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"Safe" schools, where are you??

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by westsidespartan, Jan 30, 2002.

  1. westsidespartan

    westsidespartan Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 16, 2001
    Troy, MI
    I'm wondering if anyone else is in this situation. My stats are what I consider average for accepted students (29, 3.70). So I applied to a good mix of schools (in/out of state, tier 1/tier 2, public/private). No acceptances yet, but 3 interviews. Problem is, those 3 are what I considered "reach" schools. All were out-of-state, tier 1, public schools (and all of which I loved!). I don't really think my chances are that great with those, but that's all I have going right now.

    Where are the so-called "safe" schools I applied to? Why are they giving me the silent treatment? I've heard of schools ignoring people with great stats because they know the applicant won't attend if admitted, but I surely don't have that great of stats. I will be very frustrated if I don't get in this year, having interviewed at top choice schools, but no where else... what a tease!
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  3. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2001
    Portland, OR
    Depending on what schools you are considering "safe" schools and when you submitted secondaries, they may just not have processed your application yet. Some schools (e.g., GW, NYMC, BU, Tufts, Finch, Jefferson, Georgetown, Loyola, Albany) get about 8,000 applicants each and its a lot to wade through to find the gems. Many schools will be interviewing into April and later so there is still time.
  4. SMW

    SMW Grand Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2001
    anchorage, ak
    How many schools did you apply to? There really are no "safe" schools in the med school admissions game. That's why so many people apply to so many schools. But I still think there's time for you to get more invites. A lot of schools are really backed up, and many are interviewing through April. I've talked to school that still have all of March pretty much open. Although I've had quite a few invites, I'm still waiting on 5 schools where I thought I'd get invites. Best of luck to you.
  5. shimmer118

    shimmer118 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 30, 2001
    San Francisco
    Also, I think quite a lot of pre-meds consider the same schools to be "safe schools," so you have 9,000 people applying to one school (like BU), and with that many people applying, your chances of getting into that school decrease dramatically. Whereas other "reach" schools (say, Harvard) only have 3-5,000 people apply. True, those that apply to reach schools may have better stats, but when you have 9,000 people with similar, average stats apply to one school, I think it'd be "easier" to get into the reach school than the safety school.

    Did that make any sense?
  6. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2001
    Portland, OR
    It makes lots of sense.

    On a pure percentage basis (number of matriculants/number of applicants) the most difficult schools are (using lasts years counts):

    Dartmouth (1.3)
    Mayo (1.4)
    Mount Sinai (1.4)
    Stanford (1.4)
    Chicago-Pritzker (1.5)
    George Washington (1.6)
    Cornell (Weill) (1.6)
    Boston U (1.6)
    Vermont (1.7)
    Morehouse (1.7)

    The easiest include:

    Arkansas (26)
    North Dakota (21)
    Mississippi (20)
    Oklahoma (16)
    Puerto Rico (16)
    Nebraska (15)
    Lousiana State (14)
    Indiana (14)
    MC of Georgia (13)
    Kansas (12)
  7. westsidespartan

    westsidespartan Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 16, 2001
    Troy, MI
  8. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2001
    Portland, OR
    Just for the record, although you probably already know this, the acceptance rates and number of applicants for those Michigan schools are

    Michigan State (3.4, 3049)
    U of Michigan (3.5, 4951)
    Wayne State (8.0, 3191)

    Good luck...
  9. lady in red

    lady in red Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 12, 2001
    San Francisco, CA
    Hi spartan
    I got an interview from MSU yesterday. I am out-of-state (California).
    I had one interview from a 'safety' (not-so-competitive) school last week. I agree with SMW though that these days there is no such thing as safety anymore. So I treat each interview visit as my first choice and as if its the only one acceptance I would receive, no matter what school it is.
  10. none

    none 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2001
    Yeah, how many safety schools did you apply to? I mean if you just did one or shouldn't be worrying. Now 5-10...then maybe you should have heard something and should contact some of them.
  11. Jim Picotte

    Jim Picotte Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Spartan, I still think there's a good chance for you to get an interview at MSU (you mean CHM right, the MD school) and Wayne. I'm here at MSU-CHM in my 4th year so if you do get an interview and have any questions let me know. Being from Michigan you have a much better chance at your state school. MSU accepts a little over 80% of their students from in-state and I believe Wayne is similar. U of M is only half thought. I have friends at all 4 med schools here in Michigan (I'm counting MSU-COM as well) and they're all good schools and you'll get good training at any of them as well as being very competitive for residency. While about have of MSU goes into primary care, we do have a few who do the neurosurg, derm, urology, ortho, ophtho route. I'd go where you feel like you fit in the best, it's a long four years.

