Pre-Allo FAQ Series: How many schools should I apply too?

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DoctorPardi

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DoctorPardi said:
This is another installment of the Pre-Allo FAQ Series of threads. Basically I'll be offering the community a common topic or question and leaving it to you guys to decide on the best answer. Debate and discussion is allowed and welcomed. The goal is to include the community in answering some of the most common questions pre-meds are interested in.

In this installment the topic is how many schools is enough?

Topics for discussion:
1) Are my state schools enough?
2) What if any good will it do to apply to top tens? (is it worth it even if you could get in?)
3) How much harder is it to get into an OOS private over your in-state public?

As always these topics are extremely subjective. That's why we're depending on a healthy community involvement to the give a complete answer. Please keep the discussion clean, and avoid insults/fighting. Thanks for your participation :) .
 

braluk

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Ill break it down:
Generally it is in good sense to apply broadly and apply early. The lower your stats are away from the averages (3.6 GPA 30MCAT), the more schools you would want to apply to until you hit a certain cutoff (generally, for most, anything under a 3.0 and a 28 MCAT is considered on these boards as grounds for pursuing a postbac (SMP), or retaking the MCAT, respectively). The higher your stats, the less schools you will generally need apply to. When you have unbalanced stats- that is a really high MCAT and a low GPA (and vice versa), you generally do not need to apply to as many schools as someone with low MCATs and a low GPA, but should apply to more schools than say, the average 3.6, 30 MCAT student. Generally, like when applying to college, students will have a few "safety" schools (the word safety is pretty relative as no med school is a safety- but for the sake of argument, lets talk about schools that you determine yourself that you will have a good shot of getting into. Remember, "lower tier" schools may automatically reject you on the grounds that they can safely assume that they are your safety school so choose your safety schools wisely. State schools (except cali) generally are safety schools for many students, but may vary from student to student and state to state. Students' undergrad institutions that have an affiliated medical school may also be a safety school (disclaimer: this varies from place to place and is not absolute). Followed by a pick of safety schools (generally around 20% of the schools they apply to for the average student), is a list of competitive schools- schools whose (putting into consideration private and public schools) averages match up pretty similarly to your own. This tends to make up the bulk of the list of schools that the student applies do, somewhere between 60-70%). Lastly, there are the reach schools, which make up the rest.

Generally most students apply somewhere between 10-15 schools. This varies with your stats and your confidence in getting into medical school. Now with that in mind

1) This varies from state to state. If you are a California resident, it would be prudent to apply to many more schools, as California schools are indeed some of the hardest medical schools to get into in the country. If say, you live in Ohio or Texas, you may get by by only applying to in-state schools, but the rule of thumb is, you will probably find optimal success applying to your instate schools as well as out of state schools (generally private since most dont have a state bias).
2) Top 10s are generally the reach schools I mentioned above. There are a few students who are studs when it comes to their stats and application. These students are the ones who will most likely be accepted to at least one top 10 school. For the average student, its good to have one or two reach schools (just be realistic if your numbers are way under average) just because the application process is a bit random sometimes, you never know. If accepted, you have to weigh in different factors including, but not limited to, 1) cost 2) location 3) the education & "prestige factor". Let's be realistic. The prestige factor plays a big role in decisions to attend one place over another. Though the education is the same everywhere you go, and generally where you attend shouldnt play a huge role in the match, the name recognition of a top ten school is always an attractive one for anyone. Keep in mind, these are not absolute things, but generally echo the sentiments of many students.
3) Again this is variable- the MSAR should be able to tell you the differences. The rule of thumb is that the In state public (of course not applicable to California) should be easier to get into, but this is by far not absolute and cannot be applied broadly.
 
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rickthetwinkie

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I applied to 8 schools, but that is far and away not enough. Like Braluk said, state schools are of high priority. Keep in mind that even if some out-of-state schools have lower stats, their priority are in-state applicants, so a lot of out-of-state, even "lower-tier" can be considered a reach. My advice is to apply to as many as possible without overextending yourself financially. After all, you do have to complete secondaries.
 
