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So what exactly is the med school "game"?

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blackarrowmoose

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Okay so ive been reading some threads and this is a recent trend ive noticed. Many people claim that most "pre-meds" think that they should just pick a science major, get a good GPA and MCAT score. Then top it off with EC's, shadowing, and research exp.

What exactly is wrong with doing that? i swear ive seen many posts looking down on this type of person but whats missing from this game plan?
 

ucsfstudents

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There's nothing wrong with that game plan. Choose a major you enjoy and fulfill the requirements, and do well. When it comes to extracurricular activities and research, follow areas that interest you and that you are passionate about.
 

LizzyM

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Okay so ive been reading some threads and this is a recent trend ive noticed. Many people claim that most "pre-meds" think that they should just pick a science major, get a good GPA and MCAT score. Then top it off with EC's, shadowing, and research exp.

What exactly is wrong with doing that? i swear ive seen many posts looking down on this type of person but whats missing from this game plan?

The problem is that 50,000 other people have the same game plan. Some never apply to medical school but most do... in addition, you have to compete against those who didn't "play the game" but went outside of the cookie cutter activities and did something that was enjoyable, educational and helpful to others (or at least two out of three). This might include an advanced degree, long term community service through Peace Corps or another agency, work experience in a lab or a factory (engineers, mostly) or in the military.
Consider that there are about 47,000 applications for about 19,000 seats and you see the difficulty in being a generic applicant indistinguishable from hundreds of other applicants.
 

wanderer

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I'd guess that many of the unsuccessful applicants did not gain admission because they did not know how to play the game. Being a generic applicant hurts if you're at the middle or lower half of the applicant pool in terms of GPA/MCAT. If you're above it, merely "playing the game" will be enough to get in somewhere.
 

LizzyM

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I'd guess that many of the unsuccessful applicants did not gain admission because they did not know how to play the game. Being a generic applicant hurts if you're at the middle or lower half of the applicant pool in terms of GPA/MCAT. If you're above it, merely "playing the game" will be enough to get in somewhere.

You hope it will be enough but these boards are littered each Spring with the people holding nothing but waitlist letters and the hope that they will stand out enough to get an offer of admission once the non-generic applicants decide among the offers they have.
 

wanderer

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The first rule about med admissions? Don't talk about the game. The second rule of med admissions? DON'T TALK ABOUT THE GAME.
If everyone knows about the game, then the game must change.
 

gettheleadout

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I would think that "good MCAT score" has enough variability that it contribute a lot to how generic an applicant is. A high 30's score will distinguish you from the rest of the 30-33's at least somewhat right? Assuming you apply broadly and smartly. (smartly?)
 

Forthegood

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You hope it will be enough but these boards are littered each Spring with the people holding nothing but waitlist letters and the hope that they will stand out enough to get an offer of admission once the non-generic applicants decide among the offers they have.

:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

I did the cookie cutter "game". But I really liked the stuff I was doing. And I'm pretty sure the reason I got in was enthusiasm. It seems from the people I've seen interview that spotting the ones just playing the game is not difficult.

Your time in college should be more than just an application, it should be an education. Don't cut corners, expand your interests, do what you find interesting, and then jump through the hoops that didn't overlap.
 

Perrotfish

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Okay so ive been reading some threads and this is a recent trend ive noticed. Many people claim that most "pre-meds" think that they should just pick a science major, get a good GPA and MCAT score. Then top it off with EC's, shadowing, and research exp.

What exactly is wrong with doing that? i swear ive seen many posts looking down on this type of person but whats missing from this game plan?

