Mar 26, 2012
153
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello,
I will be applying this June, and I was hoping someone could help me with my school list. I've tried to include all relevant information.

Stats:
cGPA: 3.88
MCAT: 39
New Jersey resident

Activities
Community Service, Non-medical: Volunteer as a "Big Brother" at ComfortZone Camp, a summer camp for kids who have lost a parent. 2 Summers, total of about 100 hours. (This was kind of a big one for me, as I lost my mother a few years ago).
Community Service, Medical:
-Local Hospital Volunteering. 8 months, 4 hours per week (total of about 130 hours)
-Shadowing: About 80 hours total with Neurosurgeon, General Surgeon, Orthopedic surgeon, family practice, and pediatrician.
Research: One semester, my project focused on the biology of aging (lots of molecular stuff). About 10-15 hours per week. (Solid LOR from my PI)
Hobbies/Avocations: Purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (a fairly high rank). I've competed at a high level and done fairly well for myself.
Leadership:
-Brazilian Jiu Jitsu club - VP for 6 months, President for 2 years (about 6 hours per week).
-University Sports Club Council - One year, about 1 hour per week (avg.). Main responsibility was allocating about $100,000 in funding and working with the main body of student government.
Honors/Awards: Deans list all six semesters, Presidents list for four. A few honour societies, but no real involvement in any.

School List:
Stanford
UCSF
UCLA
University of Southern Cal. (Keck)
Oregon Health and Science
Dartmouth
SUNY Upstate
Einstein
Cornell
NYMC
Harvard
Boston
Yale
UMDNJ-NJMS
UMDNJ-RWJ
Rowan (Cooper)
U Penn
Jefferson
Temple
Penn State
Hopkins
Chicago (Pritzker)


According to the LizzyM spreadsheet, I have 10 "Go For It" and 12 "High Chance". However, the list still strikes me as frighteningly top-heavy, and I would really like to narrow it down to 15-20.

Feedback would be greatly appreciated. Is this a reasonable list, or am I reaching a bit too far? Are there any schools I should add or remove? Is there anything I can do in the next few months to make my app better?
 

MedPR

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Why can't people with these kinds of stats come up with their own list? :confused:

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OP
Cynicalbrit
Mar 26, 2012
153
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Why can't people with these kinds of stats come up with their own list? :confused:

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Why can't people with these kinds of stats ask for help from people who may be able to give them valuable advice and an honest critique of their school list before they spend several thousand dollars applying to schools with acceptance rates under 5%?
 

MedPR

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Why can't people with these kinds of stats ask for help from people who may be able to give them valuable advice and an honest critique of their school list before they spend several thousand dollars applying to schools with acceptance rates under 5%?
Your application is near perfect. You can apply anywhere you want to matriculate and have a solid chance.

Where you apply is purely personal preference (location, curriculum, cost, etc) and nobody knows those things but you.
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OP
Cynicalbrit
Mar 26, 2012
153
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Pre-Medical
Your application is near perfect. You can apply anywhere you want to matriculate and have a solid chance.

Where you apply is purely personal preference (location, curriculum, cost, etc) and nobody knows those things but you.
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Thank you for the encouragement. Are you saying that I could get away with knocking a few of the mid tiers off my list (OHSU, NYMC, etc.) and still have a reasonable chance? Is the fact that I have less than a year of research and volunteering going to hold me back?
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
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Mar 7, 2005
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Thank you for the encouragement. Are you saying that I could get away with knocking a few of the mid tiers off my list (OHSU, NYMC, etc.) and still have a reasonable chance? Is the fact that I have less than a year of research and volunteering going to hold me back?
Having little research experience will hold you back at some of the top 20. Do you want to write a thesis as a requirement for graduation? If not, take off of the list those schools that require a research thesis.
 
OP
Cynicalbrit
Mar 26, 2012
153
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Having little research experience will hold you back at some of the top 20. Do you want to write a thesis as a requirement for graduation? If not, take off of the list those schools that require a research thesis.
Quite the opposite. I'm actually very interested in doing research, it's just that I didn't really figure that out until my junior year :-/

Would you say that I still have decent odds of getting an interview at research heavy schools (Yale, Stanford, etc.) even with my limited research experience?


Edit: Or, to put it another way - how big of a problem is it to be deficient in research experience when applying to top schools?
 
Last edited:

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
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Quite the opposite. I'm actually very interested in doing research, it's just that I didn't really figure that out until my junior year :-/

Would you say that I still have decent odds of getting an interview at research heavy schools (Yale, Stanford, etc.) even with my limited research experience?


Edit: Or, to put it another way - how big of a problem is it to be deficient in research experience when applying to top schools?
If you think you are interested in research, and have the stats for top 20, it might be worthwhile to put off applying, do some research your senior year and apply for a research position at NIH during your gap year (during which you'll be applying).
 
