Question about waitlist and admissions

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Curioso06

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My question is probably exceedingly specific and will likely not have a very clear answer, but I've been thinking about this for a while and wanted some input. Here goes,

Do med schools ever waitlist an interviewed candidate in order to re-visit their application later in the cycle because despite them being a very attractive candidate, there is something "non-normal" about their metric profile and that they would like to see how the rest of their prospective class forms in order to admit those very attractive candidates?

For example, let's say there's a candidate with really exceptional ECs and decent GPA, but for some reason (for example) their physical sciences MCAT subscore was a little low. The school does not want to admit this candidate at the present time because they want to ensure that the rest of their class has a physical sciences MCAT subscore that is consistent with their historical trend. This example could be applied to different aspects of the candidate's metric profile (sGPA, cGPA, etc.)

Does this happen? And if so, would this more likely happen at top 20 institutions? When I refer to exceptional ECs, I'm talking about the top 0.1 to 0.01%. Obviously, every school is different and so anything can happen, but I'm wondering if this scenario is plausible at all.

Thanks!

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On a separate note, how do some schools consistently attain a certain average MCAT score from year to year? Is it a combination of deliberate and coincidental factors that somehow lead to the some average MCAT score each year?

The reason why I asked my original question is because I wonder if the Dean or adcoms deliberately admit students to ensure a certain average MCAT score for the entire incoming class. I'm sure each school does it differently, but it's interesting to see this phenomenon occur over and over again. Please enlighten me!
 
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Now I'm really really curious...

1st author on high-impact journal + Military officer?
No way. Rhodes Scholar + Olympic gold medalist + 1st author pub in major journal + reads books to kids with cancer. :rolleyes:

The reason why I asked my original question is because I wonder if the Dean or adcoms deliberately admit students to ensure a certain average MCAT score for the entire incoming class. I'm sure each school does it differently, but it's interesting to see this phenomenon occur over and over again. Please enlighten me!
I'm sure it depends on the school. It's no surprise that schools have a target MCAT range that they're looking for in applicants that would allow them to maintain a rough average for the entire class. But there also seem to be schools that are willing to accept people way above or below their range, if they seem like good candidates in other areas. For example, a school might look back at previous matriculants who were successful despite a below average MCAT score and try to look for similar qualities in future applicants (whether it be great EC's, high GPA, coming from a certain undergrad, etc.).
 
On a separate note, how do some schools consistently attain a certain average MCAT score from year to year? Is it a combination of deliberate and coincidental factors that somehow lead to the some average MCAT score each year?

The reason why I asked my original question is because I wonder if the Dean or adcoms deliberately admit students to ensure a certain average MCAT score for the entire incoming class. I'm sure each school does it differently, but it's interesting to see this phenomenon occur over and over again. Please enlighten me!
If you fish the same waters you catch the same fish.
 
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If you never, ever interview an applicant with an MCAT of < x, it is unlikely that your mean MCAT will ever fall below x+2.

More often it is a case of "let's waitlist these 34s and see how many 35-40s accept our offer before we fill in with the lower tier applicants." It doesn't get to the level of detail of subscores.
 
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If you never, ever interview an applicant with an MCAT of < x, it is unlikely that your mean MCAT will ever fall below x+2.

More often it is a case of "let's waitlist these 34s and see how many 35-40s accept our offer before we fill in with the lower tier applicants." It doesn't get to the level of detail of subscores.
Are you saying this is only done with mcat scores, or more generally "these people scored x in our all-encompassing formula (mcat, ECs, etc) let's see how many people with a score of x+20 accept first"?
 
If you fish the same waters you catch the same fish.

I agree that the system is set up in order to have a tendency to admit a class with certain stats, but some schools cast a wide net when they interview candidates. When it comes to the acceptance/denial/waitlist phase, metrics still play an important role and I would imagine the students with target MCAT/GPA characteristics will be admitted before the lower metric ones, even if the low stat individuals have more compelling (but not exceptionally so) ECs, non-metric qualities.

