Pre-II selection factors vs Post-Interview selection factors

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Can any of the adcoms here shed some light on exactly how acceptance decisions are made after the interview at schools with rolling admissions? Specifically:

(1) What factors are considered before an II is extended to an applicant?
(2) What factors are considered AFTER the interview in order to accept/waitlist/reject?

In other words, other than interview performance, are the factors considered in (1) and (2) the same? If yes, why consider them twice? How much does the interview itself matter? If you're already scored as part of (1) and highest scores receive IIs, then your score in the interview should basically decide whether it's an A or an R or a W, no? Unless I am totally mistaken :(

Please can you help understand this process? Thank you so much! @LizzyM @Goro @gonnif

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I thought that most schools read the primary, secondary, LoRs in their entirety before extending in an interview. However, based on my experience this cycle vs previous cycle, they are not reading some parts of the application, namely convictions and institutional actions. I don’t know how schools decide which parts to read, but clearly it is not the whole application.

Edit: Sorry, just read that you were looking for adcom responses. But I think it’s just that the application gets more scrutiny post interview
 
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At my school to get an interview: you get 2 scores from 2 readers using a rubric that looks at the entirety of your application and all factors.

After that you get 2 interviewers which look to see if you are as good as you are on paper- if you would be a good fit. As a student interviewer the big question I ask myself is: 1) Could I see this person as my classmate and 2) do they want to go to school HERE.

Then after you interview: 3 reviewers take a look at both your two interview scores and your 2 file reviews and give you a score.

A executive committee members looks at everything: your 3 review scores, 2 interview scores and 2 file scores and presents it to the executive committee where you need a simple majority out of 7 voting members to get accepted.

So Pre-II 2 people have seen your app (these readers are anyone in the community from admissions staff, to M3, to PHDs etc theres over 100).

Post II yoou are screened by 2 interviewers, 3 reviewers, and an executive committee. Each of these groups is comprised of different people.

So yes, getting an interview is a great sign but getting in Post II is much more extensive and many more eyes and opinions on your app.


The interview matters ALOT.

a great interview you are getting in no matter where you are starting from.

If youo have an average interview its neutral.

If youo have a bad interview that hurts yoou.

No one single factor gets in. The totality get looked at.

IN executive committee discussion: your gpa may be brought up, mcat, what interviewers think. Everything is on the table still.

But at the end of the day none of this matters. Its all out of your control. You need to perform at every stage, stand out/not be boring and give it your all.
 
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At my school to get an interview: you get 2 scores from 2 readers using a rubric that looks at the entirety of your application and all factors.

After that you get 2 interviewers which look to see if you are as good as you are on paper- if you would be a good fit. As a student interviewer the big question I ask myself is: 1) Could I see this person as my classmate and 2) do they want to go to school HERE.

Then after you interview: 3 reviewers take a look at both your two interview scores and your 2 file reviews and give you a score.

A executive committee members looks at everything: your 3 review scores, 2 interview scores and 2 file scores and presents it to the executive committee where you need a simple majority out of 7 voting members to get accepted.

So Pre-II 2 people have seen your app (these readers are anyone in the community from admissions staff, to M3, to PHDs etc theres over 100).

Post II yoou are screened by 2 interviewers, 3 reviewers, and an executive committee. Each of these groups is comprised of different people.

So yes, getting an interview is a great sign but getting in Post II is much more extensive and many more eyes and opinions on your app.
Thank you. This is the most useful information I have found in relation to this topic!
 
Thank you. This is the most useful information I have found in relation to this topic!
Important to remember everyone school does it differently- important key is at the end of the day: show that you are at FIT at THAT SCHOOL.

My last interview question is always why: x school. I can tell 100 percent who is being serious and who is just giving me the same bull**** they tell every school.

My best interview reviews always end with "I can tell they want to come HERE, and I could easily see them being my classmate, highly recommend."
 
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This.

Much easier for one out of fifteen to notice a flaw (and raise concerns during adcom meeting) than one of two
FWIW, I am talking about "regular/normal" applications without any obvious flaws - no institutional actions or bad LORs. I understand these factors will weigh heavily. But most people do not have these flaws. I am just looking for the average process for an average application.
 
Important to remember everyone school does it differently- important key is at the end of the day: show that you are at FIT at THAT SCHOOL.

My last interview question is always why: x school. I can tell 100 percent who is being serious and who is just giving me the same bull**** they tell every school.

My best interview reviews always end with "I can tell they want to come HERE, and I could easily see them being my classmate, highly recommend."
What you shared in your post above makes a lot of sense and is very insightful, but the part about a great interview guaranteeing an acceptance, no matter where you are starting from, contradicts what several adcoms have shared over the years, and also renders moot all the other elements of everyone else's review.

I have to ask -- how long have you been doing this, and how many people have you highly recommended? I'm going to assume your statement is based on no one you ever loved not being accepted, no matter where they started from, but is the sample size 3 or 30? It's clearly true for you, but does everyone else involved in the process really cede so much power to the interviewers? I get having an interviewer hate someone results in an auto-R, but does it really work the other way as well?
 
FWIW, I am talking about "regular/normal" applications without any obvious flaws - no institutional actions or bad LORs. I understand these factors will weigh heavily. But most people do not have these flaws. I am just looking for the average process for an average application.
From what I can tell (a bunch of schools detail their process on interview day), about half of the schools vote such that each committee member gives a number. The scores are then used to rank applicants and the top X get in middle X get waitlisted bottom X get rejected.

