Once you get an Interview invite, how important is the actual application (numbers, pubs)?

Jun 7, 2012
80
12
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Pre-Medical
Hi everyone,

Some background about myself-

MCAT (13 PS 12 BS 9VR)
SGPA 3.75, cGPA 3.79
UCLA Biochemistry (current senior)
Clinical stroke research, 1 year wet lab research (started as a junior) no pubs
President of pre-med organization, treasurer of national honors society at UCLA

I have had 5 interviews already, and two more to come. Of the two I have heard back from, I was rejected from the first, and waitlisted at my instate school (UCI).

I feel pretty confident as an interviewee, and mock interviewers have said I am very polished and genuine. This then begs the question, why did I get rejected from both of my first schools where I thought I was stellar in the interview, especially when the first school has a high waitlist pool and rarely rejects?

I began to think that maybe, certain schools do not care much about the interview, and instead, still compare candidates based on stats when making the final decision. But then, why invite me for an interview when there was no chance based on my stats?

I have interviews with Keck (USC) and David Geffen SOM in January, presumably (still scheduling), and I am just confused because my stats are borderline average in both schools. Even if I do well in the interview for those schools, will I still be compared by baseline stats and activities in the final admissions decision?

Any thoughts and advice are greatly appreciated!

(edit) Update: Accepted a few days ago to one of my out of state schools!!! I felt reasonably comfortable during that specific interview, but probably just as great as any other interview. I guess unless you are absolutely stellar, it really has to do with luck of the draw.
 
Last edited:

SunsFun

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From what I know every school evaluates applicants differently post-interview. Usually interview is pretty important factor but it's not the only factor. Your entire package is looked at again, sometimes by a different group of people, and the decision is made.
 
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Feb 24, 2013
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The interview is another data point in your application. Different schools will weight it differently, but it's still in the context of the rest of your application. All the other stuff in your app still counts towards their decision.
 
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Goro

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You may have bombed the interview, or there could be some "red flag" in your app.



Hi everyone,

Some background about myself-

MCAT (13 PS 12 BS 9VR)
SGPA 3.75, cGPA 3.79
UCLA Biochemistry (current senior)
Clinical stroke research, 1 year wet lab research (started as a junior) no pubs
President of pre-med organization, treasurer of national honors society at UCLA

I have had 5 interviews already, and two more to come. Of the two I have heard back from, I was rejected from the first, and waitlisted at my instate school (UCI).

I feel pretty confident as an interviewee, and mock interviewers have said I am very polished and genuine. This then begs the question, why did I get rejected from both of my first schools where I thought I was stellar in the interview, especially when the first school has a high waitlist pool and rarely rejects?

I began to think that maybe, certain schools do not care much about the interview, and instead, still compare candidates based on stats when making the final decision. But then, why invite me for an interview when there was no chance based on my stats?

I have interviews with Keck (USC) and David Geffen SOM in January, presumably (still scheduling), and I am just confused because my stats are borderline average in both schools. Even if I do well in the interview for those schools, will I still be compared by baseline stats and activities in the final admissions decision?

Any thoughts and advice are greatly appreciated!
 
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Syncrohnize

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School dependent.

I am not trying to be snappy at all. I have spent hours on SDN trying to find some patterns to no avail. Visit the school specific thread to try and glean some advice.
 
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darkjedi

how did this get here I am not good with computer
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The rest of the application is still incredibly important for the final admissions decision. The interview is only an additional metric to rate you by, but by no means the deciding factor post interview.
 
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Apr 12, 2012
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There is a variation among schools. There are some schools where the admissions committee is wholly separate from the interviewers and there, the interviewer's recommendation/report is but one piece of your application that is then reviewed again in its totality. At other schools, once you get an interview, your GPA and MCAT are already presumed to be "good enough" for admission. I know that the latter is true for UVA as confirmed per an admissions staff person during an open house. At UVA, at least, the interviewer is typically a student who then sits in as part of the admissions committee. I was told that at that point, it was more about "feel" and "how you fit in with the student body" and whether you would take advantages of the resources, etc.
 
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mvenus929

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I know that the latter is true for UVA as confirmed per an admissions staff person during an open house. At UVA, at least, the interviewer is typically a student who then sits in as part of the admissions committee. I was told that at that point, it was more about "feel" and "how you fit in with the student body" and whether you would take advantages of the resources, etc.
Just to correct this misconception, at UVA, the interviewer is not 'typically' a student. You will 'typically' have one student and one faculty interviewer, but you may also have two faculty interviewers. There are only 10 (fourth year) students on the admissions committee, and I think double that for faculty. But yes, at UVA, it's considered if you've made it this far, then you're qualified for admission, from a numbers perspective. That doesn't mean that your application won't be looked at again, just that you aren't really being judged based on your stats anymore.