Problems with this plan:

1) The name of the game is numbers. Med schools want them to be amazing and they don't care where you get them. Now the common sense opinion (because this is how anyone with common sense would run this process) is that you should choose a science major, which is usually difficult, and then get a good GPA for that major, which is often around a 3.5. However in reality to maximize your chances you want to choose a major that makes no sense in terms of your future and which has an insanely high average GPA. A 4.0 in Irish Cuisine (Boil it!), even if the average GPA is a 4.0, is better than a 3.5 in bioengineering where the the average GPA is a 2.5. Now Bioengineering might still be a good choice, because at least that gives you a fall back career, but biology? Worst of both worlds. So either choose a major that has a high average out of college income or do something fun that has one of the highest GPAs on campus.

2) Because of the plethora of qualified applicants for an artificially limited number of slots, medical schools increasingly want a candidate that is 'interesting' rather than just a good potential doctor. This means, in addition to all the other pointless crap you have to do, you should find the time to do something that is pointless and also bizzare. Now if you're rich (this application process is designed for the rich) this can be very fun: you can travel across continents, do real surgery on unsuspecting Africans, climb mountains, sail around the world, and write all about it on your application. If you're in a normal income bracket this probably means doing something truely asanine like majoring in sex studies, going to clown college, or joining your school's curling team. Medical school ADCOMs are the kind of people that don't give a crap if you play the guitar but think it's just amazing if you play the ukulele. They don't want well rounded people, they want a sideshow. Of course, if your numbers are above average, you don't need to do that, but if you're in the middle of the pack you're going to want something to grab the ADCOM's eye. Even if you are above average you'll probably get into the better school if you're adorably strange.

I'm not endorsing this as a way to live your life, but if you're planning on living your life to maximize your chances at medical school I am prepared to say a Bio major isn't the way to go.
 
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alwaysaangel

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The point is its not a game. Live your life. Go through college. If that happens to lead you to medicine then fine.

Do things that you think will help you decide what you want to do with your life and do things that you find enjoyable and fulfilling. This MAY include shadowing, volunteering in a free clinic, being an EMT, being a CNA, working as an MA, being a part of the peace corps, being part of americorps, teaching local high schools sex ed, teaching local elementary schools anatomy, working at community health fairs, etc. etc. etc.

For that matter: work a normal job, learn to scuba dive, try working with a politician if that interests you, work for a non-profit organizing a fundraiser, help with the special olympics, play a sport, learn to cook, etc. etc. etc.

If these things lead you to the conclusion that you should become a physician then yay. You should take your MCAT and apply to medical school.

Understand the timeline and know that you will need three things to get into medical school:
1) Decent GPA
2) Decent MCAT
3) Experiences that let you see what its like to be a physician and work with patients

Other than that people really should stop doing everything for the purpose of "getting into medical school." Live your life with a general thought of where it may lead and if it leads to med school - good for you. Halfway through you may fall in love with something else and become a teacher, social worker, or non-profit organizer.

Too many people hit the ground running in college with the idea that they are going to be doctors. They then think there is a checklist of things that if done will lead to med school. And they do all those things, never questioning if its what they really want, never really enjoying the projects they get involved in or the science they're learning. Just jumping through hoops in the process. Many of these people are, thankfully, weeded out at admissions. They don't understand what being a physician is like and probably shouldn't be one. Others manage to make it through only to find they hate their life.

The best thing anyone in college can do for themselves is live their life. Do what you want to and what interests you NOW and see where it leads.
 

iusesharpies

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The point is its not a game. Live your life. Go through college. If that happens to lead you to medicine then fine.

Do things that you think will help you decide what you want to do with your life and do things that you find enjoyable and fulfilling. This MAY include shadowing, volunteering in a free clinic, being an EMT, being a CNA, working as an MA, being a part of the peace corps, being part of americorps, teaching local high schools sex ed, teaching local elementary schools anatomy, working at community health fairs, etc. etc. etc.

For that matter: work a normal job, learn to scuba dive, try working with a politician if that interests you, work for a non-profit organizing a fundraiser, help with the special olympics, play a sport, learn to cook, etc. etc. etc.

If these things lead you to the conclusion that you should become a physician then yay. You should take your MCAT and apply to medical school.

