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Hey, I got some time on my hand and have been on this forum for a while so don't mind getting flamed :D

Myth #1: Top 10 med schools are filled with smart, well-rounded individuals because they could have filled their classes with 4.0 and 40 MCAT individuals but they don't.

The people I know who have gotten interviewed or accepted @ Hopkins, Yale, Penn, Duke, etc. in the last couple years have had 3.85+ GPA and 38+ MCAT (the ones with 4.0 GPA can have MCAT as low as 33 and still do fine if they go to an Ivy-league school or have done extensive research). That's the reality I see. You guys are underestimating the number of applicants out there with near 4.0 GPA and 35+ MCAT! You can be a tool all you want and be an arrogant a$$ to your classmate, but if you can pull off being a normal sounding individual in two separate 30-minute interviews and apply to all the top 15 schools out there, you should get into at least one if not several of them. Because honestly, if Hopkins doesn't want you, no problem....because Duke and Columbia will grab you. If Stanford finds that you are a tool because your tongue slipped during your stanford interview and some inappropriate freudian phrases came out, Yale or Penn might happily wecolme you.

And then of course, in my experience during the last couple years looking at SDN, many applicants countered my point of view with "Oh....this [fill in the name of a top 10 school here] school looked beyond the number! I had 3.6 and 32, and GREAT EC's + recommendations. So they asked me for an interview last week!!! And I am going to go to the interview and impress the heck out of them!"

I usually have nothing to say but check back a few months later on SDN, most of these people eventually get placed on the waitlists while other cookie cutters with 3.95 and 38 + normal premed EC's get accepted outright and have their first pick. that's the reality I see but you disagree and see another reality, join in the discussion!

Myth #2: If I have a choice, I am going to choose a compassionate doctor over a hard-core tool.

Yes and no. The thing is that premeds often underestimate the amount of material and difficulty of med schools, and the REALM OF MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE that has no boundary. It takes dedicated, hard-working individuals to master the knowledge and some huge committment (+ sarcrifice) to memorize the insane amount of material and regurgitate. It is NOT fun!! So there is a reason that med school's average entering grade is 3.5+ and why ad coms look closely @ organic chem, physics and other boring subjects ;) Adimssions committees do want students who can sit down and just study their a$$es off because they want the kids to pass the board and to actually be able to acquire the large amount of medical knowledge out there.

So there have been many debates out there where people argue "I would take somebody with 3.0 college GPA but has lots of compassion over somebody who has 3.8 but is a tool." Well, my stance is that it can go both ways. If that individual with 3.0 GPA can up his or her studying habbit in med school, then great!!! But otherwise, I would have some reservation because memorizing the ENORMOUS number of facts is no fun and unless you showed some committment to do so in college, I don't see you doing that in med school.

Myth #3: I want to be a doctor because my pediatrician helped me and became my role-model.

that's great! However, I seriously believe that a premed should shadow a 3rd-year med student and/or a resident for the duration of 3-4 days (or less if he or she quits in the middle of shadowing). What you see out there is attending's lifestyle. When you volunteer in their clinics, you come in @ 9am and shadow them for a day and they will send you home early @ 4pm while they finish off the paper work.

But you need to see what kinds of crap med students and residents go through to reach that stage. How their hours can be from 6am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and 7am to 3pm on the weekends inside a depressing hospital. And when they are on short-call, they stay until 10pm and on long-call, stay in the hosptial until next day's 7pm with 1 hour of sleep in between (by the way, these calls are staggered so you have no call, short-call, no call, long-call, no call, short-call, no call, long-call, etc). IN addition, there might be 1 day off every 2 weeks if you are lucky. [You know, @ my med school, where 80-hour or, more like it, 90-hour work week for the intern is getting implemented under close supervision, interns get 1 day off a week. BUT that rule does not apply to med students by law. So med students (and some grumpy upper-level residents) actually have to pick up some of intern's slack and would be lucky to sleep in for one day in 2-3 weeks while taking all the calls with the team)].

Within that tight schedule, med students need to prepare for end of rotation exams while residents prepare their cases or review some research articles for weekly conferences. And everyday, resident and med student alike, you have to deal with your attending's personality.