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ssquared

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Any suggestions for breaking this down into types of applicants? Like superior applicants (GPA 3.9+, MCAT >36) should apply to maybe 10 schools, whereas weak applicants (GPA 3.0-3.4, MCAT 25-29) should apply to 30 schools? Just curious. I realize it's a lot more than just GPA and MCAT, but it would be interesting if we could come up with broad applicant categories and suggested number of applications.

(oh, and I just randomly picked the above numbers, please don't be angry if I just categorized you as a weak applicant!)
 
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Eric Lindros

Any suggestions for breaking this down into types of applicants? Like superior applicants (GPA 3.9+, MCAT >36) should apply to maybe 10 schools, whereas weak applicants (GPA 3.0-3.4, MCAT 25-29) should apply to 30 schools? Just curious. I realize it's a lot more than just GPA and MCAT, but it would be interesting if we could come up with broad applicant categories and suggested number of applications.

(oh, and I just randomly picked the above numbers, please don't be angry if I just categorized you as a weak applicant!)

For Allo Schools:

Since MCAT is probably most important:

MCAT Number of Schools
37+ 5-6 with 2 or 3 safe schools
35 7-12 schools with a few safe schools
30-31 13-17 schools with about 60% safe schools
28-29 18-22 schools with a few "reach" schools
below 27 23+ with mostly safety schools

Obviously you want to have a GPA of at least 3.5 in most cases, depending on your MCAT. If your GPA is around 3.0, you need at least 34+ to apply to 10-15 schools comfortably. If your GPA is 4.0, you might be able to have around 29-30 and apply to 10-15 schools comfortably.

Another thing to remember, there is no guarantee at ANY school.
 
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45408

Don't apply to a school you don't want to go to! I know some people who did just that, and they simply wasted their time and money with AMCAS fees, secondary essays and fees, and interviews.

A lot of people assume that a school with average MCAT/GPA requirements (say, Drexel) should be their safety school. Well, according to the MSAR, 7934 applied, 1729 interviewed, and 226 matriculated. That's pretty steep odds. I made this mistake when I applied to Rush. It's only 2 hours away, but across state lines, so I thought it'd be a good idea, and I had pretty competitive numbers. Ah, they only interview 2.5% of their OOS applicants. Oops, that was $90 down the toilet.

For me, my safety schools were my state schools, one of which was also my #2 choice over all, and it's where I am now. :p Things are different for a lot of people.
 
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rickthetwinkie

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A lot of people assume that a school with average MCAT/GPA requirements (say, Drexel) should be their safety school. Well, according to the MSAR, 7934 applied, 1729 interviewed, and 226 matriculated. That's pretty steep odds. I made this mistake when I applied to Rush. It's only 2 hours away, but across state lines, so I thought it'd be a good idea, and I had pretty competitive numbers. Ah, they only interview 2.5% of their OOS applicants. Oops, that was $90 down the toilet.

That's a mistake a lot of people make, I think. They see "omg, low stats" and think "safety" when its only really a safety to those in-state. And the funny thing is that even private institutions that are considered "safety schools" probably aren't safeties, because there are thousands of others who think their safety schools, too. Most of the time, if you have a mid-tier state school, that's probably the most secure "safety school" you can get. For instance, at the University of Alabama SOM, approximately 450 or so instate applicants applied and approximately 225(don't remember the exact number, but I found a doc on their website about this) or so get accepted (this is including waitlist acceptances).

This will vary state-to-state, though, and definitely doesn't apply to California.
 

Astrithir

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My two cents for California residents. California residency is a double-edged sword, and how many schools you should apply to will depend on how good your stats are.

The UC schools rely heavily on GPA and MCAT scores. Thus, if both your GPA and MCAT score are at or higher than the average UC stat, you have a great shot at getting into any California school. As a result, you can apply to as few as 5 schools (UCD, UCI, UCLA, UCSD, UCSF) and still encompass the spectrum of schools, from "reach" to "safety." In fact, getting into a UC medical school will become easier in the near future because UC Merced and Riverside both have plans to open schools of medicine. This is, of course, assuming that you want to study only in California.