OP
Cynicalbrit
Mar 26, 2012
153
0
Status
Pre-Medical
If you think you are interested in research, and have the stats for top 20, it might be worthwhile to put off applying, do some research your senior year and apply for a research position at NIH during your gap year (during which you'll be applying).
Yeah, that's sort of what I've been afraid of. I'm really trying to avoid doing a gap year if at all possible. I suppose what I'm trying to ask is, what are my chances at schools like Stanford (for example) at which more than 95% of matriculants have research experience? Am I likely to get an interview, or is it just a pipe dream? I mean, I do have some research experience, it's just not as extensive as I would like . . .


Should I be comforted that some people got in without any research experience, or terrified that the percentage is so high?
 

MedPR

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Yeah, that's sort of what I've been afraid of. I'm really trying to avoid doing a gap year if at all possible. I suppose what I'm trying to ask is, what are my chances at schools like Stanford (for example) at which more than 95% of matriculants have research experience? Am I likely to get an interview, or is it just a pipe dream? I mean, I do have some research experience, it's just not as extensive as I would like . . .


Should I be comforted that some people got in without any research experience, or terrified that the percentage is so high?
Imo never be comforted by the 5%

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OP
Cynicalbrit
Mar 26, 2012
153
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Another question has just occurred to me, or perhaps just a rewording of existing questions:
How much research does one need to have a decent shot at top 20 schools? Is a semester OK, if the rest of the app is strong? Do you need to have at least a year? Do you need even more? I'm sure that having more is better, but is it really necessary?

Is it bad that I ask so many questions? :)
 

skais595

5+ Year Member
May 12, 2012
131
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Yeah, that's sort of what I've been afraid of. I'm really trying to avoid doing a gap year if at all possible. I suppose what I'm trying to ask is, what are my chances at schools like Stanford (for example) at which more than 95% of matriculants have research experience? Am I likely to get an interview, or is it just a pipe dream? I mean, I do have some research experience, it's just not as extensive as I would like . . .


Should I be comforted that some people got in without any research experience, or terrified that the percentage is so high?
Don't hate on the gap year. I am soo happy for mine - I've had tons of experiences that make me really able to define why I want to be a doctor. Plus now that I'm accepted, I'm planning so much travel and other things I want to do, which I couldn't do if I was in school. At least give it a thought.

Decide which mid-tiers to eliminate based on other factors like location. If you're from NJ and want to stay there, don't eliminate NYMC. If you really want to come to CA, don't eliminate USC. And OHSU is not a mid-tier... Unlike most out of region candidates, you might have a shot there because of your scores, but it's a reach for pretty much anyone who isn't from Oregon.
 
OP
Cynicalbrit
Mar 26, 2012
153
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I really appreciate all of the great advice. The one thing I'm still sweating about is the actual list. Do I have a reasonable shot at this sort of list, with so many top tier schools? Am I likely to get an interview at schools like Stanford, UCSF, Hopkins, etc. with only 350 hours of research? Or, should I be setting my sights lower, dropping those schools from my list and adding a few more mod tiers?
 

JBOB

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Jul 26, 2012
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You should apply to WashU. It's a great school for research and you have a really good chance of getting in with your stats.
 

MedPR

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You should apply to WashU. It's a great school for research and you have a really good chance of getting in with your stats.
Pretty sure WashU median is 3.9/38. Almost nobody has a "really good" chance based on stats :)

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JBOB

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Jul 26, 2012
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Pretty sure WashU median is 3.9/38. Almost nobody has a "really good" chance based on stats :)

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Ha well.... good relative to the average applicant, which is not easy. OP should still apply though. I got in this cycle with the same stats and little/no research. It's definitely worth adding to the list!
 
OP
Cynicalbrit
Mar 26, 2012
153
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Pre-Medical
Ha well.... good relative to the average applicant, which is not easy. OP should still apply though. I got in this cycle with the same stats and little/no research. It's definitely worth adding to the list!
I have considered it, mostly because they're known for placing a heavy emphasis on numbers. However, I don't feel all that enthusiastic about the school, nor do I particularly want to spend the next four years in the middle of missouri.
 

MedPR

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Ha well.... good relative to the average applicant, which is not easy. OP should still apply though. I got in this cycle with the same stats and little/no research. It's definitely worth adding to the list!
Congrats!

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LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
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I have considered it, mostly because they're known for placing a heavy emphasis on numbers. However, I don't feel all that enthusiastic about the school, nor do I particularly want to spend the next four years in the middle of missouri.
Have you looked at a map? WashU is NOT in the middle of missouri. It is on the edge. :cool:
 

MedPR

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I have considered it, mostly because they're known for placing a heavy emphasis on numbers. However, I don't feel all that enthusiastic about the school, nor do I particularly want to spend the next four years in the middle of missouri.
WashU is almost on the MO-IL border.

