shedding light into the admissions process.

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by EC, Mar 10, 2002.

  1. EC

    EC

    Hi Everyone,

    This is something I read on Interview Feedback written by an admissions committee member last year.

    EC

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> As the admissions season winds down (though lots of maeuvering remains), I feel driven to share stories with some of you who seem quite edgy about now. I'm on the Admissions Committee of a top school. Here's one person's perspective on how students are picked at places like Harvard, Duke, Cornell, Penn, Baylor, Hopkins, Columbia, (and the list could stretch through dozens of names--I don't know about the UC schools). All of the following students are applicants from two colleges with very similar demographics (Ivy or Ivy like, for what it's worth; I've merged them to ensure anonymity). The students: A. 4.0 gpa with MCATS of 40 (13-13-14; I'll skip the letter grade). B. 4.0 with a 32. C. 3.5 with a 31. D. 3.6 with a 36. E. 3.2 with a 30. F. 3.6 with a 33. G. 3.8 with a 39. That's 7 people. On average, we'd accept about one or two from this group (and these are getting an interview; few do get one, including people with comparable numbers. Any negative comment in your letters, for example, probably gets you rejected). A. has great scores, has done significant research and typical extra-curriculars. I interviewer thought he was self involved. His letters said he was a good team player. Lots of discussion. Rejected. The PhD's on the committee shake their heads. Some clinicians smile. Rough start. B. Great grades. Below-our-average MCATS. Interviews were fair, not great. Has done the sort of research that is already a big deal. Even jaded committee members were impressed. Accepted. It's the right thing to do, probably, but it would be nice if he were more personally reassuring. C. Solid grades and MCATS. African American from an impoverished household. Lots of activities. Very nice interviews. Accepted. A fairly clear pick, by the way, and we'll be recruiting her. Harvard tends to beat us out of such applicants. Most URM's who apply are not, by the way, rich, as some of you seem to think. In case you missed it, there are several reasons that these groups are chosen as URM's--and over-affluence is not one of them. D. Solid academics and extracurriculars. Child of a faculty member. Had done summer research in one of our labs. Aroused moderate enthusiasm in interviewers and research mentor. Rejected. Forty years ago, he would've been an automatic acceptance, the core of a class. Those days are long gone. E. An African American. Adequate extracurriculars but mostly in solitude. Shy and quiet in person. Rejected. The grades and MCATS aren't the problem. His numbers indicate he'd do the work (these elite private schools are overrepresented in my medical school for a reason--they are crammed with overachieving premeds; this person has proven he/she can hack it in a tough atmomosphere. This applicant's problem is his/her lack of personal vigor--we want it in all of our students. The rejection is grudging, especially if we wind up with a small number of URM's. F. Average grades and MCATS. A service star. Great interviews. Would be fun to have as a student or classmate. Accepted. It doesn't matter that his grades and MCAt's are slightly below our average. G. Excellent grades and MCATS. Above our average on both. Varsity athlete. Verbal. Good interviews. Mustered enthusiasm in the interviewers, but not as much as did the previous person. We've accepted three and are supposed to only accept one or two. Grudgingly rejected. And we are still going to have to reject one or two of those who I said we'd accepted. We're fully aware that ALL of these students have the capacity to be good doctors, that all of them will get in somewhere, and that different interviewers would likely have led to different results. We're buoyed by the fact that medical schools are MUCH more alike than they are different. To all of you, we do our best. Good luck.
    </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">
     
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  3. botticelli

    botticelli Member

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    This makes it sound like the interview is what gets you in with all other things being fairly equal. Ouch!!! Where did you find this on interviewfeedback?
     
  4. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
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    I'm sorry, but I almost doubt that this was written by a committee member of a top school. Did you notice how many words were spelled incorrectly ( for example: maeuvering, atmomosphere).
    Why would a top person make so many mistakes, not check for errors and post it for all to see on that website?
    It is the critic in me who feels that if this was a committee member, the tables have turned and it is I who can point out his/her faults, make them feel worthless for their few mistakes and less than perfect performance.
    Ok, I'm done venting.
    Amy Beth
     
  5. none

    none 1K Member

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    I second the unlikely from a real adcom member.
     
  6. EC

    EC

    Hi Everyone,

    The post was a response to a long discussion on interview feedback in the Harvard questionnaires. It's under the title and date "9 Mar 2001 ( 7:41 AM) by real life examples." A lot of students were arguing over the criteria used by admissions committees to choose members of the class. It's an interesting discussion, though I too am wondering whether it was really written by a member of the admissions committee.

    EC
     
  7. Frankly I don't dismiss that it might be an admin just because it wasn't spell checked. I don't think becoming a doctor will fix my grammar. It could have just been some adcom in a kindly mood. (hehe, no jokes about that.)
     