Understand the timeline and know that you will need three things to get into medical school:
1) Decent GPA
2) Decent MCAT
3) Experiences that let you see what its like to be a physician and work with patients

Other than that people really should stop doing everything for the purpose of "getting into medical school." Live your life with a general thought of where it may lead and if it leads to med school - good for you. Halfway through you may fall in love with something else and become a teacher, social worker, or non-profit organizer.

Too many people hit the ground running in college with the idea that they are going to be doctors. They then think there is a checklist of things that if done will lead to med school. And they do all those things, never questioning if its what they really want, never really enjoying the projects they get involved in or the science they're learning. Just jumping through hoops in the process. Many of these people are, thankfully, weeded out at admissions. They don't understand what being a physician is like and probably shouldn't be one. Others manage to make it through only to find they hate their life.

The best thing anyone in college can do for themselves is live their life. Do what you want to and what interests you NOW and see where it leads.

:thumbup::thumbup:
I want to make a shirt that says this and wear it in my science classes. :laugh:
 

mwall003

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The problem is that 50,000 other people have the same game plan. Some never apply to medical school but most do... in addition, you have to compete against those who didn't "play the game" but went outside of the cookie cutter activities and did something that was enjoyable, educational and helpful to others (or at least two out of three). This might include an advanced degree, long term community service through Peace Corps or another agency, work experience in a lab or a factory (engineers, mostly) or in the military.
Consider that there are about 47,000 applications for about 19,000 seats and you see the difficulty in being a generic applicant indistinguishable from hundreds of other applicants.


I competely understand where you are coming from. However, I believe that the "nontraditional" applicant is becoming pushed upon applicants who are trying to apply for medical school the summer before his or her senior year. I don't understand why being ACTUALLY interested in biology, conducting research, volunteering, shadowing, holding an executive board position in a student organization, and having a decent MCAT score isn't good enough for a spot at a medical school anymore. I feel now (after receiving advice from pre-med counselors, med students, and adcoms) that the "nontraditional" is becoming more "traditional". It's like planning to attend medical school right out of high school is now frowned upon, and as each day passes I'm considering applying for teach for america, peace corps, or a biotech company for a few years then applying to medical school just because I feel like that's the only way to now get an interview from a medical school and "stand" out. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to do all of those things for a few years, but medicine and attending medical school and starting my residency are my first priority. I feel while yes, some do take advantage of the SDN pre-med acceptance bio major, research, ec, etc forumula they ruin it for those that are passionate about biology, research, volunteering, and running a student organization. I guess the difficulty is attempting to make it known (your passion for biology, research, and your ECs) on an application and I assume letters of recommendation help in a big way in this department. Lizzy M, do you feel that students can stand out by taking a few years off to persue for example, teach for america? I understand the commitment that the program has, but I personally know students who take that route just to put it on their resume because many schools and adcoms at great medical schools have publicly on the record said a teach for america grad will more than likely be invited for an interview, and to me that's wrong.
 
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Scottydsntkno15

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I competely understand where you are coming from. However, I believe that the "nontraditional" applicant is becoming pushed upon applicants who are trying to applying for medical school the summer before his or her senior year. I don't understand why being ACTUALLY interested in biology, conducting research, volunteering, shadowing, holding an executive board position in a student organization, and having a decent MCAT score isn't good enough for a spot at a medical school anymore. I feel now (after receiving advice from pre-med counselors, med students, and adcoms) that the "nontraditional" is becoming more "traditional". It's like planning to attend medical school right out of high school is now frowned upon, and as each day passes I'm considering applying for teach for america, peace corps, or a biotech company for a few years then applying to medical school just because I feel like that's the only way to now "stand" out. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to do all of those things for a few years, but medicine and attending medical school and starting my residency are my first priority. I feel while yes, some do take advantage of the SDN pre-med acceptance bio major, research, ec, etc forumula they ruin it for those that are passionate about biology, research, volunteering, and running a student organization. I guess the difficulty is attempting to make that known on an application and I assume letters of recommendation help in a big way in this department. Lizzy M, do you feel that students can stand out by taking a few years off to persue for example, teach for america? I understand the commitment that the program has, but I personally know students who take that route just to put it on their resume because many schools and adcoms at great medical schools have publicly on the record said a teach for america grad will more than likely be invited for an interview, and to me that's wrong.