However, the UCs become a disadvantage when you have less stellar stats. In this situation, it depends on a whole slew of factors, some of which you can control (extracurriculars, personal statement, etc.) and many which you cannot (desired demographics, school emphasis, etc.). As a result, you CANNOT rely upon your state school as your "backup" option, and you will need to apply to many out of state schools. Here, I would apply to between 12 and 30 schools, depending on your school choice and your confidence in your application. You should still apply to all the UCs (Stanford, USC, and Loma Linda are discretionary schools), however, for three reasons. The first is that UCs provide a great education for a very good price. The second is that you don't want to be in an interview situation where the interviewer asks you why you didn't apply to your state schools. Finally, the third is that you never know, you might just get lucky and get into all 5.
 

Vano

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For Allo Schools:

Since MCAT is probably most important:

MCAT Number of Schools
37+ 5-6 with 2 or 3 safe schools
35 7-12 schools with a few safe schools
30-31 13-17 schools with about 60% safe schools
28-29 18-22 schools with a few "reach" schools
below 27 23+ with mostly safety schools

Obviously you want to have a GPA of at least 3.5 in most cases, depending on your MCAT. If your GPA is around 3.0, you need at least 34+ to apply to 10-15 schools comfortably. If your GPA is 4.0, you might be able to have around 29-30 and apply to 10-15 schools comfortably.

Another thing to remember, there is no guarantee at ANY school.

It's a lottery but I think you're advising on applying to WAY too many schools, if you can't get into any of 15 schools you probably won't get into any of the 30 either. I had 29 MCAT and 3.9GPA applied to 10 schools and doing just fine (Couple acceptances, couple rejections, waiting on others). Just pick the schools wisely, apply to couple of "reach" schools, and 1-2 "safeties"(there are hardly any safety schools though) and to 5-6 good average ones, but as someone said make sure you are ready and want to go to any one of the ones you apply to.
 
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Eric Lindros

For Allo Schools:

If your GPA is 4.0, you might be able to have around 29-30 and apply to 10-15 schools comfortably.

Another thing to remember, there is no guarantee at ANY school.

It's a lottery but I think you're advising on applying to WAY too many schools, if you can't get into any of 15 schools you probably won't get into any of the 30 either. I had 29 MCAT and 3.9GPA applied to 10 schools and doing just fine (Couple acceptances, couple rejections, waiting on others). Just pick the schools wisely, apply to couple of "reach" schools, and 1-2 "safeties"(there are hardly any safety schools though) and to 5-6 good average ones, but as someone said make sure you are ready and want to go to any one of the ones you apply to.

:confused: You basically proved what I originally said in my first post! (except I was .1 off of GPA which is meaningless anyway)

Also, my advice is based on getting more than one acceptance. I think you should aim to get as many acceptances as reasonably possible in order to give yourself maximum options.
 

Vano

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:confused: You basically proved what I originally said in my first post! (except I was .1 off of GPA which is meaningless anyway)

Also, my advice is based on getting more than one acceptance. I think you should aim to get as many acceptances as reasonably possible in order to give yourself maximum options.
Yes sure "as many as possible is good" but you will only end up attending one of them, that's why I'm saying: "apply to all the ones you're willing to go to" so whichever one takes you, you are still more or less happy". Also people have to remember that GPAs are relative to the undergrad one is attending: 4.0 in Hope College isn't the same as 4.0 in Harvard
 

DocEasyCheesy

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Best thing to do is call some of these schools that your thinking of applying to and ask them what there cutoff scores are for GPA/MCAT. Even though LOR's, Personal Letter, volunteer stuff are very important, some schools won't even look at those if you don't meet their GPA/MCAT standards. Some schools use a computer generated scoring system. So do a little bit of work, and save yourself some money while your at it. Better to apply to 10 schools that you'll almost know for sure of getting an invitation than applying for 25, and getting only a few or none.
 
