Archimedes

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Okay, this is a silly question...but if I was interested in a particular school or group of schools, could I just call up their admissions department - tell them, hey I'd like to apply to your school and this is what i've done thus far...can you give me some recommendations of what to do from this point on to improve my application?

I haven't applied to med schools yet, and I get the impression that admissions people will give you advice when you've been rejected and you want to know why and what you can do to improve your app for the next round of applications...

would they just tell me to take a hike?

anyone done this before - what is a tactful way to approach an admissions director for advice or can you just be direct. I so love being direct, but sometimes that doesn't work well :(
 

ntmed

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Archimedes said:
could I just call up their admissions department - tell them, hey I'd like to apply to your school and this is what i've done thus far...can you give me some recommendations of what to do from this point on to improve my application?
It's common for adcoms to give you feedback on your application, especially if you were given an interview at that school but not offered a position. It's also common to ask schools for admissions guidelines. But I think asking a school to critique your appilcation *before* you apply can be dangerous. Any official correspondence is likely to end up in your file, and could bias your application in a negative way.

Definitely talk to your premed advisor or premed committee about ways to improve your application. If you have a good committee, this is probably the best source of information.
 

UIChopeful

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I'm not sure I entirely agree. When I was reapplying this year, I took the time to contact all the schools I really wanted to attend. At all of the schools except one I was able to talk directly with the director/dean of admissions either by phone or in person. In most cases, the deans had taken the time to review my file and tell me EXACTLY what it was about my application that didn't quite make the cut. In addition, I found that by talking to them about my file I was able to ask them more specific questions about how they screen applicants and about their process in general. (Perhaps info that is not always readily available if you get my drift)

If I were you I would absolutely try to get in contact with as many admissions officers as possible. Some of them will feed you [email protected]#&$ but if you are persistant you will get your answers.
 

ntmed

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UIChopeful said:
When I was reapplying this year, I took the time to contact all the schools I really wanted to attend.
It is reasonable for a reapplicant to ask for feedback on how to improve his/her application. I think it's also reasonable to ask a school for admissions guidelines. But I don't think this is what the OP was asking about.
 
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Archimedes

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Right, I know they speak to you if you're a REapplicant, but I'm not. I'm applying for the first time...its not like I can ask "hey man, you rejected me, may I know why?"
 

Davejj40

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I Don't agree with ntmed. I've been thinking of doing the same thing as the OP and fail to see the reasoning not to do so. ntmed, what qualifies you to be so absolute in your opinion?--Ben.

Also Committees are not always right in your corner, so I disagree with that as a uniform prescription.
 

efex101

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I actually did this and it was a good idea and ALL medical schools I contacted got back with me. This is not a bad idea but wait until the application season has slowed down...and before the next one starts. I actually visited some of these schools as well and met with adcoms, I received very valuable information that solidified my decision to apply. This process is also about "networking" and this can be helpful at times.
 

ntmed

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Davejj40 said:
I Don't agree with ntmed. I've been thinking of doing the same thing as the OP and fail to see the reasoning not to do so. ntmed, what qualifies you to be so absolute in your opinion?--Ben.
Why so confrontational Davejj40? The OP asked for opinions, and I gave mine. I don't think I need any qualifications. But since you asked, I had five years of PhD faculty experience before medical school, and I'm currently a member of the admissions commmittee at my medical school. What are your qualifications?

Asking adcoms to critique your application before you apply can be risky. I know of people who pushed themselves on adcoms and got burned. I think efex101 is right, that it would probably work better outside of the busy season. I also think asking them for admission guidelines (ie, asking them what they're looking for, rather than asking them to specifically critique your app) is a safe way to go.
Davejj40 said:
Also Committees are not always right in your corner, so I disagree with that as a uniform prescription.
I said "if you have a good committee", I did not make a "uniform prescription".
 

Doc 2b

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Be careful on how much faith you put in Admission directors and deans. it has been my experience that these people are "yes" men, and will do whatever to get you to apply. Probably not always the case, just be cautious.
 
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Archimedes

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admissions guidelines...now are we talking details like how they evaluate your app - for example, if they're on a point system, then how many points do they give to grades, how many to ec's etc?
 

benelswick

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Ntmed--

I posted on my friend's computer--DaveJJ40. My name is Ben Elswick just like my Sdn username. I don't hide behind a computer screen or a title or a resume and I wouldn't use anybody's personal disclosure against them as you did. I questioned your self-assuredness because this is a pre-med board and you were discouraging a student from possibly gaining some valuable insight, I did not question the size of your academic penis. Best wishes nonetheless.--Ben.
 

efex101

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I agree with ntmed and that is exactly what I did...I asked them not to evaluate my application but what they are looking for in someone that is an excellent candidate for their school. This is just a way to check yourself before you go and spend $$$ on that school. Different schools have different missions so this really helped narrow my focus.
 

ntmed

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Archimedes said:
admissions guidelines...now are we talking details like how they evaluate your app - for example, if they're on a point system, then how many points do they give to grades, how many to ec's etc?
This varies a lot. But it might be safest to assume that your GPA and MCAT scores will be the primary criteria, and that other issues will be secondary (extra curriculars, letters of rec, personal statement, interview, research, and ranking from your premed committee). But like I said, this may vary from school to school. Do you have specific concerns about your application?

To sum up what has been said about asking admissions departments for ways to improve your application (without the flames):

1. It's common practice to get feedback on how to improve your application, especially if you were given an interview at that school.

2. If you have a good premed committee, they should be able to give you excellent feedback on ways to strengthen your application. I would also look at the MSAR from the AAMC. Your premed advisor probably has a copy that you can borrow.

3. Some of the staff that you might talk to in an admissions department tend deal more with public-relation issues. Their goal is to get you to apply to their program, and are not really in a position to critique your application.

4. If you contact programs, be polite and diplomatic. Other suggestions you might consider are to do it after the application season has slowed down, to contact them anonymously, or to ask for general admissions guidliness.
 

civic4982

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Have your folks donate upwards of $1 million to any medical school. It's tax-deductible and you'll go to medical school. At taht point you can ask the dead of admissions to do a backflip followed by two round-offs and he'll probably ask you if you'd like him to wear tights while he does it.

Otherwise don't talk to them. Unless you've got something to offer them in general they won't spend the time to talk to you unless you've laready interviewed there. These guys are full of shiet most of the time anyways. They'll tell you tha there's a lot of things they look at and won't give you details. You'll get a bucketload of bulldooky and will have wasted your hope as well as time on them. Go talk to your pre-med advisors at your school (they're usually stupid so don't hope for too much) or go and find an agency that specializes in getting ppl in (they do exist and cost a few grand). If you don't want to do any of these things then go with oyur gut instincts. There's plentyo f ppl here with stellar applications and so you can follow in their footsteps. This forum is probably the best place to find ways to improve your app rather than any dean of admissions.

I have a somewhat jaded opinion on the subject though I was lucky enough to have one dean at Texas A&M sit down with me for 30 minutes and break down my app with me (last year). The others gave me garbage and one at UT San Antonio told me "If I did this for every applicant who didn't get in I'd have no time to get any damn work done." I politely told him to stick his head up his @$$ (ok not really, I don't have the balls for that). Another one at UT Houston told me "well it's not our policy to disclose jack **** to you applicants" (not in so many words). The UT Houston response was what I got from quite a few places.

I'm sorry I use so many parentheses. My writing is about as cluttered as my mind =P
 

shaggy411

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if you were on a waitlist is there still a point in asking "what was wrong with the application" if it's not evident