I know what you mean, I'am a Chem major because I love science and chemistry interests me. This love of science is what pushes me towards a career in medicine (one of many reasons). Why is it I have to be a completely random person in terms of Major and activities in order to achieve my goals.
 

mwall003

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Problems with this plan:

1) The name of the game is numbers. Med schools want them to be amazing and they don't care where you get them. Now the common sense opinion (because this is how anyone with common sense would run this process) is that you should choose a science major, which is usually difficult, and then get a good GPA for that major, which is often around a 3.5. However in reality to maximize your chances you want to choose a major that makes no sense in terms of your future and which has an insanely high average GPA. A 4.0 in Irish Cuisine (Boil it!), even if the average GPA is a 4.0, is better than a 3.5 in bioengineering where the the average GPA is a 2.5. Now Bioengineering might still be a good choice, because at least that gives you a fall back career, but biology? Worst of both worlds. So either choose a major that has a high average out of college income or do something fun that has one of the highest GPAs on campus.

2) Because of the plethora of qualified applicants for an artificially limited number of slots, medical schools increasingly want a candidate that is 'interesting' rather than just a good potential doctor. This means, in addition to all the other pointless crap you have to do, you should find the time to do something that is pointless and also bizzare. Now if you're rich (this application process is designed for the rich) this can be very fun: you can travel across continents, do real surgery on unsuspecting Africans, climb mountains, sail around the world, and write all about it on your application. If you're in a normal income bracket this probably means doing something truely asanine like majoring in sex studies, going to clown college, or joining your school's curling team. Medical school ADCOMs are the kind of people that don't give a crap if you play the guitar but think it's just amazing if you play the ukulele. They don't want well rounded people, they want a sideshow. Of course, if your numbers are above average, you don't need to do that, but if you're in the middle of the pack you're going to want something to grab the ADCOM's eye. Even if you are above average you'll probably get into the better school if you're adorably strange.

I'm not endorsing this as a way to live your life, but if you're planning on living your life to maximize your chances at medical school I am prepared to say a Bio major isn't the way to go.

my point exactly.
 

Perrotfish

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and as each day passes I'm considering applying for teach for america, peace corps, or a biotech company for a few years then applying to medical school just because I feel like that's the only way to now get an interview from a medical school and "stand" out..

BTW, don't actually do these things if you want to go straight to medical school. Odds are if your numbers are fine and you apply intelligently you'll get into some school somewhere. Don't waste years of your life developing qualifications that, while desirable, probably aren't actualy necessary for you to achieve your goal.
 

wanderer

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BTW, don't actually do these things if you want to go straight to medical school. Odds are if your numbers are fine and you apply intelligently you'll get into some school somewhere. Don't waste years of your life developing qualifications that, while desirable, probably aren't actualy necessary for you to achieve your goal.
Yea I agree.

Mwall3, focus on your classes, do well on the MCAT, and get great recommendations, and you will be fine. The more I think about this the more I realize how important LORs are for distinguishing between candidates.

Anyways in terms of the system favoring non-trads. At top (25) schools it seems that about half of the students have taken at least one year off (though I'd consider a non-trad someone who takes off at least 3 years, but most schools don't really keep track of these things), but at lower ranked schools it's nowhere near that high. I don't think having a better chance at a top school is worth waiting a few extra years.
 

Malice

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Okay so ive been reading some threads and this is a recent trend ive noticed. Many people claim that most "pre-meds" think that they should just pick a science major, get a good GPA and MCAT score. Then top it off with EC's, shadowing, and research exp.