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OP
Cynicalbrit
Mar 26, 2012
153
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Have you looked at a map? WashU is NOT in the middle of missouri. It is on the edge. :cool:
Fair enough :cool:

Still, does this list look reasonable? Do I have a shot at the more competitive schools on the list, or should I set my sights lower?
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
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Fair enough :cool:

Still, does this list look reasonable? Do I have a shot at the more competitive schools on the list, or should I set my sights lower?
Your list is reasonable but should be cut in half. I'm not sure NYMC, Jefferson, Temple are really safeties for you given your stats (it just screams "safety"). You might consider some of the mid-tier as your safeties (Pitt, Georgetown, Vanderbilt, Northwestern)

Also, look very carefully at the OOS tuition and % OOS accepted applicants for all the state schools. You might want to cut public schools outside of NJ.

Stanford
UCSF
UCLA
University of Southern Cal. (Keck)
Oregon Health and Science
Dartmouth
SUNY Upstate
Einstein
Cornell
NYMC
Harvard
Boston
Yale
UMDNJ-NJMS
UMDNJ-RWJ
Rowan (Cooper)
U Penn
Jefferson
Temple
Penn State
Hopkins
Chicago (Pritzker)
 
Aug 3, 2012
433
1
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Status
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I think you could for sure get into your state school so I would not waste money applying to many other schools you would be less likely to attend than your state school. Other that, your activities are perfectly acceptable and probably average for those applying to mid to low tier schools. However, a lot of the higher tier schools will expect more (Stanford's secondary even asks for a list of your publications). In my experience interviewing at a lot of top schools I didn't know people's stats but every student I spoke with (you sit in a small conference room with them for 6+ hours) had amazing and unique experiences and a lot of opeople who got these interviews took a gap year doing really cool things. I agree with the others that WashU would love you though...
 
OP
Cynicalbrit
Mar 26, 2012
153
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I think you could for sure get into your state school so I would not waste money applying to many other schools you would be less likely to attend than your state school. Other that, your activities are perfectly acceptable and probably average for those applying to mid to low tier schools. However, a lot of the higher tier schools will expect more (Stanford's secondary even asks for a list of your publications). In my experience interviewing at a lot of top schools I didn't know people's stats but every student I spoke with (you sit in a small conference room with them for 6+ hours) had amazing and unique experiences and a lot of opeople who got these interviews took a gap year doing really cool things. I agree with the others that WashU would love you though...
Can anyone else confirm this? Do top schools really only interview people with "amazing and unique experiences"? I feel like there probably aren't enough people in the country who have both good numbers and the sort of crazy awesome activities you're thinking of to fill the class of all of the top schools. I realize that my ECs are average at best, but I feel I have a fairly compelling story and I can speak about them fairly well. Is my app really going to be thrown into the "don't interview" pile because I don't have extraordinary ECs?
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
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Can anyone else confirm this? Do top schools really only interview people with "amazing and unique experiences"? I feel like there probably aren't enough people in the country who have both good numbers and the sort of crazy awesome activities you're thinking of to fill the class of all of the top schools. I realize that my ECs are average at best, but I feel I have a fairly compelling story and I can speak about them fairly well. Is my app really going to be thrown into the "don't interview" pile because I don't have extraordinary ECs?
In reading applications, the people who are recommended for interview often have excellent or great stats and/or exceptional life experiences. The response to your application should be, "Wow, I'd like to meet this applicant."

That often means an unusual experience or an entertaining or memorable way of describing a less unusual experience. (entertaining does not mean write a screenplay iwht lights and sirens).
 

ZJX90

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Jul 21, 2012
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Your list is reasonable but should be cut in half. I'm not sure NYMC, Jefferson, Temple are really safeties for you given your stats (it just screams "safety"). You might consider some of the mid-tier as your safeties (Pitt, Georgetown, Vanderbilt, Northwestern)

Also, look very carefully at the OOS tuition and % OOS accepted applicants for all the state schools. You might want to cut public schools outside of NJ.
Sorry to derail but... Pitt, Vanderbilt, and Northwestern considered as mid-tiers, really? :eek:
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
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Sorry to derail but... Pitt, Vanderbilt, and Northwestern considered as mid-tiers, really? :eek:
LizzyM score of 77+ and Harvard, Hopkins, Stanford, Yale on his list, yest those schools listed are reasonable and closer to the middle (not much closer but still...).
 