A few schools I interviewed at went as far as to blind interviewers to stats. But it will vary from school to school, and what their criteria are for admission (some schools have a graded rubric, others go purely based on votes from committee members, so that would be more of a 'feel').
 
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sfwtboy

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Honestly?! People are posting that their worried their 34 MCAT is average and will hold them back?! I'm sorry, but I don't think your scores will be the problem at any school.
 
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nemo123

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Jul 22, 2011
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Even if you are invited to an interview, everyone is on a staircase based on your GPA, MCAT, ECs, essays, etc. After the interview, you could move up a step if you do amazing while others can fall 5 steps (if they bomb it or come off as really bizarre). Generally, most people stay where they are and admissions decisions are made giving offers from the top of that staircase going to a certain cut point.

So they all still matter. The interview is just an extra component to the overall evaluation post-interview. It is almost impossible to 0verride 4 years of your GPA, your MCAT, years of ECs, LORs, and essays with a measly 1 hours worth of interviews unless you completely bomb it or complete own it.
 
Nov 8, 2013
298
255
Hi everyone,

Some background about myself-

MCAT (13 PS 12 BS 9VR)
SGPA 3.75, cGPA 3.79
UCLA Biochemistry (current senior)
Clinical stroke research, 1 year wet lab research (started as a junior) no pubs
President of pre-med organization, treasurer of national honors society at UCLA

I have had 5 interviews already, and two more to come. Of the two I have heard back from, I was rejected from the first, and waitlisted at my instate school (UCI).

I feel pretty confident as an interviewee, and mock interviewers have said I am very polished and genuine. This then begs the question, why did I get rejected from both of my first schools where I thought I was stellar in the interview, especially when the first school has a high waitlist pool and rarely rejects?

I began to think that maybe, certain schools do not care much about the interview, and instead, still compare candidates based on stats when making the final decision. But then, why invite me for an interview when there was no chance based on my stats?
You have a 34 MCAT, and a 3.7 GPA. So I highly doubt your stats were the reason for rejection or waitlist.
 
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OP
G
Jun 7, 2012
80
12
Status
Pre-Medical
You may have bombed the interview, or there could be some "red flag" in your app.
I thought of that too. I have been trying to see if there are any red flags in my app since the rejection. I started research and clinical volunteering kind of late I guess, but that's due to being a business major to begin with. I don't think I bombed the interview, but then again, you never know.
 
OP
G
Jun 7, 2012
80
12
Status
Pre-Medical
Honestly?! People are posting that their worried their 34 MCAT is average and will hold them back?! I'm sorry, but I don't think your scores will be the problem at any school.
I think I saw you on Gtown's forums before! Well to be fair, I'm not completely certain on how good/average my score is, and from what I know at UCI, the people who I interviewed with and got in had their MCATs in the range of 36-38.
 
Apr 12, 2012
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Just to correct this misconception, at UVA, the interviewer is not 'typically' a student. You will 'typically' have one student and one faculty interviewer, but you may also have two faculty interviewers. There are only 10 (fourth year) students on the admissions committee, and I think double that for faculty. But yes, at UVA, it's considered if you've made it this far, then you're qualified for admission, from a numbers perspective. That doesn't mean that your application won't be looked at again, just that you aren't really being judged based on your stats anymore.

A few schools I interviewed at went as far as to blind interviewers to stats. But it will vary from school to school, and what their criteria are for admission (some schools have a graded rubric, others go purely based on votes from committee members, so that would be more of a 'feel').
Sorry about the first part; I must have misunderstood them when discussing the information concerning the number of interviewers.
 

kekes

Longtime lurker
Nov 28, 2010
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Since you have received positive feedback from mock interviews, it's possible that nothing at all is "wrong" with you or your stats.

My former PI was an interviewer at the medical school where we worked and, before I began the application process, commented that she interviewed a number of amazing students every year (some had opened clinics in 3rd world countries) but she herself did not see a pattern in who was ultimately accepted. I don't know for sure if any one school you applied to places more emphasis on numbers vs interview but if I were you I would really let your personality shine for your remaining 3. Stats get you an invite, but don't necessarily complete the package.

I say this as an applicant who had unbalanced stats (so so gpa, low mcat but strong research experience & pubs) so I received few interviews during which i really had to sell myself. Best of luck to you & hang in there.
 
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OP
G
Jun 7, 2012
80
12
Status
Pre-Medical
Since you have received positive feedback from mock interviews, it's possible that nothing at all is "wrong" with you or your stats.

My former PI was an interviewer at the medical school where we worked and, before I began the application process, commented that she interviewed a number of amazing students every year (some had opened clinics in 3rd world countries) but she herself did not see a pattern in who was ultimately accepted. I don't know for sure if any one school you applied to places more emphasis on numbers vs interview but if I were you I would really let your personality shine for your remaining 3. Stats get you an invite, but don't necessarily complete the package.