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Eric Lindros

Yes sure "as many as possible is good" but you will only end up attending one of them, that's why I'm saying: "apply to all the ones you're willing to go to" so whichever one takes you, you are still more or less happy". Also people have to remember that GPAs are relative to the undergrad one is attending: 4.0 in Hope College isn't the same as 4.0 in Harvard

This kind of advice irritates me the most. I mean, the goal is to get into medical school. In a process as difficult as this, you really don't have any room to be picking and choosing what schools you would like to attend; before you are accepted you should really be happy with attending any school that accepts you because nothing is guaranteed. And that's why I suggest applying to many schools, to maximize your chances of having an opportunity to choose between more than one.

Also, there are somewhere around 160 medical schools. I don't think the numbers I gave were unreasonable, unless of course you really really really only want to attend a handfull, which I think is completely ridiculous and warrents some re-thinking as to why you are even applying in the first place.
 
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Dr.Detroit

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In a process as difficult as this, you really don't have any room to be picking and choosing what schools you would like to attend; before you are accepted you should really be happy with attending any school that accepts you because nothing is guaranteed.

Wise words. Whatever happened to Eric Lindros?

If your goal is to study medicine, use MSAR (or other reliable resource) to see if your numbers and residency status jibe with those of the students that the school accepts. Apply to the schools that match your numbers and residency profile; and apply to as many of them as financially possible. Apply to some schools above and below your numbers profile. Go to interviews until you get an acceptance, then cull the schools to which you're not attracted from your application docket.
 
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Eric Lindros

Wise words. Whatever happened to Eric Lindros?

If your goal is to study medicine, use MSAR (or other reliable resource) to see if your numbers and residency status jibe with those of the students that the school accepts. Apply to the schools that match your numbers and residency profile; and apply to as many of them as financially possible. Apply to some schools above and below your numbers profile. Go to interviews until you get an acceptance, then cull the schools to which you're not attracted from your application docket.

I'm playing for the Dallas Stars right now.

I was the original "Next One" (before they gave that name to Sidney Crosby) I'm still trying to recover from the hit by Scott Stevens in game seven of the 00' Eastern Conf. Finals, the hit that essentially ended my career.
 

Dr.Detroit

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I'm playing for the Dallas Stars right now.

I was the original "Next One" (before they gave that name to Sidney Crosby) I'm still trying to recover from the hit by Scott Stevens in game seven of the 00' Eastern Conf. Finals, the hit that essentially ended my career.

Ahh, you've, therefore, decided to pursue a career in medicine. Right?

I bet you have a hell of a personal statement!
 
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Eric Lindros

Ahh, you've, therefore, decided to pursue a career in medicine. Right?

I bet you have a hell of a personal statement!

I want to go into Neurology. The beatings to the head over the years have been my inspiration. My MCAT is a little on the low side, however.....
 
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45408

This kind of advice irritates me the most. I mean, the goal is to get into medical school. In a process as difficult as this, you really don't have any room to be picking and choosing what schools you would like to attend; before you are accepted you should really be happy with attending any school that accepts you because nothing is guaranteed.
So, would you also be telling people to apply to the Carib, since you should be happy if any school accepts you?

I'm guessing no...and I certainly wouldn't attend a few schools in the country (mostly due to location), so if I hadn't gotten in where i wanted, I would've spent the time and effort beefing up my application.
 
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Eric Lindros

So, would you also be telling people to apply to the Carib, since you should be happy if any school accepts you?

I'm guessing no...and I certainly wouldn't attend a few schools in the country (mostly due to location), so if I hadn't gotten in where i wanted, I would've spent the time and effort beefing up my application.

I'm comparing apples to apples, not apples to oranges. Comparing carrib schools to US Allo IS apples to oranges....they are on completely different levels.

So no, I would not recommend applying to carribs and yes, my argument still stands.

Also, if you are trying to imply that any US Allopathic medical school is on the same level as a Carib school you're dreaming.
 