Basically, my conjecture is that the tendency to admit individuals with non-normal stats depends on who is already admitted and will attend, etc. Is this a reasonable hypothesis?
 
We don't have a mentality of "let's look at this kid later". If we wait list someone, it's for a very good reason.

As per the wise LizzyM, we don't waitlist because of a poor subsection. We'll reject for a poor Bio showing, though.


My question is probably exceedingly specific and will likely not have a very clear answer, but I've been thinking about this for a while and wanted some input. Here goes,

Do med schools ever waitlist an interviewed candidate in order to re-visit their application later in the cycle because despite them being a very attractive candidate, there is something "non-normal" about their metric profile and that they would like to see how the rest of their prospective class forms in order to admit those very attractive candidates?

For example, let's say there's a candidate with really exceptional ECs and decent GPA, but for some reason (for example) their physical sciences MCAT subscore was a little low. The school does not want to admit this candidate at the present time because they want to ensure that the rest of their class has a physical sciences MCAT subscore that is consistent with their historical trend. This example could be applied to different aspects of the candidate's metric profile (sGPA, cGPA, etc.)

Does this happen? And if so, would this more likely happen at top 20 institutions? When I refer to exceptional ECs, I'm talking about the top 0.1 to 0.01%. Obviously, every school is different and so anything can happen, but I'm wondering if this scenario is plausible at all.

Thanks!


No, they accept people who they want in their Class, because they think this person will add something positive. What the other acceptees are like means nothing when looking at a single individual.

Basically, my conjecture is that the tendency to admit individuals with non-normal stats depends on who is already admitted and will attend, etc. Is this a reasonable hypothesis?
 
I would imagine that if we graphed MCAT score vs. time it takes to be admitted off the waitlist, it would be some curve that slopes downward. Don't get me wrong, I agree that for any individual candidate, their chances are stochastic and are mitigated by factors that can't always be rationalized or justified 100% of the time, but I would bet that if there was such a trend, even so slight, it would be the one that I mentioned!
 
I agree that the system is set up in order to have a tendency to admit a class with certain stats, but some schools cast a wide net when they interview candidates. When it comes to the acceptance/denial/waitlist phase, metrics still play an important role and I would imagine the students with target MCAT/GPA characteristics will be admitted before the lower metric ones, even if the low stat individuals have more compelling (but not exceptionally so) ECs, non-metric qualities.

Basically, my conjecture is that the tendency to admit individuals with non-normal stats depends on who is already admitted and will attend, etc. Is this a reasonable hypothesis?
You interview the best that are likely to attend.
You accept the best of those you interview.
How you define best includes many factors.
Who is likely to attend varies by school.
 
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You interview the best that are likely to attend.
You accept the best of those you interview.
How you define best includes many factors.
Who is likely to attend varies by school.

I don't disagree with what you're saying, but is it reasonable for me to suspect that there's a tendency to accept the high MCAT/GPA interviewees first and then accept the lesser MCAT/GPA candidates who were waitlisted? I'd imagine it's different for every school, but what I would suspect is that as the adcoms go through the waitlist, the average MCAT/GPA probably goes lower and lower. Just speculation though
 
I don't disagree with what you're saying, but is it reasonable for me to suspect that there's a tendency to accept the high MCAT/GPA interviewees first and then accept the lesser MCAT/GPA candidates who were waitlisted? I'd imagine it's different for every school, but what I would suspect is that as the adcoms go through the waitlist, the average MCAT/GPA probably goes lower and lower. Just speculation though
Once they have gone through committee, they have another data point: the strength of the committee's recommendation. Plenty of high stats folks will be way down on the list, while others may go way up.
A waitlist is often used to re-balance a class that may have gone out of kilter. This will align the committee's recommendation with the goals of the school.
 
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Once they have gone through committee, they have another data point: the strength of the committee's recommendation. Plenty of high stats folks will be way down on the list, while others may go way up.
A waitlist is often used to re-balance a class that may have gone out of kilter. This will align the committee's recommendation with the goals of the school.