OP
Cynicalbrit
Mar 26, 2012
153
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I think you could for sure get into your state school so I would not waste money applying to many other schools you would be less likely to attend than your state school. Other that, your activities are perfectly acceptable and probably average for those applying to mid to low tier schools. However, a lot of the higher tier schools will expect more (Stanford's secondary even asks for a list of your publications). In my experience interviewing at a lot of top schools I didn't know people's stats but every student I spoke with (you sit in a small conference room with them for 6+ hours) had amazing and unique experiences and a lot of opeople who got these interviews took a gap year doing really cool things. I agree with the others that WashU would love you though...
I'm not sure about this. I don't think meaningful first-author publications are really that common among undergrads. Below are the secondary application questions from this year's Stanford school-specific forum:

1. The Committee on Admissions regards the diversity of an entering class as an important factor in serving the educational mission of the school. The Committee on Admissions strongly encourages you to share unique, personally important, and/or challenging factors in your background, such as the quality of your early educational environment, socioeconomic status, culture, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, sexual identity, and life or work experiences. Please discuss how such factors have influenced your goals and preparation for a career in medicine.

Please limit your answer to 2,000 characters including spaces.

2. What do you see as the most likely practice scenario for your future medical career?

Choose the single answer that best describes your career goals:

Private Practice

Health Policy

Academic Medicine

Public Health

Health Care Administration

Why do you feel you are particularly suited for this practice scenario? What knowledge, skills and attitudes have you developed that have prepared you for this career path?

Please limit your answer to 1,000 characters including spaces.

How will the Stanford curriculum, and specifically the requirement for a scholarly concentration, help your personal career goals?

Please limit your answer to 1,000 characters including spaces.

Good luck to everyone applying! :luck:
 

Narmerguy

Moderator Emeritus
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Imo never be comforted by the 5%

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Very true! Consider what the top 5% of non-researching premeds are capable of...it should scare you.

Another question has just occurred to me, or perhaps just a rewording of existing questions:
How much research does one need to have a decent shot at top 20 schools? Is a semester OK, if the rest of the app is strong? Do you need to have at least a year? Do you need even more? I'm sure that having more is better, but is it really necessary?

Is it bad that I ask so many questions? :)
Can anyone else confirm this? Do top schools really only interview people with "amazing and unique experiences"? I feel like there probably aren't enough people in the country who have both good numbers and the sort of crazy awesome activities you're thinking of to fill the class of all of the top schools. I realize that my ECs are average at best, but I feel I have a fairly compelling story and I can speak about them fairly well. Is my app really going to be thrown into the "don't interview" pile because I don't have extraordinary ECs?
What you're looking for is confirmation that can't really be given at this stage. Short of knowing personal information into the workings and preferences of these schools, none of us are really sure what chance you stand. Clearly because of your stats you stand a fighting chance, and no one would be surprised if you got into multiple of those schools. On the flip side, because of the weaknesses that you've mentioned, none of us would be surprised if you got rejected at all but a couple of those top schools.

So yes, at some schools your app is going to be thrown into the "don't interview" pile. At others, it may not, but that's why you apply to more than 5 or 6 of them. Getting an interview isn't really the end goal, and it's even harder to get accepted the further you go. This isn't to say that you shouldn't apply to those schools. Personally I would apply to a bunch of top schools if I had your stats. Keep in mind that if you got into Stanford you would be part of that 95% that did research, that stat suggests nothing about the duration of research--merely that the matriculants gave it a crack.

Anyway, it doesn't hurt that much to apply. I'd apply to the yale's and the stanford's even with your application. It's likely you will get rejected, but with a <10% acceptance rate that's not saying much.
 
OP
Cynicalbrit
Mar 26, 2012
153
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Very true! Consider what the top 5% of non-researching premeds are capable of...it should scare you.





What you're looking for is confirmation that can't really be given at this stage. Short of knowing personal information into the workings and preferences of these schools, none of us are really sure what chance you stand. Clearly because of your stats you stand a fighting chance, and no one would be surprised if you got into multiple of those schools. On the flip side, because of the weaknesses that you've mentioned, none of us would be surprised if you got rejected at all but a couple of those top schools.

So yes, at some schools your app is going to be thrown into the "don't interview" pile. At others, it may not, but that's why you apply to more than 5 or 6 of them. Getting an interview isn't really the end goal, and it's even harder to get accepted the further you go. This isn't to say that you shouldn't apply to those schools. Personally I would apply to a bunch of top schools if I had your stats. Keep in mind that if you got into Stanford you would be part of that 95% that did research, that stat suggests nothing about the duration of research--merely that the matriculants gave it a crack.

Anyway, it doesn't hurt that much to apply. I'd apply to the yale's and the stanford's even with your application. It's likely you will get rejected, but with a <10% acceptance rate that's not saying much.
Thanks for the honest advice. To be honest, I'd be ecstatic if I got rejected by "all but a couple" of the top schools. Hell, I'd be perfectly happy to be rejected at all but one.

Does anyone know if any of the top schools (besides WashU) tend to place an emphasis on stats?