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numbersloth

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So I've met my school's pre-med advisor once in a group setting and she was really off-putting (told everyone they had to have 3.7+ GPAs and science majors to even apply, generally said that nursing and DO schools were for failures, and just seemed like a total elitist). I find her really off-putting for the reasons I just stated. However, she's in charge of writing committee letters so I assume if I want one I should probably meet with her at least a couple times. Do I need a committee letter if my school has one or can I just get independent recommendations from professors? I'm planning to take at least two gap years because I want to do public service work before medical school if that makes any difference.
 

efle

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You don't have to have a committee letter, you could just have your writers send to Interfolio/AMCAS. But, if admissions is used to seeing committee packets for applicants from your college and you are lacking it, might raise some questions.
 
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wizzed101

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What is the advantage of committee packets for med schools as a tool to screen applicants? In my school, I just have to meet with an advisor ONCE to state my intention to obtain such letter. What the heck do they know about me? They don't even care about the MCAT in order to write a letter.

What is it like in other schools?
 

efle

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What is the advantage of committee packets for med schools as a tool to screen applicants? In my school, I just have to meet with an advisor ONCE to state my intention to obtain such letter. What the heck do they know about me? They don't even care about the MCAT in order to write a letter.

What is it like in other schools?
For us (and I think commonly) it just adds a summary page that will highlight the best bits of your letter packet/app and I think also place your performance relative to the student body
 

gyngyn

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    What is the advantage of committee packets for med schools as a tool to screen applicants? In my school, I just have to meet with an advisor ONCE to state my intention to obtain such letter. What the heck do they know about me? They don't even care about the MCAT in order to write a letter.

    What is it like in other schools?
    They often write an excellent summary of the applicants strengths and explanations for weaknesses that far exceeds the quality we get in the usual blandly useless letter of endorsement.
    Someone who chooses to avoid such a letter is suspect unless there is a good reason (nontrad...)

    If your school doesn't even know your MCAT score, odds are it is not one of the ones I'm referring to.
     
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    DrDarce

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    Generally the requirements you have to meet for the committee letter isn't much of a hassle. I would try to go through committee if I were you. Even though she says all this crazy stuff (my premed advisor was a little crazy also) it doesn't mean you can't do what you want. Apply where you want to apply and make your application how you want it.
     
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    anonymoose1640

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    What is the advantage of committee packets for med schools as a tool to screen applicants? In my school, I just have to meet with an advisor ONCE to state my intention to obtain such letter. What the heck do they know about me? They don't even care about the MCAT in order to write a letter.

    What is it like in other schools?
    For my school, I pretty much had to have my ACMAS complete to request my committee letter and I had to interview with the faculty member who wrote it on my behalf. They had access to my transcript, my MCAT score, my activities and ECs, and my personal statement. Definitely not everyone at my school gets one and applicants who aren't given one are usually advised not to apply for that cycle. I'm honestly surprised to hear that this varies so much by school. The pre-health department at your school can have such a positive (or negative) impact on an application, it stinks not every school gives their students access to good resources.
     
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    wizzed101

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    They often write an excellent summary of the applicants strengths and explanations for weaknesses that far exceeds the quality we get in the usual blandly useless letter of endorsement.
    Someone who chooses to avoid such a letter is suspect unless there is a good reason (nontrad...)

    If your school doesn't even know your MCAT score, odds are it is not one of the ones I'm referring to.

    The MCAT aside, they want my ECs, grades, personal statement and letters of recommendation. However, what I gather is that they will issue a generic letter with 5 possible "grade" with 5 being the best letter possible. I mean, they will see exactly what med schools adcoms see MINUS the MCAT (!?). I am very leery of such letter... Should I still get it? And yes, I am non-trad.
     

    gyngyn

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    The MCAT aside, they want my ECs, grades, personal statement and letters of recommendation. However, what I gather is that they will issue a generic letter with 5 possible "grade" with 5 being the best letter possible. I mean, they will see exactly what med schools adcoms see MINUS the MCAT (!?). I am very leery of such letter... Should I still get it? And yes, I am non-trad.
    Schools have an incentive for you to succeed.
     

    wizzed101

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    @gyngyn I just worry that Adcoms will read the generic committee letter without reading/disregarding the letters of recommendation I obtained. I believe those letters will tell much more about me because I had extensive experiences with the writers.
     

    efle

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    It's a shame that the incentive is really towards having successful applicants. Great if you're offered a letter, since they're only going to try to help you. But terrible if you're at a school that denies their support to anyone borderline to keep their success numbers artificially high.


    @gyngyn I just worry that Adcoms will read the generic committee letter without reading/disregarding the letters of recommendation I obtained. I believe those letters will tell much more about me because I had extensive experiences with the writers.
    Well, you could also look at it the other way - maybe someone who would have just skimmed bits of your letters will now instead pay attention to a selection of the strongest passages.
     
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    wizzed101

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    Thanks.

    That bit about the MCAT kinda irks me... BUT it should NOT hurt my application, right?
     

    starspells

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    Thanks.

    That bit about the MCAT kinda irks me... BUT it should NOT hurt my application, right?

    No, I don't think so. That's interesting that your committee doesn't want to see your MCAT. My school doesn't write a committee letter without the MCAT which makes sense because it would probably reflect poorly on them if they were strongly recommending someone with a really low MCAT score.
     
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    terra330

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    Thanks.

    That bit about the MCAT kinda irks me... BUT it should NOT hurt my application, right?
    For what it's worth, my school didn't ask for the MCAT for their committee application, but I included it in the packet anyway. It did come up in the interview in a positive light.
     

    numbersloth

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    You don't have to have a committee letter, you could just have your writers send to Interfolio/AMCAS. But, if admissions is used to seeing committee packets for applicants from your college and you are lacking it, might raise some questions.

    So basically before I make a decision whether or not to include it, I should first see what exactly it entails and if I'm even eligible for one (not sure if my school denies anyone a committee letter due to stats).
     

    efle

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    Yeah, and you can pretty much assume you're better off having it, if you can get along ok with the prehealth person.
     
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