By this, do you mean, for example, that if the incoming class looks like they're lacking a strong research focus (for a research-oriented school), that they will admit more students with strong research experiences?

Likewise, if it looks like the average GPA and MCAT are not where they should be, then the adcoms will admit candidates that will bring those metrics more in line?

(Of course, I assume, these metrics + ECs can all be encompassed by a single or very few waitlisted candidates who can be admitted to align with the goals of the school.)
 
By this, do you mean, for example, that if the incoming class looks like they're lacking a strong research focus (for a research-oriented school), that they will admit more students with strong research experiences?

Likewise, if it looks like the average GPA and MCAT are not where they should be, then the adcoms will admit candidates that will bring those metrics more in line?

(Of course, I assume, these metrics + ECs can all be encompassed by a single or very few waitlisted candidates who can be admitted to align with the goals of the school.)

If you are invited for interview, then your GPA/MCAT will matter very little at this point and most adcoms won't care that much at the final decision making. Schools do tend to try to make a class as "diverse" as possible in other aspects, so there's a chance you may be put on a waitlist due to this reason despite having a good interview experience.
 
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By this, do you mean, for example, that if the incoming class looks like they're lacking a strong research focus (for a research-oriented school), that they will admit more students with strong research experiences?

Likewise, if it looks like the average GPA and MCAT are not where they should be, then the adcoms will admit candidates that will bring those metrics more in line?

(Of course, I assume, these metrics + ECs can all be encompassed by a single or very few waitlisted candidates who can be admitted to align with the goals of the school.)
It's usually a lot blunter than you imagine; way more men than women or no black men, for example.
You can't fix metrics from the waitlist...
 
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If you are invited for interview, then your GPA/MCAT will matter very little at this point and most adcoms won't care that much at the final decision making. Schools do tend to try to make a class as "diverse" as possible in other aspects, so there's a chance you may be put on a waitlist due to this reason despite having a good interview experience.

It's usually a lot blunter than you imagine; way more men than women or no black men, for example.
You can't fix metrics from the waitlist...

So I'm assuming that the reason why a truly "ranked" waitlist does not really exist is because one's actual rank really depends more on their demographics (in most cases), for example, gender, IS/OOS, ethnicity, etc?

To illustrate the point, if an acceptee who is IS/male declines their acceptance, the adcom will go to the next IS/male waitlisted candidate and extend an offer to him?

How specific do these characteristics get? For example, would it be unusual to specifically accept an IS, male, hispanic, non-trad? Is that too specific?
 
So I'm assuming that the reason why a truly "ranked" waitlist does not really exist is because one's actual rank really depends more on their demographics (in most cases), for example, gender, IS/OOS, ethnicity, etc?

To illustrate the point, if an acceptee who is IS/male declines their acceptance, the adcom will go to the next IS/male waitlisted candidate and extend an offer to him?

How specific do these characteristics get? For example, would it be unusual to specifically accept an IS, male, hispanic, non-trad? Is that too specific?
I'm not a participant at other schools but, it's not a one to one replacement.
 
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I'm not a participant at other schools but, it's not a one to one replacement.
It's not this specific (except for the no black male example).

I'm not sure I follow what you mean from your previous post about aligning the goals of the school. What would be an example of an adcom balancing/aligning their class by using the waitlist?
 
If you were really an exceptional or attractive candidate to the school, you wouldn't get wait listed... Also, how the heck are quantifying top .01% ECs lol
 
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Maybe I'm a bit naive, but I firmly believe that if a school offers your an II then they want you in their class. It is up to you to prove you belong there with your interview (or from reading this forum prove you don't).

If you get wait listed... I can not begin to guess the thought process of admins, there are over 140 MD programs in the US and I'm willing to bet that no two schools look at everything exactly the same way.
 
Maybe I'm a bit naive, but I firmly believe that if a school offers your an II then they want you in their class. It is up to you to prove you belong there with your interview (or from reading this forum prove you don't).