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Eric Lindros

So, would you also be telling people to apply to the Carib, since you should be happy if any school accepts you?

I'm guessing no...and I certainly wouldn't attend a few schools in the country (mostly due to location), so if I hadn't gotten in where i wanted, I would've spent the time and effort beefing up my application.

Also, my oroginal post clearly says "for US Allo Schools" and that is what I am giving my advice based on. Not DO, Carib, or other abroad schools because I don't know much about them.
 

Dr.Detroit

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I would've spent the time and effort beefing up my application.

And many people on this forum are apparently in their nth application cycle. They have improved their application (or have attempted to do so), but still find themselves in a place to be grateful for an acceptance (regardless of the location of the school).
 

MonkeyNuts!

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I would like to respond to this question for TEXAS (TMDSAS) APPLICANTS. More so than any other state, Texans tend to apply only to their med schools. Probably because they like only filling out TMDSAS, perhaps they have no reason to go to OOS medical schools, or maybe they are just rolling the dice and hoping for high in-state percentages to play to their numbers.

This is not a wise decision. Even before the hybrid application system, it was still a bad idea.

This year's cycle, with the rolling admissions in November combined with the match day in February, was wrought with misinformation and myths. There have been reports that this same hybrid cycle will be repeated next year, or perhaps a brand new rolling admissions system. Regardless, expect that in coming years, until a system is finalized, there will be highly qualified applicants (who get screwed over by the system) who will be reapplying in each cycle.

No longer is it just enough to interview early. Getting good numbers hasn't been a guarantee for years now. The current Texas application system is erratic and does not play to any known formula for application and acceptance. If you only apply Texas, you are really rolling the dice. Thus, I strongly urge all TMDSAS applicants to APPLY OUT OF STATE in addition to the state schools.

Yes it is another application, but the alternative would be ANOTHER CYCLE. Pick a few reach schools, a few schools in your range, and a few below. No need to go applying to the entire list, just have alternatives if Texas screws you. It will cost extra, but again, think of the alternative.
 

PZMO

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Just because someone may be picky about what area of the country they are willing to go to for med school does not mean that they don't want to become a doctor. It means that other things are important to them as well.

I was not willing to leave my SO and my family very far away. I applied to schools in my general area of the country (6 of them) and that was it, because that's where I knew I would be happy.

My stats are solid (but not totally crazy) and I got in everywhere I applied. I do not have anything against the concept of applying to a ton of schools, but I wanted to offer another perspective.
 
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45408

Also, my oroginal post clearly says "for US Allo Schools" and that is what I am giving my advice based on. Not DO, Carib, or other abroad schools because I don't know much about them.
You said 160 medical schools, so it's reasonable to assume you were including Carib, DO or both, because there are 125 US allo schools. Also, the process is not difficult for everyone, and a lot of people will have room to pick and choose.
And many people on this forum are apparently in their nth application cycle. They have improved their application (or have attempted to do so), but still find themselves in a place to be grateful for an acceptance (regardless of the location of the school).
That may be, but there are definitely schools that I wouldn't have wanted to attend, and I would have rather re-applied. If you're already a re-applicant, that's a bit different.
 

Vano

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This kind of advice irritates me the most. I mean, the goal is to get into medical school. In a process as difficult as this, you really don't have any room to be picking and choosing what schools you would like to attend; before you are accepted you should really be happy with attending any school that accepts you because nothing is guaranteed. And that's why I suggest applying to many schools, to maximize your chances of having an opportunity to choose between more than one.

Also, there are somewhere around 160 medical schools. I don't think the numbers I gave were unreasonable, unless of course you really really really only want to attend a handfull, which I think is completely ridiculous and warrents some re-thinking as to why you are even applying in the first place.
You're going back on your words, I suggested that getting into 1-2 schools is fine and you replied by saying that one must get into "as many as possible" and then choose, now you're saying that getting at least into 1 is good. Make up your mind. Go back, look at my previous posts where I said that you will only end up going to one school anyway, by which I meant that having 1 acceptance is almost as good as having many because your purpose is--going to medical school and becoming a doctor, which you can accomplish at any med.school. So now you basically reiterated my words. If you can accomplish your goal by applying to 10 why would you apply to 40--that just shows lack of confidence and is much more expensive and time consuming.
 