I say this as an applicant who had unbalanced stats (so so gpa, low mcat but strong research experience & pubs) so I received few interviews during which i really had to sell myself. Best of luck to you & hang in there.

Thanks for the kind words buddy, the pattern of there not being a pattern is something I've heard about as well. I guess that makes things more interesting.
 

sfwtboy

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Feb 7, 2011
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I think I saw you on Gtown's forums before! Well to be fair, I'm not completely certain on how good/average my score is, and from what I know at UCI, the people who I interviewed with and got in had their MCATs in the range of 36-38.
You definitely did see me there! I wouldn't let one group of students with high MCATs skew your ideas of what the average MCAT is. When I was doing a summer program at Cornell their director told me if you got a 35 no one would question it and that was for MD/Ph.D. I got a 30 and still at all 7 of my interviews it has never been questioned (including Cornell).
 

Goro

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One bad
LOR will be enough to sink a candidate, too.

I thought of that too. I have been trying to see if there are any red flags in my app since the rejection. I started research and clinical volunteering kind of late I guess, but that's due to being a business major to begin with. I don't think I bombed the interview, but then again, you never know.
 

nemo123

5+ Year Member
Jul 22, 2011
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Since you have received positive feedback from mock interviews, it's possible that nothing at all is "wrong" with you or your stats.

My former PI was an interviewer at the medical school where we worked and, before I began the application process, commented that she interviewed a number of amazing students every year (some had opened clinics in 3rd world countries) but she herself did not see a pattern in who was ultimately accepted. I don't know for sure if any one school you applied to places more emphasis on numbers vs interview but if I were you I would really let your personality shine for your remaining 3. Stats get you an invite, but don't necessarily complete the package.

I say this as an applicant who had unbalanced stats (so so gpa, low mcat but strong research experience & pubs) so I received few interviews during which i really had to sell myself. Best of luck to you & hang in there.
I think that's where the idea of "fit" comes in. Being at interviews, I've noticed some schools have a preference for certain kinds of students (athletes), while others like more artsy ones.
 
OP
G
Jun 7, 2012
80
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Status
Pre-Medical
Can we define "bad"?
See, this is what I thought was strange as well. I don't think any professor will write a bad letter of rec. I heard rumors that one of my PIs wrote poor letters, in the sense that the letters composed no more than two sentences (and by no means were they Charles Dickens' sentences, mind you). I find it hard to believe that a professor will go out of his/her way just to say that you are a sh**. That's my take on it. I did worry that one of my biochem UD professors wrote a standard letter which was probably not stellar, but never really considered them being poor letters.
 
OP
G
Jun 7, 2012
80
12
Status
Pre-Medical
I think that's where the idea of "fit" comes in. Being at interviews, I've noticed some schools have a preference for certain kinds of students (athletes), while others like more artsy ones.
Interesting, I have yet to notice that. I did notice a substantial number of students with masters degrees already. That, and history majors.
 

Goro

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They're rare, but they happen. I typically see one once an interview cycle. They'll refer to the applicant as something like:
'not a team player"
"consistently late"
"not focused"
"immature"
"not yet convinced Medicine is what s/he wants do"

Other "bad" LORs can be weak references in the Pre-med committee (like only "Recommend" instead of "Highly Recommend" or 2/5, where 5 is best.) Stuff like this will definitely sink an applicant.

Can we define "bad"?


See, this is what I thought was strange as well. I don't think any professor will write a bad letter of rec. I heard rumors that one of my PIs wrote poor letters, in the sense that the letters composed no more than two sentences (and by no means were they Charles Dickens' sentences, mind you). I find it hard to believe that a professor will go out of his/her way just to say that you are a sh**. That's my take on it. I did worry that one of my biochem UD professors wrote a standard letter which was probably not stellar, but never really considered them being poor letters.
 

chemguy79

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They're rare, but they happen. I typically see one once an interview cycle. They'll refer to the applicant as something like:
'not a team player"
"consistently late"
"not focused"
"immature"
"not yet convinced Medicine is what s/he wants do"

Other "bad" LORs can be weak references in the Pre-med committee (like only "Recommend" instead of "Highly Recommend" or 2/5, where 5 is best.) Stuff like this will definitely sink an applicant.

Can we define "bad"?
Goro,

I was wondering how often you and or your committee sees comments like those that you listed on LOR's. It doesn't surprise me that it happens, but I'm curious as to how frequently it does happen.
 

mcloaf

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Goro,

I was wondering how often you and or your committee sees comments like those that you listed on LOR's. It doesn't surprise me that it happens, but I'm curious as to how frequently it does happen.
They're rare, but they happen. I typically see one once an interview cycle. They'll refer to the applicant as something like:
^