    Good luck.
  12. jmejia1

    jmejia1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2001
    I felt a very good vibe from MSU CHM when I was there a couple months ago. Good luck Lady in Red.

    WSspartan, have you considered writing them and updating them with any info,even sending them a postcard letting them know you're very interested and that hopefully they can re-evaulate your application?
  13. choker

    choker Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 30, 2001
    aside from your state school, safe private schools is a complete bull**** idea. i was REJECTED PRE-INTERVIEW from GW, Georgetown, and Einstein, and have gotten interviews at Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, and Columbia, among other much more "selective schools." just apply to as many as possible and see. it's a complete roll of the dice.
  14. WildChild

    WildChild Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 2, 2001

    where did you get the data about hardest/easiest schools to get into from?

  15. SMW,

    remember when i first came onto this site? right after my very first post you greeted me, and told me that with my numbers i'd be sure to get many interviews. Well...what's going on? I applied to 30 schools, many of which are "safe" and have only gotten interviews for MCPHU and Temple. you promised me... :( :p

    seriously though, what's up with these freaking people. i noticed you posted that you expected interviews from 5 more schools which you have yet to hear from. but you've gotten so many invites already..did you expect all of them? the reason i ask is because i sort of expected like 10 interviews, but i've been bamboozled!!

    PS. choker, are you kidding me man? surely you've realized that a man of your caliber cannot be expected to matriculate at GW or other "safe" schools. that's why they don't waste their time interviewing you..because they know you'll be snatched up by one of the elite schools. :) don't sweat it. if you're worried that you won't get in anywhere (unless you've already been accepted) then you could write some of these "safe" schools letters of interest, so they start to believe that maybe you'd consider them.
  16. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2001
  17. UCLA2000

    UCLA2000 7+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2001
    the hospital
    Sandflea...that process happens during interviews. Why do you think that schools ask you where else you've interviewed?

    I was at a Davis interview and they asked me that question. I begrudginly told them where else I interviewed. The list includes:

    Yale, UPenn, UCSF, UCLA, Tulane, CWRU, Pitt, and around 8 other schools.

    As a result I was put on Hold at Davis. They're not dumb. If they accept me and I choose another school over them, it makes them look bad. It's better for them to either 1. reject me flat out to make themselves look better on paper.

    or 2. Put me on hold and wait for me to withdraw by myself if I am accepted to a better school.
  18. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2001
    Portland, OR
  19. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2001
  20. sandflea it seems that you've missed every point i made. the truth is that schools worry about their acceptance yields, and that requesting you to interview there takes them time and money. the interviewer must be paid for his time interviewing you and preparing to interview you and reporting about your interview. that time is money. why on god's green earth would meharry send an invitation to a guy with a 4.0 gpa and 40 mcat. it's a waste of a stamp, ink, and paper. plus if the guy comes to the interview and is accepted, he'll only reject them and make them look bad. what are they stupid? they want to accept all of their best applicants? hell no. if they did that, they'd have a horrible yield. and they'd waste their time. instead they use that time and money to interview people with numbers at that schools level that "match up" with that school. it's sensible isn't it?

    like i said before, if you don't want a meharry to cross you out and hit you with that preemptive strike (sp?) then you should send a letter telling them how interested you are in their curriculum and school. that way they won't think they're wasting their time *completely* by interviewing you.

    you might say "well they should know i'm interested if i applied." but that's absolutely not true. maybe you're one hell of a guy who's only applied to schools you're very interested in, and with those numbers, you'd still be just as happy at meharry as you would at harvard, but they don't know that (unless you tell them like i said). they might think you're using them as a safety school because maybe you're playing it safe (hello??).

    it makes perfect sense. i think that when excellent applicants complain that an average school didn't interview them and use that as an example of "how random this process is," it depreciates the value of that statement. it is random because average applicants should get interviews at most of the average schools they apply to, but in some cases only get 10% of those schools. or when solid applicants with decent numbers (ie. biochem majors with 3.6 gpa, 29 mcat)apply to many average schools but don't get into medschool and have to apply again!! THAT's why this process is random. rejecting a highly qualified applicant is not random but carefully designed!!!!!

    haven't you ever heard of someone not getting a job because they're over qualified for the position. well, that's not a great example, but it's a similar principle. anybody who doesn't demonstrate lots of interest in Meharry, shouldn't expect to get an interview there if they've also gotten one at Harvard. that is painfully obvious and everybody should understand it from now on. :)
  21. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2001
  22. some people will never learn.