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Eric Lindros

You're going back on your words, I suggested that getting into 1-2 schools is fine and you replied by saying that one must get into "as many as possible" and then choose, now you're saying that getting at least into 1 is good. Make up your mind. Go back, look at my previous posts where I said that you will only end up going to one school anyway, by which I meant that having 1 acceptance is almost as good as having many because your purpose is--going to medical school and becoming a doctor, which you can accomplish at any med.school. So now you basically reiterated my words. If you can accomplish your goal by applying to 10 why would you apply to 40--that just shows lack of confidence and is much more expensive and time consuming.

Now you are misquoting me. By "as many acceptances as REASONABLY possible" I mean that you should aim to have acceptances to choose from, within reason. I do not, for example, think it's reasonable to apply to 40 schools when you have stats that will get you into a couple out of 10-15 applications (nor did I ever make that claim.)

I don't really understand your whole "you only go to one school anyway" logic. Like, yeah no crap, you only go to one school. So, this is supposed to mean only apply to 1 or 2 schools? Ask dopaminesurge if this was a good idea (an SDN user who is reapplying because he/she only applied to about, 4 schools (with killer stats) the first time, and now added more because obviously it was a mistake.

And yeah, you're going to become a doctor at any school, sure. But what kind of logic is that? Why sell yourself so short? This is 4 years of your life and there are many variables: money, quality, location, etc......and it is virtually impossible for anyone to pick only one school they like and successfully matriculate at that school. The odds are slim.


I don't know if you are arguing just for the sake of arguing or what, but go back and take a look at the numbers in my first post. Do you really think they were that unreasonable? Take a look on MDApplicants and you will be surprised to see how close most people applications actually fit this trend.
 
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Eric Lindros

You said 160 medical schools, so it's reasonable to assume you were including Carib, DO or both, because there are 125 US allo schools. Also, the process is not difficult for everyone, and a lot of people will have room to pick and choose.

Sorry, that's my bad. I didn't know there were only 125 Allo schools.
 

Vano

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"You only go to one school" means one acceptance is enough, surely 3-4 is nicer, so there is no sense in running up the number of the applications to have a choice between say 8 or 11 acceptances later. Again, you can't make up your mind: first you say that one should be happy with any acceptance and that wanting/not wanting to go to a certain school isn't a good thinking and it "irritates you"; and now you emphasize "not selling yourself just to any school, because location, cost etc. matter" which is another way of saying you have to want to go to certain schools and not others. Sorry, but you seem to have short memory--got hit in a head by a puck too many times, Mr.Lindros?
 
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Eric Lindros

"You only go to one school" means one acceptance is enough, surely 3-4 is nicer, so there is no sense in running up the number of the applications to have a choice between say 8 or 11 acceptances later. Again, you can't make up your mind: first you say that one should be happy with any acceptance and that wanting/not wanting to go to a certain school isn't a good thinking and it "irritates you"; and now you emphasize "not selling yourself just to any school, because location, cost etc. matter" which is another way of saying you have to want to go to certain schools and not others. Sorry, but you seem to have short memory--got hit in a head by a puck too many times, Mr.Lindros?

I'm saying you should be happy with any acceptances because it is in fact very hard to get accepted in the first place, ESPECIALLY if you have weak stats.

I am saying that you should apply to a decent amount of schools, nothing outrageous (and since you never really addressed that, no, nothing in my first post was even unreasonable and that IS the general trend anyway) depending on what your stats are.

I also believe that, IF POSSIBLE, you should not sell yourself short. If possible, gain multiple acceptances and have options. Why go 200K in debt and spend for years and have NO choices, if you can avoid it Applying to a reasonable amount of schools allows you to do this.

