So what exactly does it take to get into Harvard/Penn/Columbia/UC OOS?

Jan 28, 2013
223
23
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hey guys

I'm pretty happy with the acceptances I have in hand right now, so I am just posting this purely for the sake of curiosity and not to complain about anything. Back when I was making up my school list I was basically told to apply to the best places I can, since I have very good stats. So I applied to all the prestigious schools (Harvard, Penn, all the Cali schools, and later added Columbia), and filled the rest with private, OOS schools as backups.

Its was a good thing I applied broadly because not a single "prestige" school even offered me an interview.

Its funny how I ran into the exact same situation during high school. I applied to all the ivies plus Stanford and Duke. My SAT's and GPA were definitely above the average even at those schools; I am a good essay writer and I can sell myself and my achievements pretty well. I thought I would be getting scholarship offers.

I got 10 rejection letters.

So yeah, I'm scratching my head trying to figure this one out. Exactly what kind of people do these schools take? Do you have to have parents who attended those schools? Do you have to donate $$$ ? Again, please don't @#[email protected]#$ me because I am very happy with the acceptances I have and I sympathize with you if you are still waiting by the phone !
 

sgv

5+ Year Member
Sep 5, 2013
1,066
873
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Is Penn hard to get into? Cuz they accepted me and I ain't hot stuff. I know tons of people decline their offer cuz of the money and the offers get recycled over and over. If you're scratching ur noggin' over how hard it is to get into dental school, look at med schools. How selective do you have to be to have a 3.85 average gpa with 34 MCAT?



The real winners are those who get a DDS the cheapest, use that money to buy a good practice, and make a decent livin'.
 
  • Like
Reactions: YYC and jdye

sgv

5+ Year Member
Sep 5, 2013
1,066
873
Status
Resident [Any Field]
If its an ego thing and you just want to say that you went to an ivy league on your website to prove your intelligence to patients, who really don't give a rat's buttock about how hard you studied in college and only care about dollars and treatment outcome, you could be like glimmer and say you graduated summa cum laude and attended ECU on an academic scholarship. tee hee
 
Jun 1, 2013
569
100
Hey guys

I'm pretty happy with the acceptances I have in hand right now, so I am just posting this purely for the sake of curiosity and not to complain about anything. Back when I was making up my school list I was basically told to apply to the best places I can, since I have very good stats. So I applied to all the prestigious schools (Harvard, Penn, all the Cali schools, and later added Columbia), and filled the rest with private, OOS schools as backups.

Its was a good thing I applied broadly because not a single "prestige" school even offered me an interview.

Its funny how I ran into the exact same situation during high school. I applied to all the ivies plus Stanford and Duke. My SAT's and GPA were definitely above the average even at those schools; I am a good essay writer and I can sell myself and my achievements pretty well. I thought I would be getting scholarship offers.

I got 10 rejection letters.

So yeah, I'm scratching my head trying to figure this one out. Exactly what kind of people do these schools take? Do you have to have parents who attended those schools? Do you have to donate $$$ ? Again, please don't @#[email protected]#$ me because I am very happy with the acceptances I have and I sympathize with you if you are still waiting by the phone !
Since you're wanting an honest opinion.

If your sense of entitlement rang throughout any part of your applications (both undergrad and dental school), that may have been it. It is quite an off putting quality, and not just to an admissions committee who can probably smell that from a mile away.

If not, then... it may have been bad luck I guess?
 

Glimmer1991

5+ Year Member
May 5, 2012
3,495
1,268
NC
Status
Dental Student
Truly, I agree with sgv in that I don't think patients care jack squat about where their dentist went to school. I'd even go so far as to say that the average person doesn't care where their MDs went to school. They just want someone who treats them well and gets the job done. Even as someone who knows about medical/dental schools, I still wouldn't choose a doctor simply because he or she went to Harvard. There is much more to it than that! Especially after having been through this process, I have lots of respect for folks who made the best financial decision and went to their state schools. Debt ain't fun, and it is good to care about your bottom line from the very beginning.

I used to care a whole lot about prestige before undergrad, but I have since changed my mind. I decided to go to an undergrad that is so small and unknown that I have literally told other in-staters where I go to school and they were clueless. However, it has been one of my best decisions, and I don't regret it one bit. It has not hindered me from being accepted to DS in the least bit, I don't believe. No matter where you are, it is up to YOU to seek out opportunities and go above and beyond. My biology department is not well known, but I have tried my hardest in every class I have taken, and I feel like I have learned just as much as I would have at a more prestigious university. It's all what you make of it. Truly. Whether you are at Harvard or a lesser-known school, it is up to YOU to make it happen.

But, I'm digressing. It's hard to really say what schools want. It is interesting to see how schools work, and I wish I was on the adcom somewhere so I could get an insider's view. :)

However, I am going to be very blunt. I would contact those schools and see if they will give you any insight as to why you didn't receive interviews. Especially since the same thing happened to you during undergrad, there might be something you're overlooking. That may very well not be the case, but it's always good to find out!
 