It seems like another half, vote qualitatively, such that each says “admit” or “deny.” There is a threshold for the number of admits that an applicant has to get.
 
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Important to remember everyone school does it differently- important key is at the end of the day: show that you are at FIT at THAT SCHOOL.

My last interview question is always why: x school. I can tell 100 percent who is being serious and who is just giving me the same bull**** they tell every school.

My best interview reviews always end with "I can tell they want to come HERE, and I could easily see them being my classmate, highly recommend."
I don't want to derail this post, as I am still interested in hearing more about the process from the adcoms, but I somehow felt compelled to respond to this.

I get the notion of "fit", at least as a theoretical concept. But, really, you and all of us have been through this process. There are tens of thousands of applicants, vastly more than the number of places and schools. It is a CLASSIC sellers market if ever there was one. To me, as for the vast majority of applicants, the perfect medical school is one -- ANY one -- that accepts me. Most med schools, despite everything they say on their websites are NOT actually that different from each other in their "mission". Everyone wants to do great science, and everyone wants to do good by the community. Just like most applicants. Why not just acknowledge that and take people's word for it? Why this preoccupation with "fit"? How is fit defined? I get research vs community engagement vs both. I get urban vs rural. But these do not count for a terribly differentiated universe to distinguish themselves for such a skewed applicant to admittance ratio.
 
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How is fit defined?
As infuriating as this is to most applicants, I feel like part of fit is your "vibe." Do I feel through reading your app and talking to you like you're someone who will not only succeed at our school, but also thrive in our community? I think that we often think of fit as solely directed at the school's mission and values, but part of fit is also in regards to the community (rural vs suburban vs urban, well-off population vs underserved population, demographics, etc.).

Why not just acknowledge that and take people's word for it?
Whether it's through reading the app or talking to someone in an interview, some applicants can make committee members feel more passionate about advocating for them than other applicants. Another part of "vibe" and clicking with your interviewers and reviewers.

Note: absolutely not involved in admissions, just my thoughts after going through half of this current app cycle. Would love to hear adcoms thoughts on @olivegreeneyes original questions!
 
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Can any of the adcoms here shed some light on exactly how acceptance decisions are made after the interview at schools with rolling admissions? Specifically:

(1) What factors are considered before an II is extended to an applicant?
(2) What factors are considered AFTER the interview in order to accept/waitlist/reject?

In other words, other than interview performance, are the factors considered in (1) and (2) the same? If yes, why consider them twice? How much does the interview itself matter? If you're already scored as part of (1) and highest scores receive IIs, then your score in the interview should basically decide whether it's an A or an R or a W, no? Unless I am totally mistaken :(

Please can you help understand this process? Thank you so much!
All factors are considered when deciding an applicant's outcome, whether that be to interview, accept, waitlist, or reject. How the interview is factored into the final decision is best explained by @LizzyM 's staircase analogy. Schools may weigh each component of the application differently, but the interview(s) generally hold significant weight when deciding an applicant's outcome post-II.

At my school, almost all accepted applicants have an excellent application on paper and at least great (if not excellent) interview performances. A bad or lukewarm interview will sink even the best applicants on paper.

In contrast, some applicants with considerably less impressive CVs will not be accepted even with exceptional interview reviews. This latter group fortunately makes up a small minority of the interview pool as they represent a poor use of resources for all parties involved. Sometimes the screeners believe that an applicant is a 'diamond in the rough', a view that may not be shared by other adcom members. Just my thoughts.
 
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What you shared in your post above makes a lot of sense and is very insightful, but the part about a great interview guaranteeing an acceptance, no matter where you are starting from, contradicts what several adcoms have shared over the years, and also renders moot all the other elements of everyone else's review.

I have to ask -- how long have you been doing this, and how many people have you highly recommended? I'm going to assume your statement is based on no one you ever loved not being accepted, no matter where they started from, but is the sample size 3 or 30? It's clearly true for you, but does everyone else involved in the process really cede so much power to the interviewers? I get having an interviewer hate someone results in an auto-R, but does it really work the other way as well?
I’m just talking about at my school, which has a high post II acceptance rate. I could easily imagine that at a school like GW with a super low post II acceptance rate: you could have a great interview but by sheer number of interviews compared to so little spots that wouldn’t be enough.

Just speaking to my system.
 
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For those of you who might be new around here, the staircase analogy is this: After your application is read, you are assigned a stair on a broad staircase with many people of equal status on each stair. Those of the top of the staircase are admitted for interview and the committee works its way down until it runs out of interview slots. Once you are in the door you are on another staircase, with a position similar to your position on the first staircase. This time, after interview, you may go up one stair or many, or you may be sent down one step or many. You can start out at the top and end up on the bottom based on the interview. The admission process is the same as the interview invite process beginning at the top and working our way down until we've admitted the number we can safely make offers to without over enrolling. (every school has a multiplier: seats(x)= offers. Determining x is what @Goro calls one of the dark arts).

Most rolling admission schools know how many they can make offers to and they may even know that their x varies with early offers being more or less likely to be accepted. Based on past experience, a school that makes offers monthly from October through February may know that it can offer 20% of its total offers per month. They may make offers to the top of the staircase, the next month the staircase is repopulated, they skim another 20% from the top down, another 20% the following month and so on. If you are close but not close enough, you may be close by the end as the top is skimmed off each month. I hope that this makes sense.
 
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