The funny thing is, Vano, you applied to the exact amount of schools that I suggested in my original post. Why are you even arguing with me!!! ;)
 
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bigchoader

I understand that its not as simple as the question I will pose, but I would like a little feedback on my situation. I don't fully trust my pre-med advisor as she hasn't necessarily given me any great advise or insights, but some people around here seem to know a little something-something.

I have a 30 MCAT (8 VR 11's on Sciences) with a Q writing sample. My GPA is around a 3.6, not lower, but maybe a little higher (3.65?). Anyways, I was wondering how many schools is a good number to apply to? And among those, how many of those should be reaches, honest attempts, and safeties?

And for clarification purposes, what should I consider a reach school and what should I consider a safety school? Thanks for any help.

Edit: I do not want to retake the MCAT but if people think it is necessary (b/c of the VR) please be honest.
 
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Eric Lindros

I understand that its not as simple as the question I will pose, but I would like a little feedback on my situation. I don't fully trust my pre-med advisor as she hasn't necessarily given me any great advise or insights, but some people around here seem to know a little something-something.

I have a 30 MCAT (8 VR 11's on Sciences) with a Q writing sample. My GPA is around a 3.6, not lower, but maybe a little higher (3.65?). Anyways, I was wondering how many schools is a good number to apply to? And among those, how many of those should be reaches, honest attempts, and safeties?

And for clarification purposes, what should I consider a reach school and what should I consider a safety school? Thanks for any help.

Edit: I do not want to retake the MCAT but if people think it is necessary (b/c of the VR) please be honest.

Based on your numbers alone, I don't think any Allo schools would be considered a saftey for you. That said, I don't see you having a problem getting into schools like Temple, Drexel, NYMC, Albany, Jefferson etc. (Most of these schools have around 30 MCAT and 3.5 GPA averages.) If you ask me, I would say apply to 10-15 of these tier schools.

Schools that would be a reach but maybe worth applying to would be NYU, Pitt, etc.

Schools that would be a reach and not be worth applying to would be Hopkins, Harvard, Wash U, etc.
 

MDhopeful6891

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do you think i would be in reach of those top top schools w/:
3.63/3.51BCPM
34N(13/11/10) MCAT
from a top school?
 

crimsonkid85

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do you think i would be in reach of those top top schools w/:
3.63/3.51BCPM
34N(13/11/10) MCAT
from a top school?
if you are applying to a top school from a top school, you've got to be AT LEAST above average at your top school. this means if your GPA is average, you need to have a better than average MCAT score. if your mcat score is average, you need to have a better than average GPA. As a point of reference, the average MCAT score that Harvard premeds score on the MCAT is a 35 (source: office of career services). (i'm not sure what the GPA stat is.) if you're hovering around the middle with both of those statistics, the only way you'll catch the interview committee's eye is if you've done some AMAZING ecs. my $.02.
 

melast

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85-(cum. GPA*10)-mcat. Divide into: 55% w/stats at or below you, 30% barely above, 15% reaches.
 

future_dr_house

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The simple answer is as many schools as you can financially afford to apply to.
 
4

45408

Based on your numbers alone, I don't think any Allo schools would be considered a saftey for you. That said, I don't see you having a problem getting into schools like Temple, Drexel, NYMC, Albany, Jefferson etc. (Most of these schools have around 30 MCAT and 3.5 GPA averages.) If you ask me, I would say apply to 10-15 of these tier schools.
Just a word of advice though - make sure you don't just look at their average MCAT/GPA numbers - look at how many people apply. If 10,000 people apply, it might be better to just apply elsewhere.
 

gujuDoc

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In this installment the topic is how many schools is enough?

Topics for discussion:
1) Are my state schools enough?
2) What if any good will it do to apply to top tens? (is it worth it even if you could get in?)
3) How much harder is it to get into an OOS private over your in-state public?

As always these topics are extremely subjective. That's why we're depending on a healthy community involvement to the give a complete answer. Please keep the discussion clean, and avoid insults/fighting. Thanks for your participation :) .