  8. there's no reason to believe it wasn't an adcom member. as the above poster said, who cares about spelling? his grammar is just fine. he had a lot to write and who gives a damn if he miskeyed. to dismiss the possibility that this may be real would be foolish. we should take head. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    oh, and don't forget that this is a top school. they can easily afford to throw out incredible candidates, and base the decision almost entirely on how much enthusiasm the interviewer felt for the candidate. but at the average school, i don't think the interview makes or breaks you. there aren't that many awesome people applying to state schools, for example. i guess i'm defending my point about everybody NOT being on an even playing field once they get an interview. that the interview is important, but numbers can still make a weak interviewer make it over a good interviewer with lower numbers. i stick by that reasoning.

    but this guy, this adcom member, sounds like a jerk actually. maybe i'm just pissed that out of those 7 AWESOME CANDIDATES only one or two will make it. screw that !!
     
  9. tBw

    tBw totally deluded

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by A. Caveman:
    <strong>we should take head. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Hey Cavey, I think this is a typo, no? Don't you mean

    "we should give head"

    <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" />
     
  10. it's not a typo if you read it with a scottish accent. <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" />
     
  11. LaCirujana

    LaCirujana Smoking Gun

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    A. Caveman, I beg to differ. There are plenty of awesome candidates applying to state schools. I interview them.

    I am an interviewer for my medical school's admissions committee, and although I do not sit on the committee that makes the actual decisions about who is accepted and who is rejected, those who do have discussed their process with us so that we have a better idea of the big picture. I have to say the process described in the initial post sounds pretty acurate.

    At the school I interview for, there is a cut-off for grades and MCAT, below which an applicant will not be considered. If an applicant meets a certain (higher) cut-off, he or she will be offered an interview. At that point, grades and MCAT scores are thrown out of the mix and the interview and other achievements determine whether or not one is accepted, rejected, or waitlisted. The interview carries a ton of weight. We (those of us who interview) determine whether or not the committee even bothers to discuss an applicant further, let alone admit him or her. Brutal, but true.

    Sorry, I don't feel comfortable revealing which school it is.
     
  12. Doctora Foxy

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> Originally posted by A Caveman:
    <strong> maybe i'm just pissed that out of those 7 AWESOME CANDIDATES only one or two will make it. screw that !!</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I just wanted to add that these were students being considered at a TOP school. Although they won't make it there, they will still get into med school somewhere.

    And to the two adcom people who have posted, thanks for your input! We very rarely get to know the behind-the-scenes-stuff for real :D
     
  13. lady in red

    lady in red Senior Member

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    I get a sense it was a real admissions committee member. Why in the world would somebody else bother to scare off a bunch of premeds with a horror admissions tale? this person sounds sincere, to me at least.
     
  14. Street Philosopher

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    that is truly terrifying
     
  15. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear 2K Member

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    I personally think the adcom post was a fluke:

    1) Ignoring the grammar/spelling since few of us would bother getting perfect grammar when emailing others, typing in forums, etc., the poster sounds a bit too self-centered and had certain preconceptions running throughout the his/her comments.

    a. talk about not enough URM. would an adcom be this explicit w/ preconceptions about abilities of certain groups in order to fill quotas?

    b. "Harvard, Duke, Cornell, Penn, Baylor, Hopkins, Columbia". Hmm...the only Ivy's that have med schools are Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Darthmouth, Brown, Penn. Which schools aren't being listed be the poster? Could this poster be a student at either Darthmouth, Brown, or Yale med and comenting based on bits and pieces he/she has heard? I haven't read through the post throughly but i just get a feeling that the poster (aka adcom member) has a clear dislke of the ivy meds and is writing the post in a spiteful manner.

    Any ENGLISH MAJORS out there care to analyze the post for tone/voice? hehehe....
     
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  17. oldman

    oldman Senior Citizen
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    whether this post is real or not real i'd like to think it is. they took someone who is below average.
     
  18. lady in red

    lady in red Senior Member

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    Dra. Foxy,
    Yes, i did finally get it this weekend, together with two other acceptances. <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" /> --all in one mail batch!!! I got over my excitement quickly though, b/c UCSF was still my first 'official' "in-the-mailbox" acceptance letter. I wrote a withdrawal letter to GW a week ago.
     
  19. Doctora Foxy

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    oops sorry lady I didn't know you replied on here and just deleted my original post--just so there's no confusion I had asked lady if she had ever gotten the GW acceptance letter
     
  20. reesie0726

    reesie0726 Senior Member

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    Just b/c the poster has a few typos does not mean he/she is not really a member of an adcom. I dont think the poster thought he/she was turning in a term paper. It seems to me that adcoms do have to make tough decisions and reject qualified applicants all the time. That is why getting into med school is so hard, b/c there is an abundance of qualified applicants.
     