What exactly is wrong with doing that? i swear ive seen many posts looking down on this type of person but whats missing from this game plan?

There's nothing wrong with the game. It's like any other game out there. There are 50,000 other people out there trying to play it, but not everyone is good at it.


If you do everything you just mentioned, you will be a good applicant. The key in this is the MCAT and GPA to bring you out from the crowd. If you have a 3.8+ gpa/35+ MCAT, with the EC's (including clinical volunteering), shadowing, and research, I would say that you would have a near 100% chance of getting in. Source: https://www.aamc.org/download/157450/data/table24-mcatgpagridall2008-10.pdf.pdf (~90% acceptance based on stats - I would assume that the 10% who didn't make it lacked EC's, shadowing, research, not having criminal record, etc.)

So you can play the game, you just have to be good at it. Not everyone who just practices shooting, dribbling, and passing gets into the NBA, only the guys who are really good at it do (being URM seems to help in that game, too).
 

vivalavie

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I'm glad there are others out there who recognize the absurdity of the med school game. I'm so tired of crocheting inspirational messages for Sudanese refugees. Can I come home now?
 

Silverfalcon

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Honestly, the whole "let's be the unique applicant that medical admissions have never seen before" is overrated. So many institutions now have study abroad programs, and if you have extra money around the house, you can definitely go to South America in mission trip or whatever and set up a health clinic and whatnot.

Some people are really passionate about this. Others... well, they do it because they think it's great thing to do. But you can also argue that people should spend time in rural and poor urban areas during summer and volunteer in health clinics there. I think so many pre-meds are neurotic that they feel that every moment of their lifetime in undergrad has to be dedicated towards medical schools.

I don't see anything wrong with someone majoring in sociology, and I also think it's perfectly fine for someone to major in biological sciences. Major, as most of us who's been at SDN for a while, knows that it doesn't matter for admission. What matters, as alwaysaangel said, are (in the order of importance): MCAT, GPA, and clinical experiences. People can debate on and on how being "unique" is helpful, but adcoms know that numbers MATTER because that's the most fair way to assess applicants.

Got a problem with the system? Get used to it.
 

vivalavie

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Are numbers what matter most? Interesting. Cause 9% of students with >39 and >3.8 are rejected. And, speaking from experience, not all of them applied narrowly or are missing research/shadowing/publications/previous doctorates.

Perhaps these are statistically anomalous, a result of that strange application logic whereby THE GOD OF ALL APPLICANTS applies to all the top schools and gets rejected from two. They have never seen an applicant of this caliber but, somehow, better luck next year.

The fact is, when most people look the same in terms of numbers, these whacked out activities that provide no indications about what kind of doctor you will be (other than a whacked out one) probably end up mattering more than they should. That said, with good numbers you'll probably get in somewhere, I didn't play the game and I did fine.
 

Lil Mick

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Personally, I've observed a few reasons why many pre-med students major in science, do biomedical research, and volunteer in the medical field:

1) Many of my classmates genuinely enjoy science and are good at it (some much more than any other academic area of study).

2) Many pre-med advisors have seen students succeed by going this route and encourage younger students to emulate this. If you have high enough scores, this is sufficient for admission.

3) It is much easier and less painful than going a non-traditional route. You (usually) don't have to consider your family's well-being if you start this route at 18 as opposed to 35, and, sometimes, volunteering/serving overseas is dangerous.

4) Most pre-meds who know they want to go to medical school don't want to jeopardize their chances by taking huge risks (i.e. majoring in mechanical engineering or taking a year off to teach English in Uganda).

This isn't a bad thing, and, in my experience, there are many more students in medical school who aren't nontraditional/Olympic athletes/veterans... than there are students who are. All the unusual extracurriculars in the world will not compensate for a very low GPA and MCAT scores, and perfect scores will not compensate for no extracurricular activities or personal adventures. There has to be a balance, and it's up to each student to find the balance that works best for him or her...
 