If you get wait listed... I can not begin to guess the thought process of admins, there are over 140 MD programs in the US and I'm willing to bet that no two schools look at everything exactly the same way.

The adcom knows it has x seats and will need to make ~(x)y offers to fill those seats where y is a number between 1 and 4. So, if it has interviewed 2(x)y applicants it knows that beyond the top (x) y applicants the rest will need to be declined ("rather not have you" or "unlikely we'd ever have enough room to admit you") or waitlisted ("we like you but we just don't have enough seats" or "we don't want to hurt your feelings so we are waitlisting you rather than telling you no".)

A school needs to make at least x offers by a specific date in March. It could go with y= 1 and then pull the remainder of the class from the waitlist but there is some opinion that the best ones get away if you waitlist them and let them fall in love with a peer institution that makes them an outright offer rather than waitlist them. Thus some schools go with y = 3 knowing that (x)(y-2) applicants need to turn down the offer before anyone gets off the waitlist.
 
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You interview the best that are likely to attend.
You accept the best of those you interview.
How you define best includes many factors.
Who is likely to attend varies by school.

Does this necessarily apply to instate candidates to their public state school? I understand they're often mandated to interview a certain number of IS applicants. Can they be denied or waitlisted admissions post-interview because, for example, they're a very strong candidate and will very likely be accepted to other institutions and probably not attend their public state school? I realize even very strong candidates may want to attend their state school due to decreased tuition costs.
 
Does this necessarily apply to instate candidates to their public state school? I understand they're often mandated to interview a certain number of IS applicants. Can they be denied or waitlisted admissions post-interview because, for example, they're a very strong candidate and will very likely be accepted to other institutions and probably not attend their public state school? I realize even very strong candidates may want to attend their state school due to decreased tuition costs.
A public school gets its best candidates from IS. It would be crazy not to accept them outright.
 
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@Goro , @LizzyM and @gyngyn , do your committees generally work this way? I ask because I'm a slightly older applicant with lower MCAT and GPA stats with a very strong application otherwise (according to my advisors and mentors, but I'm taking that assessment with a grain of salt).

For people like me who are lucky enough to get interviews even when we are below the school's mean stats, can the interview really be enough to get us in if we do really well?

Edit: meant to quote @christmasindr on GPA/MCAT mattering very little after the interview
 
We don't have an IS preference at our school.

do your committees generally work this way? I ask because I'm a slightly older applicant with lower MCAT and GPA stats with a very strong application otherwise (according to my advisors and mentors, but I'm taking that assessment with a grain of salt).

Yes. Med schools don't waste resources on people who they think won't make it through med school. If you get an II, it's for a good reason.

For people like me who are lucky enough to get interviews even when we are below the school's mean stats, can the interview really be enough to get us in if we do really well?
 
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@Goro , @LizzyM and @gyngyn , do your committees generally work this way? I ask because I'm a slightly older applicant with lower MCAT and GPA stats with a very strong application otherwise (according to my advisors and mentors, but I'm taking that assessment with a grain of salt).

For people like me who are lucky enough to get interviews even when we are below the school's mean stats, can the interview really be enough to get us in if we do really well?

Edit: meant to quote @christmasindr on GPA/MCAT mattering very little after the interview
We only interview candidates with strong applications.
 
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What way?
That you almost only use GPA/MCAT to decide whether they should get an interview. Or, alternatively, does your committee use those scores to inform the post-interview "do we accept, waitlist, or reject" discussion in a significant way?
 
That you almost only use GPA/MCAT to decide whether they should get an interview. Or, alternatively, does your committee use those scores to inform the post-interview "do we accept, waitlist, or reject" discussion in a significant way?
No. The whole package is evaluated before an interview is offered and re-evaluated post interview using all available information.
 
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@Goro , @LizzyM and @gyngyn , do your committees generally work this way? I ask because I'm a slightly older applicant with lower MCAT and GPA stats with a very strong application otherwise (according to my advisors and mentors, but I'm taking that assessment with a grain of salt).