After successfully shadowing med students/residents for a whole week (waking up and sleeping @ their hours, and actually stay awake during the rounds where you learn 3 facts in the, gasp, span of two hours) and you still feel that you want to have such awesome lifestyle for 5-12 years of your life, then you have indeed chosen the right profession! :clap: Congrat!


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I agree about the hardcore numbers, but each top 10 school has a different personality...stanford, for example, definitely requires high numbers, but they also tend to choose less anal people, but still having the high numbers..unique in both situation and's the mindset instilled in the school..however, most other top 10s are not so....
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While you have some good points to make, I'd like to point out that

1. Columbia took me with a 3.5/30M (and no research). My interviewer flat out told me, Columbia loves musicians, so I guess they are looking for some well-roundedness. To be fair, no other top 10 school showed any interest in me (other than taking secondary fees from me).

2. Anyone would choose a compassionate doctor over a non-compasssionate one if they had a chance. The fact that they're both doctors means they've both studied and mastered the material well enough to get through med school and residency. (Not that there aren't some bad doctors out there, but the compasssionate docs, being more concerned for the well-being of their patients, it would seem to me would be pretty darned conscientious about learning how to do a good job for them). I think adcoms are pretty good at evaluating who will work hard in med school, even if they do let a few sub 3.5 GPAs in. ;)

3. Very few people get the chance to shadow a 3rd year or a resident (cool idea, though). And last I checked, med schools and residencies were spitting out lots of people who managed to get through without that experience. But I agree that people should have their eyes wide open about what they are getting into. The books that are mentioned on Greg Nicholson's thread, 3rd year of med school, are a great way to start. I have bumped up that thread for the newbies.


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Originally posted by Blitzkrieg
I agree about the hardcore numbers, but each top 10 school has a different personality...stanford, for example, definitely requires high numbers, but they also tend to choose less anal people, but still having the high numbers..unique in both situation and's the mindset instilled in the school..however, most other top 10s are not so....

I dont think you have any evidence to make a claim like this. Stanford is a great school, but to somehow claim that its students are unique in a way that no other top med school's students are is false


OK, I'd like to add some things.. I don't think you should be saying that we are underestimating the stats of people accepted at Hopkins. For the most part, people with average stats do NOT apply to top 10 schools because they know they are not considered competitive at these schools (exception: URM and/or disadvantaged applicant) . I don't think any of us on here are all that delusional. Also, you seem to think that being waitlisted is necessarily a prelude to doom and rejection; as one of many classmates who came off the waitlist at my school I would very much like to debunk this myth! If you visit threads from last year about waitlist movement, you will also notice that there is often a respectable amount of waitlist movement at the Top 10's and an excellent amount of movement at many, many other well-respected schools (UCLA, Tufts, Florida, Arizona, USC, UIC, UCI). Not all of those coming off the waitlist had 3.8+, 36+ from Ivy League schools! Also, most pre-meds are not obsessed with going to a top 10 school; they just want to go to a med school, period. Although Tufts gets bashed on here all the time, people here are not a bunch of slackers with "average" stats and/or bitter gunners. A large proportion of the class had double majors and/or graduate degrees, and many have done a lot of travelling, overseas volunteer work, or studying abroad. The undergrad schools represented in the class are impressive, too. I also do not believe that all those with average stats are wonderful people, nor that all those with high stats are jerks; I agree with you that this is just a dumb stereotype.

While shadowing a third year or resident is a good idea, it unfortunately is not allowed by many hospitals b/c the third years have a lot to learn and the residents have a lot on their plate. plus, if the volunteer (not a med student) gets injured or injures a patient (hey, could happen if the resident does not use his or her judgement) as a result of staying too many hours, the hospital can be held legally responsible. I think shadowing an attending is more feasible, and that one can be exposed to the pros and cons of medicine in this setting. I think that shadowing a pediatrician in private practice is also underrated in many people's eyes in terms of a learning experience. Things are not all rosy for docs in private or small group practice either; they have to deal with a lot of $#-+ in managed care and the parents tend to get angrier with them if things do not go perfectly since the private practioner tends to be much closer to his/her patients. I also think that it is easier to start off learning to do a history and physical exam under the guidance of a physician mentor in a private/group practice setting.

good thoughts though, thank you for generating some mature and intelligent discussion..
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