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Theres nothing wrong with doing research, clinical work, volunteering, getting good grades, being involved in extracurriculars, etc.

The problem comes from pre-meds that are all about the resume and join/found clubs for the purpose of becoming president and then neglecting it. From people who are more about getting the research job then actually following through on the work. From people who "volunteer" in manners that require more work in training than they actually give in volunteering. Its people like that that give pre-meds a bad rap, and make it so P.I.s want people going into grad school and not med school.
 

mwall003

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Theres nothing wrong with doing research, clinical work, volunteering, getting good grades, being involved in extracurriculars, etc.

The problem comes from pre-meds that are all about the resume and join/found clubs for the purpose of becoming president and then neglecting it. From people who are more about getting the research job then actually following through on the work. From people who "volunteer" in manners that require more work in training than they actually give in volunteering. Its people like that that give pre-meds a bad rap, and make it so P.I.s want people going into grad school and not med school.

:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
 

TobiasFunkeMDFACS

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There's nothing wrong with that game plan. Choose a major you enjoy and fulfill the requirements, and do well. When it comes to extracurricular activities and research, follow areas that interest you and that you are passionate about.
The only thing missing from this mindset is that too many people get easily side tracked. While college is a time for exploration, there needs to be a certain amount of pure focus. For instance, I planned out my last two years of college and I did my best not change this plan. Even though I had tough semesters, I stuck to it and I did a lot of things that i wasn't particularly passionate about. But overall, I maintained my goals and it paid off.
 

slowbutsteady

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Being "exceptional" is not a game.

They can smell a person who sets out to be special from someone who actually IS special a mile away.
 

NickNaylor

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The point is its not a game. Live your life. Go through college. If that happens to lead you to medicine then fine.

Do things that you think will help you decide what you want to do with your life and do things that you find enjoyable and fulfilling. This MAY include shadowing, volunteering in a free clinic, being an EMT, being a CNA, working as an MA, being a part of the peace corps, being part of americorps, teaching local high schools sex ed, teaching local elementary schools anatomy, working at community health fairs, etc. etc. etc.

For that matter: work a normal job, learn to scuba dive, try working with a politician if that interests you, work for a non-profit organizing a fundraiser, help with the special olympics, play a sport, learn to cook, etc. etc. etc.

If these things lead you to the conclusion that you should become a physician then yay. You should take your MCAT and apply to medical school.

Understand the timeline and know that you will need three things to get into medical school:
1) Decent GPA
2) Decent MCAT
3) Experiences that let you see what its like to be a physician and work with patients

Other than that people really should stop doing everything for the purpose of "getting into medical school." Live your life with a general thought of where it may lead and if it leads to med school - good for you. Halfway through you may fall in love with something else and become a teacher, social worker, or non-profit organizer.

Too many people hit the ground running in college with the idea that they are going to be doctors. They then think there is a checklist of things that if done will lead to med school. And they do all those things, never questioning if its what they really want, never really enjoying the projects they get involved in or the science they're learning. Just jumping through hoops in the process. Many of these people are, thankfully, weeded out at admissions. They don't understand what being a physician is like and probably shouldn't be one. Others manage to make it through only to find they hate their life.

The best thing anyone in college can do for themselves is live their life. Do what you want to and what interests you NOW and see where it leads.

This is a very feel good approach that, ideally, would be how this process works. In reality, though, I think we can all agree that's not how things are going to work out.

I've loved my time in college and wouldn't change anything I've done. That said, I would be lying if I said I didn't approach admissions and my activities like a checklist of sorts. Maybe that's right, maybe that's wrong. I dunno. I'm happy with how things have turned out regardless.

The fact is that "doing things you love" and "exploring life" and all those other rosy objectives isn't going to cut it at the best schools. Unless, of course, the things you love include starting non-profits, curing cancer, and working with the homeless. For most people though this simply isn't the case.
 