For people like me who are lucky enough to get interviews even when we are below the school's mean stats, can the interview really be enough to get us in if we do really well?

Edit: meant to quote @christmasindr on GPA/MCAT mattering very little after the interview

I have used the analogy of a staircase in the past. Imagine a very wide staircase that can accommodate many applicants on each stair. Each applicant is assigned a stair pre-interview. The applicants at the top of the staircase proceed to interview. This might be the top two or three steps or the top five or six.... Keep in mind that some schools interview 10-20% of applicants. Those lower on the staircase will not be interviewed. Post interview, applicants are again assigned to a stair. In part, the position on the stairs reflects their position pre-interview but a good interview may move an applicant up a stair or two and a bad performance may move someone down to the bottom. Now again, only a proportion of the applicants can be admitted and we start at the top of the stairs and work our way down until the class is full.

MCAT and GPA to determine, in large part, your place on the stairs. It takes quite a bit to move up higher pre-interview but some specific life experiences that are highly valued can provide that upward mobility. Then you hope that your interview moves you up further and doesn't leave you toward the bottom due to applicants with better numbers taking positions higher on the staircase.
 
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Thank you for all of these in
I have used the analogy of a staircase in the past. Imagine a very wide staircase that can accommodate many applicants on each stair. Each applicant is assigned a stair pre-interview. The applicants at the top of the staircase proceed to interview. This might be the top two or three steps or the top five or six.... Keep in mind that some schools interview 10-20% of applicants. Those lower on the staircase will not be interviewed. Post interview, applicants are again assigned to a stair. In part, the position on the stairs reflects their position pre-interview but a good interview may move an applicant up a stair or two and a bad performance may move someone down to the bottom. Now again, only a proportion of the applicants can be admitted and we start at the top of the stairs and work our way down until the class is full.

MCAT and GPA to determine, in large part, your place on the stairs. It takes quite a bit to move up higher pre-interview but some specific life experiences that are highly valued can provide that upward mobility. Then you hope that your interview moves you up further and doesn't leave you toward the bottom due to applicants with better numbers taking positions higher on the staircase.
sights!
 
The adcom knows it has x seats and will need to make ~(x)y offers to fill those seats where y is a number between 1 and 4. So, if it has interviewed 2(x)y applicants it knows that beyond the top (x) y applicants the rest will need to be declined ("rather not have you" or "unlikely we'd ever have enough room to admit you") or waitlisted ("we like you but we just don't have enough seats" or "we don't want to hurt your feelings so we are waitlisting you rather than telling you no".)

A school needs to make at least x offers by a specific date in March. It could go with y= 1 and then pull the remainder of the class from the waitlist but there is some opinion that the best ones get away if you waitlist them and let them fall in love with a peer institution that makes them an outright offer rather than waitlist them. Thus some schools go with y = 3 knowing that (x)(y-2) applicants need to turn down the offer before anyone gets off the waitlist.

Why would an adcom waitlist someone to not hurt their feelings? What kind of applicants get that kind of coddling?
 
Why would an adcom waitlist someone to not hurt their feelings? What kind of applicants get that kind of coddling?

The kind that have 3.9/37 (518) and with whom we want to maintain a positive vibe (thinking about residencies, fellowships, employment, loyalty to the undergrad college, etc) but who we just don't have room for. It is really painful (for us) to "reject" someone who is a scholar and a mensch . Waitlisting says, "we like you and we'll take you if space if available." Of course, the alternate argument is that the waitlist is a purgatory that never ends -- or is that really "hell"? I've argued to decline applicants and let them get on with their lives but some people really like to waitlist for the reasons given above.
 
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The kind that have 3.9/37 (518) and with whom we want to maintain a positive vibe (thinking about residencies, fellowships, employment, loyalty to the undergrad college, etc) but who we just don't have room for. It is really painful (for us) to "reject" someone who is a scholar and a mensch . Waitlisting says, "we like you and we'll take you if space if available." Of course, the alternate argument is that the waitlist is a purgatory that never ends -- or is that really "hell"? I've argued to decline applicants and let them get on with their lives but some people really like to waitlist for the reasons given above.
So you wouldn't, for example, waitlist someone with below average stats as a soft letdown?
 