    Sandflea, i'm gonna explain this again. but i need you to stop closing yourself to this new possibility. try to understand it. here it goes.

    if you applied to meharry as a safe school, and the rest of your schools are ivies because you're a great applicant, do you think meharry should interview you? they DO recognize what level their school is at (according to rankings, which they ARE aware of), and if they're second tier, they're second tier and know it. i don't understand how to make this more clear. but i can try for you. :) please don't be upset with me, i'm trying to explain something to you as patiently as possible. i understand your post, there is no need to reiterate your concerns. just hear this one last time.

    a school has nearly the same avg gpa and mcat year after year for a reason.

    if a low ranked school decides to interview/accept only it's most qualified applicants then it will have a matriculating class of 1/5 the students that they have seats for. when a stellar applicant applies to a second tier school, he does it for insurance. these schools recognize when they're someone's insurance, it's in their best interest to recognize this. but let's say they don't. let's say they only interview and accept the best people because they live in your world. now their avg gpa is 3.8 and avg mcat is 35 (if the people invited EVEN SHOW UP FOR THE INTERVIEW). so now their class is stellar, and they've moved up soo much statistically. what happens come May 15?? their class ends up being composed of 13 students..with 100 empty seats that they cannot do anything to fill!!!!!!!!!! they've screwed themselves by thinking wishfully. their best bet is to recognize their status as a good school that has a second tier ranking. they will interview on both sides of the spectrum but in the end, their averages will stay nearly the same because of obvious reasons. i refuse to make this point more clear. somebody back me up here, so that sandflea understands REALITY.
    **** me!!!
  23. UCLA2000

    UCLA2000 7+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2001
    the hospital
    not all schools ask where else you've interviewed...however all 12 schools that I actually interviewed at DID ask me that question. Many then followed it up by asking me where did their school stack up on my list of choices? At UCD the interviewer basically told me that she didn't think there was any way that I'd realistically choose her school.
  24. imtiaz

    imtiaz i cant translate stupid Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jul 26, 2000
    New York, NY
    I agree, there are only a finite number of stellar applicants.I doubt that these people could constitute the entire entering class of 2002. Schools are then forced to seek out and admit applicants in decreasing GPA/MCAT order until their class is full. Of course there are other considerations in the process, like the interest of the applicant in the particular school, ECs, and all that non-numbers stuff. But like Caveman mentioned this has to be voiced by the applicant. Schools will interview applicants that are both a little above and a little below their averages for THEIR insurance that their class will be filled in May. If every school only admitted the highest qualified applicants, only a small number of total applicants would matriculate at a particular school.
  25. Mr.D

    Mr.D insipidus maximus 7+ Year Member

    Jan 23, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Quite frankly, I think that both you and sandflea
    are correct. Different schools tend to look at
    different things in an applicant - that's part of
    what makes the application process so random. On
    the other hand, med schools (I believe) are also
    aware of where they stand in the rankings and,
    whether you like it or not, know that the rankings
    to a certain degree (barring personal factors) determine where strong applicants will be likely
    to attend. It's somewhat of a crapshoot (a very expensive one in terms of time and money in their part) for second tier or lower med schools to simply accept their best applicants in the pool
    if the students haven't really expressed their sincere interest in the school during the interview and secondary. In summary, I think that second tier med schools try to strike an ideal balance of interviewing and accepting students with strong credentials, and the hard reality that most of those students (if admitted)
    will probably go somewhere else, thus compromising the number matriculating students and the academic statistics that will follow. Of course, the wait-list on such a school would be moving frantically in terms of filling up their class, but (I don't think) that most medical schools would be happy using the wait-list to fill up the majority of their entering class.
  26. well, you said "you" at least twice. the first time you were referring to me, the second time i hope you were referrign to sandflea since you reiterated my point almost verbatim.

    PS. i wouldn't say that both sandflea and I are correct, since you went on to cover ONLY the things that i mentioned. you mentioned that they DO indeed pick excellent candidates, which was a point sandflea made, but i mentioned that they accept from both sides of the spectrum, meaning people over their avgs as well as under their avgs. come on..who's side are you on...i'm with the good guys.

    just a jokey doke :D <img src="graemlins/clappy.gif" border="0" alt="[Clappy]" /> <img src="graemlins/laughy.gif" border="0" alt="[Laughy]" />
  27. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2001
  28. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2001
  29. Doctora Foxy

    Doctora Foxy Meow 7+ Year Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    wow, are you guys sure you want to be doctors? You'd make great lawyers! ;)
  30. E'01

    E'01 1K Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 26, 2001
  31. Sterling

    Sterling Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    Houston, TX
    Both sandflea and A. Caveman have very good points, and I really agree with both of them. I think the degree to which a school moves toward either pole depends on the school. For example, a state school I interviewed at told me straight up they rarely get applicants with numbers and experiences like mine. They asked where I was interviewing, and the question that followed was, "Why are you interested in coming to our school?" I explained specifically what I liked about the school and why I would choose them if given the chance--they took me. I don't think they have an inferiority complex, but yield appears to be at least a mild issue at many places. For example, check out Stanford's web site under "Senate" and look for the admissions reports from past years--they are very concerned about yield v. UCSF and the Ivy schools. Well, maybe not concerned, but they look at the numbers each year.