Last edited:

Jbrowndds

SMILE ON!!!
5+ Year Member
Oct 31, 2012
384
152
Texas
Status
Pre-Dental
Reviving the President of the US. Oh and donate your right leg.
 

flegg

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 17, 2008
49
6
Status
Dental Student
Put yourself in their shoes.

They have a pool of people they are looking at with the requisite stats. They need to narrow it down. Yes, alumni connections and donating money helps because they will see you in the pool and say "oh hey bob knows this guy give him an interview". Then they look for extra-special exceptional stuff and say "oh wow that's cool we need this cat." From there they look at anything that could be construed as a red flag or negative and remove people from the pool. I don't agree that you give off the entitlement vibe but if I personally were to judge say, your post here, I wouldn't really even bother reading it I would look at the name "hunterx2" say to myself "that's pretty dumb" and move on to the next person on the list.
 
May 25, 2013
253
36
Status
Pre-Dental
Since you're wanting an honest opinion.

If your sense of entitlement rang throughout any part of your applications (both undergrad and dental school), that may have been it. It is quite an off putting quality, and not just to an admissions committee who can probably smell that from a mile away.

If not, then... it may have been bad luck I guess?
I am hesitant to say this online since it may seem overly blunt, but yes the original post did come off as entitled, which is very off-putting. I applied to all of those schools except Duke as an undergrad and got opposite letters, but I was biting my nails the whole time worrying about getting in. Same thing happened with dental school, you really can't make assumptions even if your scores are well above average.

For dental school as much as for undergrad, I think trying to "sell yourself and your achievements" is the wrong approach. I don't think adcoms want a sales pitch, they want to genuinely find out who you are and what your motivations and goals are.
 

ModifiedBass

5+ Year Member
Jul 1, 2013
519
218
Status
Dentist
Won't comment on this whole 'entitlement' thing that's been started in this thread and give you my opinion on what you asked. High stats are saturated. There are probably a bunch of applicants with very high GPAs and stellar DAT scores, but the "prestigious" schools (or any for that matter nowadays) look at the other things that separate you from that saturated high stats group. I interviewed at Penn and got accepted, and one of the major things my interviewer brought up was that Penn doesn't just accept great students, they like well rounded individuals - be it those that are athletes, researchers, heavy volunteers etc.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Scorp93

Troyvdg

Dentistry not Debtistry
7+ Year Member
Jul 13, 2009
788
188
Bay Area
Status
Pre-Dental
Aside from all the other valuable advice posted. be genuine and passionate...and like GJMeig mentioned, high stats are the baseline, not the deciding factor.
 
  • Like
Reactions: free99
Oct 2, 2013
358
97
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Truly, I agree with sgv in that I don't think patients care jack squat about where their dentist went to school. I'd even go so far as to say that the average person doesn't care where their MDs went to school. They just want someone who treats them well and gets the job done. Even as someone who knows about medical/dental schools, I still wouldn't choose a doctor simply because he or she went to Harvard. There is much more to it than that! Especially after having been through this process, I have lots of respect for folks who made the best financial decision and went to their state schools. Debt ain't fun, and it is good to care about your bottom line from the very beginning.

I used to care a whole lot about prestige before undergrad, but I have since changed my mind. I decided to go to an undergrad that is so small and unknown that I have literally told other in-staters where I go to school and they were clueless. However, it has been one of my best decisions, and I don't regret it one bit. It has not hindered me from being accepted to DS in the least bit, I don't believe. No matter where you are, it is up to YOU to seek out opportunities and go above and beyond. My biology department is not well known, but I have tried my hardest in every class I have taken, and I feel like I have learned just as much as I would have at a more prestigious university. It's all what you make of it. Truly. Whether you are at Harvard or a lesser-known school, it is up to YOU to make it happen.

But, I'm digressing. It's hard to really say what schools want. It is interesting to see how schools work, and I wish I was on the adcom somewhere so I could get an insider's view. :)

However, I am going to be very blunt. I would contact those schools and see if they will give you any insight as to why you didn't receive interviews. Especially since the same thing happened to you during undergrad, there might be something you're overlooking. That may very well not be the case, but it's always good to find out!
+1 Good Post.

I'd like to add my own two cents here. No patient gives a dam.n about where you went to school. They will ask their colleagues/community, they will look at online reviews, reputation, etc. The patients that pick a doc because that doc went to Harvard are not necessarily the patients you want. I'd also like to add that it is true that going to Harvard probably would give you a little more connections that could be very helpful. You don't need Harvard to succeed though. Also, never think that these schools (especially Ivy's) are perfect in their selection process: they probably do select people who do not deserve to get in and they probably do select people who are not exactly very nice. The people on the adcom committee may not be nice people either. You never know.

Also there are people at lesser schools who are probably much more intelligent than people at "prestigious" schools.