That just struck me as a new way to holistically review applicants via a Yiddish scoring system. ... And of course the chutzpah candidate though I cant quite put my finger on the proper example of this for college or med school admissions

Chutzpah candidate: has no other offers, taken off the waitlist, demands a merit scholarship.
 
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My question is probably exceedingly specific and will likely not have a very clear answer, but I've been thinking about this for a while and wanted some input. Here goes,

Do med schools ever waitlist an interviewed candidate in order to re-visit their application later in the cycle because despite them being a very attractive candidate, there is something "non-normal" about their metric profile and that they would like to see how the rest of their prospective class forms in order to admit those very attractive candidates?

For example, let's say there's a candidate with really exceptional ECs and decent GPA, but for some reason (for example) their physical sciences MCAT subscore was a little low. The school does not want to admit this candidate at the present time because they want to ensure that the rest of their class has a physical sciences MCAT subscore that is consistent with their historical trend. This example could be applied to different aspects of the candidate's metric profile (sGPA, cGPA, etc.)

Does this happen? And if so, would this more likely happen at top 20 institutions? When I refer to exceptional ECs, I'm talking about the top 0.1 to 0.01%. Obviously, every school is different and so anything can happen, but I'm wondering if this scenario is plausible at all.

Thanks!
Some schools may put you on "Hold" to revisit later but I don't think they would ever waitlist someone in your scenario. An applicant of your scenario would probably get a "hold" at some schools.
 
The adcom knows it has x seats and will need to make ~(x)y offers to fill those seats where y is a number between 1 and 4. So, if it has interviewed 2(x)y applicants it knows that beyond the top (x) y applicants the rest will need to be declined ("rather not have you" or "unlikely we'd ever have enough room to admit you") or waitlisted ("we like you but we just don't have enough seats" or "we don't want to hurt your feelings so we are waitlisting you rather than telling you no".)

A school needs to make at least x offers by a specific date in March. It could go with y= 1 and then pull the remainder of the class from the waitlist but there is some opinion that the best ones get away if you waitlist them and let them fall in love with a peer institution that makes them an outright offer rather than waitlist them. Thus some schools go with y = 3 knowing that (x)(y-2) applicants need to turn down the offer before anyone gets off the waitlist.

[(x)y - (x)(y-2)] need to turn down the offer (for y=3), unless you start pulling people from a wait list once your prospective (and still "live") offers of admission drop to 2X the number of seats (by "live" I mean people who have been offered an acceptance but have not turned it down yet).
 
[(x)y - (x)(y-2)] need to turn down the offer (for y=3), unless you start pulling people from a wait list once your prospective (and still "live") offers of admission drop to 2X the number of seats (by "live" I mean people who have been offered an acceptance but have not turned it down yet).

Oy! My grasp of algebra is weak.

In words, the school has to get the number of offers on the table to below the number of seats it has to fill before it can go to the waitlist.
For a school that makes 300 offers to fill 100 seats it needs to have 201 offers declined before there is one empty seat to fill from the waitlist.
 
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No way. Rhodes Scholar + Olympic gold medalist + 1st author pub in major journal + reads books to kids with cancer. :rolleyes:

No way. Rhodes Scholar + Olympic gold medalist + 1st author pub in major journal + WRITES books for kids with cancer. :rolleyes:
 
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That just struck me as a new way to holistically review applicants via a Yiddish scoring system. With the nuances the language has, may end itself to a more precise ranking of the candidates. Just schlemiel, schlemazel, schelp and schmuck really can rank that bottom third at interviews. And of course the chutzpah candidate though I cant quite put my finger on the proper example of this for college or med school admissions
I know this is super old, but out of curiosity does the chutzpah candidate have good or bad chances?
 
.

Edit: I didn't realize this is such an old thread.
 
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