1. This depends on your home state. Some states don't even have a single med school. I think Deleware comes to mind. other states have only 1-2 med schools especially in smaller states like certain states in the Northeast and also in some very rural states like ND and SD so for states like that you'd want to probably apply to a few more unless you have spoken with adcoms and they feel you are competitive enough to get into their schools.

Another factor in deciding how many schools to apply to may also be whether you come from a school where there is a range of schools you'll be competitive for or whether your state is one that has too many overly competitive med schools that even if your stats are good there are no guarantees. (cough -California - cough). At this point you should talk with advisors and admissions directors/deans about your given situation and see what their advice is.

2. Applying to top 10 schools is something you should do only if you are competitive enough to get into those schools. But don't apply to only top 10s because there is always the chance you may or may not get in with the cutthroat nature of admissions into those sort of schools. Remember to apply broadly even if you have a 4.0, 40 MCAT and stellar ECs. Once you know your overall profile and the data in the MSAR then it will be a bit easier to decide where to apply. Even if you apply to mostly top 10- top 20 schools, I'd advise to apply at the very least to your state school(s) in case getting in a top 20 school doesn't work out.

3. Listen to TheProwler when he says not to apply to a school if you think you'd probably not go there even if you got accepted. This isn't directed to those who decide after interviewing they don't like the school but those who don't like the school preinterview and are applying just for the sake of it.

On note number 3, I'd advise people to research the schools by starting with reading their mission statements and goals (some schools focus on research, others on rural health, yet others on clinical medicine for the city they are located in, etc.) and see if it works with your own goals. Then I'd look into their curricula and location. See the type of facilities they train and try to find students who can tell your more or less their opinions and feedback on their institutions. Try to look at match lists and if they have board score averages or at least the percentage getting above average try to get that information too. Look at the big picture before you naively pick out schools. yeah some of these things you'll have to learn on your own through experience but one thing I've learned is that many people apply blindly and then end up realizing in retrospect that it was not worth it to apply to some schools they applied to. I've also seen that many people blindly look at a school for its status in the rankings but I don't think that ranking should be the sole factor in your decision of where to go to med school if you are lucky enough to get the choice to pick from multiple acceptances. Again, that's just my opinion but for some ranking is highly important so to each their own. Also, again, think in terms of your ultimate goals what schools may be better for you.

In response to the actual question 3, which I'm going to label 4:

4. Its hard to determine the answer to this question as it is very vague. In a sense, first you have to define in state public as something like a competitive school like UNC or Cali schools or in state schools like Tx. schools and Fl. schools. Then you have to define out of state private in terms of the supposed "safety" schools vs. top 10 private schools. It also depends on how competitive your profile is vs. those who you are competing with and the subjective nature of the admissions committee. there is not direct answer to this question. But chances are that if you are a competitive applicant in line with being above average for your state schools, you'll have a great chance of getting into them if they are a school that takes 98+% of their own instate residents. Some states like Pennsylvania don't have a single school that takes 98+% of their own in state residents so it changes the picture a bit. Again, no clear cut answer to this question.
 

gujuDoc

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Just a word of advice though - make sure you don't just look at their average MCAT/GPA numbers - look at how many people apply. If 10,000 people apply, it might be better to just apply elsewhere.

Good point. It is important to look at the number of in state vs. out of state residents interviewed and accepted to a school
 

AmoryBlaine

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Or, more correctly...

"To how many schools should I apply?"

Hope no one is writing their personal statements with this sort of grammar.
 

MonkeyNuts!

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Please don't do that in the stickies Amory, these are actually important threads, unlike 85% of the other ones you will find in PreAllo.
 

AmoryBlaine

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Please don't do that in the stickies Amory, these are actually important threads, unlike 85% of the other ones you will find in PreAllo.

ok, ok.

But you really shouldn't sticky threads with (2!) grammatical errors in the titles! We are training to be professionals...
 

DoctorPardi

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Ok closing this one down and I'll be opening the next one up soon, thanks for all the responses guys!

Also I'll try to use better grammar in the future ;) .
 
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