All I'm trying to say is take nothing for granted and be happy with you get. It's not atypical to want the best outcome in this process (whatever that outcome may be for you), but you should always remember to be happy with whatever little is given to you in this crazy, random, and sometimes scary admission process.

Goodluck to all.
 
Oct 2, 2013
358
97
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I don't think anyone thinks that about any school, since its impossible to gauge and/or critique any admission process, since the deciding factors are so ambiguous to begin with.


So by extension, only 'nice' people should get in? What's the criteria for being 'nice'?


Not only is this a random judgement, but what does this have to do with anything?

For the record, I kind of get what you're trying to say in you post.
Yea I guess I could have worded my above post in a better way: The process is a crapshoot and nobody should be ticked about not getting into a prestigious school. If you got into a cheap school, then your complaints should end right there.
 
Dec 3, 2013
1
0
Status
Pre-Dental
speaking of donations, my father made a small donation to help my sister get off the waitlist a few years ago at Penn undergrad. I interviewed at Harvard dental last month and have a 3.5 science 3.6 cumulative, 20 DAT. I didn't get a call yesterday, how long do you think I should wait before asking my dad to give them a call? Do you think this will work for dental school?
 

CityRaider

5+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2011
89
64
Status
Pre-Dental
speaking of donations, my father made a small donation to help my sister get off the waitlist a few years ago at Penn undergrad. I interviewed at Harvard dental last month and have a 3.5 science 3.6 cumulative, 20 DAT. I didn't get a call yesterday, how long do you think I should wait before asking my dad to give them a call? Do you think this will work for dental school?
Solid.
 

aqz

5+ Year Member
Jan 27, 2011
741
312
Status
Dental Student
To the whole entitlement thing, I wouldn't make that judgement call personally, but it's a definite possibility OP, so take a good look in the mirror.

Also agree with the genuine/passionate bit and just being yourself. It's not what just the "prestigious" schools want to see, it's what all the schools want to see.
 
  • Like
Reactions: YYC and gn4
OP
H
Jan 28, 2013
223
23
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
OK guys I don't want to sound too pompous or entitled or anything (I say for the third time that I am perfectly happy with my acceptances and that is the most important thing.).

The main point I'm trying to make is that I think the selection criteria, specifically at the "prestige" schools, is different from the rest of the schools. I am merely bringing my personal experience to highlight this difference. The majority of the non-prestige schools I applied to actually offered me an interview, but I am 0 for 6 at the "prestige" schools despite having (what I believe to be) a competitive application. So based on this I think that there is something specific to those schools.

I'm not personally bitter at not getting into those schools. At this point I know where I will go and if Harvard calls me for a January interview I will decline. My top choice was actually UF which did not offer me an interview either.
However, I am going to be very blunt. I would contact those schools and see if they will give you any insight as to why you didn't receive interviews.
Yes I will. And I will report back to SDN if I get a solid answer.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gn4
Dec 21, 2012
66
20
Status
Is Penn hard to get into? Cuz they accepted me and I ain't hot stuff.
They accepted me too and I have below average stats compared to most of theirs I was honestly surprised to get the interview... and then the acceptance call blew my mind. Honestly, I almost didn't even check off Penn in my app because I was below their average GPA by so much and my DAT's were nothing special.

I think I stuck out because I showed (through research and tons of extracurriculars) that I am passionate about what I do. 25+ hrs per week on extracurriculars and 10+ hrs researching. I'm sure it helped that I had 4 letters of rec going to my pre-health advisor that said much more than "He's a good kid, met all the requirements, good fit for dentistry" (10 letters total, some to cover academic blemishes).

I don't know your (OP's) situation, but maybe you didn't make enough of an impact on the people around you or that didn't come across in your application. When I interviewed, I clearly explained that I'm going into dentistry for the community aspect, to be part of a group, to be a leader. My Penn supplement reflected similar traits. Another personal thing I've written in every application is how opportunities at each school offers makes them unique, and how they would give me an experience no other school offers. I guess I do this to make ties with the schools and show them I'd fit in and really want to go there. I also think if you show you're more focused on helping others, getting to know them, and the reward gained from that (and you're able to show this is genuine through LoRs, personal statements, etc), you'll have better luck. (It sounds so cheesy when I write it)

By the way, I have no connection at all with Penn. No family, relatives, etc., I'm the only one in my family (that I know of) who even considered pursuing dentistry. No donations, didn't apply there undergrad, etc. I guess I shadowed a Penn alum, but I don't think that made a difference any more than shadowing any other dentist.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gn4

gn4

5+ Year Member
Apr 1, 2013
1,134
244
Status
Dental Student
To be honest, I really don't know what standards they use for admission. I applied to one and I was surprised to even get an interview. I thought maybe it had to do with my research background(2 publications), but at the interview that's not really what they talked about. They were more interested in the mission trips that I took to Africa and South America. The lady interviewing me even told me that my stats were below average for their students, but she liked me because of my background and experience. So, it's really not all about numbers for some of these schools.
 
  • Like
Reactions: aqz