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startswithb

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Problems with this plan:

1) The name of the game is numbers. Med schools want them to be amazing and they don't care where you get them. Now the common sense opinion (because this is how anyone with common sense would run this process) is that you should choose a science major, which is usually difficult, and then get a good GPA for that major, which is often around a 3.5. However in reality to maximize your chances you want to choose a major that makes no sense in terms of your future and which has an insanely high average GPA. A 4.0 in Irish Cuisine (Boil it!), even if the average GPA is a 4.0, is better than a 3.5 in bioengineering where the the average GPA is a 2.5. Now Bioengineering might still be a good choice, because at least that gives you a fall back career, but biology? Worst of both worlds. So either choose a major that has a high average out of college income or do something fun that has one of the highest GPAs on campus.

2) Because of the plethora of qualified applicants for an artificially limited number of slots, medical schools increasingly want a candidate that is 'interesting' rather than just a good potential doctor. This means, in addition to all the other pointless crap you have to do, you should find the time to do something that is pointless and also bizzare. Now if you're rich (this application process is designed for the rich) this can be very fun: you can travel across continents, do real surgery on unsuspecting Africans, climb mountains, sail around the world, and write all about it on your application. If you're in a normal income bracket this probably means doing something truely asanine like majoring in sex studies, going to clown college, or joining your school's curling team. Medical school ADCOMs are the kind of people that don't give a crap if you play the guitar but think it's just amazing if you play the ukulele. They don't want well rounded people, they want a sideshow. Of course, if your numbers are above average, you don't need to do that, but if you're in the middle of the pack you're going to want something to grab the ADCOM's eye. Even if you are above average you'll probably get into the better school if you're adorably strange.

I'm not endorsing this as a way to live your life, but if you're planning on living your life to maximize your chances at medical school I am prepared to say a Bio major isn't the way to go.

I love this post.

It truly seems that at some schools, the less you are committed to medicine, the better.
 

dummymummy

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Problems with this plan:

1) The name of the game is numbers. Med schools want them to be amazing and they don't care where you get them. Now the common sense opinion (because this is how anyone with common sense would run this process) is that you should choose a science major, which is usually difficult, and then get a good GPA for that major, which is often around a 3.5. However in reality to maximize your chances you want to choose a major that makes no sense in terms of your future and which has an insanely high average GPA. A 4.0 in Irish Cuisine (Boil it!), even if the average GPA is a 4.0, is better than a 3.5 in bioengineering where the the average GPA is a 2.5. Now Bioengineering might still be a good choice, because at least that gives you a fall back career, but biology? Worst of both worlds. So either choose a major that has a high average out of college income or do something fun that has one of the highest GPAs on campus.

2) Because of the plethora of qualified applicants for an artificially limited number of slots, medical schools increasingly want a candidate that is 'interesting' rather than just a good potential doctor. This means, in addition to all the other pointless crap you have to do, you should find the time to do something that is pointless and also bizzare. Now if you're rich (this application process is designed for the rich) this can be very fun: you can travel across continents, do real surgery on unsuspecting Africans, climb mountains, sail around the world, and write all about it on your application. If you're in a normal income bracket this probably means doing something truely asanine like majoring in sex studies, going to clown college, or joining your school's curling team. Medical school ADCOMs are the kind of people that don't give a crap if you play the guitar but think it's just amazing if you play the ukulele. They don't want well rounded people, they want a sideshow. Of course, if your numbers are above average, you don't need to do that, but if you're in the middle of the pack you're going to want something to grab the ADCOM's eye. Even if you are above average you'll probably get into the better school if you're adorably strange.

I'm not endorsing this as a way to live your life, but if you're planning on living your life to maximize your chances at medical school I am prepared to say a Bio major isn't the way to go.