    Bottom line: when a top notch applicant walks in to a safety school and is lukewarm in interest, it probably shows. Another top notch applicants rolls in showing great interest, explaining they want to live in the area long term, have family there, or a spouse works there, etc. they will probably get in. You never know what vibe you're giving off when you go in and maybe some top candidates forget to sell themselves at "sure spot" schools, esp. later in the process. When someone says something bitterly under their breath, jump in with some criticisms of your other potential schools and stress something good about their school. Or say, yeah, you're right, I'm outta here. ;)
  32. nebula7

    nebula7 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 10, 2002
    I agree that some lower ranked schools look less at academics and more at what the possiblity is that the applicant will attend their school and fulfill it's mission. Many second-tier schools (eg Meharry) are more dedicated to treating underserved communities than are higher ranked schools, such as Emory, which is more research-oriented. Whether this is true or not, I don't know, but my premed advisor said many of the second tier schools consider applicants with lower stats more likely to fulfill their mission of working in areas where they will eventually receive lower pay, and are thus more likely to get interviews at such school. Now I know not all second tier schools want to send their grads into underserved areas, but this is just an example of one factor that can come into play. I'm not saying lower ranked schools will only consider people with crappy stats, but maybe stats is less important for those schools that are more concerned with mission compliance, and as Caveman said, accepting people that will actually go there. And while we may all know that rankings of schools is not the only factor in OUR decision of where we will go, it is up to the applicants to let the school(s) know if they are sincerely interested, right, Caveman? :)
  33. sorrento

    sorrento Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 13, 2001
    (Hope the discussion hasn't totally moved on from when I started typing this ...)

    Nebula, you make a great point. We are used to being able to compare the quantifiable differences in applicants' stats, but adcoms also rate your ECs and, at some places, put special emphasis on things like public service. So some applicants with great stats get rejected not because of their 4.0/40, but in spite of it. It is obvious that a school is a safety when the person's background and the school's mission are very divergent. They WILL try to recruit people whose record shows that they might have a real interest in the school -whether that's research in an area the school excels in, lots of community service for a school that emphasizes this, family in the area, etc. It's not a head game; they're not trying to guess your motivation because in a lot of cases, they don't even have to. It's obvious from your record.
  34. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2001
    i completely agree, and this is in fact what i meant by 'intangible factors' playing a potentially huge role in admissions. if one can demonstrate a sincere interest in a school for distinct reasons, they will be looked upon way more favorably than someone with similar stats who seems to have nothing in common with the school. some schools have a commitment to public health and serving underserved areas (tulane, for example); other schools are really big on research (pritzker comes to mind here); still others are very primary care-oriented. schools try to recruit the most competitive combination of applicants that they feel will fit in, and this is why your stats don't guarantee you anything if you don't have appropriate ECs and personal interests to back them up at schools that emphasize certain qualities.
  35. sandflea, among other points, i definitely AGREE with your number 5 on page 2 of this thread. i noticed people with outrageous stats getting interviews at some second tier schools. it happens, and it IS to SOME degree a measure of how random this process is. but it's not as good an example as the one i described earlier of people with avg stats not getting interviews at schools with similar stats (assuming other app parts are OK). so these are only limited cases and by no means represent any significant portion. actually i've noticed that many times the schools giving interviews to these applicants are state schools (and they have a good reason to interview--obviously the guy likes his state of residency and might stay). so you see, i do see some of your points, and i hope you see mine too.
    anyway, i didn't have a beer, but instead i am enjoying an ice-cold cherry coke! ahhh. :D :p
  36. rikkitikki

    rikkitikki Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2000
    Agree with the intangible issues. As an applicant last year my experience was early interviews and acceptances to "safer schools" near my home- depending on financial and other factors they figure it was useful to interview me because I might decide to go there. Most difficult interview was my own state school. I withdrew from other "safe choices" after the acceptances noted above so don't know what would have happened there.I got rejected without interview to a school which has many many applicants out of state. SO as everyone says its a crap shoot but goo luck

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