  21. brandonite

    Moderator Emeritus

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    You got three acceptances in one weekend??? Wow, that has to be some sort of record. :)

    Very impressive, lady in red. :)
     
  22. abbeydesert

    abbeydesert Senior Member

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    I'm a student member of the Admissions Committee at my primary-care oriented state school. I can assure you that we routinely reject applicants with higher-than-average scores and often accept applicants even with stats well below our average, depending on the circumstances. Unlike the Ivy school mentioned above, our school really doesn't have strict cutoffs for grades or GPA.
    Essentially, here's the deal: if you've been offered an interview at our school, you can be quite certain that 1) there's nothing negative in your letters of recommendation and 2) there's nothing egregiously awful about your grades or MCATs. The exception is if you have some sort of ties to the school- in that case, you may be offered an interview regardless of how the rest of your app looks (though getting in is another story entirely).
    I have seen applicants with VERY low MCATs - as low as 21, especially for URM's- make it to the interview stage and some of these get accepted. Usually, these applicants have something extraordinary to offer in the way of either personal qualities or background or impressive humanitarian service, etc. For these academically marginal applicants, the interview seems to play a much more significant role than for applicants with more solid academic qualifications. However, virtually no one - no matter how stellar the file-will get accepted if both interviewers give the applicant a low rating.
    BTW we are all aware that some of our interviewers are tougher on applicants than others- and that an interview score of 8/10 from Interviewer X. may actually be quite high, whereas a 9/10 from Interviewer Y may be just average. So don't worry if you feel that you've had a tough interviewer. It's really only if both interviewers have similar negative impressions that it's a red flag.
     
  23. ADCOM MEMBERS,

    i asked this in another thread. since we now know that you folks do in fact read our stuff..i wanted to know if it's used in any way FOR us or AGAINST us. i've heard of instances in the past when people have sent comments made here to admissions offices (if posters give their email addresses). please be honest, even if it corrupts the sanctity of this forum.

    PS. you guys are fantastic. i Love you all, and ofcourse many awesome candidates apply to state schools. I Knew That! I am one of them. love me love me (and accept me). <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" />
     
  24. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats

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    On interview feedback, it has a box for adcoms to check and enter a password so that they can have their name appear as adcom rather than student.

    Check to see if this is the case.
     
  25. abbeydesert

    abbeydesert Senior Member

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    Caveman- I've actually been frequenting SDN for almost 2 years now, going back to when I was still a hapless pre-med applicant. I still check the board from time to time, now that I'm a med student and on the Admissions Committee- but not for that reason.
    From conversations I've had with other committee members, I've not heard anyone mention SDN, though I do know that at least one person follows interviewfeedback.com. The only reason I know that is because apparently one applicant left a really nasty report on interviewfeedback.com and this AdCom member asked the moderator to remove it.
    Honestly, even if people on the committee did read this board, I doubt it would make any difference whatsoever. We just get so many applications and are so busy evaluating those, none of us has time to bother with trying to figure out who's who or who said what, etc. Besides, even if someone did figure out who said what- this evidence would sound pretty ridiculous if brought up in an admissions committee meeting. Gee, let's see..."I'd like to make a motion to reject Mr. Z because an applicant matching his description posted on the internet that he hated our school and would only come here if it were his only acceptance. For the same reason, I make a motion to immediately accept Ms. Y because she posted on the same forum that she loved our school and would immediately withdraw all of her other acceptances to come here. Anyone care to second that motion?" I don't think so...
     
  26. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
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    OOO, I should have checked this thread since I made my original post. I was being sarcastic about the spelling mistakes. I guess I thought that it would come through loud and clear that I was poking fun at the whole process of applying and trying to be so "perfect" and then having someone zone in on a small fraction of time in your life and make you feel like you are no longer worthy of being looked at for accpetance to any med school. Sorry to cause a slight stir and I do apologize to EC for messing up their post.

    Amy Beth <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" />
     
  27. brandonite

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    Thanks, abbeydesert. :) Sometimes, it really does help to know what the adcoms are looking for...

    Anyway, I want to be involved in interviewing with whatever school I end up in, so I'll have to make a point to come back and post in pre-allo from time to time. That is, assuming I ever get an acceptance to any school. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" />
     
  28. Cassidy61

    Cassidy61 Senior Member

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    the only thing that came up was interviewfeedback.com at our last retreat meeting before this year started. the adcom that i am on would not have the time or desire to try and track down anyone posting on the internet. we simply look at sites to gauge what impression we are giving to the candidates. you guys make change easier when i can say "go look at what they are saying about us on the internet"!!!! that makes the crotchity old guys actually think about doing something differently that would be postitive to future applicants!!
     

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