus on the real issues, and don't overhype any one part of your application.
     
  19. ejay286

    ejay286 Member
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    Me too? :scared::scared:
     
  20. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Some application readers will look to see what you did each summer. You might have taken classes which will be listed as SS (summer session) on the AMCAS. If you worked or did research or volunteered, it will go in the experience section. Some people who travel extensively will also put that in the experience section to explain what would otherwise look like a 2 month gap.

    All your paid employment should go in the experience section and adcom members do notice what you've done and the hours. I've been surprised by the places my fellow adcom members worked as college students ranging from lingerie shop to slaughterhouse so even non-medical work is valued.

    If the thing that one is most proud of is a high MCAT score, it seems to say that one is mostly concerned with measures of academic acheivement. Other applicants may use that space to talk about 1) their research which led to a publication or presentation, 2) an inner-city high school student who has been admitted to college after being tutored by the applicant, 3) the lessons learned in caring for a dying family member, and so on. If all the applicants had the same MCAT score, which would you choose for an interview?
     
  21. DrJD

    DrJD Junior Member
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    Lizzym,

    For us lower GPA high MCAT folk, what would you suggest we do to not be annoying?
     
  22. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Be humble.

    Be prepared to answer questions about undergrad performance. Don't make excuses but be prepared to discuss how you have changed/matured such that the performance in undergrad is not indicative of your ability to do the work in medical school.
     
  23. ejay286

    ejay286 Member
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    I've been wrestling with whether or not to put something along these lines in my PS, would that just be totally out of the question?
     
  24. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Sometimes it is better to talk about why you want a career in medicine, and how you have tested that interest.

    If you had an epiphany that is particularly noteworthy and that caused your academic career to do a 180 then you might right about that but if the whole thing is a stead climb from Cs as a freshman to As as a senior, then it might not be worth writing about.
     
  25. DrJD

    DrJD Junior Member
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    Would dedicating a little bit of room in the PS to talk about how we have matured/changed since undergrad be a mistake? I want to own up to my mistakes and discuss how I have grown over the past few years, is the PS the best place to do that?

    Thanks LizzyM!

    PS.
    General question, is the PS the best place to address potential red flags in your application? IE low gpa, stint in law school, low mcat, whatever the red flag may be?
     
  26. da me ka don

    da me ka don Not in your P.I.'s lab!
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    LizzyM is awesome:love:
     
  27. 87138

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    I'm not LizzyM, but here's my take: unless you're gently spinning something like a weak GPA that, like LizzyM said, suddenly did a 180 once you had an epiphany, I'd avoid it. Many secondaries or interviews will give you the chance to "explain" any "deficiencies" or "red flags" in your application. Why bring attention to something unduly?

    Basically, the only good situation I can think of is if you were getting C's and D's in something you hated or whatever, and suddenly had an epiphany about what you wanted to really do, and suddenly had a string of 4.0 semesters.

    Sell yourself. Don't sell yourself short.
     
  28. nevercold

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    For the low GPA, high MCAT people, really consider how your application will be viewed...

    GPA = Ability to handle science, ability to handle courseload, and ability to work hard long term

    MCAT = Ability to handle science (more standardized evaluation of this), general aptitude, and ability to surmount short term challenges

    You need *both* -- if you are weak in one, it helps to not be weak in the other. If your GPA is high and your MCAT is low, that suggests that you either didn't prepare well for the exam or perhaps that you didn't have the aptitude to succeed in the absence of hard work or grade inflation. If your GPA is low and your MCAT is high, that suggests (as others have pointed out) that you may only be driven by short term gains like a single exam score and that long term you did not put in the work. The MCAT does not evaluate all knowledge. The low GPA suggests that while you mastered the material for the MCAT you still may not have mastered a lot of other things.

    The solution: Do everything you can, within reason, to demonstrate that you are hard working short and long term and that you are motivated by both academic and personal things. Then succeed.
     
  29. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    Yup, MCAT matters zero. I got accepted on the assumption of good looks and a sparkling personality. Check out the MSAR for some real data, think about it for more than a minute or two, then re-read what you wrote.
     
  30. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    you should try to tell a story that describes how you got to the point where you decided that medicine is the career for you and what you did after that to prepare for that career. If you took the long road, and a rocky road, and you can make it into a good story rather than a litany of excuses and wrong turns, then you'll be fine.
     
  31. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy"
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    Med schools should be making stats a required course so that people who take a look at a bunch of numbers know what kind of giant leaps NOT to make.
     

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