For a medical student, you are pretty quite shallow (perform surgeries on unsuspecting Africans).come on men!!!!!! Africa isn't all doom and gloom dude.:thumbdown:
 

s1lver

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What exactly is wrong with doing that?

what's wrong is that it's a good way for an applicant to get accepted... and we don't want that guy taking OUR spot now do we? so we tell him that's not enough to scare him etc.

it's gunnerism 101
 

munchymanRX

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Okay so ive been reading some threads and this is a recent trend ive noticed. Many people claim that most "pre-meds" think that they should just pick a science major, get a good GPA and MCAT score. Then top it off with EC's, shadowing, and research exp.

What exactly is wrong with doing that? i swear ive seen many posts looking down on this type of person but whats missing from this game plan?



First off, there is no set formula for getting into medical school. Good grades and a decent MCAT score will get you as far as the interview stage, but where you're going to shine is how you set yourself apart from other applicants.

Pick activities you enjoy and will be passionate about. Be sure to get some clinical experience under your belt, but don't go overboard with it unless you find it thoroughly enjoyable. Remember that the kind of patient contact you'll get as an undergrad is NOT necessarily indicative of what you'll get as even a student doctor.
Shadow a physician, and don't be afraid to test the waters outside your university environment. Shadow a private practice doc, or a hospitalist, or whatever tickles your fancy.
Travel a little, volunteer with the underserved, hell, even take up singing if you want, but be SURE that you can speak passionately about it in an essay or even an interview. That is going to be what makes or breaks you.

ABOVE ALL ELSE, take whatever your peers and SDNers tell you with a grain of salt. Their combined breadth of knowledge may be greater than yours, but individually it's no better than what you can dig up on your own. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. There are many ways to gain an acceptance to medical school.
 

Signifier

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Play the game and then go beyond it. Two years in the Peace Corps may not be necessary for med school, but if you want to do it, do it. I do fear that a lot of people here are trying to solve the conundrum :confused: of "How do I get into X medical school given Y constraints," but not trying to figure out "How do I become a better person? How do I live richly? What do I want to really do, right now?"

It may be an artificial bias- it would make sense, given the nature of these forums, that we see the first question considered here far more than the others.
 

GooseWing

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A friend of mine served in the Navy and became a Navy Seal and started his undergrad at 26.

Now that is one hell of an EC.

Not to mention he's an extraordinary student.
 

snowtoday

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A friend of mine served in the Navy and became a Navy Seal and started his undergrad at 26.

Now that is one hell of an EC.

Not to mention he's an extraordinary student.
He must be a great guy!!:cool:
 

getdown

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Let's be honest and all acknowledge that there is a "game" that needs to be played in order to get into med school for most of us ordinary applicants. Only the small minority can say that they're just brilliant and didn't need to strategize to get into med school. That being said, all this "uniqueness" emphasis that some adcoms look for is just a humongous steaming pile of dog feces. It's like the dancing bear phenomenon. Everyone loves and cheers for the dog that can do cute tricks but neglect the fact that the most basic function of a dog is to protect the house. Just how useful are those tricks when someone actually breaks into the house? The best trick? Knowing how to bite. Yeah, doing some BS community service in some obscure country might be interesting to talk about but when someone's coding you're knowledge of what to do is just as good as the schlub that didn't leave the country but still made it through med school. It's a crying shame they make us do so many useless crap to pursue OUR dream when at the end of the day all the hoops don't mean jack ****.
 

echolalia16

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Reading through this thread has made me a record holder for most loses of THE GAME in a five minute period. I was doing so well, too.
 

dummymummy

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Stupidest post of the day. Congratulations, dummymummy. Don't spend it all in one place.

Really?????? I guess you are just as shallow as the person that posted the comment about unsuspecting Africans.....yours is probably the stupidest post.
 

gettheleadout

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The thing about the cookie cutter formula is that it's hard for everyone to follow one in the first place. Chances are that if you do manage to make a cookie without any cracks (ie. high MCAT, high GPA, generic ECs), you'll most likely get in somewhere.

Yeah I've been thinking this too; just because you can lay out exactly what an applicant needs to have doesn't mean anyone can accomplish all of it.
 
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